Searching for Direction
Saint-Simonian feminist propaganda subsided after 1834. Suzanne Voilquin had given up the directorship of the Tribune des femmes, and although she may have hoped that someone else would take on the job, the journal ceased publishing. 1 Many of the feminist leaders had left Paris; some, including Voilquin, were in Egypt with Enfantin and Charles Lambert. The Saint-Simonians' "church" was dissolved, their newspapers and public lecturers silenced. The Saint-Simonian women had identified the value of constructing a women's movement at the very moment when the scattering of their members to distant places made such organizing most difficult. For the next decade and a half, feminism would be characterized by sporadic attempts to create the kind of cohesive movement dreamed of by the Saint-Simonian women.
At first, feminists who had become disenchanted with Saint-Simonism looked elsewhere for another group that would encourage their activities. The Fourierists appealed most to them and offered feminists many of the advantages that Saint-Simonism once had, especially a ready-made audience. But the Fourierists' other concerns soon eclipsed feminism. The apparent lesson was that feminism was better off on its own. The group of bourgeois liberals who supported the Gazette des femmes were not separatists, as were those of the all-female Tribune des femmes, but they did focus solely on feminism, unlike either the Saint-Simonian church or the Fourierists. The group's fate, however, was too closely linked to the fate of one person, the newspaper's editor. Government persecution did him in, and the paper collapsed. During this same period, Flora Tristan, a charismatic leader, initiated a project for a "workers' union." If successful, this effort would have strengthened feminism by linking it to the newly emerging workingclass groups while, at the same time, retaining feminist control over the