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Lady Blackshirts

Lady Blackshirts

The perils of perception - suffragettes who became fascists
Bristol Radical Pamphleteer #39
by Rosemary L Caldicott

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During the 1930’s a small group of ultra-nationalistic women, who considered themselves feminists, joined Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists.  Surprisingly some of these women were former high ranking members of the suffragette movement.

Over 50 regional branches of the British Union of Fascists, with Women’s Sections, opened across the United Kingdom.  The branches were established to promote and normalise the ultra-right and position fascism as an acceptable political choice within mainstream political culture.  The branches were also a tactic to give women acceptance within a patriarchal fascist political landscape.  Could it be that these women were being subjugated to promote the alternative agenda of fascism, that being the repression of women?  And, if so, how did this happen, and what were the tensions that arose within Mosley’s ranks?

This work examines the political and social tensions that confronted women in the 1930’s.  Exploring issues that were so profound, that some women were drawn into the world of the fascist political elite, and became ‘militant women citizens’ advocating and endorsing fascism.

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