"Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South" by Victoria Bynum is a book about how people lived in the south during the antebellum period. It shows a history of how husbands, masters, and owners treated their wives and slaves. This book tells about women who were the unruly women of the antebellum south. It tells us how black women and white women interacted together and how they interacted with their husband or master. Bynum argues how these women of the antebellum period were named unruly and why historians are interested in the politically powerless woman. She breaks these unruly women down into three categories that give us a better understanding of these women and what they faced in a man's world.
Thefirst category of unruly women that Bynum discusses is women who did not misbehave by challenging the rules but rather publicly complaining about misbehaving husbands or other man powers. Women did this in many different ways usually singling about men who were cure to women. One woman that did this was Candace Lucas. Lucas tried to protect herself from slander of having illegitimate children. She sued Gilbert Nichols for slander. He said Lucas had two or three black children over the years. Even though there was no proof that Lucas had these children the courts based their decision on the words of Nichols. Another woman that did not challenge the rules was Sarah Nuttale who knew too well that men could make wife's lives miserable. Nuttale made a life long struggle to keep her property.
The second category of unruly women is the women that engaged in the forbidden social and sexual behaviors. Bynum describes the women that engaged in forbidden behaviors were ones that had sex outside of marriage or engage in sexual relations with slaves or someone of the opposite sex. White women were be blaming for having sexual relation with black men. There was usually nothing wrong …