Opinie. Geen vrouw maar ook geen broeder. Het politieke vrijwilligerswerk van Henriette Roland Holst


  • Elsbeth Etty


The author argues that historians researching women’s political careers should take the personal ambitions of their subjects as their starting point. The author and political activist Henriette Roland Holst’s ideal was to develop her literary talent while serving a not always clearly defined cause. To be accepted by her male heroes, she needed to deemphasise her sex; acceptance of male norms was the best strategy to gain autonomy and personal freedom. Roland Holst probably never saw this ‘male’ orientation as problematic. She did not sympathise with the movement for women’s suffrage and actively discouraged feminists because she was of the opinion that feminism was detrimental to the worker’s struggle. Marxism and, later on, religious socialism provided ample opportunities for her poetry, her writing and her impressive oratory ability. While men of her class needed to acquire a position and to earn a living, a woman could lead a satisfying life volunteering.