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 research 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 collage, and the Boston basic college of Gymnastics. opposed to the backdrop of a countrywide debate approximately woman tasks and healthiness, this publication follows middle-class ladies as they discovered approximately well-being and explored the connection among health and femininity. Combining scientific and social historical past, Verbrugge seems to be on the usual girls who participated in health and wellbeing 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
65 Citing the severity and ineffectiveness of orthodox treatment, a variety of reformers called upon the lay populace to become keepers of their own health and healers of their own diseases. In the decades preceding the Civil War, the most popular nonorthodox therapies included Thomsonianism, homeopathy, and hydropathy. Each of those sects, to some degree, endorsed self-medication at home. In the early 1800s, Samuel Thomson, a New Hampshire farmer, founded a medical system that replaced the bloodletting, blistering, and mineral drugs of regular physicians with botanic remedies.
The commandments which God has written in the constitution of these mortal bodies," declared Dr. "48 To practice the lessons of physiology was to obey the divine order, while to violate them was to repudiate a moral duty and, in effect, to sin. Although New Englanders came to question their belief in an autocratic and intrusive God, their assertion of personal control, ironically, made little difference in their conduct. They were free to shape their own destinies, yet obligated to follow sacred rules.
Although most writers agreed on certain general principles of health, they differed on how personal wellbeing might be achieved and identified. While such variety may have confused readers, it also created choices for them. Though normative, in its effort to direct middle-class Bostonians toward propriety, advice about health was also ambiguous enough to invite experimentation. As this chapter will illustrate, differences of opinion were especially evident in discussions about women's health. 7 Derived from Scottish realism of the eighteenth century, commonsense philosophy was a familiar feature of academic thought in the Northeast before the Civil War and had a popular counterpart in the moral framework of middle- and upper-class Bostonians.