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The Nineteenth-Century Women's Dress Reform Movement

Document 6

MRS. KEMBLE AND HER NEW COSTUME.

       There has been a great cry raised by the gentlemen from all quarters, about the male attire which Fanny Kemble is said to have adopted; and their fears seem to be excited, lest the ladies are going to contest their exclusive right to wear pantaloons. We have scarcely taken up a paper these two months but we have seen remarks on the subject, and we really gathered from them (though we never believed it) that several ladies of Lennox with Mrs. Kemble at their head, had actually paraded the streets, equipped in coats, vests and pantaloons, and all the other paraphernalia of a gentleman's dress. It turns out however, that the so much talked of, "man's clothes" which Mrs. Kemble has been guilty of putting on, is nothing more nor less than a loose flowing dress falling a little below the knees, and loose panteletts of drawers confined to the ankle by a band or cord. This shows how very sensitive gentlemen are in regard to any infringement on what they are pleased to consider their "rights." They need have no fears however on the subject, for we very much doubt whether even Mrs. Kemble could be willing to don their ugly dress. We wish they could be content with the right of dressing as they please, and not dictate to us what we shall or shall not wear.

-- Excerpt from Amelia Bloomer, "Mrs. Kemble and
her New Costume," The Lily, December 1849

12. How did some men react to Fanny Kemble wearing reform dress?

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13.  What is Amelia Bloomer's view of male reaction to the short dress and pantaloons?

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