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What is New Woman Old World?

This blog serves two purposes, the first being that it documents a highly transitional period of my life, that is, the moving out of my family home in Toronto, Canada – where I currently live with my mother, father, brother, and boyfriend – to the United Kingdom where my boyfriend will be attending graduate school. The second is to provide a place to explore some of the issues that this transition raises, may of which are not particular to me. How does a 22 year old woman  facing the end of her first university degree and moving to a different country navigate the complexities of a post-modern, recession-riddled, existential-crisis-inducing world?

The New Woman: a figure that began to appear in literature and popular culture in the 1890s of a type of modern independent woman. This “New Woman” was depicted in varying, and often contradictory, ways: she was independent, vocal, and asserted her equality with men; she was often depicted as being a writer,  living an ascetic lifestyle, as being critical of heterosexual norms but also representative of female sexual license and free love. She was very often depicted as riding a bike. The image of the New Woman was often the subject of satirists and cartoons, but at the end of the 19th century the figure of the New Woman delineated “an imaginary space in which a range of ideological struggles over female agitation were conducted”*  and it is for this reason I find the term a useful and appropriate one.

Old World: Europe, or for me, England, where my father was born. In fact I may be moving to the same old university town where my grandfather took his law degree in the 1940s.

*quote from: Matthew Beaumont, “A Little Political World of My Own”: The New Woman, The New Life, and New AmazoniaVictorian Literature and Culture 35 (2007): 217.

Published on October 31, 2010 at 4:15 am  Leave a Comment  

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