Seperate spheres within the victorian era

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  • Created on: 25-04-14 08:58
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Separate spheres hand out by TJ 26/2/14
Separate spheres in the Victorian era
The idea:
Men and women have such different roles within society that they almost inhabit separate spheres
of existence. Men inhabit the world of politics, economy, commerce, and law while women are part
of a private realm of domestic life, child-rearing, housekeeping, and religious education. These
separate spheres.
Biological determinism[edit]
The separation between female and male spheres was heavily influenced by biological
determinism,[17][18] the notion that women and men are naturally suitable for different social roles due
to their biological and genetic makeup.[19] The idea of biological determinism was popular during the
Age of Enlightenment and among such thinkers as JeanJacques Rousseau who argued that women
were inherently different from men and should devote themselves to reproduction and domesticity.[17]
Women were considered passive, dependent on men, and, due to their reproductive capacity, illsuited
for life outside the domestic realm.[20] Rousseau described women's primary duties in Emile, or On
Education, stating that "women's entire education should be planned in relation to men. To please
men, to be useful to them, to win their love and respect, to raise them as children, to care for them as
adults, correct and console them, make their lives sweet and pleasant these are women's duties in all
ages and these are what they should be taught from childhood."[17]
The popular beliefs about inherent sex differences remained deeply embedded in popular
consciousness throughout the Progressive Era.[21] By the early 20th century, however, dissident
anthropologists and other social scientists began to challenge the biological determination of human
behavior, revealing great similarities between men and women and suggesting that many sex
differences were socially constructed.[21] Despite these new insights and social and economic changes
such as women's entry into the labor force, the separate spheres ideology did not disappear.[20][21]
The spheres were seen as a result of God's will and the way men and women are biologically
predisposed.
Industrialization[edit]
The ideology of separate spheres emerged in the wake of the Industrial Revolution.[14] Prior to the
industrialization of the Western world, family members worked side by side and the workplace was
located mostly in and around the home. With the shift from homebased to factory production, men left
the home to sell their labor for wages while women stayed home to perform unpaid domestic work.
The separate spheres ideology reflected and fueled these changes.[15] Theorists such as Friedrich
Engels and, to a lesser extent, Karl Marx have stressed the importance of industrialization. Marx
argued that following the rise of capitalism, the home lost its control of the means of production and
consequently became a private, separate sphere. As a result, Engels contended, women were
excluded from participating directly in the production process and relegated to the subordinate
domestic sphere.[16]
Other influences[edit]

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Separate spheres hand out by TJ 26/2/14
"Woman has no call to the ballotbox, but she has a sphere of her own, of amazing responsibility and
importance. She is the divinely appointed guardian of the home...She should more fully realize that her
position as wife and mother, and angel of the home, is the holiest, most responsible, and queen like
assigned to mortals and dismiss all ambition for anything higher, as there is nothing else here so high
for mortals."
-- Rev.…read more

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