Sex, Honor and Citizenship in Early Third Republic France by A. Mansker

By A. Mansker

A repositioning of French women's fight for suffrage in the certain cultural panorama of the masculine honour approach. even if activists demanded admission to the preferred ritual of the duel or publicly shamed males for his or her extramarital sexual behaviour, they appropriated extralegal honour codes to enact new civic and familial identities.

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Belle époque women became increasingly visible as journalists and editors, but found themselves vulnerable to sexual insults made by male writers. The rise of the mass press and the failure of the court system to truly rehabilitate a public figure’s reputation posed a new and pressing dilemma for prewar female professionals. A feminist duel: contesting a masculine culture Ly’s dramatic gesture at the Toulouse meeting hall sparked an immediate debate among the numerous men and women present. The crowd’s reaction points to larger conflicts over individual reputation and fluctuating gender norms during an era of mass politics.

Ly sent her cartel to Massat following his publication of a libelous missive accusing her of lesbianism. Though the editor’s friend and colleague, Louis Casalé, had penned the scurrilous enquête response, Massat reported that the latter had departed for his post in Sénégal when Ly’s seconds initially sought him out. 6 In her explanation of her dueling challenge in the press the next day, Ly made it clear that she did not interpret Casalé’s accusation of sexual inversion as a purely personal insult.

The crowd’s reaction points to larger conflicts over individual reputation and fluctuating gender norms during an era of mass politics. Though Massat was momentarily startled by Ly’s ritual slap, he regained his composure as police agents led away his feminist opponent for causing a public disturbance. Upon d’Haur’s completion of her lecture, Le Rappel’s director launched into a defense of his own actions. ”18 He offered evidence of this by reading aloud her “Vive ‘Mademoiselle’ ” article. By exposing his adversary’s immoderate ideas on celibacy, Massat appealed to a defense available to him under contemporary press laws.

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