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American Women Of Today Vs.Victorian Women Yesteryears

1733 words - 7 pages

When we begin to look at marriage in the Victorian era and compare it to modern marriage we cannot eliminate all the time in between. Through time marriage and the role of women in marriage has evolved. We will begin to examine the reasons for marriage, marriage and divorce, and of course attitudes toward women. We will be able to better understand how things have progressed and in some ways how things have not changed at all. We will begin first with talking about why Victorian Women married.
There are several factors that contributed to women during the Victorian age to marry. Many of these results were a result of lack of choice. First off we need to deal with education to understand ...view middle of the document...

They did not want to risk being shunned from their families by not marrying someone in a higher class. If a woman were to get engaged and break it off she would risk living the rest of her life a spinster. This was the ultimate way to lose social position.
The progression from Victorian marriage to modern marriage was a slow process. In the 1960's the sexual revolution was a time when women began to exert their power and freedoms more publicly. At this point in history women were beginning to marry for happiness and not as a result of coercion. When we begin to look at the typical marriage from the 1960's and 1970's we think of families such as the Brady Bunch. In actuality marriages were not that picture perfect. Women began to work more and more outside of the home and during war time were asked to take on more of the jobs that their husbands had left behind when they went away to war. Women started the battle to begin to earn as much as men although this is a battle that still continues today.
Beginning in the 1840's a series of laws were passed that began to allow women in marriage to have a bit more control. With the passage in 1839 of the Infants and Child Custody Act women were allowed take custody of their children under the age of seven if divorced or separated. They could not take custody if they had been found to be adulterous. Before this law the father was immediately awarded custody and it did not depend on the reasons for divorce. In 1857 secular divorce was established in England through the Matrimonial Causes Act/Divorce act. This allowed for the court to order payments to a divorced or estranged wife. The wife could inherit property, be sued and protect her wages from a husband who deserted her. She still could not get a divorce based only on her husband being an adulterer but a man could still divorce his wife solely for adultery. A woman had to prove that her husband had been cruel, deserted her or prove that incest had been committed obtain a divorce. As we move forward to 1870 the Married Women's Property Act allowed for women to keep their earnings and even inherit personal property and money. Everything else still belonged to her husband if she had acquired it before or after marriage. In 1883 the Custody Acts allowed for women to be awarded custody of children up to the age of 16. Slowly but surely women are gaining control over themselves, their children and their possessions. In 1882 a woman could finally keep all personal and real property that she had gotten before and during her marriage.
From the age they were small women were expected to be these perfect dolls if we want to put it bluntly. They grew up with these aspirations that they would grow up to marry this perfect man that would be everything they ever dreamed about. Men marrying at that time still seemed to have those romanticized dreams. Once married, women would feel disappointed that they did not have this perfect relationship. This led to an...

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