University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Department of Geography - Seminars in Cultural and Historical Geography > Modern women on modern machines: cultural constructions of women motorists in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain

Modern women on modern machines: cultural constructions of women motorists in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr. P MR Howell.

In this paper I examine the sensations, criticisms and prejudices which gathered around the spatial practices of women who began to motor and drive in increasing numbers in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain. I suggest that while some women positioned their actions as socially and politically progressive, many women distanced themselves from the radical actions and feminist politics of groups such as the suffragettes. Indeed, motoring could be presented as both progressive and conservative, being labelled as a more practical, comfortable and becoming sport for ladies than pastimes such as bicycling, horse-riding or golf. The paper examines how debates erupted about the social acceptability of women driving motor-cars, the effect of the pastime on women’s beauty, and the desirable qualities for a lady’s car. I will discuss the commentaries which gathered around women racing drivers, as well as identifying the social spaces and networks which emerged for women motorists, ranging from the motoring columns and guidebooks for Britain’s ‘motoristes’ and ‘les chauffeuses’, to the West End consumption spaces of the Ladies’ Automobile Club and motoring outfitters, which catered for the desires and fashions of the aristocratic lady motorist.

This talk is part of the Department of Geography - Seminars in Cultural and Historical Geography series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.

 

© 2006-2022 Talks.cam, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity