True Womanhood Lyrics Follow
The culture of domesticity (often shortened to cult of domesticity) or cult of true womanhood is a term used by some historians to describe what they consider to have been a prevailing value system among the upper and middle classes during the nineteenth century in the United States and the United Kingdom. This value system emphasized new ideas of femininity, the woman's role within the home and the dynamics of work and family. "True women", according to this idea, were supposed to possess four cardinal virtues: piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness. The idea revolved around the woman being the center of the family; she was considered "The light of the home".
The women and men who most actively promoted these standards were generally white and Protestant; the most prominent of them, lived in New England and the Northeastern United States. Although all women were supposed to emulate this ideal of femininity, black, working class, and immigrant women were often excluded from the definition of "true women" because of social prejudice.
Since the idea was first advanced by Barbara Welter in 1966, many historians have argued that the subject is far more complex and nuanced than terms such as "Cult of Domesticity" or "True Womanhood" suggest, and that the roles played by and expected of women within the middle-class, nineteenth-century context were quite varied and often contradictory; for example, it has been argued that much of what has been considered as anti-feminist in the past, in fact, helped lead to feminism.