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Sanskrit

What were the Victorian's ideal of a perfect woman?

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July 01, 2008 1:50PM

Among the middle classes the ideal Victorian woman was the 'perfect lady'. She was not supposed to work outside the home, except in charities; she was certainly not supposed to earn (though some very modest payments for literary and artistic work were considered in order). A middle-class lady was supposed to run the household efficiently (preferably with the aid of servants) and she was supposed to find fulfilment in looking after her husband and in bringing up the children. She was above all 'the Lady of the House'. (Yes, I know this sounds quaint and even funny). By the 1870s or perhaps earlier it was considered most desirable that she should be sufficiently educated not to cause embarrassment to her husband or other male relatives. She supposed to avoid involvement in politics and to agree with her husband. The Lady of the House was supposed to asexual and certainly NOT supposed to enjoy sex; and as for having an O, that was just too shocking for words ... :) Obviously, this is a simplified picture.