In the modern world, such a set of personality qualities corresponds to the notion of androgynicity. Generally, society is not welcome. “What good is being a blue stocking. Blue stocking… Damn knows what! It is not a woman and not a man, but so often on the half, neither that, “- categorically declares such a respected writer as A.P.Chekhov.
Meanwhile, for the first time the nickname “blue stocking” was not a woman, and it did not initially contain special contempt.
Salon of Elizabeth Montague
In England there was a Salon of Elizabeth Montague in the early 18th century. It was a wonderful woman, proving herself both as a writer and as a literary critic. She patronized people of art. Her salon brought together equally intelligent people passionate about science and art.
Benjamin Stillingfleet was in this salon — a versatile gifted man. He was both a writer, a translator, and a botanist scholar.
This man possessed one oddity. In those days secular etiquette mandated the wearing of silk stockings, contrary to this Benjamin Stillingfleet wore stockings wool, which were always blue. Thanks to this extravagant detail, the salon mates and “rewarded” him with the nickname “blue stocking.”
Spreading the nickname
So, for the first time such a nickname was earned by a man with oddities, and it was more of a friendly joke than an insult. But somehow it has become a contemptuous “label” for women.
For this, Edward Boscawan, an English admiral known by the nickname “The Undaunted Old Man”, should be thanked. This man literally grew up in the Navy, a 12-year-old teenager starting service on a warship. He distinguished himself in many naval battles, had the rank of a rear admiral… nevertheless, he had something to do with the Salon of Elisabeth Montague: the salon was frequented by his spouse.
The military fascination of his wife didn’t like. He didn’t think intellectual conversations was an appropriate occupation for a woman! Despising the circle, Boscawan referred to it as the “blue-stocking society”, based on Stillingfleet’s nickname.
The nickname was picked up by J.G.Byron. This English poet wrote a satirical poem about the Salon of Elisabeth Montague, giving it the title “blue”.
So with the easy hand of E.Bockawen and J.G.Byron the nickname “blue stocking” came to very smart and not very feminine ladies.