Cult of True Womanhood

Table of Contents

The “Cult of True Womanhood” is defined as an opinion about how women were seen and judged as during 1820-1860 of the Industrial period. The term used for these women was called true women, which they were expected to follow and behave in a particular way. For instance, in the 1800’s, women were expected to be more religious than men, pure in their mind and heart, yield to the dominance of their husbands and stay at home and work. This was called Piety, its stated that religion is all that a woman needs in life, it’s given to the women for a natural and specific purpose. Religion belonged to women by right and a gift from God himself, and that a women’s piety was more important than men. Second, women were expected to act pure in their mind, heart and body until they were married. Purity was important to women’s behavior. For example, a woman’s virginity was seen as their greatest and purest gift. A woman’s virginity couldn’t be lost until her wedding night, and women had to stay fully committed to their husband and show how pure they are. Third, women were expected to behave submissively and obedient to their husbands The abuse of gender roles with the aid of unrefined or lesser men does not represent a delegitimization of the roles itselves.

Men were considered as women’s controllers according to God, the men had complete control over women and what they did in life. Lastly, the fourth behavior women must follow is Domesticity. Women were forced to stay home for their own safety. Women were expected to stay in their “public” and “private” sphere, where they would be separate from the men. In the article, Barbara Welter states that women were a “hostage in a home.” During this era, women were obligated to stay in the household and become a cook, nurse, maid and a caretaker of the children. Furthermore, if the women didn’t behave accordingly to these four ways, God only knows how they would end up in society. The “Cult of True Womanhood” was an attempt to preserve pre-modern values in the Industrial Age according to Barbara Welter. For example, Welter states that the four virtues of womanhood summaries the principles of domesticity that pressured and celebrated women’s basic assumed higher morality. Women, at all times, have been predicted to sustain the values of stability, ethics and democracy with the help of making the home a unique place, a safe haven from the territory where her husband could get away from the noticeably competitive and risky, unethicality of industry and business. Welter argues that the cult of true womanhood was an attempt to preserve pre-modern values during this age. I believe Barbara means that the cult of womanhood tried to bring pre-modern values of woman into society. But it indeed failed due to women’s expectations of submissiveness and domesticity.

These pre-modern values were ignored during the Industrialization era, and women were seen to behave in a specific and proper way at all times. Industrialization was incompatible(unsuited) with the “Cult of True Womanhood” for many reasons. For example, in a sense, Industrialization changed the business of men and women. The reason being is women can no longer be consumers or producers in a factory or business. Men took over being the consumers of businesses while women were forced to stay at home and do work around the house. Industrialization was incompatible with the cult of true womanhood due to this reason. In the 19th century, the “Cult of True Womanhood” left the women feeling guilty for several of reasons. For example, Women became constricted to a world of impossible expectations of domesticity and submissiveness. From these expectations for women, a majority of them was angry and felt immense guilt along with frustration. Additionally, if women lost being pure, they would feel a sudden urge of guilt which would lead them to being mad or committing death. A number of women blamed themselves, while some of the women challenged the usual, and lastly a few women tried to hold towards the virtues and magnify the domain of womanhood. The “Cult of True Womanhood”” was an attempt by men in literary circles to prevent women from taking advantage of new opportunities during the Industrial Age. For example