The Cult of True Womanhood

Essay by Colin PostlewaiteHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 1997

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The Cult of True Womanhood

The 'Cult of True Womanhood' has greatly influenced society throughout all of America's history. This set of standards was first accepted and practiced by all of the European colonies. They were then passed through the generations and, in many cases, still exist. I'll describe the essay, 'The Cult of True Womanhood,' and discuss my views on it. I'll then illustrate how these standards are still present in today's society.

First, I'll discuss the essay. It's easiest to describe this essay if I begin by defining 'The Cult of True Womanhood.' As I stated the introduction, it is a set of standards. These principles create and have created a strong division between the genders, and therefore, caused tension. Basically, it states that men are to work and make money for the family. A woman's goal was to find a husband and have children.

Women were also expected to have four main cardinal virtues - piety, purity, submissiveness, and domestication. Piety is, basically, grace. Women were to expected to always be dainty and lovely. Purity speaks for itself. Women were expected to stay abstinent until marriage. Submissiveness means that the woman should, once married to a man, completely devote herself to him, carrying out his every wish within her power. One very powerful sentence in the essay well represents the woman's goals and values well according to 'The Cult of True Womanhood.' It states, 'Marriage improves the female character, not only because it puts her in the best possible tuition, that of the affections, and affords scope to her active energies, but because it gives her higher aims, and a more dignified position.' In my opinion, this means that marriage improves a woman's mindset, gives her direction, and gives her more motivation to...