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Pantaloons and power : nineteenth-century dress reform in the United States / Gayle V. Fischer.

By: Fischer, Gayle V.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, c2001Description: x, 262 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.ISBN: 0873386825 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780873386821 (pbk. : alk. paper).Subject(s): Clothing and dress -- United States -- History -- 19th century | Women's rights -- United States -- HistoryAdditional physical formats: Online version:: Pantaloons and power.; Online version:: Pantaloons and power.DDC classification: 391/.2/097309034
Contents:
Introduction: Who Wears the Pants? -- 1. Perfecting America: Antebellum Reform, Fashion, and Antifashion -- 2. The First Dress Reformers: New Harmony, Indiana, 1824-1827 -- 3. Pantaloons in Private: Health and Religious Dress Reform before Freedom Dresses -- 4. Pantaloons in Public: Woman's Rights and Freedom Dresses -- 5. Out of the Closet: Health and Religious Dress Reform after Freedom Dresses -- 6. "I'm Coming Out as a Bloomer": Eccentric and Independent Dress Reformers -- 7. What Happened to Dress Reform? -- Epilogue: Women Wear the Pants
Review: "By the early nineteenth century clear definitions had developed regarding how American women and men were supposed to appear in public and how they were meant to lead their lives. As men's style of dress moved from the ornate to the moderate, women's fashions continued to be decorative and physically restrictive. This visible separation of the sexes was paralleled in other arenas - social, cultural, and religious. Some women defied this convention and cut their skirts short, abandoned their corset, and put on trousers." "In Pantaloons and Power Gayle V. Fischer depicts how the reformers' denouncement of conventional dress highlighted the role of clothing in the struggle of power relations between the sexes. Wearing pantaloons was considered a subversive act and was often met with social ostracism. Fischer contends that while it was not the goal of many reformers to alter gender relations, as women adopted pantaloons the perception of male and female power relationships blurred, and the boundaries of social roles for women began to shift." "This carefully researched interdisciplinary study successfully combines the fields of costume history, women's history, material culture, and social history to tell the story of one highly charged dress reform and its resonance in nineteenth-century society."--BOOK JACKET.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
GT610 .F57 2001 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001526862

Includes bibliographical references (p. 225-254) and index.

"By the early nineteenth century clear definitions had developed regarding how American women and men were supposed to appear in public and how they were meant to lead their lives. As men's style of dress moved from the ornate to the moderate, women's fashions continued to be decorative and physically restrictive. This visible separation of the sexes was paralleled in other arenas - social, cultural, and religious. Some women defied this convention and cut their skirts short, abandoned their corset, and put on trousers." "In Pantaloons and Power Gayle V. Fischer depicts how the reformers' denouncement of conventional dress highlighted the role of clothing in the struggle of power relations between the sexes. Wearing pantaloons was considered a subversive act and was often met with social ostracism. Fischer contends that while it was not the goal of many reformers to alter gender relations, as women adopted pantaloons the perception of male and female power relationships blurred, and the boundaries of social roles for women began to shift." "This carefully researched interdisciplinary study successfully combines the fields of costume history, women's history, material culture, and social history to tell the story of one highly charged dress reform and its resonance in nineteenth-century society."--BOOK JACKET.

Introduction: Who Wears the Pants? -- 1. Perfecting America: Antebellum Reform, Fashion, and Antifashion -- 2. The First Dress Reformers: New Harmony, Indiana, 1824-1827 -- 3. Pantaloons in Private: Health and Religious Dress Reform before Freedom Dresses -- 4. Pantaloons in Public: Woman's Rights and Freedom Dresses -- 5. Out of the Closet: Health and Religious Dress Reform after Freedom Dresses -- 6. "I'm Coming Out as a Bloomer": Eccentric and Independent Dress Reformers -- 7. What Happened to Dress Reform? -- Epilogue: Women Wear the Pants

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

This well-written, carefully documented work provides insights into the relationship of clothing and power. Combining shorter studies she published on 19th-century US dress reform, Fischer (Salem State College) elaborates on some scholars' erroneous assumptions that the Bloomer costume ("freedom dress") advocated by suffragists was the only challenge to fashionable but unhealthy, tightly laced corsets and enormous crinoline skirts. Pantaloons were worn by Owenites in Indiana, Oneida Perfectionists led by John Humphrey Noyes in western New York, a splinter Mormon group led by James J. Strang (Strangites), Seventh-Day Adventists, health reformers, mediums, spiritual guides, farmers, and overland-trail travelers. Many wore pantaloons, at great social risk, for motives other than women's rights, including comfort, practicality, health, and religious reasons. Noyes and Strang, motivated by a desire for autocratic control, ordered women to wear pantaloons. Sources for the short-dress-and-trouser costume vary: children's dress (Oneida Community) as a way to keep women looking childlike; exercise outfits (gymnasium uniforms) coming from European spas; and the women's rights version from Turkish trousers. An interesting discussion of cross-dressing emphasizes Dr. Mary Walker, Civil War army surgeon, who wore military-style pants with the overdress. With its 30-page bibliography, this useful and readable book should be on the reading list for every course on women in US history. B. B. Chico Regis University

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