Women in twentieth-century Northern Ireland

This is an examination of the attempts to regulate female sexuality in twentieth-century Northern Ireland from the 1900s to the 1960s. Using a range of archive material, it opens up areas of a previously neglected history, and contributes to social history, women's history and the history of sexuality. The study explores a range of women's experiences, from those involved in prostitution and suspected of having VD, to the anxieties generated by the behaviour of girls and young women in general, particularly on the arrival of US troops during the Second World War. The activities of organisations involved in protecting and preventing girls from ‘falling into sin’ are examined, and the book contains a new assessment of the Magdalen Asylums and discusses Northern Irish experience in the context of comparative studies of female sexual regulation elsewhere. It identifies certain common themes, including the increasing role of medical experts and medical legislation, but also the uniqueness of the experience of this part of Ireland. The book highlights the commonality of Protestant and Catholic attitudes, clearly seen in their reaction to the public health campaigns against VD and the provision of contraception.

The British Experience
Author: Ronald Hyam

This book tries to show how sexual attitudes and activities influenced the lives of the imperial elite as well as the subjects of empire. It begins with an examination of the nature of sexuality and of its influence on individuals. The book argues that sexual dynamics crucially underpinned the whole operation of British empire and Victorian expansion. Sexual needs can be imperative, and people will go to extraordinary lengths to satisfy them. The book considers the behaviour of members of the imperial ruling elite, and examines their attitude to marriage and the relationship between their private lives and service of the empire. It looks at sexual opportunity in some different types of imperial situation, both formal and informal, in an attempt to see how sexual interaction underpinned the operative structures of British expansion. As the keeping of mistresses was not uncommon in eighteenth-century Britain, the keeping of a mistress in British India became a well-established practice. Europeans in India could flirt outrageously, but they must not fall in love or marry. To keep the women free from disease, Indian prostitutes were admitted to the cantonments, to the lal bazar after medical examination and registration, where they were given periodical checks. Official reaction against sexual opportunism began in earnest with the Purity Campaign launched in 1869, which changed the visible face of British life and attitudes. Undoubtedly there was thereafter more decorum, more chastity, less opportunity and less fun.

From modest shoot to forward plant
Author: Sam George

The stereotype of the forward, sexually precocious female botanist made its first appearance in literature in the turbulent revolutionary climate of the 1790s. The emergence of this figure illustrates both the contemporary appeal, particularly to women, of the Linnaean Sexual System of botanical classification, and the anxieties surrounding female modesty that it provoked. This book explores the cultivation of the female mind and the feminised discourse of botanical literature in eighteenth-century Britain. In particular, it discusses British women's engagement with the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, and his unsettling discovery of plant sexuality. The book also explores nationality and sexuality debates in relation to botany and charts the appearance of a new literary stereotype, the sexually precocious female botanist. It investigates the cultivation of the female mind and its implications for the theories of the feminised discourse of botanical literature. The book also investigates a process of feminisation of botany in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's and Priscilla Wakefield's letters on botany; these were literary and educational texts addressed specifically to women. Linnaean classification exemplified order, making botany an ideal discipline for young British women in the eighteenth century. Erasmus Darwin's explicit discussion of sexuality related to the aura of illicit sexuality that had surrounded Sir Joseph Banks. Richard Polwhele appropriates Collinsonia's image of the promiscuous female to allude to Mary Wollstonecraft's sexuality, drawing on forward plants in Darwin and Thomas Mathias. The book finally looks at early nineteenth-century debates and demonstrates how scientific botany came into conflict with the craft of floristry.

Abstract only
Lynn Abrams

myth and materiality in a woman’s world 6 Sexualities [Shetland women] are modest virgins, and virtuous wives: for adultery is not known among them. Among the common sort fornication sometimes happens; but their constancy is such, that they are sure to marry one among another. (Capt. Thomas Preston, 12 May 1744, quoted in Thomas Gifford, An Historical Description of the Zetland Islands, p. 104) n the nineteenth century, official conceptions of moral order were largely equated with female sexuality. A moral society was one in which women’s bodies were

in Myth and materiality in a woman’s world
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Louise A. Jackson and Angela Bartie

5 Sexuality Concerns about increases in young people’s criminality during the Second World War and into the 1960s were accompanied by similar anxieties about sexual activity. Both were viewed by the institutions associated with the state and civil society as symptoms of a decline in Christian values and moral standards. Teenage sexual ‘precocity’ was seen as a social problem because it was connected, in the minds of its critics, with increased incidence of venereal disease, a rising ‘tide’ of births outside marriage (‘illegitimacy’), and cycles of poor parenting

in Policing youth
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Leanne McCormick

Introduction Recent decades have seen an important growth in research and publication concerning women and sexuality in Irish history.1 While many of these studies purport to be all-Ireland studies, in the majority of cases the position of women in Ulster or Northern Ireland has been overlooked. This is particularly lamentable as women living in Ulster were doing so in a social and political situation that was very different to the rest of the island.2 The politics and political violence of twentieth-century Northern Ireland have overshadowed social history in

in Regulating sexuality
Abstract only
Leanne McCormick

Conclusion Female sexuality in Northern Ireland during the twentieth century was regulated in a variety of formal and informal ways. The techniques employed and the attitudes towards female sexuality were not only driven by gender and class, but influenced by the wider political, social and religious situation in Northern Ireland. All sections of the community in Northern Ireland based much of their identity upon the maintenance of high moral standards, particularly with regard to female behaviour. While Northern Ireland had a majority Protestant government

in Regulating sexuality
Treatment and prevention of VD
Leanne McCormick

4 ‘People should keep a grip of themselves’: treatment and prevention of VD The previous chapters have discussed some of the ways in which female sexuality was regulated in Northern Ireland and the importance female sexual purity had for society at large. The identification and labelling of women as immoral, dangerous and in need of control has also been discussed, as have some of the organisations which attempted to prevent such ‘falls into sin’. This chapter focuses on venereal disease, considering the establishment of VD clinics in Northern Ireland from 1917

in Regulating sexuality
Interaction between US troops and Northern Irish women, 1942–1945
Leanne McCormick

troops and local women and within the wider contemporary debates concerning female sexuality. The impact of the troops arriving in Northern Ireland was immediate and the excitement that they generated in young women was undeniable. American troops were conspicuous on the streets, as were the girls and young women who accompanied them. The arrival of American troops in the UK saw M1854 - McCORMICK TXT.indd 148 18/8/09 16:42:11 US troops and Northern Irish women 149 the intervention of ordinary soldiers and sailors in the construction and implementation of new

in Regulating sexuality
Michael Eberle-Sinatra

In his analysis of the evolution of sexuality in society in Making Sexual History, Jeffrey Weeks comments that, following a series of major challenges throughout the twentieth century (ranging from Freud‘s work to the challenges of feminism and queer politics), ‘sexuality becomes a source of meaning, of social and political placing, and of individual sense of self ’. This special issue of Gothic Studies intends to foster further research on the topic of queer sexuality. This is research which has already been underway for some time but it has not always been interdisciplinary in nature, as is the case for these five articles, in their discussion of theatre, cinema, and literature or literary conventions borrowed from Gothic novels.

Gothic Studies