• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Do Historians agree that the WSPU was an elitist, anti-male organisation?

Extracts from this document...


Do Historians agree that the WSPU was an elitist, anti-male organisation? Many historians have argued for and against the factor that the WSPU was an elitist (anti-male) organisation. The term elitist organisation highlights a group governed by highly intellectual individuals, or people belonging to the upper classes of society (like the aristocracy). The political organisation highlighted here (WSPU) which stands for the 'Women's Social and Political Union' had started off targeting working class members, later moving their attention to the middle class. Women were also only allowed to join the WSPU, men being restricted to joining this particular organisation. So the primary arguments supporting the case the WSPU was being an elitist organisation was made by Jill Norris and Jill Liddington, this is due to the actually contact they had with the working class women of the organisation. It could be highlighted that working class women would have been ignored by the WSPU leaders, which would have stopped other working class women from supporting them and would have widened the gap for middle class women to become the supporters. ...read more.


Another point to take into account regarding if the WSPU organisation was elitist is the fact that social equality was a primary concept 'not taken into action', rather a political focus. This shows that the WSPU only cared about their aims, rather than everyone else's. The working class would have wanted the same level of equality as the middle class however the WSPU only wanted the right to vote and didn't really care about the social inequality between the classes and the unfairness of the class systems. An additional argument supporting the fact that the WSPU was an elitist organisation is that they 'became middle class orientated' rather than following a working class mindset. WSPU could have implied from this action that the working class wasn't significant enough, as compared to the middle classes. So from this you can indentify elitist traits from the WSPU (mainly the moving from working class to middle class members). However, they are certain arguments raised on the other side (against the WSPU being elitist). Firstly, the WSPU had started off by recruiting working class women; this in turn highlights the fact that upper classes were not only selected to join the organisation. ...read more.


This supports the fact that the Labour party helped keep the support of the working class for the WSPU and the fact that the WSPU started off as and remained a working class organisation, which is the opposite of the WSPU being an elitist organisation. Barbara Winslow most likely wouldn't have shown aspects of a bias opinion due to the fact she was an author (having no particular motive). Her opinion could be taken into account because she would be more likely to make a fair decision about the WSPU being an elitist organisation. The anti-male attitude was clearing shown in the WSPU; this is because women wanted independence (the vote) against men. Also, the WSPU didn't co-operate with organisations that had male members, such as NUWSS. This shows that they didn't value men's opinions or support of the franchise, even though men would have been able to make a difference in a patriarchal society. So taking all these points into consideration, I can say that the WSPU was an elitist organisation and they also shown anti-male attitudes. This is because they favoured the middle classes rather to the traditional working classes and also viewed men to be barrier to their work progress. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Historical Periods essays

  1. The cult of Stalin and the purges of the 1930(TM)s were two aspects of ...

    They were also open to western journalists and were intended to show the world communist justice. The great purges gave Stalin tremendous control over people, mostly through fear alone. There was a constant threat of being purged from the party, show tried and executed or sent to the Gulags.


    Pregnancy in these days was also a hazardous time for a women, "Overall, one mother out of seven or eight in otherwise well-protected families fell victim to her procreative duties" (Christine Klapisch-Zuber, Women and the Family; 1987). Not only was it a dangerous time for the expecting mother but 45%

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work