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The editors would like to invite everybody to submit their favourite fin de siècle anti-feminist squibs and cartoons!

'Angry Old Buffer' complains that...

... a new fear my bosom vexes;
Tomorrow there may be no sexes!
Unless, as an end to all pother,
Each one in fact becomes the other.
Woman was woman, man was man,
When Adam delved and Eve span
Now he can’t dig and she won’t spin,
Unless ‘tis tales all slang and sin!
   (Punch, 27 April 1895, 203)

There is a New Woman, and what do you think?
She lives upon nothing but Foolscap and Ink!
But, though Foolscap and Ink form the whole of her diet,
This nagging New Woman can never be quiet!
   (Punch, 26 May 1894, 252)

About Annie Besant's marriage:
"She could not be the Bride of Heaven, and therefore became the bride of Mr Frank Besant. He was hardly an adequate substitute." (W. T. Stead, The Review of Reviews, October 1891)

On Helena P. Blavatsky after her death:
"She was much more a man than a woman; outspoken, decided, prompt, strong willed, genial, humorous, free from pettiness, and without malignity, she was wholly different from the average female type." (Annie Besant in The Review of Reviews, July 91)

“And here--in the land of Hannibal, in the conquest of Scipio, in the Phoenicia whose loveliness used to flash in the burning, sea-mirrored sun, while her fleets went eastward and westward for the honey of Athens and the gold of Spain--here Cigarette danced the cancan!” (from Ouida’s 1867 novel, Two Flags, whose heroine is called Cigarette)

Lady Wargrave: Excuse my ignorance, but I have been away from England for so many years. Can this be the New Woman I have read about?
Colonel: Everything’s New nowadays! We have a new Art--
Enid: A New Journalism--
Victoria: A New Political Economy—
Doctor: A New Morality—
Colonel: A New Sex!
Lady Wargrave [smiling]: Ah!
Doctor: Do you object to modernity?
Lady Wargrave: I’ve only one objection to new things; they are so old.
Victoria: Not the New Woman!
Lady Wargrave: No, she is generally middle-aged. [Colonel turns to Gerald, to hide his chuckles.]
Enid: Then, do you take Man’s part in the discussion?
Lady Wargrave: I take no part in it.
Doctor: Do you deny that Woman has arrived, Man has departed?
Lady Wargrave: I don’t wonder at it. But Man has an awkward habit of coming back again.
Trio: Never!
Lady Wargrave: Then Woman will go after him. [Colonel roars out aloud—the Women survey him with disgust.]
  (from Sydney Grundy, The New Woman: An Original Comedy, in Four Acts, 1894)

Do You Believe in Women’s Rights? (Music hall song, 1909)
1. I had a dream the other night, a really awful dream!
I dreamt that Woman had her vote and meant to reign supreme.
So Man resolved that he would say to Woman in distress,
“Do you believe in Woman’s Rights?” and if she answer’d “Yes,”
He’d treat her as his equal and would leave her to her fate.
And the sequel to his stern resolve was fearful to relate.

1. “Do you believe in Woman’s Rights? you do? you do?”
Said a man who sat in a bus
To a lady who stood and was making a fuss,
“Well, I used to give you my seat,
But now I mean to decline;
You must stand up for your rights,
I’m going to sit down for mine!”
2. “Do you believe in Woman’s Rights? you do? you do?”
Said a dentist, trying a set
Of teeth in the mouth of a suffragette.
Said he, “Well, that’s double the fee—
Twenty pounds for the lot.
It’s ten pounds, I know, as a rule,
But look what a mouth you’ve got!”

2. […]

3. At last the Woman came to Man, and murmured on his breast,
“The Woman’s Rights you gave me with the marriage rites are best, [sic—missing “]
And she who smacked a p’liceman’s face, and magistrates defied,
Then whispered, “As the rib of man, my place is by his side.”
And even pretty Christabel, the ardent suffragette,
Found out the real true Woman’s Rights—and pushed a bassinette!

1. Do you believe in Woman’s Rights? you do? you do?
Not you, Rosie! surely, my love,
I’ve always looked on you as my little dove.
What’s that? There isn’t a man
You’d swear to love and obey?
If that’s what your mother had thought
You wouldn’t be here to-day!

2. Do you believe in Woman’s Rights? you do? you do?
Then, dear little girls, allow me to say,
That if you want the vote you must go the right way.
Kiss and coax the poor old man,
Play the wheedling game,
And tho’ you don’t know what you want,
He’ll give it you all the same!
(Music hall song, sung by Whit Cunliffe. Written and Composed by R.P Weston. Copyright MCMIX by Francis, Day & Hunter. London: Francis, Day & Hunter, NewYork: T.B. Hrams [sic?] & Francis, Day & Hunter, 1909. Unearthed at the British Library by Petra Dierkes-Thrun.)

‘But deepening on your cheek I see
    The lovely damask rose.
Oh sweetest maiden, tell to me,
    Whence this high lustre flows.’

‘Blushes are caused,’ the maid replies,
    ‘As Huxley well observes,
By much dilated arteries
    And vaso-motor nerves.’
(From an unknown work called 'Physiologica and Philander', quoted by Frederic Collins Coley in The Turkish Bath: Its History and Uses, 1887. With thanks to Malcolm Shifrin,

Lucian Gregory: 'On many nights those passing his little back garden might hear his high, didactic voice laying down the law to men and particularly to women. The attitude of women in such cases was indeed one of the paradoxes of the place ['Saffron' - i.e. Bedford - Park]. Most of the women were of the kind vaguely called emancipated, and professed some protest against male supremacy. Yet these new women would always pay to a man the extravagant compliment which no ordinary woman ever pays to him, that of listening while he is talking.'
(From G.K. Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday. In A G.K. Chesterton Omnibus, 5th ed., London: Methuen & Co, 1932, 206. With thanks to David Charles Rose.)

The Lady Stanley
Were she only a man
We should hail her as manly
As it is, there are some who
In wishing to laud
Are accustomed to call her
The feminine Stanley

In time that’s to come
Mr. Stanley may be
Merely known to us all
As the male Mrs. SHELDON!
(Punch 1892. With thanks to Tracey Jean Boisseau.)

[There is] the interminable flood of gaseous chatter to which the invention of a journalistic myth known as the ‘New Woman’ has given rise … it has become necessary sharply to emphasize the distinction between this phantom and the real reformer and friend of her sex and of humanity, whom I would call the ‘Best Woman.’ (Elizabeth Chapman, Marriage Questions in Modern Fiction, and other essays on Kindred Subjects, 1897, cited from The New Woman in Fiction and in Fact: Fin-de-Siècle Feminisms, ed. Angelique Richardson and Chris Willis [Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001], 24)

[She] loves to show her independence by dealing freely with the relations of the sexes. Hence all the prating of passion, animalism, the ‘natural workings of sex’, and so forth, with which we are nauseated. Most of the characters in these books seem to be erotomaniacs. Some are ‘amorous sensitives’; others are apparently sexless, and are at pains to explain this to the reader. Here and there a girl indulges in what would be styled, in another sphere, ‘straight talks to young men’. (from Hugh Stutfield, ‘Tommyrotics’)

[She is] a woman [who] does anything specially unfeminine and ugly . . . A woman who smokes in public and where she is forbidden, who dresses in knickerbockers or a boy’s shirt, who trails about in tigerskins, who flouts conventional decencies and offends against all the canons of good taste. (Eliza Lynn Linton on the ‘Wild Woman’)

Many thanks for Malcolm Shifrin for this quote:

"But deepening on your cheek I see
The lovely damask rose.
Oh sweetest maiden, tell to me,
Whence this high lustre flows."

"Blushes are caused," the maid replies,
"As Huxley well observes,
By much dilated arteries
And vaso-motor nerves."
(J. Harper Benson, from The fair physiologist and the bachelor of medicine: a lay of the nineteenth century, originally published in Century, 1884/5)

Tom Hughes (,, May 2) found the following gem by Sir James Crichton-Browne (1840-1038), a leading psychiatrist in fin-de-siècle Britain who warned against the dangers of giving young English girls too much education.” Describing his "haunting dream" of encountering a group of young ladies, all of whom were attending a "celebrated college,” Crichton-Browne wrote:

I should describe them as pantaloon-like girls, for many of them had a stooping gait and withered appearance, shrunk shanks, and spectacles on nose. Let us conserve the beauty of our English girls very jealously. I would rather they remained ignorant of logarithms than that they lose a jot of it. (from ‘An Oration on Sex in Education’, Medical Society of London, 1892)

Enid: Why should a man be allowed to commit sins--
Victoria: And woman not be given an opportunity?
Enid: Then you want to commit sins?
Victoria: I want to be allowed to do as men do.
Enid: Then you ought to be ashamed of yourself; there!
Victoria: I only say, I ought to be allowed.
Enid: And I say that a man, reeking with infamy, ought not to be allowed to marry a pure girl--
Victoria: Certainly not! She ought to reek with infamy as well!
Enid: Victoria!
(from Sidney Grundy, The New Woman: An Original Comedy, in Four Acts, 1894)