Suffragette? More Like Suffering And Regret. Hillary Clinton’s New Musical Made Me Want To Gouge My Eyes Out

(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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Last night, I went behind enemy lines, travelling deep into the heart of New York City’s Theater District. I skirted through junkies, bums and gaggles of blue-haired feminists — all for you, dear reader, so I could share with you the highs and, well… really just the lows, of Hillary Clinton’s new Broadway sensation, “Suffs.” Through song and dance, the show tells the story of the real life suffragettes who fought the dastardly patriarchy and won the right to vote in America. But after sitting through the in-“Suff”-erable two-and-a-half hour run time, all I can say is: it’s time to repeal the 19th Amendment.

Now, Hillary herself had very little to do with the show. They gave her a producer credit, slapped her name on promos and she showed up for some pictures — and that’s about it, it seems. Yet her signature mix of arrogance and resentment shined through in nearly every scene.

The charade started before I even entered the theater. As I waited in line to go through New York City’s ritual bag-check, a team of peppy middle-aged women buzzed around drumming up support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Feminists have failed to push this dystopian nightmare through for the last hundred years, but apparently these ladies thought Joe Biden was just the man for the job. One asked me, “Are you going to get wild tonight?” I’m still not quite sure what she meant, but honestly, I’d rather not find out.

Entering the theater, I saw young, single women converge into small groups before heading to their seats — hugging, smiling, giggling and clearly lying when they said, “Oh my God! I missed you! It’s so great to see you!” The few other men there with me had the dejected stares of old dogs that had grown accustomed to regular beatings.

I took my seat and flipped through the playbill waiting for the show to start. A full-page Hermès ad invited the audience to an “Hermazing” (get it?) exhibit at the brand’s uptown flagship store. But scanning the crowd around me, all I could think was, “We’re gonna need a bigger scarf.”

The lights dimmed, and the show began.

The opening scene shows suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt pleading with Congress to Let Mother Vote! “Hello gentlemen,” she says to the audience, bristling with sardonic verve; it prompts the first of many exaggerated outbursts of laughter from the crowd. Her number makes some perfectly reasonable appeals — we raised you, trust our judgment, we’ll consider our vote as a family — and you start to think, “Hey, this isn’t so crazy.” But then the trailblazing radicals — the true heroes of the story — come along to tear her down.

This band of young upstarts comes together to plan a March on Washington at the express disapproval of Catt. Catt sees the strategic benefits of gradual reform; the youngsters want change, and they want it now.

They’re all shoved into modern feminine archetypes, so characteristic of lazy writing. We have the feminist icon Alice Paul as the lead, the quirky over-achiever. There’s the fat goody two-shoes who won’t even say a dirty word, the love-struck nerd a la 2008 Taylor Swift, the sassy foreigner and, of course, the hot slutty one. Catt hangs around as the cautious, motherly figure. Then there’s Ida B. Wells and Co. who come back every other scene to lecture all these white ladies on how racist they are.

The show is a never-ending march of radicalism: protests turn to civil disobedience, hunger strikes, arrests and strange, cultish fire-dances. But still the power struggle remains, as these three factions haggle, scheme and back stab each over the course of a decade. President Woodrow Wilson (who later gets burned in effigy) makes an appearance, mainly as a foil, the out-of-touch chauvinist pig the audience loves to hate. Even once the Suffs finally stop fighting long enough to vanquish their common foe and pass the 19th Amendment, the cycle begins all over again. An epilogue shows a young black girl in bell bottoms lecturing an aged Paul on her insufficient radicalism. Who’s the “old fogie” now, bitch?

It’s all to say this progression to new frontiers of radicalism — this ceaseless march through the institutions —  is a good thing, particularly for women. Every punchline is filled with quirky self-deprecation, poking fun at the absurdity of just how oppressed women really are. It’s meant to make you think they’re all a bunch of happy warriors. “Marriage is a legal death sentence for women” quips the nerd to her suitor, as the audience laughs at his overdue realization. But this pseudo-humor is not enough to conceal the seething, debilitating resentment just below the surface — and it’s hard to see how any of this has made life better for women.

There’s a lot of talk about incels these days, involuntarily celibate men seething with rage at women. But “Suffs” showcases the femcels who are responsible for making womanhood an ideological trap, breeding misery for generations of women — the far bigger problem in society today.

For a woman today, conforming to any traditional aspect of femininity is enough to brand you a traitor to your gender. Instead, you have to sing songs about being a “Great American Bitch,” transgressing every taboo for its own sake, making yourself not just unappealing to men but unlikable as a person. You have to wax poetic about the trade-offs between starting a family and furthering the movement, but you’re supposed to “Show Them Who You Are” by choosing the latter. And the movement always comes first, even if it kills you, as the Suffs demonstrate in a hilariously melodramatic hunger strike scene filled with angels and interpretive dance. And finally, after all of this, you’re supposed to turn around and blame men, society and every woman who hasn’t “done enough” for your own unhappiness.

A bit of reality slips through when Paul sings her solo, asking, “Is it worth it?” But apparently she decides yes, and dies alone, childless, getting upbraided by a teenager. And this is who we’re supposed to idolize? I felt the urge to call CPS on the parents behind me who brought two pre-teens to be inspired.

Yet the audience was all for it, brainwashed into the idea that this gospel was their only path to fulfillment — although few, just like the characters they cheered, looked like truly happy people. For me, the best part was when the token wheelchair girl did a really gnarly  wheelie. But for everyone else, they were delighted only when a woman landed a sick burn on the patriarchy. They cheered when the ensemble cast broke the fourth wall and declared it was finally time to pass the ERA; they whooped when someone finally dropped that single, edgy F-bomb; I even saw some tears. This was their Super Bowl. Itching that fiery burn of resentment was all that brought them glee.

I’m no radical, but I’ve seen enough. This crowd needs help. It’s for their own good. They’re just too hysterical. They need a calm, steady, masculine hand to set them straight. It’s time to repeal that darned 19th Amendment. Wilson was right, women and politics just don’t mix!