The middle and upper class woman of the 19th century were not brought up to pursue a career but to marry and produce children. The average age for a woman to marry in the 19th century was 22. Marriage was arranged by the family and most woman had little choice in the matter. Women were married to men of equal or slightly higher social status, marrying to those of a lower social class would have been considered shameful.  Once married all the women possessions, money and property now became the ownership of her husband. This included her person, her body was now his. Her purpose now as wife was to bear her husbands children and stay at home.

The children of wealthy middle class and upper class family’s were raised and taught by a nanny or governess and the housework and chores would be carried out by servants. This left the wives of the household to fill her time with genteel pursuits. Wives would spend their time with  other female family members, neighbors and female friends while there husband worked or socialized with other reputable men. It was said that the couple often would “eat apart, walk apart, even, most of the time, sleep apart”

 

References – http://www.hastingspress.co.uk/history/19/overview.htm

http://www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/make_your_way/stay.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM1czS_VYDI

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