By Antoinette Burton
During this examine of British middle-class feminism within the past due 19th and early 20th centuries, Antoinette Burton explores a massive yet ignored historic measurement of the connection among feminism and imperialism. Demonstrating how feminists within the uk appropriated imperialistic ideology and rhetoric to justify their very own correct to equality, she finds a number of feminisms grounded in notions of ethical and racial superiority.According to Burton, Victorian and Edwardian feminists resembling Josephine Butler, Millicent Garrett Fawcett, and Mary wood worker believed that the local ladies of colonial India constituted a unique 'white woman's burden.' even though there have been a few trendy Indian ladies in Britain in addition to in India operating towards many of the comparable pursuits of equality, British feminists trusted pictures of an enslaved and primitive 'Oriental womanhood' wanting liberation by the hands in their emancipated British 'sisters.' Burton argues that this unquestioning attractiveness of Britain's imperial prestige and of Anglo-Saxon racial superiority created a collection of imperial feminist ideologies, the legacy of which needs to be famous and understood by way of modern feminists.
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Extra resources for Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women, and Imperial Culture, 1865-1915
93 Indian women, imagined as colonialized and dependent on British feminists for the representation of their cause, were evidence of the kind of conquering power that was required of those who sought admission as full citizens in the imperial nation-state. And the pledges that feminists made to oversee the condition of Indian women in the empire were one way of proving that they were ready, if not to take up arms, then certainly to defend the nation-state from corruption from within. The trope of the colonized female Other was, in an important sense, one of the major political effects of British imperial suffragism.
In either case, the call for female emancipation was construed as a cultural betrayal, a violation of their Englishness. " It was one of the principles of Victorian suffrage ideology that women wanted the vote "on the same terms as men" and that they expected to receive it in good time. Such had been, as Fawcett was fond of saying, the historically "national habit'' of suffrage reform in Britain. The "white woman's burden" and the woman-to-woman caretaking functions that British feminists exercised on behalf of Indian women rendered them traditionally feminine and helped to neutralize powerful arguments about the monstrous, antisocial nature of the women's movement that opponents of women's suffrage were apt to mobilize in order to devastate the legitimacy of the Cause.
This study is intended as an intervention in the historiography of the Western European feminist past in order to begin to account for the impact of imperial culture on historically feminist movements and to suggest its significance for feminist history and feminist politics in the present. This kind of intervention could not have been conceptualizedor made necessarywithout the ongoing work of critical theorists across a variety of disciplines who have insisted on the operations of cultural imperialism in contemporary Western feminist ideologies and practices.
Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women, and Imperial Culture, 1865-1915 by Antoinette Burton