I am not going to be henpecked on a question of such grave importance

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ShareisBeauty

Senior Member
Chinese
Winston Churchill claimed, as a Liberal MP, to support female suffrage, and did once vote in its favour during a division in the House of Commons which was never going to bring the vote to pass. Using the militancy of suffrage activists, or 'Suffragettes' , as his excuse for dragging his heels, he said: 'I am not going to be henpecked on a question of such grave importance' - a sentence which might have been echoed by many males who considered themselves enlightened so much as to consider the matter.
(A. N Wilson After the Victorians)
Q: "militancy of suffrage activists...as his excuse for dragging his heels, he said: 'I am not going to be henpecked on a question of such grave importance'. How is the militant tone of language typical of the activists reflected in "I am not going to be henpecked on a question of such grave importance" and how is this used as an excuse to postpone the female voting rights?
Thanks.
 
  • Darlingpurslane

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "Henpeck" is a gendered word that refers to a woman making a man miserable, usually by nagging. "Henpeck" is often used in the context of a man being nagged by his wife. (Hens are female chickens, so men would never be accused of henpecking.) Since the suffrage activists were usually women, Churchill is using this word to compare the Suffragettes' aggressive tactics to a wife constantly making demands.

    Essentially, Churchill is saying that women shouldn't get want they want just because they are loud or aggressive. It is a fairly sexist comment that would probably not be acceptable today.
     
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