An evaluation of anti-feminist attitudes in selected professional Victorian women
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AbstractThe Victorian era paved the way for the emancipation of the modern British woman. The women who fought for the parliamentary vote, especially those who were imprisoned and experienced the torture of forcible feeding, eventually won their cause. Women who opposed enfranchisement did so for their own reasons. Both sides of the suffrage campaign claimed the majority was on their side and struggled to prove it. This thesis argues that those women who opposed were a subaltern group and compares them with the colonised subjects of the British Empire. The emancipation of women ran against the interests of the state which treated the cause as an insurgent movement. The political leaders spared no effort to thwart the liberation of women and the middle-and upper-class Anti-Suffrage women sided with ruling class interests. This work divides women into three sub-sections; resistance, colonised public and collaborators. Eliza Lynn Linton, Flora Shaw, Janet Hogarth and Gertrude Bell are well known middle-class Victorian women for whom the emancipation was of more benefit than opposition. The study throws a fresh look at these women by tying the notion of the collaborative elite with the State's exploitation of the intellectual subaltern. Linton, Shaw, Hogarth and Bell are studied in detail as case studies for this theory. Through the textual analysis of selected works, published articles, public and private correspondence, available diaries, biographies and autobiographies it emerges that although these women were ardent 'Antis' in public they were feminists in private. The thesis explains the reasons behind their public opposition to the emancipation of women.
CitationWitwit, M. (2012) 'An evaluation of anti-feminist attitudes in selected professional Victorian women' PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Bedfordshire
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