How Politicians Shaped the Female Form

How Politicians Shaped the Female Form

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This entry is part 30 of 32 in the series CheeseCake Pinup Magazine - 1953

THIS is a very interesting article about how politics and politicians shaped women’s fashions during the first half of the 20th century. The early feminist movement asked for many changes, among them suffrage, easy divorce, property laws, and equal education. This resulted in a fashion trends that were mannish, including the no-curves, flat chested, flapper girl of the 1920s. This article goes on to call Victoria Claflin Woodhull a “political freak” (who ran for presidency in 1872), and pacifist Jeanette Rankin whose only winning two terms in congress corresponded with declarations of war (1917 and 1941). The caption under Woodhull says that she ran on a free love ticket.

This article goes on to say how early female politicians dressed, like men, and acting like them too! Amy Lowell puffed cigars, Dr. Mary Lowell wore trousers, Anne Adams (an early 1920s Assistant Attorney General) argued in court wearing a white suit (identical to a man’s), and Miss Francis Perkins wore severe suits with tricorn hats.

“It took Marlene Dietrich in slacks to prove that legs in trousers could be exciting!”

Luckily, by the 1950s, things had started to come around. Female politicians finally realized that femininity was more of a help than a hinderance and male politicians were unabashedly using cheesecake to win votes and influence.

It goes on to point out Claire Boothe Luce as as the first truly glamorous politician, and gave kudos to Oveta Culp Hobby (the director of the WAAC, later the WAC) for redesigning the WAC uniform (and wearing it better than most).

Such obsession with the female form!

Series Navigation<< How World War I and World War II influenced womens fashionsWomen’s Fashion Trends in the first half of the 20th Century, and Women in TV commercials >>

About The Author

Jessica Kay Murray

Professional WordPress nerd. Lover of all things older than me. I am fascinated by early 1900s labor and feminist history, and have a sporadic addiction to reading nonfiction about those things on Archive.org. I scan old photographs and ephemera when I get really super bored. On Etsy I sell vintage clothing that I got as part of an interesting trade deal a few years ago.

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