A Reflection On Katja Von Garnier’s Movie Iron Jawed Angels

Iron Jawed Angles took place between 1912 – 1920. The women’s movement was coming to an end during this period. In 1916, Alice Paul led the NWP to break away from NAWSA. The NWP was also more aggressive. In 1917 the US was at war, and suffragists had been jailed throughout 1917. They were released in 1918. The suffrage amendement was then passed on to the senate and was defeated by two votes. The 19th amendment became effective on August 18, 1920.

The women’s suffrage campaign affected and created new social issues. It was not uncommon for blacks to be treated unfairly by women. Alice Paul made this clear to Ida B. Wells insisted that other African American women and she must march behind the white women. Wells refused to walk at all or even next to them. Wells is clearly a fan of Paul but she couldn’t allow her to walk next to him because that was considered socially inappropriate. Social changes were also affected by the war during this period. People gained a great sense of patriotism. They also changed or strengthened their existing views. Those in favor of the suffrage renounced it, while those who opposed it became more violent.

During this period, the government was constantly in a deadlock. Pressures came from all sides. Political parties had very different platforms. Teddy Roosevelt accepted women’s right to vote when he ran his third-term in 1913. Woodrow Wilson fought against it. Governmentally, the war played a major role. To keep the people in line with the war, the president suppressed the suffrage campaign. Protesting a wartime president was treason, and this led to the arrest of suffragists. This caused more trouble after the event. The war was a major factor in the political turmoil of the day.

In the film, there were more cultural differences between younger and older women. The most significant cultural change occurred when the NWP was formed from the NAWSA. NWP’s beliefs were different and more aggressive. They also showed their beliefs in how they sought to make change. Older women from the NAWSA lobbied for change at a state-level, while younger women from the NWP pushed for change at the federal level. Dressing differently was also a very noticeable change. The older woman dressed in more conservative clothing, while younger women appeared to be more flamboyant and wore brighter clothes.

This movie is my absolute favorite. It is entertaining, yet informative. The cruelty of US prisons is something I was shocked to learn about. I was shocked to learn that there were still working prisons at the time, and that they were being treated horribly. What also surprised me was how patriotic people were. The war was the only thing that was discussed, with all other issues being pushed to one side. It was interesting to see how much the NWP contributed to the passage of this amendment. It is amazing that they worked so hard to achieve their goal.


  • joaquincain

    Joaquin Cain is a 39 year old school teacher and blogger from the United States. He has a passion for education and is always looking for new and innovative ways to help his students learn. He is also a big believer in the power of technology and its ability to help improve education.