By Martha H. Verbrugge
As city existence and women's roles replaced within the nineteenth century, so did attitudes in the direction of actual wellbeing and fitness and womanhood. thus examine 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 ladies: the women' Physiological Institute, Wellesley university, and the Boston basic tuition of Gymnastics. opposed to the backdrop of a countrywide debate approximately lady tasks and health, this e-book follows middle-class girls as they discovered approximately overall healthiness and explored the connection among health and femininity. Combining clinical and social background, Verbrugge seems to be on the traditional girls who participated in wellbeing and fitness reform and analyzes the conflicting messages--both feminist and conservative--projected by way of the concept that of "able-bodied womanhood."
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Extra info for Able-Bodied Womanhood: Personal Health and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Boston
The answer to Boston's many ills, then, could be found in the regeneration of its citizens. Individual reform was a common theme during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. 63 From the new Methodists and Baptists to the Unitarians, many Protestants maintained that individual faith, not a wrathful God, determined the course of one's spiritual life. That sense of freedom and optimism pervaded many facets of antebellum life. 64 Convinced that individuals were responsible for change, advocates of romantic reform assumed that moderate doses of moral suasion, education, and example would guide Americans toward improvement.
Believing that personal change accumulated to bring social progress, health advocates focused on the shortcomings and betterment of individuals. 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.
70 Although his list of female attributes was not unusual, Lewis did object to the limits that social custom imposed on young, unmarried women. Other physiological reformers focused on women's range of activity during marriage. They noted that women spent their time primarily on domestic chores which, however necessary, could be degrading. "72 Such slavish toil in the home, one female author contended, frustrated women's higher purposes in life: Woman should be something more than Fashion's doll, or a cookingmachine.