Rotha Lintorn-Orman and the New Fascist Woman

At the Christmas of 1919, the first full year after the ending of the Great War, a very boyish-looking figure scoured for presents amidst the bustling London crowds. 5ft 6in high, close cropped hair, sparkling eyes, dazzling personality and dressed in male clothes, Rotha Lintorn-Orman, twice decorated for gallantry and known as the female Lawrence of Arabia, spied the year's annual 'Woman at Home' - a fairly erstwhile tome from 'The Home Magazine'.

Amidst the usual 'dainties' and bodice ripping yarns was one article that excited her - 'Women Living with Women' by Christine Jope-Slade and she knew she would give this to her dear friend, lesbian lover and future fascist Mary Sophia Allen. 96 years later this actual volume with Rotha's inscriptions has now surfaced and we can glimpse the first dawnings of the new fascist woman - bold, exciting, daring, sexually liberated, and passionate. This new dawn for women would explode for future generations into the Feminist and Woman's Liberation movements - and things would never be the same again. Rotha's dedication page glows with intent and purpose:

"To dearest Mary, with all my warmest and heartfelt good wishes. Yes, you are so right, we women must learn to love one another. So with my fullest love, Rotha (Lintorn-Orman), London, 1919."

Annotated against the article's precient entries Rotha's pencil flashes "How true and purposeful" against ideas of comradeship, independence and individuality, ending with an excited note of"PLEASE". Against a sentence of 'interludes of sheer Eve' ... "Mary, I adore my interludes of sheer Eve" ... "R". Finally, she wistfully annotates "How delightful is their ordeal in parody. R."against the joys of a 'stimulating interest in each other's doings generally'.

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Rotha Lintorn-Orman and the New Fascist Woman

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