Monday, January 23, 2012

"His System" for ladies

I spent much of the weekend sorting through my books, and found the below little treasure which belonged to my Great Aunt Mabel, at some time in the 1920's:

It's written by a Lieutenant, who proudly references his missus as being the 'first lady exponent of "my system". In addition to a range of imaginatively titled exercises such as "Body lowering (with arm bending)", Lieut. Muller gives freely of his advice on a range of women's issues, not least of which is The Corset. The Lieut. doesn't have much time for corset-wearing weaklings, and let's them know it, in no uncertain terms:

'The corset is such a symbol of sickness that it can only be properly regarded as a bandage serving to keep together a neglected, slovenly body, no matter how much one may strive to conceal this fact with fine phrases about the necessity of supporting the back and breasts.'

As for corset-loving strumpets who want to wear a corset and have babies, well:
'To do such a thing is to be guilty of blasphemy! And it is nothing short of a sin, an immoral crime, for such women to bring children into the world.'

The Lieut. also tactfully addresses a sensitive issue, under the discreet heading 'What to observe during certain periods'. It's reassuring to know that:

'Women who are in perfect health may do their housework, continue their home-gymnastics, and take their bath with almost the same regularity as usual.'

Not so for weak and nervous women’ or the ‘weakly woman who has never indulged in a rational physical exercise or regular corporal labour’. These women might do themselves 'irreparable injury' were they to exert themselves at this time.

However, a closing word of advice on the topic, whether weakling or stalwart:

'...what everyone ought to do as a matter of course is to thoroughly wash, several times daily, the lower portion of the trunk.'

So there you have it. All sound advice from the 'No messin', quit-yo-jibba-jabba, Lieut. Muller'!

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