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Word Count: 510
Anne Firor Scotts The Southern Lady From Pedestal to Politics 1830-1930 takes a social yet intellectual approach to the cultural image of the ideal southern woman Scott analyzes the effect of this predominate image on womens behavior Southern women are given a voice through Scotts writings They clearly and vividly speak out about their feelings These female southern heroes vividly and profoundly proclaim self-determination inspite of having to sometimes conform to social and cultural expectations Scott relied upon diaries and letters which had been preserved in manuscript collections across the United States to analyze southern womens perceptions about their situation The southern woman was defined as a submissive individual whose reason for being was to love honor obey and occasionally amuse her husband She was expected to raise his children and manage his household The central meaning of her life was family and motherhood The everyday realities of life for a married woman were different from the expected image Women were often transformed from single carefree sought -after girls to responsible submissive plantation mistresses They were led to believe that depraved women and men were the only sexual creatures thus they were supposedly incapable of erotic feelings Women were often uneducated and when they began to voice their opinion concerning a need for education most men disagreed with them However some men did agree with them but it was for the wrong reasons Men believed that women should be educated in order to conduct female responsibilities more gracefully and effectively Men felt that women needed to develop their intellectual capacities to become better wives mothers and companions The Civil War brought about a change for southern women Since most men had been called to fight in the war southern women had to assume greater responsibilities They became manufacturers managers merchants planters and millers They assumed responsibilities for maintaining and if possible
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