Susan Anthony's Piety: The Cult Of Domesticity

Great Essays
The cult of domesticity is what defined a true woman in the mid to late 1800’s. With this mindset of true womanhood, a lady was expected to be pious, pure, domestic, and submissive. Piety was an important quality for a woman to have, because she was supposed to be the spiritual leader of the family. A woman’s purpose, as far as piety went, was to bring her husband back to God. Next, a woman was to be pure. The main point of purity was for a woman to stay faithful to her husband sexually, but it could also include women abstaining from promiscuity, gambling, drinking, and the like. Instead, a woman would be cheerful, kind, and motherly. After purity came domesticity, meaning that a woman’s job was to raise the children, cook the food, clean …show more content…
One example of a woman who hated the cultural mindset of true womanhood was Susan B. Anthony. Susan B. Anthony grew up in a home full of advocates, namely for equal human rights for every person regardless of gender or race. With this mindset, she realized how oppressive the cult of domesticity was, and she wanted to change the culture of America to how it is today. However, Susan Anthony’s mindset was far ahead of the times she was in. She wanted a modern America in a time that was not ready for it, but that did not stop her. After teaching for fifteen years, she became active in temperance. However, because she was a woman, she could not speak at temperance rallies. This experience led her to join the women 's rights movement in 1852, along with her friend Elizabeth Stanton. She then dedicated her life to woman suffrage. Susan Anthony also never married, because she believed that a man would oppress her. She was also remarkably independent; a trait that was largely uncommon for the women of the 1800’s. Her reasons for believing this ties into the submission part of “true womanhood”. The cult of domesticity simply was not for her, and thanks to that, she raised many men and women to evolve a new mindset that has helped us get where we are today. Unfortunately, Susan B. Anthony never got to see what she worked her entire life, and even got arrested for: the vote for …show more content…
The new morality was a tremendous change in how women behaved. The new morality glorified personal freedom and influenced several aspects of American society. Women began to work outside the home, make their own money, and even attend college. Women 's fashion changed enormously, as they began to admire the youthful look of the celebrities of the time. Automobiles were also on the rise, and they encouraged the new morality by making the nation 's youth much more independent. Additionally, women began going out in public without a male chaperone. Amazingly, just a generation before that, a woman would be disgraced for such acts. Thus, there was no place for the cult of domesticity. Independence for women broke the rules of submission, which was a fourth of the entire mindset that the cult of domesticity brought to the society of the 1800’s. Women took pleasure in breaking the rules, because it made them feel liberated: a feeling long overdue for them. Young women became wild with their freedom, and did not seem to care about what the older generations thought of it. Another rule of the cult of domesticity that was shattered in the 1920’s, was purity. While purity was largely about abstaining from promiscuity, a certain dress code went along with it. Women in the 1800’s dressed in many layers, covering as much skin as possible. Even an ankle showing in those days would label a woman promiscuous, and thus she

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