Able-Bodied Womanhood: Personal Health and Social Change in by Martha H. Verbrugge

By Martha H. Verbrugge

As city lifestyles and women's roles replaced within the nineteenth century, so did attitudes in the direction of actual healthiness and womanhood. as a consequence learn of future health reform in Boston among 1830 and 1900, Martha H. Verbrugge examines 3 associations that popularized body structure and workout between middle-class girls: the women' Physiological Institute, Wellesley collage, and the Boston common institution of Gymnastics. opposed to the backdrop of a countrywide debate approximately woman tasks and health, this e-book follows middle-class girls as they discovered approximately healthiness and explored the connection among health and femininity. Combining scientific and social background, Verbrugge appears to be like on the traditional ladies who participated in overall healthiness reform and analyzes the conflicting messages--both feminist and conservative--projected by means of the idea that of "able-bodied womanhood."

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Additional resources for Able-Bodied Womanhood: Personal Health and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Boston

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By system, they meant American society as well as the female body. Though sympathetic to women's private pain, health reformers and doctors also feared the social implications of ailing womanhood. In their eyes, it jeopardized the strength of families and the stability of the nation. "81 In practical terms, invalidism left women unable to bear and raise vigorous children, in whose hands the future of the country lay. In moral terms, it seemed to reflect an erosion of values and resolve among the principal guardians of the home and family.

Economic and social forces changed the character of life for both men and women in Boston during the mid-nineteenth century. 52 Located in both the central city and the outlying areas, new enterprises created opportunities for middle-class men, especially among clerical and salesworkers. The middle-class professions, too, gained in strength, though less consistently. In contrast, the old middle class saw its importance wane. The day of the independent artisan was near an end, and the number of small shopkeepers and managers barely grew after 1830.

The main obstacles to self-improvement, physical or otherwise, appeared to be ignorance and negligence. "1 The conclusion was a familiar one during the mid-nineteenth century. Commenting in the North American Review in 1855, for example, A. A. "2 Even more distressing was the indifference of people who understood the laws of life and health, but chose to violate them. "Multitudes abuse their bodies because they do not know the mischiefs they are perpetrating," Beecher asserted. "3 Both knowledge and conscience were essential to the campaign for health.

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