Starshine Junkyard

Unimaginable treasures

Posts tagged history

9,799 notes

Oldest depiction of female form shows that modern archaeologists are pornsick misogynists : Reclusive Leftist

cannelledusoleil:

female-only:

plansfornigel:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Female figurine from the Hohle Fels cave near Stuttgart, about 35,000 years old. Interpreted as a pornographic pin-up.

“The Earliest Pornography” says Science Now, describing the 35,000 year old ivory figurine that’s been dug up in a cave near Stuttgart. The tiny statuette is of a female with exaggerated breasts and vulva. According to Paul Mellars, one of the archaeologist twits who commented on the find for Nature, this makes the figurine “pornographic.” Nature is even titling its article, “Prehistoric Pin Up.” It’s the Venus of Willendorf double standard all over again. Ancient figures of naked pregnant women are interpreted by smirking male archaeologists as pornography, while equally sexualized images of men are assumed to depict gods or shamans. Or even hunters or warriors. Funny, huh?

Consider: phallic images from the Paleolithic are at least 28,000 years old. Neolithic cultures all over the world seemed to have a thing for sculptures with enormous erect phalluses. Ancient civilizations were awash in images of male genitalia, from the Indian lingam to the Egyptian benben to the Greek herm. The Romans even painted phalluses on their doors and wore phallic charms around their necks.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicIthyphallic figure from Lascaux, about 17,000 years old. Interpreted as a shaman.

But nobody ever interprets this ancient phallic imagery as pornography. Instead, it’s understood to indicate reverence for male sexual potency. No one, for example, has ever suggested that the Lascaux cave dude was a pin-up; he’s assumed to be a shaman. The ithyphallic figurines from the Neolithic — and there are many — are interpreted as gods. And everyone knows that the phalluses of ancient India and Egypt and Greece and Rome represented awesome divine powers of fertility and protection. Yet an ancient figurine of a nude woman — a life-giving woman, with her vulva ready to bring forth a new human being, and her milk-filled breasts ready to nourish that being — is interpreted as pornography. Just something for a man to whack off to. It’s not as if there’s no other context in which to interpret the figure. After all, the European Paleolithic is chock full of pregnant-looking female statuettes that are quite similar to this one. By the time we get to the Neolithic, the naked pregnant female is enthroned with lions at her feet, and it’s clear that people are worshipping some kind of female god.

Yet in the Science Now article, the archaeologist who found the figurine is talking about pornographic pin-ups: “I showed it to a male colleague, and his response was, ‘Nothing’s changed in 40,000 years.’” That sentence needs to be bronzed and hung up on a plaque somewhere, because you couldn’t ask for a better demonstration of the classic fallacy of reading the present into the past. The archaeologist assumes the artist who created the figurine was male; why? He assumes the motive was lust; why? Because that’s all he knows. To his mind, the image of a naked woman with big breasts and exposed vulva can only mean one thing: porn! Porn made by men, for men! And so he assumes, without questioning his assumptions, that the image must have meant the same thing 35,000 years ago. No other mental categories for “naked woman” are available to him. His mind is a closed box. This has been the central flaw of anthropology for as long there’s been anthropology. And even before: the English invaders of North America thought the Iroquois chiefs had concubines who accompanied them everywhere, because they had no other mental categories to account for well-dressed, important-looking women sitting in a council house. It’s the same fallacy that bedevils archaeologists who dig up male skeletons with fancy beads and conclude that the society was male dominant (because powerful people wear jewelry!), and at another site dig up female skeletons with fancy beads and conclude that this society, too, was male dominant (because women have to dress up as sex objects and trophy wives!). Male dominance is all they can imagine. And so no matter what they dig up, they interpret it to fit their mental model. It’s the fallacy that also drives evolutionary psychology, the central premise of which is that human beings in the African Pleistocene had exactly the same values, beliefs, prejudices, power struggles, goals, and needs as the middle-class white professors and students in a graduate psychology lab in modern-day Santa Barbara, California. And that these same factors are universal and unchanged and true for all time.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicHohle Fels phallus, about 28,000 years old. Interpreted as a symbolic object and …flint knapper. Yes.

That’s not science; it’s circular, self-serving propaganda. This little figurine from Hohle Fels, for example, is going to be used as “proof” that pornography is ancient and natural. I guarantee it. Having been interpreted by pornsick male archaeologists as pornography because that’s all they know, the statuette will now be trotted out by every ev psycho and male supremacist on the planet as “proof” that pornography is eternal, that male dominance is how it’s supposed to be, and that feminists are crazy so shut the fuck up. Look for it in Steven Pinker’s next book. ***

P.S. My own completely speculative guess on the figurine is that it might be connected to childbirth rituals. Notice the engraved marks and slashes; that’s a motif that continues for thousands of years on these little female figurines. No one knows what they mean, but they meant something. They’re not just random cut marks. Someone put a great deal of work into this sculpture. Given that childbirth was incredibly risky for Paleolithic women, they must have prayed their hearts out for help and protection in that time. I can imagine an elder female shaman or artist carving this potent little figure, and propping it up somewhere as a focus for those prayers.

On the other hand, it is possible that it has nothing to do with childbearing or sexual behavior at all. The breasts and vulva may simply indicate who the figure is: the female god. Think of how Christ is always depicted with a beard, which is a male sexual characteristic, even though Christ isn’t about male sexuality. The beard is just a marker. Or, given the figurine’s exaggerated breasts, it may have something to do with sustenance: milk, food, nourishment.

The notion that some dude carved this thing to whack off to — when he was surrounded by women who probably weren’t wearing much in the way of clothes anyway — is laughable.

Good lord I am so glad I took ancient art from a female professor.

(via madithefreckled)

Filed under archaeology anthropology long post queue history

322,711 notes

xxsecretbookxx:

detenebrate:

0xymoronic:

shitarianasays:

theeyesinthenight:

the-sonic-screw:

platinumpixels:

volpesvolpes:

unseilie:

sarahvonkrolock:

gaysexagainstawall:

them-days-was-olden-as-fuck:

The spread of the black death.

Poland

Poland, tell us your secret.

Poland is the old new Madagascar. 

If I remember correctly, Poland’s secret is that the jews where being blamed all over europe (as usual) as scapegoats for the black plague. Poland was the only place that accepted Jewish refugees, so pretty much all of them moved there. 
Now, one of the major causes of getting the plague was poor hygiene. This proved very effective for the plague because everyone threw their poop into the streets because there were no sewers, and literally no one bathed because it was against their religion. Unless they were jewish, who actually bathed relatively often. When all the jews moved to Poland, they brought bathing with them, and so the plague had little effect there.
Milan survived by quarantining its city and burning down the house of anyone showing early symptoms, with the entire family inside it. 

I reblogged this tons of times, but the Milan info is new.
Damn Italy, you scary.

Poland: “Hey, feeling a bit down? Have a quick wash! There, you see? All better”
Milan: “Aw, feeling a bit sick are we? BURN MOTHERFUCKER, BURN!!!!!”

Also, this might have something to do with it: from what I understand, O blood type is uncommonly… common in Poland. Something to do with large families in small villages and a LOT of intermarriage. The black plague was caused by a bacterium that produced, in its waste in the human body, wastes that very closely mimic the “B” marker sugars on red blood cells that keep the body from attacking its own immune system. Anyone who has a B blood type had an immune system that was naturally desensitized to the presence of the bacterium, and therefore was more prone to developing the disease. Anyone who had an O type was doubly lucky because the O blood type means the total absence of ANY markers, A or B, meaning that their bodys’ immune system would react quickly and violently against the invaders, while someone with an A may show symptoms and recover more slowly, while someone with B would have just died. Because O is a recessive blood type, it shows in higher numbers when more people who carry the recessive genes marry other people who also carry the recessive gene. Poland, which has a nearly 700 year history of being conquered by or partnering with every other nation in the surrounding area, was primarily an agricultural country, focused around smaller, farming communities where people were legally tied to, and required to work, “their” land, and so historically never “spread” their genes across a large area. The economy was, and had been, unstable for a very long period of time leading up to the plague, the government had been ineffective and had very little reach in comparison to the armies of the other countries around for a very very long time, and so its people largely remained in small communities where multiple generations of cross-familial inbreeding could have allowed for this more recessive gene to show up more frequently. Thus, there could be a higher percentage of O blood types in any region of the country, guaranteeing less spread of the illness and moving slower when it did manage to travel. Combine this with the fact that there were very few large, urban centers where the disease would thrive, and with the above facts, and you’ve got a lovely recipe for avoiding the plague.
Interestingly enough, as a result from the plague, the entirety of Europe now has a higher percentage of people with O blood type than any other region of the world. 

WHY IS THIS ALL SO COOL

When Tumblr teaches you more about the plague than 12 years of school ever did.

Just to throw a nod in, as a medieval historian, this is all credible, and is the leading theory as to the plagues effectiveness at this point. So. Enjoy your new knowledge!

how come we never learned this is school?

xxsecretbookxx:

detenebrate:

0xymoronic:

shitarianasays:

theeyesinthenight:

the-sonic-screw:

platinumpixels:

volpesvolpes:

unseilie:

sarahvonkrolock:

gaysexagainstawall:

them-days-was-olden-as-fuck:

The spread of the black death.

Poland

Poland, tell us your secret.

Poland is the old new Madagascar. 

If I remember correctly, Poland’s secret is that the jews where being blamed all over europe (as usual) as scapegoats for the black plague. Poland was the only place that accepted Jewish refugees, so pretty much all of them moved there. 

Now, one of the major causes of getting the plague was poor hygiene. This proved very effective for the plague because everyone threw their poop into the streets because there were no sewers, and literally no one bathed because it was against their religion. Unless they were jewish, who actually bathed relatively often. When all the jews moved to Poland, they brought bathing with them, and so the plague had little effect there.

Milan survived by quarantining its city and burning down the house of anyone showing early symptoms, with the entire family inside it. 

I reblogged this tons of times, but the Milan info is new.

Damn Italy, you scary.

Poland: “Hey, feeling a bit down? Have a quick wash! There, you see? All better”

Milan:Aw, feeling a bit sick are we? BURN MOTHERFUCKER, BURN!!!!!”

Also, this might have something to do with it: from what I understand, O blood type is uncommonly… common in Poland. Something to do with large families in small villages and a LOT of intermarriage. The black plague was caused by a bacterium that produced, in its waste in the human body, wastes that very closely mimic the “B” marker sugars on red blood cells that keep the body from attacking its own immune system. Anyone who has a B blood type had an immune system that was naturally desensitized to the presence of the bacterium, and therefore was more prone to developing the disease. Anyone who had an O type was doubly lucky because the O blood type means the total absence of ANY markers, A or B, meaning that their bodys’ immune system would react quickly and violently against the invaders, while someone with an A may show symptoms and recover more slowly, while someone with B would have just died. Because O is a recessive blood type, it shows in higher numbers when more people who carry the recessive genes marry other people who also carry the recessive gene. Poland, which has a nearly 700 year history of being conquered by or partnering with every other nation in the surrounding area, was primarily an agricultural country, focused around smaller, farming communities where people were legally tied to, and required to work, “their” land, and so historically never “spread” their genes across a large area. The economy was, and had been, unstable for a very long period of time leading up to the plague, the government had been ineffective and had very little reach in comparison to the armies of the other countries around for a very very long time, and so its people largely remained in small communities where multiple generations of cross-familial inbreeding could have allowed for this more recessive gene to show up more frequently. Thus, there could be a higher percentage of O blood types in any region of the country, guaranteeing less spread of the illness and moving slower when it did manage to travel. Combine this with the fact that there were very few large, urban centers where the disease would thrive, and with the above facts, and you’ve got a lovely recipe for avoiding the plague.

Interestingly enough, as a result from the plague, the entirety of Europe now has a higher percentage of people with O blood type than any other region of the world. 

WHY IS THIS ALL SO COOL

When Tumblr teaches you more about the plague than 12 years of school ever did.

Just to throw a nod in, as a medieval historian, this is all credible, and is the leading theory as to the plagues effectiveness at this point. So. Enjoy your new knowledge!

how come we never learned this is school?

(Source: , via apfelgranate)

Filed under history plague

10,383 notes

rejectedprincesses:

Introducing Wu Zetian, first and only female Emperor of China — seen here poisoning her infant daughter.
Now, that’s actually a bit of a historical inaccuracy: the generally-accepted truth was that she *strangled* her young daughter, to frame the old queen and get her out of the way. It worked — both the old queen and the old queen’s mother were executed, and haunted her from that point forward. I thought they’d make good comic relief characters in the movie adaptation.
From there, she ascended to be Emperor Gaozong’s predominant consort, and set about eradicating all other claimants to the throne. Early on, her method of choice was a slow-acting poison made from silkworms. As time went on and her influence grew, however, she took to engineering treason charges for her opponents, summoning them to the throne room and making them kill themselves in front of her.
That’s some cold shit.
Once the emperor died, her oldest son ascended to the throne, and proceeded to ignore her. She didn’t take kindly to this, and had him drubbed out of office, and later forced to commit suicide. In his place, she installed her youngest son, whom she basically locked in his room, so she could rule in his stead. Before long, she dropped all pretense of being the queen regent, and formally declared herself the official emperor of China.
Her reign saw the complete rearrangement of dynastic succession, as she systematically wiped out any and all claimants to the throne. In one year alone, she destroyed fifteen family lines, mostly through executions and enforced suicides. 
How did she drum up her accusations of treason, you ask? By putting, essentially, anonymous comment boxes sprinkled throughout the palace. When someone pissed her off, she’d have her servant write a tattle-tail letter and place it in a comment box. Within days, they’d be put to the sword — usually their own. This is almost undoubtedly the most hardcore use of an anonymous comment box in history.
She also had an enormous network of spies and a secret police, who further kept any rivals at bay.
If you really got on her bad side, she would enact the “human pig” torture — wherein your arms and legs were cut off, your tongue was removed, and you were force-fed and left to wallow in your own excrement.
Empress Wu did not fuck around. 
For people outside of political circles, her reign was peaceful and prosperous. She left the general population be, and opened up the civil examinations to a wider range of people, making for more diversity in the local and regional governments. As long as you didn’t cross her, she was pretty cool.
She never remarried, although she did end up banging a Buddhist monk for a lot of her life, and took two younger fellas as lovers late in life. Hardcore lady.
Art notes:
The throne room is based off of ones in the Forbidden City, although it’s a bit of a melange of several different rooms.
Her outfit, as well as that of Emperor Gaozong, are simplified, but fairly accurate.
The two queen ghosts hovering around her head are also based off of historical representations.
The baby bottle she has in her hand is also based off of the oldest Chinese baby bottle reference I could find.
The characters on the baby bottle spell “gold silkworm,” a reference to the type of poison she likely used — a slow-acting poison made from the bodies of silkworms.

rejectedprincesses:

Introducing Wu Zetian, first and only female Emperor of China — seen here poisoning her infant daughter.

Now, that’s actually a bit of a historical inaccuracy: the generally-accepted truth was that she *strangled* her young daughter, to frame the old queen and get her out of the way. It worked — both the old queen and the old queen’s mother were executed, and haunted her from that point forward. I thought they’d make good comic relief characters in the movie adaptation.

From there, she ascended to be Emperor Gaozong’s predominant consort, and set about eradicating all other claimants to the throne. Early on, her method of choice was a slow-acting poison made from silkworms. As time went on and her influence grew, however, she took to engineering treason charges for her opponents, summoning them to the throne room and making them kill themselves in front of her.

That’s some cold shit.

Once the emperor died, her oldest son ascended to the throne, and proceeded to ignore her. She didn’t take kindly to this, and had him drubbed out of office, and later forced to commit suicide. In his place, she installed her youngest son, whom she basically locked in his room, so she could rule in his stead. Before long, she dropped all pretense of being the queen regent, and formally declared herself the official emperor of China.

Her reign saw the complete rearrangement of dynastic succession, as she systematically wiped out any and all claimants to the throne. In one year alone, she destroyed fifteen family lines, mostly through executions and enforced suicides. 

How did she drum up her accusations of treason, you ask? By putting, essentially, anonymous comment boxes sprinkled throughout the palace. When someone pissed her off, she’d have her servant write a tattle-tail letter and place it in a comment box. Within days, they’d be put to the sword — usually their own. This is almost undoubtedly the most hardcore use of an anonymous comment box in history.

She also had an enormous network of spies and a secret police, who further kept any rivals at bay.

If you really got on her bad side, she would enact the “human pig” torture — wherein your arms and legs were cut off, your tongue was removed, and you were force-fed and left to wallow in your own excrement.

Empress Wu did not fuck around. 

For people outside of political circles, her reign was peaceful and prosperous. She left the general population be, and opened up the civil examinations to a wider range of people, making for more diversity in the local and regional governments. As long as you didn’t cross her, she was pretty cool.

She never remarried, although she did end up banging a Buddhist monk for a lot of her life, and took two younger fellas as lovers late in life. Hardcore lady.

Art notes:

  • The throne room is based off of ones in the Forbidden City, although it’s a bit of a melange of several different rooms.
  • Her outfit, as well as that of Emperor Gaozong, are simplified, but fairly accurate.
  • The two queen ghosts hovering around her head are also based off of historical representations.
  • The baby bottle she has in her hand is also based off of the oldest Chinese baby bottle reference I could find.
  • The characters on the baby bottle spell “gold silkworm,” a reference to the type of poison she likely used — a slow-acting poison made from the bodies of silkworms.

(via storiesintheashes)

Filed under Wu Zetian rejected princesses China history

72,806 notes

gdfalksen:

Chiune Sugihara. This man saved 6000 Jews. He was a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania. When the Nazis began rounding up Jews, Sugihara risked his life to start issuing unlawful travel visas to Jews. He hand-wrote them 18 hrs a day. The day his consulate closed and he had to evacuate, witnesses claim he was STILL writing visas and throwing from the train as he pulled away. He saved 6000 lives. The world didn’t know what he’d done until Israel honored him in 1985, the year before he died.

gdfalksen:

Chiune Sugihara. This man saved 6000 Jews. He was a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania. When the Nazis began rounding up Jews, Sugihara risked his life to start issuing unlawful travel visas to Jews. He hand-wrote them 18 hrs a day. The day his consulate closed and he had to evacuate, witnesses claim he was STILL writing visas and throwing from the train as he pulled away. He saved 6000 lives. The world didn’t know what he’d done until Israel honored him in 1985, the year before he died.

(via niquesse-e)

Filed under history bamfs queue a'la niq

21,879 notes

virtualclutter:

Hair washing and care int he the 19th century
Hair washing is something that almost every historical writer, romance or not, gets wrong. How many times have you read a story in which a heroine sinks gratefully into a sudsy tub of water and scrubs her hair–or, even worse, piles it up on her head to wash it? Or have you watched the BBC’s Manor House and other “historical reenactment” series, in which modern people invariably destroy their hair by washing using historical recipes?

Historical women kept their hair clean, but that doesn’t mean their hair was often directly washed. Those who had incredibly difficult to manage hair might employ a hairdresser to help them wash, cut, and singe (yes, singe!) their hair as often as once a month, but for most women, hair-washing was, at most, a seasonal activity.
“Why?” you might ask. “Wasn’t their hair lank, smelly, and nasty?”
And the writers who embrace ignorance as a badge of honor will say, “Well, that just goes to show that people used to be gross and dirty, and that’s why I never bother with that historical accuracy stuff!”
And then I have to restrain myself from hitting them…
The reason that hair was rarely washed has to do with the nature of soaps versus modern shampoos. Soaps are made from a lye base and are alkaline. Hair and shampoo are acidic. Washing hair in soap makes it very dry, brittle, and tangly. Men’s hair was shirt enough and cut often enough that using soap didn’t harm it too much and the natural oils from the scalp could re-moisturize it fairly easily after even the harshest treatment, but in an age when the average woman’s hair was down to her waist, soap could literally destroy a woman’s head of hair in fairly short order.
Instead, indirect methods of hair-cleaning were used. Women washed their hair brushes daily, and the proverbial “100 strokes” were used to spread conditioning oils from roots to tips and to remove older or excess oil and dirt. This was more time-consuming than modern washing, and this is one of the reasons that “good hair” was a class marker. The fact that only women of the upper classes could afford all the various rats, rolls, and other fake additions to bulk out their real hair was another. (An average Victorian woman of the upper middle or upper class had more apparent “hair” in her hairstyle than women I know whose unbound hair falls well below their knees.) Women rarely wore their hair lose unless it was in the process of being put up or taken down–or unless they were having a picture specifically taken of it! At night, most women braided their hair for bed. Now that my hair is well below my waist, I understand why!
The first modern shampoo was introduced in the late 1920s. Shampoos clean hair quickly and also remove modern styling products, like hairspray and gel, but the frequent hair-washing that has become common leaves longer hair brittle even with the best modern formulations. (From the 1940s to the 1960s, many if not most middle-class women had their hair washed only once a week, at their hairdresser’s, where it was restyled for the next week. The professional hairdresser stepped into the void that the maid left when domestic service became rare. Washing one’s hair daily or every other day is a very recent development.) That’s where conditioners came into play. Many people have wondered how on earth women could have nice hair by modern standards before conditioners, but conditioners are made necessary by shampoos. Well-maintained hair of the 19th century didn’t need conditioners because the oils weren’t regularly stripped from it.
Additionally, the oils made hair much more manageable than most people’s is today, which made it possible for women to obtain elaborate hairstyles using combs and pins–without modern clips or sprays–to keep their hair in place. This is why hair dressers still like to work with “day-old” hair when making elaborate hairstyles.
There were hair products like oils for women to add shine and powders meant to help brush dirt out of hair, but they weren’t in very wide use at the time. Hair “tonics”–mean to be put on the hair or taken orally to make hair shinier, thicker, or stronger–were ineffective but were readily available and widely marketed.
If you have a heroine go through something particularly nasty–such as a fall into a pond or the like–then she should wash her hair, by all means. This would be done in a tub prepared for the purpose–not in the bath–and would involve dissolving soap shavings into a water and combine them with whatever other products were desired. Then a maid would wash the woman’s hair as she leaned either forward or backward to thoroughly wet and wash her hair. Rinsing would be another stage. The hair would NEVER be piled on the head. If you have greater than waist-length hair and have ever tried to wash it in a modern-sized bathtub, you understand why no one attempted to wash her hair in a hip bath or an old, short claw foot tub! It would be almost impossible.
A quick rundown of other hair facts:
Hydrogen peroxide was used to bleach hair from 1867. Before that, trying to bleach it with soda ash and sunlight was the most a girl could do. Henna was extremely popular from the 1870s through the 1890s, especially for covering gray hair, to such an extent that gray hair became almost unseen in certain circles in England in this time. Red hair was considered ugly up until the 1860s, when the public embracing of the feminine images as presented by the aesthetic movement (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) gained ground, culminating in a positive rage for red hair in the 1870s to 1880s. Some truly scary metallic salt compounds were used to color hair with henna formulations by the late 19th century, often with unfortunate results.
Hair curling was popular in the 19th century and could either by achieved with rag rolls or hot tongs. Loose “sausage” rolls were the result of rag rolling. Hot tongs were used for making the “frizzled” bangs of the 1970s to 1880s–and “frizzled” they certainly were. The damage caused by the poor control of heating a curler over a gas jet or candle flame was substantial, and most women suffered burnt hair at one time or another. For this reason, a number of women chose to eschew the popular style and preserve their hair from such dangers! Permanents were first in use in the 1930s.  
(From: http://www.lydiajoyce.com/blog/?p=1022)

virtualclutter:

Hair washing and care int he the 19th century

Historical women kept their hair clean, but that doesn’t mean their hair was often directly washed. Those who had incredibly difficult to manage hair might employ a hairdresser to help them wash, cut, and singe (yes, singe!) their hair as often as once a month, but for most women, hair-washing was, at most, a seasonal activity.

“Why?” you might ask. “Wasn’t their hair lank, smelly, and nasty?”

And the writers who embrace ignorance as a badge of honor will say, “Well, that just goes to show that people used to be gross and dirty, and that’s why I never bother with that historical accuracy stuff!”

And then I have to restrain myself from hitting them…

The reason that hair was rarely washed has to do with the nature of soaps versus modern shampoos. Soaps are made from a lye base and are alkaline. Hair and shampoo are acidic. Washing hair in soap makes it very dry, brittle, and tangly. Men’s hair was shirt enough and cut often enough that using soap didn’t harm it too much and the natural oils from the scalp could re-moisturize it fairly easily after even the harshest treatment, but in an age when the average woman’s hair was down to her waist, soap could literally destroy a woman’s head of hair in fairly short order.

Instead, indirect methods of hair-cleaning were used. Women washed their hair brushes daily, and the proverbial “100 strokes” were used to spread conditioning oils from roots to tips and to remove older or excess oil and dirt. This was more time-consuming than modern washing, and this is one of the reasons that “good hair” was a class marker. The fact that only women of the upper classes could afford all the various rats, rolls, and other fake additions to bulk out their real hair was another. (An average Victorian woman of the upper middle or upper class had more apparent “hair” in her hairstyle than women I know whose unbound hair falls well below their knees.) Women rarely wore their hair lose unless it was in the process of being put up or taken down–or unless they were having a picture specifically taken of it! At night, most women braided their hair for bed. Now that my hair is well below my waist, I understand why!

The first modern shampoo was introduced in the late 1920s. Shampoos clean hair quickly and also remove modern styling products, like hairspray and gel, but the frequent hair-washing that has become common leaves longer hair brittle even with the best modern formulations. (From the 1940s to the 1960s, many if not most middle-class women had their hair washed only once a week, at their hairdresser’s, where it was restyled for the next week. The professional hairdresser stepped into the void that the maid left when domestic service became rare. Washing one’s hair daily or every other day is a very recent development.) That’s where conditioners came into play. Many people have wondered how on earth women could have nice hair by modern standards before conditioners, but conditioners are made necessary by shampoos. Well-maintained hair of the 19th century didn’t need conditioners because the oils weren’t regularly stripped from it.

Additionally, the oils made hair much more manageable than most people’s is today, which made it possible for women to obtain elaborate hairstyles using combs and pins–without modern clips or sprays–to keep their hair in place. This is why hair dressers still like to work with “day-old” hair when making elaborate hairstyles.

There were hair products like oils for women to add shine and powders meant to help brush dirt out of hair, but they weren’t in very wide use at the time. Hair “tonics”–mean to be put on the hair or taken orally to make hair shinier, thicker, or stronger–were ineffective but were readily available and widely marketed.

If you have a heroine go through something particularly nasty–such as a fall into a pond or the like–then she should wash her hair, by all means. This would be done in a tub prepared for the purpose–not in the bath–and would involve dissolving soap shavings into a water and combine them with whatever other products were desired. Then a maid would wash the woman’s hair as she leaned either forward or backward to thoroughly wet and wash her hair. Rinsing would be another stage. The hair would NEVER be piled on the head. If you have greater than waist-length hair and have ever tried to wash it in a modern-sized bathtub, you understand why no one attempted to wash her hair in a hip bath or an old, short claw foot tub! It would be almost impossible.

A quick rundown of other hair facts:

Hydrogen peroxide was used to bleach hair from 1867. Before that, trying to bleach it with soda ash and sunlight was the most a girl could do. Henna was extremely popular from the 1870s through the 1890s, especially for covering gray hair, to such an extent that gray hair became almost unseen in certain circles in England in this time. Red hair was considered ugly up until the 1860s, when the public embracing of the feminine images as presented by the aesthetic movement (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) gained ground, culminating in a positive rage for red hair in the 1870s to 1880s. Some truly scary metallic salt compounds were used to color hair with henna formulations by the late 19th century, often with unfortunate results.

Hair curling was popular in the 19th century and could either by achieved with rag rolls or hot tongs. Loose “sausage” rolls were the result of rag rolling. Hot tongs were used for making the “frizzled” bangs of the 1970s to 1880s–and “frizzled” they certainly were. The damage caused by the poor control of heating a curler over a gas jet or candle flame was substantial, and most women suffered burnt hair at one time or another. For this reason, a number of women chose to eschew the popular style and preserve their hair from such dangers! Permanents were first in use in the 1930s.  

(From: http://www.lydiajoyce.com/blog/?p=1022)

(via gabzilla-z)

Filed under hair history

517 notes

ornamentedbeing:

This is why they are called New York’s Finest. This is my history crush of the day.
“Jennifer Foster of Florence, AZ was visiting Times Square with her husband Nov. 14 when they saw a shoeless man asking for change. She writes, “Right when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him. The officer said, ‘
I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching*. I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life. I did not get the officer’s name. It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared.”Our thanks to the Fosters for their attention and appreciation, and especially to this officer, who remains anonymous. Send us your NYPD snapshots via Facebook message, and/or email the Department throughhttp://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailnypd.html.*image cropped from the distance at which it was taken”

ornamentedbeing:

This is why they are called New York’s Finest. This is my history crush of the day.

“Jennifer Foster of Florence, AZ was visiting Times Square with her husband Nov. 14 when they saw a shoeless man asking for change. She writes, “Right when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him. The officer said, ‘

I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching*. I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life. I did not get the officer’s name. It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared.”
Our thanks to the Fosters for their attention and appreciation, and especially to this officer, who remains anonymous. 

Send us your NYPD snapshots via Facebook message, and/or email the Department throughhttp://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailnypd.html.

*image cropped from the distance at which it was taken”

Filed under New York's Finest heroes homeless new york police officer random acts of kindness history history crush

368 notes

ornamentedbeing:

Wedding Ensemble

c. 1878

The Met says: While white is now de rigueur for bridal attire, the fashion for white wedding gowns originated only in the late 19th century and was not commonplace until the 20th century. This dress is a good example of the more practical 19th century practice of brides wearing colored gowns for weddings. The wedding dresses could then be worn again for other receptions and social events. A well-made and finely-detailed example of the period, this dress would have been described as a “cuirass” or “cuirass style” at the time it was made, a term that refers to the form-fitted bodice. A steel-boned corset helped to achieve the ideal figure for the cuirass style in the 1870s and 1880s.

Filed under History steampunk wedding vintage costume fashion bride art beauty gorgeous

117 notes

ornamentedbeing:

Court gown & train

London, England
Redfern
1907
Museum Purchase, Funds provided by Yvonne Hummel
2008.932.19AB

I have picked  a short sample of what I found to be interesting in the article but I encourage you to click the link at the bottom left hand corner and read the original post by FIDM. It’s well worth the read!

“To be presented at court, a woman had to be sponsored by another woman (often a mother, mother-in-law or other relative) who had already been presented at court. During Edward and Alexandra’s reign, American women presented at court were always sponsored by the wife of the American ambassador. In her application, the sponsor vouched for the character of the presentee, ensuring that only women of good character were presented. Under no circumstances could a woman who wanted to be presented make an application for herself. All applicants were investigated before being accepted for presentation. Women eligible for presentation included wives and daughters of the aristocracy, clergy, navy or military officers and certain “aristocratic” professions, including physicians and barristers. Ineligible women included divorcees who were considered legally at fault for the divorce, and actresses… . The train on our court dress is the required 11 feet, and attaches at the shoulders with hand-carved cameos depicting classical dancers. The classical theme is continued in the graduated laurel leaves decorating the train. Vertical lines of laurel leaves accent the princess seams of the gown, a silhouette named for Queen Alexandra when she was the Princess of Wales.”

Filed under History costume fashion court gown la belle epoque beautiful age gorgeous textile edwardian royalty