The essay focuses on the iconoclastic campaign of the British suffragettes in 1914, and in particular on the slashing of the 'Rokeby Venus' by WSPU militant Mary Richardson. It analyses the public responses in the press, the reaction of the vorticist avantgarde intellectuals and the texts written by the suffragettes to explain the meaning of their political protest. These acts of iconoclasm and their accompanying statements point to the contradiction between aesthetic values and social justice, between the idea of beauty produced and venerated by patriarchal society and the lack of justice on which that society is based. The suffragettes denounced that the realm of aesthetic fruition can only exist through the exploitation of the subordinate social classes: women and the proletariat.
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