Posts Tagged ‘“That Bloody Woman”’

Today, being Suffrage Day, is a pertinent time to remember our obligation to vote in the local body elections.  Katie Pickles’ article in today’s ‘Press’ reminds us of Christchurch’s radical past, including my cousin Ettie Rout.

The women who fought to get us the vote in Aotearoa have been commemorated with the recent staging of ‘That Bloody Woman’, and it was great to have two cast members performing at today’s suffrage celebrations.  Not all the names of the first voters are known which makes Judy Small’s song “What was her name?” all the more poignant.

Award-winning poets at today's Suffrage celebrations

Award-winning poets at today’s Suffrage celebrations

The Electoral Act restrains me from suggesting who anyone should vote for, but one Central candidate has caused FIVE copies of the same piece of electoral material to be delivered to my letterbox on five different occasions.  To me this suggests either bad organisation or profligate squandering of resources – not qualities I’d vote for.

Whatever you do, please exercise the democratic right our sisters fought for.

“It’s vital that we use our vote
and I will finish on that note.”


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Kate Sheppard and Teresa May have both been labelled as “difficult”.  It’s a term that tends to be used by men for any woman who won’t be silenced.

The first written evidence of patriarchal silencing of women is contained in the Lagash Code of 2350BCE.  One statute states that “if a woman says [text illegible…] to a man, her mouth is crushed with burnt bricks.”

Set for 'That Bloody Woman'

Set for ‘That Bloody Woman’

Court Theatre’s “That Bloody Woman” is an exhilarating and energetic depiction of Kate Sheppard, a woman who refused to be silenced, and was the leader of the movement which led to Aotearoa New Zealand being the first country to give women the vote (Yay!).  As well as bringing Kate to life in a personal and moving way, the show portrayed her two firm supporters Jennie Lovell Smith (wife of William whom Kate married after Jennie died), Ada Wells (the first woman elected to the Christchurch City Council in 1917), and her principal opposition, Richard (King Dick) Seddon.  The show is a punk rock musical, and perhaps the most entertaining number was the one where Jennie and Ada supplied the f-word, which Kate was too dignified to utter.  Their wonderful chorus of ‘F***, f***, f***ety, f***’ will certainly linger in many ears!

The music was loud.  I was disappointed that I couldn’t catch some words in the more raucous numbers, and wondered if they’d have been clearer at a lower volume.  The feminist vibe was wonderful.  No interval in this show, because it would have detracted from the high energy.  The season ends on 30 July, and seats are selling fast.

This morning came the news that Teresa May will be U.K. Prime Minister within a few days.  She too has been called difficult.

The last word on difficult women comes from U.K. poet, Helen Mort published in nowthenmagazine.com:

In London, it’s said you’re never more than 6 feet
from a difficult woman. Have you or a colleague

had a difficult woman in the last 6 months?
If so, you may be entitled to compensation.
Do you have difficulty with our questions?
Are you afraid you may be difficult yourself?

“So are we difficult if we
want equal opportunity?”



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