15 Days of Feminism: Day 4- Amelia Bloomer

(she’s stylin’, no?)

Let’s talk briefly about a particularly Fab Suffergette (and she’s not just fab because I dig her name, though I do): Amelia Bloomer.

Ms. Bloomer was a local newspaper writer with a particular interest in the temperance movement and in 1848 she attended the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. It was there that Amelia met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who Amelia later introduced to the young Susan B. Anthony.

Something must have inspired her there because a year later she started the newspaper The Lily, which is may have been the first news publication written entirely by women. It was there Amelia and other suffergettes like Stanton wrote about such things as women’s rights, temperance, marriage law reform, and clothing reform.

(“It was a needed instrument to spread abroad the truth of a new gospel to woman, and I could not withhold my hand to stay the work I had begun. I saw not the end from the beginning and dreamed where to my propositions to society would lead me.”)

At the time, women were expected to wear tight corsets, big skirts, and layers upon layers of petticoats. Amelia wasn’t having any of that. She wrote: “The costume of women should be suited to her wants and necessities. It should conduce at once to her health, comfort, and usefulness; and, while it should not fail also to conduce to her personal adornment, it should make that end of secondary importance.” So when she saw Elizabeth Smith Miller’s design for a new shorter skirt that was to be worn over pantaloons she immediately got on board and proclaimed it’s brilliance in The Lily.

(it was kind of like the Dress-Over-Jeans style of today)

(see?)

Amelia began to wear this style all the time and was mocked for her “unladylike” appearance. She was so well-known for this style that it became known as “The Bloomer Costume” or “Bloomers.”

(Amelia rockin’ her bloomers)

So now when you’re in therapy recounting the painful story of how you’re mother made you wear these stupid puffy pants under your dress at a fancy party when you were little, I hope that you can be grateful instead of resentful. Mom was just celebrating the history of Amelia Bloomer, a women who encouraged reform in our papers and in our pants. I know this woman is appreciates her:

Be Daring,

Jessica

P.S. Don’t forget about SLUTWALK NYC

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