Interfering Women: Consumer Activism, Charity, and Women's Rights in Frances Harper's Sowing and Reaping
- The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 144, Number 3, October 2020
- pp. 349-374
- Additional Information
This essay reads Frances Watkins Harper's novel Sowing and Reaping, which pairs boycott with charity, as an artifact of women's empowerment, offering scholars a glimpse into the ways reformers effected women's suffrage through temperance reform. By marshalling the power of the purse through consumer activism, women fought both for better lives, free from the dangers they perceived in the liquor trade, and for the power of legal enfranchisement. Harper's novel calls women's place into question, arguing for women's right to interfere in political, social, and economic spaces in order to defend the stability of the national domestic space.