1st Edition

Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash Britain, Ireland and Australia, 1890-1920

By Sharon Crozier-De Rosa Copyright 2018
    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash examines how women opposed to the feminist campaign for the vote in early twentieth-century Britain, Ireland, and Australia used shame as a political tool. It demonstrates just how proficient women were in employing a diverse vocabulary of emotions – drawing on concepts like embarrassment, humiliation, honour, courage, and chivalry – in the attempt to achieve their political goals. It looks at how far nationalist contexts informed each gendered emotional community at a time when British imperial networks were under extreme duress. The book presents a unique history of gender and shame which demonstrates just how versatile and ever-present this social emotion was in the feminist politics of the British Empire in the early decades of the twentieth century. It employs a fascinating new thematic lens to histories of anti-feminist/feminist entanglements by tracing national and transnational uses of emotions by women to police their own political communities. It also challenges the common notion that shame had little place in a modernizing world by revealing how far groups of patriotic womanhood, globally, deployed shame to combat the effects of feminist activism.

    Introduction  1. Shaming Unwomanly Women  2. Reversing the Shame of British Colonisation  3. Embarrassing the Imperial Centre  4. Shaming British-Australia  5. War and the Dishonourable British Feminist  6. Shaming Manhood to Embody Courage  7. The Shame of the Violent Woman.  Conclusion


    Sharon Crozier-De Rosa is a senior lecturer in history at the University of Wollongong.

    "Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash succeeds in its larger aim of demonstrating the contested emotional terrains wrought by the suffrage debates. This telling analysis of three different sites widens our view of the complexity of anti-suffrage sentiments."

    Barbara Brookes, University of Otago

    "The book explores how shame and its synonyms, embarrassment and dishonour, articulated all three imperial sites of anti-suffrage struggle differently. The result is a history that turns, in compelling detail, on paradox, contradiction and irony… As a whole, Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash makes an invaluable contribution to transnational history, the history of emotions and the feminist historiography of politics..."

    Jane Haggis, LSE Review of Books

    "Shame is a powerful emotion—a behaviour regulator, a tool of expulsion—and Sharon Crozier-De Rosa ably demonstrates its potency amongst three national communities, and between, in and around communities of women, in the period 1890 to 1920 The book divulges the complexities of societal expectations of women in the Empire’s metropole, its distant colonies and in Ireland… Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash may well be a historical account of suffragist action and feminism, but it remains relevant as contemporary society struggles with inter-feminist shaming and notions of intersectionality where race, sexuality and class can combine with or eclipse gender."

    – Fidelma Breen, Australasian Journal of Irish Studies¿