When parasols were in fashion they allowed a woman the freedom of femininity.
She was able to walk about in the sun without burning her skin, encouraging freckles, or becoming too affected by the radiant heat.
Parasols also could be used as an expression of delicacy, annoyance, or mystery. They were quite useful and actually the subject of intense and interesting etiquette.
I have thought about how much I would like to carry a parasol in the summer. It would probably be useful as a weapon not only against the heat, but against feminism as well. Can you imagine how much feminists would hate a parasol? It speaks of weakness in the most exquisite sense, or at least the so called "weakness" of a woman accepting her feminine nature.
Actually, a real lady is quite strong if she takes advantage of these "weapons" of femininity such as the parasol. Men respond to this higher influence with a natural chivalry and they are unlikely to ignore anything a lady divulges while beneath the parasol. What a way to get people to listen to you!
Remember to be careful of what you say when under the influence of...