Dora Marsden, "The Freewoman", and radical feminism

            After reading the Scholes and Wulfman article that talked about Dora Marsden and “The Freewoman”, “The New Freewoman”, and “The Egoist”, I became interested in the marketing techniques both within the magazines as well as what else was done in order to promote the magazine specifically and the concept of feminism in general.

            Upon reading the first issue of “The Freewoman”, it became clear that the editors of this magazine were indeed completely committed to their cause. One of the first pieces begins with, “As we go to press we understand that a ‘militant’ demonstration is in progress. As women who are not fundamentally opposed to violence, who would resort to violence on grounds considered sufficient and just, and as belonging to those who have already taken prominent parts in such demonstrations as these, we enter our strongest protest against such a move at such a moment.” Clearly these are women willing to go to extreme measures in order to promote their cause. This bulletin prompts several questions. What demonstrations and causes were worthy of compelling the full support of Dora Marsden? What had been done before the first issue of “The Freewoman” was written, and what degree of notoriety had it attracted for those attached to the magazine?
            The magazine also begins in a similar manner to many of the little magazines we’ve looked at. The manifesto declares the purpose of the magazine , but it also defines the ideal reader. The “Freewoman” is defined against the negative, the “Bondswoman”, crafting the idea of what it takes to be a member of this society.
            Because “The Freewoman” has more of a focused goal than “The Egoist”, I plan to focus mainly on the former. I also plan on looking at biographies of Dora Marsden in order to gain an understanding of how else she was promoting her cause. The idea of violent and radical woman trying to lead a movement at that time is fascinating, and I’m interested in how she attracted supporters, as well as how her detractors saw her. 

Comments

 I would be interested to hear more about Marsden with respect to advertising in The Freewoman.  It seems the paper has a lot to say about the connection between political theory and structural or at least symptomatic explanations for oppression.  I wonder too, how previous political events shaped The Freewoman and Marsden with respect to their own views of the anthropological history of women's oppression and Marxism.  I don't know how it fits into the chronology of The Freewoman, but that eccentric attempt by Marsden to formulate her own monisitic theory that was mentioned in class . . . (didn't the title have the word "Godhead" in it?) would be particularly interesting in this regard.  Best of luck with your paper.  I hope I have the chance to read it.