The Relevant and the Ridiculous: A Guide Through Feminist History

Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management was a guide for women, teaching them to run a Victorian household. Published in 1861, it was considered typical of the kinds of information women were thought to need, while requiring little or nothing else. Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management was a guide for women, teaching them to run a Victorian household. Published in 1861, it was considered typical of the kinds of information women were thought to need, while requiring little or nothing else.

1. Early feminism had a point. There were actual societal changes that needed to be made.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, feminism was fairly easy to understand. It was a movement of those who believed that women should enjoy the same freedoms as their male counterparts. This included access to the same level of education and freedom in choosing what they wanted from life--marriage, family, a career. Early feminists were fighting for this equality of status, to be seen as equal to men and, if married, to have rights separate from their husbands. Much of this was a reaction against the “feminine ideal” in Victorian society, which argued that women belonged in the home rather than in educational institutions or the workplace. Hooray for these early pioneers of equality!