The Logic of Female Suicide

Janet M. Theiss

in Disgraceful Matters

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780520240339
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930667 | DOI:
The Logic of Female Suicide

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Many cases of adultery or assault at every level of society started with the fact of the husband's long-term absence from the household. If improper interactions were common, so too was illicit sex. Indeed, the case record contains at least as many instances of women responding to flirtation by assenting to an affair as of women resisting harassment. Others hoped to get money, free lodging, or food in exchange for sex. It was not uncommon for husbands to tolerate or even encourage such affairs, assault, or rape. In the context of an intense politics of chastity fraught with contradictions and conflict, women's suicides in the wake of sexual assault or harassment became profoundly assertive, public, and political acts that placed women at odds with state, family, and community authorities and the dominant gender orthodoxy they represented.

Keywords: adultery; flirtation; sexual assault; rape; women's suicides; gender orthodoxy

Chapter.  7771 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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