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
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
related to how women should conduct themselves. In particular, these expectations clustered around headline items like marriage and sexuality.
Consideration of how they adhered to such expectations informed criminal justice responses.
Worrall, for instance, proposed a ‘gender contract’ by which women benefited
from the social dividends of femininity when they held up their end of the bargain. This
chapter explores the nuanced, often surprising, criminal justice responses to women who were
failing to reach the lofty heights of