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Women's History

I'm a senior in Norway doing an extended essay on the book "Women in Love," by D.H. Lawrence. He was pretty unique, because he often questioned women's undermined role in society. Anyway, I have to illustrate how the female protagonist in this book rebels against her expected role in society. However, to do this, I need to look at what the typical role of women (in England) was at the time (around 1910). Can you guide me to some web sites or literature concerning this? Thanks so much, Marianne

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. Not knowing much about British history circa 1910 I turned to the British Historian Sheila Rowbotham and specifically her book A Century of Women. In short, this is what I found out:

--Women began to rebel against marriage--and even against men. Others were reforming education. The difference between these women and women from the previous century was described this way: "in the period of 1900-1914, the personal aspiration for freedom was accompanied by a militant suffrage movement and widespread social upheaval." The militant movement (Emmeline and Christable Pankhurst for example) were fighting for the vote. These women "stormed the House of Commons, heckled cabinet ministers, broke windows and went to prison....this ingenuity and daring of the suffragettes exploded gender stereotypes....The bravery of the suffragettes won them admiration, not only from women, but from men.....Though the feminist movement had a decisive influence on the politics and culture of the pre-war era, the majority of women joined organizations not to transform gender relations, or society as a whole, but to conserve women's sphere...A preoccupation with social motherhood could thus emphasize working-class women's duties as reproducers to society or develop into radical political demands for new social and economic rights...It was assumed from the start of their working lives that their position as wage earners was temporary....."

The only thing specific to D.H. Lawrence was this: "Ironically, [D.H.] Lawrence, who hated emancipated women and inveighed against the pleasures of the clitoris, was to become the symbol of sexual freedom during the 1960."

I hope that helps--and to learn more I suggest you get a hold of this book. It's full of great information.


Amy

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