When Faithful was recognized by the ALA as an “Amelia Bloomer List” pick for 2011, I knew I had to write a little something about Amelia. (Of course, I’m truly proud, as this is something that is important to me: the list contains the committee’s pick of books that honor “strong, powerful girls and the books that inspire them”. I love that my Maggie inspired this choice!)
Amelia Bloomer (1818-1894) was an early feminist, a proponent of women’s issues, and the founder of a newspaper, The Lily, devoted to issues like suffrage, temperance, and education. But Amelia is best known for her namesake “bloomers” – the first attempt at getting women out of long cumbersome skirts and into pants.
Bloomers were ugly enough that women didn’t take to them widely, and even feminists eventually abandoned them because they looked ridiculous. (You'll notice that women couldn't entirely abandon their skirts, and that the bloomers couldn't exactly hug the figure...maybe the only advantage was that you could run away more easily from some obnoxious male.)
Amelia was happily married, so much so that she gave up her beloved paper in order to follow when her husband wished to move west. She stated that giving up The Lily was an act of love, not of obedience. Her difficult choice resonates; we all must, from time to time, make choices between head and heart.
Amelia and her followers set in motion the dialogue that continues today regarding the rights and roles of women in society. What do you think - how far have we come?
Here's more about Amelia: