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The modernist male used the New Woman of the early postmodern era as a prostituted form which he could marginalize, systematically furthering the Victorian patriarchal views he was purported to be evolving from. The “prostitute as a commodity is recognized as an already hollowed out, aestheticized sign or cipher- made to signify whatever the consumer chooses” (Teal 84). Male modernists used the New Woman prostitute to create female characters who were indecisive and unstable in the absence of a man and “thus served as a representational embodiment of the ideals of men, creating a purified and edified ‘femininity’ that mingled with the masculine in the realm of the aesthetic” (Teal 83). Instead of following the modernist philosophy to “make it new” by creating successful independent female characters, the works of the genre “adhered to a familiar pattern in which the protagonist ‘suddenly and almost inexplicably married the wrong man, makes an initially successful bid for freedom and then collapses into crushing conformity’” (MacLeod Walls 229). As a character, the New Woman was a literary prostitute whose female aesthetic was traded to a misogynistic community to be used as a cautionary tale to the New Woman trying to rise above her domestic station. Faculty Adviser: Wendy Kurant-Rollins.


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  • Event location
    • Library Technology Center Open Classroom 269

  • Event date
    • 27 March 2012

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Wendy Kurant-Rollins