Women in 18th Century
-Women were raised to be a good housewife and to be a respected member of society. -When women were single, and therefore were not yet responsible for running a household or raising children, women had more freedom during these years than they would ever have again. Courting gave women power; it was their decision whether to accept or reject a suitor. -For the most part, women married quickly in fear that waiting too long might eliminate the availability or choice of husbands.
The choice of a husband was very important since, once made, only death could undo a marriage. Marriage for women was a complete life change. It meant leaving childhood behind, taking on adult responsibilities, and forming a new family. -Legally, marriage meant subordination for women, however, once a woman was married, she had very few legal rights. They could not vote, hold public office, or participate in legal matters on their own behalf. -Women were expected to defer to their husbands and be obedient to them without question. Marriage was often isolating. -Domestic sphere: -Devoting themselves entirely to domesticity -Instill values into their home -True fulfillment would be gained only through their contributions domestically
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-Women maintain their relationship with each other through extended visits and correspondence through letters, etc. (Blake) -Women expressed their affection for one another, not necessarily for men. -Women view each other as kindred souls, not as competition. Dependent, affectionate, benevolent, self-sacrificing, pious. -Pure and lacked sexual desire. -This cult of domesticity opens up a cultural divide between men and women in the 19th century -Most education even still was reserved for male, not female. -Women overly educated were seen as more masculine mentally…too much education would make them unsuitable for marriage. -Women were wanting to emerge from traditional roles, but society wanted to glamorize being domestic so that there would be no disputes.