Although Mina has traits of the Victorian New Woman, which include intelligence and working out of the home, Mina, unlike Lucy, never really strays from being a supplicant wife. On the contrary of lustful and sinful Lucy, Mina represents an impossible idealism. As Van Helsing’s highly praises, “She’s one of God’s women, fashioned by His own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter, and that its light can be here on earth. So true, so sweet, so noble, so little an egoist…”
Social gender roles of women and men during the Victorian Era were very strict and looked upon differently than any other time period. One of the many characteristic features of the Victorian culture was its patriarchal ideas about women. This culture looked upon sexual activity as a negative matter amongst women. The theme of sexuality is very significant
Gilman writes “ he is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction.” (Gilman 648),this statement shows the mindset of women during the 1800’s and how men were superior even in the eyes of a woman. During the late 1800’s the current social issue was women’s rights. Many women like Charlotte Gilman were women rights activists. Not all women were in support of women having the same rights, and very few men believed in women 's suffrage. J.B Sanford, California 's senator in 1911 opposed women’s suffrage.
However, defining the problem is difficult. Friedan realizes the reason why: the media is part of the problem, because women’s magazines claim that women are finding happiness where, in fact, they are not. Friedan admits that as a writer for these magazines she has helped perpetuate the problem. Friedan researched women’s magazines before and after World War II and notes that during the 1930s women were portrayed as pioneering career women who had their own goals apart from or in addition to marriage and family. She describes the stereotype of the “New Woman,” who frequently appears in pre-war magazine articles and fiction as struggling with and succeeding at defining her own identity.
However, the 19th century saw many important works regarding women’s rights being published. One of the most significant of these was John Stuart Mill and his wife Harriet’s 1869 book The Subjection of Women (832). Mill used his unique position as a member of Parliament to have his opinion be heard and carry weight. His wife contributed to the book prior to her untimely death, and the arguments presented were an affront to the norms of European society (“The Subjection”). His opinions defending women’s rights were logical and appealed to humanistic values, arguing that humankind was being held back from its full potential by confining half of the population to the household and not educating them (“The Subjection”).
The ‘New Woman’ was an ideal that sought a woman’s individual control over the outcome of her life, whether that was in personal, social, or economic realms. This is contrasted greatly with the Victorian ideal of a woman. Before the turn of the twentieth century, women were viewed as a man’s property and were expected to be angelic, weak, and subservient beings. Though America did not follow all of Britain’s social movements, many in the higher classes tried to achieve the ideal of being a Victorian ‘lady.’ The ‘New Woman’ movement went hand in hand with the suffragists’
Mina is intellectually equal to the opposite sex, but physically and emotionally submissive. Mina is devoted to her husband Jonathan, she is the ideal woman Victorian woman. Once Mina has been bitten, her transformation slowly spreads, the thoughts that have been repressed for so long have surfaced. Dracula is represented as having an unquenchable thirst for blood and even power. Using his male dominance and superiority over women to fulfill his every desire, having little regard for the well-being of others.
In the Victorian Age, women were seen as part of the household and unable to function in the work force. This view was especially applied to middle class women. Patmore then compared the ideal marriage to poles on opposite ends of the earth that’s magnetic pull keeps them together. This metaphor illustrated the view that women and men are distinctively different. Patmore argued that the differences between man and woman, such as dominance versus submissive, held the household together.
Civil or political rights for the female was strictly limited, as they were considered susceptible and fragile which were not capable of making their own decisions. The conduct book Woman in her Social and Domestic Character (1831) representing the traditional ideas about Victorian women, the author believes the domestic home life is the primary sources of a woman’s influence, while they should take the subordinate position to men . Therefore, we can see women at that time were expected to marry and live up to an image of “ideal wife”– submissive, demure and perform domestic duties–rather than receive the formal
In order to obtain this, women are educated to be submissive, “to make complete abnegation of themselves, and to have no life but in their affections” (Mill 1108). Women are brought up to believe that they can never be independent individuals and their whole life revolves around their husband and children. Mill touches another important point in Victorian society: education. During the Nineteenth Century, England has significantly improved its system of education, because of the necessity of educating the growing middle class. Gentlemen start to attend university, which once was only attended by priests, to study humanities, and the bureaucrats who administrate the British Empire all received a specific education in order to do so.