Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Lady Journalist

From Edwardian Promenade:
In the United States, “muckrakers”–a word coined by President Theodore Roosevelt to describe the new journalistic trend of exposing the seedy underbelly of American business and society–were mostly men. The majority of women involved in such pursuits were considered “stunt journalists,” no better than entertainers at a circus; yet, women journalists were forced to undertake so-called stunts in order to break out of the “ladies columns.” Nellie Bly is the most famous (her heyday was in the 1880s), but other women took up the mantle of exposing the inequalities and iniquities that affected women and children, thus melding the domestic sphere in which they were supposed to be and the call for reform that was a muckrakers’ bread and butter. In 1903, sisters-in-law Bessie and Marie Van Vorst went undercover as workers in factories in major U.S. cities to recount the horrific conditions through which America’s well-to-do obtained their linens and other fine goods in The Woman Who Toils: Being the Experiences of Two Gentlewomen as Factory Girls, a collection of the articles they wrote for a magazine. (Read more.)

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