They call it the Victorian era these days, the lady is now an icon of history. She sat the throne of England longer than any other monarch, sat that throne longer than any Queen of modern history sat any throne. Her reign saw the opening of what is called modern history. Given the times and events of her long life it seems to me quite a puzzlement that her name has become almost synonymous with attitude of sexual repression, sexual hypocrisy as part and parcel of civilized behavior. One man loved almost beyond enduring his loss, nine children, and yet her name is remembered as a marker for pathological repression? Nine children, and the story is she had something against sex? A strange quirk of history. Or is it?
The Victorian era ushered in a great many social changes, a great many things had their beginnings in her day. Her reign saw the beginnings of suffrage, the dawn of feminism, the first whispers of technologies that in the century to follow would revolutionize the world. As a matter of speculation I’m going to say not all of the changes that began in her day ever found their way into the history books. I don’t think they could, I don’t think history had them understood well enough to put them in the books. I’m of a mind to believe the biggest change to begin during Victoria’s reign, the one that is still turning and churning in our world, was actually the onset of the insecurities that have plagued the masculine half of the anglo culture ever since.
There’s little to wonder at though, not really. To an Englishman of her day the world belonged to the crown, and the crown was on the head of a woman. The world was a booming empire, England’s empire, and the empire was represented by a woman. I’m really not sure how long it had been since a woman had held such a prominent position of power. Perhaps Cleopatra? It had been a long time. Elizabeth had been powerful in defense of her land, her home, but her realm wasn’t a fraction of the size Victoria ruled. A woman fierce in defense of her home when there is no King to do the job is no threat to a man, far from it, it will inspire him to the heroic, it will inspire love for the woman strong enough to accept the challenge historically belonging to her man. But such was not the case concerning Victoria. Her actions were not to defend a homeland, hers were decisions, influences, that impacted on men where men had historically always held dominion, where there was no precedent for the presence of a woman: Victoria was monarch over an expanding Empire, the success of her reign challenged so many primal gender role assumptions, many of which were cross linked into and fully supported by the prevailing religious powers of the day.
To put it in other words I’m going to say a great deal of how Queen Victoria came to be associated with repression and hypocrisy carried to the point of perversion had to do with the fact that Victoria went toe to toe with Saint Paul in the subconscious assumptions of her subjects concerning what a woman was capable of, and it was Saint Paul who blinked first.
What a blow, what a hit. Eighteen hundred years of religious supported patriarchy all but contradicted by the success of a woman seated on a throne the same religion decreed was maintained by the will of God. No one could say she wasn’t woman full, good lord, NINE children, nine viable heirs to the throne? How long had it been since that had been seen? With such evidence as that before their eyes it certainly wasn’t possible to claim the Queen didn’t enjoy her man, regularly, she was the Queen and if she didn’t want to it wasn’t going to happen. Nor was God giving any evidence He was displeased with how she lived her life, the country was flourishing at the peak of it’s glory. The country was flourishing and it wasn’t a King on the throne, it was a Queen who most obviously embraced her own womanhood with quite a degree enthusiasm.
Had it been a King he would have had his Queen, his woman to stand in support of his heart and soul, but Victoria couldn’t have a King to support her, the very structure of the monarchy prevented such a thing. They had to invent a title for her man, her mate, they called him the royal consort. For the first time in memory the law demanded the man stand in support of his woman and the results were not the end of the world, far from it. Saint Paul was spinning in his tomb, and no one could admit to the fact. They couldn't admit to the fact because I doubt one in ten thousand could even perceive it as fact, but they could and they most certainly did do other things responding to their confusion. They took everything the Queen demanded as courtesy in her presence, which included of course abstaining from vulgar profanity, so much of which is based on and in fact deforms the very sexuality she so obviously drew a great deal of her strength from, they took those courtesies and demanded the remainder of the world behave as if they were in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Victoria even in the privacy of their own homes! They demanded it to the point of creating perversions I strongly suspect might have caused Victoria to break her own rule concerning colorful language had she ever fully perceived the misery and the out right evil that was being worked in her name by those confused men who couldn't say a word about her, but who put out a best effort at intimidating the next four or five generations of womanhood into frigidity to make sure the powerful and fertile Victoria remained the exception and not the rule. Talk about a bunch of sorry motherfuckers in the most absolutely literal sense of the word possible.