The Cult of True Womanhood


True Womanhood is Piety, Purity, Domesticity, and Submissiveness.

Summery of the Reform Movement

After the time around 1820, new economic circumstances, such as new industries, business, and professions, help to create a new type of middle class, which is the backbone of the American society during this time. There were two spheres in our society, the private sphere (feminine) and the public sphere (masculine). Women were seen to be better at raising and maintaining the household, while men were better left to supporting the family. Thus the work place is not where a woman is to be found. Because of this, the ideology of a woman being a true woman from these four ideas came to be: Piety, Purity, Domesticity, and Submissiveness. While the women were confined to the home, they felt they had a larger role than before so true womanhood was promoted

Societal Problems/Forces Motivated the Reform Movement

A few things that helped motivate this:

  • As the industrial revolution began, the middle class changed and became the one where there became a private and public sphere.
  • Men would go and work so the idea formed that they were to support the families.
  • Women started to get a larger amount of activity and authority within religion/household as they started to be viewed as the nurturer and the Eve that works with God to bring the world out of sin.

Goals/Objectives of the Movement

Some objectives were:

  • Provide a place for these women.
  • They were considered to be physically and mentally inherently inferior to men, so there are the four parts to gaining true womanhood. For example, by promoting Piety, the woman becomes largely religious and is able to help lead the man back to God, because she is like a newer and better Eve.
  • They also made sure that woman knew where they stood socially, because a woman with no religion is improper, without purity she is a fallen woman, she is no man so she submits to her husband, and her place was in her home.


I will write articles for women to explain their role in our society and explain why the steps taken to achieve True Womanhood are the ones needed to be taken. Donation accounts will be set up so that there can be people to donate money to my organization promoting True Womanhood.

List of Initial Success of the Movement

Women had:

  • More authority within the household
  • Had new influence over many area of family life
  • Were able to influence the time of pregnancy
  • Were able to make their homes the example of a proper middle class family
  • Able to maintain a happy life and prevent becoming a fallen woman.

A Key Person

Mary Walker Ostram:

She was 58 when she passed, and she devoted herself to evangelical Presbyterianism and social reform. she was considered to be an exemplar of "Women's Sphere of Influence".

No proper picture of Ostram could be found. The picture below is the best I was able to acquire.

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A Key Event

Things associated with this movement is women becoming nurturing, delicate, religious, and submissive wife/mother. They get a large say in the household, as that is their sphere and little to none in the public sphere.
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Other Movements

Other movements would be:

  • the Independent Order of Good Templars (used to prevent alcoholic excess within the home and husband)
  • the Female Moral Reform Society (used to help curb prostitution and protect women that are single from corruption)

Why should you contribute money?

You should help promote this because:

  • It provides a place of security for these dainty and delicate woman
  • They are the only ones that can properly raise the children.
  • While 'confined' to the safety of their homes, women get taught the education they need to properly raise their children.


People who donate:

A large amount: paid 3 day cruise

A medium amount: free dinner at top restaurant

A small amount: tickets to a park


  • I can advertise through the use of:
    • women's magazines
    • advice books
    • religious journals
    • newspapers
    • books of fiction


    By being born in this time period, you agree to follow the rules during the Cult of True Womanhood. (If) female you will take one the four ideas of Piety, Purity, Domesticity, and Submissiveness within the private sphere, and (if) male you will support your family within the public sphere. You also agree that these need to be met to create the proper example of the many Middle-Class families.

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