Davidenko A. A. Gender Aspects of Gentlemanly Etiquette in Victorian Britain (.pdf)


The article presents a number of aspects of gentlemanly masculinity in Victorian Britain (1837–1901) from various sources. The first part describes gender order of the Victorian society. It shows that patriarchal values provided men with the widest range of rights, while the field of women's activities was extremely limited. The view that different dominant traits in the characters of men and women predetermined the success of the former in public affairs and the latter in the household was at the heart of the popular patriarchal idea of separate spheres for men and women. It is noted that the rules of a gentleman, set forth in the books of etiquette, were the standard of male behavior towards women in the Victorian era. At the same time, social processes contributed to the democratization of the concept of “gentleman” and to the gradual erosion of the image of a gentleman as a bearer of moral values. Based on the analysis of publications on ungentlemanly behavior towards women, the author makes a preliminary conclusion that, in general, such incidents were an exception. It is shown that the standard of gentlemanly behavior in Victorian society was maintained by such mechanisms of gender control as civil initiatives in the form of personal appeals to newspapers, press activities, which highlighted examples of unacceptable treatment of women, and the judicial system that punished gentlemen for misconduct.


Key words: gentleman, gentlemanly behavior, gentlemanly masculinity, the Victorian era, gender order.


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