out of context, it is easy to eulogize
the Famous 5 as heroes of the feminist movement, to dismiss
them as "maternal" rather than "real" feminists, or to read
their words and judge them as man-haters or bigots. But to
identify these women in such a manner would be a grave
To help one understand and interpret some of the beliefs
they held, one needs to view the Famous 5 as products of
their time. Though it may be accurate that the Famous 5 took
for granted many of the beliefs common to people of their
station, they were also fine leaders who transcended the
commonly held stereotypes about women, and pushed to achieve rights that women enjoy today.
To understand some of the forces that influenced the
Famous 5, it is necessary to look at some of the major
ideologies and movements that helped shape Canada in the
early 20th century.
Women on the March
The female suffrage movement
embarrassed many politicians and amused the general
public, as demonstrated by the silent film, "How
They Got the Vote" by Ashley Miller.