1902: Women of the Future

Via Monique and Gerard Léquy and La Boite Verte

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Avatar of Chris
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Goggles aficionado. Retronaut’s founder and curator.

25 Responses

  1. KP

    It’s interesting to see that that women of the future will continue to wear corsets. On a more serious note, the fact that these photos were, in a way, explorations of what women could be makes you realize just how little women could do at the turn of the century.

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  2. Miss Azura

    These are great, though I suspect they were intended at the time as a mickey-take, which our 21st century gaze doesn’t register in the same way. After all, none of the roles portrayed here would bat an eyelid these days, as now women do these jobs all the time.

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  3. Ernest Adams

    We should keep in the mind that the trousers and bare arms in these pictures would have been borderline pornographic in 1902. The pictures weren’t just a joke, but a risqué one, at the time.

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  4. MaryFran

    Don’t you feel that they were poking fun at the idea of women in male roles? I felt some of the expressions and costumes might be very tongue-in-cheek.

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  5. Kitty

    MaryFran – of course they’re poking fun at women. These photos come from a time where a woman holding any of these positions would be laughable. We know better now, of course…but I think the spirit of the pictures isn’t malicious, otherwise the ladies wouldn’t have been dressed and posed so beautifully.

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  6. Thorby

    For some reason I thought of the Marx brothers. Guess they weren’t known then. Groucho, Chico, Zeppo, and ?

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  7. ChristoRay

    Actually, the idea of women holding some of the above positions in 1902 wasn’t entirely laughable at all – there were many women journalists and artists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Think of Nellie Bly, Gwen John and Camille Claudel for starters.

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  8. DyNama

    everyone of them has short hair! (or so bundled up as to look short.) i like the lady general, who wears her stars tattooed on her bare arm! apparently the fashion of the day was for a uniboob. like KP observed, all were wearing a corset as bras had not been popularized yet.

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  9. Fabiola

    These cards are intended to be pornographic material of that era. They were not publicly marketed, simply sold to men in closeted establishments like private clubs or associations. They are not made to promote women’s issues of feminism, simply to show women in a lot less clothing that was ever permitted in that era, and handling items that would not be common. Well- to- do women back then got married, has babies, hosted parties and got involved in charity work. So all the jobs listed on the cards are simply to be a cute turn-on for men.

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    • Avatar of PhotoboothJournal
      PhotoboothJournal

      Fabiola they are postcards that were sent through the post quite openly and publicly, therefore they would have been sold just as openly. They may have been risqué but were definitely not considered pornographic. I have several in this series in my collection, some have been sent from women to women, one from a woman to a man and the others from men to women. Interestingly none were sent from a man to another man.

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  10. Fabiola

    I forgot: Well-to-do women did not wear pants at that period in history or waist-coats. So dressing like a man was going against all conventions. So even being completely covered up can be considered sexy and provocative in a time when women had to be dignified and subdued. Wearing a hat was the norm and going around with your hair uncovered made you cheap and showed your lower class origins.
    Oh how things have changed :)

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  11. Marie

    Love it. Although they did have high hopes that women of the future would be incredibly stylish.

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  12. Gareth

    Women driving coaches… what madness is this *pops monocle out*

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  13. Eric

    The interesting thing to mie is that leaving the military ‘outfits’ aside, many of these pictures actually look quite similar to what many of the early women in these fields actually wound up wearing. Shortish hair, and stylish clothing that is some sort of hybrid feminized version of the male uniform of the profession/job in question

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