Tag Archives: popular culture

The Politics of Valentine’s Day

So you thought Valentine’s Day was all about candy and flowers?  During the early twentieth century, when women’s suffrage was a hotly debated topic in America, even this seemingly apolitical holiday sparked satire. In this 1907 anti suffrage postcard, the … Continue reading

Posted in 1900s | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Puck’s Greeting to the New Year, 1898

The satirical magazine Puck was not always nice to the new woman of the late nineteenth century.  In this drawing, however, she is presented as a breath of fresh air, bringing flowers and a taste of Spring. It is the … Continue reading

Posted in Pre 1900 | Tagged , | 4 Comments

“We Are Getting There Fast,” 1895

When women took up bicycles in a big way in the 1890s, it resulted in a kind of moral panic in the media about the potential effects of women wearing bloomers (or what we would today call knickerbockers.)  Women took … Continue reading

Posted in Pre 1900 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Older Women in Jeans, 1939

These days well-fitting jeans are on style lists for all women, regardless of their ages.  When did they start to be part of older women’s clothing choices? The 1939 movie The Women featured an older woman in jeans, the much … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s | Tagged , | 4 Comments

What to Wear in Utopia, 1915

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a noted writer, feminist, and sociologist at the turn of the twentieth century.  She was also an advocate of dress reform, that movement which struggled against corsets, uncomfortable clothing, and unnecessary finery.  Her views on what … Continue reading

Posted in 1900s, 1910s | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Olive Kitteridge’s Homemade Dress

I found Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Olive Kitteridge quite by accident at my local library’s used bookstore. It examines a difficult woman growing old, starting at a tough spot in her marriage on through to widowhood. Olive is … Continue reading

Posted in 2000s, 2010s | Tagged | 5 Comments

The Old Maids’ Tea Party, 1901

The term “old maid” has happily gone out of fashion. It would not have much meaning these days anyway, since most people no longer automatically assume that unmarried women are without sexual experience. But in the past, unattached women attracted … Continue reading

Posted in 1900s | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Political Satire by Helen Hokinson

Since the presidential election season is gearing up in the US (and it seems to last forever), I thought it was time for a little political humor. So I reached back into my collections of cartoons by Helen Hokinson, who … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s, 1940s | Tagged | 6 Comments

The Fashion Lag on the Small Screen

Have you discovered the new Masterpiece series Indian Summers, broadcast on PBS? Set in India in the early 1930s, the show examines the rise of the Indian independence movement set against a backdrop of British privilege. If you like Indian … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s, 2010s | Tagged | 8 Comments

Anna May Wong, Aging

At the recent blockbuster show, “China through the Looking Glass” at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, one room was devoted to the Chinese American actress, Anna May Wong (1905-1961). “In terms of shaping Western fantasies of China,” reads the … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, 1960s | Tagged , , | 3 Comments