It is no wonder that Mina Harker is such a strong example of femininity not being an obstacle to strength, reason, or courage. The women of the Irish Suffragette movement were no strangers to any of those qualities. Mina is an intelligent woman, who through circumstance is shown to be full of many qualities that even today would be considered slightly at odds with traditional femininity. Her portrayal as a modern woman who thinks for herself and works even after marriage is made to seem desirable. These qualities were also found within the Irish Suffragette movement.
The women of Ireland were especially courageous, as they fought for their right to vote as women, and many also fought for Irish independence. Kilfeather tells the stories of many such women such as Maude Gonne, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, Mary Leigh, Gladys Evans, and Constance Markievicz. She also writes about Anne Devlin. These women were revolutionary, and while some strove not to engage in interpersonal violence, others were perfectly willing to render either condone, aid or participate in such violence when they felt the need arise. This shows the strength of their convictions, whether they were pacifists or not, they stuck to their guns. These women were interesting to read about in part because of the strength of their convictions. They risked it all without knowing whether or not their causes would be victorious, or if anyone would remember their names as heroes, martyrs, or rabble-rousers.
I took a look around St. Stephen’s Green after reading about the bust of Constance Markievicz that is there. The park is beautiful, and I appreciated looking at the bust of a woman that may or, as Kilfeather points out that there is a bit of contest surrounding the claim, may not have killed for her cause in the Easter Rebellion. It also helped me to meditate on the place of revolutionary violence. The widows of the Easter Rebellion still fought in their own ways but were still scarred by the loss of their husbands. Violence always leads to loss, so while I admire the strength of the convictions that can lead to it, I also mourn its use. Violence is sometimes necessary to get things done, but we should try to avoid it if we can.