Ideology of True Womanhood Between 1820-1830, and sometime between the Civil War, there was a lot of growth of businesses and new industries. All of this growth created a new middle class in America. Back in the nineteenth century, middle class families could survive off of the goods or services that their husband’s jobs produced without making all the money they needed to survive. The men did all of the work which helped create a vision that all men should support the family while their wives and children stayed at home.
This started the public sphere, the belief that the work was a rough job, and that a man had to do everything he had to do in order to be successful. It was engulfed in violence, trouble and temptations, and women were thought of as weak and delicate by nature. Women were then put into the private sector, in their homes where she was in control of everything that happened. Everyone in the middle class families saw themselves as the backbone of society. A new ideology about the home came after opinions towards work and family arose.
This new ideal, called “domesticity,” provided us with a new view of women’s duties and roles but still treated men and women as total opposites. There were four characteristics that all good and proper young women should follow: piety, purity, domesticity and submissiveness. In the nineteenth century it was believed that American women were to demonstrate a particular behavior towards religion. They thought religion was good for women and that it helped put their minds at rest. Women who weren’t religious were considered the most disgusting human characteristic.
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They also believed that women were not women, but instead a lower form of being if they weren’t sexually pure. Marriage was supposed to be the greatest night in a woman’s life, when her she could give her greatest gift to her husband, her virginity. From this point on, she was dependent on him. A woman must remain pure regardless of any attempt made by a man to assault her. A woman who allowed herself to be seduced by a man was either killed or had her baby taken from her. Female purity also gave them some sort of “power. Her purity was used to keep men in control of their sexual needs and desires. The biggest feminine virtue is probably submissiveness. Although men were supposed to religious, they generally weren’t. Men were also supposed to be pure, but nobody really expected it from them. But men were never supposed to be submissive. Men were the ones that did everything and made all the decisions. Women were more passive and obeyed the husbands. Women were forced to wear tight corsets that pinched her organs and caused limited mobility.
True women knew their place, and they knew what qualities their husbands wanted. Finally, they believed a woman’s place was in the home. They thought of housework to be an uplifting task. Her job was to make sure the home was perfect for when her husband came home. It was supposed to be a relaxing place for the husband to escape from work. Women were also thought of as intellectually and physically inferior to men. They thought they woman just because woman were generally smaller than men in physical size that their stamina wasn’t good either.
They believed that the brain was smaller in women than in men. They believed that because women menstruated there was a periodic illness that was inflicted on them. Women were thought of as very emotional and very delicate and that they have an unpredictable nature. It was believed that sexual feelings were very strong in men but they were absent in women. Puberty played a large role as well. This was a period when boys became strong and vigorous men, and girls became timid and weak women. “Even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work,” said Mitt Romney, on CNN on April 2012.
He argued that the women would be better off having “the dignity of work. ” This proves that there is still evidence on how people perceive women. Mitt Romney wanted women to work even if they have a two year old child and some people said it was “heartless. ” He said it isn’t because he would raise the money from the state for daycare so you could provide daycare for your child while getting a job for yourself. His intentions were to increase the work requirement but a lot of people had different opinions.
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Ideology of True Womanhood. (2017, Apr 21). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/ideology-of-true-womanhood/