Civilization Without Sexes Reconstructing Gender in Postwar France, 1917-1927

ISBN-10: 0226721221
ISBN-13: 9780226721224
Edition: 1994
List price: $34.00 Buy it from $5.02
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Description: In the raucous decade following World War I, newly blurred boundaries between male and female created fears among the French that theirs was becoming a civilization without sexes. This new gender confusion became a central metaphor for the War's  More...

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Book details

List price: $34.00
Copyright year: 1994
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 3/3/1994
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.100
Language: English

In the raucous decade following World War I, newly blurred boundaries between male and female created fears among the French that theirs was becoming a civilization without sexes. This new gender confusion became a central metaphor for the War's impact on French culture and led to a marked increase in public debate concerning female identity and woman's proper role. Mary Louise Roberts examines how in these debates French society came to grips with the catastrophic horrors of the Great War. In sources as diverse as parliamentary records, newspaper articles, novels, medical texts, writings on sexology, and vocational literature, Roberts discovers a central question: how to come to terms with rapid economic, social, and cultural change and articulate a new order of social relationships. She examines the role of French trauma concerning the War in legislative efforts to ban propaganda for abortion and contraception, and explains anxieties about the decline of maternity by a crisis in gender relations that linked soldiery, virility, and paternity. Through these debates, Roberts locates the seeds of actual change. She shows how the willingness to entertain, or simply the need to condemn, nontraditional gender roles created an indecisiveness over female identity that ultimately subverted even the most conservative efforts to return to traditional gender roles and irrevocably altered the social organization of gender in postwar France.

Mary Louise Roberts is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin and the author of� What Soldiers�Do:�Sex and the American GI�in World War II France, Disruptive Acts: The New Woman in Fin de Si�cle France and Civilization without Sexes: Reconstructing Gender in Postwar France, 1917–1928.

Foreword by Catharine R. Stimpson
Acknowledgments
Introduction - This Civilization No Longer Has Sexes
La Femme Moderne
This Being Without Breasts, Without Hips
She Stood at the Center of a Shattered World
Women Are Cutting Their Hair as a Sign of Sterility
La Mere
A Matter of Life or Death
Madame Doesn't Want a Child
La Femme Seule
There Is Something Else in Life besides Love
We Must Facilitate the Transition to the New World
Conclusion - Are We Witnessing the Birth of a New Civilization?
Notes
Index

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