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Women in Pants: Manly Maidens, Cowgirls, and Other Renegades Hardcover – March 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First Edition edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810945711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810945715
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A significant contribution to the scholarship on the history of... women’s rights, which included a "fight for our clothes." -- Joy Sperling, The Journal of American Culture, June 2004

This beautiful book…allows a part of history unknown to many of us to come alive…[It’s] hard to put down. -- Melody Ballard, Library Journal, June 1, 2003

This beautiful volume... brings to life a hidden history: women who traded their dresses for clothes that "made the man." -- Diane Ellen Hamer, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, Jan. 01, 2004

About the Author

Catherine Smith is an Associate Professor of Art at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan. Recently she co-curated, with Cynthia Grieg, "Images of Resistance: Women in Pants, Photographs from the 1850s to the 1930s." Smith has spent the last six years collecting and researching early photographs of women in pants. Cynthia Greig is a fine-art photographer and independent curator. She has curated and written essays for a number of recent exhibitions in addition to "Images of Resistance." Greig has also taught photography at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and is a contributor to the book, The Body Aesthetic: From Fine Art to Body Modification. She has an M.A. in Art History from the University of Iowa and an M.F.A. in Photography from the University of Michigan.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Women in Pants is a wonderfully illustrated book chronicling the almost forgotten history of women who not only had the audacious pluck to dress like men but who demanded the same rights, freedoms and jobs as men during a time when society made sure women had few opportunities outside the home. The book is well written and amply illustrated with many beautiful reproductions of vintage photos showing not only notable 19th-century "bloomerites," cowgirls and cross-dressing actresses, but female farmers, soldiers, miners, lumberjacks and mountain climbers! Not to mention the amusing photos of school girls dressed up in tuxedos and top hats for a school play or to attend an all-girl dance where sometimes a same sex romance blossomed. This amazing book offers compelling proof that there were plenty of 19th-century women who didn't fit the stereotypical image of the wasp-waisted feeble Victorian (still perpetuated by Hollywood), and who instead assumed the symbolic power of men's trousers to lay claim to their own equality and self worth. There's something absolutely brilliant about seeing a group of late 19th-century ladies smiling, even laughing while decked out in men's suits and smoking cigars, acting decidely macho with almost reckless abandon (by Victorian standards at least). The photo illustrations and the text serve as powerful reminders of the many battles women have had to fight in order to gain the freedoms we now have and take for granted. An inspiring, must-read for all .
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an incredibly compelling collection of photographs. It is exactly what it says it is: photographs of women wearing pants, starting from the beginnings of photography in the mid-1800s and ending about a hundred years later.
Intellectually, we all know that people have worn all sorts of clothing at all times in history. But in fact almost every image of women before the 1930s and '40s portrays women in skirts. It's as if women were shaped like bells until then.
You won't realize how deeply ingrained this assumption can be until you look at this collection. It's a real eye-opener.
Many of the pictures are matter-of-fact recordings of women in unusual situations for that time, like women doing tough jobs that demanded trousers. Others show women who would never wish to be caught dead wearing pants in public. Yet there they are, playacting with their sorority sisters, some shamefaced, others defiant, but all are bravely facing the camera.
The collection contains broad range of photographic technologies and a mix of amateur and professional work. This mixture lends an interesting touch of realism to the collection. In a way, this collection suggests a novel way of studying the past: collect the photographs and see what they really show.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Catherine J. Smith on November 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Could you add this review please (Catherine Smith, Author):

[T]his book provides an eloquent photo study of women wearing pants across the globe during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Using 150 period photographs . . . the authors document an oft-unexplored side of these women's lives. Harem pants . . . common wear outside U.S. society, are explored in the chapter "Multicultural Influences: 'Very Peculiar Garb.'" A chapter on "Working Women: 'Do me a mess o' work . . . jes like a man'" includes painters, carpenters, ranchers, fisherwomen, miners, lumberjacks, factory workers. . . . [C]hapters cover cyclists, actresses, cowgirls, and other adventurous women. High quality . . . photographs illustrate every page spread of the text. . . . Chapters on romantic women and college women reveal Victorian expectations allowed for passionate female relationships as different from today's. . . . From the reform costume of the late-nineteenth century through working women and mock weddings, this book explores the lot. This fascinating compilation should be useful for period studies and in history classrooms. It is recommended for library collections reaching secondary students and the general public. . . . (Hard to imagine it being any better written. . . .) . . . Ages 11-18.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erynn Laurie on December 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Steampunk is a fun subculture based on a Victorian "future that never was". If you are into or interested in steampunk and aren't sure what to do for wardrobe ideas, this will give you some fantastic options outside the usual corset, skirt, and boots. Filled with extraordinary historical photographs of women in all kinds of situations, what they have in common is a different approach to attire than the stereotypical image of the Proper Victorian Lady. After looking at this book, you'll never think of steampunk possibilities for women in the same way.
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