8. Harper's Weekly, January 17, 1857, p. 35 worried:
Fashion is a cunning jade. While strong-minded females have in vain been bawling long and loud for woman's rights, and with tooth and nail doing their utmost to pull man down from his pre-eminence, Madame la Mode has quietly slipped, and almost unconsciously, into the prerogatives of the opposite sex. Pulling on masculine boots, she strides manfully through our dirty streets "in spite of wind and weather," and now buttoning herself in a fashionable coat or jacket of the day, she elbows our Broadway dandies with the conscious air of one who would say, "I'm a better man than you." Boots, coat, and ______; to be continued we must add, as to an unfinished tale (tail?)
The magazine's own "Prattle and Tattle" column, purportedly written by a woman, responded in the March 21, 1857 issue:
. . .In this last week's number we [were described as] -- could you guess what?-- awkward! . . . And what do you suppose, in the estimation of our critic, contributes especially to our "awkwardness?" Nothing less sensible and useful than our invaluable India-rubber boots! When, in former days, we promenaded the streets all snow and mud, unprotected by aught beyond "paper soles" and thin French gaiters, there was no epithet strong enough to characterize our folly in the language of gentlemen.
. . . It's just like your selfish and inconsiderate sex -- unreflecting and inconsistent thoughtout! Who is it shrugs his shoulders, frowning grimly, or grumbling gruffly, at the French shoemaker's "little bill," each item of which endures about one earthly day of winter's wear? Can it be the same person who looks with disgust, not to say apprehension, at our reasonable though unbecoming boots, because, forsooth, his Sultan's eye can not be gratified by the sight of pretty ankles? Impossible; yet so it is.
. . . .
I have my fears that the universal practice of wearing these useful boots, which quite conceal our neat insteps and well-turned ankles, will have the effect of interfering with the habits and pursuits of those gentlemen who seem to spend their time, on muddy days, in watching our fair forms while we traverse the most dirty parts of Broadway. Those who follow this pastime with earnestness, generally, to use the language of street-sweepers, take a crossing, and adopt it as their own. Here they stand, by the hour together, seriously inspecting the little feet that pick their way so carefully, and [are] only too happy when a stage, stopping in the middle of the road, gives occasion for more than usual display.
A favorite station of this sort, let me tell you, is at the corner of Houston Street, and very favorable ground it seems to be thought, for it is quite a strong-hold of these amateurs in limbs.
Frank Leslie's Illustrated, for its part, chimed in with an illustrated article on the new boots and the sights a muddy day could bring.