November 13, 2017

I love this photograph — Frances Benjamin Johnston's Self-Portrait (as "New Woman"), 1896:



I found that at the Wikipedia article for "New Woman":
The New Woman was a feminist ideal that emerged in the late nineteenth century and had a profound influence on feminism well into the twentieth century.... Independence was not simply a matter of the mind: it also involved physical changes in activity and dress, as activities such as bicycling expanded women's ability to engage with a broader more active world....

58 comments:

rehajm said...

Trashy.

Ipso Fatso said...

You've come a long way baby!!!

traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...

That attitude can be summed up as ,"The goal of my life is not a man. "

That is Feminism in a nutshell. Hopefully the cuteness and beauty in many feminists attracts a good loving man anyway.

madAsHell said...

as activities such as bicycling

Was this the genesis of the fish-needs-a-bicycle notion?

AlbertAnonymous said...

Alternative caption:

First known picture of transwoman...

Or as Austin Powers would say “She’s a Man, baby!”

madAsHell said...

as activities such as bicycling

Two Dutch girls are riding bicycles. It's getting late, when the first girl speaks up, "We've never come this way before!".

The second girl responds, "Yeah, I know. I think it's the cobble stones."

Big Mike said...

People need a little context here. Back during the Victorian era men regarded the sight of a "well-turned ankle" the way we 21st century men regard a nip-slip of a bosomy woman. In showing off an entire calf, the late 19th century New Woman was flaunting her sexuality.

Big Mike said...

And this particular New Woman does have nice calves, even by 21st century standards.

Earnest Prole said...

It's time you swapped your blog photo portrait for a closer likeness.

Otto said...

Stupid woman, she is proud that she drinks and smokes. Cancer and sclerosis of the liver. You go girl.

Bill Peschel said...

There were rumblings of this sort for awhile. What helped were the technological innovations, particularly in dress. Victorian dresses could weigh as much as 25 pounds. In England, there was a group advocating for ways to reduce it to 15.

Innovations in new fabrics, the development of elastic, and improvements in production sewing make it possible to design dresses that could wear well, use less fabric, and could be made faster (and hence more profitable). Showing more skin (slowly so as not to offend) allowed businesses to profit more. Designers were excited to get new palettes of colors and fabrics to create with. As the culture grew wealthier overall, psychological methods were found to sell more clothes before they wore out, hence the consumer culture we all live in.

We think our minds are leading the way, but we're really responding to the possibilities of new inventions.

Shouting Thomas said...

The "New Woman" and "New Man" became the centerpieces of Soviet Marxism.

You really don't see the evil you've embraced, professor, this fag hag feminist Marxism.

The Bolshevik circular firing squad is hard at work advancing your ideology. Everybody is ratting out everybody else. Everybody's informing. We're all trying to ruin one another. What started out as a sexual revolution is now collapsing into informing on everybody for their kinks. The workplace is a shithole of repression and informants running down to HR. Academia is a self-censoring shithole of Lysenkoism.

You did this. The evil ideology you embraced is reaching full maturity.

When are you going to get a clue? There's still time to renounce the evil you've embraced and to try to stop the madness before it goes completely out of control into bloodshed.

Big Mike said...

@Otto, the studies that would definitively link cigarette smoking to lung cancer were still sixty years in the future when that photo was taken.

Lem said...

reminds me of Angelina Jolie at the Oscars.

William said...

She drinks, she smokes, she flashes an ankle. All before the disapproving gaze of those men on the mantelpiece......I don't know if even back then, those men would totally disapprove. It's the mean girls of that era, she had to watch out for. But where's the fun in shocking them.

reader said...

Ok, I’m reading alone and madAsHell made me chuckle and grin.

Laura said...

As a woman supposedly flouting convention, she still does what is expected.

It's like the common practice of getting a tattoo to be different.

Big Mike said...

@Laura, you're observant.

JML said...

"The workplace is a shithole of repression and informants running down to HR..."

Three more years before I retire. It won't come soon enough.

Feranindianide said...

As expected, the New Man is more interesting:

"The New Man is a utopian concept that involves the creation of a new ideal human being or citizen replacing un-ideal human beings or citizens. The meaning of a New Man has widely varied and various alternatives have been suggested by a variety of religions and political ideologies, including communism, liberalism, fascism, and utopian socialism."

Creepier, too.

Bob Boyd said...

Shameless hussy!

tim in vermont said...

Wow, what gave Earnest Prole such a bug up his ass?

Tommy Duncan said...

The meaning of a New Man has widely varied and various alternatives have been suggested by a variety of religions and political ideologies, including communism, liberalism, fascism, and utopian socialism.

I find it interesting that fascism appears in the list with communism, liberalism and socialism. In poker that's called a "tell".

communism
liberalism
fascism
utopian socialism

n.n said...
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n.n said...

The "new woman" bears a striking resemblance to a dirty old man.

jaed said...

There was a magazine in the 70s called "New Woman".

dreams said...
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Greek Donkey said...

(At what point in feminism will women finally allow themselves to wear comfortable shoes with a normal toe? There was a brief period in the 90s when young women wore square-toed oxfords, but it ddn’t last.)

CWJ said...

I've seen this photo before. I think it's just great. The snark in the comments above is anachronistic.

tcrosse said...

Unless she lived in Nebraska, she couldn't vote.

Earnest Prole said...
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Earnest Prole said...

Wow, what gave Earnest Prole such a bug up his ass?

It occurred to me the more elderly here might not get a trollface reference; thanks for confirming. Since I have to spell it out: I'm poking fun at Althouse's commenters and not Althouse.

AllenS said...

Earnest Prole said...
It's time you swapped your blog photo portrait for a closer likeness.

Sure sounded to me like you were poking fun at Althouse, but then, I'm elderly.

veni vidi vici said...

"new woman" - had me thinking here goes another trans thread.

anti-de Sitter space said...

"but then, I'm elderly."

EP,

If you call them 'golden years folks' they don't get so fussy.

David said...

Be a New Woman. Do the self harming stuff that men do.

anti-de Sitter space said...

Golden years whites are only anti-PC when they're not the PC beneficiaries.

I know...that means they don't want to be disparaged while the want to be disparaging other races/sexes/religions/preferences/etc....but don't call them racist or sexist or x-phobic...cause that's the PC rule they do believe in.



So funny.

anti-de Sitter space said...

BTW, that image of a supposed new woman looks like a man. Or, at best a trans-woman.

IMHO.


Just sayin'.

Bill said...

Those leg-of-mutton sleeves are awesome. But that long-legged figure on the table - is it a candlestick holder?

Bob Loblaw said...

A young woman mugging for the camera? Some things haven't changed in 120 years.

Howard said...

What a woman! Check out her Wiki page.

walter said...

Smoke N stein

William Chadwick said...

Hot. Very hot. That photo turns me on the way a photo of a whip-wielding Nancy Pelosi wearing a leather Ilse-She-Wolf-of-the-IRS outfit would turn on ARM or Robert Cook.

FIDO said...

All this instills in me is that girly man academics and artsy types, who lust deeply after 20 year old girls, sometimes get a wire crossed and WISH they were 20 year old girls (See Bruce Jenner).

And female academics, as always, applaud their courage even as they mentally strike that man's name from their list of 'potential bed mates'.

FIDO said...

Wait...that was a woman????

Laslo Spatula said...

Boy George prototype.

I am Laslo.

Farhan Khan said...

mobietools.com

AReasonableMan said...

William Chadwick said...
turns me on the way a photo of a whip-wielding Nancy Pelosi wearing a leather Ilse-She-Wolf-of-the-IRS outfit


Interesting projection. Does your wife know?

dbp said...

I admire her ability to sit very still and not blur the long exposure.

William Chadwick said...

I'm sorry, ARM. Did that image of Pelosi-as-Ilse not work for you? I thought the sadomasochism would, with you being a "liberal" and all. How about Peloso fisting a taxpayer with the Mailed Fist of the State? That do it for you, chief?



AReasonableMan said...

William Chadwick said...
How about Peloso fisting a taxpayer with the Mailed Fist of the State?


Interesting projection. Does your wife know?

Professional lady said...

Love the tall candleholder. Speaking of fashion, her clothing looks so difficult and uncomfortable. Can't just pop it in the washer to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke.

David Blaska said...

Brazen Hussy!

T J Sawyer said...

The plane of focus appears to be about six inches toward the camera from the edge of the rug. Too bad. But, perhaps, the photographer was trying to soften the lady's image.

Big Mike said...

@TJ, it's a self-portrait.

Big Mike said...

@Professional Lady, the first washing machines suitable for use in the home would not come to market for another forty years.

TWW said...

I wonder why all of the portraits on the mantel appear to be men?