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Title: John Stuart Mill and male support for the Victorian women's movement.
Author: Dyer, Anton.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1995
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In examining male support for the Victorian women's movement, I decided to focus upon a number of men who gave active support across the wide range of causes championed by feminists. John Stuart Mill, Henry Fawcett, James Stansfeld, Jacob Bright, Richard Pankhurst and Francis Newman were selected as my main protagonists and their support for the Married Women's Property campaign, the higher education of women, the opening up of the professions to women, women's suffrage and the campaign to repeal the Contagious Diseases Acts was explored. I also examine the views of John Russell, Viscount Amberley, whose early death robbed the women's suffrage movement of his enthusiastic support, and also those of William Johnson Fox, a proponent of women's emancipation who gave his support to the Married Women's Property campaign, but who died when the women's movement had existed for only a decade. The ideas of an important male feminist of an earlier generation, William Thompson, are also explored. I discuss the views of my protagonists on sexual equality and sexual difference, marriage, sexuality, female education, the employment of women and women's suffrage. In seeking to account for the feminism of my protagonists I note the personal characteristics which they broadly shared: moral courage, a tendency to self-sacrifice, sensitivity and a strong sense of justice. Male feminists, especially Mill, were sometimes branded as effeminate, but it seems fairer to suggest that they generally combined the best of both 'masculine' and 'feminine' qualities; they possessed a sufficient degree of 'womanly' sensitivity to empathise with the wrongs of woman and a great deal of 'manly' courage which enabled them to endure the ridicule and abuse which standing up for women's rights frequently entailed. Most of my protagonists were advanced Liberals, and a belief in the need to cultivate altruism was a significant component of their creed; support for women's emancipation was an important aspect of their concern for the welfare of others. The fact that men and women worked closely together in the fight for women's emancipation is explored and especially their intellectual collaboration, notable in the cases of William Thompson and Anna Wheeler, John Mill and Harriet Taylor, and Henry and Millicent Fawcett.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Suffrage; Male feminists History