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Emancipation of Women: We Needed a New Wardrobe

By HERWriter
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new wardrobe came with emancipation of women Dorling Kindersley RF/Thinkstock

Looking back, it would appear that one of the many things women needed emancipation from a century or so ago, was their wardrobe.

This was true in women's day to day life as long skirts got in the way of routine chores, while they sweated in their long sleeves and stockings no matter what the weather because -- horrors! no one should ever see their limbs.

And don't even get me started on suffocating organ-crushing contraptions like stays or corsets.

As restricting as the average woman's clothing were on an average day, women who had the audacity to be involved in anything remotely related to sports were really weighted down. To play tennis at the advent of the twentieth century, for instance, a woman was expected to wear long skirts, jackets with tight sleeves, hats and gloves.

And women accepted this docilely, though one might suspect with some grumbling amongst themselves, as they sweated -- oh, pardon. Women were said to glisten, never perspire.

The lot of female athletes, constrained as they were as to what sports they were allowed into, and as confined as they were by the clothing they wore, was not an easy one.

You try to do a proper golf swing in a tight jacket.

Eventually a few women decided they'd had enough of this and decided to see what would happen if they followed reason rather than tradition.

In 1905, Mary Sutton decided she'd had enough and shocked the crowd when she showed up at Wimbledon in her father's shirt, with sleeves rolled up.

In 1922, Suzanne Lenglen hit Wimbledon in short skirts and bright sweaters, with an assortment of bandeaus for her hair that kept the fashion-conscious of the day fascinated.

In 1932, white shorts for women were introduced on the frame of Alice Marble.

In 1949, Wimbledon was shocked yet again as Gussie Moran walked onto the court in knickers trimmed with lace.

During the time that women were loosening up on the tennis court, the United States welcomed the bicycle. They were great for men. Not so great for women.

A woman on a bike was considered downright dangerous. Maybe she was, considering the skirts she was expected to wear.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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