Fashion in Quarantine: The State of Fashion in Covid-19 Times.

In mid March 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic caused a “New York on Pause” Shelter in Place, Social distancing between 1 and a half to 2-meters and everyone must wear a mask unfamiliar world. Businesses had to close (except essential ones, like food and medicine) over 3 million New Yorkers became unemployed, and major fashion retail chains either filed for bankruptcy or closed for good completely.

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The Corona pandemic has plunged the global economy into a recessive contraction not seen since World War II. Every sector of industry have suffered, especially fashion. Between January and March 2020 fashion, luxury items and apparel have fell roughly 40% and is predicted to shrink further due to millions of job losses and economic hardship for consumers. Domestic and global fashion companies have begun to go bankrupt, with more expected in the coming months.

With little or no disposable cash, consumers concentrate spending on the “essentials” furthers the fashion industries woes. According to a Mckinsey & Company report: “Even online sales have declined 15 to 25 percent in China, 5 to 20 percent across Europe, and 30 to 40 percent in the United States.”

masks_pfwConsumers are rapidly shifting from “fast fashion” to a more “purpose driven, sustainable action” and transparency in their “quarantine of consumption”. Some of these shifts could include a more digital presence (which is already happening), the decline of wholesale and a switch to “seasonless design” releases.

Established fashion brands as well as emerging designers has dived deeply into mask making to donate to front-line workers (to stay relevant) or to sell online to raise much needed revenue to stay afloat (as well as plugging their brands), as they wait for the dust to settle from the Covid-19 crisis. Influencers are left with no direction and sensing their decline (or even their extinction) in a post Covid-19 world.

What will be the state of the fashion landscape look like after Covid-19 times?

Your guess is as good as mine. For now we have no choice but to wait, watch and see.

 

Fashion in the Fast Lane: The conundrum of fast fashion vs slow fashion.

What is Fast Fashion? Well according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: fast fashion “an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers”. And according to Wikipedia: says “Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. Fast fashion clothing collections are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at Fashion Week in both the spring and the autumn of every year.”

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While Slow Fashion is described as (according to Wikipedia): “the alternative to fast fashion and part of what has been called the “slow movement”, advocates for principles similar to the principles of slow food, such as good quality, clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers.”

Now it’s no secret that I’m one of fashions biggest fans, however my conscience does play a major part in the big picture of it all. Most people don’t think much about their fashion choices when they see a clothing item that appeals to them, including me (guilty as charged). Now the conundrum: low-cost/low-quality (fast fashion) vs. high-cost/high-quality clothing (slow fashion).

Both have their pros and cons, both have their respective “must have” item trends. We often find ourselves purchasing fast fashion to satisfy our instant gratification needs (wants) that we’ve seen on the runway, or in a magazine that resonates with our sense of style (disposable). At other times, we find that we are saving up, and or breaking the bank to purchase a higher price point fashion item (slow-fashion) that will be a staple in our wardrobe for some time to come (investment).

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Very seldom do we consider the moral implications of our choices in the fashions that we buy (for some, not at all).  Do we consider the factory workers that work long hours, for low wages, and in most cases in unsafe conditions? Do we think about how the use of synthetic materials (acrylic, polyester) impact our environment when just after a few wears our “fast fashion” items are discarded? Just in the U.S. alone 11 million tons of trashed clothing was dumped in landfills in 2010 releasing methane gas into the atmosphere and causing global warming by the decomposing synthetic fabrics. When do we think about that? Do we want to?  No not really, we just want to look good, and feel good in the latest fashion trends!

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As I stated before……I Too AM Guilty of this. But I also must heed what my conscience dictates just as much as the runways at fashion week. Now fast fashion is not going anywhere, anytime soon and neither is slow fashion (and I’m not sure if I want it too). But what I Can Do is be more responsible with my fast fashion choices. Instead of throwing my disposable fast fashion items in the trash, I can donate them, drop them off or send them to a recycling facility to reduce my carbon footprint on the earth. I can shop more at vintage stores. I can spend more on slow fashion and shop less, and constantly look for ways to balance my fast fashion/slow fashion ratio.

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To be honest, there is not hard and fast answer to this troubling conundrum. However if we all care just a little, maybe if we tried, we can make it just a bit better!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexy Krampus Christmas Cards: The Christmas Demon.

I wrote an article a couple of years ago called “The Dark Side of Christmas”, which explained the relationship between Saint Nicholas and his demon side-kick Krampus. I am a lover of vintage Christmas Cards but couldn’t help but notice the evolution of Krampus on these said cards, from child eating Christmas Demon, to sexy ladies man, to sexy X-mas Imp (yeah an… Elf).


“Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night, is an ancient Austrian tradition that is also celebrated in Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic. Basically, Santa, or Sankt Nikolaus (St. Nicholas), comes around with his devils (or Krampuses) in tow.”

Over a short period of time, some of the Germanic Christmas Cards dropped St. Nick and displayed a solo Krampus .

“The Krampus is a demon that, with the approval of St. Nick,terrorizes bad children and apparently lust after the ladies. His chief implements of torture seem to be a switch and a very long tongue designed to frighten children into good behavior.”

Not very long after, Krampus seems to have stopped eating and punishing bad children, and took on a more salacious interest in women. And I also noticed that Krampus is no longer bound in chains,(suggesting freedom from St. Nick).

These were some sexy Christmas holiday cards indeed!

However their was one underlining problem. Krumpus was still depicted in his demon form, associated with torturing and eating children.

So suddenly Krampus transformed into a holiday imp/elf to gloss over the fact that he was Santa’s demon attack dog on misbehaved children.

From torturing and eating children to ladies man/demon, to dandy elf/imp. So why was these sexy Christmas cards so popular with women?

Well I suppose women have a bit of devilish sexy plans on their minds for Christmas!

Vintage Krampus Holiday Card

Merry Happy Sexy Christmas to you my dear!

The New Rules for Men’s Hat Etiquette: Or…..”Who….Told You That”???

While sitting in a nice restaurant (one of my favorites) awaiting for a group of friend’s to arrive , and this woman asked me, “are you going to take off you’re hat”? Why do ask? I replied after taking a sip of my glass of Chardonnay. “Well men should take off their hats while indoors, or in a restaurant.” I turned to look at her and said, “Who Told You That”

The women paused for a moment confused (as if collecting her thoughts) and proceeded to give an inaccurate, as well as incomplete account of why men should observe such a ritual without knowing the history of how that practice came about. Myself knowing not only the history and origin of such, (I Am the Elegant Classy Gentleman after all) I took the opportunity and liberty to correct and educate her on the subject, as a gentleman should.

“It all started back in Medieval Times” I began (and the gentleman’s code as well). Knights would remove their helmets before the King, or Queen to show respect and humility, also before other Knights (or lift their visor) as a sign of being non-hostile. Since “the old days” men removed their hats in Christian churches, when crossed the threshold entering someones home, to display chivalry in the presence of a “lady”. The practice of men removing one’s headdress was born and evolved over time as it was a mainstay for men’s dress up until the 1960’s to suit the times.

In modern times (The 21st Century to be exact) men’s fashion has taken on a more “casual culture” to wearing hats. The elegant gentleman who wear a headdress for fashion (like myself) noticed that women were exempt from this outdated taboo of wearing hats indoors (or wherever they pleased).

Why you ask? Well their were no women Knights (with the exception of Joan or Arc). In the 21st Century there are no more “Knights”, Chivalry is dead or at least on the brink of extinction (due to females not being ladies, and not respecting the good manners of a gentleman. Yes Chivalry is being wiped out by females.) And from women’s lib since the 1960’s to the current “Me Too Movement” (Which I’m all for), Men and women should be treated as equals. And that includes etiquette and manners as well.

While taking off one’s hat (or “tip” it to show respect to someone you admire, or a deed that they preformed) is still a fair practice (I still do that) It’s time to “update the custom” to reflect the times. I concluded.

The woman was now at a loss for words as I urged her to glance around the dining room and bar area of the restaurant, which reveled several men wearing hats (baseball caps/one was wearing a paper-boy cap) sitting with their dates or group of friends with no worries or a care with those outdated customs.

The woman than nodded her head in agreement with my “accurate” history and rational. Now I asked her “Why out of all the men in the restaurant you felt that you had to say something to me?” You look so…..good and dashing in your suit and bowler. I had no other way to strike up a conversation with you……… “Who Told You That”? I replied!

Till next time……..Hats off to you!

New York Fashion Week: Style Fashion Show Day 1.

New York Fashion Week 2018 was very exciting this year (as it is every year), and the Elegant Classy Gentleman team was on the move again at the Style NY Fashion Show for their three day showcase of the hottest fashion designers, with their Spring/Summer collections at the Manhattan Center. Here are the highlight of Style NY day 1.

Opening performances by: LaRose, Natalya and Naima.

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Neo-Futurism Fashion: Is the Future Now? (Part 1.)

(Part 1: In the Beginning) 

Futurism which began in Italy around 1909, and was launched by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and his Futurist Manifesto which appeared in various Italian newspapers and early magazines. “This first and highly successful manifesto was followed by others, such as that of the Futurist Painters. In 1912 the movement’s followers were 120,000. Giacomo Balla and Fortunato Depero introduced the concept of Futurist Fashion. Futurism was poetry, painting, music, and life, so also with fashion. A fully theoretical speculation, at least at the beginning, when Balla presented his Manifesto of anti-neutral clothing in September 1914.”

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( Filippo Tommaso Marinetti )

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(Giacomo Balla 1930)

“What evolved into a cultural movement that swept through other art forms, including fashion design. The Futurists called for a break with the past, and a celebration of everything new, urban and industrial. For fashion, Futurism meant fabrics, designs, colors and cuts that reflected audacity, movement and speed. Futurism faded with the onset of World War II, but the movement’s emphasis on revolt, risk and modernity continues to inspire fashion today.”

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(Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto.)

“Futurism redefined the purpose of fashion. The movement gloried action and aggression, and Balla called for simple and comfortable clothing designed to allow the skin to breathe, and the body to move with ease. In 1920, Futurist designer Ernesto Michahelles, known as Thayaht, introduced a roomy, utilitarian, unisex jumpsuit called the tuta, short for the Italian word tutta, which means all. The tuta caught the attention of the public, and was the one Futurist design to achieve commercial success. Still, Futurism’s new emphasis on clothing designed to accommodate an active lifestyle was a genuine innovation and the start of what would eventually become modern sportswear.”

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(Photo by Ugo Mulas 1966. Dress Mila Schon
Vogue Italia, July/August 1966)

“So as the idea of the future evolved, so did Futurism’s role in fashion. In the early 1960s during a fashion era that Vogue editor Diane Vreeland defined as “Youthquake,” miniskirts, vinyl dresses and neon colors signaled the same revolt against the past advocated by the Futurists.

A youth-dominated culture generated styles that stressed originality and equality. At the same time, Pierre Cardin and Andre Courreges introduced space-age collections that reflected the era’s interest and enthusiasm for space exploration. The new look was built on sleek, minimalist clothing constructed with geometric shapes. Designers introduced synthetic fabrics, plastics and metals into clothing that relied on colors such as metallics, day-glo and white for a futurist effect.”

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Neuroticism: Negative Personality Trait, or Mental Illness?

Neuroticism is defined by psychology as a personality trait in which a person experiences the world, or rather the external environments around them that triggers Anxiousness, emotional instability, impulsiveness, self-pitying, being very touchy, feeling vulnerable, and over worrying. As one of the “Big Five Personality Model Factors”, it appears to also be the most negative and “self-defeating” of the five personality traits.

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Now we’ve all displayed one, more or all of the “Defining Descriptors” of the big five personality model factors, so does that mean we are all crazy?

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No. However “Each individual can be positioned somewhere on this personality dimension between extreme poles: perfect emotional stability versus complete emotional chaos. Highly neurotic individuals tend to be labile (that is, subject to frequently changing emotions), anxious, tense, and withdrawn. Individuals who are low in neuroticism tend to be content, confident, and stable. The latter report fewer physical and psychological problems and less stress than do highly neurotic individuals.”

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(“German psychologist Hans Eysenck popularized the term neuroticism in the 1950’s by including it as a key scale in his popular personality inventory.”)

“The initial model of the big five traits was advanced by Ernest Tupes and Raymond Christal in 1961,but failed to reach an academic audience until the 1980’s. In 1990, J.M. Digman advanced his five-factor model of personality, which Lewis Goldberg extended to the highest level of organization. These five overarching domains have been found to contain and subsume most known personality traits and are assumed to represent the basic structure behind all personality traits.

In the most recent studies of psychopathology on personality neurotiscism is usually the first variable in considering individual differences in many types of mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive, and hysteria.

Biological Studies:

“Current research data show persuasively that individual differences in neuroticism are substantially heritable (which means they are passed from parent to child). Heritability estimates based on twin studies generally fall in the 40–60 percent range. The remaining individual differences in neuroticism are attributed primarily to unique (nonfamilial) environmental differences; the shared familial environment appears to exert virtually no reliable influence on individual differences in neuroticism. Researchers speculate that an overreactive limbic system in the brain is associated with high levels of neuroticism, but specific neurochemical mechanisms or locations within the brain and nervous system have not yet been identified.”

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A extreme level of neuroticism in individuals produce persons who are defensive pessimists. “They experience the world as unsafe and use fundamentally different strategies in dealing with distress than non-neurotic people do. They are vigilant against potential harm in their environment and constantly scan the environment for evidence of potential harm. They may withdraw from reality and engage in protective behaviors when they detect danger, real or perceived.”

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“Because of their tendency to withdraw, highly neurotic individuals tend to possess an impoverished repertoire of behavioral alternatives for addressing the demands of reality. Consequently, they tend to engage in mental role-play (rumination and fantasy) instead of constructive problem-solving behaviors. In contrast to their impoverished behavioral repertoires, however, they may possess a rich inner world. Introspective and apt to analyze their thoughts and feelings, they are highly invested in seeking the true nature of their intra-psychic experiences.”

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“Very attuned to their inner experiences, those high in neuroticism are also attentive to their physical discomforts. Their health maintenance behaviors (that is, consultations with a physician) are more frequent than those of individuals with less neuroticism. Although their complaints regarding health are more frequent, their objectively assessed health is not poorer than those low in neuroticism.” According to Eysenck’s personality dimension model, emotional-stability/interoversion-extraversion combine in varying degrees to produce predictable personality trait patterns. Eysenck’s third and less popular dimension model, “psychoticism”, which would describe people who presents traits such as coldness, cruelty, hostility and the rejection of social customs. Ironically, neuronic people tend to be more creative, especially if they have an artistic outlet.

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Love is in The Eyes of the Beholder: by Alexis Ada Alexander

  • Love has no boundaries and does not discriminate. It comes in different shapes and sizes. Different people express their love in different ways. It is in our DNA to fall in love. Studies have shown that it is also in our DNA to fall out of love and explore other new love. The reason for this DNA mess is beyond the scope of this writing. 
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    Many women are now becoming the heads of their households and their own bosses. So, why need a man? It is a known fact that a lot of men prefer several sex partners without falling in love. Unfortunately, lack of love for that special person is destroying many people’s lives. People turn to drugs and alcohol addiction to fill the emptiness they feel within. Many suffer from depression. It is quite unfortunate that a lot of people are struggling to find self-love. How can somebody who has no self-love extend love to another? Some people do not love themselves, but they expect another person to love them. This creates unreasonable burden for others. Some expect 100% of everything on their list for the ideal person they would fall in love with. 
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    Whether it is lack of self-love or belief that there is nobody to fall in love with out there, understanding that we are not designed to be alone, is the first step to finding love. It is important to separate love for money from real love. People tend to glorify money but then turn around and ask, where is the love? If love is coming from those who you attracted with money, once it’s all gone, people start disappearing and go on to the next. 
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    Love can happen at first sight or take patience and some nurturing to get it to happen. It happens differently for different people. Some people have not experienced love before and they wonder what it feels like. They probably have found love but still unawares of it. Work at recognizing love when it shows up.
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    Love is seeing this person in your dreams and in your future. Love is praying for that special person and their wellbeing. Love is not lust. Lust is only temporary. Love is crying when they cry or feeling their pain. Love is sitting by the hospital bed every single day for an ill partner until they get better. Love is not jealous. Jealousy is a love that died and turns into hate and envy which honestly is a reflection of how a person feels about oneself. 
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    Love is a feeling you can never control or run away from. From the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep, that love will haunt you with a burning sensation from within. Trying to ignore this feeling will only hurt you. Love is the best feeling in the world when it is from the right person. When two people are in love, they become one. The hardest part about true love is that you can never find another love like it. You can search for another like it in all the wrong places but there is only one true love. Even though many people love differently, everyone wants to feel loved. If you love somebody, it is important that you treat them in a way that they feel loved by you. Some people erroneously believe that they are not loved and then their world crashes without it. 
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    Our social media age has to some extent interfered with love. It seems like people rather get attention on social media verses love from their partner. Loving conversations turned into text messages which are often misunderstood. Discussions at the dinner table turned into everybody being entertained by their phones. This raises so many questions. What happened to the long walks at the park, spending quality time and having picnics on the beach? What happened to two people working together to make a dream come true? What happened to taking time to study your lover’s body, learning what gives them butterflies and make their temperature rise? Couples could appreciate each other just by gazing into their eyes and exploring every inch on their body. 
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    When you find that love, respect it, appreciate it and treasure it. The tendency to be right all the time has ruined a lot of relationships that could have survived love’s little challenges. What happened to saying I’m sorry and working to rebuild relationships instead of giving up easily? It is so easy for couples to give up but not so easy to stay. Nobody said it would be easy but that is the beauty of love. What extent are you willing to go to fight for your love? Recognizing that our DNA plays tricks on us and puts us on this cycle of looking for new love endlessly, is the key to working at keeping our love. Even if you walk away from the one you have now for something else, your DNA would kick in later and then the challenges show up, and the cycle continues. Just remember, love is give and take. It is not one-way street. The Golden Rule works in a love relationship. Treat your partner as you wish they treat you.
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    Love forgives, love is unconditional, love is wearing your heart on your sleeve and putting it in the hands of another, trusting that they will take care of it. Love is when your whole world is dark, but this one special individual turns on the light. Unfortunately, some people never experience this in their lifetime 
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    Why is love so important? Because we were made for companionship. Nobody can be an island. It is not healthy. So, go on and fall hopelessly in love and enjoy every second of it. 
     
    Love Alexis Alexander.

The Elegant Classy Gentleman would like to welcome Alexis Ada Alexander as a contributing writer for the magazine.
Alexis Alexander is an African American TV personality, journalist and model born and raised in Potomac Maryland of African decent. Ms. Alexander has extensive experience in entertainment, a graduate of New York Film, Academy, Barbizon Modeling School, and former student of Randolph Macon Academy.
She has covered red carpet events, beauty pageants, embassy events and award ceremonies. Stay tuned for more articles from  Alexis Alexander the Broadcast Princess.

Human Sexuality in Victorian England: Love, Sex and Lust in the Victorian Era. (Part 2)

The problem of Hysteria in Victorian women and the invention of the vibrator.

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Being a woman in the Victorian era was very stifling indeed, first a young girl was not educated on anything but being a proper housewife and mother, and nothing else. There was very few options for a young woman to begin with. If you were not married, you either worked for low wages as a governess (nanny), scullery maid, or in a brothel. The age of consent for a girl to marry was between 10-13 years old (or a lad, but mostly girls) and once she is married the girl basically the property of her husband and totally subjected to him, as her sole role was is to be a mother and wife.

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Under the code of “Victorian Morality” she was not to enjoy sex with her husband for pleasure (his or hers), but was expected to only have intercourse with her husband to produce an heir, and actually she was to discourage any kind of intimate physical contact with her husband. However the women’s fashions of the time was designed to be pleasing to the eye’s of men, yet also by design to be very restrictive for any kind of work, and torturously  uncomfortable.

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“The fashion of the time included the baroque bonnet, high heels, large skirts, and corsets all of which proved the impracticality of doing any task. The important image of beauty as by defined by soft hands, porcelain complexion, and dainty feet kept women in the household outside of the sun’s rays, and in the visually appealing clothing that served no purpose outside of of emphasizing an image of sexiness to men” (Harrison 34-7).

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This static existence of women, and the lack of sexual attention from their husbands led to extreme sexual tension, which in the 1800’s was diagnosed as “Hysteria” which was classified as a “womb disease” by Victorian doctors, who never clearly defined the true cause of this “disease” that upper class Victorian women seemed to be suffering from.

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Since hysteria was a so called chronic disease, a short term treatment was developed to deal with this affliction of females. Women would go for treatment to a doctors office, the procedure was called “pelvic message” so that the woman could reach “paroxysm” to relive the poor sick woman.

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However messaging a woman’s lower supine lumbar was time consuming and hard work, it could take hours for a patient to reach “paroxysm”, so in 1870 the very first vibrators were invented for physicians to use on their patients.

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Across the pond in America, a company by the name of Hamilton Beach started selling the first manual vibrators for women to use at home in 1902, and what was originally strictly a medical office treatment was now available for women to enjoy at home in private, while their husbands spend time at the brothel.

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Human Sexuality in Victorian England: Love, Sex and Lust in the Victorian Era. (Part 1)

Exploring the views thoughts and mannerisms of sexual behavior in the late 19th century England, Known as the Victorian Era. The Victorian period in England spans from 1837 to 1901 under the reign of Queen Victoria. With Victorians generally considered narrow minded, prudish and stuffy. Sexuality was being overtly suppressed in this era, and how it affected the values and conventions of the time in English society, and how this gave rise to the underground sexual element in print, and practice, as well as the psychology of sex, and how doctor’s , and citizens coped with the libido of the time.

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The Victorian era is known as the reign of Queen Victoria, which started on June 20th 1837 and ended on January 22nd 1901 with her death. This was considered by the English to have been a very lengthy period of very high refined sensibilities along with prosperity and peace for Great Britain. In fact Victorian England was thought to be an era of confidence for the British Empire.

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There was also a great cultural shift from the previous era of rationalism which was known as the Gregorian era, and moved as far as the arts, social values and spirituality embraced “Romanticism and Mysticism”. However in the Victorian period there was this all-pervading morale climate known as the “Victorian Morality”, a stringent set of morale-social behavior and sexual restraint, which was viewed hypocritical by many back then and today; citing the proliferating morale dignity and refined restraint along -side such social phenomena such as child labor and prostitution.

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Victorian men and women who were married had to undress behind screens, for doing so in front of  their spouses was considered taboo, but at the beach, everybody went fully nude which was the norm.

 

There were over 9,000 prostitutes in London, so society turned a blind eye, as women were 2nd class citizens , that is unless you were part of the nobility, but women were still not allowed to vote.  Women working at a house of “ill repute” were looked upon as “fallen ladies”, but the husbands of respectable wives was still employing them  as married woman were encouraged not to have sex with their husbands except for procreation, and there was nothing a wife could do, as “Victorian law didn’t allow women to get divorced for adultery, unless cruelty could be proven in court.

 

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