Saturday, January 26, 2013

22. Jack's Delight: Ridicule as Humor

Jack's Delight by
Becky Brown

Jack's Delight with its spiky points can remind us of how humor has been used to maintain the status-quo. 
"My Wife's Joined the Suffrage Movement.
I've suffered ever since!"
Postcard, about 1910

Many of these images are from postcards, a craze that peaked about a hundred years ago in the midst of the public discussion of voting rights for women. Historian Catherine Palczewski estimates that about 4,500 suffrage-themed postcards were published. We also find earlier anti-female political cartoons by Thomas Rowlandson, Thomas Nast and Honore Daumier.

Woman Cleansing the Ballot Box by Thomas Nast, 1869
Nast insults the Irish (a favorite target) as well as women

Joke aficionados will tell you there are very few jokes in the world and most can be traced back for thousands of years. Anti-female visual art has a few consistent themes. As in the cartoons above and below, one theme is the unattractiveness of women, particularly those who push the edges of convention.

Honore Daumier. The Blue-stockings (intellectuals)
Postcard about 1910

Postcard about 1910

The unattractive woman with an unattractive personality---a bore, a moralizer, a scold or a busybody.

  Italian Postcard: Necessary Operation ---Ouch

Just as popular is the theme of a sissified man dominated by a behemoth of a woman who forces him to switch roles with her.
A Railroad Accident, 1870

A lesser theme is the idea that women are too distractible or too dumb to vote.

"Her First Vote:"
Can't vote---too self-absorbed!

"Dear, What was that candidate's name who kissed our baby?"
Can't Vote---Too easily swayed.

And if too incompetent to vote, far too incompetent to govern---

One of an anti-suffrage series by 
Walter Wellman in English suffrage colors

There is also the age-old warning that women who push the boundaries are promiscuous...
1789, Thomas Rowlandson,
 The political Duchess of Devonshire secures votes

1869 The Age of Brass
Currier & Ives

...Or as Rush Limbaugh might put it "sluts".
An evil alternative:
Christabel Pankhurst as a witch 1912

Cartoons weren't the only format for anti-female humor. In 1914 Charlie Chaplin made a strange little movie in which he dressed as a woman. "A Busy Day or The Militant Suffragette" incorporated several classic themes. Watch it here:
Jack's Delight by
Dustin Cecil

Jack's Delight by
Georgann Eglinski

 BlockBase 2846
The sawtooth block was published as Jack's Delight by Massachusetts columnist Clara Stone a little over a hundred years ago.
Cutting an 8" Finished Block
A - Cut 2 squares 4-7/8".
Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 4 corner triangles.

B - Cut 5 squares 5-3/16" Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles.
You need 20 triangles.

C - Cut 1 square 4-1/4".

Cutting a 12" Finished Block
A - Cut 2 squares 3-1/2".
Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 4 corner triangles.

B - Cut 5 squares 3-7/8" Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles.
You need 20 triangles.

C - Cut 1 square 6-3/16".

Jack's Delight by
Becky Brown

See the Catherine H. Palczewski Postcard Archive at the University of Northern Iowa by clicking here:
Another collection of anti-suffrage humor:
Read Gary L. Bunker's "The Art of Condescension," for an in-depth look at political cartoons and the 19th century women's movement.

"Maria, I won't wash another dud."
Stereograph photos were another format for anti-female humor, 
here predicting an unthinkable role reversal.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

21. Parasols and P.R.

Parasol by Becky Brown

Patty's Summer Parasol, a play on the Double Wedding Ring pattern, was published in the Kansas City Star in 1953. We can use the pieced and appliqued design to recall how American women used parasols as an emblem of their cause.

When sunshades were summer necessities, a symbol of women's delicacy, they also became a visual image in women's determination to obtain the vote.

A parasol could serve as billboard, here advertising suffrage teas---another adaptation of a traditional female institution into powerful public relations.

The message at its simplest was "Votes for Women."

During the 1916 Democratic convention in St. Louis where Woodrow Wilson was nominated for a second term, a "Golden Lane" of women wearing yellow sashes and carrying parasols lined the streets, a "walkless, talkless" protest reminding delegates every day of activists' persistence.

The Golden Lane

Three years later when the Missouri Legislature voted on ratification, women in the galleries applauded and waved yellow parasols after each legislator voted in favor of the 19th amendment. "As the certainty of the successful outcome of the roll-call was more apparent, the volume of cheering and the medley of the waving yellow sun-shades increased." The Southeast Missourian, July 15, 1919

Portland, Oregon, 1912
The Parasol by Becky Brown

Cutting an 8" Finished Block

The parasol pattern is BlockBase #951.

Parasol by Dustin Cecil
The 8" pattern.
See the 3 pages for the 12" pattern below.

 I re-numbered the ruffle pieces along the edge as three pieces. Cut 1 E, 1 F and 6 D
The Kansas City Star pattern had you piece the curved umbrella into the background but here you applique the umbrella to an 8-1/2" square and ignore pieces A and B, as Dustin and Becky did. 

Here's how Becky pieced the parasol over the paper pattern.
First she cut fabric with the seam allowances included.
She cut paper templates ignoring the seam allowances, folded the fabric edges over each
and glued the seam allowances down with a glue stick.
The pins tell her what's top and bottom of each piece.

She then whip-stitched the ruffle to the umbrella and removed the paper.

After you have pieced the ruffle to piece C you can applique it with the handle and top knot.

 The parasols seem to be advertising a march in
Washington, May, 1913 "Rain or Shine."

Read about using public relations and consumer goods for the cause in Margaret Mary Finnegan's Selling Suffrage: Consumer Culture & Votes for Women (Columbia University Press 1999.) See a preview here:

Here's a mid-20th-century pieced and appliqued parasol---
a different pattern, but just as cute.
Inspiration, perhaps.

Learn more about the Missouri parasol brigades in the "Fighting for Rights Set" photos from the Missouri History Museum here

Mary Ellen appliqued hers.