By Martha H. Verbrugge
As city existence and women's roles replaced within the nineteenth century, so did attitudes in the direction of actual health and wellbeing and womanhood. therefore research of wellbeing and fitness 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 college of Gymnastics. opposed to the backdrop of a countrywide debate approximately girl tasks and future health, this ebook follows middle-class girls as they realized approximately overall healthiness and explored the connection among health and femininity. Combining clinical and social historical past, Verbrugge appears on the traditional ladies who participated in well-being 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
Though evident in the course of natural events and everyday life, the moral code was established and monitored by a wise divinity. It was the responsibility of mortal beings to live according to God's precepts; in part, an individual's fate, both temporal and final, rested on the character of his or her conduct. Natural law existed in concert with the moral principles of life. God had so designed the universe that the laws regulating physical events were consistent, even intertwined, with those of human virtue.
64 The ideal of service was incorporated into antebellum measures of female health. "63 Catharine Beecher, a chief architect of the cult of domesticity, applied an operational test. "06 In brief, how long and how well could a woman meet her familial duties? For some health reformers, domesticity and able-bodied womanhood were one and the same. Others, however, questioned certain features of the cult of true womanhood. Their quarrel was not with femininity per se, but with societal limitations on women's interests and activities.
On the other hand, the impairment of any one function caused widespread harm. Overuse of an organ diminished its ability to produce the stimuli that other vital systems needed and also appropriated the energizing force of the nerves and blood, thereby withdrawing it from other organs. The result was general debilitation of the body. Physiologists used the vague concept of "sympathy" to suggest those direct and indirect means whereby the condition of one organ was Moral Physiology and the Habits of a Healthy Life 33 communicated throughout the body.