Back in the Dolls House: Misrepresenting Post-War Women in Downton Abbey

In 1917, the headmistress of a girls’ school in Bournemouth delivered her customary address to the sixth formers but on this particular day the speech had a sobering note “I have come to tell you a terrible fact,” she began. “Only one out of 10 of you girls can ever hope to marry… Nearly all the men who might have married you have been killed.”

The statement proved to be prophetic as the interwar years led to the phenomenon of what has been popularly known as the “surplus women” – a term adapted during the early 1920s to collectively describe young women born between 1885 and 1905 who were unmarried by the time the war ended and were destined to marry late if they were lucky or not at all: which for many of these women ended up being…

Source: Back in the Dolls House: Misrepresenting Post-War Women in Downton Abbey

3 thoughts on “Back in the Dolls House: Misrepresenting Post-War Women in Downton Abbey

  1. I have actually watched every episode of Downton Abbey, mainly for the excellent Maggie Smith, and also for the acting of many of those who play the servants. Both the character of Mary, and the acting by Michelle Dockery, have always proved to be an irritant, and the episodes that do not revolve around her are always better.
    Those of us interested in history, and read blogs about the subject, are likely to know that it is little more than soap-opera nonsense in the main. I would presume that most viewers have less interest in the reality of life in that period, and simply watch for entertainment. They are also unlikely to carry away any misleading facts from that watching, or to explore the period in more detail.
    I always preferred ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ myself!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

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