Academia

This post was originally submitted as a final essay on the history of women’s liberation through fashion throughout the progressive era (1900-1920). For questions on sources quoted or used ask Natalia!

  In all societies the body is dressed and shaped to reflect a cultural understanding of what a body should look like and how it must be covered or left exposed. Clothing is so much a part of our living and our culture that we use it to define ourselves within the contexts of our society as a reflection of our agreement or dissent to cultural values, as reflected through dress.

It tends to be the rule, rather than the exception that forms of dress will change to reflect a culture’s value system at a slow, conservative pace. However, the Progressive Era is certainly an exception to this rule. Throughout the years of 1900 to 1920 women’s dress progressed at a greater pace than it had changed throughout the whole19th century. This essay explores the changes in women’s apparel throughout the Progressive Era, mainly focusing on the parallel relationship between women’s dress and their liberation during these years. Contrary to popular conception, I argue that women’s apparel reform throughout the progressive era moved mostly parallel to women’s progressive movements, meaning dress reform was not directly influenced by women’s movements so much as it was by three other social movements. Ultimately I propose that the changes in women’s dress reform during these years—largely influenced because of new artistic trends, urbanization, and scientific discoveries—allowed for increased control over a woman’s own body and her decision to decide what to wear on the basis of her judgments and preferences.

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Throughout all the courses I have taken in the political science umbrella some stand out to me as having truly changed the way I understand politics, social movements, and people. Here is my list of recommended articles that have changed the way I perceive the political world.

  • “The Prosperous Community: Social Capital and Public Life” by Robert D. Putnam
    Question it tackles: What is the importance of trust in a community and how is it related to the success of a state?
  • “War making and state making as organized crime” by Charles Tilly
    Question it tackles: What is the difference between a mob violence and governmental violence?
  • “The Third Wave” by Samuel Huntington
    Question it answers: How has democracy come about around the world?
  • “Polyarchy” by Robert Dahl
    Question it answers: What are some paths towards democracy
  •  “Types and functions of parties” by Richard Gunther and Larry Diamond
    Question it answers: How important are political parties? What types exist?