Bell Curves

In 1994 Charles Murray wrote, with a co-author, The Bell Curve, arguing that intelligence was a product of environment and "inherited" factors, that is, good breeding. The chapter presenting this marlarkey of an argument has been largely disproven both in terms of evidence and conclusions (the rest of the book is not as dicey in … Continue reading Bell Curves


Dressing for a protest is nothing new, especially for women. And gaining improvements in the working conditions and pay for women is nothing new -- and having to go on strike, protest, and rally for these rights is nothing new. The garment industry in the first decade of the 20th century ran on women's labor. … Continue reading Striking!

To the fat girls

"Why is it that the makers of the fashions do not give the fat girls a show? The matter is, however, by no means a joke to "the fat girls." Want to guess the date of that complaint by the "fat girls"? Give up? 1882. Yes, in 1882 the unknown columnist of "The Art of … Continue reading To the fat girls

Game, Blouses (part 2)

Photo from private (that would be my own) collection Game, Blouses is a three-part series. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Our two gals are wearing shirtwaists -- what we today would call blouses. Usually made of fine, thin cotton weave, and often incorporating lace inset or trim, these blouses were made by women of … Continue reading Game, Blouses (part 2)

That’s some attitude you got there

This photograph, a cabinet card from the 1870s, is in my private collection. This girl has cool attitude long before the term is coined. In her own time period, depending on her behavior, a little girl whose actions matched this posture might be known as a tomboy -- a girl too much like a boy. … Continue reading That’s some attitude you got there

Game, Blouses (part 1)

Game, Blouses is a three-part series. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Charlie Murphy recounted his amazing basketball game with Prince on David Chappelle's show in 2004. Prince challenges the Murphy "gang" to a late-night basketball game. Prince doesn't change out of his ruffly, figure-skater styled shirt and tiny jacket. Murphy cackles with laughter when … Continue reading Game, Blouses (part 1)

Truth Telling

In 1864 Sojourner Truth began selling┬ácartes-de-visite to raise funds to support black soldiers serving for the Union Army and later, for suffragism. Nell Irvin Painter's marvelous, astounding history of Truth, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol (W.W. Norton and Company, 1997), Painter has an extended analysis of Truth's choices of self-presentation in these publicity photographs. … Continue reading Truth Telling

Mourning is what she wears.

At the Glamour Magazine Women of the Year awards, "Tracee Ellis Ross admitted that she had trouble deciding what to wear... ("Do I wear black because I'm in mourning? Do I go to a costume shop and get armor?") In the end, she went with something that reflected how vulnerable she feels this week: a … Continue reading Mourning is what she wears.