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To have the "Victorian mumsnet" thread evoke a lot of feeling which I would now like to share

(16 Posts)
Evelight Mon 17-Apr-17 20:50:51

I really, really enjoyed that thread, especially playing "how many literary references I can spot".

AIBU to say that additional to the obvious fun of the thread, I felt there was an undertone of a certain amount of anger at the way our great-great-great grandmothers and aunts were treated (did I get the number of greats right?)- not in the distant past, but a mere 200 yrs ago, and not in some remote barbaric tribe. The last known person who was born in the 1800s died only a few days ago!!

And also there was relief, oh how good look how far we have moved on from those terrible (for womenandchildren) times.

BUT also, WIBU to suggest there is also an element of caution/fear- suggesting that the rights and freedoms women have won since those days- should not be taken for granted, but actively safeguarded? Sometimes when you look at sites like reddit, or even mainstream media, or posters on here recounting certain things- (two recent frays: the husband "who didn't agree" to his wife having an epidural during a painful childbirth, and tussle over whether it is "ok" to feed women less than men at family gatherings) reminds us how fragile this progress is. It is not as robust as we would like to think. Victorian values have certainly a lot to answer for in current misogyny!


MrsTerryPratchett Mon 17-Apr-17 21:01:38

I don't think Victoria values have anything to do with it. I think the perception of morality, which some people ascribe to the Victorians (who were all shagging like rabbits) is to blame.

I think the religious right has far more power and influence over women's rights than the government did in the Victorian era.

Asmoto Mon 17-Apr-17 21:09:58

I agree, OP. I had fun with the thread, but it was frightening how easy it was to 'think myself into' Victorian misogyny, and I think that's because there are still echoes of those mindsets today.

I'm now hoping no one advanced searches me and reads my "Victorian" posts out of context grin.

newtlover Mon 17-Apr-17 21:14:22

I agree- I haven't looked at this thread but I often feel I am on a tightrope between being pleased at the progress that has been made (and that I live in a western liberal democracy of sorts) and fear/anger that we will lose ground and that the situation is still so bad.
Not sure what the solution is.

olderthanyouthink Mon 17-Apr-17 21:19:21

I was think the other day that it's amusing/worrying they was say things like "it's 2017 for gods sake of course women should be able to..." and people in 1917 said similar.

olderthanyouthink Mon 17-Apr-17 21:19:38

Thinking not think

toconclude Mon 17-Apr-17 21:44:54

Ex history student here, and most of it was only what everyone thinks the 19th century was like...

Andrewofgg Mon 17-Apr-17 21:46:45

We all ought to wonder what opinions and attitudes which seem obvious to us will seem bizarre - or wicked - to our descendants a few generations down the line.

Evelight Mon 17-Apr-17 21:48:28

@MrsTerry- but its not just about the shagging- is it? In fact the two examples I used from this site (food - whether a woman can decide for herself whether she has enough to eat- and pain relief during childbirth) are not specifically about shagging, but about the bodily autonomy of women. STILL up for discussion.

I mean, Victorian values themselves didn't rise out of nowhere, and -I don't know the academic specifics of the area- but yeah organized / state-sponsored religion. Huge one to blame.

Evelight Mon 17-Apr-17 21:51:53

and most of it was only what everyone thinks the 19th century was like...

Be that as it may, it's more or less the popular depiction of life for women before women's rights became "a thing". Even if it is not hundred percent historically accurate, it is culturally important and relevant.

newtlover Mon 17-Apr-17 21:54:15

IIRC it was Queen Victoria who pioneered the use of pain relief in childbirth which was thought to be wrong (going against the biblical curse on Eve that she should suffer in childbirth) - and the fact that she used it made it acceptable to the general public.

newtlover Mon 17-Apr-17 21:58:54

Victoria and chloroform

Religionorno Mon 17-Apr-17 22:03:29

Victoria used weed a lot for period pains.

I think sexism is still rife. I think some men still see women as the 'domestic' who should cook, clean, look after the kids and accept him going out, getting drunk, smacking round the wife on return. It makes me extremely sad to see the posts about controlling and abusive husbands. As for the one telling his wife not to have an epidural, I'd have told him to fuck RIGHT off.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 17-Apr-17 22:05:14

Shagging was the example I was using to illustrate that, as toconclude writes, it's all based on what we assume was going on.

There was a thread about feminism and pre-farming cultures recently. Everyone assuming that pre-farming cultures were sexist. in some ways yes, but women had a lot of power based on producing about 70% of the calories consumed (and no storage meaning that strength =/= power).

At the beginning of the Victoria era, most MEN didn`t have the vote and goodness help you if you were Irish. I`m not saying that women`s rights weren`t an issue, of course they were. But I think we are a little complacent about women`s rights having improved that much. I think life is generally easier but women are still dying at the hands of men, being paid less, abused and financially controlled. Have you seem the bloody cabinet?

Evelight Mon 17-Apr-17 22:13:15

"I think some men still see women as the 'domestic' who should cook, clean, look after the kids and accept him going out, getting drunk"

Oh absolutely- and statistically speaking more women are doing those chores anyway. What annoys me even more are the men who pay lip service to feminism, and are all about equality on the outside, yet for some miraculous magical reason that nobody can quite explain, their household is basically ran same as the 1950s (yeah, anther huge simplification). I know a fair amount of families where both partners have PhDs, but somehow, for some reason noone knowsquitewhy whyohwhy, it's the woman who has given up a career or works part-time/casually.

"But I think we are a little complacent about women`s rights having improved that much."
Of course- totally agree! This was the spirit of my OP.

Andrewofgg Tue 18-Apr-17 20:16:47

As Queen Victoria said:

"I am most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of 'Women's Rights', with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feelings and propriety. Were woman to 'unsex' themselves by claiming equality with men, they would become the most hateful, heathen and disgusting of beings and would surely perish without male protection."

Don't shoot - or flame - the messenger. Just quoting!

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