Witness, if you will, these photographs of young teenage girls from the mid-19th-century.
Some of the girls look happy. Some look troubled and apprehensive as only teenagers can. These youngsters will grow up into a world where women have limited rights. Where they have no vote. Where a man is always head of the household. Where, in some instances, they will not be allowed to own property or even keep their own money.
These girls will be expected to marry and have sex with only their husband. If they have sex with other men, they will be ostracized from their society and quietly described as “fallen women.”
Witness too, their limited range of pastimes. Reading, embroidery, and music. Sporting activities were generally frowned upon as damaging to a woman’s health. For example, riding a bicycle was thought to cause orgasms which could inspire an unhealthy interest in sex.
It’s a strange, distant world, but one that is still closer than we think. Yet, each of these portraits is filled with a sense of hope. Each of these young girls (and millions of others like them throughout the years), made a difference just by existing. They were part of a progression, a slowly changing (r)evolution, that furthered the reach and ambition, and eventually lead to the world we live in today.
Via Vintage Everyday.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Photos of Victorian women and their long-ass hair
Just some Victorian women and their big-ass dresses
Young, Black and Victorian: Wonderful photographs of Victorian women of color
Tattoo You: Meet Victorian England’s first tattoo artist
Slave to Love: The strange fetishized romance between a Victorian Gentleman and a Servant