To promote her upcoming movie Suffragette, Meryl Streep and her co-stars took part in a photo shoot for Time Out London wearing t-shirts reading "I’d rather be a rebel than a slave." The quote was originally uttered by infamous suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who Streep plays in the film, and whilst it might have struck a chord 102 years ago, to say it hasn't been well received by today's audience is to put it mildly.
The film, which tells the story of the early feminist movement for women to have the right to vote in Great Britain, has already faced huge criticism for not including any women of colour, so to then put the quote ‘I’d rather be a rebel than a slave’ at the centre of its promotion campaign adds insult to injury. Many feel it is racial insensitivity as it could be seen as disrespectful to the American history of black slaves.
As a black feminist myself, I have to agree. While the intent is good, the t-shirt is offensive and a poor marketing decision. It's an ignorant move that seems to miss the point that being a slave was never a choice; let's not forget even after the Suffragette movement, black women were still not allowed to vote.
Many people, like myself who are offended by the t-shirts, have taken to twitter to voice their disappointment and disapproval.
What do you think, is the t-shirt offensive? Tweet us @sofeminineUK
This article was written by Tolani Shoneye. Tweet her @tolly_
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