How Victorian 'spinsters' explained why they were happily SINGLE
‘Men, like three-cornered tarts, are deceitful’: How Victorian ‘spinsters’ took aim at gentlemen of the day over why they were happily SINGLE in fiery magazine competition from 1889
- Responses featured in ‘Why I am a Spinster’ competition in Tit-Bits magazine
- The brutal but hilarious comments were sent in by single women of varying ages
- Historian Dr Bob Nicholson found jokes while studying the magazine
Today, neither women nor men need to explain why they aren’t married.
But in the Victorian era, there was immense pressure for women to tie the knot.
Those who didn’t were described as ‘Spinsters’ and were the subject of cruel jokes.
But a popular weekly magazine from the 1880s shows that unmarried women were perfectly capable of fighting back.
Comments sent in by single women who had been invited in a competition to explain, ‘Why I am a Spinster’ showed the acerbic wit of respondents.
Historian Dr Bob Nicholson found the jokes while studying an 1889 edition of Tit- Bits Magazine, which continued to be published until 1984.
Dr Nicholson told MailOnline: ‘I love some of the responses to this competition — they turn the stereotype of the Victorian spinster on its head and reveal some of the reasons why some Victorian women might have preferred to remain single.
See below for some of the best responses.
Comments sent in by single women who had been invited in a competition featured in an 1889 edition of Tit-Bits Magazine to explain, ‘Why I am a Spinster’ showed the acerbic wit of female respondents. Historian Dr Bob Nicholson found the jokes while searching through old editions of Tit-Bits
Dr Nicholson told MailOnline: ‘I love some of the responses to this competition — they turn the stereotype of the Victorian spinster on its head and reveal some of the reasons why some Victorian women might have preferred to remain single. Pictured: The brutal response sent in by Miss Sparrow, of Paddington
Miss Florence Watts, of Fulham, South-West London, said she was still a spinster because, ‘I have other professions open to me in which the hours are shorter, the work more agreeable and the pay possibly better
Miss S A Roberts, of Tipton, Staffordshire, said she was single ‘Because (like a piece of rare china) I am breakable and mendable, but difficult to match’
Miss Annie Thompson, of Oldham, Greater Manchester, said she had not yet married because ‘I am like the Rifle Volunteers: always ready, but not yet wanted’
Miss Jessie Davies, of Sparkbrook, Birmingham, said she was unmarried ‘because I am an English lady, and the Americans monopolize the market’
‘Like the wild mustang of the prairie that roams unfettered, tossing his head in utter disdain at the approach of the lasso which, if once round his neck, proclaims him captive, so I find it more delightful to tread on the verge of freedom and captivity, than to allow the snarer to cast around me the matrimonial torso,’ wrote Miss Sarah Kennerly, of Ashton-on-Ribble, Lancashire
Tit-Bits From All The Most Interesting Books, Periodicals and Newspapers in The World, more commonly known as just Tit-Bits, was a British weekly magazine.
Founded in 1881, the magazine sparked the medium of popular journalism.
Alfred Harmsworth, the founder of the Daily Mail, was the publisher of Tit-Bits’s competitor, Answers Magazine.
And the Daily Express’s original publisher Arthur Pearson worked on Tit-Bits.
Soon after it was established, the magazine became very popular and had a circulation of up to 600,000.
Its emphasis was on human interest stories presented in an easy-to-read format.
Tit-Bits From All The Most Interesting Books, Periodicals and Newspapers in The World, more commonly known as Tit-Bits, was a British weekly magazine
It also featured jokes pages, short stories and articles written by well-known writers.
Novelist and humourist PG Wodehouse had his early work published in Tit-Bits.
And Welsh composer and actor Ivor Novello’s song written for soldiers to sing at the front during the First World War was also published in it.
The magazine reached a peak in circulation in 1955 of 1.15million. However, it was closed in 1984 when its readership dropped to less than 200,000.
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