Feeling like a Dad

Fatherhood is one of the most universal and collective experiences, but at the same time is intensely personal, individual and unique. This is what Tom Chivers, is encountering and thinking about in his article ‘What does it feel like to be a Father’ in The Telegraph. He concludes:

In about four and a half months, it seems, I am going to change, profoundly and almost instantly. It’s a frightening thought. I can’t wait.

Men have always wondered about becoming fathers. Perhaps one of the things that is always associated with fatherhood, despite changing styles in expression, is that it brings with it a deluge of emotions that are rarely felt anywhere else in life. As the clergyman John Angell James rhetorically asked in 1822:

who, that has felt them, can ever forget the emotions awakened by the first gaze upon the face of his child, by the first embrace of his babe?

AMERLING_Friedrich_von_Rudolf_Von_Arthaber_With_His_Children 1837Indeed one of the aspects I enjoyed most when writing about parenting in Georgian England was the sheer, unabated love for their children that men often expressed; much like that which Tom Chivers anticipates.

A number of examples can be found in William Hutton’s autobiography which he assembled in extreme old age from the diaries he had kept. William was born in 1723 and died in 1815. In between he climbed the social ladder to rise from a child worker in a Derby silk mill, to a bookshop owner in Birmingham, and ended owning a successful paper warehouse. He wrote the first history of Birmingham, and was a travel writer, powered by his phenomenal ability to walk long distances. Oh, and he was really quite delightful!

Of 1756 he recorded:

My dear wife brought me a little daughter, who has been the pleasure of my life to this day.

For 1758 he described a fine year when:

I procured all the intelligence I could relative to the fabrication of paper; engaged an artist to make me a model of a mill; attended to business; and nursed my children; while the year ran round. On the 2nd of July, Mrs. Hutton brought me another son, so that I had now three to nurse; all of whom I frequently carried together in my arms. This I could not do without a smile; while he who had none, would view the act with envy.

And then, just as now, everyone’s child was the best. In 1770 he recalled:

I went to Nottingham races, and took my son upon a pony. When I. surveyed the little man, and the little horse, the strong affection of a father taught me to think him the prettiest figure upon the race-ground.

At the end of his life, he confessed

my children are my treasure, my happiness. I have ardently wished I might not be separated from them. I have hitherto had my wish. The world would only exhibit a barren desert without them.

William died a happy man, his surviving daughter and son close by him.

I’m delighted that there are more historians writing about fatherhood in the last couple of years and that men’s emotions figure prominently in the analysis. Here I’ve talked about positive feelings, but of course fatherhood stirs others too, like anxiety, sorrow, anger, and fear. All need far more attention for the changing ways in which men are meant to handle these feelings as fathers.

For more recent fathers’ thoughts and feelings, do have a look at the modern historian Laura King’s wonderful website ‘Hiding in the Pub to Cutting the Cord’ and the sociologist Tina Miller’s book Making Sense of Fatherhood.

Can quality of fathering really be measured by the size of a man’s testes?

Better fathers have smaller testicles; Testicle size linked to father role. These are the kinds of headline accompanying the reports of a study in the US that concludes that men who nurture their children have smaller testes. Seventy men with children between the ages of one and two were examined and the results were correlated with the volume of their testes. There were two parts to the study. In one the men’s brains were scanned while they were shown images of their children, and those whose brains were most activity in the reward areas had smaller testes than the others. The men were also interviewed with their partners about their involvement with their children and those who stated that they spent most time caring for their offspring similarly had smaller testicles.

Thus as The Telegraph comment: the study reveals,

that men with larger-than-average testes are also less likely than other men to show an interest in the skills and effort of child rearing, such as changing nappies or bathing a child, suggesting that some men are biologically predisposed to being poor fathers.[i]

Interestingly, the coverage acknowledges that the researchers did not draw any firm conclusions. They  noted that other social and cultural factors have some part to play in the degree to which men are nurturing and state that it is not clear whether men’s testosterone levels decrease because they care more for their children, or whether they care more for their children because their testosterone levels are lower.

AS0000033FB14 Baby care, dressing baby

I’m no expert in ‘Life History Theory’, the evolutionary thesis which the scientists are testing in their research, so I can’t comment on its theory that there is a trade-off between mating and parenting effort. In other words, presumably, the thesis and the findings which confirm it are that men are biologically motivated to either be reproducers, spreading their seed and fathering lots of offspring, or nurturers, having fewer but better cared-for children.

Expert or not, this biological determinism makes me pause. In fact I think there are a couple of flaws with the research.

What seems to have escaped notice is that assumptions about fatherhood and manhood shape the study as well as the reporting of its findings. Underlying the research’s evolutionary premise is biology as destiny: that feminine equates with nurturing, masculinity with the act of reproduction, even promiscuity. So though the coverage doesn’t explicitly state it, what we infer is that men who are good fathers – in modern society’s terms – are feminine.

This is problematic. As a historian of fatherhood I know that ideas about what forms good fatherhood vary.  In other words, although the components of fatherhood are fairly similar over time: affection, provision, discipline, and instruction, their relative importance changes, influenced by social, cultural, economic and political factors.

So, for example, when the capacity of men to show their emotions is considered part of being a man, as in the Georgian period and today, then affection for children is what is often most prioritised in descriptions of fathers. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries this was what was called the ‘tender’ father and today is what sociologists call the ‘involved’ father. When expressive emotions are less favoured, then the breadwinning element of fatherhood can come to the fore, as with the Victorian paterfamilias or the hard-working Dad of the mid twentieth century.

Secondly, ideas about fatherhood are also usually closely correlated with ideals of manhood. In other words, there are times when being a nurturing father is not coded feminine. To be affectionate and caring can be seen as part of an ideal masculinity.  The ‘nursing’ father is a good example of this.

The Old Testament Book of Numbers 11:12: describes Moses complaining about the burden of leading his people through the desert:

Have I conceived all this people? Have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth-centuries the term nursing father was used as a paternal metaphor in England in two main ways. First it was used to discuss the authority of a ruler, so monarchs were described this way. Though this paternal metaphor is rooted in the concept of the father’s love, with the monarch-father displaying love and generosity towards his subjects, it forefronts benign authority. The second main use of the metaphor ‘nursing father’ was to define the relationship between the church and the state.

Very often the bodily aspect of ‘nursing’ was stressed. In 1736 Benjamin Atkinson explained that the ‘nursing father’ ‘is a metaphorical Expression, and signifieth the most tender Care, and parental Affection, which Parents commonly have for their Offspring, especially during their Infancy and Childhood’. He went on: ‘A Nursing Father and Mother will take Care of their Child, that dear Part of themselves, and Pledge of their mutual Love; they will take what Care they can, providing for it, and protecting it, especially in its helpless Age’, before applying the metaphor to explain that the king was thus a nursing father to the Church.  Although the phrase evoked in detail the physicality and tenderness of the father it was not feminine. These uses of nursing father emphasised the procreative, protective, governing and educational responsibilities of a patriarch/father.

What worries me is that ignoring the historical and social construction of fatherhood means that prevailing gendered ideas about men and women can pre-determine research questions and surely skew the findings. So since modern fathering is about affection and being involved, this structures the ‘tests’ of men in this study. Affection is being ‘measured’ in the brain scan and the interview with the father and his partner is constructed to find out how the couple perceive the father in terms of his involvement with his infant.

But would the research questions of a study in fathering ‘types’ differ in a periods of time when fathering was predominantly understood to be about providing economically for one’s offspring? Even though this generally entails a man being physically separate from his children because he is working to earn money, he would be defined as an excellent father in many eras, even arguably for some men today. Would scientists measure the breadwinning man’s testicles? Or would they measure his bank balance?

In the end it seems to me that this biologically deterministic approach is somewhat insulting to men. I certainly know that I would not like my capacity to mother to be correlated with the size of my breasts!

The importance of good parenting: past and present

Savagery and Sadness in Sunderland Part 9: What motivated William Ettrick as a father?

I have written about William Ettrick’s harsh treatment of his son and daughter in my last post. It would be easy to leave it there and just dismiss his severity as caused either because William was abusive, mad, and motiveless, or because children just got beaten in the past.

But instead, I want to think more about this. In the first place, there is no ‘Whig’ history of children where the further back you go, the worse they were treated. As I explained in the last post, eighteenth-century people from several social ranks objected to children being severely punished.

So was William simply mad and bad? Well, he may have had anger issues, but he was not without reason. After all, he acted very rationally otherwise. He was a successful Justice of the Peace, as well as business and land owner.

I think it is possible to examine the evidence – particularly William’s defence – to see what it tells us about his motivation for behaving this way towards his children. Once I did this, I realised that he seems to have had a formal structure of behaviour guiding him, although it was out of step with new ways of thinking about childrearing.

Where disciplining was concerned he accepted his wife, Catherine’s, allegations, but cast them in a somewhat different light. So, for example, he denied:

Chastizing his Daughter otherwise then is Incumbent upon a Parent to Chastize and Correct his Children.

Indeed, he declared that he did not correct his children as often as his wife requested him to, and that,

such Chastizement of his … Daughter was Generally by giving her a Slap on the face with his open Hand.

In cases where a ‘superior’s’ correction of an ‘inferior’ was questioned, it was not unusual for the superior to differentiate between an open and closed hand, or a slap and a punch, like this. William claimed that he only hurt Catherine junior accidentally because she had got into a habit of throwing herself on the floor to avoid the slap. On these occasions he’d give her,

a kick on the Backside and once unluckily hit her in such a manner that he believes two or three Drops of Blood did come from her, since which time he hath never once kicked her.

The other aspect of William’s behaviour as a father that was rather at odds with his wife’s and his household’s expectations, was his failure to protect his children. For instance, on several occasions, William responded to his daughter’s perceived insubordination by leaving her alone outside. On one occasion, in August 1764, when Catherine junior was eleven, the Ettricks were travelling from their home at High Barnes to Durham Assizes in their chaise (see the map below). In the midst of a sudden thunder storm, William began to swear at his daughter and beat her, and then, in his wife’s words:

taking the Stool which she satt upon from under her, Struck her with it, so that her Nose bled, and ordering the Chaise to Stopp Putt his Daughter out, tho’ it then Rained Hard and she was four Miles from Home and must be up to the Anckles in Dirt upon the High Road before she could Reach any House or shelter.

Deponents stressed that he ordered the chaise on and ignored what became of Catherine junior. You’ll be relieved to know that the girl was eventually taken in by a pub landlady who looked after her and got her accompanied back to her home.

Sunderland map

Map from: http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/

A household servant, John Arrowsmith remembered a similar occasion when Catherine was riding behind her father on a horse, on a family visit to Westoe (to the north of Sunderland, near the River Tyne). Without warning, William suddenly ordered her off the horse and rode away, leaving the child alone. Catherine emphasised that she was not permitted to help her daughter and bemoaned the girl’s vulnerability, stating that she was left upon the road:

in a Place where she was an intire Stranger and must Cross the River Wear in a Ferry-Boat before she could get to Sunderland which is above two Miles from Barnes [their home].

William ignored his wife’s pleas not to leave their daughter. Luckily she came to no harm again, as she was taken care of by John Chapman, a passer-by, who found her wandering alone and carried her to his house.

Where Catherine saw neglect and abandonment, William’s defence indicates that he seems to have believed in the influence of ‘Nature;’ giving freedom to his daughter to walk alone. For example, in his interrogatories (questions addressed to the deponents answering the articles in Catherine’s libel) he asked whether or not Catherine junior regularly walked two miles anyway, with her mother’s approval, when she went to collect her brother from school. He also observed that the pub which gave his daughter shelter was close to where she was ordered out of the chaise and that the weather was not that bad.

Untangling William’s approach to fatherhood is difficult. Why did his view of parenting differ from Catherine’s and his servants’?

John LockePart of the answer to this question is that a range of child-rearing views could and can be held by the same family, even perhaps by the same individual. This is important since there was an evolution in attitudes towards childhood over the course of the eighteenth century. Three key ‘stages’ in thinking have been identified: the ‘Puritan’ conviction that the child was born in original sin, which permitted corporal punishment as a means to train the child; the Lockean Jean-Jacques_Rousseau_(painted_portrait)concept that the child entered the world as a clean slate in terms of ideas, which required that the child be moulded by reason and negotiation and only in extremity by physical correction (Top picture: John Locke, Wikimedia Commons) and the Rousseauian celebration of a distinct phase of childhood in which Nature knew best, which promoted a less interventionist form of parenting (Bottom picture, Jean-Jacques Roussea, Wikimedia Commons). None entirely replaced their predecessor, however, and traditional ideas remained in circulation alongside more novel ones.

Thus it seems that some of William’s ideas were traditional. In stressing that he had a right as a parent to chastise his children he adhered to the authoritarian image of the father who could deploy physical correction to improve his offspring. This was not the dominant discourse of the eighteenth century, however, following John Locke’s influential work that rejected physical punishment except in cases of obstinacy. So William’s attitudes were possibly ‘old fashioned’ by the mid-eighteenth century and certainly departed from his wife’s and servants’ views. Yet in his promotion of the physical freedom of his children, he had much in common with Locke’s and Rousseau’s recommendations that boys be exposed to the cold and wet, and introduced to physical exercise in order to harden them for adult life. By including his daughter in a regime intended for boys, of course, he was still out of step with current advice.

I would suggest, though, that we need not be surprised by the apparent contradictions in his practice. Modern childhood studies show that where there are several discourses available, parents will often hold internally competing and conflictual views.

The existence of different attitudes towards child rearing within a single household may have also been the result of differing experiences of being parented. The hypothesis that one’s exposure to parenting shapes one’s behaviour as a parent is hardly addressed at all in existing historical studies and needs to be more fully explored through research in family archives and more ‘self-reflexive’ sources such as autobiographies. One thing is clear from the lengthy narrative of the Ettricks’ marital separation, interestingly: William had not had enjoyed happy or fulfilling relationships with his own parents.

And, as I will go on to show, both Catherine and William junior had rather troubled familial lives themselves. No wonder parents in the eighteenth century, just as much as today were warned that their behaviour had an enormous impact upon their offspring for the rest of their lives!

An 18th-century bad dad?

Savagery and Sadness in Sunderland Part 7: Bad fathering in the eighteenth century.

One of the more unusual features of the Ettricks’ separation case was that it included a lot about the couple’s two children. More often, the children were not discussed in detail. This was partly because fathers had automatic custody over their children and were financially responsible for them. Yet Catherine Ettrick called the Church Court’s attention to William’s behaviour as a parent. In the posts that follow I will take you in turn through Catherine’s main accusations.

William and Catherine had two children, also Catherine (1752-1823) and William (1757-1847).

William’s failures as a father started early, according to Catherine. She said he refused to see his daughter after her birth on 24 October 1752; in fact

if he chanced to pass or go where the Child was then the Nurse always covered the Child up to prevent his seeing it.

Now Catherine knew this would be considered strange by those considering her case. The image below of ‘parental fondness’ captures the expectations of affection for the newborn (Courtesy Wellcome Images). Although men were not present at their child’s birth, they were understood to be waiting nearby, eager to meet their offspring. Admittedly, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s influential novel Emile was yet to be published and translated into English when William was a new father and sensibility was in its infancy, yet men were still expected to be tender and loving towards their babies.

L0019233 A young mother looks over her baby as it lies sleeping in it

Yet William wouldn’t even

suffer it to be brought to his house till it was three quarters of a year old, but sent it to nurse

with Isabel Young, at Newbottle, a few miles away. Wet-nursing was going out of fashion at this point. This was the century of the ‘cult of maternity’ with numerous loving evocations of maternal nursing, like the porcelain figure below (Credit: Wellcome Images). Still, at the mid-century wet-nursing was by no means unusual and William may simply have had traditional views. And it is not the wet-nursing that is being criticised, as much as William’s lack of interest in his child thereafter. He did not, Catherine said, even visit his daughter at the Nurse’s house.

L0036736 Porcelain figure of a woman breast feeding a baby

You might think that William was disappointed because his first child was a girl and not a boy. And there are examples of aristocratic families expressing disappointment when this happened. Certainly, William was interested in his family’s lineage, celebrating his links with his male forbears in his memorial stone. But I don’t think he acted with indifference because he was disappointed that Catherine had failed to produce a son and heir.

Actually, his wife did not make specific complaints about William’s treatment of their second child, his baby son. There was a good reason for this, however! When William discovered Catherine was pregnant a second time in 1757 he

Determined to leave her and go to the East Indies

as a Purser in the Royal Navy! Off he went and didn’t return for four years until 1761. Nor did dynasty seem to mean that much when he attempted to break the entail on the family estate and disinherit his son. Indeed Catherine attacked William’s lack of interest and affection for both his children.

So why did William have little interest in his children when they were infants? There is a rare hint in the court records that suggest that William was following his own family’s model of childrearing, which perhaps diverged from Catherine’s understandings. For William’s conduct seems to have reflected inherited beliefs. His mother, Isabella Ettrick, answered Catherine’s complaints that William did not see his baby daughter by asserting that he saw her while she was in the house before nursing

and took as much Notice of it as parents generally do of children that age.

This glimpse is revealing because the generational aspect of parenting is perhaps one of the least knowable features of parenthood before the twentieth century. Perhaps in this instance it is possible to understand William’s behaviour – this was how he was raised and therefore how he raised his own children, despite changing styles of parenting.

What happened when the children got older? I’ll explain his treatment and discipline in the next post and what his servants and neighbours thought of him as a father.

The bed and the emotional landscape of the household

Angela McShane and I have worked on beds (as it were) for quite some time now and one of the things that has increasingly fascinated us is that the main bed of the household – the marital bed – was a location for family and home that was both literal and figurative. So in this post we’ll think a bit more about this question: how did the bed and its dressings act as both a metaphor and stage for household and family relations?

Overall, the bed was a space whose use was directed by wider family and household concerns. Historians have become much more spatially aware recently, and what is important for those of us who study domestic space is that spaces obtain meaning mainly through the ways in which people use them. One of the things that struck Angela and I again and again was that the space of the bed in seventeenth- and eighteenth- century households was very mutable. The bed could hold different meanings at different times for different individuals because it was so intimately bound up with the form and function of the household. Just think about it – the bed regularly changed its use in a number of short-term, temporary ways. So a bed had different meanings according to whether a wife shared the marital bed with a female servant due to her husband’s absence, or when she lay with her husband. It changed again when it was given over to child care or nursing the sick.

L0019348 A Dutch birth-room, with a maid giving sweetmeats to gossips.

Many historians will know that there were times when the bed had a ceremonial role to play in key life-cycle events like ‘bedding’, childbirth and death, at which points its function would be symbolically transformed. Very often, the dressings on a bed themselves played a vital part in the reshaping of its use. The classic example of this is the way that the function of the chamber in which the bed was placed changed to a child-bed and lying-in space. This was done by blocking the key hole, and by using fabric to close off the light from any windows. The space was thus transformed into a secure, safe environment ready for the female-only experience of giving birth (The image above illustrates this: Wellcome Library, A Dutch birth-room, with a maid giving sweetmeats to gossips, seventeenth century).  Male midwives eventually caused a draft by entering this closed-off haven in the eighteenth century, of course!

Bed curtains c. 1690

As such, the bed and its textiles could become invested with emotional meaning for individuals and families. A great article by Janelle Jansted reveals that wealthy women, for example, had special hangings that were used during their lying-in, the period following child-birth when they received guests from their bed.[i] These textiles gained sentimental connotations and were shared between the aristocratic women’s family members.

We can see the emotional investment of parents in the quilts made for children’s cradles too. Made or commissioned for the birth of a child, some embroidered with the child’s name and date of birth, they represent the human capacity of hope in the face of adversity. In lots of autobiographies and print culture children were frequently referred to as the repository of parental hopes; precious conveyors of familial and personal qualities on to the next generation.


Wikimedia Commons, Two Women By a Cradle, 1670

Yet children’s lives were unbearably fragile. One demographer calculates that from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries around a third of all children died before reaching their tenth birthdays in England and Wales. Mortality for infants under a year old could be even higher. And the same memoirs are often full of the language of grief that testifies to the shattering blighting of parental hopes when a child died. Yet what astounded us was that in the face of this knowledge, parents did not fear marking the precarious arrival of their offspring through textiles that would be placed on cradles or beds, or indeed displayed nearby. In part the possibility of loss might itself have motivated parents to make permanent their children’s lives through a material object that could be passed on to future generations. As with family portraits, or written memories of family members, textiles offered another way to try and heal the irrevocable discontinuity caused by frequent and sudden mortality.

All this testifies to individuals’ interest in what scholars rather pompously call the ‘diachronic’ family – that is in situating themselves within the family as it stretched before and after them. And this too can be seen in some quilts and coverlets. One of the quilts which was displayed in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Quilt Exhibition (2010) is a great illustration of this.


It is a cot quilt (held at the V&A), thought to date from 1690 to 1720 as most of the textiles used in it are late seventeenth century. Yet it has a particularly early textile at its centre, probably from the 1660s). The likely maker was Priscilla Redding, and research on this quilt by Claire Smith in preparation for the exhibition suggests she probably made it for her first born child Susanna. Priscilla herself was born in 1654, which means that the textile may have been from her own childhood (or could have been inherited from another family member). The fact that it sits at the centre suggests it has a particular emotional resonance for the maker. We don’t think it is unreasonable to speculate that it represents emotional lineage, the handing down of memories of family from one generation to another.

To read more about the quilts on beds you can read Sue Prichard (ed), Quilts 1700-2010: Hidden Histories, Untold Stories (V&A, 2010)

We’ll think more about the curtains around the bed in our next post.

[i] Janelle Day Jenstad, ‘Lying-in like a Countess: the Lisle letters, the Cecil Family, and A Chaste Maid in Cheapside’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 34:2 (2004)

Embedding and embodying gender in history

This post is based on a paper I gave in 2010 when I was asked to think about gender history. I’d been thinking hard about gender while writing my book and at the centre of this musing is the question: why did I change my book’s title over the three years I was working on it from: Parents in England c. 1760-1830: gender, identities, and generations to Parents in England c. 1760-1830: emotions, identities, and generations?

I began by collecting all my accounts of parenting from 1760 to 1830. I soon found that where parental identities are concerned the historian faces two assumptions; that parenting is a natural instinct and that motherhood and fatherhood are profoundly gendered, distinct, identities. The first assumption presupposes stasis, the second allows for change in parental identities. If becoming a mother or a father is engendering – that is, a process that is understood to produce a woman or a man, then it provides a specific female or male identity. Outside influences that shape the way femininity and masculinity are seen will therefore influence the way maternal and paternal identities are constructed. Scholarship offers varied accounts of both continuity and change. Social histories identify considerable continuities in the elements of parenthood for both sexes. More culturally attuned studies [histories of art and literature], on the other hand, posit transformations in motherhood – with a cult of maternity, for example, notable in the eighteenth century. A cursory look at recent work in the social sciences suggests that maternal and paternal identities are seen to have undergone rapid shifts and concomitant tensions in the second half of the twentieth century.


The Husbandman’s Return from Labour: Saturday Evening (1795) (colour engraving) after William Redmore Bigg (1755-1828) / Private Collection / The Bridgeman Art Library.

I decided that one way forward was to take an embodied approach to investigating gender identities. How was parenting imagined and experienced in terms of bodies and materiality? How did emotions shape gender identities? I found that thinking about bodies and emotions complicated my assumptions about gender difference and opened up the question of gender identities beyond binary oppositions. Parental embodiment in the eighteenth century, for example, need not be restricted to the well-researched concerns about maternal breastfeeding. An embodied approach opens up distinctions between gender-specific and gender-related parenthood and parenting, for the gendered stereotypes of mothers providing physical care and fathers offering material care and government becomes far more multi-layered and complex.

Loving arms and nurturing bosoms were also paternal, and the labouring bodies praised for providing for children were maternal as well as paternal. The culture of sensibility and Christian ideals of manhood celebrated sensitivity, physical care, and tenderness in men – all encompassed within the role of father and these were expressed through the body as tears, hugs, and kisses. Of course, the relationship between bodies and social conventions about gender remain open to investigation. For example, historians find it fruitful to scrutinise how paternity, grounded in biology, could be different to fatherhood, a social, male gendered identity – though both defined a man as a father.

Emotions history also lets me consider the ways in which the emotions associated with gendered identities were reconfigured in different ways at different times. Emotions are, after all, human and let us explore gender identities within a different framework. My research on parents in England therefore also encompasses anger, anxiety and sympathy and such historically specific forms of ‘feeling’ as tenderness, distress, and benevolence – and in some cases uncovers how these were not always mapped onto sexed bodies.

So why did I omit the word ‘gender’ from my book title? I think that my replacing ‘gender’ with ‘emotion’ signifies how much more embedded my understanding of gender has become. If it is any indication of wider developments, then it is that gender is being integrated more fully into a variety of topics, that we are more willing to think about the construction of feminine and masculine identities through different perspectives and lenses, and that new research agendas are being applied to the study of gender identities.