n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Victorian respectability and gendered domestic space

Volume 2007, Issue 13
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



The ideology of respectability, the essential objective of Victorian existence, was a complex combination of moral, religious, economic and cultural systems. Respectability dictated specific gender definitions and was organised around an involved set of practices and representations that covered every aspect of an individual's life. In the Victorian commitment to an imperative moral code, respectability spun a persuasive web that wove the disparate elements of the middle class together. The core of this refined behavioural code was common to both men and women; yet in every nuance, close attention to gender definitions was essential to gentility. Moreover, respectability became inseparable from the home, the site of complementary masculinity and femininity.

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