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date: 21 May 2022

New Woman. 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States
Author(s):
Lois RudnickLois Rudnick

The New Woman (1890–1920), as defined by the mainstream media, was a revolutionary social ideal at the turn of the century that defined women as independent, physically adept, and mentally acute, and able to work, study, and socialize on a par with men. The popular image of the New Woman was related to a new consumer and leisure ethic, to health and dress reforms, to rising pressure from woman's suffrage, to gains that women had made in their access to higher education, and to expanding service and public sector occupations. Women writers of the era produced challenging works of fiction and drama about women's lives that explored the new social and psychological possibilities—and their limitations—including the often-inhibiting realities for many women of race and class biases. The literary images of the New Woman encompass women trapped by social conventions, their lives devastated by lack of choice; women who challenge the racial and political orthodoxies of the day; and women who reimagine history and ... ...

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