Piepmeier studies five women, including Mary Baker Eddy, as examples in 19th-century America of the ‘outing’ of women’s bodies in the public sphere in ways not easily categorized. They had to address the powerful ideologies of domesticity and sentimentality to distinguish their own ideologies. Eddy’s textbook was a rewriting of major discourses, representing a significant rethinking of women’s roles and rights.View Annotation
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Eddy’s Science and Health critiqued the contemporary ideology of invalidism. Male doctors had a vested interest in women’s weakness, making their own treatments necessary. Eddy, by contrast, validated the authority of the patient to bring about healing, thereby giving women more control over their bodies. Eddy’s message emphasized vitality and health for women and diminished biological differences between the sexes.View Annotation