A Colonial Gentlemen's Clothing:
Though modern feminism was nonexistent, many women expressed themselves and exposed the conditions that they faced, albeit often indirectly, using a variety of subversive and creative methods. The social structure of sixteenth century Europe allowed women limited opportunities for involvement; they served largely as managers of their households.
Women were expected to focus on practical domestic pursuits and activities that encouraged the betterment of their families, and more particularly, their husbands.
In most cases education for women was not advocated—it was thought to be detrimental to the traditional female virtues of innocence and morality.
Women who spoke out against the patriarchal system of gender roles, or any injustice, ran the risk of being exiled from their communities, or worse; vocal unmarried women in particular were the targets of witch-hunts.
Anne Hutchinson, who challenged the authority of Puritan clergy, was excommunicated for her outspoken views and controversial actions. Anne Askew, a well-educated, out-spoken English Protestant, was tried for heresy in ; her denial of transubstantiation was grounds for her imprisonment.
She was eventually burned at the stake for her refusal to incriminate other Protestant court ladies. Elizabeth I ascended to the throne ina woman who contradicted many of the gender roles of the age.
She was well educated, having studied a variety of subjects including mathematics, foreign language, politics, and history. Elizabeth was an outspoken but widely respected leader, known for her oratory skills as well as her patronage of the arts.
Despite the advent of the age of print, the literacy rate during this period remained low, though the Bible became more readily available to the lower classes. Religious study, though restricted to "personal introspection," was considered an acceptable pursuit for women, and provided them with another context within which they could communicate their individual ideas and sentiments.
In addition to religious material, women of this period often expressed themselves through the ostensibly private forms of letters and autobiographies. The seventeenth century was not an era of drastic changes in the status or conditions of women.
Women continued to play a significant, though not acknowledged, role in economic and political structures through their primarily domestic activities. Again, women who challenged societal norms and prejudices risked their lives—Mary Dyer was hanged for repeatedly challenging the Massachusetts law that banished Quakers from the colony.
Though their influence was often denigrated, women participated in various community activities. For example, women were full members of English guilds; guild records include references to "brethern and sistern" and "freemen and freewomen. The eighteenth century brought the beginning of the British cultural revolution.
The economic changes brought by the new middle class provided women with the opportunity to be more directly involved in commerce.
Lower-to middle-class women often assisted their husbands in work outside the home. It was still thought unseemly for a lady to be knowledgeable of business so, though some class distinctions were blurring, the upper class was able to distinguish themselves from the rest of society.
The rise in consumerism allowed the gentry to place a greater emphasis on changing fashion and "display," further distancing them from the middleclass.
With the advent of changes in rules of fashion and acceptable mores within society, some women established a literary niche writing etiquette guides. Also due to the cultural revolution, mounting literacy rates among the lower classes caused an increase in publishing, including the rise of the periodical.
Men and women of all classes found new means to express ideas in the wider publishing community. The act of professional writing, however, was still considered "vulgar" among the aristocracy. Significant colonial expansion during this period provided would-be writers with unique subject matter—letters written by women abroad discussed foreign issues and culture, and offered a detailed view of far-off lands.
These letters were often circulated among members of an extended family, as well as in the larger community. Women such as Wollstonecraft advocated access to education for women that was equal to that of their male counterparts.16th Century Fashion for Men.
Clothing for men changed drastically during the 16th century. With rivalry between England's Henry VIII and France's Francis I, a competition ensued as to who would have the best dressed court.
Sixteenth-Century Clothing. The sixteenth century was one of the most extravagant and splendid periods in all of costume history and one of the first periods in which modern ideas of fashion influenced what people wore. Seventeenth-Century Clothing - Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages Seventeenth-Century Clothing The clothing worn by Europeans during the seventeenth century was influenced by fashion trends—rapid changes in style influenced by trendsetters—as never before.
Women in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries were challenged with expressing themselves in a patriarchal system that . The middle of the 15th century in Burgundy saw what seems to have been the earliest occurrence of the male fashion for dressing all in black, which was to reappear so strongly in the "Spanish" style of the midth–17th century and again in the 19th–20th centuries.
Stockings of the 18th century were worn by men and women, and were most often knit. The knitting frame (machine) was developed in the late 16th century and many improvements during the 18th century increasingly .