Saturday, August 29, 2009

Life of Women in the Victorian Era

The Victorian era was a period of wide extremes – characterized by industrial reforms, cultural transformations, scientific progress, gracious living and grinding poverty and wars. The Victorian era lasted from 1837 to 1901, when Queen Victoria reigned, although many historians believe that the Reform act of 1832 signifies the inception of the Victorian era.

The life of women in Victorian era was generally centered on family commitments. Women were seen as temples of love and purity- and so, could not be used for physical exertion or pleasurable sex. The only role of women in the Victorian era was to get married and look after the homely chores. The young ladies were groomed thoroughly to get married and had to be innocent, virtuous, biddable, and dutiful. The young women were mainly educated in accomplishments like French, drawing, painting, singing, dancing – everything which helped them to get a perfect suitor!

Few women stayed back in the bed, past the daybreak. They ran the house, made meals for their husbands and children, made clothes for everyone, and grew everything that the family ate. The women were also supposed to take care of someone who was sick. Moreover, mental illness and alcoholism also added to women’s burdens. The women were also responsible for sewing, knitting and painting the clothes. The gentlewomen made sure that the home was a place of solace and comfort for the husband and children, free from all the hassles or burdens of outside work. They were supposed to be the sunbeam in the house by making others happy.