PhD Dissertation, “The Lady Cyclist: A Gender Analysis of Women’s Cycling Culture in 1890s London,” York University, 2009
“The Lady Cyclist: A Gender Analysis of Women’s Cycling Culture in 1890s London” interrogates the practice and idea of women’s cycling in late nineteenth century Britain. The main focus of this study is the period commonly known as the cycling craze, which lasted from approximately 1895-98. During these years, women’s cycling reached its height as a fashionable form of leisure among middle and upper class women. Women’s bicycle culture and the figure of the lady cyclist provide an entrance into the rhetoric and realities of gender ideology in the modernizing city. Thematically organized chapters explore gender as it related to women’s bicycle technology and consumerism, space in and around the city, organizations, the magazine press, and attitudes to the body.
Though the fad for women’s cycling in this era was short-lived, it was fully integrated into the social, political, economic, and cultural climate of the late nineteenth century. Most importantly, for the purposes of this investigation, the discourse and experiences surrounding it spoke directly to gender issues. The primary resource base examined, much of which consists of popular magazines, cycling publications, and ephemera of all descriptions, reveals a multiplicity of contemporary opinions on women’s cycling. Women’s cycling culture emerges as a contested cultural site that simultaneously conformed to and challenged contemporary notions of femininity and womanhood. The articulation, negotiation, and application of gender ideals are at the core of this study of women’s cycling culture in 1890s London.
MA Dissertation, “Fair Soldiers Of The Soil: Expressions Of Gender Ideology Within The Women’s Division Of The Ontario Farm Service Force,” University of Guelph, 2001
During World War II, women were mobilized into the agricultural workforce through a unique war emergency program called the Ontario Farm Service Force. This thesis is an investigation of the extent to which gender ideology was employed within this organization in order to integrate young urban women into agriculture without breaking gender barriers. This concept is traced as it was exhibited as part of the identification of women as a reserve of potential agrarian labourers, an adherence to gender ideals as a template for the division of labour and management of workers, and the propaganda utilized to recruit and represent the Farmerettes. Much of the overall success of Ontario Farm Service Force’s women’s divisions can be attributed to the organization’s careful adherence to existing gender constructs. The Ontario Farm Service Force provided a unique opportunity for cosmopolitan women to participate in the war effort through agrarian labour, and presents an interesting index of World War II era gender ideals that is of intrigue to the historian.