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Disturbing Health & Beauty Fads From The Victorian Era | Answers With Joe

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Here we go again. I recently covered the Victorian Era but today I want to point out the incredibly weird health and beauty practices that Victorians were into back in the day.

As I say in the video, Victorian medicine was a mix of terrible old ideas and terrible new ideas, from people drinking radioactive water to eating ground-up mummies our transition to the modern medical system we see today hit some interesting bumps in the road.

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LINKS LINKS LINKS:

https://historyofyesterday.com/eben-byers-the-man-who-drank-radioactive-water-until-his-jaw-fell-off-d2634336b504

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annette_Kellermann

Beauty & Fashion

https://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/06/bathing-machines-of-19th-century.html

https://www.history.com/news/england-divorce-18th-century-wife-auction

http://www.victoriana.com/Victorian-Fashion/victorianbustles.html

https://www.ranker.com/list/victorian-era-skirts/setareh-janda

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/11/04/victorian-fashion-fad/

Music

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mumia-the-strange-history-of-human-remains-as-medicine#Mummy-and-other-remains-as-panacea

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/victorian-party-people-unrolled-mummies-for-fun

https://www.sciencehistory.org/distillations/mummies-and-the-usefulness-of-death

Time Stamps:
0:00 – Intro
1:26 – Weird Victorian Medicine
5:53 – They Did Weird Things To Look Good
8:11 – Women Had It Rough
13:14 – Barbershop Quartets
15:30 – They Ate Mummies (And Were Obsessed With Egypt)
20:38 – Conclusion
22:13 – Sponsor Read

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Wife for sale ? Outrageous! Good that this isn’t allowed anymore. Btw, I have a neighbor. About 45 years old, short hair and a decent alright figure and healthy. Anyone interested in my neighbor ? You can pick her up for a pretty affordable price.

  2. I’m pretty sure there are places on this planet where selling your wife is still a thing. I know for sure there are still places on this earth where the father still decides who his daughter will wed.

  3. Thank you for pointing out that women were actually property in western Christian culture. The father was the master/owner of his wife & children, legally & socially, until the children reached either legal age or marriage. Male children legally belonged to their father till they reached legal age, at which time they became masters of themselves (free men), & upon marriage they became masters/owners of their wives. Female children remained property upon coming of age and/or marriage, their ownership being transferred from their father to their husband.
    Of course there were exceptions: some women were given their freedom upon coming of age, that freedom usually given them by their fathers. This happened mainly among families with more money because in order to become a free person a woman had to inherit enough money to support herself for life–a complicated matter, as generally women could not inherit property or money except as special dispensation arranged by her father. And as most women were forced to depend on either father or husband for a living, marriage was a necessity for most women.
    A married woman could not usually take over the family house & property & money if her husband died. If left a widow with children, she as a rule was forced to remarry in order to support herself & her children. The home, the business, etc, was inherited by the eldest male offspring when he came of legal age. (This happened to my grandmother, in fact. When her first husband died of the influenza then killing millions after WW1, she was left pennyless & without property & with 7 children. As eldest male, my father fed his siblings by hunting & gardening until they came of age. His widowed mother, who was renowned for her beauty, remarried less than a year after her first husband's death, having to rely on her new husband to support her & the youngest child, who was still a nursing infant. It was a very difficult time for them all for some years, all because wives could not inherit. This was in the 1920s in the US.)
    These legalities applied to most women of 'white' designation, who lived under a form of legal slavery into the late 19th & early 20th c. This form of slavery was adopted mainly via ancient Roman laws, with the system of marriage also adopted from ancient Rome. Modern marriage laws & customs are largely based on the ancient Roman ones, with many wedding traditions directly based on the status of women as slaves of their fathers & later of husbands. The 'giving away of the bride' by father to husband is merely one of the many customs based on female enslavement. The very terms used are based on this enslavement inherited from ancient Rome. In Rome, the term for 'family' (paterfamilias) means father/master of the family (wife & children), quite literally the master of the family. The father/husband owned his wife & children as well as the other household slaves. If wealthier, the wife might have more leisure, as she usually served as the head slave who directed household slaves in order to make a home environment more pleasant for the master. But she was still a slave.
    And this was the usual state for women in western society until the late 19th into early 20th c. 'Housewife & mother' was for centuries the slave status for most women born into this culture. There are, after all, many forms of slavery & these should be taught as a standard part of history.

  4. I'm picky about who subscribe to l, but the way you explain things and do research is awesome!! I learned quite a bit from just this first video! Keep up the good work, and now I'm off to binge your videos 🤗

  5. And yet until very recently Hyland’s teething tablets still used belladonna in their tablets. There are still some naturopathic preparations used for infants/toddlers that do still contain belladonna. PLEASE CHECK LABELS when you are giving anything to your baby and research all medicines prescribed to your little one, ask questions About why the benefits are worth any risks and what those potential risks are

  6. I just wanted to say that nobody forced women to do all these things… They did them willingly, because they wanted to be beautiful. For men?
    Are you paying attention? Women want to look beautiful for themselves and other women. Most men wouldn't notice if we had this or that make up.

  7. I heard you mention the BBC on your other video about carnival performers in so called freak shows ( a term I don't like using ) .Do you know the work of two of our most entertaining historians on the BBC Dr Joanna Lipscomb& Dr Lucy Worsley ..their work on bringing social history from the maniacal.Medieval to the vicious Victorians to life on the small screen is amazing !.Both women have had series on the very subject of this video & Dr Worsley did an incredible series on how dangerous the Victorian home was ..the one about the arsenic found in the green wallpaper will haunt me for life it was that horrific .

  8. Thankfully the Moors and Egyptians taught the world how to have common sense. How to bathe. How to not use toxic substances for mere beauty. Water irrigation. Waste management. I can go on and on.

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