Female Emancipation and Regression: Sex Reform in the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933

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Katherine St Arnaud


The Weimar Republic of Germany observed drastic social changes, as the Republic was born out of the ruins of the Second Reich and lurched into a democracy in the last year of World War I. Historians have argued that this was an era of sexual liberation and emancipation for women. Others have declared that the era was not one of emancipation, but of regression for women. This presentation will argue that the female sexual liberalization and emancipation in the Weimar era was progressive, yet the progress women achieved was within the limits of beliefs and frameworks of the period. This presentation will prove this through primary source analysis and engagement with the scholarly community. It will integrate politics, economics, gender, sexuality, and class to understand how the German government gave and withheld agency from female bodies to serve their benefit.

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Female emancipation and LGTBQ2+ movements: past and present