Music sheet cover, 'Bother the Men'

Music sheet cover, 'Bother the Men'

Music sheet cover
'Bother the Men'
Sung by Mrs Howard Paul
Mid to late 19th century
Museum no. S.750-2012
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Bother The Men was a topical song sung by Isabelle Hill, or Mrs Howard Paul, probably in the early 1870s. This illustration shows her dressed as the fictitious Women's Rights campaigner 'Miss Grym', lecturing on Women's Rights. The suffrage movement began to cause a stir in London at the turn of the 20th century when women campaigned for the right to vote. However women had been campaigning for rights to land, property and inheritance long before this. Mary Walker, whose name appears on the spine of one of the books in this illustration, was an American feminist who was the first woman doctor in the American Civil War in the 1860s. She was arrested several times for masquerading as a man and published two books in the early 1870s. In their bid to raise public awareness of their fight suffragettes gained a reputation for being loud, aggressive and unfeminine. 'Bother the Men' seems to satirise such women.