Shaping Femininity, Foundation Garments, the Body and Women in Early Modern England.
In 16th and 17th Century England, the female silhouette underwent a dramatic change. A very structured form, created using garments called bodies and farthingales, existed in various extremes in Western Europe and beyond, in the form of stays, corsets, hoop petticoats, and crinolines, right up until the 20th Century.
Shaping Femininity explores the relationship between material culture and femininity by examining the lives of women, from queens to courtiers, farmer's wives, and servants, uncovering their lost voices and experiences. It reorients discussions about female foundation garments in English and wider European history, arguing that these objects of material culture began to shape and define changing notions of the feminine bodily ideal, social status, sexuality, and modesty in the early modern period, influencing enduring Western notions of femininity.
Sarah A. Bendell is a research fellow at the Gender and Women's History Research Centre, Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, Australia.
- 338 pages