Episode 3: True Womanhood

First coined by US gender historian Barbara Welter, the cult of true womanhood is a concept that describes Victorian gender ideologies of the 19th century cultural elite. An analysis of these ideals reveals efforts by white Protestants to create a seemingly providential connection between sexual purity and white womanhood. This episode will draw on primary sources (including popular magazines, sermons, articles and speeches by 19th century purity advocates) and expert interviews with religious and cultural historians.

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Regulating Desire: From the Virtuous Maiden to the Purity Princess by Shoshanna Ehrlich


Passionate and Pious: Religious Media and Black Women’s Sexuality by Monique Moultrie


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