The Fairer Sex

Upper and middle class women are treated as ornaments. Their first duty is to marry and their second to give birth. They are expected to be shy, naive, elegant and well spoken, and to be found lacking in any of these traits is disaster for a young woman. Often it means being sent to an asylum, a distant relative, or sometimes simply being sold into the gutter out of sight to avoid social embarrassment.

In the lower classes of the city, women have to earn as well, often the only means being by prostitution. In 'My Secret Life', a set of period memoirs, the author tells us of how is '…accosted by a middle aged woman in Vauxhall gardens, and invited to possess her and a ten year old girl…" Walter goes on to describe spending the night with the two of them for sixpence.

In rural areas, legitimate work is more easily found, lower class women are often found working the fields along with men folk instead of turning to the oldest profession.

It should be noted that no women can own property. Before marriage, her father owns it; after marriage, all her property passes to her husband. In the unlikely event of divorce, the husband has every right to throw his wife out onto the street, as any property owned is his!

Generally, society considers women to be less intelligent, more emotional and much frailer than men. Therefore they are unable to fully benefit from education and are too irrational to be trusted with something like a vote. This is, of course, utter rubbish. Granted, many women have been known to faint quite often, but this is due to a tight corset restricting breathing rather than any innate frailty. Sadly, it should be pointed out that not only men but also many women believe this prejudice. Plenty of women allow it to limit them, convinced of the truth of it. However, others have used it to their advantage, creating a fa├žade of respectability to pursue secret desires and adventures. Given the prejudice shown women by society, no one would even consider such a thing possible. If her secret life were discovered, her accusers would assume a man was behind it all. Many a clever female criminal mastermind will line up such a man just in case she needs a patsy.

Some of you may be wondering why we're putting all this stuff about sexism and racism in the game. It's possibly controversial and certainly politically unpopular — that's why it's here. Victoriana is a game about revolution; corrupt laws and the bitter taste of a corrupt society's values. Player characters are among the rare individuals who see society for what it is. Without all this stuff about sexism, exploitation, class stigma and poverty there isn't much to fight against — so use it as intended and fight the good fight against it!