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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

The German colonial project was supported by various groups of socially elite, politically active women starting in the early 1880s, shortly after the German government made the decision to colonize Africa. Frieda von Bülow, who is considered to be the founder of the German colonial novel, actively supported German colonialism as she saw it as a means by which women could achieve greater power in society. In her novel Tropenkoller, Bülow is primarily concerned with these ideas of power and control. However, this control is only described as possible through female conformity to the male, nationalistic ideal. Von Bülow is not concerned about transforming the patriarchal societal standard, but instead promotes conformity. White women, however, differ from white men in one vital way: Bülow’s ideal white man exercises a limited form of violence, in order to achieve this control, whereas the ideal white woman apathetically looks on, thus exercising her own form of control in a situation she has no choice in. Von Bülow’s Feminism, therefore, mirrors problematic German imperialism of the time: Only those who possess power over others in society are able to advance.

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