‘If I Were a Man’
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sarah Grand and the sexual education of girls
in Special relationships

Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Sarah Grand were, throughout their writing lives, exercised by the social and economic costs of the enforced ignorance of women and girls in matters of sexual hygiene. Grand and Gilman made central to their sociological writings and their fiction the terrible social consequences of the maintenance of girls in a state of ignorance. In 1893 in Great Britain the writer Grand had argued that human advancement was dependent upon 'the attributes of both minds, masculine and feminine, perfectly united in one person of either sex'. Since the state continued to ignore women's demands, Grand believed that it was up to feminist writers like herself to take charge of the neglected sex education of their readers. The association between the ill-health of the individual and the nation were, they contended, intimately connected with the paucity of educational opportunities for girls.

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Special relationships

Anglo-American affinities and antagonisms 1854–1936

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