19th Century Doctors Warn Women About Bicycle Face

(Illustration Via Frederick Burr Opper)

Whenever a new fad sweeps through the populace, especially if it involves physical activity of any kind, there’s always some Dr. Oz type ready to hand out dubious medical advice and warn against what may happen if the participants aren’t careful.

When bicycling became all the rage in the 19th century doctors acted no differently, especially because bikes offered women a sense of liberation that made these stuffy old men feel threatened. Physicians began to warn women about the dangers of "Bicycle Face", in an effort to dissuade them from becoming avid bicyclists, to no avail.

Here are the supposed symptoms of this "serious medical condition", as they were presented in a newspaper from 1897:

Usually flushed, but sometimes pale, often with lips more or less drawn, and the beginning of dark shadows under the eyes, and always with an expression of weariness. Bicycle face is also characterized by a hard, clenched jaw and bulging eyes.

Little did these doctors know that Bicycle Face was only the beginning, and over one hundred years later ladies would go totally gaga over Poker Face...

-Via AnimalNY


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