Regulating Womanhood: Historical Essays on Marriage, Motherhood, and Sexuality


"Sexuality, motherhood and marriage were matters of public policy throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They were prominent areas in the regulation of women, but the idea that the law merely reflected what was normal and natural obscured the extent of this regulation. Regulating Womanhood poses historically and culturally specific questions about the mechanisms that have controlled and restricted women. It shows not merely how laws and policies have set boundaries to the lives of women but also how the category of 'woman' has been constructed as a specific object for legal and social policy, and how women came to be seen as needing 'special' regulation. In addition, Regulating Womanhood explores how children and the organisation of reproduction and sexuality operated to normalise and make acceptable the degree of regulation to which women were subjected. Yet this is not a catalogue of the unmitigated subjection of women in history. The contributors focus on women's resistance and activity, and on the shift in modes of regulation, to challenge the idea of an unchanging history of the legal oppression of women." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Carol Smart
  • Lucy Bland
  • Carol-Ann Hooper
  • Jane Lewis
  • Martine Spensky
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1992


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