Update about blogCa

Early autumn leaves on a Cherry Tree by Lake Tomahawk

Saturday, July 24, 2021

The ideal woman

 


A Gibson Girl...one who personified the ideal woman as drawn by Charles Dana Gibson from the 1890s to the early 1920s.  The hourglass figures were achieved by use of constricting corsets which most women would wear when in public. When World War I came around, women wanted to wear practical clothes and not these constraining kinds, so the corsets disappeared, except for fancy ball gowns which remain an exception to this day.

By the 20's the fashions let women not only feel more natural in their attire, they sometimes went so far opposite the "Hourglass figures" as to flatten themselves in the flapper styles.

In the film industry, Marlene Dietrich became very popular in the 20s and 30s....and she was able to illustrate how feminine a woman could look in men's top hat and tails. She portrayed a cabaret singer thus as well as other leading ladies in many films...and was often considered a "vamp." She then was active in the 40s in inspiring the troops of the US and other countries against her native Germany. She had become an American citizen in 1939. She lived a long life, and made many films...dying at age 90.

Shown below is an ad using her pose for a British cigarette pack which had more photos enclosed. It's a good example of the slinky dress styles of 30's film stars.


This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday this week. Lots of interesting old photos may be found there!

And another topic having to do with women, but not so much their dress styles as their place in society and religions...here's Carol Christ talking about Why Women need the Goddess (9 min.)




16 comments:

  1. Hello,
    I can not imagine having to wear the corsets. I am glad that woman's clothing styles have changed over the years.
    I like comfy clothes, usually loose fitting too. Take care, enjoy your weekend!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, my grandmother's wedding dress was in this style. Me too, but I was thin as a young woman, so didn't have corsets even for prom dresses. Have a great weekend yourself!

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  2. Replies
    1. All fashion industry does follow them, doesn't it.

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  3. Oh my! That waist or lack in that first photo.

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  4. Women have suffered forever for perceived beauty. High heels is a ubiquitous example.

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    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness, yes. Heels are still being worn by women with powerful positions, not just movie stars.

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  5. Oof! That first drawing. Some women actually do have small waists, but I hope Charles D. Gibson who sketched his "Gibson Girl" was exaggerating - at least to some extent! I cannot conceive of her sitting in that chair with her waist so tightened. :)

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  6. Poor ladies, I imagine they really did cinch themselves in to look like the ideal of hourglasses.

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  7. I'm sure one of the most difficult challenges for an actress in historical films is coping with the constricting female garments of past times. Whether it was corsets or hoops or bustles, the engineering that went into crafting the ideal feminine beauty seems ridiculous by modern standards. However I have noticed that quite a few men pictured in old photos from 19th century are wearing corsets too. They wanted to achieve that masculine ideal of slender legs, proud chest, and shield-like abdomen. Sadly our current standards for good fashion taste have really declined.

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  8. The ridiculously small waist on the Gibson Girl portrait reminds me of the anatomically incorrect Barbie dolls that girls in my generation were raised with -- both unnatural and unhealthy,. Thank goodness young women today are raising consciousness about the body shaming endured by women who did not meet such standards -- and that so many women entered the workforce, which, as you point out, made constrictive clothing impractical.

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  9. There are still women having lower ribs removed to slim their waists, to say nothing of all the plastic surgery that goes on. We haven't made a lot of progress.

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I'm glad to hear your thoughts...as long as spammers stay away~~