Monday, March 30, 2009
Josephine Butler Is Most Certainly The Victorian Of The Month
Fighter of rich and powerful men! Attacker of double standards of sexual morality! Author of Women’s Work and Women’s Culture! “Daughters of chimney-sweeps should not be bought for five pounds!”
Many people, including Prince Leopold, considered Josephine Butler to be the most beautiful woman in the world.
Born wealthy in 1828 to Hannah Annett and John Grey who was the cousin of Earl Grey, the British Prime Minister/tea.
She had four children in five years with her husband, George Butler. In 1863, daughter Eva fell to her death. Josephine never recovered from the shock. So, instead of sitting around at home, she visited local workhouses and rescued young prostitutes from the streets.
The Butlers were anti-slavery. They also had radical sympathies like the Union and the American Civil War. None of these interests made them friends.
For such a devout Christian, Butler certainly knew a lot about sex, you might say. She campaigned against the Contagious Diseases Act, which had been introduced to reduce veneral disease in the armed forces. Someone thought it would be a good idea to imprison prostitutes for having V.D. Josephine just didn’t agree.
Butler wrote on education for women and campaigned successfully for their rights. But she didn’t get along with all feminists; in her eyes, women weren’t the same as men. Which is precisely why she thought they should vote.
Her husband died, she wrote some more books. She lived until 1906.