Victorian fallacy

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The Victorian fallacy describes the tendency of large proportions of western civilisation to equate the notion of history with the Victorian era. This generally results in history being perceived as more prudish and restrictive than it really was.

Women's Rights

Examples of the Victorian fallacy include the belief that society tended to suppress female sexuality throughout history and in all parts of the world and the notion that women throughout history have tended to remain largely confined to the home and with highly restricted rights. Women throughout history and around the world have varied in their legal rights. Some societies would give men rights lacking to women (and vice versa) while other societies would grant men and women similar rights.

The era of industrialisation saw a brief rise in certain rights being given to men in Western civilisation. An example would be the right to control real estate and financial assets. For the most part these rights were held as the head of the household. Men were the default head of the household but in a household headed by a woman this woman would generally possess these rights as well. Before the modern era these sorts of rights were not relevant to anyone except the aristocracy but as societal wealth grew with industrialisation a middle class developed. These middle class households would own land in their own right and the society needed to find ways to address that. This comes back to the definition of Patriarchy.


Cultures around the world and at different times have varied widely in their approach to female sexuality. Many cultures, including western Europe during the middle ages, have regarded female sexuality as stronger than male sexuality.

Child Raising

Responsibilities for raising children were often unlike the father as breadwinner, mother raises the children model that many people in the West today apparently perceive as the historical norm. The nuclear family is quite a new idea. Even in Western culture many people were involved in raising children in centuries past. For most of human history boys and girls alike would have spent a lot of time with their father as well as their mother as part of their daily activities. This was their upbringing. It takes a village to raise a child.

Assuming our species has been around for around 100,000 years, we have spent 90-100% of our time on this planet as hunter-gatherers (depending on region) and much of the rest of the time engaging in some form of agriculture. The concept of a house wife arose rather recently and represented women who did not have to engage in back-breaking agricultural or factory labour alongside their menfolk. The menfolk meanwhile kept at the back-breaking labour. Women have worked outside of the home in some form or other for most of human history. Originally they gathered and sometimes hunted, then they worked the land alongside their men and their children. Later a lot of them worked in factories, alongside their men and their children. Then eventually a few of them got to stay home while the men went out, mainly due to rising standards of living. Eventually this became common in some countries - we call them rich countries. Later the myth of the poor unfulfilled stay at home mother was born and the knowledge that this was in fact an historically privileged position was largely forgotten.