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A list of don’ts for women on bicycles, circa 1895

James Greig | May 4, 2014

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The humble bicycle played an important part in the emancipation of women, helping to redefine conventions of femininity during the women’s rights movements of the late 19th century:

As women learned to ride bicycles they not only gained physical mobility that broadened their horizons beyond the neighborhoods in which they lived, they discovered a new-found sense of freedom of movement, a freedom previously circumscribed by the cumbersome fashions of the Victorian era as well as by Victorian sensibilities. 

Of course there was not often that much sense in these sensibilities, as this list of 41 don’ts for female cyclists (published in 1895 by theNew York World newspaper) illustrates at length:

You can read more about the impact of bicycles on the lives of women in “Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)“, published by the National Geographic.

Via the always intellectually stimulating Brain Pickings.

Posted to Features
by James Greig

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