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
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
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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