The Victorian Woman and Feminism
The image most of us have of the Victorian woman is home loving and devoted to family; one dressed in the finest fabrics encumbered under half a dozen crinolines and laced tightly in a corset. She is sympathetic, unselfish and sacrifices herself daily to be her husband's best friend and companion, never his "competitor", mindful and striving for the same goals as her husband. It is her job to take care of the children and run the household maintaining it as a tranquil refuge for when her husband returns home from work. Her innocence and purity are her virtues. Yet for a countless number of families, the above scenario was not the case as many wives and unmarried daughters also had to go out to work daily in order to provide for the family. These are the women of the working class and those who lived in poverty who are very often overlooked when talking about the Victorian age. Women's roles and their position in 19th century society was as much the result of the church's teachings as it was the biological differences between men and women. Not only were women given the job of being the bearers/teachers of religious moral values in the family, a role which empowered them, they were also restricted by it as it related to the context of the family.
The Victorian children
During the Victorian Period children were good sources of labour. Beginning work as young as six or seven years old, employers saw many benefits to hiring children. Adolescents were a significant part of the labour force because they could be paid lower wages. Also their naturally small and nimble supple hands and bodies were easily manoeuvrable. Employers more than often hired children over adults because children were powerless and would not revolt. Child labourers led very hard and grossly disgusting lives of filth. Generally, the living quarters of labourers were poorly built, rotting, even falling down, with little ventilation. There was no indoor...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document