The Presence Of Females Within The Coffeehouse

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Coffeehouses were crucial arenas for the reformation of manners, and the expression of public opinion. Periodicals like The Spectator, Tatler, and The London Spy use public spaces like the coffeehouse to present desirable characteristics that defined feminine and masculine ideals. One particular formulation of femininity meant that women were encouraged to reside in their domestic sphere, and discouraged from occupying the public realm as they interfered with the coffee men’s manners and behaviours which periodicals were working hard to reform. Men were also discouraged from entertaining trades women, particularly because periodicals constantly played on the stereotype that women of trade were women of sin, thus deterring any kind of…show more content…
Demonstrated in No.73 of The Spectator, ideal representations of female roles are closely tied in with the ‘care of their families, and love for their husbands, which [were] great qualities and achievements of womankind’ . The good female characters were those who willingly confined themselves to the concerns of their families- characteristics that came to be idealised by the spectator, thus causing the private sphere of the home and family to assume a privileged position. However, excessively worldly women whose interests and unconventional occupations ranged beyond the private household present a kind of bad femininity, which periodicals do their very best to exploit and discourage in order to subject women to domestic realms and dissuade them from entering and working in spaces of trade like the coffeehouse. It became instrumental for periodicals like The Spectator to form a female reading audience organised around the literary representations of women as writing subjects, and textual figures situated within the reformist discourse designed to instruct and influence their behaviours. This can be evidenced in The Spectator No.155 where female readers are presented with a letter from the ‘idol’ , who shares her ‘unhappy circumstances’ due to working in the coffeehouse. Whilst men gawk, and offer the
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