The Victorian Male’s Feelings of Superiority

In Eliot’s “Women in the Nineteenth Century,” Eliot addresses the idea that men do not want women to explore their own talents and aspirations because they don’t want women to be more successful than themselves; in other words, they feel threatened by strong, determined, and inspired women. Instead, men continue to suppress women in society with unfair legislation, representation and treatment on the individual level. In Carlye’s “Democracy” Carlyle takes on a condescending tone in a couple of instances that was reminiscent of the idea of a Victorian male with a superiority complex over women to me. For example, Carlyle writes about Africans in an inherently condescending way, implying that “Englishmen are so bad that even these poor Africans are better than them.” Carlyle’s tone gives a look into the psyche of a male during this time. Looking at his air of superiority here, it is clear that Victorian men don’t only assert their superiority over women but on other races and social classes. I find it interesting that while Carlyle does have many open-minded views, his inflated ego still manages to come through in his writing. This shows me that there may be a feeling of superiority that is deeply ingrained in the Victorian man, that likely largely contributes to their unjust treatment of women in society.

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