Ideology of True Womanhood
Between 1820-1830, and sometime between the Civil War, there was a lot of growth of businesses and new industries. All of this growth created a new middle class in America. Back in the nineteenth century, middle class families could survive off of the goods or services that their husband’s jobs produced without making all the money they needed to survive. The men did all of the work which helped create a vision that all men should support the family while their wives and children stayed at home. This started the public sphere, the belief that the work was a rough job, and that a man had to do everything he had to do in order to be successful. It was engulfed in violence, trouble and temptations, and women were thought of as weak and delicate by nature. Women were then put into the private sector, in their homes where she was in control of everything that happened. Everyone in the middle class families saw themselves as the backbone of society. A new ideology about the home came after opinions towards work and family arose. This new ideal, called “domesticity,” provided us with a new view of women’s duties and roles but still treated men and women as total opposites. There were four characteristics that all good and proper young women should follow: piety, purity, domesticity and submissiveness. In the nineteenth century it was believed that American women were to demonstrate a particular behavior towards religion. They thought religion was good for women and that it helped put their minds at rest. Women who weren’t religious were considered the most disgusting human characteristic. They also believed that women were not women, but instead a lower form of being if they weren’t sexually pure. Marriage was supposed to be the greatest night in a woman’s life, when her she could give her greatest gift to her husband, her virginity. From this point on, she was dependent on him. A woman must remain pure regardless of any attempt made by a...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document