Start Date

27-4-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

27-4-2020 10:00 AM

Disciplines

European History | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Subjects

Feminists -- France -- History, Women's rights -- France -- History -- 18th century, France -- History -- Revolution (1789-1799) --Women, Olympe de Gouges (1748-1793) -- Influence

Abstract

As French society found itself swept into a frenzied pursuit of liberty, equality, and fraternity, French Revolutionaries ironically neglected to include all citizens in their so-called “inalienable rights of man.” Most notably, the newly formed French National Assembly forgot its women. As a result, female Revolutionaries fought not only for a more equitable political system, but also for the rights and liberties of women. Yet, feminists of the French Revolution faced a paradoxical dilemma. In attempting to publish political writings, form political clubs, and wield weapons against the monarchy, women were forced out of the domestic sphere, an action that threatened the Jacobin ideal of a new “moral” republic. Thus, the actions of feminist revolutionary writers such as Olympe de Gouges and Manon Roland, as well as the creation of women’s political clubs such as the Société des Citoyennes Républicaines Révolutionaires, ironically prompted the creation of anti-feminist decrees ensuring female insubordination. This paper explores the elements of Revolutionary feminism that ironically generated greater inequality for women in post-Revolutionary French society.

Notes

2nd place winner of the Karen E. Hoppes Young Historians Award for Outstanding Research and Writing.

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Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/32884

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Apr 27th, 9:00 AM Apr 27th, 10:00 AM

Paradoxical Feminism: Attempts at Gender Equality in the French Revolution

As French society found itself swept into a frenzied pursuit of liberty, equality, and fraternity, French Revolutionaries ironically neglected to include all citizens in their so-called “inalienable rights of man.” Most notably, the newly formed French National Assembly forgot its women. As a result, female Revolutionaries fought not only for a more equitable political system, but also for the rights and liberties of women. Yet, feminists of the French Revolution faced a paradoxical dilemma. In attempting to publish political writings, form political clubs, and wield weapons against the monarchy, women were forced out of the domestic sphere, an action that threatened the Jacobin ideal of a new “moral” republic. Thus, the actions of feminist revolutionary writers such as Olympe de Gouges and Manon Roland, as well as the creation of women’s political clubs such as the Société des Citoyennes Républicaines Révolutionaires, ironically prompted the creation of anti-feminist decrees ensuring female insubordination. This paper explores the elements of Revolutionary feminism that ironically generated greater inequality for women in post-Revolutionary French society.