By Carol Mattingly
Carol Mattingly examines the significance of gown 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 supposing the most important to women’s effectiveness as audio system, Mattingly notes, visual appeal has been overlooked since it was once taken with no consideration by means of men.
Because ladies hardly spoke in public sooner than the 19th century, no directions existed relating to applicable gown after they started to communicate to audiences. costume evoked rapid photographs of gender, an important attention for girls audio system due to its robust organization with position, finding girls within the household sphere and making a basic snapshot that girls audio system might paintings with—and against—throughout the century. competition to conspicuous switch for ladies usually necessitated the delicate move of comforting pictures whilst girls sought to inhabit generally masculine areas. the main winning girls audio system conscientiously negotiated expectancies via 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)
In New Orleans, Creoles regularly taunted Anglos with scornful ditties that referred to them INTRODUCTION as “rogues dressed in nankeen” to emphasize the English inelegance in style (Tallant ). White women of the lower and working classes dressed differently from the upper classes. Distinctions were not readily violated, especially early in the century, because of the extravagant expense entailed in creating the upper classes’ wardrobes. Many women could hardly afford cloth. Clothing was often “scavenged and/or handed down” (Boydston ), and when cloth was available, only the upper classes could afford either expensive and ornate fabrics and ornamentations or the skilled work of seamstresses.
Those women who sought to become effective public persons found it necessary to mediate the tension created by traditional notions of valid rhetoric and conventional concepts of feminine appearance to manage the perilous gender dichotomy that immediately undermined women speakers’ credibility. “Any woman who had the temerity to step forth upon the public platform to address a promiscuous assem INTRODUCTION bly was considered by most people in nineteenth-century America to be without [virtue]”—an absolutely essential component for ethical appeal (O’Connor ).
Charles Lamb, “A Quaker’s Meeting” Early women speakers who so blatantly broke conventional strictures against woman’s private place immediately found their moral character questioned. “[U]nless and until they could be acceptable as individuals of character even as they spoke in public, there was little need to establish anything else about themselves” (O’Connor ). Lillian O’Connor thus notes early women speakers’ appeals “that they were doing God’s work, and [that] they displayed knowledge of the .