Femininity: 'Ideal woman'

            Traditionally femininity equated a picture of a "fragile heroine, pure and innocent, more attached to virginity than to life" (Basch XV). In the Victorian era, there emerged three different types of women: the ideal woman, the new woman, and the fallen woman. Traditional femininity is representative of the ideal Victorian woman. The Angel in the House by Coventry Patmore became a defining poem for the ideal woman. An ideal woman pleases men and to please "is a woman's pleasure," she is also "too gentle even to force," and when the man does something wrong she is expected to give pardon before he asks and then weep as if "the sin was hers" when he asks for the pardon (Patmore 2, 9, 16). The home was supposed to be feminine, a place for "nurture and love" (Tosh, "A Man's Place", 47). 

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