Hubertine Auclert founded the feminist newspaper La citoyenne in 1881, primarily to advocate French women's suffrage and full citizenship. The periodical also looked beyond national borders, presaging later feminists' interest in women and empire. The publication compared the circumstances of French women with those of women in other nations and cultures and in the colonies. Frequently concluding that French women held a preferable position, Auclert and her fellow writers also emphasized aspects of “uncivilized” women's lives and status that compared positively to those in the metropole. La citoyenne questioned France's level of civilization under a legal code that disenfranchised and subjugated its entire female population. The journalists thus disrupted the absolutes of supposedly civilized France and uncivilized colonies. Appropriating and adapting the era's anthropological hierarchies of civilization and race, Auclert and her contributors developed a feminist imperialism that challenged women's oppression both in the metropole and in the colonies, striving to subsume cultural differences into a feminist-influenced, universalized French identity.

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