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Marianne. 20-something Sapphic reprobate; computer programmer and part-time adventuress by day, nerd heroine by night. Blog contains 100% Les Misérables and Les Mis-adjacent history geeking by volume. For other fandoms and eye candy of various kinds, see my everything-but-Les-Mis sideblog, shinelikethunder.

Tags that might interest you: resources, general history tag, meta, the actual june rebellion of 1832, queer history, paris, enjolras, victor hugo, romanticism.

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Unpopular(?) opinion: the idea that Enjolras avoids women because he’s gay and not attracted to them is putting the cart before the horse. It’s because he avoids women that all his meaningful relationships are with other men; he thinks he can avoid love and emotional entanglements by avoiding women, but love finds a way to sneak up on him anyway in the form of friendship, comradeship, and… well, Grantaire.

And no, this isn’t baseless headcanon or blithely assuming everyone was a misogynist in the 19th century. Enjolras swears off romance, family ties, and intense interpersonal connections in general in the name of being a priest of the revolution. Women represented all those roles and were confined to them in 19th-century thought, and also in the mainline republican thought that excluded women from Revolutionary politics and exolled their domestic roles as virtuous republican wives and mothers. Enjolras belongs to that revolutionary tradition, including its strain of classical-inspired virtus and “women don’t count” misogyny; his narrowness on that score is one of the flaws Hugo assigns him. Hugo was full of admiration for the French revolutionary tradition, but also of criticism, because the humanist message Hugo was pitching was much broader, more inclusive, more compassionate, less rigid. And as the barricade scenes unfold, Hugo mentions that philosophic, humanist Combeferre—who, let’s remember, does recognize the injustice of restricting women to the domestic sphere and then scorning them for their helplessness and ‘inconsequential’ role—has gradually been bringing Enjolras around to his broader views. It is very strongly hinted that Enjolras starts out as a particular kind of misogynist, and stated flat-out that his character development includes slowly becoming more broad-minded under his friends’ influence.

Basically: Enjolras’ avoidance of women has heavy ideological subtext and, like the rest of Enjolras’ ideology, is subject to change and character development. He thinks that rejecting women == rejecting romance and family, as befits a priest of the ideal, and so constructs an entirely homosocial environment for himself. But the emotional attachments creep up on him anyway, in that the Amis are very like a family, and his relationship with Grantaire is very like a romance. It doesn’t make him not queer, because duh, the love he finds is still with other men. But since his avoidance of women is strongly implied to be by ideological choice, it makes it very difficult to say either way whether he’s actually attracted to women.

Or, in super-tl;dr form: Enjolras doesn’t completely cut women out of his life because he’s exclusively attracted to men. We see him bonding exclusively with men because he’s completely cut women out of his life.

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