question_answer1) Look at Figures 1-4. Write 150 words on what the differences in the pictures tell us about the society and culture in France at the time of the Revolution. Fig. 1 An aristocratic couple on the eve of the French Revolution. Fig. 2 Woman of the middle class, 1791. Fig. 3 Volunteers during the Frech Revolution. Fig. 4 A sans-culottes Family, 1793.View Answer play_arrow
question_answer2) Read Sources A and B. What do they tell you about the ideas of clothing in Victorian society? If you were the principal in Mary Somerville's school how would you have justified the clothing practices?
|Source A Mary Somerville, one of the first woman mathematicians, describes in her memoirs the experience of her childhood day: 'Although perfectly straight and well made, I was encased in stiff stays, with a steel busk in front, while above my frock, bands drew my shoulder back until the shoulder blades met. Then a steel rod with a semi-circle, which went under my chin, was clasped to the steel busk in my stays. In this constrained state, I and most of the younger girls had to prepare out lessons.' From Martha Somerville, ed., Personal Recollections from Early Life to Old Age of Mary Somerville, London 1873.|
|Source B Many government officials of the time were alarmed at the health implications of the prevailing styles of dressing amongst women. Consider the following attack on the corset: 'It is evident physiologically that air is the pabulum of life, and that the effect of a tight cord round the neck and of tight lacing differ only in degrees.. for the strangulations are both fatal. To wear tight stays in many cases is to wither, to waste, to die.' The Registrar General in the Ninth Annual Report of 1857.|
question_answer4) Imagine yourself to be a Muslim pleader in the Allahabad High Court in the late 19th century. What kind of clothes would you wear? Would they be very different from what you wore at home?View Answer play_arrow
question_answer5) These two quotations (Sources E and F), from about the same period are from two different regions of India, Kerala and Bengal. What do they tell you about the very different notions of shame regarding women's attire?
|Source E Some people supported the attempt to change women's clothing, others opposed it. 'Any civilised nation is against the kind of clothing in use in the present time among women of our country. Indeed it is a sign of shamelessness. Educated men have been greatly agitated about it, almost everyone wishes for another kind of civilised clothing.. there is a custom here of women wearing fine and transparent clothing which reveals the whole body. Such shameless attire in no way allows one to frequent cilvilsed company... such clothes can stand in the way of our moral improvement.' Soudamini Khastagiri, Striloker Paricchad (1872)|
|Source F C Kesavan's autobiography Jeevita Samaram recalls his mother-in-law's first encounter with a blouse gifted by her sister-in-law in the late 19th century: 'It looked good, but I felt ticklish wearing it. It took it off, folded it carefully and brimming with enthusiasm, showed it to my mother. She gave me a stern look and said "Where are you going to gallivant in this? Fold it and keep it in the box."...... I was scared of my mother. She could kill me. At night I wore the blouse and showed it to my husband. He said it looked good... [the next morning] I came out wearing the blouse... I didn't notice my mother coming. Suddenly I heard her break a piece from a coconut branch. When I turned round, she was behind me fierce and furious... she said "Take it off... you want to walk around in shirts like Muslim women?"|
question_answer9) Can you think of any expectations of proper and improper dress which exist today? Give examples of two forms of clothing which would be considered disrespectful in certain places but acceptable in others.View Answer play_arrow
question_answer13) In 1805, a British official Benjamin Heyne, listed the manufactures of Bangalore which included the following Women's cloth of different musters and names Coarse chintz Muslins Silk clothes Of this list, which kind of cloth would have definitely fallen out of use in the early 1800's and why?View Answer play_arrow
question_answer14) Suggest reasons why women in 19th century India were obliged to continue wearing traditional Indian dress even when men switched over to more convenient Western clothing. What does this show about the position of women in society?View Answer play_arrow
question_answer15) Winston Churchill described Mahatma Gandhi as a 'Seditious Middle Temple Lawyer' now 'posing as a half naked fakir'. What provoked such a comment and what does it tell you about the symbolic strength of Mahatma Gandhi's dress?View Answer play_arrow
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