The Not-So-Golden Life of the Gilded Age Wife

Although Gilded Age women in the upper and lower classes had many differences, they had one similarity: women were viewed as second best to men and were expected to be content with this role in society. Men, for the most part, were clueless, and believed a woman’s body controlled her mind. Men spent an absurd amount of time worrying about the “obstruction of a woman’s menstrual flow” because the blood would then be forced to her brain and lead to a psychological breakdown. She would become a “flooding woman,” possibly with a “wandering womb.”  If there wasn’t a baby in your uterus or “the male member” in your vagina, your womb was prone to just wander around your body. For real, this is what they actually believed!

Welcome to America’s Gilded Age!


Some of the most interesting and important things in history are omitted because they’re taboo. The Not-So-Golden Life of the Gilded Age Wife is herstory unsanitized. Herstory helps us understand each other by honoring our foremothers’ journeys. This presentation isn’t about bustles or butlers – audiences will laugh and grimace about the little-known issues faced by women of America’s Gilded Age. Perhaps women need to be reminded of how far we’ve come to see how far we still can go.