Downton Abbey

1920s Girl Power in Downton Abbey

Originally published at sixhotchicks.com 


Electric lights, refrigerators, drop-waisted dresses, and feminism

In 1912 the Titanic sank throwing the Crawley family of Downton Abbey into such an upheaval that it would take six seasons and five Christmas specials to set everything in order once more. You see the vital male heir to the estate died on the Titanic and not a single living person had the power to break the entail that said it must go to a man. Which is not a great set-up if you’re looking for some girl power along with candlelight and corsets.  

Downton Abbey is, of course, not a real place but is a real TV series so beloved in both the UK and the US that the entire cast – including Maggie Smith – is reuniting for a movie! And I cannot wait to spend more time with the incredible women of Downton.

A British period drama is not a likely place to find feminist undertones but the strength of the women both upstairs and downstairs, the bright young things defying convention, the older women deftly guiding the family, and the men who come to appreciate them, are wonderful to watch. By the end of the series the chauffeur turned son and brother in-law to the family actually says, “we like strong women around here.”

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