The Sexist

This Week In Sexist History: Too Fat! Too Thin! Edition

Newspaper stories from the good old days say the darndest things. So every week on the Sexist, let’s take a ride on journalism’s way-back machine, to a time when women were either too fat or too thin, but never just right. Yeah, they did that shit 100 years ago, too.

This Week in Sexist History:

Good Ol’ Day: July 12, 1909

Dateline: Berlin, Germany

Subject: German woman's body caught in a patriarchal double-bind: How to satisfy the "natural ample proportions" required to fulfill the role of Wife, while achieving the "modish slimness" required to fulfill the role of Sex Object. Sound familiar? Modern women, too, must navigate between "sexually desirable" and "baby-making factory"—it just usually doesn't up as cause for divorce, because nobody needs a reason to get divorced anymore.

Anyway, back to 1909, when this woman's husband:

Now that we've got the woman's vital stats out of the way, let's find out why someone's BMI makes them unfit for marriage:

Guilty! Of a crime of fashion. But seriously, that's all this woman has committed.

This is a toughie. While I can't support a woman's husband divorcing her because he doesn't like the choices she's made about her own appearance, I also have a hard time defending the forces of darkness ("fashion") which require a woman to lose ten pounds a month in order to fit into some clothes. Surely, this is a weight battle for the courts to decide.

Aw, at least she got to wear the dress. The really, really fashionable dress that would cost her her marriage!

Wait . . . he "bargained" for her? Yeah, I'm siding with fashion on this one.

  • Craig Howell

    Well, it's like what they say: The opera ain't over 'till the fat lady thins.

  • Liz

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    This is the flip side of MeMe Roth yelling about women having to stay thin because their husbands "bargained" for a thin wife.

  • Susan

    This article is fake. I don't know where it was found, but you can tell by the language, the phrasing .

  • Amanda Hess
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  • Iris

    This article was great, because it made me shake my head and amused me at the same time. Made me shake my head because of the unfairness of it all, amused me because of how things have changed in the fashion world. Funny how, in 1909, being 133 pounds at 5ft10 was 'faded away'. Nowadays that is ideal for catwalk models (her BMI would be about 18, bordering on clinically underweight, whereas people like Kate Moss must be at about 16). Whatever their attitudes to sexism were, their attitudes towards healthy eating were better off 100 years ago.