Abstract: This paper surveys the ways in which women have been regarded, represented and treated in colonial and post-colonial Australia. In particular, the concept of matriduxy—the alleged dominance of women in Australian families—is explored, in part via a discussion of Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children. Possible connections between matriduxy and colonial conditions are identified, specifically in the context of the imperialist ideals of masochistic fantasy.

Keywords: matriduxy, misogyny, gender politics, masochistic fantasy, colonialism, Christina Stead

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