19th Century Gender Roles

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Gender roles have changed significantly since the late nineteenth century to today. The definition of gender roles can be described as what a society considers acceptable behavior for each person based on their gender. Each century comes with its own set of societal norms. As time passes and new ways of thinking are introduced into society, gender roles adapt to the new ways of thinking. This is especially true for women. The gender role for a woman has been challenged, debated, and adjusted throughout many years.
In the late 19th century, the ideal woman was considered to be one who “obeys male authority” and “focuses on the home and children” (Edgenuity Lesson: Rights for Women). This meant that the role of married women was mainly limited to the chores at home. Some of these chores included cooking and cleaning the home. These types of chores were exceptionally challenging due to the lack of technology in the 19th century. While a woman was cooking, she had to keep an eye on the stove often
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For lower-class women, they could be “servants,” “domestic help,” or “factory workers” (Women in Literature: Employment). Women belonging to the middle- and upper-class could “help, in some cases, with a family business,” but were commonly restricted to “work in the home” (Women in Literature: Employment). If a woman had completed all her housework, she was allowed to spend it by being educated or studying. Although studying was allowed, any passionate study was seen as “harmful to the family,” unless the study was about a social or religious issue (Women in Literature: Employment). During the late 19th century, it was not accepted for a woman to become well educated. Even professionals, such as physicians, believed that “if a woman became too scholarly, her uterus would become dysfunctional…” meaning that the women would become infertile and therefore, useless (Women in Literature:
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