The status of women in the Victorian era was often seen as an illustration of the striking discrepancy between the United Kingdom's national power and wealth and what many, then and now, consider its appalling social conditions. During the era symbolized by the reign of A lady monarch Queen Victoria , women did not have the right to vote, sue, or own property. At the same time, women participated in the paid workforce in increasing numbers following the Industrial Revolution. Feminist ideas spread among the educated middle classes, discriminatory laws were repealed, and the women's suffrage movement gained momentum in the last years of the Victorian era. In the Victorian era, women were seen, by the middle classes at least, as belonging to the domestic sphere , and this stereotype required them to provide their husbands with a clean home, to put food on the table and to raise their children.
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What happened behind closed Victorian bedroom doors was a taboo subject. Among the uptight middle classes the prevailing attitude was that sex was necessary for reproduction but not something to be discussed in polite society — let alone enjoyed. Most brides arrived at their wedding night having not even the faintest idea about what was expected and many were simply terrified. Any guidance that existed on the subject of sex ranged from the peculiar to wide of the mark. It was claimed that having energetic intercourse more than once a month risked damaging the internal organs while a passionate session between the sheets after a meal could easily trigger a stroke. Historian Therese Oneill has researched the often bizarre sex and beauty tips that were offered to young women in strait-laced Victorian times.
Victoria and Albert Museum
However the most accepted date as the start of the Victorian Age is , date of the First Reform Bill. This reform allowed the entrance of urban bourgeoisie or middle-class in the Parliament because the requirements for voting were simplified; there was an increasing number of population with the right. During this time of the Victorian Era, society was very moral and chaste, at least on the surface.
When her daughter came to her with fears about her wedding night, Queen Victoria is infamously quoted as telling the young bride to simply, "Lie back and think of England. Whether that is a totally accurate account is hard to verify, but it definitely speaks to the male-dominated mindset of the Victorian Era. Women were treated like children for pretty much their entire lives and were expected to never cause a fuss. That opinion obviously extended to married couples, too, where the husband was deemed in control of both their lives, making all of the decisions — even when it came to his wife's own body. It's certainly shocking to see just how drastically things have changed since then, with marriages now focusing on a true partnership between the pair.