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Gender Conflicts

Gender Conflicts: New Essays in Women's History

Franca Iacovetta
Mariana Valverde
Copyright Date: 1992
Pages: 303
  • Book Info
    Gender Conflicts
    Book Description:

    These essays represent an exciting breakthrough in women's studies, expanding the borders of the discipline while breaking down barriers between mainstream and women's history.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7518-6
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-2)

    Consider this scene from the past. A Salvation Army preacher in a red silk dress, leading a revival meeting in a small Ontario town in the 1890s. The sight of this working-class ‘girl’ addressing a crowd of emotionally charged youths is sufficiently provocative to evoke the stern disapproval of the local gentry. Another scene, also in small-town Ontario, occurs in a courtroom. Here, too, a woman is the centre of attention as her father, having determined to bring an end to his daughter’s sexual liaison with a boarder, lays criminal charges of ‘seduction’ against him. How different this courtroom drama...

  5. 1 ‘When the Mother of the Race Is Free’: Race, Reproduction, and Sexuality in First-Wave Feminism
    (pp. 3-26)
    Mariana Valverde

    That the vast majority of English-speaking first-wave feminists were not only ethnocentric but often racist is by now widely acknowledged. It is also acknowledged that this led to the exclusion of native women, immigrant women, and women of colour from a movement which claimed to be based on gender, with negative political consequences reverberating into our own day.¹ Racist strategies were not confined to situations in which topics such as immigration were directly at issue: they were integral to the movement as a whole. An aspect of this pervasive racial politic that has seldom been examined is the way in...

  6. 2 ‘Maidenly Girls’ or ‘Designing Women’? The Crime of Seduction in Turn-of-the-Century Ontario
    (pp. 27-66)
    Karen Dubinsky

    Sex makes fascinating politics. Issues such as pornography, workplace sexual harassment, lesbian and gay rights, prostitution, and reproductive choice have all become the stuff of government inquiry, academic treatises, and popular political organizing in recent years. These topics raise a host of unsettling questions, such as the relationship between sexual representation and practice, censorship and other forms of state sexual regulation, the connections between male sexuality and violence, and the processes by which our sexual desires (and anxieties) are brought into being.¹

    It is not coincidental that historians have played central roles in many of these debates, nor is it...

  7. 3 The ‘Hallelujah Lasses’: Working-Class Women in the Salvation Army in English Canada, 1882–92
    (pp. 67-117)
    Lynne Marks

    This advertisement and others like it drew huge crowds to Salvation Army events in the 1880s. Newspapers routinely reported packed halls, with hundreds being turned away at the door.² While the Salvation Army deliberately made use of a wide range of tactics to draw crowds, female officers, or ‘Hallelujah lasses’ as they were popularly known, were clearly a major attraction. The arrival of a new female officer in Kingston led to greater crowds than ‘when the Governor General and the Princess were here,’ with the hall being ‘jammed to the doors.’³

    Such scenes were repeated across Canada because female preachers,...

  8. 4 The Alchemy of Politicization: Socialist Women and the Early Canadian Left
    (pp. 118-148)
    Janice Newton

    These words of Mary Cotton Wisdom, editor of the Woman’s Column of Canada’s largest selling socialist newspaper in 1909, hint at some of the challenges she faced in becoming politically active in the early Canadian left. As a white English-speaking woman, she clearly felt a need to reassure herself and her readers that socialists were not ‘foreign murder[er]s.’ To overcome this fear of socialism, she identified the Christian ideals that she thought represented socialism: ‘Socialists are bound together in a great cause. They are trying to help the weak, to raise the fallen, to lift the burden of oppression, to...

  9. 5 Wounded Womanhood and Dead Men: Chivalry and the Trials of Clara Ford and Carrie Davies
    (pp. 149-188)
    Carolyn Strange

    Residents of Toronto in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries might quite legitimately have assumed that women could get away with murder. In two highly publicized trials in that period, female defendants were acquitted on charges of murder in spite of the fact that both had confessed to the deed. The first of these women, Clara Ford, was a mulatto seamstress who, by her own admission, had shot and killed a wealthy white youth in 1894. After the verdict of ‘not guilty’ was announced to a crowded Toronto courtroom at the spring 1895 Criminal Assizes, the acquitted murderer led...

  10. 6 Class, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Eaton Strikes of 1912 and 1934
    (pp. 189-228)
    Ruth A. Frager

    At a giant New Year’s Eve party for the T. Eaton Company’s Toronto employees in 1898, Timothy Eaton announced his hope that the word ‘employees’ would be ‘done away with’ by the end of the century. As Mr Eaton wished his ‘fellow-associates’ a happy New Year, 2475 of them were sitting down together for the celebratory dinner. The dinner tables occupied the Yonge, Queen, and James streets areas of the second floor of the famous Eaton store, and almost fifty thousand pieces of china and silverware were used to serve the meal. The tenor of this gala event, explained the...

  11. 7 ‘Feminine Trifles of Vast Importance’: Writing Gender into the History of Consumption
    (pp. 229-260)
    Cynthia Wright

    In 1928 The T. Eaton Company Limited began construction of Eaton’s College Street, a major new store located at the southwest corner of Yonge and College streets in downtown Toronto.¹ Devoted largely to home furnishings, it was the first attempt to build a modern, city-oriented department store in Toronto. The College Street store was conceived as the culmination of a new merchandising strategy for Eaton’s. Under the management of John Craig Eaton, founder Timothy’s youngest son and successor, Eaton’s began to go after the so-called carriage trade, Toronto’s upscale market. In this regard, Eaton’s was influenced by similar changes in...

  12. 8 Making ‘New Canadians’: Social Workers, Women, and the Reshaping of Immigrant Families
    (pp. 261-303)
    Franca Iacovetta

    In the spring of 1958 Mrs Gabura, a Hungarian refugee, entered the office of the International Institute of Metropolitan Toronto, a social agency offering aid to the city’s non-British immigrants. With her husband employed out of town, Gabura came to the institute hoping to find a job and locate a daycare for her two small children. The Hungarian-speaking counsellor assigned to the case promptly placed her client in private service and the children in a Catholic nursery. It soon became clear, however, that a seemingly straightforward case of job placement masked a turbulent history of marital cruelty.

    Staff workers first...