Women Rights in Victorian England

Updated December 29, 2021

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Women Rights in Victorian England essay

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Victorian England referred to the period when Queen Victoria was the ruler of England. As a young girl, one’s duties was to learn valuable skills that would help them develop into respectable and admirable young women in society. A woman who would take care of her husband and fulfill all her duties as a wife was considered as a respectable woman. During the enlightenment period, women’s status began to decline even though there were feminist writers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, who advocated for the rights of women. This paper aims at analyzing Mary Wollstonecraft’s ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.’ And how the status of women deteriorates.

Wollstonecraft wrote the book ‘A Vindication of the Right of women’ to help women understand that they are not inferior to men. She tried to explain to the women in the society that there is more to life than just staying at home and serving a man. In her book, she tries to fight for women’s rights by saying that they deserve to be treated equally and given fair chances. For instance, she argues that a woman has the right to be educated and rationally but fully juts like a man.

She also believed that women’s position in society should be a respectable one, for they play a significant role. She argued that a woman raises the child, and as such, she should be respected and given equal chances to the man. She also talked about the fact that men view women as an object to be owned. She feels that a woman deserves more respect than what she is given.

However, even though Wollstonecraft tries to uplift the women by fighting for their rights and trying to make them understand their worth, other writers such as Coventry Patmore, who wrote the poem ‘The Angel in the House,’ argues out differently. In his poem, he tries to define an ideal woman during the Victorian England period (Moore, 41). In his poem, he praises his house and states how good she has been to her, how she was able to attend to all his needs. He says that most women should emulate her wife, Emily.

‘Her pleasure in her power to charm; How humbly careful to attract’ Patmore refers to his wife as an object who was there to please him. He further states that this particular purpose made him love her even more. She praises her for being submissive. He calls her an angel in the title.

Such controversies lead to the decline of women’s status in the Victorian England period while writers such as Mary try so hard to uplift the women, writers such as Patmore bring them down. As much as women don’t view it as bringing them down, they viewed it as praises. As such, most women preferred to remain submissive and inferior to men.

In summary, the Victorian England era was a period that defined the position of women in society. Ironically, England was ruled by a woman, yet women believed in the power of being inferior to men. Early writers such as Wollstonecraft tried to uplift the women, but it took over one piece of writing to elevate the women as more feminist writers came up, the power of women increased.

Work Cited

  1. Yousef, Nancy. Isolated Cases: The Anxieties of Autonomy in Enlightenment Philosophy and Romantic Literature. Cornell University Press, 2004.
  2. Moore, Natasha. ‘The Realism of The Angel in the House: Coventry Patmore’s poem reconsidered.’ Victorian Literature and Culture 43.1 (2015): 41.
  3. Wollstonecraft, Mary. Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Hints. Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Women Rights in Victorian England essay

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