Sexual Attitudes During The Regency
Posted by Marie Bernadette on December 21, 1997 at 00:31:49:
In response to Oops!, written by Lesley on December 18, 1997 at 22:48:43
I do not think that you were out of line, Lesley. I found your quote quite interesting. Personally, I do not like prostitution, but I also do not like the prudism that ultimately and indirectly creates it. The Regency Era, and the prevailing attitudes of that time, was directly influenced by the preceeding liberal era. When women are restricted and expected to be virgins, men seek gratification elsewhere and so there is an increase in prostitution (how moral is that?). However, when a more liberal attitude prevails and women make their own choices there is less prostitution. The liberalism of the 18th century introduced the concepts of civil rights, women's rights and the abolition of slavery; in effect, these concepts produced a more moral society. These ideals carried over into the early 19th century and did not seriously wane until the Victorian era. I have read many books on the topic and have found that people in the Regency era were not prudes and I often shake my head when I hear people talk as if they were.
It is very interesting to observe the connection between corsets and morality. It appears to me that when women are corseted (restricted) society is more conservative and therefore less concerned with civil rights and so less moral. When women are not in corsets (not restricted) society is more liberal and so the civil rights that are the definition of the ultimate morality are more highly valued.
I will step down from my soap box now.
] ] For each opinion that sexual licentiousness is the only "freeing" behavior for women, and that virtue and fidelity in a woman (or man!) is to be despised, you may find several others stating that only a perverse and twisted society would distort the meaning of "morality" until it meant "immorality", celibrating prostitution and vice while mocking continence and virtue. I myself have very strong feelings on this matter...
] So do I! Uh, now I feel like I probably made a HUGE mistake in quoting this. Believe me, I don't dispise fidelity and virtue in men and women at all; nor do I believe in celebrating prostitution and vice or mocking virtue!
] What I wanted to do was to stimulate a discussion of whether or not the changing fashions from the time of JA's youth (tightly corseted) to her adulthood (the Regency) bore out the author's claim that society in England (or Europe) became more permissive. I remeber reading from the Regency Companion that the court surrounding "Prinny", the Prince Regent, was quite racy, much like the Marlborough House Set of "Bertie's" (Edward VII's) reign. Which is a little ironic considering that the fashions of Prinny's reign were pretty much the opposite of Bertie's reign. Oh well, I suppose I have managed to put my foot in my mouth again!
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