Ideal womanhood, perfect womanhood, perfect woman and ideal woman are terms or labels to apply to subjective statements or thoughts on idealised female traits.
The concept of the "ideal woman"
The term is applied in the context of various times and cultures, for example:
- Sita as the ideal Hindu or Indian woman
- Penelope, wife of Odysseus in the Odyssey, described as the ideal woman of ancient Greek society, "the embodiment of chastity, generosity, cunning, and intelligence"
- Queen Victoria as the ideal Victorian era woman
- the "wife of noble character" as described in the Old Testament book of Proverbs, skilled in both household management and trade
- the Virgin Mary as an ideal of both virgin and mother - a concept with some pervasiveness in Latin America (see Marianismo).
- the "ideal woman" stereotype of the 1950s, described by Betty Friedan in The Feminine Mystique as defined by "sexual passivity, male domination, and nurturing maternal love"
Examples of "ideal women" are portrayed in literature, for example:
- Sophie, a character in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Emile: or, On Education (book V) who is raised to be the perfect wife.
- Lucretia as depicted by Benjamin Britten in The Rape of Lucretia.
- Sylvia, in William Shakespeare's poem Who is Sylvia?
- Bhargava, Anju. "A contemporary perspective on Sita - Sita character". www.sitayanam.com. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Richman, Paula (2001). Questioning Ramayanas: A South Asian Tradition. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 285–308. ISBN 0520220749.
- Dickson, Mark, et al., Ideal Women in Ancient Greek Society, Union College
- Abrams, Lynn. "Ideals of Womanhood in Victorian Britain". History Trails - Victorian Britain. BBC. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Proverbs 31: 10-31
- "Marina Warner". Contemporary Writers. British Council. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Holt, Jennifer, The Ideal Woman, in Soundings, California State University, Stanislaus
- Sunday Times, September 28, 2008
- 12 types of women you should date, by Matthew Fitzgerald
- The Ideal Woman is a Precious Treasure, by Pope John Paul II
- The Ideal Woman by Adrian Bellew
- Lierheimer, Linda. "Review of 'Convents and Nuns in Eighteenth-Century French Politics and Culture,' by Mita Choudhury". Catholic Historical Review - hosted at Britannica.com. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Picard, Anna (18 June 2001). "The Rape of Lucretia, Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh". The Independent. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Who is Sylvia? by William Shakespeare
- Teunissen, Jose, The Ideal Woman, SUN, 2004, ISBN 978-90-5875-136-2
- McFarland, Syreeta Renee, The Ideal Woman, Protea Publishing, 2005, ISBN 978-1-59344-115-9
- Hubbard, Elbert, The Ideal Woman, Kessinger Publishing, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4286-9621-1