Female Soldiers and the Battle of the Sexes in Nineteenth-Century France: The Mobilization of a Folk Motif

TitleFemale Soldiers and the Battle of the Sexes in Nineteenth-Century France: The Mobilization of a Folk Motif
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsHopkin, David
JournalHistory Workshop Journal
Volume56
Issue1
Pagination78-104
Date Published2003
Abstract

This article investigates the ways in which the motif of the female soldier, so common in popular culture, was deployed in post‐Revolutionary France by cheap‐print pedlars, fairground balladeers, singers and storytellers. The popular female soldier was related to the female allegory of liberty and revolution so prominent in the French ‘culture wars’ of the nineteenth century, and she raised some of the same hopes and fears concerning female political and sexual emancipation. However, for the women who sang her songs and told her tales, the female soldier was less an inspiration to radical political action in the public sphere, and more a defender of their interests in the daily negotiation of power in the private sphere. The article concludes by eavesdropping on the male and female members of one French peasant family in the 1880s as they discuss gender relationships through their stories.

URLhttp://hwj.oxfordjournals.org/content/56/1/78.short
Short TitleFemale Soldiers and the Battle of the Sexes in France
Reprint EditionFull text available through Oxford University Journals.
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438031367

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