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The Victorian Take: Social History and Gender Matters in the 19th Century

A discussion of Victorian-age social dynamics between the differing sexes and classes

Katherine Davina

on 18 February 2011

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Transcript of The Victorian Take: Social History and Gender Matters in the 19th Century

1837-1901 Social History
and Gender Matters in the Victorian Era Case Keltner Rummi Ganguly Soo Hwang Matthew Shinseki Katherine Tran 1837-1901 Parallels in Racism and Class Prejudice polygenism - the belief in separate, unequal creations (not from one blood) e.g. Irish have prognathous jaws, thus similar to apes. Irish, Blacks, and other members of lower classes: unreasonable, irrational, and easily excited childlike no religion, only superstition criminal; no notions of property excessively sexual filthy inhabitants of unknown dark lands or territories sharing physical qualities Public Health Poor health and nutrition in working class Sanitation and environment in urban slums decrepit dustyard Several severe diseases afflicting population In contrast, many advancements in medicine and health care were on the upswing Class Hierarchy Evolved from the old aristocracy, control over political system Gained power through fighting and winning: Reform Act of 1832, Corn Laws in 1846 “sunken people”; costermongers No voice in the political system, more and more hostile towards upper and middle classes, big gap between skilled and unskilled laborers Societal Issues Homosexuality Prostitution 80,000 prostitutes in London Increasingly difficulty for women to find a decent paying job Deeply rooted in society Seen as a crime, punishable by death until 1861 Important Legislation Brothels Suppression Bill of 1840
1848 Bill for the Protection of Females
Contagious Diseases Act of 1864, 1866, 1869
1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act FAILED FAILED REPEALED IN 1886 PASSED, OUTLAWED BROTHELS Victorian Cities, Towns, and Countryside Essentially three classifications
of Victorian Era England: The Peak District The Lake District Lancashire Economic Contexts
(of women) During the Victorian Era, Women’s roles in the workforce developed across the board. UNDER CLASS WORKING CLASS Prostitution
Farm, Factory, and Mine Workers
Domestic Servants MIDDLE CLASS UPPER CLASS Significant in the development of the ownership of property
Lodging house keepers
Governess or teacher Families of professionals
Women writers and doctors
Member of religious order Royalty — the Queen
Nobility and Aristocracy
Families of capitalists, millowners Political History Women's suffrage and rights slowly expanded during and immediately following the Victorian Era. Voting Act, 1918 Child Custody Act, 1839 Matrimonial Causes Act, 1857 A legally separated wife given right to keep what she earns The Married Woman's Property Act, 1870 Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-91) Enfranchised all men over 21, and all women over 30 Female Imagery Female Power Goddesses Venus Athena Diana Circe femme fatale - Women's "Dark Continent" Sorceresses Monsters Medusa Sirens Hair = Power Female Powerlessness Destroyed by tragic love The fallen woman; given in to seduction Images of madness Ophelia Education Public Schools Ragged Schools British Universities Church Schools A sort of charitable response developed for the working class The four R's Important Legislation Education Act of 1870 Elite, private endowment Charterhouse, Eton, Winchester, Harrow, Westminster, Shrewsbury, and Rugby Thomas Arnold's Reforms in the 1840s "Building character and creating gentlemen" Rigorous discipline Unsympathetic headmasters Classical study of Greek and Latin Homesick, often bullied by elders Set up by local churches Sunday schools Establishment of National Board of Education in 1899 Public elementary education free to all children Appearances Why cosmetics? White face powder - arsenic, talc, chemicals, whale sperm, chalk Rouge - stewing sandalwood, brazilwood Kohl for eyes How was this seen? Men too! The Rift Between
Science and Religion Early 19th century:
Harmony Late 19th century:
Discord Caused by working-class radicals' limited view of God Darwin Gender Theory Ж Sex Females Males end goal: marriage, children >> consummation of love Had more duties of childbearing (pregnancy, menstruation, illness) More affectionate and sympathetic Sedentary, storing and conserving energy Only concerned with fertilization... able to expend energy in other areas Of greater intelligence formed by scientists and specialists More independence, courage Worth her chastity Woman as victim Women as Objects of Desire Briar Rose
(Sleeping Beauty) Women as the Ideal Dante Gabriel Rosetti's Fair Lady Tess Substance Abuse Labor Conditions Social security, or lack thereof Sources of support: family or children Child labor an issue until Act of 1847 concerning 10-hour workdays Concerns about excessive alcohol, substance abuse and prostitution ran parallel to fears of social breakdown” Sources www.victorianweb.org http://www.english.uwosh.edu/roth/VictorianEngland.htm http://www.infed.org/youthwork/ragged_schools.htm http://www.nettlesworth.durham.sch.uk/time/victorian/vschool.html Taught how to read the Bible Realistically, only available to upper class Produced more members of Parliament and government officials Oxford Tended to produce more scientific scholars Cambridge
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