Thursday, July 21, 2016

Guidance for the Gentler Sex 1835

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Family Fashions May 1836
Loretta reports:

Other than asking whether attitudes have changed—a little, a lot, not at all?—or whether these precepts ought to apply to men as well, I leave the commenting to my gentle readers.
Female Temper. It is particularly necessary for girls to acquire command of their temper, because much of the effect of their powers of reasoning and of their wit, when they grow up, depend upon the gentleness and good humor with which they conduct themselves. A woman who would attempt to thunder with her tongue, would not find her eloquence increase her domestic happiness. We do not wish that women should implicitly yield their better judgment to their fathers and husbands, but let them support the cause of reason with all the graces of female gentleness.

A man, in a furious passion, is terrible to his enemies; but a woman, in a passion, is disgusting to her friends ; she loses all that respect due to her sex, and she has not masculine strength and courage to enforce any other kind of respect. These circumstances should be considered by those who advise that no difference should he made in the education of the two sexes.

The happiness and influence of woman, both as wives and mothers, and indeed, in every relation, so much depends on the temper, that it ought to he most carefully cultivated. We should not suffer girls to imagine that they can balance ill humor by some good quality or accomplishment; because, in fact, there is none which can supply the want of tenderness in the female sex.

Mother & Daughter Fashions June 1836
Woman. It is in the middle rank of life that we behold woman in all her glory: not a doll to carry silk and jewels, a puppet to be dangled by coxcomb children, an idol for profane adoration; reverenced to-day, discarded to-morrow ; always jostled out of the true place which nature and society would assign her, by sensuality or contempt; admired but not respected; desired but not esteemed; ruled by fashion not affection ; imparted her weakness, not her constancy, to the sex she should exalt; the source and mirror of vanity.

We see her as a wife, partaking the cares and cheering the anxiety of the husband; dividing his labors by domestic diligence, spreading cheerfulness around her; for his sake, sharing the refinements of the world without being vain of them ; placing all her pride, all her joy, all her happiness, in the merited approbation of the man she honors and loves.

As a mother, we find her the affectionate, the ardent instructress of the children she has tended from their infancy; training them up to thought and virtue, to meditation and benevolence, addressing them as rational beings, and preparing them to be men and women in their turn.
The Ladies' Companion, Volumes 3-4, 1835


Karen Anne said...

I think the word here is puke :-)

Regencyresearcher said...

It is realistic though the language isn't to our taste.
A woman is called derogatory names if she speaks forcefully and gives someone the edge of her tongue. Men are often considered leaders for doing so,
A forceful man is admired; a forceful woman isn't.
At a time when the only position a woman really could hold was as a wife and mother, the advice was don't be a shrew. One catches more flies with honey than vinegar.

Annette N said...

Whether we like to admit it or not - we cannot change history. These instructions were applicable to the life women lived then. And, if one is honest, today - at times you hear women being described in unflattering terms if they are strong and express themselves strongly. But, today's women are more aware of what works and what doesn't. At least I like to think so.

Unknown said...

"implicitly yield her better judgement" is a fascinating phrase... with a whiff of subversion. It may imply that a woman HAS better judgement than her father or husband.

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket