Suffrage in 60 Seconds: Nina Allender

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Nina Evans Allender was a talented artist with a biting sense of humor. She was classically trained as a painter, but Alice Paul convinced Nina Allender to learn a new form of art in support of women. So Nina Allender became a cartoonist.

Her cartoons changed public awareness about who the suffragists were and what a feminist looks like. The Allender Girl was political, powerful, in control, often pictured with her hands on her hips, her chin up, claiming her right to the public square.

When the National Woman's Party picketers were accused of causing scandal with their unladylike and un-American behavior, Nina Allender drew the picketers as courageously holding their banners up high as they were being viciously attacked. The arguments in her illustrations made an impact that maybe even the slogans on the banners couldn't accomplish.

But her work also perpetuated the connection of whiteness and upper-class elitism to the suffrage movement. The Allender Girl is young, white, and privileged. And that is not a true picture of all the women who fought for the vote.

As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, we need to create a truer picture.

What does a feminist look like?

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1 minute, 27 seconds

As the official cartoonist of the National Woman's Party, Nina Allender changed public perception about what feminists looked like. But her political cartoons, while witty and provocative, excluded many people who were fighting for the vote. Who gets left out of the picture in the struggle for equality today?

Nina Allender created more than 150 cartoons for the National Woman's Party from 1914-1927.

Part of a series of articles titled Suffrage in Sixty Seconds.

Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument, National Mall and Memorial Parks, The White House and President's Park, Women's Rights National Historical Park

Last updated: September 1, 2020