A manly queen with feminine charm. Intersectional perspectives on gender

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Abstract

Existential biography does not so much search for a logical development in a person’s life as for the opportunities to shape and choose between different paths. Instead of using identities, which are often ambiguous in the extreme, I follow the Swedish historian Henrik Rosengren in his use of different cultural identifications that together form an identity. Identifications are changeable and manifold, but they are also communicable.
Victoria’s cultural identifications may be understood as three different fields, replete with intersections. They are dependent on her fundamental yet unformulated identifications as a woman and as a frail and suffering person. In the first field, citizenships, we find her identifications as German, Swedish, and Christian. In the second field, social functions, we recognise the positions of the Lutheran Haustafel: Crown Princess or Queen, listener, and matron. In the third field, inner models, we encounter both the praying self of the Psalms, the suffering Christ, and the women of Wagner’s operas, all displaying both resignation and passion in a setting of either Christian mysticism or romantic philosophy, and sometimes in combination.
In studying ‘the manly Queen with feminine charm’ the differentiation between manliness and masculinity is thrown into relief, for ‘manliness’ in a positive sense has also been open to women. In older devotional literature, the Christian person as a new, spiritual creation is not devoid of gender characteristics, but certainly lacks gender limitations. Godly men and women were regarded as examples for women and men alike. In the nineteenth century this changed, and gender categories became sexed. This change had an enormous impact in turn on religious language. Religion was feminised and masculinised.
This concept permits of a greater understanding of the gender positions of both sexes than R. W. Connell’s hegemonic masculinity, by which women are reduced to passive positions. This chapter emphasises the need for gender studies to focus on both women and men, especially where positive results on manliness and masculinity can be obtained from the study of women in history.
Victoria has been described as a manly queen with feminine charm. Her faith may also with reason be described as manly. In her personal life, her strong sense of duty was balanced by the impression made by Wagner’s passionate and forceful women characters as models of a manly femininity. She was clearly influenced by Charles Kingsley’s devotional books and his emphasis on active ‘true resignation’. As a queen, she regarded herself in the light of old Lutheran social teaching as the mother of the nation. The importance of monarchical ideas to Victoria meant that in her view political and personal ethics were as one. Her position was in many ways unique, which magnifies similar observations that could be made in other women as well. ‘A manly queen with feminine charm’ was one of several manly women with feminine charm.

Details

Authors
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Religious Studies

Keywords

  • manly, womanly, masculine, feminine, gender, identification, religious, nineteenth century
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChristian Masculinity. Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries
EditorsYvonne Maria Werner
PublisherLeuven University Press
Pages257-273
ISBN (Print)978 90 5867 873 7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)

Related research output

Yvonne Maria Werner (ed.), 2011, Leuven: Leuven University Press. 322 p. (KADOC-Studies on Religion, Culture and Society; vol. 8)

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology (editor)

View all (1)

Related projects

Yvonne Maria Werner, Alexander Maurits, Anders Jarlert, Gösta Hallonsten, Olaf Blaschke, Erik Sidenvall, David Tjeder, Anna Prestjan, Gösta Hallonsten, Elin Malmer, Nanna Damsholt & Inger Littberger Caisou-Rousseau

2004/01/012010/12/31

Project: Research

View all (1)