Masculinity And Femininity : A State Of Transition Essay

Masculinity And Femininity : A State Of Transition Essay

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In the early nineteenth century, masculinity and femininity were in a state of transition. While the Romantic era 's male supremacy values were being replaced by Victorian gender equity conceptions; ideologies of 'natural ' characteristics of men and women, separate spheres, and disability emerged and have rested in the minds of people decades into the twenty-first century. In 1870s Britain, people knew where they belonged and law and social customs kept them there. Non-existent in the political realm, women were blockaded from the work force and denied many jobs outside the of domesticity –the work and knowledge within the realm of the household. Married women were denied any rights to property which included their own children. As centuries of 'common sense ' claimed, women were in all aspects inferior to men, except for their ability to bear children, until the beginning of the French Revolution. By the time Queen Victoria gained reign of Britain, subtle but progressive changes took place. The Victorian era placed high values on honor, duty, moral seriousness, and sexual propriety. With the shift from an agrarian society to an industrialized economy, the middle class was born and the idea of separate spheres developed. Women of this time period were expected to have excellent manners, restraint, moral uprightness, purity, devotion, and selflessness. Yet they were still deprived of most employment, not eligible for education outside domesticity, could not vote, and held few legal rights. Essentially, women were assigned to the 'private sphere ' and all fields outside that sphere were untouchable as their natural characteristics, size and emotions, were seen fit strictly for domesticity.
Men on the other hand, ...


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...y and its role in the social construction of Victorian masculinity.
In their book, Emerging Perspectives on Disability Studies, Matthew Wappett and Katrina Arndt state “In the patriarchal, ablest framework of gender and embodiment, the idea of maleness is created by disassociation from the visceral contingencies of the body, so much that the conventional reading of disabled masculinity is often one of “impotentiality”, demasculization, and castration.” In other words, a man 's ability to work and provide for himself and his family is what makes him a man in the eyes of society. If a man cannot provide, he is shunned or cast out of the masculine gender role. Yet at a closer reading of Bronte 's Jane Eyre, the evolution of gender roles portrayed through her characters is apparent. The very first time the readers witness an interaction between Rochester and Jane,

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