Study Guide

Outlander Women and Femininity

By Diana Gabaldon

Women and Femininity

If you thought women were expected to behave differently in the 1940s than they are today, just wait until you see how women are expected to behave in the 1740s. The differences between the sexes are one of the most striking culture shocks Claire experiences when she travels back in time in Outlander. (And remember: This is a time when people don't even brush their teeth.)

We can only wonder how things would have been different if it were Frank, and not Claire, traveling back in time. He wouldn't have married Jamie, that's for sure.

Questions About Women and Femininity

  1. Claire holds Jamie responsible for failing to protect her when they get attacked at the river. Is she right? Is it Jamie's responsibility to protect her or should she be able to take care of herself?
  2. How do Claire's modern ideals conflict with how women are expected to behave in the 1740s?
  3. Claire is a modern woman compared to the 1740s, but in what ways does she behave traditionally, compared to women in our present day?

Chew on This

Although women are expected to stay home, they actually have more responsibility and power way back when than they do today because they're respected for everything they do. At least in this book, the 18th century is kind of a good place to be a woman.

In this book, an 18th-century woman with too much power is totally feared. They're branded as witches and burned at the stake, and it's a pretty scary place to be a woman.