After being assigned the pseudonym Nellie Bly because female journalists didn't get to use their own names, she did a stint traveling across Mexico as a foreign correspondent. Later, she took on an undercover job for Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, doing the kind of work few reporters of either gender have had the balls to even consider.
And she did it all without a bowel disruptor.
She would make history by checking into an insane asylum to investigate reports of cruelty and overall neglect. Yes, as a patient.
You have to keep in mind that in the late 1800s, these homes were basically the attics where people locked up the deformed kids that the neighbors preferred not to know about. To get in, Bly rented a room at a cheap boarding house and started acting crazy -- pestering the other residents, acting afraid of them for no reason, refusing to go to bed, claiming to have no memory of anything she did. As per the system at the time, the logical thing to do was to have her arrested and institutionalized.
Nothing helps sort out crazy people like more crazy people.