Ann Douglas - Feminization of American Culture

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Intro: The Legacy of American Victorianism: The Meaning of Little Eva

- old-style Calvinism with masculine preachers, intellectual rigor, foundation of America's first and top universities, gives way, via complete disestablishment of Protestant churches by 1833, to a softened, sentimentalized, femized consumer mass culture dominated by a new alliance between a new breed of preachers and middle-class women. originally the religious DOCTRINE mattered in a church, when colonies in NE at least were founded; but this concern declined, and churchgoing became mere middle-class social function. feeling > thought. niceness > rigor. femininity > logic or masculinity, first within the cultural sphere (evolution from 1820 to 1875), then later, in 1900 on, in ENTIRE sphere (aided by jews, the feminized mindset for whites dominates not just the reading culture of middle class, but the entire, uh, Ideosphere). protestantism was a very different thing after than before. she puts dates at 1820 and 1875. different type of man becomes preacher; different concerns (serious theology vs catering to women clients/customers) in 1900 than in 1800. loss of status as preacher becomes another supplicant to the Shesus. from Edwardseans (sinners in the hands of an angry god - focused on INDIVIDUAL soul and sin and salvation) to namby-pamby anti-intellectual feelings-mush centered on love - which quickly perverted into Social Gospel around 1900. christianity in america evolved into something very useful to jews, just about the time they showed up. of course she doesnt touch on that part. ... douglas laments the rise of an anti-intellectual mass-consumerist, feminized but not feminist american culture; she wishes calvinist patriarchal intellectual rigor had opened to others rather than lowered. but can you have serious intellectual culture AND feminism at the same time? is intellectual culture consistent with non-patriarchal values, with matriarchy? douglas thinks so. but she might be wrong.

Ch. 1: Clerical Disestablishment

Part A:
- vocab: vitiation. how america became what it is today. softening. from logic to sentiment. from patriarchy to maudlin, soft, middle-class, feminine consumerism. outsiders and insiders agree that preaching has gone from men of strength and rigor to vaguely absurd pambies without anything substantial to say, catering to women. how america reached the state it was in when jews arrived in great numbers to pick up with their 'culture of critique.'

Part B:
- liberal preachers deal with political, economic, social and personal consequences of disestablishment; they are essentially turned into women, and their thin bookish appeals are laughed at by the ruder, rougher evangelicals of the 'dissenting' sects (Baptists & Methodists), which then came to be called denominations. the churches were disestablished. voluntarism became the way. greater transience, less permanence, more uneasiness, more need to curry favor with congregation.

Ch. 2: Feminine Disestablishment

- what is to be women's role in this new society? women are to be passive and submissive. they are to provide examples of moral elevation. they have their sphere and must remain in it. most women approved this. sarah hale, doctrine of the feminine sphere. far more adherents than elizabeth cady stanton, a suffragette - who is far better known because she was a proto-feminist, hence more useful to The Agenda pushers. women were sacred within their role but nothing outside it. at least that is what douglas argues. these traditionalists did reform education, but that was part of women's role - women's education. women were supposed to be christian. that was a proper concern. parallel in bond between pastor and flock and woman and husband/kids. women and preachers worked together in Temperance movement. to rescue woman victim of drunken man, as much as him. Linda Huntley Sigourney, pre-civil war writer, poet. Temperance tales. Hale: "a fiend and an angel." fiend is man, angel is woman. a spiritual creature and a brute. and hale was a moderate, a mainstreamer. this was the common view. "women must engineer their wellbeing in a world dominated by a sex essentially hostile to it" - mainstream view. man's world. ... house and church alike move from centers of activity to places of words rather than deeds. life is centered elsewhere in the community, in later 1800s, compared to 1600s. DISESTABLISHMENT: end of state-supported religion, paralleled by disestablishment, informally, of women, through their changing role and importance in home. shift from PRODUCER to CONSUMER is the status shift. from the center, more or less, to the periphery. but this was a northern, northeastern, middle-class status shift. life from 1800-65 was still about the same for other women in other areas. the Southern "lady" was still economically important, what with slaves, running the household. her role didnt change till after the civil war. 1800, only nyc and phi had >50k residents. people made homespun in 1800, but by 1830, production was more commercial/industrial than domestic, particularly in the NE. the US was moving from agricultural to mft in the NE, so the home declined as a locus of production. the position of women declined as production shifted from home to factory. Bushnell saw an "Age of Homespun" yielding to a complete social-domestic revolution brought on by the rise of commercial manufactures. the home ceased to be a factory, with its farm producing goods for it to turn into products. women were valued for economic reasons, when they ran households; but far less so when they simply bought things as consumers. Dotha, mother, vs Mary, wife, Bushnell, symbolize the shift from producer and director, intelligent and respected, to sentimental piece and influence, less respected or listened to. women were obviously economically visible, but became less visible as middle-class consumers. not as clear what they did or what its value was. Eliza Farnham. woman as bird (her eastern view) vs woman as woman (westerner she interviews' view). Sara Josepha Hale - keep women from the "contagion" of money-making, let men handle that. new role being worked out post-Age of Homespun. two separate roles: commerce for men, pethood for women. Female Academies. taught very different material to women. women were kept away from natural sciences, more taught language and literature and history. "Grace Greenwood" - trivial female education as means of oppression. Thorstein Veblen - woman as emblem of 'conspicuous consumption. different variety of dumbed-down education. today it's for all (non-jews). serious education for women did not make progress till decade after the civil war, says douglas. women were to be educated to better serve men, reformers and conservatives agreed. not to play big role as participants but rather as consumers and agents of moral influence: "a saint and a consumer." literary women: Sara Edgarton Mayo. reading as way to while away hours while men worked. 'sentimental domestic novels' dominated women's market, 1840-80. The Wide, Wide World (1850). first of best-selling domestic novels. character ellen - consumer who loves buying. Harriet Beecher Stowe: "undoubtedly the most gifted woman writer of the period." character Mary Scudder. women as functional and spiritual, men as shiftless thinkers. character Eva van Arsdel. woman the producer < woman the consumer. ... in consumer society, advertising is the most important institution, idea of David Potter. Shift from consumption to production, 1860-90. first rise of huge amounts of advertising during that period. advertising all about influence. writers says it's a distinct american trait - inability to focus and think for sustained period. George Powell, advertising pioneer. the feminine is the subconscious of capitalist society, which the advertiser must tap. Nathaniel Fowler, "most important figure in early American advertising" said women direct the buying of everything, even for men, hence should be aimed at. the 'influence' women were supposed to yield is the 'mother of advertising.' ... Lowell factories. for girls who would later generations attend Mount Holyoke and Vassar. to do good by stealth. girls should always 'move in curves.' 1845-75 "the great heyday of feminine authorship." vicarious lives, parasitic lives. victory without risk. rewards without effort. this is part of the middle-class woman's life promoted by certain female writers. cult of motherhood and maternity, strong as cult of democracy in mid-19th century america. paternal authority waned from jonathan edwards' time. a waning force in 19th century. women got flattery and worship in place of justice and equality. in reality women could demand almost anything (being nurses in Civil War, even the vote) as due their maternal nature. women took over primary education teaching - but only in US, NOT in other countries. ministers and women: from exerting power to exercising influence. substituting life for literature. a room of one's own? at least one is important in domestic sphere, if not society.
vocabulary: paean, panegyric, enormities, superannuated, concomitant, taciturn, didactic, obfuscate, palliative, sub rosa, epistolary, sedulous, mutatis mutandis, furbish, ratiocination, apotheosis, acumen, monomania, epistemology, suasion, grandiloquence, decorous, denouement

Ch. 3: Ministers and Mothers: Changing and Exchanging Roles

- looks at 30 ministers and 30 literary women. all were self-conscious spokesmen. all pushed "liberal religious ends through literary means." reinterpreting and softening calvinism. women did mainly fiction and poetry, men less so. revolution in press, simultaneous to revolution in position of women and ministers: from private patrons pre-1800, to the growth of actual markets in the ordinary market sense. the rise of the technology facilitating mass production by mid-1800s. publishing was small-town printers, essentially vanity, until about 1840, then it became centralized in mass production facilities in handful of big cities (nyc, boston, phi). Main publishers at this time were NOT jews. They were protestants. Careys, Harpers, Everetts, Bonner. Harper: cheap prices, high circulation. They did educational series and "religious family series." 1820 best-seller = 5000 copies (Last of the Mohicans). 1845: 80,000 (Fern Leaves from Fanny's Portfolio). rise of NATIONAL markets, now that there are train tracks (1840s and '50s). feed the multitudes on the plain rather than pour nectar for the Olympians. advertising also arising at this time. growth and expansion of nation physically (trains, added states (louisiana purchase, california settlement) and in markets/technology. rise of popular writers, who wrote often, and for the public, and to make money. poe said the spirit of the age was wholly to "magazine literature." poe and others couldnt fully exploit this demand themselves, and somewhat looked down on those who could. 1800-1865, rise of literary magazines, "proliferation." mainly "domestic and religious." - again, this is BEFORE jews show up in large numbers (post-1880), and BEFORE jews dominate publishing. the growing mass-media truly serve the public - by giving it what it wants - and their media are NOT anti-christian, anti-family, anti-white. all that came in with the jews. the jews today LIE that they give the public what it wants, and direct the controlled left to blame CORPORATIONS, but in fact the jews put politics ahead of profits, and that explains the cast of literally everything they put out. ... ministers and women supposed to influence, rather than alter directly. literature fits this better than directer approaches like speaking. pros masquerading as amateurs. this allowed them to get into otherwise masculine markets. period under discussion is mostly 1820-1875. theology transforms into literature, over the generation before 1810 and the one after. reflected in beechers: writing tracks before 1810 vs novels and stories after. pushing the same morals but different forms. women almost needed clerical sanction before 1810 but had the market as soon as it developed, and the market was highly catered tto feminine tastes. feminine literary sentimentalism reached high point before civil war; after that it declined, today has low status (romance novels, greeting cards, low-end religious bilge). ... ministers retrogressive, increasingly regarded. come to be associated with bad health. clergy associated with weaker, more feminine types of males, those of bad health who stay indoors. minister as cultural custodian. not moving while the rest of the nation was, despite the voluntary system that followed disestablishment (ie, the preacher is employed at the pleasure of the flock, rather than being paid by the state regardless). ministers approximated the feminine ideal: curators, tastemakers. adj used to describe feminized ministers: sweet, meek, gentle, sensitive, poetic, delicate. so the unitarians and elite congregationalists are conservative/domestic like women and courted or presented a feminine image. (vs the evangelicals, the lower-end christians, socially). woman as weak and passive, this is her feminine genius. "feminine health was reputedly as poor as clerical health." women may have been sicker in 1700s but they didnt talk about it. the 1800s women and clergymen DID talk lots about being weak and sick. "cultural uses of sicknes" - concern that we aren't needed, draw attention to ourselves and our reduced place in public status. women gaind power, clergy lost power. both used illness to shield/advance their positions. both episcopalianism and unitarianism were "distinctly upper class." unitarianism more for self-examination and preaching, episcopalianism more catholic, more about display than self-examination. women took over fiction writing between 1820 and 1880; henry james saw them as dominate at the end of that period. Louisa May Alcott's (Little Women) rebellious Jo was a tomboy and a writer. female writers were poaching on male preserves, or seen to be. Catharine Beecher: Domestic Economy. ..."the sales of all the works by Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, and Whitman in the 1850s did not equal the sales of one of the more popular domestic novels." ministers could write tracts, systems of divinity, sermons, essays, sketches, even poetry and fiction. women could write tracts, sketches, poetry and fiction. ... precursors to feminization of ministerial culture: change from sex-segregated pews to family pews; minister taking over from state the marrying and burying of parishoners. these happened in 1600s. by 1800s it's mainly women listening to preachers, and the preachers need material/female support. harriet martineau said no one listened to american ministers but "women and superstitious men." she produced a 'celebrated study of New World society.' women were universally seen as dominating protestnat congregations by the mid-1800s. men drawn to the clergy were more mama's boys, they resembled their mothers physically and mentally. this was remarked on by others. English writer Trollope said she never saw a country where religion had so strong a hold upon hte women or so slight a hold upon the men. clergy alone, she said, gave women attention, in america. interest in history leads to 'library movement,' as does rise of mass publication. the liberal minister talked, wrote - "largely for women." nathaniel willis said, mid 1800s, women run everything outside politics and business. they run the press and determine the styles. willis was a "fashionable writer." ... mary lyon, revivals. mt holyoke. fusion of religious and pedagogical (teaching) roles. "empty gentility" of middle-class feminine life. ... liberal literature shows young girls in conflict with puritan fathers. harsh puritanism, calvinism, contrasted with more humane liberalism of 19th century. we see the seeds of our culture today. the jews took this idea and ran with it. thus anything honest and straight becomes "hate." examples of the girl vs the church fathers: joseph buckminster's Naomi (1848), in which the title girl is a persecuted Quaker who finds the church fathers too judgmental and bests them in argument; and Adeline D.T. Whitney's The Gayworthys (1865), in which a girl waters down the concept of 'election' to include everybody, thereby winning an old sailor to the church. good example of no-standards democratic pandering. Elizabeth Oakes Smith's Bertha and Lily (1854), girl competing with minister for spiritual leadership of community. the girl preaches, the minister marries her, recognizing she is superior, becomes a "lovely, inspired childman" while she is a fresh jesus. telling quote from sarah hale: "to bring about the true christian civilization, the men must become more like women, and the women must become more like angels." the second it had a chance, due to publishing technology, the public went with fiction over theology. which is another way of saying, it preferred the unserious to the serious. Edwars A. Park. "The Theology of the Intellect and the Theology of the Feelings" (1850). mother worship. woman as jesus. woman as god. woman as superior. family as woman's church. ministers were very against women becoming ministers, and long resisted their even doing missionary work. the rise of sunday school. begun in england for the lower classes in 1700s. spreads in america in early 1800s. empowers women as teachers of SS classes, and ministers see this as threat - they'll be in pulpits next! church v literature - both battle for mindshare and marketshare. figure: sword of spirit so covered by flowers and ribbons you cant make out what it is. "The rise of the novel was roughly coincidental with the commercialization of hte press..." novel a NEWER form, poetry an OLDER form. novels were long SUSPECT among clergy and the universities they founded. "a novel suggests without argument or labor" - it INFLUENCES. as WOMEN are supposed to do. novels likened to alcohol or drugs. similar to modern critics of tv-watchers. makes people passive. "it is because of novel-reading that so few people _think_." just as the novel eclipsed all other literary forms, with the advent of mass publication. so too did christianity become eclipsed by its feminine aspect or nature. William Ware's Zenobia (1836). heroic pagan society, bisexual, versus modern effeminized christian society. "rather cowardly new world of consumer culture." minister as middle-man, midwifing the rise of the age of the woman (middle class, feminine consumer).
vocabulary: preponderance, concomitantly, dyspepsia, casuist, manque

Ch. 4: The Loss of Theology: From Dogma to Fiction

Part A:
- 'forces of sentimentalism' changed doctrines. New England Calvinism. Jonathan Edwards. His boy Joseph Bellamy, "follower and popularizer." He wrote True Religion Delineated" (1750). doctrine of atonement was key to this cold old hard calvinism. god as drama queen. men as bit players. god created the world to reflect his manifold awesomeness. man is infinitely depraved, and deserves nothing but hellfire. yet god can save him, via jesus, if he decides. he has no reason to, he just can. christ changes NOTHING (spoken Wonka good-day-sir fashion). douglas says this doctrine of atonement is a "horrifying" one that yet once possessed enormous imaginative and intellectual appeal. that god hates his charges, not loves them, and has no desire to save them, though he can. this picture of god gave people energy, she says. God was truly AWESOME - august and terrifying. People kind of get off on this. They don't "relate" to this god, they are worms before it. And they kind of like and use that. This is human psychology. "Use your illusions" as GnR said. It's kind of like the female desire to be dominated in bed writ large, or societal. "I would have totally groveled" as Akroyd's wench "Bunny" says in Trading Places. These old puritans, for all their sexlessness, WANT to feel the worm. That's my interpretation anyway. I come from these people, in good section. We would always ask my mom what we were going to eat, and she would often say, "We're going to fast and pray." She was always kidding. But I always suspected that was an echo, of our Puritan forebears, and she would have been at home in that earlier time of general spareness. Calvinism, right or wrong, "squarely faced" the facts of evil, horror, injustice in daily life. this IS admirable. people know what they need, and that it's not the same as what they want. when they can FACE something they KNOW they won't necessarily LIKE - this is when you have strong people and strong society. when they CANT face facts, they can ONLY hear what they WANT to hear, what is flattering, that is when you have a WEAK society. this is why RACIALISM is STRONG and liberalism is degenerate and weak. Edwards and Bellamy weren't out there trying to be hip young preachers, and play rock music and APPEAL to these puritanicals, they were saying "I got something you NEED to hear, which is TRUE whether you LIKE IT OR NOT. It has nothing to do with me, and you'd goddamned be well advised to LISTEN because your ETERNAL SOUL is at stake." That's what seriousness looks like, even if the arguments made a technically wrong. Edwards and Bellamy et al. may have been wrong, but they are NOT clowns. They didnt say religion is all about love and mercy, they were closer to the opposite. Their hard approach served people better than today's soft approach, it is manifest. They were offering nutrition, where people prefer today junk food, for body, mind and soul. VNN is descended in part from Congregationalist preachers, and we have always tried to exhibit some of this necessary sternness and rigor. FACE what you are doing, people. And what you are DOING is what you ARE. "That's not me!" No...THAT IS YOU. ... the classic calvinist paternal, factual view shifted to a MAternal "affective" (feelings based) one by first half of 1800s. shift from FACTS to FEELINGS. key thing here: douglas asserts that while patriarchal view was disetablished, no true matriarchal view replaced it. just weakness. she says strength is "as essential" to the feminine as to the masculine, but this feminine approach was never fully worked out. can it be worked out, actually? is the question that arises and should be put to her, here. i dont think it can. heretical views of Atonement become the new orthodoxy, over course of 1800s. the liberal wing comes to dominate. Hosea Ballou, Treatise on the Atonement. god attends to men, and their spiritual growth is his preoccupation. a man-centered god! the opposite of what bellamy preached. so do things religious permutate over time. what doesn't exist is susceptible to endless and equally likely or reasonable interpretations . Ballou sees god-man as father-son relation, Bellamy did not see this. God is not the loving father, that is a newer idea. increasing liberalization and anthropomorphicizing of god thru Worcester, then Bushnell (The Vicarious Sacrifice). Sarah Hale reinterpreted the fall, said god created woman last and best - not for man's sensual pleasure but moral elevation and refined human affections.
vocabulary: locus classicus

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