“Masculine women and feminine men”: Outhistory.org’s queer postcards.

6 Jan

I came across Outhistory.org’s fantastic collection of historical postcards today and had to share with you all. The postcards are a fascinating commentary on perceived gender norms and gender deviance in the early twentieth century. I think it’s always interesting to see queer history come out of the woodwork; on top of that, some of these are pretty funny.

Here’s what Outhistory had to say about the collection:

These popular culture images express the same feeling of threat to ideals of traditional “femininity” and “masculinity” found in that era’s medical journal articles and newspaper accounts of gender difference and sexual “abnormality.”

Postcards collected by Marshall Weeks and dating to the early twentieth-century present satirical images of women who wore “mannish” shoes, shirts, collars, ties, and coats, who smoked, went to bars, and who moved independently in the world. Other cards portray effeminate men and, specifically, those then called “fairies” and “pansies.”

I’ll show you a couple of my favorites, but if you do nothing else to feel like a good, dutiful queer today, you must check out the full collection online here. Absolutely wonderful and eye-opening.

More postcards, after the jump.

Masculine Women:

Women Kissing Women:

Interestingly, nearly all of the “Women Kissing Women” postcards are captioned this way (“Girls are doing all the men’s work now!”)

Feminine men:

There’s a whole series of “Mollycoddle” postcards, which is truly old-school queer slang.

Effeminate Male Clerks:

And finally, “taking it on the chin,”


Once again–check out the full collection here. Happy viewing, dear queers.

Love,

Sophie

Introduction by Jonathan Ned Katz. Copyright (c) by Jonathan Ned Katz, 2008. Postcards copyright (c) by Marshall Weeks, 2008. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to ““Masculine women and feminine men”: Outhistory.org’s queer postcards.”

  1. ellis January 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    i laughed at “i’ll bet that you use fairy soap”.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Miss Mannish « BLoGT: NYU's Queer Blog - June 24, 2010

    […] it, love it, as I love all of Outhistory’s great queer postcards (we wrote up the collection here in January- check it out!). You can also see the whole set on their website. from → […]

  2. cute as a lesbianĀ button. « BLoGT: NYU's Queer Blog - July 23, 2010

    […] Collection (brought to you by The Lesbian Herstory Archives and OutHistory). (We also loved their queer postcards and “Since Stonewall” local history […]

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