Woman in a Cage: A Steampunk Feminist’s Perspective of the Victorian Crinoline

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A modern reconstruction  of a crinoline A modern reconstruction of a crinoline

The basic structure of a crinoline is a cage, so a woman wearing a crinoline is actually trapped inside a cage, unable to run or move about freely. If there was ever a more powerful metaphor to sum up the restrictions of a Victorian woman’s existence, I can’t think of one. As both a writer and a feminist, to me the crinoline sums up worst behavioural excesses of the Victorian era.

Steel-cage crinoline circa 1858. Steel-cage crinoline circa 1858.

Some styles of crinolines even resembled bird cages. What an image … thousands of women walking around inside their cages, unable to accidentally brush up against a fellow human being. struggling through doorways, constantly having to be aware of their surrounding in case they knocked over furniture or small children. I know I’d be on edge. as I am not the mot graceful woman to start with. And oh…

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