In the modern age disability was often associated with destitution: those suffering from physical, sensory or cognitive impairments were held to be unable to procure sustenance for themselves, and hence, deserving of assistance. However, this observation was mainly true for the male body, as emerges from this contribution’s study of requests for admission to women’s Conservatories, with special attention to those operating in Bologna. Mainly aimed at preserving feminine honour, these institutions only took in healthy girls without physical or psychological malformations and with pleasant appearances, as they were deemed to be more at risk of losing their honour, and more suitable, upon adulthood, for becoming wives, mothers and performing domestic work. An examination of these sources shows an unmistakeable correlation between “external beauty” and assistance which often led women’s Conservatories to exclude disabled girlsor those who failed to meet contemporary standards of beauty. Thus, gender roles played an important part on determining access to charitable circuits: while for a man an unhealthy body, unfit to practice a trade, constituted proof of a state of need, fora woman a deformed or even “ugly” body might be reason for her to be denied assistance.
|Titolo:||'Non accettare figliole difettose o mal sane’. Forme di assistenza femminile nei conservatori italiani di età moderna|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02.01 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|