In today’s society the public tends to socialize gender to an extent. As soon as people are informed the sex of a baby, they automatically go out and buy blue clothes for boys and pink clothes for girls. We think of baby dolls for girls, and trucks for boys. What if it went further than that? During the Victorian era, being born a girl meant much more than little dolls and pink, it meant a lifetime of servitude. Being born into a family where one was raised under harsh conditions, then getting married off to be husband’s housewife, not just a wife. During the Victorian era, if one was born a woman she was automatically subject to a lifetime of servitude, and it took strong feminist views to deviate from the social norms. Most women tolerated the social norms and their “duties” of subordination, while others deviated and had their own ideas of what a society should represent.
There was an inborn sense of subordination of women throughout the Victorian era, and rather significant similarities between housewife and servant. This idea that women were not seen as an equal towards men can be traced back to the Victorian English natural hierarchy. It was their belief that those had to serve and owed much to the people superior to them, i.e. kings to gods, lords to kings, and servant to master, ect. (Davidoff, 408). To be born a woman, was to be under complete control of her husband, much like to be born a slave confined to their masters’ demands and wishes (Davidoff, 408). The difference between wife and slave was Victorian England’s social concepts of servitude. Women moved from paternal control in their private home, into a lifetime of servitude of their husband’s home, therefore; women knew their duties were fo...
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...ble to bring about change that Victorian England needed.
David, Leonore. “Mastered for Life: Servant and Wife in Victorian and Edwardian England.” Social History 7.4 (1974): 406-428. Web.
Garton, Stephen. "The Scales of Suffering: Love, Death and Victorian Masculinity." Social History 27.1 (2002): 40-58. Web.
Hellerstein, Erna Olafson., Leslie Parker. Hume, and Karen M. Offen. Victorian Women: a Documentary Account of Women's Lives in Nineteenth-century England, France, and the United States. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford UP, 1981. Print.
Mill, John S. “On the Subjection of Women.” (1869)
Roberts, M.J.D. “Feminism and the State in Later Victorian England.” Historical Journal 38.1 (1995): 85-110. Web.
Zedner, Lucia. Women, Crime, and Custody in Victorian England. Oxford: Clarendon, 1991. Print.
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