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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 The Cult of Domesticity and True Womanhood The Cult of Domesticity & True Womanhood Defined: 1820-1860 A new ideal of womanhood and a new ideology about the home arose out of the new attitudes about work and family. Called the "cult of domesticity," 1.PietyNineteenth-century Americans believed that women had a particular propensity for religion. The modern young woman of the 1820s and 1850s was thought of as a new Eve working with God to bring the world out of sin through her suffering, through her pure, and passionless love. 2.PurityFemale purity was also highly revered. Without sexual purity, a woman was no woman, but rather a lower form of being, a "fallen woman," unworthy of the love of her sex and unfit for their company. The middle-class family came to look at itself, and at the nuclear family in general, as the backbone of society. 3. SubmissivenessThis was perhaps the most feminine of virtues.The Young Ladies Book summarized for the unknowledgeable, the passive virtues necessary in women: "It is certain that in whatever situation of life a woman is placed from her cradle to her grave, a spirit of obedience and submission, pliability of temper, and humility of mind are required of her." 4.DomesticityHousework was deemed such an uplifting task. Godey's Ladies Book argued, "There is more to be learned about pouring out tea and coffee than most young ladies are willing to believe." Needlework and crafts were also approved activities which kept women in the home, busy about her tasks of wifely duties and childcare, keeping the home a cheerful, peaceful place which would attract men away from the evils of the outer world. Women were deemed intellectually inferior to men as well as physically inferior.. A woman's place was therefore in the private sphere, in the home, where she took charge of all that went on. This ideal of womanhood had essentially four parts--four characteristics any good and proper young woman should cultivate: piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness When husbands went off to work, they helped create the view that men alone should support the family. This belief held that the world of work, the public sphere, was a rough world, where a man did what he had to in order to succeedTthat it was full of temptations, violence, and trouble. A woman who ventured out into such a world could easily fall prey to it, for women were weak and delicate creatures
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