Newspaper stories from the good old days say the darndest things. So every week on the Sexist, let’s take a ride on journalism’s way-back machine, to a time when women were either too fat or too thin, but never just right. Yeah, they did that shit 100 years ago, too.
This Week in Sexist History:
Good Ol’ Day: July 12, 1909
Dateline: Berlin, Germany
Subject: German woman’s body caught in a patriarchal double-bind: How to satisfy the “natural ample proportions” required to fulfill the role of Wife, while achieving the “modish slimness” required to fulfill the role of Sex Object. Sound familiar? Modern women, too, must navigate between “sexually desirable” and “baby-making factory”—-it just usually doesn’t up as cause for divorce, because nobody needs a reason to get divorced anymore.
Anyway, back to 1909, when this woman’s husband:
Now that we’ve got the woman’s vital stats out of the way, let’s find out why someone’s BMI makes them unfit for marriage:
Guilty! Of a crime of fashion. But seriously, that’s all this woman has committed.
This is a toughie. While I can’t support a woman’s husband divorcing her because he doesn’t like the choices she’s made about her own appearance, I also have a hard time defending the forces of darkness (“fashion”) which require a woman to lose ten pounds a month in order to fit into some clothes. Surely, this is a weight battle for the courts to decide.
Aw, at least she got to wear the dress. The really, really fashionable dress that would cost her her marriage!
Wait . . . he “bargained” for her? Yeah, I’m siding with fashion on this one.