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 ladies audio system and explores how girls appropriated gendered conceptions of gown and visual appeal to outline the fight for illustration and gear that's rhetoric. even supposing an important to women’s effectiveness as audio system, Mattingly notes, visual appeal has been missed since it was once taken without any consideration by way of men.


Because girls infrequently spoke in public sooner than the 19th century, no guidance existed relating to acceptable gown after they started to communicate to audiences. costume evoked quick photos of gender, a vital attention for ladies audio system as a result of its powerful organization with position, finding girls within the family sphere and making a basic photo that ladies audio system might paintings with—and against—throughout the century. competition to conspicuous switch for girls frequently necessitated the delicate move of comforting pictures whilst ladies sought to inhabit regularly masculine areas. the main winning girls audio system conscientiously negotiated expectancies by way of highlighting a few conventions while they broke others.

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

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Dependent upon many different conventions, situated as the act of a present (or of a time) . . [with] none of the univocity or stability of a ‘proper’” (de Certeau ). The play of images confounded those who would direct attacks at the body and appearance. Cooper’s de FRIENDLY DRESS scription of Opie, for example, demonstrates a positive impression associated with appearance, her primary reference being in opposition to specifics of conventional dress. Quaker dress allowed for a play of various positive images as well.

Broadside portraying Frances Wright. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. religion as a divisive panderer to power and spoke publicly about the value of sexual passion. In the early nineteenth century, when goodness and morality were most often equated with religious advocacy and women’s place in the home was aligned with religious and moral guardianship, Wright’s questioning of organized religion provided an easy mark for opponents, who accused her of attempting to destroy religion and charged that she was in favor of free love, or sexual intimacy outside marriage.

They write about dress repeatedly in their diaries and letters. For example, Angelina—who apparently loved being the center of attention—comments often in her diary about the notice her Quaker dress affords her. She tells of a young man who uses her Quaker bonnet to make her acquaintance, bowing and asking for a Quaker cap because he has promised one to his sister (Lumkin ). The incident allows the two to enter into light discussion. Angelina also writes of “sailing down King Street” in her hometown Charleston, South Carolina, “among the gay & fashionable” (Lumkin ) encased in prim Quaker garments.

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