The middle class emerged around the 1820â€™s â€“ 30â€™s as a result of the Industrial Revolution. During this emergence you begin to see an increase of occupations moving from non-manual work. This allowed for a division between work and home, which then divided the roles of men and women. .
The woman became the mother and manager of the middle class home during this Victorian era. The home becomes a moral beacon and couples decide that having children was not just to have more workers in the family. Couples began family planning to help reduce expenses since family farms were becoming less and less important for survival. This led to a desexualization of the marriage. Men and women began to sleep and separate bedrooms and only had sex as a means of procreation, not recreation. Women began to desexualize their bodies by covering them fully from head to toe and they repressed their sexual thoughts. It became the notion to hold back your sexual desire until your wedding night and that men and women married for ideals only.
As the private agenda was succeeding for the middle class they began to complain about the loss of energy, which would later be dubbed â€œthe middle class diseaseâ€. A lot of this loss of energy was due to tuberculosis, but for others it was termed neurasthenia. The middle class began to travel to the Southwest and Europe in search of clean air. Vacation and leisure time evolved from this.
Middle class homes had many expectations. They usually took the elite style and made it affordable. Homes had more rooms and an excess of goods. Parlors became very popular and women used them quite frequently. There were very strict rules of etiquette that needed to be followed and the women made sure this was done. Women set aside a calling hour each day to have guests stop into the home for a visit. Cards would be left at the home of the last visit to let the hostess know when the invitee was available for a visit.