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What would Elizabeth Bennet be like if she were living today


Effie

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So I was thinking.... Several of the SAHDs out there seem to have a special liking for Jane Austen's novels and especially for one character in Pride and Prejudice named Elizabeth Bennet.

I have always seen Elizabeth Bennet as a strong, stable and independent woman with a lot of opinions. However her views and ideas on marriage are traditional, but it's important to realize in which context the book was written. Women like Elizabeth still had the pressure to get married or risk being shunned or ridiculed by society.

So if Elizabeth Bennet lived in the society of today, how do you think she would be like? My idea is that she would be nothing like the SAHDs or SAHMs.

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Do they forget that she DELIBERATELY went against the wishes of her mother to marry her cousin? She was obtuse! She was snide! She was snarky! She was proud! If Elizabeth Bennett were alive today, I would picture her as a successful career woman. If she were born to a fundie family she would have GTFO and found a better way! She had morals but she had a mind of her own! I hate when people take a character in a book and so twist it to make it fit.

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For fun, I recommend watching the British mini-series Lost in Austen on DVD. It's about a modern 20something woman who is obsessed with Pride and Prejudice and ends up switching places with Liz Bennet. It mostly focuses on the woman dealing with culture shock and trying to make sure that everything happens like in the book and screwing up, but they show a bit of Liz living in Modern England--with short hair, pants, and working as a nanny ("Mr. and Mrs. Rosen are very concerned about the size of their footprint!")

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Guest Anonymous

Elizabeth, with Mr. Darcy's support, took advantage of the fascination with all things Regency and/or Victorian, by establishing a high-end wedding planning business. In order to insure historical accuracy, she hired Lady Catherine as an etiquette consultant. Elizabeth advertises her business regularly in "Martha Stewart Living", "O" and "Modern Bride" and has placed Georgianna Darcy in charge of building web-based services as well.

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For fun, I recommend watching the British mini-series Lost in Austen on DVD. It's about a modern 20something woman who is obsessed with Pride and Prejudice and ends up switching places with Liz Bennet. It mostly focuses on the woman dealing with culture shock and trying to make sure that everything happens like in the book and screwing up, but they show a bit of Liz living in Modern England--with short hair, pants, and working as a nanny ("Mr. and Mrs. Rosen are very concerned about the size of their footprint!")

Loved Lost in Austen and could totally picture Lizzie living as a vegan (don't forget that part) nanny as she got her footing in "big city" life. She's not forced to marry a cousin or a rich guy to save the family land, so she could go to Oxford, major in women's studies and buy her own damn flat in Chelsea until she finds her modern-day "Darcy." Since she met Darcy at a country dance, today's equivalent would be something like clubbing.

I bet the fundies HATE Emma; too headstrong until she realizes the mess she's made of everything affects more than just herself. But I guess they can twist that around due to Emma's dedication to her father, who is adverse to change of any sort.

I think their favorite heroine would be Elinor Dashwood or possibly downtrodden Fanny Price (for her suffering and perseverance). At first glance, Anne Eliot looks like a candidate, but she can't stand her father or her sisters, so she's definitely out of the running. Not sure about Catherine Moreland. Probably a no, since she likes to read gothic romances.

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I think definitely they would like Fanny Price the best. Not only is she meek, uncomplaining, an excellent help around the house etc, she looks up to Manly Men and ends up with...a clergyman! And everyone who insults the clergy in the book is shown as a dodgy type indeed. That fits with their pastor worship, "touch not God's anointed" :pray: way of thinking.

Nearly all other JA heroines are just too lively and unconventional for a fundie to regard them with anything but extreme disapproval.

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Marriage was an escape from many rules in the Regency era. A married woman could get away with many things that a single woman never could. Personally, I think in a modern version, Lydia would get knocked up while in high school, and Elizabeth would be disgusted that she didn't get an abortion, because Lydia had some misguided idea that having a baby was romantic.

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That reminds me...MARY Bennet would definitely be their favorite Austen SAHD. Critical of her "frivolous" sisters, even Jane, nose in the Bible or fingers playing dirges on the pianoforte. A fundie daddy's dream daughter.

edited to correct Jane's name.

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She was also very plain, so she wouldn't be defrauding the menz.

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Elizabeth was born to a wealthyish family--women in that era did work if they were lower-class, and if there was nothing for her to inherit there would not have been the desperation of her mom to marry her off--she could have married anyone if anyone would have been "marrying up." Her family wasn't super-wealthy, so she wouldn't be a Rockefeller or anything, but her family would probably be very "established" locally. Maybe her grandfather invented something that makes a couple million every year, not enough for everyone to own their own yacht, but to live very comfortably. Obviously, today girls can inherit money, so there would be no need for her to get married. She and her siblings would probably be encouraged to pursue a business degree so they could keep working in the family business. Elizabeth would annoy her parents by not getting a business degree or having any desire to take over the family business, but she would get a different degree that would let her make a substantial amount of her own money on top of her future inheritance.

Jane would get a business degree and become a VP in the family company.

Nobody marries cousins these days--ew. Maybe her parents want her to marry the nice boy in the family they've been longtime friends with, but Elizabeth doesn't want to marry into another "established" family from her hometown because that is just cheesy, and also the boy is socially awkward. She meets some arrogant guy in a freshman philosophy class who starts these really annoying discussions as if he knows all about philosophy. This guy ends up in a bunch of her college courses over the next four years, and eventually her opinion of him improves. She dates a guy from the ROTC, who ends up cheating on her so she dumps him. After she dumps ROTC guy, philosophy guy finally asks her on a date, they end up getting married. He's from a wealthier family, maybe somewhat related to the Kennedys, and hopes to go into politics (he took philosophy for his poli sci degree, and he's headed to law school). Being a Kennedy, of course his family hoped he would marry someone with more status, but this being the 2010s, nobody gets lobotomized. Elizabeth has so much money from her own career, her own inheritance, and her husband's inheritance, as well as his future lawyer/political career. Elizabeth, who started out not wanting to marry laterally in part because she didn't wanted to live up to her parents' expectations too easily, finds herself to have accidentally married up into the political and social elite of America. She secretly supports social programs and a woman's right to choose while Mr. Darcy works his way up in politics by compromising on everything.

ROTC guy probably wouldn't have gone after Elizabeth's youngest sister, because today that would be illegal. But Lydia would totally end up pregnant at 16 and would marry her high school boyfriend, and then get divorced within a few years. She'd probably also get some minor vandalism charges as a minor (after she keys an ex's car at 15y/o), maybe some possession of marijuana or a minor in possession of alcohol. She would graduate high school and work her way through beauty school with her two kids (she would have another kid after getting married, but before she's 21). Her parents would practically disown her, giving financial help to her other siblings in college but not her, because she would be labeled the "bad kid." Lydia would probably quit telling people what family she's originally from, and just use her married name even after the divorce so people would stop commenting on how much money her family has. She would be a pretty great mother, handle the divorce with as much class as she could manage, and remarry to a great guy when she's in her late 20s. In her forties, after decades of clean, responsible living, making a stable and happy nuclear family for herself, her parents would start to see her as having done well for herself. But she would always be the black sheep.

(I didn't actually like Pride and Prejudice.)

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For fun, I recommend watching the British mini-series Lost in Austen on DVD. It's about a modern 20something woman who is obsessed with Pride and Prejudice and ends up switching places with Liz Bennet. It mostly focuses on the woman dealing with culture shock and trying to make sure that everything happens like in the book and screwing up, but they show a bit of Liz living in Modern England--with short hair, pants, and working as a nanny ("Mr. and Mrs. Rosen are very concerned about the size of their footprint!")

I've seen this one - it is a lot of fun. Elizabeth manages to adapt quite well to the 21st century. Darcy (on a short visit) doesn't fare quite as well.

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To tell you the truth, I don't think Elizabeth Bennet would be any different today. I've re-read the book countless times, but no matter what, I still see the same woman I saw when I first read about her at 13: she sticks up for herself, is self-educated, and knows she deserves a say in things.

A lot better than a lot of "modern" women I know of.

edited, bc I pluralized "book" by mistake.

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