Cult of True Womanhood
New Zealand Suffragettes

In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to give women the right to vote.


Kate Sheppard, leader of the campaign, is shown at the forefront of the the group, which includes Meri Te Tai Mangak?hia, Amey Daldy, Ada Wells, Harriet Morison and Helen Nicol.

Te Tai Mangak?hia was the first women to address Te Paremata (the M?ori parliament), when she argued for M?ori women's right to vote (and stand for election) there. Daldy was president of the Women's Franchise League in Auckland and Wells was the organiser of the national movement. Morison, a union leader, vigorously supported the campaign and encouraged the involvement of women in the tailoresses' unions. Nicol led the fight in Dunedin.

New Zealand suffragettes led by Kate Sheppard.











Along with the tides of political change came a new style to express the philosophies of the new regime
neoclassicism = a style of art, literature and architecture popular from the late 1700s to the early 19th century that revived classical aesthetics and forms and is characterized by strong geometric compositions, severe line, order and simplicity in style.

Abraham Lincoln

Oath of the Horatii

Vinnie  Ream Hoxie, Abraham Lincoln, 1870.
Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, 1784 - 1785.











Young Woman

Marie-Denise Villers, Young Woman Drawing, 1801.











The Good Mother in
the Rococo style
and the Neoclassic.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Good Mother, c. 1770.
Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-Lebrun, Portrait of the Artist with Her Daughter, 1789.











Peace Bringing Back Abundance

Portrait of a Negresse

Elizabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun, Peace Bringing Back Abundance, 1780.
Marie-Guillemine Benoist, Portrait of a Negrese, 1800.
Slavery was outlawed in France in 1794 and
Benoist's piece became a symbol for equality


The Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes Interactive Video











"As a widow [Cornelia] turned down lucrative marriage offers to be faithful to the memory of her husband, by whom she had borne twelve children - all for the glory of Rome.  Her fecundity was much praised, as was her devotion to her children's education.  Under her tutelage, two of her sons, the Gracchi - Tiberius and Gaius - led a reform movement of the plebians against the patricians.  Both sons died in the ensuing unrest, but Cornelia was stoical.  She owes her fame to her reply when asked why she did not wear her jewels.  "These," she said pointing to her children, 'are my jewels.'" - Myths of Motherhood

Cornelia Pointing to Her Children

Angelica Kauffmann, Cornelia Pointing to
Her Children as Her Treasures
, c. 1785.










Historical Context
1837 - 1901 Victorian Age - Queen Victoria rules England

1839 Photography invented
1846 Sewing machine invented
1848 Pre-Raphaelites
Discovery of gold in American west encourages westward expansion
1851 Harriet Beacher Stowe publishes antislavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin
1853 - 1855 Crimean War; England and France halt the advancement of Russia into Balkans
1861 - 1865 American Civil War
1863 First Impressionist Exhibition
1865 Emancipation Proclamation frees slaves in U.S.
Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
1869 Susan B. Anthony orgranizes Woman's Suffrage Movement in United States
1876 Alexander Graham Bell patents telephone
1888 Jack the Ripper murders and mutilates London prostitutes
Alexander Melville, Queen Victoria, 1845.











The Cult of True Womanhood

Domestic Happiness

The True Woman was:
  • Pious, pure, submissive and domestic
  • Morally and spiritually superior to men
Because of this, her body should not be used for debase things like sexual pleasure (men used prostitutes - "public" women - for such things)
Exposure to the nude form could
disturb her delicate equilibrium
The home was the "separate and
proper sphere for women"
Lilly Martin Spencer, Domestic Happiness, 1849.











We Both Must Fade

Lilly Martin Spencer, We Both Must Fade, 1869.