A New Man for the New Woman? Men, Marriage, and Feminism in the Belle Epoque

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Author: Rachel Mesch
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This article considers the role of men in a form of feminist expression promoted in women's magazines and novels during the Belle Epoque. “Belle Epoque literary feminism,“ as I have termed it, was characterized by a desire to reconcile gender equality with traditional gender roles, outside of political channels; it was also, I argue, defined by male participation. Focusing on a widespread effort to modernize marriage, the article examines both men and women's discussions of marital equality in the influential women's magazines Femina and La Vie Heureuse; it then considers the role assigned to men in realizing feminist marriage in two popular women's novels, Marcelle Tinayre's La Rebelle and Louise Marie Compain's L'Un vers l'autre.

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