Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | April 06, 2010 11:30 AM | comments
Filed in: Gay Icons and History, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: androgyny, gender politics, lesbian history, trans history, women's history
Something tells me there is more to this late 19th century postcard than meets the eye, though what meets the eye is certainly enchanting.
We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.
The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.
I ♥ that photo.
I love the photo, and I suspect that it's a still from a turn of the century French musicale along the lines of The Student Prince, but with the "male" lead written as a trouser role. The one on the left *appears* to be in bridal attire, but that's just a guess. It's so difficult to know for sure without seeing the back of the card (which is not a request, BTW; sometimes not knowing just adds to the fun of it all).
I have trouble getting past their waists, and thinking.... ow!
I was having the same thought - their waists look like they're smaller than my thighs (22" if you're wondering) and unlike many current supermodels - both male and female - they don't look like they've been starving themselves for their last three incarnations. I do have to wonder what's happening to their internal organs.
Wow, guys. Seriously, go read up on a bit of fashion history and look at what were called the Gibson Girls. This was the image that inspired the hourglass figure that men found so hot right up until the 1920s: the flapper dress was actually a declaration of war against this fashion statement.
You're right: it caused all kinds of internal problems because everything was being squeezed so tight. As shocking as it may sound, even pregnant women were expected to look like this.
Yaaa... but Google any website regarding corsets, and you will learn that this practice, and the "foundation garments" that produce these results are still around TODAY. Example:
There are any one of a number of possible subtexts we could read in, but the military garb of the woman on the right does provide a ready reminder that the French armies of the 19th century employed vivandieres, who wore quasi-military garb and followed their regiments on campaign:
The woman on the left's garb could be interpreted as a Spanish sort of costume, but the cut of the clothing of the woman on the right is from a period later than 1870, so there isn't a subtext involving Spanish succession crisis (the problem that helped trigger the Franco-Prussian War in 1870).
All that sort of nonsense aside, I'd favor simpler explanations, like the postcard's just doing a great job of tweaking the concept of fraternite.
The subtext is obvious: Be cool, drink wine.