I’ve fallen a bit behind in fisking our Victorian MRA dude, but never fear! I shall persevere until the end. Eventually. After finishing mah bad Bible stories book, doing up some hawt geology posts and working on this amazing backlog of nature photography I have got. In the meantime, there’s this very concise (and potentially rage-inducing) post on coverature by Cerys Gruffyydd for your history-of-how-horribly-women-were-treated needs. Trigger warning for marital rape.
While lived experience could be more flexible, this was not something that women could count on. If it came to a dispute, it was the letter of the law that prevailed. Since, legally, she did not exist, a married woman could not enter into contracts in her own right, bring suit or be sued, or own a business. A married woman could not own anything. Not just property, all of which, even if it came with her at marriage, belonged completely and totally to her husband, nothing at all. She did not own the clothing she wore. Any children she gave birth to belonged to her husband and were his to do with as he liked. If she were divorced the children were still the property of the husband. It was not just the “fruits of her body” which belonged to her husband, but the body, itself. The legal line was drawn at the point of death. A man was entitled to beat his wife as he saw fit, providing he did not actually kill her. Consent by the wife to sexual intercourse was a given. By definition she could not be raped.
There’s much, much more. Join me in being ever so glad we weren’t born as women in that era, and are finally beginning to cast off the remaining shackles from when women were considered male property.
I mean, dear fuck – wife-selling was an actual thing.
Anyway. Soon, we shall return to refill our mugs with Mr. Austin Williams’s male tears*, as he weeps at the beginning of that independence. Delicious!
*I’ll even try to publish them in the proper order this time.