Sexual Citizenship and the Political Culture of Shame in the Women’s Movement

  • Andrea Mansker
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


While feminists used the female surfeit controversy to propose a sexless form of honor, they adopted a different tactic when confronting national concerns over the venereal peril, male adultery, and the police des mœurs at the turn of the century. Rather than downplaying the significance of sexual reputation for women, female activists leveraged their own roles within the honor system as guardians of familial legitimacy and sexual discipline to publicly police manhood. By doing so, they worked to undermine the republican ideal of male potency as the foundation for suffrage. Feminists thus appropriated the “honest woman” stereotype to assert the political relevance of men’s private behavior and to display their own capacity for civic rights.


Venereal Disease Penal Code Honor Code Legislative Proposal Male Sexual Behavior 
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Copyright information

© Andrea Mansker 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Mansker
    • 1
  1. 1.Sewanee: The University of the SouthUSA

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