Woman, sport and society in Victorian England

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
June Arianna Kennard (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Celeste Ulrich

Abstract: The stereotype of the Victorian woman does not suggest that she was very active in sport. On the contrary, sources, which included autobiographical works, periodicals, photographs and reports of public meetings, revealed that Victorian women were involved in such activities as rifle shooting, long-distance swimming and scores of golf tournaments. The central theme of the study concerned how the Victorian woman, particularly the middle-class woman, behaved in a sport situation, how this affected her role as woman, and conversely, how her role as woman affected her sports participation. Sport is juxtaposed with the feminine ideal: sport came into conflict with the feminine ideal and the reasons for this disparity are examined. The characteristics embodied in the feminine ideal polarized sex roles and served to obviate competition with men. In a social system which comprised cooperative unequals, participation in sport by women was disturbing. Sport was physical and masculine, and therefore outside woman's sphere which was emotional and spiritual. Sport entailed a degree of competition surpassing that sanctioned for women in the marriage market.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1974
Women athletes $z England $x History $y 19th century
Sports for women $z England $x History $y 19th century
England $x Social life and customs $y 19th century

Email this document to