By S. Foley
This learn explores the meanings ascribed to sexual variations inside early nineteenth century French socialism, and the results of such definitions for ladies. via an in depth exam of the theories of Charles Fourier, the Saint-Simonians and plant life Tristan, it illustrates how gender differences supplied a device of social feedback and a picture of the idealized destiny. Love and sympathy have been assigned because the characteristics of "the feminine", hence justifying women's social participation along males. additionally, those traits gave "the female" a symbolic importance within the venture of ethical and social renewal, evoking the specified international of concord and co-operation. instead of rejecting the binary contrast among masculine and female which used to be gaining new significance of their society, for that reason, socialists challenged the worth it ascribed to every intercourse and the jobs it legitimated. even if, the accentuation of intercourse transformations additionally circumscribed the probabilities for woman "liberty" and self-definition of their personal society, and within the excellent worlds they envisaged.
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Additional info for French Socialism and Sexual Difference: Women and the New Society, 1803-44
As his biographer has argued, Fourier was not always the recluse that he became in old age. He had many lasting friendships with women, exchanged romantic verses with those who took his fancy, and apparently had a number of affairs. 43 His belief in the demanding sexual 34 French Socialism and Sexual Difference appetites of women was expressed in his earliest published writings, but it was considerably strengthened during his residence at Talissieu, where he lived in the household of his nieces and nephews from December 1815 until early 1817.
So rich women are murderers of their children, creating a host of faults in them, while the peasant woman forced to take care of twenty jobs, and having only half an hour morning and evening to devote to breastfeeding, does not raise the child to satisfy his whims nor to develop more of them than nature gives him. 6 This attack on rich mothers reflected Fourier's intolerance of idleness and its harmful effects: busy women who were usefully occupied had no time for indulging their children. It also countered the emergent ideal of domesticity which urged women to absorb themselves in The Roles of Women 45 their children.
Fourier's extensive use of neologism, his abandonment of many of the conventions of writing, and his fondness for bizarre tables and charts, make the reader's task a complex but intriguing one. So, too, does his refusal to privilege any particular discourse over the others, so that the discussion of the sex life of planets, or the analogic qualities of melons, for instance, is neither more nor less significant to his overall theory than his critique of contemporary commerce. 12 This diversity and complexity has provoked enormous debate about the 'meaning' of Fourier's works which has raged since his own lifetime.
French Socialism and Sexual Difference: Women and the New Society, 1803-44 by S. Foley