Presenting the Lives of Women in Different Social Situations

Repost – This post was originally posted in January 2009


While reading the first three chapters of The Other Civil War, a presentation idea came to mind. The idea stemmed from a clothing accessory presentation/discussion method Bevin and I were discussing that I believe Liz posted on the Sewing Academy.

The original accessories presentation took three or four women from different socio-economic positions and accessorized them. This would include a poor woman, a working woman, a middle-class woman and a leisure class woman each dressed in a basic dress. The visual would be best if their basic dresses were similar with just slight variations for class such as a basic brown wool dress or brown silk dress. Accompanying the women is a table of accessories the women may wear mixed together including aprons, bonnets, jewelry, gloves, shawls, parasols, etc.. The audience would work together to accessorize each of the three or four women with appropriate items. The end result should transform a group of slightly varied women to individuals distinctly dress for their social positions.

The presentation inspired by this text focuses on the daily lives of women from different social positions. This will require several women distinctly dressed to represent different social positions. Ideally these women would fully span the civic and economic ranges both North and South including a slave woman, a very poor woman, a free black woman, a working woman, a middle class woman, a plantation mistress, a northern leisure class woman, and etc. Each woman would need to be prepared with the information about what their life was like. They should each know about the lives of women like them – their work and leisure, dreams and hardships, freedoms and restrictions, rights and isolations.  They would start with a dramatic presentation of who they are with a short autobiographical speech to start with. Another option would be an excerpt from a woman similar to the position they represent. After all have introduced themselves, they can interactively  discuss their lives and possibly answer audience questions.

To do this in a school setting, a photograph of each woman would be needed. I suggest a modern color photograph so the students can really see who they are looking at. A one page ‘autobiography’ would be prepared for each woman along with a life fact sheet. (These could also be used as a teacher packet for pre or post visit materials.) During the presentation, select a student to read the autobiography (length according to age/grade.) Discuss how each woman’s life was similar and different.

Published in: on February 27, 2011 at 9:23 am  Leave a Comment  

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