How did life in Victorian America shape our views on gender?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In America in the Victorian Age, the idea of separate spheres for women and men came to prominence.  This idea has stuck with us to some extent to the present day.  It is the idea that a woman's place is in the home, caring for the family while a man's place is out in the world of economics -- making money.

Before the Victorian Age, both men and women tended to work at home.  There was a sexual division of labor, but both sexes were working at home in ways that were economically important.  (The women might tend vegetables and collect eggs and churn butter while the men did the field work, for example.)

During Victorian times, more men started to go outside the home to work and women were left at home (not on a farm) with no work to do that brought in money.  This helped lead to our idea that women should not be involved in the world of making money and being out in public.

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