myth and materiality in a woman’s world
[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
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
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.
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.
At an anarchist discussion group, I confessed to working for the council. I
explained that I felt justified because the sexual health programme in which I was
involved was so incredibly progressive. The person to whom I had made this
admission replied, rather haughtily, ‘I hardly think sex education is revolutionary.’ Putting aside the idea that something is only worthwhile if it will bring on
‘the revolution’, I was concerned with the apparent attitude that sex education
cannot be ‘anarchist’. Perhaps
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.
latter also shows a certain
progression towards the deconstruction of gendered identities in India
Song and, even more prominently, in Agatha.
The preoccupation in Duras with questions of gender and
sexuality may be usefully theorised by drawing on ideas central to feminist
psychoanalysis. Although both feminism and psychoanalysis have lost the
central position they occupied among the various approaches to film studies
In this chapter we focus on the
ways film and television comedy have presented gender and sexuality.
These subjects cross over in more ways than one.
Gender is an issue of difference and difference has
continually proved difficult for human cultures to negotiate.
Patriarchal culture, that is, society which is structured in order to
give the male sex many advantages over the
matched by South Australia the same year and echoed soon after in other parts
of the Empire, including India, where it increased from 10 to 12 in 1891. And if, as
Antoinette Burton puts it, ‘1885 was clearly the annus mirabilis of sexual
politics in locations beyond London’, 1 this seems to have been more than coincidence. Evidence that English
developments were originary, their colonial counterparts derivative, is apparently plentiful.
The derivative hypothesis, which reads colonial sexuality politics as something
assesses the understanding of female sexuality that was constructed by
these experts and the effect this had on Catholic women’s marital
Second, June’s response epitomised the way that many of
the interviewees conflated the Church’s teaching on contraceptive
morality with its wider approach to sex. My question was about her
experience of practising NFP, but her response