By Martha H. Verbrugge
As city existence and women's roles replaced within the nineteenth century, so did attitudes in the direction of actual healthiness and womanhood. as a result learn of health and wellbeing 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 university, and the Boston common university of Gymnastics. opposed to the backdrop of a countrywide debate approximately lady tasks and health, this publication follows middle-class ladies as they realized approximately health and wellbeing and explored the connection among health and femininity. Combining clinical and social heritage, Verbrugge seems to be on the traditional ladies who participated in health and wellbeing 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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Extra resources for Able-Bodied Womanhood: Personal Health and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Boston
As the worlds of work and home divided more sharply, the roles of middle-class men and women grew further apart as well. According to Lemuel Shattuck's rough survey in 1845, a male over the age of twenty was far more likely to work outside the home than was his female counterpart (73 versus 17 percent). 55 The norm for a middle-class woman in her mid-twenties was to be married and occupied in the home. At mid-century, the average age of first marriage for Massachusetts women was about twenty-four.
In that case, physiological instruction might correct their errors. Were women lost amidst the disarray and temptations of urban life? If so, reminders about moral principle might steer them back on course. Or did irresponsible behavior signal a profound weakening of women's character and self-control? This was the most troubling possibility. Whatever answer they settled upon, popular physiologists and other commentators agreed that women's mistaken habits aggravated an already delicate system.
For example, a child, a shopkeeper, a longshoreman, and an invalid needed different amounts of food and rest. The appetite of a farmer was not expected among refined ladies, nor was the spirited play of a youngster proper exercise for a grown woman. To account for those differences, health reformers devised the notion of appropriate hygiene, that is, of tailoring the general rules of health to the special circumstances of people's lives. "Appropriate" was at once a social and physiological judgment.
Able-Bodied Womanhood: Personal Health and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Boston by Martha H. Verbrugge