Are You an Accomplished Woman?

Are You an Accomplished Woman?

Have you ever wondered whether people in Regency times would have considered you to be a well-educated woman? If you have, I’ve created a little quiz to help you judge yourself. It’s based on a conversation among the Bingleys, Darcy, and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice about what it takes for a woman to become accomplished.

  1. How would you describe your artistic abilities?
    1. My friend could use the portrait I painted of her as her profile picture on Facebook.
    2. My parents still have my art framed and hanging on the wall.
    3. I’m pretty good at stick figures.
  2. How would you describe your sewing skills?
    1. I’m always working on an embroidery project.
    2. I keep up with my mending.
    3. I haven’t touched a sewing needle in years.
  3. Do you like to sing?
    1. Yes, and others like to hear me sing.
    2. Yes, but others don’t like to hear me sing.
    3. No.
  4. Do you play an instrument?
    1. Yes, and I practice regularly.
    2. Yes, but I haven’t practiced for a while.
    3. No.
  5. Do you speak a foreign language?
    1. Yes, I speak French (or Italian.)
    2. Yes, but I speak something other than French or Italian.
    3. No.
  6. Do you dance?
    1. Yes, I love a good English country dance (or ballroom).
    2. I can get by in Zumba.
    3. No.
  7. What are your reading habits?
    1. I read widely and regularly.
    2. I read popular novels.
    3. I usually watch the movie instead of reading the book.

Now, give yourself 2 points for every A, 1 for every B, and 0 for every C.

14-10 points–The other ladies had better watch out. You are marriage material. You’re as accomplished as Jane Fairfax, Marianne Dashwood, Anne Elliot, and Mary Bennet.

9-5 points–Don’t be discouraged. You’re as accomplished as Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Bennet, and Emma Woodhouse. Once you find your man, you’ll know he loves you for your mind.

5-0 points–Let’s face it, you probably wouldn’t be considered accomplished during the Regency Era, but that’s okay, because neither were Catherine Morland, Lydia Bennet, and Harriet Smith. There’s something to be said for having a great personality. Also, bear in mind that Jane Austen considered these standards to be quite silly. She placed much more value on improving her mind than in some of the other skills.


Personally, I squeaked by with a 9, which means I’m in the same category as Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse. How did you do?

21 Responses to Are You an Accomplished Woman?

  1. I got 4.5. I do English country dancing, know how to sew and embroider but rarely do it, and read widely and constantly. I don’t think it counts that I have studied (and forgotten) numerous languages and a several musical instruments. At least I’m kind enough not to inflict my singing of others; my husband says I have a pleasant singing voice – it’s too bad I cannot carry a tune.

  2. Some of your questions do not have appropriate answers, i.e., I am a good artist but, no one has a portrait framed and my parents didn’t keep things like our artwork. So I could not count those answers. I sew but your answers don’t give what I do: I have sewn many pieces of clothing and used smocking on girls’ dresses and embroidery. I make many crafts: look up “Polish Stars” on the Internet. I sing in the choir and my children told me I had a good voice…it is now affected by surgery I had. I read and write reviews. My parents could not afford musical instruments so we never had lessons. I have studied several (German, Spanish and Latin) languages while in HS and/or college (three years of two of those) but do not speak them. You tell me how that adds up.

  3. It’s funny how all the accomplished women of today are scoring pretty low by Regency standards. I’m so glad no one will be judging me by my painting, singing, or piano playing. Thank you everyone for playing along!

  4. Practice makes perfect. That is the rub. I don’t have the ability or time to practice as Lady Catherine suggests. I haven’t played the piano since my teen years. I gave my guitar to my nephew. I have done cross-stitch, and the different stitches like chicken scratch, embroidery, etc. I can crochet, knit, needlepoint, and I used to make my own clothing [that was back in the day]. I’ve created quilts. My grandmother loved to work old clothing into new creations. I took a water color art class from a local artist and occasionally work in an art notebook, but again, additional practice is needed. Back during the fad, I dabbled in macrame and make a purse… is that like netting a purse? The skills from Regency are sometimes hard to translate to our modern crafts. The edge on a handkerchief would be crocheted or tatted. And yet, my score of 5 makes me barely acceptable. So… now that I have retired… the time that should be dedicated to practice is now taken up with reading JAFF and writing reviews. If I have to choose… I’m sorry… I’ll simply be unaccomplished. I choose reading and writing every time. Something had to go.

  5. That’s just funny. I am a seven. I might have scored higher if the questions were a little different. For example, I’ve never embroidered in my life…however I wear clothes that I made and I’m working on a quilt. The instrument one…well, I took lessons but hated playing and loved singing so I know enough to pick out the key I’m singing in but not enough to say “yes, I play” =D Just funny stuff. That’s alright though…I’d rather be in there for my mind anyway and what esteemed company to be in! That was fun.

  6. My score was 8, which is middling on your scale, but knowing I could bring the score up to the top tier with a few weeks of piano practice and embroidery, I’m perfectly satisfied. Fun post!

    So I’m a 9 but would have been a 12 before I started working full time (I like painting, embroidery, and music; I just don’t keep up with it.)
    But I’m writing a heroine who is a 7. Could I possibly have fared better in the period than this (albeit fictional) person who actually lived through it? Thoughts: I’m arguably better off than her. She has a different skill sent. And I’m a mean writer who likes to torture my characters.

  8. I managed a 6, and that is solely because of my reading habits. I would have scored higher in my younger years when I still “practiced” regularly. Now that time is utilized for reading instead.

  9. I got 8 so am fairly accomplished but not up to Miss Bingley’s standards (thank goodness).
    I suppose if I had nothing else to do all day but work on my accomplishments I might have scored a bit more. But maybe not!

    • I am a 9. That makes me equal with Elizabeth Bennett. I am okay with that as she got Mr. Darcy, so there is still hope for me.LOL! This is a fun post.

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