Why Weren't They Feminists? Parisian Noble Women and the Campaigns for Women's Rights in France, 1880-1914

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This article examines the responses of Parisian noble women to campaigns for women's rights in France of the early Third Republic. The methodology of the article is based on the works of Pierre Bourdieu. His concept of the habitus is used to analyse the effects of class and gender in noble women's attitudes to French feminisms before the First World War. The conditioning of Parisian noble women explains their resistance, indeed often outspoken opposition, to feminists' demands. These female aristocrats supported their own oppression within a social order governed by the state, the scientific and medical establishments, the expectations of family, and the Catholic Church of the time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-141
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • Bourdieu
  • feminisms
  • France
  • 19th-century Europe
  • noble women
  • women's emancipation movements

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