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Benton County, Iowa
User Contributed Stories About Benton County's Past
Page Last Updated: Monday, 16-Apr-2012 14:21:26 CDT
Good Grandma Heath Penn Pricks the "New Woman"
contributed by  Pat Sheldon

Good Grandma Heath Penn Pricks the "New Woman"

The following from the pen of Mrs. J.F. Heath, 76 years old is a most pointed and forceful arraignment of the silly fashions of the day. Grandma Heath both because of her age and her sex, has undisputed authority to speak and because of her bright and active mind, her speaking is worth the while.

What Mrs. J.F. Heath at 76 has to say about the prevailing styles in women's bedeckery:

Urbana, (IA) August 24, 1913

"Mr. Editor: The railroad has struck our town and so has the middy blouse and slashed skirt, and so has the girl of the period. She is a young lady who has, generally speaking, not very much money to spend, but what she is expended entirely upon dress: not good, tasteful, elegant, or suitable attire but cheap and gaudy imitations of the very extreme of fashion. Her dress, though composed of coarse, common worthless fabrics, will be made in a style that the wearer deems perfection, but which only too frequently makers her the laughing stock of every small boy she may meet with, to say nothing of the contempt she excites in the minds of older and wiser people. Then her head, that in itself is a picture; mountains of ugly, sometimes dirty, looking friz, surmounted by something that is difficult to describe, a kind of conglomeration of straw, feathers, flowers, velvet and lace, and worn in such a manner as to suggest that the wearer had placed it upon the ground, and then fallen head first, into it, so as to insure a jaunty, one-sided, stuck-on -anyhow sort of air. Then the boots or shoes! Look at the heels; no wonder the poor crippled idiot walks as though she had no connection with her own feet. Take altogether, the girl of the period is a fascinating looking creature. Her skirts so tight she can hardly move, her waist squeezed in until looking at her one shudders and wonders where her inward anatomy could have gone to, and if any young man has ever felt impressed by one of these sirens we can only say, have a look at her by daylight, and if the curl-papers and slip-shod attire which these ladies generally affect in the morning do not disgust that young man, why nothing will. These girls rarely make good wives as rarely retain the love or regard which first induced the young man to have anything to do with them. Then follows that wretched state of existence, a loveless married life, with all its horrors, and from which we can only say, heaven save our readers.

Mrs. J.F.H.

Come again Grandma, give'em some more.


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