Published date: 2 May 2018

The National Archives education team’s film of the month highlights a Pathé film relating to current events, anniversaries or key topics that you may be covering in the classroom.

This month’s clip is ‘The Weaker Sex!’ – a self-defence film for women from 1933.

With this film, students could consider:

  • The film opens with a card reading ‘Who said ‘weaker sex?’ Miss May Whitley (not to mention her bandit friend Charles Cawkell) from the Trocadero Restaurant London show otherwise. What expectations do you have from this opening before you watch the film?
  • In 1908, Edith Garrud taught Jujitsu classes to members of the Suffrage movement, establishing a team of thirty suffragettes called ‘the Bodyguard’ who would use their skills in jujitsu to prevent the re-arrest of Suffragette fugitives. The media nicknamed the practice ‘Suffrajitsu’.
  • How has the practice of Jujitsu changed for women between 1908 and 1933 when this film was made?
  • This film was created at the Trocadero Restaurant in London. Why would a restaurant be making this kind of material?
  • Look at what the presenters are wearing. Is this what you would expect for a Jujitsu demonstration? Why are they wearing these outfits?

This film could be used in connection with our collection on Thirties Britain – or as a follow on from our materials on the Suffrage movement such as Suffragettes on File.

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