Health, Strength, Grace and Symmetry, Vol 2: Develop to the Highest Degree of Attainable Perfection
This is the second part of two books in a series dealing with the history of women, exercise and corsets. The first book involved advertisements and images in the mid-to-late 19th century.
This piece was built upon the images found in Bernarr MacFadden’s 1901 book, “The Power and Beauty of Superb Womanhood.” What starts out to be a book about women and health, showing various exercises for physical self-improvement, seem to shift gears (at least for whoever was expected to be reading this book) for the women became topless, although the exercises involved didn’t seem to involved that part of the body.
With exercise (once society got past the debate whether or not women should be exercising at all for the fear that it would take away their strength needed to produce children), the underlying message seemed to say, that you will need to be in shape in order to ensure happiness,ry. The value of suppleness and symmetry in enhancing womanly beauty can hardly be emphasized too strongly… Why should she not reduce herself to a weight which shall make her a symmetrical woman, and inasmuch as the only obstacle to her being a beautiful woman is her superfluous flesh."
MacFadden leaves the reader with these final thoughts to mull over, "Who can estimate the value of Superb Womanhood? Without this Power of Superb Womanhood, without the Beauty and Strength of Body which is part of this ideal condition, a woman is not woman. If old age has not intervened, the proud consciousness of the attainment of Superb Womanhood may be realized. Even though you are on the downward slope of life, your closing years may be rendered healthy and helpful."
All the specs and text for this piece can be found on on my website.
workout, nudity, gym, nude, Indian-clubs, dumb-bells, Ferris Corsets, female figure, historical, female body, self image, physical culture, Health Waists, perfection, naked, topless, corset, artist books, doll, vest, body image, constraint, embroidery, women's bodies, fabric, quilted. lace, white, antique clothing, vintage clothing, sculpture, stories, posture, women's work, sewing, girl, advertising, body, clothing, digital image, feminine, cotton fabric, exercise