Bederman´s Book Manliness and Civilization and the Ideas of B. Wells Essay

Bederman´s Book Manliness and Civilization and the Ideas of B. Wells Essay

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In Gail Bederman’s book, Manliness & Civilization, she dedicates a whole chapter to the ideas and views of Idea B. Wells. She also writes extensively about G. Stanley Hall, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Theodore Roosevelt. Each of these people takes on a different view of manliness in “civilized” societies. Hall looks at the ideas of letting little boys be little savage; Gilman explores the ideas of white men needing white women; and Roosevelt tackles manliness and how it directly correlates to being masculine. In this chapter Bederman discusses how whites wove together manliness and racial violence, how Ida B Wells noticed lynching brutality, how she inverts the civilization discourse, her two tours to Britain and there results, and the ideas of the natural man and the primitive man.
White northerners were being bombarded with propaganda involving black men uncontrollability lusting after white women; they believed that the savages wanted to taint white purity. This was sometimes called the, “new Negro crime” (Bederman p.46), starting around the late 1880’s; contrary to popular belief around this time the number of these types of rapes stayed that same and may have possibly went down. Since rapes clearly weren’t the driving force behind the Southern lynching historians accredit it to a multitude of different reasons; Bederman says they are, “Populism, economic depression, the uncertainty of a new market economy, and Southern politics” (p. 47). What does this boil down to? These men were scared of the economy and of blacks rising in social standing; they wanted to assert dominance white they still had it. To separate themselves from blacks they made it seem as though black men gave in to a temptation that white men did not.

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...apter to the ideas and views of Idea B. Wells. Wells is the only person Bederman writes about that cleanly weaves together racisms effect on manliness and manhood for both parties, the racist and the person being discriminated against. Throughout the chapter the reader is given a chance to explore the trials and tribulations of Wells’ activism as illustrated by Bederman. In Wells’ chapter Bederman asserts many important points how whites wove together manliness and racial violence; how Wells got involved in lynching brutality; how she inverts the civilization discourse; her two tours to Britain and there results; and how the ideas of the natural man and the primitive man changed Wells’ proposals.

Works Cited

Bederman, G. (1995). Manliness & civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and
Race in the United States, 1880-1917. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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