The Role Of Female Identity And Roles In Victorian Society

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During the early 1900s, in the years linking the Victorian and post-World War I eras, female identity and role was drastically shifted and altered by vocal suffragettes. Fighting for women’s rights, these radical women were seen as “naughty children, excited ladies, misguided ladies, wild women, howling fanatics, shrieking sisterhood, masculine women and viragoes” (Carstens, 63). Suffragettes voiced the right for female vote, education, as well as marriage, and encouraged them to take part in masculine activities. These activist women were not only patronized for their bold behavior, but also accused of unsexing the Victorian woman. In other words, their characters contradicted normative feminine behavior. At the time, medicine was evolving in terms of physiology and psychology, and many …show more content…

Posed in the 1870s, there was scientific evidence of developing fetuses exhibiting both female and male potential that spurred the thought of human bisexual composition in the early 1900s. An anonymous editorial published in 1906 in the British Medical Journal exclaimed that “women’s suffrage suggested that this underlying hermaphroditic constitution could affect basic gender identity, expressing itself in hermaphroditic personalities” (Carstens, 65). The notions correlated with sex reversal implied that even during the early 20th century, society was not able to separate biological sex and gender identity, blurring the categories and separating the female and male based on pre-determined gender roles. Men were still seen as the innovators of the human race, whereas women were the carriers of the race; their reproductive organs dominated by the man’s. Social anxiety gradually rose due to low birthrates, questioning how the human race would thrive, or simply how men would again dominate the female race because their grips were slipping from women’s reproductive

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