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The Ideology of Domesticity Vs. Women’s Rights

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The Ideology Of Domesticity vs. Women’s Rights

During the Antebellum period in America a women’s role in society was drastically different than in todays world. In the nineteenth century women could not vote, nor go to college or even own their own property. At the time most middle class families embraced the ideology of domesticity. It was the idea that women were supposed to stay within their domestic sphere, cooking, cleaning and taking care of the household as well as the children. Women were limited to the household and restricted from concerning themselves with anything like politics, the economy, and commerce in law. The ideals and morals of domesticity degraded women and left them with out any basic human rights. Most Women’s rights activists rejected the ideology of domesticity because it portrayed women as weak and dependent. The idea of separate spheres was essentially a man’s view of what womanhood should be like. Even still there were many women that were opposed to the idea of change, claiming that leaving their household duties would be like deserting their commitment to god.

Though there was a large amount of women that were opposed to changing their ways of domestic life the greatest opposing force may have been a large number of the male population. Women ‘s rights activists argued that the ideology of domesticity and separate spheres was the masculine idea of womanhood. Most men claimed that women are lesser in strength, courage and intelligence and needed to be protected by a male figure. They firmly believed that women were simply too dependent and weak to concern themselves with the turmoil and hardships outside the home that men had to burden. Thomas R. Drew believed this when created his The Ideal Southern Women in 1835. He said, “He is the shield of the woman, destined by nature to guard and protect her. Her inferior strength and sedentary habits confine her within the domestic

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