Sunday, June 6, 2010
The Ideal Georgian Woman
The Ideal Woman
The feminine ideal of Georgian womanhood may best be defined as a combination of moral perfection and intellectual deficiency. She was required to be above all things a "womanly woman" meek, timid, trustful, clinging, yielding, unselfish, helpless and dependent, and robust in neither body nor mind. Conversely, she was also expected to be a thoroughly practical domestic sort of person, not educated except in how to run a domestic establishment with good sense of judgment. Her tombstone might say she was born a woman and died a housekeeper. She was also a model wife and mother. The only career open to her was marriage, and she would have considered a loveless marriage infinitely more respectable than the pursuit of a profession.If a suitor presented himself it was her duty to love him, or at any rate marry him. Because masculine idealists of the time felt "The soul of the true woman finds its supreme satisfaction in self-sacrifice" the woman who rejected this must renounce all claim to womanliness.
The kitchen and the nursery were her sole spheres of action. She must treat her men-folk with respectful admiration and accept their judgments in a spirit of childlike faith and obey them with unquestioning submission.
In my work in progess, HER CONSTANT HEART, my characters frequent this world. But my heroine, Charity, refuses to comply with this image of submissive womanhood. She tells her husband just what she thinks of him, and sparks fly!