Appropriate Ing Dress: Women's Rhetorical Style in by Carol Mattingly

By Carol Mattingly

Carol Mattingly examines the significance of costume and visual appeal for nineteenth-century girls audio system and explores how ladies appropriated gendered conceptions of gown and visual appeal to outline the fight for illustration and gear that's rhetoric. even if an important to women’s effectiveness as audio system, Mattingly notes, visual appeal has been missed since it was once taken with no consideration by means of men.


Because ladies infrequently spoke in public sooner than the 19th century, no guidance existed relating to applicable costume once they started to communicate to audiences. gown evoked speedy photos of gender, an important attention for ladies audio system due to its robust organization with position, finding girls within the household sphere and making a fundamental picture that girls audio system might paintings with—and against—throughout the century. competition to conspicuous switch for ladies usually necessitated the sophisticated move of comforting photographs while ladies sought to inhabit normally masculine areas. the main winning ladies audio system conscientiously negotiated expectancies by way of highlighting a few conventions while they broke others.

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Extra info for Appropriate Ing Dress: Women's Rhetorical Style in Nineteenth-Century America (Studies in Rhetorics and Feminisms)

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If constructions of the ideal woman and femininity heightened acceptance and status for some women, their very exclusive characteristics negated the feminine value of others, especially poor women and those of color. Dress was highly implicated in social position as well. Clothing generally defined class for women, and the dress of their women reflected the status and power of men. That is, women of well-to-do men dressed elegantly and in fashions that demonstrated their leisurely status. As econo INTRODUCTION mist Thorstein Veblen points out, what passed as elegant apparel demonstrated “that it is contrived at every point to convey the impression that the wearer does not habitually put forth any useful effort” ().

But whether a part of the principal men’s organizations or the separately formed women’s groups, their role was essentially supporting the men. The normalized image of women permitted no public exposure or voice. Defying such roles, Wright began speaking publicly in . Her views concerning the emancipation of women and slaves, religion, and education reform made her a pariah. Unwilling or unable to negotiate intersecting elements of appearance, Wright challenged norms for women’s image and emphasized the radical change of place she undertook.

Although both Grimkés protested that their public profiles should not be attributed to their Quaker religion, numerous supporters used just such a defense, and the Grimkés, despite their protest, repeatedly drew attention to their association with the Society of Friends. Angelina Grimké became involved with the Quakers after joining her sister Sarah in Philadelphia. Sarah had already begun dressing as a Quaker, and eventually Angelina assumed the dress as well. Angelina immediately began commanding public attention, first by writing letters on political matters and then by public speaking.

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