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Sexual Citizenship and the Political Culture of Shame in the Women’s Movement

  • Andrea Mansker
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Abstract

While feminists used the female surfeit controversy to propose a sexless form of honor, they adopted a different tactic when confronting national concerns over the venereal peril, male adultery, and the police des mœurs at the turn of the century. Rather than downplaying the significance of sexual reputation for women, female activists leveraged their own roles within the honor system as guardians of familial legitimacy and sexual discipline to publicly police manhood. By doing so, they worked to undermine the republican ideal of male potency as the foundation for suffrage. Feminists thus appropriated the “honest woman” stereotype to assert the political relevance of men’s private behavior and to display their own capacity for civic rights.

Keywords

Venereal Disease Penal Code Honor Code Legislative Proposal Male Sexual Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 7.
    Karen Offen, “Defining Feminism: A Comparative Historical Approach,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 14:1 (Autumn 1988): 121–43; Hause and Kenney, Women’s Suffrage, 25–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 13.
    Clark, Schooling the Daughters of Marianne, 76–8; Sandi E. Cooper, “Women’s Participation in European Peace Movements: The Struggle to Prevent World War I,” in Ruth Roach Pierson (ed.), Women and Peace: Theoretical, Historical and Practical Perspectives (Routledge, 1987), 51–75.Google Scholar
  3. 26.
    For a brief history of feminist abolitionist efforts in France, see Ghénia Avril de Sainte-Croix, “Rapport de Mme Savioz de Sainte-Croix,” Congrès international de la condition et des droits des femmes tenu à Paris en 1900 (Paris: Impr. des arts et des manufactures, 1901), 106–8.Google Scholar
  4. 27.
    Emilie de Morsier quoted in Theodore Stanton, The Woman Question in Europe: A Series of Original Essays (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1884), 266. On Morsier’s role in French abolitionism, see Käppeli, Sublime croisade, 55–77.Google Scholar
  5. 39.
    Louis Fiaux, Un Nouveau régime des mœurs: Abolition de la Police des Mœurs. Le Régime de la loi (Paris: Félix Alcan, 1908), iii–xiii.Google Scholar
  6. 40.
    Ibid.; Félicien Hennequin, “Rapport général sur les travaux de la commission extraparlementaire du régime des moeurs,” in Louis Fiaux, La Police des Mœurs devant la commission extraparlementaire du régime des mœurs (Paris: Félix Alcan, 1910), vol. 3, 227–8.Google Scholar
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    Jill Harsin, Policing Prostitution in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), 331–3.Google Scholar
  8. 47.
    Avril de Sainte-Croix in meeting of July 7, 1905, Commission Extraparlementaire du régime des mœurs: Procès-verbaux des séances (Melun: Imprimerie Administrative, 1909), 644–5.Google Scholar
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    See Avril de Sainte-Croix in meeting of March 5, 1904, Commission Extraparlementaire, 61. She was a participant at the 1903 congress of the Société de Prophylaxie sanitaire et morale. See “Revue internationale de la presse et des sociétés savantes: Société de Prophylaxie Sanitaire et Morale,” in Dr T. Barthélemy (ed.), La Syphilis: Revue mensuelle de médicine spéciale (Paris: Administration, 1904), vol. 1, 75.Google Scholar
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    Anne-Marie Sohn, “The Golden Age of Male Adultery: The Third Republic,” Journal of Social History 28: 3 (Spring 1995): 469–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 121.
    The Dussaussoy bill of 1906 would have allowed women to vote for municipal, arrondissement and general councils in the same capacity as men. Maria Vérone, Appel à la justice addressé par le CNFF à la Chambre des Deputés et au Sénat: Rapport de la section du suffrage du Conseil National (Paris, 1909), 13; Hause, Women’s Suffrage, 86–90.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Andrea Mansker 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Mansker
    • 1
  1. 1.Sewanee: The University of the SouthUSA

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