Event Title

Freewheeling Women? The Conservative Normalization of American Women’s Cycling, 1890-1900

Presenter Information

Hanna Van Reed, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, A155

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-24-2015 2:45 PM

End Date

4-24-2015 3:45 PM

Abstract

What led Susan B. Anthony in 1896 to claim that “the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world?” Between 1890 and 1900, American women’s cycling transformed from an unthinkable transgression into an accepted part of middle-class culture. Using popular periodicals and specialized cycling magazines, this project examines how such a dramatic transition could be effected in ten years. It also considers what this rapid process of normalization reveals about contemporary views of the female body and the ability of bicycle manufacturers and advertisers to negate, obscure, or contest the sport’s radical implications.

Notes

Session 2, Panel 9 - Discipline and Power: The Amusement Park, the Bicycle, and the Association for the Advancement of Women
Moderator: Pablo Mitchell, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Major

History

Advisor(s)

Carol Lasser, History

Project Mentor(s)

Carol Lasser, History

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Apr 24th, 2:45 PM Apr 24th, 3:45 PM

Freewheeling Women? The Conservative Normalization of American Women’s Cycling, 1890-1900

Science Center, A155

What led Susan B. Anthony in 1896 to claim that “the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world?” Between 1890 and 1900, American women’s cycling transformed from an unthinkable transgression into an accepted part of middle-class culture. Using popular periodicals and specialized cycling magazines, this project examines how such a dramatic transition could be effected in ten years. It also considers what this rapid process of normalization reveals about contemporary views of the female body and the ability of bicycle manufacturers and advertisers to negate, obscure, or contest the sport’s radical implications.