The women during the 19th century were held to higher standards over the men. Women were meant to follow the principles of the culture of domesticity (piety, purity, submissiveness, domesticity). Females were made out to be inferior to the male, but forced to exemplify better morals than them. These principles were centered for white middle- class women, but many slave women tried to follow these rules. Harriet Jacobs was a very religious women, from the teachings of her grandmother growing up. She struggled to uphold her religious principles against her foul-mouthed master, who obsessed over her and tried to make her his mistress. The principles of domesticity conflict with the conditions of the female slaves, the treatment of the mistresses, and the advantages and disadvantage of breaking these principles. .
For black men and women, slavery was an equally devastating experience. Both were torn from homeland and family. Men were physically abused while women were emotionally, mentally, and physically oppressed by their masters and mistresses. Many female slaves were the object of severe sexual exploitation; often bearing the children of their white masters, master's sons, or overseers. Black women were prohibited from defending themselves against any type of abuse, including sexual, at the hands of white men. If a slave attempted to defend herself, she was often subjected to further beatings from the master or even the mistress. "The black female was forced into sexual relationships for the white slave master's pleasure and profit; attempting to keep the slave population growing by his own doing, and not by importing more slaves from Africa" ("Antebellum"). Even though females went through a lot of abuse, they tried to stay true to their religious faith and morals. They were forced into situations that they had no control over or made them ignore their morals.