Little Stories

Little Prints

2016

Barbara Hannigan

'Buy a Revolver', Screenprint

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Women played an integral role in the military campaigns during 1900-1923.  In return, they demanded suffrage on equal terms and their sexes inclusion in politics. These demands were granted in the Constitution of 1922.

“Buy a Revolver” is based on the accounts of women volunteers who were taught how to use a gun by Countess Markievicz.      

I was interested in the huge risks that the women were taking, the stark contrast between them shooting guns compared to their normal daily life.  In a speech in 1909 Markievicz proclaimed that women needed to change their mode of dress to a more efficient one and learn to handle weapons rather than relying on men for their safety.

She calls for women to:

“Dress suitably in short skirts and sitting boots, leave your jewels and gold wands in the bank, and buy a revolver. Don’t trust to your ‘feminine charm’ and your capacity for getting on the soft side of men, but take up your responsibilities and be prepared to go your own way depending for safety on your own courage, your own truth and your own common sense, and not on the problematic chivalry of the men you may meet on the way….”

Markievicz was tried for treason and sentenced to death.

However, her sentence was commuted due to her gender.  Surprisingly she did not appreciate this as she resented being discriminated against because she was a woman.