Social talking in 1912

  • Thread starter João Carlos Pereira Martins
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João Carlos Pereira Martins

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I was trying to find a thread where I could post this, but none of them was proper for the effect, but I was just wondering how a single young woman would behave when she was surrounded by older married women, society matrons, during a social conversation. I was particulary interested in a situation when a girl (16 or 17) was in the company of her mother. Could she talk a lot and got active in the chatting? Was she allowed to be a bit cheeky or should she stay quite and calm, drinking tea with a formal smile in her lips? While watching the period films I noticed that young women were treated more like a décor piece than people.

Regards, João
 
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Vikki Aris

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If she was 16 or 17 then she's still technically a child. And children were expected to be seen and not heard. Also, a young girl is supposed to be inexperienced and learning how to behave from her elders, so it would be more appropriate for her to be more on the quiet side, taking everything in. I think a good allusion is the maiko in geisha culture. The apprentice is still learning, therefore is expected to listen more than talk, and benefit from her older "sister"s experience.

Back in Edwardian culture, there was more of an age-related heirarchical structure than there is now, with younger people deferring to older, single to married. And then, a young unmarried girl would want to make a good impression in society. I'm sure among her social equals there was much more opportunity for gossip and more cheeky chatter.
 
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João Carlos Pereira Martins

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Thanks for the answer, Vikki! I'm very keen on novels written in the beginning of the century and at least in Portugal, young single girls tried to escape discreetly from her mother's control, especially at parties, when there were a lot of people and they could find other girls of their age and gossip a bit. Although. the Edwardian culture had great influence in the high society portuguese families of this age, because of the good diplomatic relationship between England and Portugal.

Regards, João
 
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