By Martha H. Verbrugge
As city lifestyles and women's roles replaced within the nineteenth century, so did attitudes in the direction of actual wellbeing and fitness and womanhood. to that end research 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 ladies: the women' Physiological Institute, Wellesley collage, and the Boston general university of Gymnastics. opposed to the backdrop of a countrywide debate approximately girl tasks and health and wellbeing, this e-book follows middle-class ladies as they realized approximately well-being and explored the connection among health and femininity. Combining scientific and social heritage, Verbrugge appears to be like on the usual ladies who participated in healthiness reform and analyzes the conflicting messages--both feminist and conservative--projected through the concept that of "able-bodied womanhood."
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Additional resources for Able-Bodied Womanhood: Personal Health and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Boston
The literature of popular physiology in the mid-nineteenth century abounded with examples of mutual impairment, intended to scold the delinquent audience. In his physiology text for schools and families in 1853, for example, Dr. B. N. Comings illustrated the relationship between emotional states and physical processes. "23 In 1838, Dr. Elisha Bartlett explained the connection between immorality and physical abuses in his lecture on "Obedience to the Laws of Health, a Moral Duty": 34 ABLE-BODIED WOMANHOOD It is almost invariably true, that those violations of the physiological laws, consisting in intemperate and sensual excesses, ultimately becloud the intellect, and enfeeble the moral sentiments, while they stimulate into a blind and fearful activity, the selfish and animal powers.
According to advice literature of the mid-1800s, conscience marked health as an inescapable duty to oneself. Personal health was an obligation to one's family and community as well. Much as the human body was an alliance of physical organs, so too a stable society relied on the contributions of every member. In his arguments for physical culture, for example, Dio Lewis often pointed out the social as well as personal value of health: Every one of those pale, feeble, crooked little ones who now swarm in our streets at the hour of school dismissal, would be changed into an erect, vigorous, elastic, ruddy, and happy child.
The principles of health carried as much authority as did any other holy decree. "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.
Able-Bodied Womanhood: Personal Health and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Boston by Martha H. Verbrugge