This would have been a concept foreign to the women who emigrated from Britain or other countries in Europe to South Africa in the mid-19th c. These women came from assorted backgrounds: some were middle-class wives and mothers accompanying their husbands on the emigration adventure, others were escaping dire conditions of poverty and drudgery.
All of them, though, had a common denominator: theirs was a male-dominated world which placed limitations on their freedom of thought and action.
More on this topic in posts during March.
From the Natal Almanac 1890
Thomson's Glove Corset: The Perfection of Shape, Finish &
Durability, and approved by
the whole polite world.