FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Suffragists Eating Pizza In Bathing Suits To ‘Annoy Men’ in 1921?
An image shared on Instagram purportedly shows “suffragettes” in 1921 eating pizza while wearing bathing suits to “annoy men.”
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The image actually shows women participating in a pie eating contest in 1921. There is no evidence that it had anything to do with the suffrage movement.
The black-and-white image shows several young women sitting on the steps of an unidentified building while eating food. “In 1921, early suffragettes often donned a bathing suit and ate pizza in large groups to annoy men…it was a custom at the time,” reads text included below the image. “TIME TO REVIVE A CUSTOM.”
There’s no evidence, however, that the women in the photo are suffragists eating pizza as a way to annoy men. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Susan B. Anthony Being Beaten In The Streets?)
A reverse image search reveals the photo was shared on the Library of Congress’ website titled: “Pie eating contest, Bathing Beach, [7/31/21]” The Tidal Basin bathing beach was a swimming area in Washington D.C. that existed for several years in the early 20th century, according to Washingtonian magazine.
The photo was also shared on the image-sharing website Shorpy with a similar description. There is no indication that the photo had anything to do with the suffrage movement. Check Your Fact found no evidence to corroborate the claim that suffragists ever had a custom of gathering to eat pizza in bathing suits to “annoy men.” No mention of such a custom could be found on the National Women’s History Museum’s website.
“I don’t know how anyone got the idea that these are suffragists, since there’s nothing in the photo to indicate their political affiliation,” Laura Lovett, an associated professor at the the University of Pittsburgh who specializes in twentieth century U.S. women’s history, told Check Your Fact via email. “I’m assuming it’s because of their bathing costumes that someone is assuming their political identity. What I see is a homogeneous group of mostly women and a few children dressed for sport in the costumes of the day.”
“My answer is NO, this is not likely a photograph of suffragists eating pizza in swim suits to annoy men, especially if the photograph is 1921, AFTER women get the federal vote,” Lovett further noted.
The women’s suffrage movement was aimed primarily at securing the right of women to vote, which was achieved in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, according to the American Bar Association. Additionally, pizza did not become popular in America until the 1950s, according to The Washington Post, further casting doubt on the claim that the photo shows “suffragettes” eating pizza to annoy men.