Would You Have Survived Puberty As A Girl In The 19th Century?

Whether she will marry

The happiness or the hopeless misery of her whole life

How many children she shall bear

The extent to which her physical constitution shall be rendered delicate or hearty

All of the above

Correct!

Wrong!

The happiness or the hopeless misery of her whole life

Napheys explains that the greatest the years of puberty “seal for ever the happiness or the hopeless misery of her whole life. They decide whether she is to become a healthy, helpful, cheerful wife and mother, or a languid, complaining invalid, to whom marriage is a curse, children an affliction, and life itself a burden.” But no pressure.

Highly seasoned food

Idleness of body

Talk of beaux, love, or marriage

Keeping late hours

Sensational novels

Irregular habits of sleep

All of the above

Correct!

Wrong!

All of the above

Writes Napheys: “Idleness of body, highly-seasoned food, stimulating beverages, such as beer, wine, liqueurs, and, in a less degree, coffee and tea, irregular habits of sleep,—these are the physical causes of premature development.” And that’s not all!

Furthermore: “Late hours, children’s parties, sensational novels, ‘flashy’ papers, love stories, the drama, the ball-room, talk of beaux, love, and marriage—that atmosphere of riper years which is so often and so injudiciously thrown around childhood—all hasten the event which transforms the girl into the woman.”

In conclusion: do almost nothing, for doing something could bring about an early puberty.

Poor memory, listlessness, inertia

Increased irritability and frequent angry outbursts

Wanton disregard for anyone but themselves and prospective beaux

All of the above

Correct!

Wrong!

Poor memory, listlessness, inertia

In addition to the physical changes puberty brings, young women also experience the following mental and behavioral changes during puberty: increased interest in seeking solitude, crying, loss of interest in her studies, poor memory, disinclination to mental labor, listlessness and inertia. OK, some of this actually sounds kinda accurate.

Strong emotions may cause the maiden to succumb to hysteria

Fluctuating emotions causes an imbalance of the humors, which leads to ill health

Strong emotions lead to heavier periods

Fluctuating emotions can cause intestinal distress which will drive away beaux

Correct!

Wrong!

Strong emotions lead to heavier periods

“It is well known, too, that excitement of the emotions, whether of anger, joy, grief, hatred, or love increases the discharge.”

IT IS WELL KNOWN. Period.

Volatile, highly vulnerable

Over-educated, delicate

Over-indulged, nervous

Unstable, fragile

Correct!

Wrong!

Over-educated, delicate

Napheys explains that hysteria is a disease of the nerves that’s more common in young women of the upper classes, whose emotions are over-educated and their organizations, delicate. [sideeye emoji]

Her private shame

Self-abuse

Secret bad habits

Inverted passions

Correct!

Wrong!

Secret bad habits

Without naming it explicitly, the author warns that masturbation (aka “secret bad habits”) has “disastrous consequences on soul and body” for young women. ?

Loss of memory, distressing nervousness

Insolence, petulant moods

Vertigo, nausea

All of the above

Correct!

Wrong!

Loss of memory, distressing nervousness

The author explains that masturbation can cause a variety of ill effects, including “bodily weakness, loss of memory, low spirits, distressing nervousness, a capricious appetite, dislike of company and of study, and finally, paralysis, imbecility, or insanity.” But prob worth it tbh!

Taking long walks and hot baths

Interacting with young men who are not family relations

Reading novels which will excite erotic passions

Cooking with or eating spicy foods

All of the above

Correct!

Wrong!

Taking long walks and hot baths

To maintain their health each month, Napheys says anyone who’s menstruating should avoid all exertion including long walks, dancing, and shopping. Anyone menstruating should take neither hot baths nor cold baths (though temperate baths are fine). Drinking cold water is also not advisable. Noted.

Most any age is acceptable if both parties find the union agreeable

Correct!

Wrong!

20-25

“Science…fixes a certain age at which it is wisest for woman to marry,” says Napheys. And that’s between the ages of 20 and 25, the age at which her body is ready to “perpetuate the species” and her mind is ready to choose a life companion. It is scientifically proven.

Freshly squeezed fruit juices / red meat

Fresh milk / tea and coffee

Cod liver oil / hard cheeses

A hearty breakfast / spicy foods

Correct!

Wrong!

Fresh milk / tea and coffee

“Good fresh milk should be used daily, while tea and coffee should be withheld,” says Napheys. Nutrition is important during puberty when, without proper nourishment, a young woman can become feeble and open to the attacks of disease. Drink milk, avoid feebleness!

Excessive devotion to social duties and pleasures

Cold, damp environs

General tendency toward fevers and chills

All of the above

Correct!

Wrong!

All of the above

The causes of painful periods are various, the author says. And they include everything from over exertion in work and socializing to being exposed to the cold, to a constitution generally susceptible to fevers (ague).

With prayer and careful devotion to familial duties

With twice daily warm baths

With a heated flaxseed poultice and a small amount of an opiate applied to the abdomen

With a tincture that will induce sleep

Correct!

Wrong!

With a heated flaxseed poultice and a small amount of an opiate applied to the abdomen

According to Napheys: “A large, hot, linseed-meal poultice, over which a dessert-spoonful of laudanum has been sprinkled, or a large mustard-plaster, spread on the lower abdomen, will afford much relief.” Doesn’t sound too shabby actually.

Romantic love

Child rearing

Correct!

Wrong!

Romantic love

The author explains that to women, love is everything, and to men, it’s merely one of many competing interests. “Love is one thing to a woman, another to a man. To him, said Madame de Staël, it is an episode; to her, it is the whole history of life. A thousand distractions divert man. Fame, riches, power, pleasure, all struggle in his bosom to displace the sentiment of love.”

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