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Dating and marriage during the victorian era

Victorian society viewed marriage as women’s natural and best position in life, and men agreed, seeing marriage as an expected duty of women.

One Victorian male contemporary writing in a letter to a friend described the perfect wife as nothing more than an extension of his household surroundings: “of course at a certain age, when you have a house and so on, you get a wife as part of its furniture” (Kent 91).

Firstly, motherhood was almost always separated from anything sexual.In order to be as sexually free as men in the Victorian era, women had to avoid motherhood and stand against society’s conventions and the rules set up by men.Therefore it seemed that despite the superficially elevated positions of wives and mothers, women were alone in a world ruled by men.Therefore, no matter what the women desired, most were predestined to become wives due to their economic reliance on men.Secondly, to be even considered as a potential wife, women had to be not only virgins, but were expected to remain innocent and “free from any thought of love or sexuality” until after they had received a proposal (Kane 97).Sex for any other reason than creating children was viewed as dirty and scandalous, quite separate from the revered sexless image of motherhood.Purity was an expectation and a necessity in order for motherhood to be truly appreciated: “Victorians considered purity a crucial component in ideal maternity.Such beliefs were required in order to properly bring up children, because “a mother who lacked religious faith could not instill sexual propriety in her daughter, and thus was unfit to be a mother at all” (Holmes and Nelson 21).Furthermore, women’s compliance with the accepted social maternal values (being pure, religious) was more important than their roles as mothers.Not only did the husband have almost complete control over his wife’s body, since beatings and marital rape were legal, their children also belonged to him, as did any property and money that the wife brought into the house.Indeed it is understandable to see why many women saw marriage as falling little short of slavery.

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  3. Victorian society viewed marriage as women’s natural and best position in life, and men agreed. Prostitution, legal during the Victorian era.

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