‘Lady Wildcats and Wild Women’: Hunting, Gender and the Politics of Show(wo)manship in the Nineteenth century American West

Jones, Karen R. (2012) ‘Lady Wildcats and Wild Women’: Hunting, Gender and the Politics of Show(wo)manship in the Nineteenth century American West. Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 34 (1). pp. 37-49. ISSN 0890-5495. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/08905495.2012.646547) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1080/08905495.2012.646547

Abstract

Drawing on codes of Victorian manhood, hunting narratives on the nineteenth century West typically broadcast a hegemonic vision of “hunter heroes”—survivalists, skilled in woodcraft, armed with sharp-shooting skills and a penchant for adventuring. Such men collectively advanced the expansionist ambitions of the American nation in assimilating landscapes and animals while maintaining a gentlemanly moral code. According to this teleology, the frontier was conquered by independent and vigorous frontiersmen, paragons of American manifest destiny and masculinity as exemplified by Theodore Roosevelt and Buffalo Bill Cody. Significantly, as this article contends, alongside the masculine “hunter-hero” of the plains and mountains, women emerged as willing and competent participants in shooting adventures and also embraced the thrill of the chase. They also hunted for reasons of environmental subsistence, the securing of meat an essential part of the mechanics of household economics. Some saw hunting as a hearty recreational activity that assisted their sense of belonging in terms of selfhood, space and community. As I argue, here, the allure of the West and its associations with adventuring, strenuous activity and escapism held appeal for some women as well as men. Moreover, in the domain of performance, theatre and storytelling, ideas of the “lady adventurer” and the “armed western woman” gained sizeable popular currency.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: M.R.L. Hurst
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2015 09:44 UTC
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 13:41 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/52346 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Jones, Karen R.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4787-6830
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