Victorian Era Women

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Throughout time, women have typically had to work harder than men to be recognized in a field. This has made it difficult for women to receive recognition for their achievements and this has been especially prominent throughout history as the most famous artists have been men. Women have been used as an object and taught to be seen rather than heard. During the late Victorian era, women were reduced to their looks and their success in life was determined by how closely they fit the beauty standard and who they married. They were often seen as helpless and dependant through their restricting fashion and lack of freedom. As time has progressed, ideals of beauty, class and women’s rights were challenged in many ways. One of the most significant…show more content…
Some of the earliest examples of women breaking the mould and going from model to creator was during the Arts and Crafts Movement. Because of this, women were able to be seen as beautiful even when they did not fit the present standard of beauty. They were given more freedom through fashion, both literally and artistically as they transformed the favoured way of dress by introducing a new style which was both freeing from the previous restricted style and open to artistic direction which women were able to create. During this time women from any social status, economic background or level of education were able to become creators. Women could now become designers, artists and poets. This opened more doors for more women and allowed them transition from an object that was meant to be looked at to a creator. The Arts and Crafts movement helped women make the transition from muse to artist.

The Arts and Crafts movement was a defining point in English history. It began with William Morris and John Ruskin as leaders in the movement, defining a new aesthetic standard. They set out to “change the working conditions of craftspeople while
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The late Victorian era was an oppressing time for women as they had much fewer rights than men. Their upbringing, way of dress and expectation to be submissive and domestic made their options limited for being able to make more of themselves than a housewife. Because of the Arts and Crafts movement, women who would spend their lives as shopkeepers or scullery maids were able to become artists, poets and creators. Examples of this include women within the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood such as Elizabeth “Lizzie” Siddal and Jane Morris who paved the way for other female artists to succeed after them. In addition to this point, much of this could not have been done without the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood who, despite their title, were very supportive and inclusive to female artists. “The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a movement that enabled women to pursue their passions and do more than just pose for paintings. Women were finally beginning to establish themselves in the artistic world (Parkstone International, 2012).” Making the transition from model to artist, Elizabeth Siddal was taught to paint by her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She was a fast learner and quickly developed her own unique style (figure 2). She produced self-portraits which were especially interesting as the viewer could see both how she was seen and depicted by the other artists
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