The Subordinate Status Of Women

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The subordinate status of women in America began with the premise of English common law within Colonial America; these English social constructs within Colonial America were adopted into the American legal status, thus playing a vital role in intimate partner violence against women in America due to the implementation of the English doctrine that husbands are legally able to physically discipline their wives and children if deemed necessary (Garcia, 2010; Gelles, 1997). Among the many constructs of the English law, the separate women’s sphere ideology, which designated a woman’s place within her family as a private sphere (i.e. home and family), while a man protected and provided for her through the public sphere (i.e. work and politics) (Garcia, 2010). Although wife battering laws have been passed since the Revolutionary War, they have been loosely upheld and indifferently enforced due to the idea that wife discipline was a private affair and did not require the authorities (Straus and Gelles, 1989). During the Victorian Era (1837 – 1901), a new image of womanhood was founded and designated women as moral figures that were too delicate and frail to engage in hard labor that most women (i.e. the lower and middle class) were familiar with. Pascale and Schenome (as cited in Garcia, 2010) state that this social construct would later be known as “the cult of true womanhood”, and could only be accomplished by the upper class men who could afford for the women in their
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