In the Victorian period “…the childless single woman was a figure to be pitied.” (Abrams. 2001). It was considered to be outside of social hierarchy not to be a part of the domestic scene for women, “domesticity and motherhood were portrayed as sufficient emotional fulfilment for women.” (Abrams. 2001). In reality this was not the case and the role of motherhood and domesticity clearly did not sufficiently fulfil a woman’s emotional desires and requirements, situated in a suppressed, dominant patriarchal society ruled by men. In fact patriarchal society subjugated the role of women; they were seen as lesser than, and required to stay on the domestic
In the early nineteenth century, women were expected to be, “‘angels in the house,’ loving, self-sacrificing, and chaste wives, mothers and daughters or they are… ultimately doomed” (King et al. 23). Women of this time were supposed to be domestic creatures and not tap so far into their intellectual abilities (King et al.). The role of women in the nineteenth century is described:
During the early 1800's women were stuck in the Cult of Domesticity. Women had been issued roles as the moral keepers for societies as well as the nonworking house-wives for families. Also, women were considered unequal to their male companions legally and socially. However, women’s efforts during the 1800’s were effective in challenging traditional intellectual, social, economical, and political attitudes about a women’s place in society.
The Victorian Era women was vastly different than the female we think of nowadays. Women during that time were expected to fulfill more of a domestic and motherly role, one that stayed at home and took care of the house. They were confined within the private sphere of the world while the men toiled away in the public sphere. The ideal Victorian women was described as:
Thesis: A “true women” in the 19th Century was one who was domestic, religious, and chaste. These were virtues established by men but enforced and taught by other women. Women were also told that they were inferior to men and they should accept it and be grateful that someone just loved them.
The year was 1912 in London, England. Women lived at the mercy of their fathers, brothers, husbands and bosses; clearly a patriarchal society. Women’s lives consisted of keeping house and raising children and caring for their families. Those who worked outside of the home were limited to menial labor, earned significantly less than men, and surrendered their earnings to their husbands. Any inheritance of real estate or money a woman may have received was given to her husband and, most often, she had nothing to say about how it was managed or spent. A woman could not vote or run for office, and received little support, should she desire an education other than a ‘finishing school.’ (Clearly,
During the Age of Enlightenment in the late eighteenth century, Mary Wollstonecraft presented a radical essay, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, that shed light on the largest, underrepresented groups of the time, women. The essay voiced the inequalities women at the time faced and called upon Wollstonecraft’s audience to invoke a revolution for the rights of women. Through her writing, she presented a compelling argument that slowly allowed women to question their “place” in society and demand change to the British social order. While these changes did not happen quickly, her work sparked the feminist movements through its unique message and called upon women to demand equality through the Match Girls Strike and Women’s Suffrage
In the Victorian era, the status of women in society was extremely oppressive and, by modern standards, atrocious. Women had few rights, in or outside of the home. Married women in this period relied on men almost completely as they had few rights or independence. With this mindset in focus,
Despite being under the rule of a female monarch, women faced many inequalities and suffering during the Victorian age. Examples of these inequalities include not having the right to vote, unequal educational and employment opportunities. Women were even denied the legal right to divorce in most cases. As the Norton Anthology states, these debates over women’s rights and their roles came to be known as the “woman question” by the Victorians. This lead to many conflicting struggles, such as the desire by all for women to be educated, yet they are denied the same opportunities afforded to men. While these women faced these difficulties, there was also the notion that women should be domestic and feminine. There was an ideal that women should be submissive and pure because they are naturally different. The industrial revolution introduced women into the labor workforce, but there was still a conflict between the two identities; one of an employed woman, and one of a domestic housewife.
Published in 1869, John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women is a revolutionary feminist piece for its time, highlighting the unfair treatment of women in the Victorian era. Particularly, middle-class women were restricted from having lucrative employment and attending institutions of higher education, were not permitted to vote and had very few legal rights. Mill’s work was crucial to the woman’s movement of the Victorian era, as he argued for government reforms of property laws, divorce laws, and the right for women to vote.
This develops the idea that her future with this man as a married woman provided a stable lifestyle where she would not have to live by the rigid patterns of society, reinforcing a modern day feminist reader’s view of the expectations and restrictions placed on unmarried women during the Victorian era.
Written by John Stuart Mill in 1860-1861, as the Victorian era took place in England, “The Subjection of Women” is a critical piece of analysis in regards to the status of women in society and their unequal relationship with the opposite sex. During Mills lifetime, women were considered to be inferior to men by custom and laws, therefore, it was expected of them to be submissive in nature and to drive their aspirations as far as those of a homemaker, wife and mother could go. Deeply influenced by the ideas of his wife Harriet Taylor Mill, and John Stuart Mill’s own beliefs, “The Subjection of Women” was published in 1869, becoming a piece of literature that would not only challenge the common views of society at the time, but will advocate for different approaches in light of modern times.
The Victorian society is viewed as the most conservative because of its dependence on morals and values. Women suffer from the oppression and the inequality between genders and classes in such cruel society, this last did not give them any right, they cannot work, vote or even inherit, even their freedom is limited for remaining constantly pure and innocent and preserve them from being fallen.
Predominantly both essays, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” as well as “The Woman Question and the Victorian Literature On Gender” support the rights for women and is expressed as one of the biggest issues during the Victorian Age. Both authors, showed feminism and believed women deserved respect and equal treatment as men. Even though, the essays were written at different time periods of the Victorian Age the editors agreed that the author’s purpose for writing was to specify that gender does not represent your abilities to prosper as an individual. In other words, everybody should be able to have the same opportunities as they desire. During the Victorian Age, women in particular were known for keeping up with household responsibilities
The gender history of the Victorian era can be defined in many ways, one of which as a patriarchal model that reserved power