“I am finding out gradually why I am so lonely. The only things I care about are things which use my brain. The women I meet are not so much interested and I do not meet many men, so there is an intellectual solitude which is like the solitude of the desert — dangerous to one’s sanity.”
The deep words of Clelia Duel Mosher, a true fighter and an advocate for women empowerment in the midst of the Victorian age. An age where women were seen as physically inferior to men, we could apparently only breathe using our lungs and not the stomach – what!? – and it was a common belief that sex and women only came together in the name of reproduction. Pretty “The Handmaid’s Tale” if you ask me…
All these things are something that Clelia turned into myths. So while some women can’t get even get a text back in the 21st Century, she didn’t let the Victorian corset – or her tuberculosis – hold her back from bringing new light to important areas in women’s lives and breaking stereotypes of the Victorian woman.
If she was still walking amongst us today, she’d definitely be a badass woman to watch out for! We’d be giving her some well-deserved fist bumps. Just when you thought her badassery had peaked… it didn’t stop there…
Victorian physics, sex, and menstruation
She also holds a lot of “firsts” in the history of (wo)man. Clelia was the first female physician in America and was the first person to conduct a survey about women’s sexuality in the Victorian age. Did you know that 76% of women in the research she conducted, had experienced vaginal orgasms? And I’m still here thinking it’s an urban legend.
She also discovered that women during that time were as randy as a spanked Anastasia Steel in Fifty Shades of Grey. Credo to the women back then, and to Clelia for destroying the myth of women being as dry as winter’s leaves.
But why stop at physics and sex, when you can also talk about menstruation, right? That’s right, a topic that is mostly normal to talk about at an occasional slumber party, she just blasted off into the Victorian society. Clelia conducted a valid piece of research, as legit as any patriarchal, male-dominated one, proving that a woman’s then so-called “monthly disability” was because of those darn corsets, a lack of exercise and the inevitable pain that came with menstruation.
So, Clelia took women empowerment up a notch when we could finally be active again and breathe the fresh air of freedom – literally. Sayonara corsets! Oh and, if you hear the word Moshering, then don’t be surprised it was her. That was a set of exercises she created to decrease menstrual pain, and in general, make the lives of women just a tad better.
She didn’t only make the lives of women just a tad better in the Americas, but also for refugees. Wait, what!? How did she even manage to end up across the pond somewhere? Well, Clelia was also a humanitarian, relocating refugees for the American Red Cross in France.
Lonely, but not alone
If we could strip Clelia of her Dr. title, which we can’t, she’d be a miss. Yes, a Miss Mosher. No children. No husband. Just her and her epicness. Because why not push society’s norms even further, which also, of course, came with a price. If we just take a quick detour back to the quote from the beginning of this article, she mentioned she was lonely. And even said it’s a danger to one’s sanity. Well, don’t they say that the crazy ones usually change the status quo?
And she surely has, not only for us grateful gals on this side of the Century but also for the women of her era. She was an influencer even before influencer became a thing, where she had a huge positive impact on her female students. That was her crowd, alongside a great partnership with her mentor and a tight bond with her parents. So… although lonely, she had her fans and support system, and is today a part of a larger community of empowered women – us, so thank you, Clelia!
A badass woman in the streets
To honor her courage and her dedication to female empowerment, we have dedicated one of the sisu socks collections to her. So despite her not walking physically amongst us today, she will still be a badass woman in the streets – and so will you! Check out the Clelia Duel Mosher collection here and wear Clelia with pride!
But first, let’s wrap this up with one more quote of hers:
“Born into a world of unlimited opportunity, the woman of the rising generation will answer the question of what woman’s real capacities are […] She will have physical, economic, racial and civic freedom. What will she do with it?”
Need a tissue? Yeah, this got me as well.
Feeling inspired by this badass woman? Shop the Clelia Duel Mosher Collection and wear your sisu socks with pride!
Liisa Mänd, CEO and Founder of digitalvoice.io, vegan and a lover of mother earth
I’m just an ordinary gal on this rock floating in space, using digital storytelling as my tool to create awareness around important environmental & societal issues – like the true potential of women. We are the creationist, of life and our realities, and healers of the world. It’s time to rise and embrace this.