Sesames and Lillies

Based on last week’s discussion of the women as the “Angel of the House” in the Victorian Era, I researched how this manifested itself in Advertisement during Victorian times. In class we discusses how as the work life moved outside of the home, there became an increasing need for consistent, nurturing home environment. In Sesames and Lillies, a Victorian publication, describes the home as a “temple on earth”, and “the vestibule of heaven”. As discussed in class, before the work moved outside the home, women were integral part of the family business.  Yet once the spheres were separated, and the “man’s world” of work was distanced from the home, there seems to be this need to elevate one above the other. To  validate one on its own right.

  The book “Consuming Angels”, written by Lori Anne Loeb explores how advertising encouraged this ideal of women. In one advertisement for a tea and coffee company, the husband is returning home, greeting his children, while the wife stands near the door of her abode. Here, she assumes an almost holy position, her arms stretched out, welcoming her husband home. Her outstretch, open palms reminded me of a statue I had seen of Mother Teresa recently.

 I have always been (regrettably) influenced by the advertisement world. I see a women wearing something and it will 9 times out of 10 convince me I should be wearing that myself. With that said, I would love to have explored the psychological minds of these women who lived an era where everywhere they looked, they saw what they should be. Much like how eating disorders exists today, I would guess that women living in Victorian eras suffered from some form of anxiety, over worry of how to achieve the heavenly perfection which seemed to surround them, but which they themselves knew little about.

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