Women in the Domestic Sphere

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Seneca Falls Convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pages: 3 (1734 words) Published: October 28, 2014

Brandon Geoffrey Bosch
Professor Thomas Yanni
Humanities 1628 October 2014
Women’s Status
To be a married woman in the 19th century meant that giving up the right to property, legal action, wages, and many other rights that existed before entering a state of matrimony was just part of the deal. Once a woman was married she was responsible for everything to do with running a household, and raising children. This range of responsibilities was often grouped together and called the “domestic sphere”. On the other hand her husband would handle all matters of the law, of society, and of employment, maintaining control of the “public sphere”. The idea of two spheres meant that women could be easily subordinated to one sphere. The domestic sphere that existed in the nineteenth century affected every facet in the life of an American woman by reducing a woman’s right in society which called attention to the classism and racism of the day, eventually necessitating the need for conventions to be held and reevaluating how women thought of themselves and their rights. According to Margaret Fullers “Woman in the Nineteenth Century”, there were 4 types of marriages, with the first three each having their downfall and the fourth being a supposedly optimal marriage. The first type of marriage mentioned is a “Household Partnership” where the relationship is based on conveniency. The man is responsible for providing an income, and the woman is an almost pure example of what the domestic sphere embodies. The wife cleans, cooks, and raises kids, but other then these skills her husband has no other reason to continue the relationship. The second example of marriage is referred to as “Mutual Idolatry”. In these relationships each spouse sees the other as infallible and an example of perfection. The third marriage is “Intellectual Companionship”. In this situation both partners find each other engaging and fulfilling on a mental or intellectual level, but love is not necessarily in...
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