Episode 53: Smollop: Battle of the Pants

I may earn money from the participating companies linked in this post: Bookshop.org (supporting my nearby independent bookstore Bluebird & Co, in Crozet, VA) and/or Audible. My podcast is sponsored by Audible and Care/Of.

You know you’re in a strange time when American women went to the Middle East, and were like, they have the right idea here.”

I am wearing pants. Right now. Rather funky-looking yoga pants. And, hold on to your money clips, gents, I am of the female persuasion.
Everybody still with me? Nobody needs to call the constable? All right, then, we can continue.

Emma Snodgrass
Emma “George Greene” Snodgrass
1852–Emma Snodgrass wanted to be practical and comfortable, and to express herself. She also didn’t want to constrict her breathing and her body structure with pounds of skirts and a corset. She called shenanigans on the whole corset controversy. So she wore pants. And it was a national news story. Nay, a national scandal. Really. A teenager wore britches and the American news machine went batshit insane. Not that long ago.

‘the wanderer in man’s apparel,’ the ‘foolish girl who goes around in virile toggery’ and ‘an eccentric female who roams about town.’ (New England Historical Society)

Whew I say people were crazed for the news of Emma, who preferred to call herself George Greene, they were crazed. Here’s a collection of original news sources, barely containing their seething hysteria. Sadly, as I type this, Twitter is doing the same thing about Bruce Jenner’s interview about being transgender. We haven’t got very far in these years in-between, still worrying about what’s between other people’s legs and between other people’s sheets. Think of all that wasted hand-wringing energy.
Amelia Jenks Bloomer, Biography Channel
Nope, she didn’t name bloomers after herself…everyone else did.

Bloomer also created and edited the first newspaper created for and by women, The Lily. She introduced two of the powerhouses of the suffragette movement to each other, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and there is a statue memorializing that moment in the Women’s Rights Park in New York.
And, yes, yes, Cady from Mean Girls is named for Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s namesake. And yes, yes, yes, I will squeeze in a Mean Girls reference whenever able. That’s the second time I’ve done so, the second of many more to come.
I may host a live chat viewing.
On a Wednesday.
On Wednesdays we wear pink.
Do you have a problem with that?
The Amelia Bloomer House is in Seneca, New York, and is in the National Register of Historical Places. Built in 1847, it is considered to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.
And what did these shocking Turkish bloomer look like? Are you sure you can handle it? Are you?
Brace yourself.
The Bloomer
Oh, God, you can see that she actually has legs it’s too much o the humanity mommy make it stop my eyes my eeeeeeyyyyessssssss
It’s the poofiest pants ever–and I kinda want some, not gonna lie–covered by a skirt, with a blouse, and a jacket. She should be in the dictionary under demure.
Wouldn’t you prefer that to this corset-cage-thing from the Ladies’ Home Journal( 1898)? I can’t breathe just looking at the ad. Calkins-corset-ad-1898
Okay, here’s some original sources for you, all of Stanton’s and Anthony’s works. They’re free Kindle books, so no whining. Momma Carla knows what’s best. Books are good for you. (And here’s a tip: gotta write something about the suffragettes for school…or trying to get with a feminist chick? E-books are keyword-searchable. You’re welcome.)

Band names from this episode:

  • Whalebone Bitch
  • Bloomer Breeze
  • Virile Toggery
  • Pink Wednesdays
  • Ladies’ Home Journal
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