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Transcript of Victorian Women
Laws: A Timeline
1857: Matrimonial Causes Act. Established divorce courts; affected divorce reasons, property, and child custody
1870: Married Women's Property Act. Allowed women to keep 200 pounds of own earnings.
1882: Married Women's Property Act. All married women were separate owners and administrators of property.
1888: City Council Act. Women allowed to vote for councilors.
1894: Local Government Act. Women could be councilors.
Victorian Women Etiquette
The Angel in the House
coined by Coventry Patmore, well-known phrase for expected, ideal behavior
Domestic, innocent, passive, and helpless with matters outside the home
beacon of morality for husbands, supportive and obedient
Separate Sphere ideology: husbands venture out into the world to make money; wives stayed at home to care for house and children
The Odd Women
Classes central role to the Angel; exclusive to middle-upper classes
Single women at a marriageable age perceived as growing social problem
Governess: upper/middle class woman with education
Working Women: prostitutes, factory workers (lower classes)
The New Woman
feminist ideal emerging in late Nineteenth Century
coined by Sarah Grand
developments in labor relations, divorce and property laws, education, single motherhood, sanitation, and consumer culture
Intelligent, educated, emancipated, independent, and self-supporting.
Middle-Class female radicals, factory and office workers.
Found supporters among Aesthetes
Marriage: Career Move rather than Connection
All women's property belonged to husband after marriage (until the second property act)
Women groomed for marriage
proper, fashionable clothes restricting
She could never be seen alone with a male before marriage
Chaperones accompanied her to social functions
She never approached people of a higher rank, unless being introduced
She never addressed a gentleman without an introduction
She never turned to look back at anyone in the stree; staring at others in public was forbidden