5 Things You Did Not Know About Victorian Women

There is a lot of myths grown up around Victorian women. It was a strange time in history, and

one of the first real eras of the industrial revolution. It was an exciting time, a time for progress

and mechanical innovation coupled with expansion of several industries that still remain strong

hallmarks in our society today.

Nowadays, between steampunk genres and other mis-characterizations of the Victorian era,

people tend to think of this era with a certain air of mythology. So what are some of the real

facts that were happening back then?

Well… for one women never wore pink. Pink and red were seen as a strong masculine color, so

usually pink clothing was reserved for men. Even children did not really wear pink. Most

children, both boys and girls, would wear white clothing till around ages 6 or 7, mainly because

white clothes could be bleached. After this age, children would be dressed in paler colored

versions of adult clothes. In the days of the Victorian era, this meant young women would be

wearing light pale blue dresses and later would graduate to darker blue. At the time, blue was

considered to be a very dainty, feminine color, something that would not have a role reversal

with the color pink until a little after the 1940s.

Along with the lack of pink in Victorian women, most of them also did not marry their cousins like

so many romantic tales suggest of the day. There were a lot of benefits to marrying your 1st

cousin, and the practice was totally legal. It was a method for the upper class to keep their

families wealth in the hands of their family. However, thanks to the expansion of the railroad and

the lowering cost of transportation it allowed women’s prospects for husbands to expand ever

further. The expansion of transportation also brought about more awareness of birth defects that

could happen between inter family marriages. Despite this, some of the higher upper class

echelons of society still would marry their first cousins, for the aforementioned wealth transfer

benefits.

You know all those corset scenes in those Victorian era themed movies? Yeah, that did not

really happen back in the day. While corsets were indeed a fashion statement, they are very

overblown in today’s age. Corsets were more than just a fashion piece, they were actually

consider items meant for keeping organs in “proper alignment”, or in other words the corset was

looked at in a similar way someone might look at a back brace.

Comparing corsets to back braces certainly brings about weird associations, yet that is how they

were viewed back then. To add insult to injury, the infamous practice of rib removal so women

could create an even thinner waist, is simply not something that happened. It is almost purely

fantasy.

Finally, women that made it into adulthood did not often die young. Most of them would live well

beyond their fifties during an era when dying at forty was considered the more average number.

Some would even live well into their seventies!

Check in with us next week as we explore more strange practices of the Victorian era.

 

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