Bloomerism, 1851


The following, are a number of letters to the papers advertising the disgust and disapproval of the general public against the (at the time) modern introduction of – what some believed to be an appropriate mode of dress for women in sports, dance and – especially cycling. These early pioneers (such as an American called AmeliaBloomer) were obviously taken aback by the kind of response meted out by the unsuspecting public – especially from the fairer sex. What we have to remember is that these early pioneers were the people who created the necessary clout that allowed us to put into action the criterion required for a change of law, but more importantly, a new way of thinking – women were on the move – another weapon for suffragettes!

            Stephen Channing


Mrs. Bloomer, editor of the lily, has adopted the “short dress and trousers,” and says in her paper of this month that many of the women in that place (Seneca Falls) oppose the change; others laugh; others still are in favour; “and many have adopted the dress.” She closes the article upon the subject as follows:- “Those who think we look ‘queer’ would do well to look back a few years, to the time when they wore ten or 15lb. of petticoat and bustle around the body and balloons on their arms and then imagine which cut the queerest figure – they or we. We care not for the frowns of over fastidious gentlemen; we have those of better taste and less questionable morals to sustain us. If men think they would be comfortable in long, heavy skirts, let them put them on; we have no objection. We are more comfortable without them and so have left them off. We do not say that we shall wear this dress and no other, but we shall wear it for a common dress, and we hope it may become so fashionable that we may wear it at all times and in all places without being thought singular. We have already become so attached to it that we dislike changing to a long one.”

New York Post

The Times, Tuesday, May 13, 1851; pg. 8

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