Susan Goodier studies U.S. women’s activism, particularly woman suffrage activism, from 1840 to 1920. She did her graduate work at SUNY at Albany, earning a master’s degree in Gender History and a doctorate in Public Policy History, with subfields in International Gender and Culture and Black Women’s Studies. She returned for a second master’s degree in Women’s Studies, focusing on transnational women’s movements. At SUNY Oneonta she teaches courses in Women’s History, New York State History, Civil War and Reconstruction, and Progressivism. Goodier has served as a public scholar for Humanities NY and continues to speak to audiences about black and white women and suffrage activism. The University of Illinois published her first book, No Votes for Women: The New York State Anti-Suffrage Movement, in 2013. Her most recent book, Women Will Vote: Winning Suffrage in New York State (2017), coauthored with Karen Pastorello, helped mark the centennial of women voting in the state. Goodier’s current projects include a manuscript tentatively entitled, “Networks of Activism: Black Women in the New York Suffrage Movement,” and a biography of Louisa M. Jacobs, the daughter of Harriet Jacobs (author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl).
“Sex and the Suffrage Movement” takes three distinct periods of the long women’s suffrage movement and examines the changing perspectives on women in the movement. During most of the nineteenth century, people considered women’s rights activists and suffragists “unsexed.” By the end of the century and in the early part of the twentieth century, most people found suffragists pretty and sexy “new women.” Then, as more audiences began taking suffragists seriously, the women of the anti-suffrage movement increasing saw suffragists as “sexual deviants,” expressing a kind of homophobia. This lecture seeks to highlight these attitudes as they relate to the resistance suffragists faced throughout seven decades of their movement.