Appropriate[Ing] Dress: Women's Rhetorical Style in Nineteenth-Century America / Edition 3

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Overview

Carol Mattingly examines the importance of dress and appearance for nineteenth-century women speakers and explores how women appropriated gendered conceptions of dress and appearance to define the struggle for representation and power that is rhetoric. Although crucial to women’s effectiveness as speakers, Mattingly notes, appearance has been ignored because it was taken for granted by men.

Because women rarely spoke in public before the nineteenth century, no guidelines existed regarding appropriate dress when they began to speak to audiences. Dress evoked immediate images of gender, an essential consideration for women speakers because of its strong association with place, locating women in the domestic sphere and creating a primary image that women speakers would work with—and against—throughout the century. Opposition to conspicuous change for women often necessitated the subtle transfer of comforting images when women sought to inhabit traditionally masculine spaces. The most successful women speakers carefully negotiated expectations by highlighting some conventions even as they broke others.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Appropriate[ing] Dress is an important contribution to the burgeoning scholarship on nineteenth-century women’s rhetoric, with fascinating implications for the analysis of women’s public speaking in all eras. Mattingly builds here upon her thorough knowledge of the period . . . drawing extensively on period illustrations and journalism. She concludes with provocative links to contemporary theoretical concerns in feminist rhetoric—a must-read for any student of women’s rhetoric in any period!”—Patricia Bizzell, College of the Holy Cross 

Booknews
Mattingly (U. of Louisville) has written extensively about women's history. Women in 19th-century America, she says, were identified as feminine primarily by their dress and location. She explores how women speakers used appearance to negotiate expectations restricting them to limited locations and excluding them from public rhetoric. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809324286
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Series: Studies in Rhetorics and Feminisms
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 192
  • Lexile: 1480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Mattingly, director of the writing center at the University of Louisville, is the author of Well-Tempered Women: Nineteenth-Century Temperance Rhetoric and editor of Water Drops from Women Writers: A Temperance Reader.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Fabricated Gender 1
1 Friendly Dress: A Disciplined Use 17
2 Blooming Celebrity: The Flowering of a National Ethos 37
3 Restraining Women's Rhetoric: Backlash Against the Reform Dress 62
4 The Language of Passing and Desire: The Rhetoric of Cross-Dressing 85
5 [Re]Fashioning a Proper Image by Dressing the Part 107
Conclusion: Dress and Body as Spectacle 135
Notes 147
Works Cited 157
Index 169
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