Feminine Conformities within the Trial of Lizzie Borden

Social Expectations of Women in the Courtroom


  • Jamie Sessions


This research looks at the trial of Lizzie Borden in 1893 and how society’s view of women effect the way that the evidence was viewed and treated in the courtroom. It analyzes how Lizzie Borden fit the feminine mold that society deemed appropriate and how journalists and the public used these traits to paint the picture of an innocent woman. Through the analysis of this trial, it becomes apparent that even though women were breaking into the workforce and universities they were still bound by clear gender distinctions. This article strives not to argue the innocence or guilt of Lizzie Borden but to use her trial to reveal the traits and values proper women were meant to have and their importance. It argues that if Lizzie had not have shown these proper feminine traits her trial would have been conducted differently.