Differences in social orientation and background can account perhaps for differences in the nature of French and English salons.The French salon incorporated aristocratic attitudes that exalted courtly pleasure and emphasized artistic accomplishments. The English Bluestockings, originating from a more modest background, emphasized learning and work over pleasure. Accustomed to the regimented life of court circles, salonnieres tended toward formality in their salons. The English women, though somewhat puritanical, were more casual in their approach.
At first, the Bluestockings did imitate the salonnieres by including men in their circles. However, as they gained cohesion, the Bluestockings came to regard themselves as a women's group and to possess a sense of female solidarity lacking in the salonnieres, who remained isolated from one another by the primacy each held in her own salon. In an atmosphere of mutual support, the Bluestockings went beyond the salon experience. They traveled, studied, wrote for publication, and by their activities challenged the stereotype of the passive woman.