Sarah Scheidmantel


Main focus: geschichte des 20. jahrhunderts

Languages: German, English

Country: Switzerland

Topics: history of sexuality, material cultures

Services: Talk, Moderation, Interview

  Willing to travel for an event.

  Willing to talk for nonprofit.

Examples of previous talks / appearances:

“Young and Fit” as a Health Goal: How Women Became the Key Consumers of Vibromassage Devices around 1900.

My contribution to the history of medicine, economy, and women´s studies addresses women´s relationship to medical devices and their home use around 1900 in Germany and the UK. My main thesis researches how the so-called vibromassagers, which were first used medically, were sold for female beauty treatments soon after their release in the market for laypersons.
Vibro-massage became a medical treatment method in the late 19th century to cure men and women from a various range of illnesses, such as gout, organic, general functional troubles, including sexual as well as nervous diseases.
Soon after their medical release, the devices were sold in the open market: Many companies produced similar, yet different devices of mechanical or electrical use, and soon the models advertising the devices in ads were only female: Laywomen became the target group of the devices, and advertisements tell that women could use the devices not only to help cure illnesses, but also for other purposes: Slogans such as "keep young and fit" or "make yourself attractive" show that the medical devices could also be used for beauty issues.
By examining two examples I would like to show women´s participation in consumerism and I would like to draw the economic connections between Germany and UK and their knowledge exchanges in this field.
I am using different sources, such as medical books, instruction manuals, advertisements, all of which focus on vibro-massage. In doing so, I would like to write a body history of women between health and beauty issues; I would like to show that women influenced the market and the sale of medical instruments: They became active consumers of this technology for their families´ health and for themselves. Companies apparently started to produce medical/beauty devices specifically for women and the optimisation of their appearance, which openened a new economic field around 1900.

This talk is in: English
„Den Körper konstruieren. Medizinische Praktiken des weiblichen Körpers und seine Interventionen im späten 19.Jahrhundert“

In meinem Vortrag geht es darum, wie medizinisches Wissen und Praktiken (besonders auch im Nutzen von Geräten) gegen Ende des 19. und Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts miteinander verschaltet waren. Dabei fokussiere ich mich besonders auf das Wissen und die Interventionen um den weiblichen Körper. Ich möchte genauer beleuchten, wie das Wissen um den weiblichen Körper die medizinische Idee von Elektrotherapie und Vibrationsmassage förderte und dabei fokussieren, wie besonders die zweite Praktik ihren Weg in den Hausgebrauch fand.

This talk is in: German