Ever since I encountered a horrible contraption in the 1980s called the Epilady - a handheld device used to rip leg hairs out at the root - I have imagined a museum full of all of the most horrific artifacts used to torture women in the name of etiquette and beauty. I like to think that it is more than just a negative fascination I have with such items, and that it could be important to catalogue the various methods through history by which women have been subjugated that actually seemed quite normal at the time.

My most recent curious obsession is with the bathing machines of the 1800s. When spending a day seaside, women had the worst of both worlds - sequestered, yet still on display. All in the name of female modesty.

Read about these insane contraptions here:
http://www.victoriana.com/Etiquette/bathingmachine.htm
and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathing_machine