I've been thinking about what people want in a woman today and what people wanted in a woman in Regency times.
Everyone loves Lizzie as a character. Girls want to be her. There are hats that say "Mrs. Darcy". I should know, I own one. The thing is, we love Lizzie now. She's what we like in a modern woman. She has wit and fine eyes. But was she prized in Regency times? We know Mr. Darcy prized her in the end, but not at the beginning. If we remember the movie at least we know Mr. Darcy didn't think her a beauty. Isn't there that line about "I'd as soon call her mother a wit." Very funny, Caroline.
So let's talk about me, Jane Austen. I was not pretty. I was pretty average at least from the one painting of me that still exists. But I do have wit and I wrote some lovely books and while I am prized now and people love me enough to dedicate blogs to me and to write fan fiction about my novels, was I prized in Regency times?
I think it must have been very hard for me. To fit into a world where I had little power as a woman. I had wit, but I was suppose to embroider and be a good housewife, which I never got to be. If my tongue hadn't been so sharp would I have had other offers? I know I turned one down.
Did Cassandra always understand me? Did I ever say sharp words that hurt her?
I wonder. I can't quite recall all of my time when I was writing my novels. I only know of what I read, but as a woman who now as wit and a pair of fine eyes, I wonder if I will be valued even though I'm not incredibly thin. On the Fourth of July I was mocked because I was the only one of my neighbors to own a bookcase. All night long I heard "Maybe we could say educated things if we bought a bookcase." Also one of my male friends just told me that a woman has to be hot in order to make the relationship last. She has to be thin and wit alone isn't going to make a relationship. His argument was I cared just as much since I wouldn't date Stephen Hawking. Joke's on him. I would date Stephen Hawking. Think of the great conversations you could have!
Maybe I haven't changed so much since Regency times and really maybe men's expectations haven't either.