“A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.”
― D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover
The Victorian Era adopted some great things. Reading was a familiar pastime, the theatre, fashion and the nowadays ever fading face to face conversation was how they communicated. Strange things happened too. Freak Shows, Death Photography and Jack the Ripper. What gets me all hot and bothered during that time period is the literature. There were some phenomenal masterminds behind classic prose like Austen, Lawrence, Bronte, Browning, just to name a few.
What I abhor more than I love about that era was the treatment and inequality of women. Heroines in my stories are strong, opinionated, flawed and beautiful. If my character doesn’t start out that way, inevitably, the traits appear before the words “The End” are typed.
Back then, men made all the decisions. Women were dependent, submissive, emotional and almost always regarded solely for their sexual magic. Their womb. Their ability to procreate. It was a hot mess!
Matrimony was what they aspired to. Not being teachers, cops, firefighters, doctors, lawyers…presidents. And her magical womb, the space between her legs wasn’t so enchanting unless the woman was a virgin. What belonged to her depreciated if it was driven around the corner even once. No man wanted her. Other women shunned her.
Women overdressed during those times, making sure not to expose their skin. Heaven forbid they enticed someone by showing a little leg. Masturbation was the devil’s work or diagnosed as insanity. What! I say it’s insane not to know your body.
Sex wasn’t about making each other feel good, or a way to convey the depth of love without the use of words. It wasn’t about strengthening a raw, passionate bond between people. Sex was a means to produce children – a carnal type of stage performance. His entertainment. Her duty.
But that era wasn’t all bad. Although a woman’s ideas were no more sought after than those of children, a certain level of respect was expected of men. They pulled out chairs, opened doors, never sat until the women were seated. Those things were the norm, unlike today where women are surprised by the genteel acts.
The courting period was pretty awesome too. Wouldn’t it be cool if men didn’t expect women to spread their legs for shits and grins just because he bought her meal or said, “Hello?” Herein is the difference between today’s men and those in that era – drivers now expect to test drive the little red Corvette as long as they wanted to – without a commitment. Even worse, some women allow the bull…t to happen!
Could you image Marilyn Monroe covering her body? Tina Turner concealing those flawless legs of hers? Angela Basset covering her muscular, sexy arms? Adele not belting out powerful tunes? Jennifer Lawrence silently giving ’em hell. Hell no! They made their own decisions. Delicious bombshells! Women confident in their own skin.
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
― Marilyn Monroe
Well said Marilyn! Women are perfect storms – estrogen, that time of the month, raising babies, running a household, being a freaking Superwoman! We deserve to occasionally be an emotional mess and have a moment of temporary, certifiable madness. Men need to just shut the f*ck up and wait until the thunderstorm passes and the waters calm again.
The journey for women has been a long one, and we still have a ways to go. However, I’m proud of the strides we’ve made. We teach children, save lives, raise families, run households, run countries. Women can have it all. A voice. A mind. An opinion. Beauty.
I raise my glass to all the Marilyns, Tinas, Angelas, Adeles and Jennifers out there – with love!
Let’s “chatt” again soon,