In her article, “Three Inventories, Three Households”, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich argues that women’s work was crucial not simply for subsistence but that “women were essentials in the seventeenth century for the very same reasons they are essentials today-for the perpetuation of the race” (Ulrich 51). She believes, women were expected to do everything. They were not only to take care of the children, but they were also cook, clean, raise the greens and ranches. Mainly, women plays important role for the survival and continuation of life.
The nature of womanhood, or what we perceive as the inherent proclivities that govern only those born as a woman, is often the base argument for the unequal treatment of the female sex. Women are weak, natural-born mothers, unfit to do much else beyond simple household chores and rearing children. This portrait of women seems almost comical in its antiquity; however, we cannot disregard the past, as it shapes the present. The question of the nature of womanhood is rarely allowed nuance, which is a shame, because womanhood can be many, often contradictory things. Instead, the traits we often associate with womanhood stem from society’s projection of what women should be, not necessarily what they are.
The role of a woman in society has always fit into a perfect box. Women were expected to be the dutiful wife, loving mother and housekeeper for her family. Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique, in 1963 hoping to unveil the truth behind women’s thoughts about their role in society. Friedan exposed that things were not always, as they seemed for the average mother and homemaker in the 1950s and 1960s. Kate Chopin wrote The Awakening in the 1850’s which told the story of Edna Pontillier and her struggles as a housewife and finding her true identity.
During the 1840’s, the roles of men and women to their communities became defined by the social and economic changes around the world. The role of women averted from assisting their husband in their jobs to attending primarily to their domestic duties at home. The crucial fact of what Victorians thought of as the “separate spheres” define the natural characteristics of men and women in society. Women were considered to be physically weaker than men however they were morally superior to them due to connections to the domestic sphere in society. Needless to say it has always been the duty of women to balance the duties of obliging to commands made by men and being a mother.
Women were to operate on a completely separate sphere than their husbands. A woman’s place according to the cult of domesticity was in the home where everything in her life would be completely privatized. Women had no say in anything politically, that was the man’s job. Women were to Under this thought process, women were “designed exclusively” to be good wives and mothers. Women were expected to be seen and not heard.
This connection between women and the home had an enormous effect on the occupations for women. In particular, the idea of women being a superior nurturer can explain why mainly nurses are women or even why largely teaching roles are occupied by dominantly women than men. On the other hand, men began to drift away from the home embracing the responsibilities of a breadwinner. Until the late nineteenth century, all the money produced in a household legally belonged to the male lead. As a result, the belief of a male being the financial support in the family came to exist.
Women in today’s society hold jobs even of higher power, and have further aspirations beyond motherhood and wifely duties in the household. Commonly most houses in the twenty first century are dual income, both the male and female branch out into the workforce. For example Meyera Oberndorf states in The Changing Role of Women in the 21st Century, “Women are experiencing greater economic gains, greater independence and the enhanced sense of self-worth which comes from making valuable contributions in the workforce.” However, as much as the times have changed and the progress we have made, issues from the fifties such as sexism have still stuck around. Although women are given more opportunities to find jobs and receive income, the amount is
In the pastoralization of housework, woman found a new dynamic in the family system by becoming influencers. Boydston writes, “‘...in which wives were described as deities “who presides over the sanctities of domestic life, and administer its sacred rights….”” With the romanization of housework woman found themselves placed on a higher pedestal, and with this newly found power, women were able to influence their husband’s decisions. Women during the Antebellum period were described as “holy and pious” and they were seen as the more religious being out of the two sexes, so it was customary for women to use their power to help the family stay on the right path. Mrs. A. J. Graves supported this idea and directly connects women’s role of taking care of the home to a station which God and nature assigned her.
Even though she is seen over doing her role as a mother and as a wife but there have been times when she has revealed her true self as powerful and confident. The author criticizes the fact that it is not always the case that motherhood demands the suppression of feminism and the sexuality of women. This can easily be defined by deriving the examples of everyday life. The women today are scattered in all the professions in spite of the fact that they have a family to look after. Women are pilots and soldiers, and their sexuality does not restrict them to play their responsibilities as mother and wife.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century, women were not treated equivalent to men. There was an evident divide between the gender roles of that time. Women’s health in a psychological, social and physical way was not essentially important. Men felt as if women were just emotional and that their issues were of no importance. Women had very little authority over their lives and it was as if their husband owned them.
Also exclusive was their “sphere,” or domain of influence, which was confined completely to the home. Thus the Cult of Domesticity “privatized” women’s options for work, for education, for voicing opinions, or for supporting reform. The true woman would take on the obligations of housekeeping, raising good children, and making her family’s home a haven of health, happiness, and virtue. All society would benefit from her performance of these sacred domestic
Prior to the rise of these activist women were expected to marry, cook, clean, and birth children. All these things were seen as traditional values and a societal norm. However, as time went on more women started to challenge these norms and bend the boundaries. The rise of women rights activists inspired many women’s dormant voice was to speak volumes. It left many people uncomfortable and surprised.
Women now are breadwinners and some men are stay at home dads. Due to economic pressures from society, both spouses have to work to maintain their family compared to the 1950’s where only one spouse could work and support a family. Both shows display the importance of society’s typical family structure and gender roles from each time period. In conclusion, there has been a dramatic shift in women’s roles in society today when compared to the
In conclusion, there are still phantoms that women face in society after moving on from the “Angel in the House” and there are a various of steps in the future to come to evolve society’s implications of men’s and women’s positions in
During the 1890’s until today, the roles of women and their rights have severely changed. They have been inferior, submissive, and trapped by their marriage. Women have slowly evolved into individuals that have rights and can represent “feminine individuality”. The fact that they be intended to be house-caring women has changed.