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Bloomer GirlsWomen Baseball Pioneers$
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Debra A. Shattuck

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040375

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040375.001.0001

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The 1890s: New Women, Bloomer Girls, and the Old Ball Game

The 1890s: New Women, Bloomer Girls, and the Old Ball Game

Chapter:
(p.135) 5. The 1890s: New Women, Bloomer Girls, and the Old Ball Game
Source:
Bloomer Girls
Author(s):

Debra A. Shattuck

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252040375.003.0006

The 1890s saw a dramatic redefinition of femininity that coalesced into the image of the Gibson Girl and “New Woman.” Men like Bernarr Macfadden taught women that athleticism was a prerequisite of beauty; thousands of women began riding bicycles and playing vigorous sports with gusto. Women’s professional baseball shifted from theatrical to highly competitive and featured talented female players like Maud Nelson and Lizzie Arlington. Their “Bloomer Girl” teams barnstormed the country playing men’s amateur and semi-professional teams. Many decried the New Woman ideal and critics of female baseball players called them Amazons and freaks. Bloomer Girl teams of the 1890s paved the way for the talented female teams of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   New Woman, Bloomer Girls, Gibson Girl, Bernarr Macfadden, Maud Nelson, Lizzie Arlington, Amazons, women’s professional baseball, athleticism

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