What is the difference between suffragist and suffragette movements?  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Both terms are very similar in their meaning.  They both refer to women seeking the right to vote against a patriarchal establishment.  The differences between the term might relate to how those who fought for this right were viewed by the social and political orders.  The term "suffragette" was coined by British media to describe in a derogatory manner those women who were staunch advocates of social change.  Similar to the term "Queer" in United States history and lecixon, something that was used to demonize and separate ended up becoming appropriated as a "badge" or a nameplate that indicated change.  "Suffragette" became appropriated by women fighting for the right to vote and was transformed into "suffragist," a term that was accepted in America when American women sought the same rights in their nation.  The suffix of "-ette" was seen as the derogatory element, seeking to use language to keep women in a position of social subservience.  Yet, the appropriation of language to assert power can be seen and through it, women's political rights in both England and the United States.

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