"I didn’t let him I made him"
The biblical story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife highlights the evil associated with female sexual agency
Public DomainThe biblical story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife highlights the evil associated with female sexual agency - Credit: Orazio Gentileschi

At the time, such sexual assertiveness on the part of a woman, let alone an unmarried one, would have been considered scandalous. The female ideal, the Southern Belle, was desirable and flirtatious, but she also guarded her chastity with her honour. She was expected to challenge a man in a way that piqued his interest whilst also subtly flattering his superiority — bright, but not intellectual; she could chatter entertainingly but serious discourse was outside her realm. In other words, she did not trespass on male territory: Caddy's assumption of the sexual prerogative is the ultimate defiance of this code.

 

 

Lil'l Southern Belles
Public DomainLil'l Southern Belles - Credit: Hamilton Hamilton