24 Enero 2017 08:58
But it's not difficult to imagine that hygiene habits weren't the same two hundred years ago. In this historical period, showering wasn't what you'd call prevalent.
The heroines dreamed up by Jane Austin and Charlotte Brönte probably smelled bad.
In her book, Oneill reveals some uncomfortable and unpleasant truths about menstruation; ideas regarding feminine beauty; and hygiene habits of the women of the period.
According to the historian's discoveries, many of the things we've seen in films like The Scarlet Letter are lies. Do we really think that Demi Moore would have shaved her armpits at the end of the 18th century?
The world of intimate hygiene was, at that time, controlled by fake doctors; psychiatrists obsessed with curing “hysteria”; and lunatics of every kind.
One of the big problems for women in the period was washing their 'menstrual cloths', large pieces of material with which they cleaned their menstrual blood and which were considered a great shame if seen in public. This is why they never left them next to the washing basket if they couldn't pretend that all the blood came from the slaughtering of a pig or from having made blackberry jam the day before.
Now, maybe we don't understand why Victorian women dropped Belladonna – a poisonous plant – into their eyes so that their pupils would dilate and appear more 'languid and soulful', but, is it fair to judge them for it?
Therese Oneill doesn't think so.
'In 115 years, we're going to look like complete idiots, too.'