At the end of the era, a socially shocking topic was that of the virginal bride (and her innocent offspring) infected with syphilis by a sexually experienced husband.
Most developments in public sanitation and medical practice were gender-neutral in their theoretical bases and actual effects.
Ideas relating to reproductive health were the obvious exception, generally both 'read back' into gendered theories of individual health, and also deployed in prescriptive notions of sexuality and sexual behaviour.
In medicine, micro-bacterial understanding led to better control of infectious disease, avoidance of cross-contamination in surgery and prevention of specific diseases through vaccination.
Traditional treatments and nursing practices evolved to improve recovery rates, but there were few effective drug remedies and overall morbidity and mortality remained high.
This misogyny, Tyson reminds us, can extend into diverse areas of our culture: "Perhaps the most chilling example..found in the world of modern medicine, where drugs prescribed for both sexes often have been tested on male subjects only" (85).
Feminist criticism is also concerned with less obvious forms of marginalization such as the exclusion of women writers from the traditional literary canon: "...unless the critical or historical point of view is feminist, there is a tendency to underrepresent the contribution of women writers" (Tyson 84).
A major change, towards the end of the century, lay in falling birth-rates and smaller families.
Couples like Victoria and Albert, married in 1840, who had nine children in seventeen years, were from the 1870s steadily replaced, in nearly all sections of society, by those choosing to limit family size.
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