Readings for Rural Life

From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY

November 19th, 1864

Girls and Their Treatment

From intelligent physicians, having extensive practice in this city, we learn that, of the women of New York embraced in that class whose circumstances raise them above the necessity of labor, nineteen-twentieths who have reached the age of thirty are seriously diseased, and of their daughters nine-tenths have impaired health at the age of eighteen. In this class of society, for the last ten years the deaths have exceeded the births, so that, if it were not recruited by accessions from the country  or from the lower class, it would disappear in a single generation. This may be an exaggerated statement, and we care not to insist upon the figures, but there is ground for alarm. The diseases are chiefly dyspepsia, nervous affections, spinal curvature, etc. The causes are easily found. Our artificial life, want of proper exercise, stimulating diet, emotional excitement. Our young ladies feast at the same table as their parents, using the same luxuries and stimulants. They enter into society before they enter their teens; they take but little exercise, and that spasmodically and the most injudicious kind – the exercise of the lower limbs. What is the remedy? Exercise in the open air, the use of the broom, spinning-wheel, the washtub, which would develop the muscles of the arms and chest, expand the lungs, and pump the blood vigorously through the veins. But, next to a properly regulated exercise, girls need a properly selected food, both physical and intellectual. It would be well also to let them know that there is a distinction between girls and women, and that the social enjoyments, the late hours and the emotional excitement which can be endured by the one cannot be so well endured by the other. All this may be little heeded no, but the time may come when young men in search of wives will deem a broom in the hand of a lady more ornamental than a curve on her back; a knowledge of mathematics better than an acquaintance with romances; and a group of healthy children more acceptable in a nursery than a council of eminent and distressed doctors.


Published in: on November 19, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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