Typically, this podcast will be about antiques, vintage, & collectibles (with plenty of contextual history & culture commentary), but this second episode has a lot to do with gender, so I am linking it up here. It’s under 3 minutes long, but if you prefer to read it, you can do so here.
In 1885, W. Duke & Sons inserted “sexy” trading cards of actresses in their packages of Duke’s Cigarettes. This act is said to have led to Duke’s becoming the leading cigarette brand by 1890. Widely heralded as the birth of sex in advertising, i,e. the use of images of women in ads without any connection to the product being sold, these trade cards have led to many a scholastic “sex sells” advertising paper.
While the photographs of actresses seem rather tame to us today, the photographs on the trading cards were considered “lascivious” by some. Complaints even led to James Buchanan “Buck” Duke being advised, via letter, by his father Washington Duke to cease use of such images “as an inducement to purchase” — for fear the immoral “mode of advertising will be used and greatly streghten [sic, “strengthen”] the arguments against cigarettes in the legislative halls of the States.”
Did the use of lascivious ladies on the tobacco trading cards help to make Duke the most popular cigarette brand?
But not entirely for the reasons one thinks.
It would be folly to overlook the other factors involved in Duke’s success. Such as Buck Duke’s ingenious idea to use a small cardboard insert, printed with a series of themed images (ranging from life tips and birds, to flags and Civil War heroes) along with the brand name. These cards were a completely new way of advertising tobacco and cigarettes, and they stiffened both the boxes and cigarette sales. Then too, Duke was the only large tobacco manufacturer to take a chance on the imperfect Bonsack machine – which, once perfected, cut the cost of cigarette manufacturing in half. And there’s also the fact that tycoon Buck Duke merged the five largest tobacco companies in America to form the American Tobacco Company in 1890. But even that doesn’t give the full picture.
To get a clearer picture, one has to look at the times in fuller context.
By the 1890s, use of female celebrities was already a powerful marketing gimmick. It began by using the more “mature” theatre actresses, those in their 30s and 40s, as spokespersons. Some, such as Julia Marlow, even had products made in their names.
But as opera and motion pictures were deemed more legitimate, younger famous performers were also used to sell — and to sell to women. For in fact, female celebrities were not only beautiful, and so used to motivate everyday men and women to purchase, but everyday women themselves were used to legitimize and make palatable such “unsavory” enterprises as the nickelodeon and motion pictures themselves. (No small surprise then, that women would become the biggest draws in entertainment.) In placing women on trading cards and other advertising pieces, women were also used to make the whole notion of smoking acceptable and even desirable in two ways.
The first, likely, was the use of the iconic American Girl imagery to made smoking — especially the brands using the images — not only the popular thing to do, but the acceptable thing to do. As Bergeret wrote in Vanity Fair (April, 1915):
She [the American Girl] incarnates the spirit of her nation; she is the living ideal, the only adornment of a country that, without her would be a veritable cave of Alberic, a black and smokey dollar-forge. It is true, too, that the United States owe her all they possess of art, of good breeding, of humanity… she is the standard-bearer of American ideas and products over all Europe.
And, in 1889, in Jonathon and His Continent: Rambles Through American Society, Max O’Rell would describe the American Girl as follows:
No matter how much of a butterfly she may be, she never loses sight of the future. She does not say, as she sits musing on marriage: “What kind of man shall I suit?” but “What kind of man shall I choose.”
Showing American Girls, however attractive, was less about sex than it was about being appropriate, being the upstanding sort that would marry and carry on in the best American way.
The second path was all about selling directly to women themselves. While not completely culturally acceptable, women were using tobacco and smoking at this time — and even earlier. Corporations no doubt sought to court females directly as consumers for their tobacco products, using female celebrities as they had been with other products for women.
None of this precludes a primal male reaction to the sight of a beautiful woman; lascivious or not, men will be, well, men. And too often women are too quick to call them on it. However, to see all advertisements, tobacco or otherwise, at this time or now, as purely sexual is to underestimate the importance of just how the female form figures into shifts in culture — and, indeed, the historical purchase power of women themselves.
For example, this 1871 packaging for Pearl cigarettes is often called “the earliest known use of sex in advertising.” But isn’t it at least equally possible it was just using the already classic beauty of the Venus de Milo? “Lascivious” is in the mind of the viewer. Or collector.
Whether or not “you’re with her,” you have to recognize the historical step of Hillary Clinton becoming the first female presumptive presidential nominee for a major U.S. political party. However, she was not the first woman to run for president. Rachel Maddow covered the titillating news (and nervous giggling that ensued) when other women ran for president of the United States of America. Maddow’s coverage includes vintage news clips reporting on Maine Senetor Margaret Chase Smith’s run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1964 and when Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American congresswoman from New York State, ran for Democratic presidential nomination in 1972.
Thankfully, there were no advertisements, real or parody, featuring any of the candidates in their underthings. A sign of minimal respect, perhaps. But then, the Maidenform “I Dreamed I won the election” ad from 1958 must have brought many a chuckle & guffaw. (More on the classic vintage lingerie ad series here & here.)
When discussing political collectibles, there are the strange, and then there are the tacky. And in my opinion, little is tackier than Nixon.
You know, I say this with affection, as I am collector of Nixon items and oddities.
Nixon naughtiness is out there, and I must have it.
Since those first purchases, I’ve kept my eyes open for more Nixon items.
“Yes Nixon, No Jelly,” a tab from a candy company to promote their ‘Peanut Butter No Jelly’ candy bar during the campaign. It is interesting to note that the candy bar, like the President, is no longer… I imagine more folks miss the candy bar.
Yes, there was a matching McGovern one too, but I like mocking Nixon — & I have quite the Anti-Nixon collection to prove it! *neener neener*
There are a few reasons why Nixon is so easy to mock. One’s the man himself. The other is that Watergate changed the way we looked at our politicians and leaders. With this new awareness, or cynicism, Nixon spawned more ‘stuff’ than you can imagine.
When looking for Nixon collectibles, I recommend this book by Eldon Almquist, who once ran the Nixon Collector’s Organization: The Political Collectibles of Richard M. Nixon.
This holiday weekend, in honor of Memorial Day, I’ve seen this poster circulating quite a bit…
But there are some things you should know. (Yes, feminists often don’t have the luxury of taking the holidays off.)
“Good work, sister. We never figured you could do a man-size job!”
America’s women have met the test!
Artist: Packer. For Bressler Editorial Cartoons, Inc.
What a lovely backhanded compliment this whole poster is.
The whole gender dynamic is astounding…
…The language — use of “never” and “a man-size job” — is insulting.
…The man being shown as larger to impress upon us both the size of the job and the ‘little lady’ is a bit of visual overkill. (But, hell, shouldn’t that USDA prime cut of red-blooded American beefcake have been drafted?)
Fundamentally, it seems this poster was designed to assuage male discomfort at the notion of “Rosie the Riveter” women working outside the home rather than actually thank women for their work.
During WWII, almost 400,000 women served in the US armed forces — including 6,500 Black women who faced even larger racism hurdles to do so. Those are pretty big tests too, poster.
However, despite any of their wishes, women could not serve in combat. Because “menstruation & bears!” or something.
But still, even without combat duty, many women — over 400 of them — lost their lives serving their country in the armed forces. In addition to the fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons we lost, we also lost mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters. More were wounded. Women sacrificed mightily. And not just the danger of “those spreading hips that may come from long hours of sitting” too. They gave their lives and limbs, just as men did; only the women suffered more in secret. Just as they do today. Just as they always have during war: See This.
Whether women & girls worked in factories or shipyards, in the armed forces, in their yards planting victory gardens, in their homes — wherever they worked — they served this country. To the best of their ability — and as much as they were allowed.
This holiday, remember everyone who gave for this country.
In the 70s, footprints were big things. Sometimes they were quite literally big things; such as the giant, and very fuzzy, footprint rugs my sister and I had in our room. (See other things that may have been in your bedroom back then.)
Other times, the feet were smaller.
And in pairs.
If you were cognizant in the 1970s, you likely recall all the pairs of mating feet. Because many adults labored under the incorrect belief that such pairs of feet were somehow not understood by children (umm, this is exactly what many children saw when they opened the door to your bedroom), these sex feet were everywhere.
And — surprise! — there’s sexism involved in such a sexual revolution.
Typically, sex feet are shown as heterosexual couplings in the missionary position; which is neither all that revolutionary or, for many, very pleasurable. We are able to see that it’s a man and a woman doing it missionary style as there are two sets of feet — but not of the same size. This is typically deciphered to mean that the larger feet belong to a man. After all, hetero-normative rules state men are to be larger than their lady partners. And his feet must be much bigger because, you know, big feet mean big penis. That’s the myth, anyway. And he must be on top because he is The Top.
Besides, who would change their minds (cross their legs and feet) and say “no” other than a woman?
But if you think this is all about the Free Love movement, sex feet were often presented or captioned with odd supposedly humorous notions revealing traditional values. Like this ashtray and its “Man does this mean we are engaged” speech bubble.
Along with confusion caused by missing punctuation, there’s more than a little cognitive dissonance between the “free love” and the marital sentiments or concerns. But then, the liberating 70s was always more than a little confusing that way.
Evelyn Nesbit aka Evelyn Thaw, who we discussed in conjunction with sex scandals and reports of roofies in 1910, is making the news rounds again. This time it is at The Daily Mail, with lots of photos; but she was also at the BBC at the end of 2014.
All that may just provide some cultural context to Nesbit’s sweet song of freedom from men, sang a decade or more after her divorces.
As I mentioned, I’m downsizing; so lately, I’ve primarily been focused on listing in our Etsy shops. (1, 2, and, now, 3.) This has led to lots of posting at Things Your Grandmother Knew and Kitschy Kitschy Coo. (But don’t worry, the next stack of ephemera has plenty of “women’s issues stuff”, so then this blog will be busy. To everything, there is a season…)
One of the more rare items I am parting with is this antique real photo postcard featuring two female couples. I’m rather certain this is a legit “lesbian interest” photo, as it is called in the trade, and not some mere drag party of the past. However, without any living folks to tell the tale, it is hard to say definitively. There is a certain combination of affection and defiance as opposed to the hamming it up for the cameras which is usually found in ye olde crossdressing and drag parties and films of yore.
This reminds me of the fact that many sellers will call any photo of same-sex folks being affectionate as LGBTQ history. Rather than rant about that, I will simply direct you to where others have done a good job covering the issue: Brothers In Arms (NWS), naked Vintage Soldiers (NWS), and Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch. (It is perhaps no surprise that all of this talk involves men, not women, but then “everyone loves a lesbian.” …Well, almost everyone. Everyone does love Lincoln, however.)
Yes, I’m still Tumblr-ing and Scooping. (You might mostly be interested in what goes on at the women Tumblr tag and the Herstory & Dare To Be A Feminist topics.) But I have still managed to make a bit of time for reading…
What I’ve been reading:
My friend Gracie compares the past and present of sex trafficking: 1978’s The Minnesota Connection Vs 2015’s Trafficked: The Exploitation Of Women & Girls In The Bakken & Beyond. (Oh, sure, North Dakota, sex trafficking gets coverage, including a 30 minute news documentary; but the environmental damage being done in the Bakken and the related train bombs notsomuch. The legislation is even worse.)
Speaking of politics… Oh, if only!
At ErosBlog, Bacchus discusses (NWS) this article at The New York Times. (See also my earlier article: Grandma Was A Swinger: Estate Sales & The Ephemera Of Women’s Lives.)
That’s it for now; time to
make the donuts get back to work listing the collectibles.
Elizabeth Magie, a crusader against big business, devised the classic capitalist game decades before the man credited with its creation.
A a lover of board games, history, and women, this is fascinating (and disturbing).
I’ve been collecting vintage cookbooks (and other ephemera) for decades. But it’s not because I actually cook. Other than baking, I nearly hate cooking. Thankfully, my dear hubby is the cook in the house. (Aside from baking and cleaning, I tend to stay out of the kitchen.)
So what is my interest in cookbooks then?
There are many other things to be found in cookbooks, especially the vintage ones. I am particularly fond of the thrift tips and, because I am an antiques dealer as well as a collector who likes to live with old things, I find the cleaning tips quite helpful. And who doesn’t love the old graphics? But primarily my interest in the old cookbooks lies in all the cultural clues.
You can tell a lot about a culture from its cookbooks. For example, according to this 1961 Betty Crocker cookbook (Betty Crocker’s Outdoor Cook Book), there was a Mid-Century swing to putting fireplaces in homes for cooking.
A striking change is taking place in American cooking and entertaining. The backyard barbecue is fast becoming the nation’s number one hobby as, each year, more families discover that fun and good fellowship seem to double around an open fire; that nothing is more appetizing that the aroma of food grilling over glowing coals; and that the easy informality of service under the wide sky makes even the most elaborate patio party seem carefree.
The taste of charcoal broiled meats is so delicious that many of no longer let the end of summer mean good-bye to the “Cook-out.” When the snow flies, it becomes the “Cook-in” at the fireplace or at the broiling hearth now so often seen as a feature of new kitchens or family rooms.
The popularity of backyard barbecues makes sense. They are embedded images of the Atomic American lifestyle, part of the postwar attitude that creative hobbies enhanced life and “made it worth living”. But I have no recollection of this “Cook-in” phenomenon. Was cooking with real fire inside homes — not gas stoves with flames on burners, but cooking in fireplaces and on broiling hearths — a thing? (And what the heck is a “broiling hearth”??!)
Sure, I was only born in 1964 & so have little memories of the early 1960s. However, if so many homes had such things as fireplaces and hearths for cooking, they still would have existed in the 1970s. As a kid, I went in and out of a lot of homes… Extended family, friends, the neighbors… And none of them had these cooking hot spots.
Sure, there was the whole retro mod fireplace thing (which mainly was a home decor “You had the money for that?!” statement piece), but the closest to cooking that fireplace got was when the fondue pot and accoutrement was placed on the coffee table near it. (Majestic, Malm, & Preway were the names in Mic-Century Modern fireplaces.)
Should General Mills be telling the truth, and not having Betty blow some marketing sunshine up my apron, there are other reasons that I likely know nothing of this “cooking with fire in the home phase” of American life. Primarily this boils down to the socioeconomic status of my life.
We were Middle Class folks, yet not the Upper Middle Class sort who were building their own homes. Plus, in my family, my mother worked — as in she had a career. Cooking was no longer her main focus — if it ever had been. (I married a man like Dear Old Dad, one who cooks!) As a result of all of this, the trendy “cook with fire inside” thing likely was a trend my parents were neither interested in nor one they likely could afford. (We were, however, early adopters of the microwave oven.)
Thanks to a number of things, I really have done no better in socioeconomic terms than my parents. To keep it simple, I am a 99%-er. While I am in the midst of slowly restoring a century old house, I have no plans for internal cooking with fire options. (I am no cook, remember?)
Anyway, while we slowly restore that house, we live in a very small house — and too much stuff. So, we are downsizing, including our personal collections. (In part why I have been so quiet at this blog; it is time consuming work!) This means that I am currently listing a lot of my antique and vintage cookbooks in our Etsy shop. And other items from my other collections, such as vintage and pulp paperbacks, will be there soon too. Along the way, I will do my best to share interesting tidbits from these items here and at my other blogs (see links under “Deanna Elsewhere”).
Home may be where your heart is, but a neighborhood is where you live. And it may be even more than that. It turns you, where you reside, the resulting lifestyle of your community, is further impacting the partisan divide in this country.
The United States Census Bureau stats indicate that US cities have been growing faster than the suburbs for the past few years. Something Leigh Gallagher writes about at great length in her book, The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving. In that book, Shyam Kannan, a former real estate consult who is now managing director of planning at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said, “We are moving from location, location, location in terms of the most important factor to access, access, access.” And that access clearly involves the ideals expressed in New Urbanism, a the planning movement which advocates creating communities based on traditional neighborhood design (TND) and transit-oriented development (TOD).
New Urbanism communities feature homes within easy walking-distance of public spaces surrounded by shops and offices which meet both community consumer and employment needs accessed by various transportation routes, including not only streets for cars, but public transit, pedestrian walkways, and bicycle paths. It’s today’s “green” living. Or simple vintage living, if you prefer.
I grew up in a place like this: Greendale, Wisconsin. And it was swell. Nearly idyllic, actually. As a result, I’ve long complained about McMansions, urban sprawl, and — perhaps most egregious — the placement of huge garages in the front of houses, relegating folks to their backyards, away from front porches and lawns — and away from their neighbors. Neighbors are, like the Sesame Street song said, the people in your neighborhood.
Knowing those people made communities safer. And, as a kid who could run up and down the block with the neighborhood kids, including playing games like kick the can at dusk (and even later!), it was a blast.
I could dissolve into nostalgia here…
But suffice it to say, I am a huge fan of such communities and New Urbanism.
Whether or not they all know it, many other Americans are in love, or falling in love, with New Urbanism too because they are not only moving away from the suburbs and into the cities, but into similar communities. In fact, as job sprawl and suburban crawl are slowing, companies are moving back to the cities too. It is one part downsizing response, but also following the best workers and going where they are. And what the companies are leaving behind are these huge corporate “white elephant” commercial spaces — which are slowly being turned into new-urbanist community spaces.
But, while workers are moving into the cities and such community spaces, the wealthy CEOs and company owners are not. They remain — and want to remain — in their far-removed suburban hide-outs, sequestered from the masses, hiding behind the giant multiple-car garages that at once announce their multiple-car wealth as well as shield their homes and selves from their neighbors.
This split is more than economical. Pew Research shows that this split is along partisan political lines as well.
As Lisa Wade, PhD, states, this goes along way to explain the huge “Red & Blue” partisan divide in our culture:
I’m still surprised by the strength of these correlations. If the preferences hold true in real life, it means that there is significant partisan residential segregation. That would translate into fewer friendships between people on different sides of the political spectrum, fewer conversations that help them see the others’ point of view, and more cross-group animosity.
In fact, that’s exactly what we see: a strongly partisan population that doesn’t talk to each other very much.
Have you seen Subway’s latest ad ~ the one with the woman who reminds us to “Eat Fresh!” and stay healthy & slim so we can fit into our sexy Halloween costumes?
But come on now, let’s face reality. Aren’t all the Halloween costumes for women sexy now? The fact that Subway knows they are shouldn’t really be a surprise. Because just who hasn’t noticed this? There’s a name for it: Slutoween. And, right or wrong, there’s a history behind it. (And, in fact, Hallowe’en began as a holiday for rowdy, bawdy adults, not children.) Whether or not you want to don such sexy apparel is up to you; but stop denying that they are popular. Guess what, $1.4 billion will be spent on adult Halloween costumes. The free-market has dictated that sexy does sell when it comes to Halloween costumes.
With so much money being spent on the costumes, is it any wonder Subway would latch onto our vain desire to look better in those costumes? If our cultural definition of “better looking” is thin (or at least “thinner”), it makes dollars and cents to pull that marketing string. And if you want to cry out in body image outrage (apparently not seeing the shirtless man in the Viking costume at the table, as well as the humor of the commercial itself), go ahead. I’ll cynically counter with the point that Subway also wants us to be alive next year ~ if only to be customers. Having a business that’s all about eating healthier really is a great business model; it really does cost more to acquire new customers than to retain existing customers, you know.
Where were the complaints about men having to slim down so they didn’t have to wear those huge pants?
The collective “we” saw that as a healthy move. There was no out-cry then.
But a woman wants to be sexy? A woman who dares to admit she wants to be sexy?
Oh hell no! We simply can’t have any of that!
Meanwhile, Natalie Mitchell, the actress in the ad who models all the sexy costumes (complete with “Foxy Fullback”), is keeping mum until this latest, mainly feminist, frenzy passes. Keep an eye on her Tumblr page for comment.
Most of us know of, if have not seen, the naked and hairy Burt Reynolds centerfold in Cosmo. (It was the 70’s equivalent of a sex tape in terms of exploding a celebs popularity.) But have you seen this puzzle featuring a pants-less Reynolds? Published about the same time as the issue of Cosmopolitan, circa 1972, one can enjoy Reynolds nearly unwrapped — just wearing a football jersey. No manscaping, that’s for sure.
Holy crap! Yesterday, I published an article about journalist Edward R. Murrow; and just now I published one about fashion designer Sophie Gimbel. In looking for images for that last article, I found this: a photo of Edward R. Murrow with Sophie Gimbel! I love, love, love this sort of circular serendipity of context! (That’s Sophie’s husband, Adam Gimbel, on the stairs; photo circa 1955.)
Doing some research for doll articles, I ran into this bit from the December 18, 1950 issue of Broadcasting Telecasting about a one hour, Chevrolet sponsored, CBS radio & TV program in which radio reporters from “all over the world” would discuss and present the issues.
The program was The Challenge Of The 50s — Years Of Crises, headed by Edward R. Murrow. The other 10 reporters were Howard K. Smith, Bill Costello, David Schoenrun, Richard C. Hottelet, Winston Burdette, Ned Calmer, Eric Sevareid, Charles Collingwood, and Larry Lesueur. (With names like that, one questions the accuracy of “reporters from all over the world.” Rather than imply international reporters, it should have been stated that the show was with “reporters stationed all over the world.”) These reporters would become known as Murrow’s Boys and the show would go on to be an annual program, best know as Years of Crisis.
For those of you who prefer to think of the 1950s as an idyllic time, one to romance over, there were issues and crises. In fact, one of them was regarding journalism itself, as the film Good Night, and Good Luck covered. This topic is illustrated clearly, if meekly, in the very same issue of Broadcasting Telecasting with mentions of Drew Pearson‘s being attacked by McCarthy and discussions of media censorship. You can click to read larger versions of the articles as needed.
The Men’s Right Movement (MRM) may have begun in support of women and feminism, but it’s gone to hell.
There’s always been an element of “I want to be a playboy” in the world of modern Western men. From the somewhat harmless fantasies of bachelors who want to play with sex kittens in what they imagined “the good old days to be like”, to the sincere and earnest pleas of men who feel they are less desired than so-called traditional masculine males, they (and a number of women) have created decades of openly making money off the “how to get girls” marketplace. You can make an argument that this sort of thing gives women the upper hand. That even men in “the game” (often referred to as Game with a capital ‘G’) are at the mercy of women. Certainly, many Third Wave Feminists would agree. And, frankly, many of us struggle with where to draw the line between what is harmless and funny and what is perpetuating negative stereotypes and outright misogyny.
But now, too much of the behavior from the MRM removes any notion of this being a fun “game.” It has crossed that line and angrily morphed into a hardcore hatred of women. Even if it seems hidden behind benign men’s help sites.
Typified by phrases about “reclaiming their balls”, as if the fact that women are equals somehow feminizes men, and given the supposedly harmless name of “The Manosphere”, it has grown on the Internet, connecting like-minded males and converting others. Dagonet of The Quest For 50 explains:
The history of the Manosphere is nebulous.
…Like an echo, a shadow, a vague thought that has reverberated louder and louder with time. You can trace its DNA through the works of ancient poets and philosophers– great men throughout history who identified truths of human nature– through to the modern era. For millennia, these truths were regarded as common sense, and they were integrated functionally into the way society was organized, and the social standards of each population. But with the cultural revolution beginning in the 1960s and reaching a tipping point in the 1990s, a need arose for men to more explicitly teach each other these lost truths. The Manosphere might have begun with Tony’s Lay Guide, The Mystery Method, or other forums hidden in the dark crevices of the nascent internet of the 1990s (such as alt.seduction). It might have begun with The Futurist’s essay “The Misandry Bubble.” It might have begun with Roosh (f/k/a DC Bachelor), Matt Forney (f/k/a Ferdinand Bardamu), and Heartiste (f/k/a Roissy) coalescing around a shared worldview at the crossroads of sex, politics, and a restless sense of lost masculinity, awaiting a revolution.
As more voices began to join the swelling chorus of disenfranchised, horny, clueless men looking to reclaim their balls and dignity, the “Manosphere” as we currently know it was born.
Lest you believe this sounds harmless enough, Dagonet goes on to complain about how so many in the Manosphere have been “‘outed’ and had to delete their blogs in hopes of preserving their privacy and maybe keeping their job/relationship/reputation.” How innocent could these poor victims have been?
And Dagonet’s the guy who claims to be part of Red Pill Thinking yet he feels that the #YesAllWomen response to an all too typical tragedy is not part of reality but rather is an “absolute shitstorm of idiocy, misinformation, and narcissism.”
His collaboration with The Real Christian McQueen should relegate that site to “questionable” at best.
Then you’ve got guys like Jeff Allen, an “Executive Coach” with Real Social Dynamics Nation, a site the exists to sell a boatload of “how to be attractive to women” books, products, and seminars. Again, this might seem innocuous, maybe even helpful; but take a look at Allen’s Twitter account and you’ll be enlightened. These are some of his stellar tweets:
All this, & we didn’t even get into the series of nauseating legislation proposals or anything.
Manosphere diminishing? You’ll get no tears from me.
(Some screen caps in case the tweets disappear.)
Today, June 21st, is my birthday; I turn 50. I feel pretty much the same way I did when I wrote this two years ago, “A lifetime of so little progress is just too much.”; only more so. *sigh*
I was born on June 21, 1964; I joined this world, as Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney left it. My mother’s screams may have been dulled by the twilight sleep of that time’s hospital deliveries, but I passed through the same veil, entered the ether echoing with the agony, pain, and fear of those men, their families and friends, and all who possess any shred of humanity… And I have lived in a country filled with those sounds and the stink of racism ever since.
On Thursday, Rachel Maddow drove this one of the points home — like a dagger in my heart.
In honor of the three American Heroes who gave their lives that Freedom Summer, which most decidedly lead to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — which was struck down by the Supreme Court last summer, spawning lots of laws to suppress voting, the show went to James Chaney’s grave to show if times have really changed beneath the PC surface. It was disturbing, to say the least. Watch it. Do it as a birthday gift to me.
Recently, my sister mentioned, “What’s wrong with voter ID?” and, out of respect for not ruining some rare extended family time, I just sighed and said, “This conversation won’t end without an argument, so let’s not discuss this…” Maybe she will read this.
I went searching for it, but apparently the mug was pulled. Here’s the Google cache. While Rachel didn’t seem upset, likely MSNBC was and had it pulled.
Normally, we see the pin-up version of women working in WWII. Like this image of dancers at London’s Windmill Theatre practicing their routine while wearing gas masks and hard-hats with their costumes. (January, 1940.) Or we find articles focusing more on the figures of women, in service or not.
But hard hats were more than de rigueur for cute images of women on the homefront during those war years. In fact, there were many promotional campaigns advising women on how to dress for their new world of physical labor and factory work. This one didn’t emphasize hard hats; but clearly the focus is safely, not being fashionable.
Here’s another bit of history:
Mrs. Arlene Corbin (right), time checker in a Richmond, California shipyard brings two-and-a-half-year-old Arlene to a nursery school every morning before going home to sleep. Mrs. Corbin works on the midnight to 7:30 a.m. shift and relies upon the school to keep her daughter busy and happy during the day.
If you collect actual historical objects of women from WWII, check out this vintage wartime fiberglass safety hat.
The hardhat belonged to a female employee who worked for Kaiser Steel in Fontana, CA during 1942-45. It may be more difficult to appear beautiful in a hardhat (even Rosie the Riveter’s bandana is pretty rockin’), but hard hats were the realities in hard times like war. And hats like this are a part of women’s history that shouldn’t be shunned for the pretty pinup version.
Between 1939 and 1946, Fatima Massaquoi penned one of the earliest known autobiographies by an African woman. But few outside of Liberian circles were aware of it until this week, when Palgrave McMillian published The Autobiography of an African Princess, edited by two historians and the author’s daughter. The book…
An amazing story!
Just added the book to my wishlist; here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0230609589/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0230609589&linkCode=as2&tag=glamkitllc-20
See on www.theroot.com
I’ve written before about the importance of context; and ranted too about “stolen” images used, uncredited etc., at Tumblr and other sites. I’ve tweeted and posted at Facebook about my hatred of such things. Others have taken a far more direct and pointed-tongued approach (NWS) regarding the issue. But Sarah Werner‘s It’s History, Not A Viral Feed is the most direct and well-articulated article — complete with excellent resources.
Men being punished for "Posting Pictures Without Proper Attribution," date and source unknown. pic.twitter.com/A2vOILcvFL
— A. History (@AhistoricalPics) January 24, 2014
— A. History (@AhistoricalPics) January 24, 2014
The Devadasi, a centuries-old caste of sacred temple priestesses, struggles to have it’s own renaissance. One woman leads the way…
The origins of the practice are often disputed, but historians agree that in India by the 10th century this caste of sacred temple servants enjoyed great wealth & property as signs of respect & clout.
Considered married to the Hindu deities, the Devadasi were talented dancers, singers & even viewed as political advisors. At the core of Devadasi faith is the belief all men are incarnations of the male deities & so in addition to performing sacred temple ceremonies, Devadasis offered sexual services. In the act of making love, a man & a Devadasi enact the sacred marriage of god & goddess which therefore allows them to become divine themselves.
See on www.sex-kitten.net
Femme fatale Geli Raubal was found with a bullet in her chest and Hitler’s gun by her side. Who fired Hitler’s gun that night?
The unresolved and hastily covered-up death in 1931 of Geli Raubal, Hitler’s half-niece and romantic obsession, has long been relegated to the murky footnotes of the Führer’s early career in the demimonde of Munich.
Image of Angela Maria “Geli” Raubal via Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=22116
See on www.vanityfair.com
At my vintage living blog, Things Your Grandmother Knew, I’ve written about the tendency to romanticize the past, but I recently read two blog posts discussing vintage fashion in terms of “the vintage girl being the new feminist” and thought it was time to discuss the subject from a more feminist angle…
At Style High Club, Lena Weber writes:
I don’t quite know how it happened or when but far too many women around me seem to want to look like a porn actress these days. Or why else would they wax off their pubes, slather themselves in Fakebake and state Page Three Girl in their career goals? There is something about the passivity of this particular idea of femininity – there to be stared at, cum onto – that I find deeply infuriating. It’s just sad that we’re all meant to look like little plastic sex dolls – fake eyelashes, fake hair, fake tan, fake boobs.
To my relief (no really, it is!) there is a great big social group of women out there who don’t buy into this image – the vintage girls. Although the vintage scene is splintered into smaller subfractions of particular decades, musical styles, dances and activities, the one thing all these vintage-loving women have in common is their embrace of an altogether different femininity, one that’s individual, one that harks back to a time when glamour was exotic and empowering.
At Retro Chick, Gemma Seager responds with something I was eager to point out:
It’s easy to say that this isn’t new, 1950s Pin Ups weren’t exactly sold on their educational qualifications, and the idea of a woman whose goal was to marry a rich man and live happily ever after is hardly a new concept either. That’s why we had the “bra burning” feminists of the 60s and 70s. They stood up for the rights of women to be whatever they wanted to be.
But then Seager heads right down Weber’s path:
In the last 2 decades the internet has seen a progressive pornification of culture till it seems that women now feel that they can’t assert their own sexual independence, that they have no choice but to buy into this porn star, brainless ideal of female beauty and passive sexuality. They are modern day Stepford Wives, emotionally passive and sexually compliant. Brainwashed by television, magazines and the internet into thinking they can’t make emotional demands and that sexual liberation means always wanting to have sex.
Maybe it’s because I am (I’m pretty sure) at least a decade older than these women, or maybe it’s because I am a history nut who gets obsessed with research, but I’m thinking that these two women (and the majority of those who have commented at their sites) are missing something quite important from all of this. And that something is context.
If we look at “today” and compare it to the past, yes, women’s fashions seem to be much more skimpy. [Until, at least, you notice how a New Look wiggle dress is as fitted as any spandex dress — and realize that beneath that vintage wiggle dress or pencil skirt there’s a whole lot of foundation garments making sure the female figure is as hourglass, smooth, and popping (eye-popping and fabric-testing), and as it can be. More on that later.]
Every generation has declared the next one will be the ruin of fashion, morals, and even civilization. In fact, every decade and fashion trend has resulted in criticism — often for the wearer too. Hemlines went up and dared to show ankles — so women could dare to ride bikes! That may seem antiquated to us now, so let’s look at the styles and decades that most vintage fashionistas wear, such as New Look and Mod.
When New Look fashions hit the market, they were not applauded. In Popularizing Haute Couture: Acceptance and Resistance to the New Look in the Post-1945 United States (Americanist: Warsaw Journal for the Study of the United States; October 2007, Vol. 24, p143), Sylwia Kuzma writes:
The New Look promoted a vision of femininity, epitomized in a full-bosom-and-curvaceously-hipped hourglass figure, dressed in lace, fur, and diamonds. Despite the patronage of large New York and San Francisco department stores, it’s reception by the American public was far from unanimous fascination and acceptance.
Some found the look too decadent to be seemly. Some were incensed that Dior’s New Look would require them to be padded. Others found the below-the-knee hemlines frumpy. (Images from a 1948 magazine via.)
The point is, with every hemline, waistline, and neckline movement tongues go a-waggin’.
Today, Bettie Page is held up as a prime example of a cheeky risque pinup to be emulated and adored. She is such an icon for vintage fashion lovers, that many stores, designers, brands, websites, and events use the name Bettie to garner attention. But she’s The Notorious Bettie Page for a reason — her pinup photos were the subject of censorship and she herself was a target of a US Senate pornography investigation. The adoration of Bettie Page as “cute” and “classy” raises the ire of many, including sex workers — many of whom already feel shunned by feminism. To many, this co-opting of Page for “good girls” is a theft they won’t stand for.
Which brings us to the matter of vintage glamour being “exotic and empowering”…
Those are the very words many use to describe their sex work and to defend a sex positive or even “pornified” culture. In many ways, today’s sex workers and pornified pop culture icons control their bodies far more than the women of decades ago. The 1950’s woman put on an exaggerated-hourglass Dior dress to lure in Mr. Right for marriage. Once she “caught” her man, she put on a golden wiggle dress to serve cocktails to her husband’s boss; a pretty little prop in her husband’s life. When The Little Woman needed to be medicated in order to endure her life, her doctor talked to her husband-daddy, so he could make the decisions for her — as if she were a child. Does that seem glamorous, exotic, or empowering?
Wearing vintage fashions may be moving the hemlines, waistlines, and necklines back in time, but does that move women forward towards equality?
Yes, fashion sends messages about who we are — at least at that moment. But, ultimately, what defines a person is their actions. And if we start labeling and denigrating people for what they are wearing, then we are on a very slippery slope . This is especially true for women because of that whole “what she’s wearing is asking for rape” thing. Not to mention that whole “what does a feminist look like” argument that no body wins.
Our bodies belong to ourselves. We’ll dress them ourselves, to please ourselves, and we’ll be the kind of person we wish to be.
The women’s health movement of the 1960s and 1970s transformed the doctor-patient relationship and yielded the novel concept that women can take control of their own health, says Laurie Edwards in this excerpt from “In the Kingdom of the Sick.”…
For women, this change started with the radical notion that they had a right to know about their own bodies, had a right to control their own health care and belonged in medical schools where they could fully participate in the very health care decisions that have such significance in their lives. The grassroots women’s health activism that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s was fostered by an equally diverse group of advocates, among them middle-class white women, middle- and working-class African Americans, lesbians and heterosexuals.
Remember that scene in Mad Men, where Betty’s doctor calls Don & talks to him about Betty as if she were the child? This is how we got away from that.
“Feminism challenged social practices in the doctor’s office and recast relationships between compliant patient and infallible physician as part of the larger process to keep women down.”
But we must also look at this history and see how we are moving backwards in America; this is also a dire warning about where we are headed.
“The landmark court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in 1973 by finding that preventing a woman’s right to end her pregnancy violated her due process, was a pivotal piece of legislation in terms of reproductive rights, women’s health and women’s ability to make decisions regarding their bodies. ”
See on womensenews.org
Image: Nicole Marie Edine on Flickr.
Because I’m not a sexist, I thought I’d do a companion piece of sorts to this post and cover a bit of history regarding male hair — just a little link round-up of male facial hair history.
Did you know that there was once a beard tax for men? Yup, at least in 1705 there was. Per Russia’s Peter The Great, men either had to shave or pay a tax. They even got a little token to prove they had a legal, and taxed, beard.
There’s a whole book out now on the history of gay beards — the facial kind, not the companion kind (NWS).
In fact, some are rethinking this month of Movember that is intended to raise awareness for men’s health issues, saying it can quickly turn into an unfair fetishized game of “hot or not”.
On this date, November 6th, in 1967 a baby girl was born; just 21 years later, on July 18, 1989, she would be murdered.
The woman was Rebecca Schaeffer, an actress most famous for her role as Pam Dawber’s sister Patti Russell in the CBS sitcom My Sister Sam. For some of you youngsters, this might be before your time. (Perhaps all you know of Schaeffer is that she was the inspiration for the 2002 Jake Gyllenhaal film Moonlight Mile; the film is said to be loosely inspired by writer/director Brad Silberling, who was dating Rebecca Schaeffer at the time of her death.) But I remember distinctly being a young 24 year old woman and being shaken by the news of her death. Her age being so close — even younger than my own — pierced my youthful resistance to mortality; but what was worse was the way Schaeffer died.
Schaeffer was murdered by a stalker, a man who considered himself a fan — until God instructed him otherwise. This man-fan named Robert Bardo had adored Schaeffer’s youthful innocence, but disliked her new work as an actress when a small roll in Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills put her in bed with a male character. “If she was a whore, God was going to appoint me to punish her,” Bardo said. His mission now was to “stop Schaeffer from forsaking her innocent childlike image for that of an adult fornicating screen whore.” Or at least that’s the story he would later tell after he stalked Schaeffer at her home, was rebuffed, and retaliated by shooting her to death.
Whatever motivated Schaeffer’s murderer, the fact is that her murder finally motivated the public to care about stalking. As is unfortunately the case in our celebrity-obsessed culture, it took the death of a celebrity like Schaeffer to generate awareness and concern. Such concern over Schaeffer’s death would even lead to protective legislation.
The majority of stalking, of course, occurs in the regular (non-celeb) world — and in the context of domestic violence or other situations involving everyday people the victims know. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) most recent fact sheet (August, 2012), the majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know, with 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner. When it comes to femicide:
* 76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
* 67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner
* 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder
* 79% of abused femicide victims reported being stalked during the same period that they were abused.
* 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers
Now all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the Federal government recognize stalking as a crime; however well, or not well, police and other officials may respond, strides have been made.
Yet there is another huge unresolved issue that is brought to light with the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer: Rebecca was murdered with an illegally purchased handgun, but gun control has only gotten worse here in the USA — and by that I mean less gun control.
Since Rebecca Schaeffer’s death in 1989, her mother, Danna Schaeffer, has remained consistent in her concern, saying, “I’m angry at the system that allows things like this to happen, that allows a deranged person to get his hands on a deadly weapon.” Since then, Danna Schaeffer has lobbied and fought for sane gun control. In 1991, she went door-to-door at the Capitol lobbying for a ban on assault weapons and an end to the old gun show loophole on criminal background checks. She co-founded Oregonians Against Gun Violence (OAGV). And she continues to speak out today. But despite her actions and the actions of many, politicians still refuse to take necessary action to protect innocent Americans. What more we need? Why wasn’t Sandy Hook enough? Why has public demand for gun control waned? Do we need a celebrity massacre to make us give a damn?
Today, on the anniversary of Rebecca Schaeffer’s birth, let’s not only remember her, but do something. Contact your legislators and let them know that you demand stricter gun control laws. Now Is The Time.
This is the cover of The Way To His Heart “A Cookbook with a Personality”, 1941; note the figures on the cover.
The five female figures on the cover of this vintage cookbook depict the five cooks featured in the book itself. These five women are said to be three generations of one family. From the bottom left working our way to the top right are “Grandmother” Grace Toulouse Hunt, “Mother” Priscilla Wayne Sprague, “Newly Married Daughter” Dorothy Hunt Hales, “Collegiate Daughter” Jeanne Wayne Sprague, and “Teenage Daughter” Nancy Grace Sprague.
While I can admit to certain body changes in terms of aging, I find the rounding of age in proportion to hem length somewhat amusing… Not only is Grandma rather stout, but combined with her nearly floor-length dress she closely resembles a Russian nesting doll. And notice how only newly married Dorothy has curves in all the right places — illustrating her appropriate fertility status. (Heck, her proportions make me want to ask the new wife when she’s going to have a baby!) Perhaps even more amazing, this illustrated figure study of body image stereotypes is the artwork of one of these women; at least Dorothy “Dot” Hunt Hales is the artist credited. (More on that later.)
The story or “personality” behind this cookbook is that newlywed Dot writes home to her mother asking for some recipes. The occasion is the wonderful celebration of their 6 month wedding anniversary and the young bride has learned how important cooking and food is to her marriage:
I have discovered one important thing in the past six months — glamour and romance can be preserved in marriage if one’s husband is well-fed and comfortable.
Mother is, of course, no doubt delighted her daughter has seen the light and become a believer in the old adage that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Not only is mom thrilled to help her wise and dutiful newly married daughter Dot, but mom enlists the help of Dot’s grandmother and sisters. These are their “letters” from the front of the vintage book:
And then, the most amazing thing happens! “One of the top men of Jack Sprat Foods, Inc., heard about it” and they decided to publish the cookbook! Enter Western Grocer Company, owner of the food brand, as publisher; enter the advertisements for Jack Sprat brand foods.
While the “homey, friendly” premise seems rather contrived to the jaded consumers of today (and the corporate ads themselves also draw into question Dot’s artwork), the book’s editor, Priscilla Wayne Sprague appears to be an actual author. But the proposed family relationships get a bit confusing…. My research continues and shall be reported soon. (Watch this space.)
I also have to share some information from the vintage cookbook’s section by college daughter Jeanne. Jeanne’s appearance certainly tones down any sex appeal, and we are likely to suppose any fears about daughters in college along with it. And even if such imagery might lend itself to jokes about college girl experimentation and stereotypical lesbian dress, the experimentation in the kitchen appears to have been limited — at least for sorority girls.
A College Girl (this one at least) doesn’t really cook at all — sororities provide cooks and sincerely hope they can keep the girls out of the kitchen. There are certain things, however, that the cook just isn’t in on, such as late Sunday sandwiches with you and your date — or rush teas and other occasions of state.
When the cook is out and the girls have free rein in the kitchen, here are some of the foods they can cook. All of these recipes are of the type that can be prepared quickly, cheaply and (for the benefit of the dates) charmingly.
Oh, how can poor Jeanne ever get her M.R.S. degree if she doesn’t cook?!
This vintage book from 1941 has some of the racism you might expect from the 1930s and 40s. At the bottom of the page, Jeanne starts a story which continues on the next page:
One of the girls at the sorority house is Irish — shanty Irish — we call her, because she has simple tastes — fried potatoes, baked beans and such. But one time I tasted the baked concoction she used to make and believe me there was nothing “shanty” about it — it was pure Park Avenue — here it is:
It is recipes like this one, based on canned goods, which certainly marks a change (if not decline) in cooking itself. This turning point in American history turns out to be a good thing for Jack Sprat Foods, Inc. and the Western Grocer Company. The grocery store addresses this issue in one of the advertisements for the Jack Sprat brand:
“Now, when I was a girl,” said Mom
“They used to joke about ‘cooks who were lost without can-openers.’ But it’s just a pleasant smile these days.”
“Why, Mom?” questioned Nancy, giving just the opening Mom wanted.
“Because now we get the very finest foods in cans — just take these Jack Sprat Peaches, for example.” Mom emphasized her point by holding a can at arm’s length.
“These are peaches at their very best — completely ripened on the tree, and canned quickly, to capture the fresh flavor and the precious vitamins all fresh fruits contain. No more sweating over a hot stove for me, when Jack Sprat will do the job for me so well!”
Of course Nancy agrees with Mom. What modern girl wouldn’t rather play tennis or swim on a summer afternoon, instead of helping can fruit in a sizzling kitchen?
Mom’s verdict applies not only to Jack Sprat Peaches, but to pears, apricots, pineapple, and an arm-long list of fine berries. You’ll find it pays to let Jack Sprat do your canning too.
If the convenience of modern canned foods was the advent of more free time for girls and women, perhaps it can be linked not only to the decline in cooking skills but to the decline in the “way to a man’s heart” adage. Men such as Barry Popik say this approach works for dogs and not men; however ironic the dog reference may seem to me, Popik seems to be saying this food-as-lure lore doesn’t work. Also, men at AskMen no longer find cooking on their top list of skills necessary in a female partner. Enlightenment reaches us, maybe? Would that such enlightenment about female body images would change as well.
The “new woman” rode bicycles — and she smoked and likely even chewed tobaccie. So it makes sense that folks would advertise tobacco directly to her. In this antique tobacco ad, the angel of morality and the home is to be sold on the idea of getting said tobacco for her man — but it’s difficult not to find the “Battle Ax” name sending yet another message about how she should stop bitching about the gentleman’s use of tobacco products. Ad via my husband’s website, Dakota Death Trip.
“The New Woman”
Battle Ax Plug
A Great Big Piece For 10 Cents
The “new woman” favors economy and she always buys “Battle Ax” for her sweetheart. She knows that a 5-cent piece of “Battle Ax” is nearly twice as large as a 10-cent piece of other high grade brands. Try it yourself and you will see why “Battle Ax” is such a popular favorite all over the United States.