Tine Van Osselaer, The Pious Sex. Catholic Constructions of Masculinity and Femininity in Belgium, c.1800–1940.

Heimann, Mary (2014) Tine Van Osselaer, The Pious Sex. Catholic Constructions of Masculinity and Femininity in Belgium, c.1800–1940. [Review]

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Abstract

Tine Van Osselaer’s excellent new monograph sets itself two ambitious tasks. First, it aims to uncover specifically Catholic constructions of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ as expressed in Flanders and Wallonia over a century and a half (the book opens at the end of the eighteenth century, moves through Belgian independence in 1830, and ends with the German occupation of Belgium in 1940). Second, it sets out to test the ‘feminization thesis’, a master narrative according to which religion in the post-Enlightenment period was both ‘feminized’ and made the special preserve of women.