Alfred Tennyson's Sex And Suffrage In Victorian Britain

733 Words3 Pages
“Man for the field and woman for the hearth: Man for the sword and for the needle she: Man with the head and woman with the heart: Man to command and woman to obey; All else confusion.”
The Princess, Alfred Tennyson (1847)

Women in the patriarchal society of Victorian Britain were expected to be domesticated family orientated beings. Their priority in life was to marry and bear children. As Susan Kent states “Barred by law and custom from entering trades and professions by which they could support themselves, and restricted in the possession of property, woman had only one means of livelihood, that of marriage” (Kent 86).
Kent, Susan. Sex and Suffrage in Britain 1860-1914. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.

A woman could not be financially viable without a husband, therefore marriage was a predestined fate. In order to obtain a suitor a woman had to behave in a manner fitting to a lady of this time. She must possess the necessary qualities of a potential wife. A woman should be pious, dutiful, fragile and ignorant of matters beyond the scope of the home. It was necessary to remain a virgin, available only to give themselves to their husbands in the line of wifely duty, to the
…show more content…
No matter how moral, or well-behaved they might have been, many actresses even the star actresses were associated with a life of immorality and degeneracy. The public nature of their art; the dubious social value of the institution in which they worked; the type of costumes they wore (which often revealed far more of the female anatomy than was permissible outside the theatre); the morally questionable parts they often had to play; all these factors conspired to make any Victorians believe that acting was a morally dubious profession. Actresses were no better than prostitutes; indeed, it was likely that some of them were
Open Document