Male Sexuality In France's 'Masculine Weakness'

Improved Essays
Masculine Outrage for Masculine Weakness:
Analysis of Male Sexuality in Fin-de-Siècle France The second half of the nineteenth century saw many French men questioning their masculinity after their demoralizing defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Emperor Napoleon III had formed the Second Empire, then the regime of the French government, in 1852 after being elected as president and then appointing himself to a higher position. France seemingly flourished during the years under Napoleon III’s reigns, growing in infrastructure and in imperialism, until the early 1870s when Otto von Bismarck incited France to declare war on Prussia thanks to a telegram he fabricated. Prussia’s army was vastly superior to France’s, however, and when defeated, France was
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Adding insult to injury, Bismarck successfully reached his goal of German unification when Kaiser Wilhelm I was crowned emperor of Germany in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. The result of the Franco-Prussian War led to discontent and even civil war within France, and even after the Third Republic restored relative order to the country, many French citizens still suffered from the memory of their humiliation. Michael Sibalis and and Robert Nye position their essays in this era, when many French citizens saw France’s failure in war as a sign of moral failing. Nye discusses the medical community’s analysis of a man’s honor in relation to his sexuality, and Sibalis details the emergence and subsequent fear of a homosexual community in France. Together, both essays argue that the fragile masculine identity after the Franco-Prussian War created

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