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Exotic dancers 1890s
March 12, 2012 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Exotic dancers, 1890s.

Via Sociological Images, via zunguzungu.
posted by latkes (109 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
So apparently this was possible back then. Just with bigger thighs.

They really do emphasize the hourglass with extreme corsets, don't they?
posted by disillusioned at 6:19 PM on March 12, 2012


If anyone in those Retronaut comments issues a Boner Report, I am going to lose my motherfucking mind. One of the things I hate most about that site is how many commentbros feel the need to do that. Especially when the Boner Reports in question are about people who have been dead for decades. It's not like they're going to build a time machine to go back and bang Lillian Russell or whoever.

Gentlemen, whenever a person of the female gender is depicted or discussed, do not feel the need to issue an official Boner Report as to whether you would or would not hypothetically have sex with that lady. Nobody cares. You will not receive valuable prizes for assigning every woman who ever lived into the "I'd hit it"/"I wouldn't hit it" category. Unless you think of my contempt and derision as a valuable prize, in which case YOU MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:22 PM on March 12, 2012 [96 favorites]


Lillian Russell, by the way, was 5'3" and weighed 180-200 pounds at the height of her It Girl fame. So the "Oh, those women aren't obese" people commenting at Sociological Images can suck it--"obese", at least in BMI terms, was indeed an ideal for professional beauties in that era.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:25 PM on March 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sidhedevil - oh my god I have never encountered the phrase "boner report" before somehow and I LOVE IT. Thank you very much.

Anyway! What are peoples' favorites? I totally dig this lady's costume and facial expression/posture. She really can not believe this shit.
posted by kavasa at 6:26 PM on March 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


There's some downright normal looking women in there.
posted by valkyryn at 6:26 PM on March 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'd like to issue a Boner Rep--

Oh...never mind.
posted by asnider at 6:26 PM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


They really do emphasize the hourglass with extreme corsets, don't they?

Ugh, yes, all I could think of when looking through these pictures is how tight their corsets were and how upset my stomach gets with even a just-a-smidge-too-tight belt. I think I'm getting sympathy dyspepsia!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:27 PM on March 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I like the lady who is just standing there with her arms folded looking vaguely irritated. Like she is waiting for a bus in her underwear.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:29 PM on March 12, 2012 [19 favorites]


I want to open a business with a huge sign saying "EXOTIC DANCERS" out front. When people come in, they'll discover it's nothing but whirling dervishes.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:31 PM on March 12, 2012 [26 favorites]


Boner Report: Day one.

Was 16% turgid before clicking the link.

After doing so held steady at ~20%-24%. No marked increase in respiration rate.

Read Sidhedvil's rant. Nothing sexy about that. Baseline at 16% and holding.

Report concluded. Will report again tomorrow.
posted by cmoj at 6:32 PM on March 12, 2012 [63 favorites]


Sidhe - that's totally the lady I linked to.
posted by kavasa at 6:33 PM on March 12, 2012


What gets me about these is everyone's facial expressions and poses. Now every American over age 2 knows how to pose for a photo the way you're "supposed to". It's kind of shocking to imagine an era before sophistication about this and before our contemporary set of ideas of what constitutes a sexy pose.
posted by latkes at 6:35 PM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Re: the boner report - I didn't know about that phenomenon Sidhedevil - sounds very annoying. In this particular case though, they are exotic dancers! So not totally out of context. Plus, horsey costume! Who can resist that?
posted by latkes at 6:36 PM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


oh it's that kind of report. I thought it was like a gun's report, like BANG!
posted by One Thousand and One at 6:36 PM on March 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


"I'd hit it"/"I wouldn't hit it" category.

All right, that category bothers me, but not as much "I'd tap that" bothers me. "Tap that" suggests that the women are kegs and that the speakers are hoping they will produce some sort of woman beer. Or maybe "woman syrup" like they're female maple trees.

Or perhaps they're suggesting they would dance on them with metal soled tap shoes.

It irks me. Yes it does.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:37 PM on March 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Especially when the Boner Reports in question are about people who have been dead for decades. It's not like they're going to build a time machine to go back and bang Lillian Russell or whoever.

Dave Stevens would like to have a word with you.
posted by localroger at 6:38 PM on March 12, 2012


ITT: people arguing in favor of boner reports.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:40 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why were our great-great-grandmothers so sexy?

Contra Sidhedevil, I don't think it's inappropriate to say that one finds these women attractive (although of course there are ways to phrase it with or without being a jackass). Especially because, as latkes points out, their whole careers involved being subject to the male gaze, including posing for these very photographs. But indeed, they are sexy, and I think that's largely a result of their healthy, natural physiques.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:40 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If drinkable beer comes out of you go to the hospital.

Do not pass GO, do not collect $200. This is not a cool party trick, it is a sign that you have potentially novel and certainly devastating medical condition.

Also, count me among those who are not universally annoyed by boner reports. Sure it is tacky, but I'm pretty happy I live in a society where it is occasionally OK to admit you are turned on.
posted by poe at 6:42 PM on March 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Tap that" suggests that the women are kegs and that the speakers are hoping they will produce some sort of woman beer".

Woman beer? That's a thing? Really? Sign me up. Something to do while reading The Boner Report.
posted by Mcable at 6:46 PM on March 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Those are some great grandmothers alright.
posted by sourwookie at 6:49 PM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or maybe "woman syrup" like they're female maple trees.

This is actually where the slang "tap that" for "fuck" comes from. You tap a tree for sap by driving a phallic spike into it. One could also imagine the slow development of the sap drip as being comparable to the gradual appearance of moisture as a sexually excited female lubricates. The metaphor fails though with regard to male ejaculation, which just goes to show that popular culture doesn't care about exactness in its metaphors.
posted by localroger at 6:50 PM on March 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, did anybody else notice that if you scroll to the bottom, there's a link to a series of pictures of Henri Tolouse-Latrec taking a poop on a beach? WTF?
posted by Mcable at 6:51 PM on March 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


whenever a person of the female gender is depicted or discussed, do not feel the need to issue an official Boner Report as to whether you would or would not hypothetically have sex with that lady
I find the idea of a "boner report" as stated really demeaning. However, mentioning which exotic dancer you find attractive (and hence might want to have sex with if the ideal situation presented itself) is not particularly scorn worthy.
posted by smidgen at 6:51 PM on March 12, 2012


I once knew someone who believed there to be a market for "woman beer" which would be a mixture of beer and vaginal secretions.

To my knowledge, this idea has not made him rich.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:51 PM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, the one with the horse costume made me giggle.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:54 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Contra Sidhedevil, I don't think it's inappropriate to say that one finds these women attractive

I don't think it's inappropriate at all to say that one finds professional beauties and models of the past attractive, though "I'd hit that" isn't in my opinion the way to do it, because who cares?

But I am actually more perplexed by Internet Boner Reports being issued on women who are, say, heads of state, firefighters, military personnel, factory workers, or whoever else is photographed while doing their job which is not modeling.

To take the Highlights approach:

Gallant: Those women are gorgeous! It's so interesting to see the styles of the past.

Goofus: hott id hit that
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:55 PM on March 12, 2012 [32 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: "I once knew someone who believed there to be a market for "woman beer" which would be a mixture of beer and vaginal secretions.

To my knowledge, this idea has not made him rich
"

Well, there is a small class of beers made with alternative yeast sources, natural fermentation and such...
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:56 PM on March 12, 2012


Across time and culture, everyone wants a pony.
posted by Zed at 6:58 PM on March 12, 2012


Yeah I guess some of the problems with your usual boner report is it will be on an article or documentary about a woman that revolutionized hand surgery or something and comment threads are more than halfway comprised of people debating her fuckability.

Also I feel like discussing women's bodies as "healthy and natural" is probably not really great either? Especially when they're jammed into corsets. If someone posts a picture or video of an attractive, pudgy dude I'm not going to be praising his "healthy" and "natural" physique, you know? I'll just say that I wouldn't be kicking him out of bed. Although actually I would because I have a boyfriend, but you know.

Please don't let this discourage anyone from making an FPP about SEXY HOT BEARS FROM YESTERYEARS.

localroger - that sounds to me very much like a folk etymology. Unless you're not being serious? It's hard to say.
posted by kavasa at 7:00 PM on March 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Miracle LadyBag Keeps Females Subjugated And Fresh For Up To One Week!"


"You want me to do what with this?"


"You dumb bastard. It's not a schooner, it's a sailboat."
posted by subbes at 7:04 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


between the agonized metaphors and the yeast this is the least sexy comment thread on metafilter ever. EVER

this thread: I would not hit it


(great site, thank you for posting)
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:06 PM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Corsets = healthy and natural.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:09 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dammit. I'm built exactly like these women. I could have made a KILLING if I'd been around then. Also, I want this costume.
posted by HopperFan at 7:11 PM on March 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


their healthy, natural physiques

A lot of them looked super short to me. Not that "short" isn't healthy or natural, just that their proportions look, to my modern eye, very short.

(For some reason, I'm hearing "Boner Report" in a New England accent, more like "Bonah" with extra nasal added.)
posted by Forktine at 7:13 PM on March 12, 2012


Also, that's a great site, with lots of neat photos. I don't think there is a single piece of fabric made from natural fiber in this photo, for example.
posted by Forktine at 7:17 PM on March 12, 2012


like they're female maple trees.

A downturn in the maple syrup market is having harmful side effects for trees in northern New England. For the first time in decades, the maples are remaining untapped, with sometimes-dangerous results.

UNTAPPED! DANGER!
posted by rough ashlar at 7:18 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, did anybody else notice that if you scroll to the bottom, there's a link to a series of pictures of Henri Tolouse-Latrec taking a poop on a beach? WTF?

Are there websites without that?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:26 PM on March 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


Love the photos, especially those labeled "from the Opera", there nothing like high class art to make showing a little leg seem legit, that's why we have the Canadian Ballet. I agree they seem unusually short, but I especially noticed their necks were almost all uniformly shorter than normal too. I wonder why? Do we simply hold our heads higher now?
posted by saucysault at 7:27 PM on March 12, 2012


Wow, I also could have made it as an exotic dancer at Warren's. Same sort of face, stature and not thrilled look in front of the camera. Less hourglass though. Although I could work on that. Hmm. Time machine, anyone?
posted by bquarters at 7:27 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


A woman, a dog keg and walnut maple tree,
The more you beat tap them, the better they be.
posted by 445supermag at 7:32 PM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Related, here are New Orleans street walkers circa 1912, also from Retronaut.
posted by jabberjaw at 7:39 PM on March 12, 2012 [5 favorites]



If anyone in those Retronaut comments issues a Boner Report, I am going to lose my motherfucking mind.


You made one of the classic blunders.

Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

And never read the comments. It's only slightly less unknown.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:49 PM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Especially because, as latkes points out, their whole careers involved being subject to the male gaze, including posing for these very photographs.

Uh, well, that their whole careers involve "being subject to the male gaze" doesn't necessarily mean that it is unproblematic, or that your personal tingly feelings should dominate the discussion of changing beauty standards, or that they would (were they alive) appreciate further commentary on their subjugation to your boner.

But since this thread has found its own groove in the form of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and vaginal yeast, no danger there.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:51 PM on March 12, 2012


(oblig.)

Oh, my gracious! Internet, you have offended my delicate sensibilities!
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:03 PM on March 12, 2012


Damn you JSTOR, I want to know more about The Devils Auction
The production featured haunted dells with multitudes of elves, combats, processions, trapeze acts, subterranean caves with giant reptiles, acrobatic jugglers, four Grand Transformation scenes, performing horses, castles that crumbled and others that burned, oriental revels, and even a quick-change artist, who rapidly donned the costumes of nine different nations, and performed the national dance of each.
End of preview. Get access to this entire item.
The Case of Augusta Sohlke vs. John DePol
posted by unliteral at 8:05 PM on March 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Love the horse! I'm not sure what she's up to, but it looks like it would be a lot of fun. And why, oh why, is it called "The Devil's Auction"?

As for the "I'd hit that" comments, they just miss so many of the other options. I personally have had the following reactions:

Nerissa Nield - I'd like to go dancing to a slightly funky folk-rock ensemble with that.

Teri Garr - I'd like to take that to a weekday lunch at an upscale suburban restaurant.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:12 PM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why were our great-great-grandmothers so sexy?

It would have been my great-grandmother. She was 27 in 1890 but she was quite the proper school teacher and would have so not approved of these scandalous pictures.
posted by octothorpe at 8:13 PM on March 12, 2012


Why were our great-great-grandmothers so sexy?

Oh man, that bent my head. Until I considered that my great-grandmother (the one I knew as a child) was born around 1890, and her mother was born around the time that Deadwood was set in.

Oh.

sorry great-great-grandma!
posted by wallabear at 8:19 PM on March 12, 2012


I usually really like retro images, but I enjoy these less since I read a little a few years back about how women ended up posing for pictures like this, and more explicit, for money when they were getting kind of desperate. They didn't all really freely choose a life in "modeling" or sex work. I find myself searching their faces - are they having fun? Are they OK? Is this part of their plan or a deviation from it? Are they comfortable? To be sure, these images are a loooot tamer than many being produced at the time.

I also spent a lot of time looking around for more information on these images from the Ohio State Library, since so many of them don't look like exotic dancers at all - they're just "boudoir pictures" of a kind that a lot of studios moonlighted in. They come from this scholar's personal collection, and his work sounds super interesting -- but even though the collection is billed as "exotic dance," since it also includes trading cards I feel like that's what many of these actually are. Some are clearly costumed in a stagey way that would be consistent with a burlesque dancer, but some also appear to be entirely studio creations - it's that phenomenon I have read about, that a working-class woman could easily find a studio which offered a few bucks for stripping and posing, without hitting the stage permanently as a career.

This is actually where the slang "tap that" for "fuck" comes from.

That sounds like a good story that hangs together well, but I wonder if you have a citation linking the two. "Tap" as in maple sugaring is a considerably more obscure concept than tapping a beer keg, and I just have doubt that this is a maple sugaring reference. It's not the kind of thing many people have direct experience and doesn't seem like it would occur as a natural metaphor in the minds of the 15-25-year-old of the last decade or so. In the absence of evidence, I'd expect horses.

Re: Sidhedevil's point, Exotic Dancers in 1890 and the Plump Body Ideal.

One of the most striking things is how these images present the legs as an erotic focus. IF you squint your brain right, you can kind of get it. IT's interesting that women's legs remained an erotic focus through about the fifties, and then just nearly disappeared from the pop-imager map compared to the interest in women's breasts and later, butts.
posted by Miko at 8:21 PM on March 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Awesome, unilateral solved my question about what these pictures depict. Great information in that Flickr set.
posted by Miko at 8:24 PM on March 12, 2012


There's something about women's faces from back then. Maybe it's the make-up, or the camera or the lighting. Or just the style they put on while getting photographed.

But they all look ... vacuous. Just mentally not there.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:24 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


IN addition to the "oh dear I seem to have forgotten to put on the bottom of my dress" there is a ton of cross-dressing in these images, too - in the Flickr selection especially, where every other photo seems to be a woman dressed (well, partly dressed) as a male character. I guess that carried a fun, erotic charge too. Kind of like it can in burlesque today.
posted by Miko at 8:28 PM on March 12, 2012


I actually did tap about half of those exotic dancers.

sent from my iPad
posted by Kabanos at 8:28 PM on March 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


But they all look ... vacuous. Just mentally not there.

I think what you're seeing is the same reason that these "exotic dancers" aren't shown doing any exotic dancing. The slow photographic film in the 1800s meant that people had to stand still for a long time, not moving, until the exposure was done. So they would space out.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:37 PM on March 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


But they all look ... vacuous. Just mentally not there.

I don't really find that. This face and this face kind of stopped me in my tracks, they seem so present and immediate. I think it's because they're "connecting" with the camera in kind of a modern way which we're more used to.

Constraints of photography had a lot to do with how portraits looked, but as much as anything, as someone said above, today we have generations of experience about how to perform for the camera - we have expectations about how people should look in certain kinds of photos, and we do our best to perform as we're expected, whether that's "smile for the camera," or "look important and serious because you're the Mayor and it's Veterans Day" or pout, stare insolently into the lens, look coquettishly up and away a la Audrey Hepburn, glam it up like a pinup gal with a warm smile and come-hither eyes, etc. We're seeing camera technology and the mores of the time, and we're also seeing performance. As well as individual people.
posted by Miko at 8:39 PM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Woman beer? That's a thing? Really?

That's a thing. Really.
posted by flabdablet at 8:47 PM on March 12, 2012


See? Those hipsters were wearing horsehead masks even back then. Played out.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:54 PM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for pointing out the flickr link. Had I realized that was the source I would have linked there instead of Retronaut.
posted by latkes at 9:17 PM on March 12, 2012


If anyone in those Retronaut comments issues a Boner Report, I am going to lose my motherfucking mind.

Gentlemen, whenever a person of the female gender is depicted or discussed, do not feel the need to issue an official Boner Report as to whether you would or would not hypothetically have sex with that lady. Nobody cares. You will not receive valuable prizes for assigning every woman who ever lived into the "I'd hit it"/"I wouldn't hit it" category. Unless you think of my contempt and derision as a valuable prize, in which case YOU MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER. posted by Sidhedevil at 8:22 PM


Uh. Okay. Point taken and not really needed here, which is decidedly a place where "Boner Reports" don't exist. It's not that I don't agree with you on the annoyance of these things. This just seems like a misguided place to put your rant, especially that early in a thread when nobody here did such a thing (or if they did it was quickly deleted), to be honest.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:36 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


SEXY HOT BEARS FROM YESTERYEARS

They called him Teddy for a reason.

Anyway, fascinating, I used some of these as reference a while back, but I hadn't seen the full set.
posted by The Whelk at 9:41 PM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's interesting to me is that I find these women less "hollywood beautiful" or "magazine beautiful" than what would likely constitute a modern ensemble of the same sort of folks. It would be fascinating to transport a person from the 1890s to today and see if they felt the same way.
posted by maxwelton at 9:44 PM on March 12, 2012


Sidhedevil: "If anyone in those Retronaut comments issues a Boner Report, I am going to lose my motherfucking mind."

Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "You made one of the classic blunders. Never get involved in a land war in Asia. And never read the comments. It's only slightly less unknown."

I think the classic blunder that matters here is "never use a comment thread to rant about something you really hope doesn't come up in said comment thread, or the entire rest of the thread will be about that one thing you desperately wanted to avoid."
posted by koeselitz at 9:49 PM on March 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


I would totally have an intelligent discussion with several of those women about art, literature, science or this new fangled fad known as electricity.

Course, I'd probably then be lynched or at least severely beaten, for talking to white woman and knowing how to read, but nobody said romance is easy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:01 PM on March 12, 2012 [29 favorites]


"What's interesting to me is that I find these women less "hollywood beautiful" or "magazine beautiful" than what would likely constitute a modern ensemble of the same sort of folks. It would be fascinating to transport a person from the 1890s to today and see if they felt the same way."

The aesthetic back then was based on paintings, sculptures and illustrations instead of photographs, so the 1890s women would probably find modern glamour shots quite funny looking. Everyone would probably look freakishly malnourished to them, quite incapable of surviving a pox epidemic or bearing half a dozen children.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:41 PM on March 12, 2012


which is decidedly a place where "Boner Reports" don't exist

hahahahahaha
posted by stoneandstar at 10:47 PM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The only one who is smiling appears to be wearing the most extreme corset. Maybe the shot was taken just before she burst into tears.

I get that people didn't really "know" how to pose for photographs back then...you can see it in all the early photographs from the civil war into the first decade or two of the 20th century. Still, it strikes me as strange that it wouldn't be intuitive to people of all eras that a smile makes you look more attractive (at least, if you're female).
posted by Edgewise at 10:57 PM on March 12, 2012


But they all look ... vacuous. Just mentally not there.

As opposed to, say, the average fashion models out of Vogue and GQ and whatnot of our current era?

(and BTW, I'm thinking of modern day male models as well as females)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:59 PM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


This lady looks to be jauntily holding a giant precursor to a propelling pencil.
posted by arcticseal at 11:08 PM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Still, it strikes me as strange that it wouldn't be intuitive to people of all eras that a smile makes you look more attractive

Poor dental care? idk.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:09 PM on March 12, 2012


The only one who is smiling appears to be wearing the most extreme corset.

She has to bite down to keep her liver in.
posted by benzenedream at 11:19 PM on March 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I was going to file a boner report but I didn’t feel like doing all the paperwork. Damn Gubmit.
posted by bongo_x at 11:35 PM on March 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Still, it strikes me as strange that it wouldn't be intuitive to people of all eras that a smile makes you look more attractive..."


I wonder if the modern-day ubiquity of photos and video has given us a degree of self-awareness we take for granted.
posted by mikeand1 at 11:47 PM on March 12, 2012


Metafilter: Boner report
posted by karathrace at 12:13 AM on March 13, 2012


Still, it strikes me as strange that it wouldn't be intuitive to people of all eras that a smile makes you look more attractive

I certainly don't think that a smile for the camera necessarily makes one look more attractive. Matter of fact, I often find that the smile flashed for the camera makes people look somewhat unattractive, for varying reasons. They can look forced and unnatural. They can look empty and vacuous. And sometimes kind of fiendish or ghoul-like, especially that certain 'the-mouth-is-smiling-but-the-eyes-aren't' look, which is seen quite often.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:19 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I'd tap that" is a Magic: The Gathering reference.
posted by idiopath at 12:39 AM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wonder how old these women were at the time. Some of them look awfully young.
posted by SisterHavana at 12:41 AM on March 13, 2012


What I'd like to know is at what point in history did women stop looking like Babe Ruth?
posted by ShutterBun at 12:43 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


In honor of the horse lady, I'm just going to put this right here: Quintain's Menagerie (possibly NSFW text).
posted by kprincehouse at 1:08 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


issues a Boner Report
We don't need this dumb new slang when we already have a better term: "SHWING!"
How have our youths lost such an important part of their cultural heritage?
posted by Chekhovian at 1:42 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


So basically, pony play was a lot like it is today, only the tails were attached somewhat differently...

Clearly, they needed more cosplay conventions back then.
posted by markkraft at 2:22 AM on March 13, 2012


Looking at the original collection, it seems that Eva Batholdi was the overachiever of the bunch.
posted by taz at 2:39 AM on March 13, 2012


Re smiling, it might also have to do with the vogue of the time being a "rosebud mouth" not a big luscious set of lips. Easier to make lips look small if you don't grin. Or as someone pointed out, missing/discolored teeth were not uncommon.
posted by emjaybee at 2:47 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stoner Report
2002 Hit it
2015 Snack
2023 Bare legs from 1890s on the internet
2024 Discussion re: what if the photos are accurate and people were actually more desaturated back then
2029 Hit it
posted by vanar sena at 2:50 AM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Huuuu-ZAH! I say!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:43 AM on March 13, 2012


issues a Boner Report
We don't need this dumb new slang when we already have a better term: "SHWING !"
How have our youths lost such an important part of their cultural heritage?


Chekovian, you are allowed on my lawn.
posted by Kabanos at 7:06 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


strange that it wouldn't be intuitive to people of all eras that a smile makes you look more attractive

Smiling in old photographs.

In addition to the technical aspects, smiling was just...casual. It didn't belong everywhere and was a sign of lack of composure. Serious, romantic and enigmatic expressions seemed more appropriate to self-presentation. Where these women smile, I wager it's an indication of the rompin' good time they're going to show you in their performance - the atmosphere would have been one of abandon.

Even today, how often do fashion models smile? Hardly ever. They look too nice, and we've evolved an aesthetic where if a fashion model doesn't look like she's about to spit on you, she must not be hot enough.
posted by Miko at 7:13 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


But indeed, they are sexy, and I think that's largely a result of their healthy, natural physiques.

More likely their unnatural, corset-trained physiques. It's no wonder the desire to have an unrealistically thin waist line hasn't disappeared- it's older than we might care to admit.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:53 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Somewhat related - French saucy postcards from 1902.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:18 AM on March 13, 2012


It's no wonder the desire to have an unrealistically thin waist line hasn't disappeared- it's older than we might care to admit.

During my career in history museums it was quite common for visitors to react with horror at the thought of shaping your body with a corset. I had a colleague who talked about the fact that we've given up corsets doesn't mean we've become more enlightened - we just wear our corsets on the inside now, and maintain them by pressuring ourselves to diet, work out, and do whatever else to get that "ideal" body shape that something like only 10% naturally have.

At this time period, also, the idea was not only to reduce the size of the waist but exaggerate the relative size of the butt and hips. These women were showing what they looked like without the bustle.
posted by Miko at 9:19 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


In case anyone missed the link. Here is the entire flickerstream.





Sidhedevil, you created exactly what you claimed to scorn. Either you were trollin or your efforts have backfired comedically. Propagating a meme through a rant is probably more effective than actually using it.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 10:37 AM on March 13, 2012


Actually, it was an effective preventive and we had already moved beyond it.
posted by Miko at 10:59 AM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


"we just wear our corsets on the inside now"

Except those of us who stuff ourselves into Spanx and other derivatives thereof.
posted by HopperFan at 11:13 AM on March 13, 2012


"I find that woman sexually attractive."

"I find that woman erotically stimulating."

"I am aroused by that woman."

"I have an urge to have sex with that woman."

"That woman's body gives me the urge to fuck her."

"I'd hit that."
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:18 AM on March 13, 2012


I'm not sure what your point is, but which one would you like someone to say to your mother?
posted by Miko at 11:58 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Boner Report: "I say! The sight of that person's physical attributes has resulted in an involuntary diversion of blood flow to a most peculiar area!"
Boner Rebuff: "I care not one whit about the specifics of your circulatory minutiae."
posted by Sys Rq at 12:01 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh hell yeah, I'd call on that!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:13 PM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


When I came into this thread I practically winced, because I was sure it'd be a bunch of dudes justifying their attraction/non-attraction to skinny/fat/curvy women and/or calling them pretty/ugly/Babe Ruth, while suggesting that women now should look more like women then/women then were way less hot than women now. Instead all the dudes ended up making self-referential jokes about boner reports, so sincere thanks, Sidhedevil.

But now we seem to be just sadly mouthing different ways of asserting our masculinity as we realize to our chagrin that we were duped out a chance to discuss our boners, so I guess it could only last so long.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:17 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what your point is, but which one would you like someone to say to your mother?

Have you seen my mother?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:25 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


More on The Devil's Auction: Or, The Golden Branch.

It opened October 3, 1867, at Banvard's Grand Opera House and Museum, 1221 Broadway (30th St.), New York, NY, later Daly's Theatre, and finally a burlesque house when it was demolished in 1920.

Banvard was a large scale painter, entrepreneur, and rival of P.T. Barnum. He made a 2000 feet portrait of the east bank of the Mississipi, made a fortune, painted the west bank, built a castle in Long Island, lost his fortune, and retired to South Dakota, where he died. His NY museum was only open for ten weeks - Barnum copied his exhibits, and advertised them better.

Back to The Devil's Auction. It was written by Arturo Cuyas i Armengol, a Catalan journalist living in New York, later to become a lexicographer, and pioneer of Scouting in Spain.

The Black Crook (considered the first book musical) had opened the year before, and was still in its record breaking 474 performance run. Attempting to rival this behemoth, the producer John De Pol went all in, allegedly hiring "eight first-class danseuses, selected from the Theatres of London, Paris, Milan, Berlin, Bordeaux, Turin, Munic, St. Petersburgh and other continental entre-pots, all of whom reach our shores with reputations for artistic excellence."
The huge production, with dancers, singers, actors, and musicians filling the stage amidst massive scenery, was difficult to mount. Even though its stage was already five feet wider than any other in New York, De Pol convinced Banvard to widen it yet another 20 feet to accommodate the action. This meant extra rehearsals after the stage was renovated and the re-opening of the theatre was twice delayed, further draining the showman's financial resources.

What was the musical about? Here's a summary from the New York Times review:
"The Devil's Auction" is the name of a new spectacle produced for the first time at Banvard's Museum last night. It is a prose melo-drama in four acts, interspersed with singing and dancing. Of course the play itself is intended as a frame for pretty pictures of scenery and graceful motion; it tells the story of a young peasant girl whose vulgar old father has given her to a bad old Count for wife; of a young man in shabby clothes who loves the young girl of a servant maid, who is in love with a donkey which she has charge of, and of Cupid, the God of Love, who takes the lovers under his protection.
The play further represents how, on the wedding morning, the bad old Count takes his bride and the villagers for a little excursion up to the Castle of a deceased magician, whose stock of talismans, philters, potions, &c., is to be disposed of that day at auction; also how the auction does take place, and the bad old Count, the vulgar old father, the young man in shabby clothes and the servant-maid buy, each, an article formerly belonging to the dead wizard; also how it happens that every such article is a potent talisman that gratifies every wish of the possessor; also how the shabby young man wishes he were dressed up in good clothes and is immediately clothed in yellow satin; the young lady wishes she were with her lover, which happens straightway, and the young servant-maid wishes her donkey were a man, which he immediately becomes; also how the lovers are then pursued through the globe by the bad old Count and the vulgar father, and how they all occasionally find themselves in coral caves and El Dorado, and the Indian groves, and other distant places inhabited by charming young ladies who dance unceasingly, amazonian guards who are unceasingly countermarching in bewildering mazes, and lovely young women who are unremittingly similing and joyous.

For the drama and the way it may happen to be played, and the plot or moral or meaning of it, nobody seems particularly to care. The point of interest is, first, the dancing; next, the dancers, and last, the scenery."
Photos:

Another promo shot, similar to the horse one from the original post.
Here's some of the chorus line.
A stereogram of "Stoquela".

De Pol jumped ship with his company to the Academy of Music on Dec 3, 1867, a theater at E 14th & Irving Place, leaving Banvard without a show, and then moved the show to Boston.

It appears to have been revived and revised, possibly in the 1890s, by Charles H. Yale, some of the posters are for the "Everlasting Devil's Auction, 20th Edition and best ever", and the "Forever Devil's Auction, Everything new but the title". LoC has a bunch of stuff, including posters, probably mostly from the Chas Yale revival. It looks like it was still being performed in 1908 all over the place, occasionally to disastrous effect.

I'm no theatre expert, so there may be errors and omissions in here. Some of this is cribbed from "It was play or starve": acting in the nineteenth century American popular theatre, John Hanners. I'm sure there's more in the aforementioned JSTOR article, but that'll have to wait for someone with access.
posted by zamboni at 12:47 PM on March 13, 2012 [14 favorites]


Fascinating, zamboni!
posted by Miko at 12:53 PM on March 13, 2012


Zamboni! I demand that you re-post this as it's own FPP!
posted by latkes at 12:54 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


FPP!
posted by benito.strauss at 12:58 PM on March 13, 2012


Your wish, et.c.
posted by zamboni at 1:38 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Zamboni!!

There are ways and ways of doing things.

FPP! Please.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:09 PM on March 13, 2012


OK too slow, didn't refresh, I'm dumb.

Thank you.

And tip of the hat to Sidhedevil
posted by BlueHorse at 3:11 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


self-referential jokes about boner reports
That is what meta means after all.
posted by Chekhovian at 3:32 PM on March 13, 2012


Bravo zamboni! Bravo!
posted by arcticseal at 3:53 PM on March 13, 2012


That sounds like a line from a Marx Brothers movie.

- Bravo Zamboni! Bravo!
- Atsa no prob. You like, I do it again. Only this time, you gotta pay.

posted by benito.strauss at 6:50 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


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