American Womanhood and The New Woman: A Rhetorical Consideration of the Development and Circulation of Female Stereotypes, 1890-1920

  • Rachel Lynn Stroup The Ohio State University

Abstract

This article studies the emerging trope of the American “New Woman” in the popular press dating from 1890-1920. The New Woman served as the aggregate stereotype of modern women during the progressive era. Magazines and newspapers depicted the New Woman as a sharp distinction from the esteemed Victorian “True” Woman, who was submissive, pious, and virtuous. Using archival examination of Progressive Era newspapers and magazines, and feminist rhetorical historiography, this project found that this discussion possessed the same argumentative features as the conversation about True Womanhood—women were lumped together as a whole and were all thought to be following the same roles. In addition, the term was derisively enacted. The rhetoric surrounding the New Woman has been understudied by rhetorical scholars; rhetorical analyses of feminist conversations in history bear a significance today in understanding the appeals used in feminist movements and in understanding how current notions of gendering are heavily influenced by the past.

Author Biography

Rachel Lynn Stroup, The Ohio State University

Rachel Stroup is an M.A. candidate in English at Ohio University. She received her B.A. in 2018 and graduated summa cum laude with research distinction in English from The Ohio State University. Her work has been published in Writing Lab Newsletter, and she is currently working on projects in 19th-century feminist historiography and the pedagogy of teaching gender and horror in writing classrooms.

References

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Published
2019-08-18