Early Victorian gender prescriptions featured men as industrious breadwinners and women as their loyal helpmeets.
Reinforced by social philosophers like Auguste Comte, Arthur Schopenhauer, Herbert Spencer, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and John Ruskin, this developed into a mid-century doctrine of 'separate spheres', whereby men were figured as competitors in the amoral, economic realm while women were positioned as either decorative trophies or spiritual guardians of men's immortal souls.
He is eminently the doer, the creator, the discoverer, the defender.
His intellect is for speculation, and invention; his energy for adventure, for war, and for conquest...
Changing patterns of patriarchal authority fell within a wider scenario of expanding rights and diminishing subservience for many people, including employees and young people.
In some ways resistance to change in gender relations thus represented a symbolically concentrated reaction against general democratisation.
It is a subject which makes the Queen so furious that she cannot contain herself.
God created men and women different - then let them remain each in their own position.' (Queen Victoria, letter ) In terms of gender ideology, the accession of Victoria was something of a paradox.
As women gained autonomy and opportunities, male power was inevitably curtailed; significantly, however, men did not lose the legal obligation to provide financially, nor their right to domestic services within the family.
Moreover, the key symbol of democratic equality, the parliamentary franchise, was expressly and repeatedly withheld from women.