Oh Those Sexy Quakers

2 Dec

I’m writing a paper for my [disappointing but at its core awesome] archives and social memory class about Quaker women and plain dress. I keep coming across the sexualizing of Quaker women in interesting ways, from the 17th century to the present. An article by Jennifer Connerly in Material Religion, vol. 2, issue 2, discusses America’s love affair with the imaginary silent, beautiful Quaker woman.

“At the turn of the century, the rapidly shifting culture of the United States had come to prize individuality, fashion, self-determinism, and the shifting roles of a bold new woman—but retained a hazy love affair with a woman imagined, by virtue of her covered body and face, as the potential antithesis of all these new values. This missing Quaker woman was neither a feminist nor even outspoken; she was an open and compliant symbol for pious femininity of the past.”

See how this continues today:


From Vogue Italia, clothing purchased from a store that sells to Mennonite, Amish and plain Quaker women and men.


4 Responses to “Oh Those Sexy Quakers”

  1. El November 10, 2010 at 7:46 am #

    Which website was this picture from?

  2. Keith Barber April 2, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    if you do a little reading on ursula franklin, elizabeth boulding, elizabeth cady stanton, susan b. anthony, joan baez etc… the bonnet was not a badge of subservient silence. Quakers in nantucket and other places often had the women as the business owners, often as travelling ministers wile hubby minded the family and home, and in the case of lucretia mott i suspect the brim was a way to focus her voice against injustice so that only one bastion of inequality at a time was knocked over so people had a chance to climb the rubble before her next tower of injustice was toppled.

    please look into the Quakers role in establishing levelling processes to wipe out hierarchy.


  1. Rule 5 Quakers | Batshit Crazy News - May 30, 2016

    […] (old) cease and desist letter from a lawyer from Quaker Oats directed at some real life Quakers. Is this look supposed to be attractive? (it’s not) While certainly revealing, it does not seem like something most Quakers would […]

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