Sociology Index

CULT OF DOMESTICITY

In the concept of cult of domesticity there is a Belief as in sociology of family that individual life is most fulfilling when experienced in a private household where women are chief homemakers and caregivers. Cult of domesticity can be found in women's magazines, religious journals, fiction and everywhere in popular culture.

Cult of domesticity is also associated with the idea that women have moral and temperamental qualities that are best expressed in the personal and domestic sphere of life. The Cult of Domesticity or Cult of True Womanhood was a prevailing gender roles view during the Jacksonian Era, in the United States.

Cult of domesticity or cult of true womanhood is a term used to describe the prevailing value system among the upper and middle classes during the nineteenth century in the United States and Great Britain.

In India Cult of Domesticity or True Womanhood, which means that the roles played by and expected of women within the middle-class exists to a large extent even in twentieth-century.

Belief that a woman's role in marriage was to maintain the home as a refuge for her husband, take care and teach the children and set moral examples for children to follow. According to the Cult of Domesticity or Cult of True Womanhood 'true women' were expected to possess the virtues of piety, purity, and domesticity.

The Cult of Domesticity identified the home as the "separate, proper sphere" for women, who were seen as better suited to parenting. The Cult of Domesticity developed as family lost its function as economic unit. Many of links between family and community closed off as work left home and market economy emerged downgrading a women's work.

We are interested in a complex conversation about the multivalent negotiations women (Indigenous peoples) have and continue to make with the cult of domesticity. How does the cult of domesticity for women of Indigenous peoples resonate similarly with and differently from other communities of women? How does the cult of domesticity resonate differently within and between Indigenous communities? To what extent, as argued by Mihesuah and Lomawaima, do Indigenous women embrace rather than reject the cult of domesticity?

In what ways did the Allotment Acts alter and reify the cult of domesticity for Indigenous women? From: seeking papers for a proposed panel on The Cult of Domesticity and Indigenous Women.

Beyond the cult of domesticity: Exploring the material and spatial expressions of multiple gender ideologies in Deerfield, Massachusetts - Deborah L Rotman, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Abstract: Though the cult of domesticity has been the most widely studied, additional gender ideologies such as equal rights feminism and domestic reform also structured human interactions during 19th-century America. Three models were used to understand gender ideologies. Deviations from expected material patterns were re-examined within a dialectics framework.  
A separation of gender roles existed prior to the codification of the cult of domesticity and was, therefore, not the exclusive domain of that ideology. Domesticity appeared and was codified in this rural village at about the same time as its material manifestations were occurring in more urban locations. The equal rights feminism and other gender systems occurred in Deerfield at the level of the Street or village.

Widows and Orphans: Women's Education beyond the Domestic Ideal - Siobhan Moroney 
Modern assessment of the cult of domesticity prevalent in the early republic assumes that ideology frowned upon women engaging in activities outside the home. Popular educational thinking adopted the domestic ideal, and most articles published in magazines and journals focused on the need to educate girls to discharge their household and familial duties.

The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860 (1966) - Barbara Welter
Barbara Welter describes an important stage in the expression of sexual stereotype. The idea of The Cult of True Womanhood, or the cult of domesticity, sought to assert that womanly virtue resided in piety, purity, submissiveness and domesticity. Woman, in the cult of True Womanhood presented by the women in magazines and religious literature of the nineteenth century, was the hostage in the home. In a society where values changed frequently, where fortunes rose and fell with frightening rapidity, where social mobility and economic mobility provided instability as well as hope, one thing at least remained the same - a true woman was a true woman, wherever she was found. If anyone, male or female, dared to tamper with the complex of virtues, he was damned immediately as the enemy of God, of civilization, and of the Republic.

The Cult of Domesticity & True Womanhood Defined:
Between 1820 and the Civil War, the growth of new industries, businesses, and professions helped to create in America a new middle class. The middle class consisted of families whose husbands worked as lawyers, merchants, teachers, physicians and others. Although the new middle-class family had its roots in preindustrial society.

The Cult of Domesticity developed as family lost its function as economic unit. Many of links between family and community closed off as work left home. Emergence of market economy and the devaluation of women's work. Home became a self-contained unit. Women remained in the home, as a kind of cultural hostage.

Women were expected to uphold the values of stability, morality, and democracy by making the home a special place, a refuge from the world where her husband could escape from the highly competitive, unstable, immoral world of business and industry.

Because the world of work was defined as male, the world of the home was defined as female. Women increasingly became a complement to leisure (sociology of leisure sport) set off by her special setting.