Women in the Victorian era had virtually no rights. Even their bodily ownership became their husband’s at the time of marriage. “The Angel in the House” was a poem by Coventry Patmore, published in 1854. It presented the ideal Victorian woman”
Man must be pleased; but him to please
Is woman’s pleasure; down the gulf
Of his condoled necessities
She casts her best, she flings herself […] She loves with love that cannot tire;
And when, ah woe, she loves alone,
Through passionate duty love springs higher,
As grass grows taller round a stone.”
Virginia Woolf said “killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer.” She goes on to describe her as “immensely sympathetic, immensely charming, utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily … in short, she was so constituted that she never had a mind but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. Above all … she was pure. Her purity was supposed to be her chief beauty.”
Huge advancements were made during the period. The rise of feminism allowed some women to leave their traditional roles as homemaker and caretaker, and pursue education. Some even pursued college. The English philosopher John Stuart Mill is dubbed “the great feminist.” Women’s occupations changed. Some became governesses to wealthier families, others worked in factories, and others still worked out out of the home, producing practical goods like furniture, sewing, etc

John Stuart Mill: the great feminist
Victorian Era.” Historic World Events, Gale, 2010. Student Resources in Context
Ellis, Sarah Stickney. “The Influence of Women.” In The Women of England: Their Social Duties and Domestic Habits. London: Fisher, Son, & Co., 1839.
Family in Society: Essential Primary Sources, 2006 From Opposing Viewpoints in Context
The Book of Household Management
Family in Society: Essential Primary Sources, 2006
From Opposing Viewpoints in Context
The Influence of Women
Family in Society: Essential Primary Sources, 2006
From Opposing Viewpoints in Context




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