“She never opened her mouth. I stared – she stared also. At any rate, she kept her eyes on me in a cool. Regardless manner, exceedingly embarrassing and disagreeable.”

Middlemarch

This is an infamously fictional Victorian amatory. Infamous, not because of the author, literature or writing style but strictly on its social depiction.

When industrial revolution in the Victorian era strangled women’s liberties; Regency era propagated mutuality and same age marriage. When World War seized away men and importuned women with more responsibilities; Norman Conquest instilled legal definition to the right of women. Even the Matrilineal Nayar Society in Kerala adds  diverse spectrum to humanity.

When such a wide spectrum of human, especially women, chronicle concur with the dynamicity of human relationships and gender roles. 

In what way does the above Victorian amatory truly represent our present society, so that the Victorian love affair is seemingly found appreciative and appropriate for us? Haven’t we now moved far away from the nominal aristocratic culture; considered as our de facto morality?. Contrarily, it is to be stated that the more exuberant these fictional amatory is the more distant we are from reality.

The glaring paradox is that on one hand while we acknowledge these non-existent fictional Victorian anecdotes in our lives, on other hand we condemn the reality of transgenders in our society. This constant conflict between existence and denial of entities and elements of society, thus plays a major role in defining culture. Men, women and transgenders were all here all along. Nevertheless transgenders never “existed” when normalized by society. The society, culture and era are thus defined by the chosen entities (relationships, sex, wealth, class, politics) that do normalize and define the face of that society denying other prevalent entities. Epitomized by LGBTQ, a 20th-century upshot while it was priorly never part of any popular cultural moralities.

 

Consequently, the characteristics of those bygone cultures were more defined by the forced normalizations than the common realities of the time. Moreover, these normalizations are quite different in different societies. Such deviations of cultural reality from the social reality in diverse culture and era thus reinstates that human relationship is not static but diverse and dynamic. The anomalies of the women and their gender roles from past to present itself speak volume of the diversity in gender relationship. As a result, the fictional depiction of Victorian love is in no way pertinently real to that society, nonetheless to the present. This is why these literary works have to be enjoyed by its literature and writing style rather not by its social depiction. 

 

“Women were expected to have weak opinions, but the great safeguard of society and of domestic life was, that opinions were not acted upon. Sane people did what their neighbours did, so that if my lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.”

The evolution of such unreal cultural phenomenon in society, beyond fiction, advised by humanistic emotions , supplemented by inherent errors leads to imbalances in social strata. Slavery, Racial discrimination, and Anti-transgenderism are consequences of such human vulnerabilities. When culture becomes the nominal representation of certain splinter relations beyond reasoning, it leads to the so-called unbalanced reinforcement of behaviour in society. Such imbalances of human nature is what triggers a change. This change is the catalyst for the cycle of evolution. The change thus leads to the emergence of power and control in an evolving society.

“It is better to spend money in finding out how men can make the most of the land which supports them all, than keeping dogs and horses only to gallop over it. It is not a sin to make yourself poor in performing experiments for the good of all.”

But it is also not wise to think that power is always uni-dimensional. Knowledge is power. Intelligence is power. Strength too power. So is freedom. It is conclusive that power is enjoyed by everyone in the world anywise, or, everyone is oppressed by power unquestionably.

 The multi-faceted power triggered by this change starts the evolution of society and its stature. 

In the realm of sex, Power unravels chauvinism and feminism. For the race, it churns out slavery. When the sujet brûlant is politics, immigrants and diaspora.

How then is it possible for men and women to abide, the ever-changing cultural and social inflictions and human vulnerabilities? 

Co-existence is the key to sustenance. Co-existence is not co-agreement. Differences in opinion, nature, thoughts, and actions are allowed in co-existence, even in shape and size. Co-existence is understanding but not agreeing. It is acceptance but not denial.

“I cannot imagine myself living without some opinions but I should wish to have good reasons for them, and a wise men could help me to see which opinions had the best foundation and would help me to live according to them.”

 Now how should we approach the men-women relationship at present?

Dynamicity has always been the keystone of the men-women relationship, it defines men and women. The instinctive and irrational division of the gender roles constitute men and women all along, thereby being very fragile too. The relationship keeps on evolving depending upon the equilibrium attained between men and women. The forced normalizations, human imbalances, need of change and rise of power all contributes to the cycle of evolution of society for better or worse. Even so, this capricious evolution doesn’t distort the human relationship; because as soon as an imbalance emerges, it revamps the cycle of evolution more like an upgrading iOS. The cycle of evolution thus only helps to evolve the society into another form and stature. Twerks (traced back to Mapouka) and Perreo are so normalized now in this society that would have happened earlier, only in closed rooms, dark-narrow-damp passages or cellar dwellings. This is why we can say that the man-woman relationship is dynamic and evolving rather than being static or orthodox. The future will uphold new dimensions and definitions to this relationship beyond our imaginations.

Change is inevitable. When the Victorian era nurtured chaste, modest women; the world war forcefully made them the man of the family. Such anomalies might have played a role into the present woman repute and evolution. This conclusively illuminates the relationship between men and women. It is never a one dimensional relationship. The sociological, cultural, philosophical and even physical interlinks cannot be defined merely using a scientific equation or a methodology. Soon, women might feel household chores imposing , men might turn househusbands, God knows?. The relation keeps evolving as the equilibrial tension starts augmenting. And those changes then, on a larger scale defines a revolution or a gender role reversal.

Middlemarch by George Elliot 

I would highly recommend you to read Middlemarch: Penguin Classics by George Elliot if the above musings sought your attention. Feel free to check out the link if you are interested in purchasing the book,  Middlemarch: Penguin Classics  by George Elliot.

How can a writer emphasis on the patriarchal existence in society?

Is it best to bring out the contrast of hierarchy in the society or to completely believe in the sense and sensibilities of the society ?, to portray the so called patriarchal society in its beauty and charisma and asks the readers to take a retrospective analysis of the society and its fault themselves.?

Middlemarch: Penguin Classics is a book that brings out what the reader thinks of the story , society, culture and history rather than the writer herself. It is a pure judgement of what your thought process is. The writer merely establishes a story to her finest ability( Middlemarch: Penguin Classics as a Victorian époque novel)  in a very George Elliot way. It is our perspective of the Victorian era and its comparison to these modern societal concepts that make it as a story of patriarchy and male dominance, a story of women overpowering every social norm she can, a story of freedom and independence of women or as a story of an unfaithful wife.