Gendering Work in the 1840s
DOI link for Gendering Work in the 1840s
Gendering Work in the 1840s book
Richard Redgrave and Thomas Hood's representations of women at work mark a crucial stage in the Victorian redefinition of 'work' as masculine and as fatal for women. Richard Redgrave provides a classic example of how a male artist's or writer's sympathies can lead to a form of representation that has the opposite effect from its intended consequences. The emphasis on ‘industry’ as production skewed Victorian values in favor of material products and visible signs of industrial production. The Victorian discourse on work is intertwined with the Victorian discourse on sexuality no matter how much authors like Carlyle may have wished to banish it to the margins, or at least to the tropics. The history of work in the Victorian period is, therefore, the history of the attempt to define work as masculine and the male body as productive and free from the threats of the feminine, idleness and sexuality.