As a history student I try to remember that the past shouldn't be judged through the lens of the present. As a humorist I respect that jokes can be funny and offensive at the same time. And so collecting the postcards below were an opportunity to prove my open-mindedness on both counts.
I failed, tremendously. These are awful, and they must be shared.
The message: No matter what kind of woman you are, you lose. Mother (fatty), wife (scold), sexy (asking for it), independent (unwanted), unattractive (useless) — the joke is that you were born a woman. That is how bigotry works.
Women have made great strides away from being a punch line (except if they go inside of a Spencer's Gifts store). Here's a reminder of how far we've come.
1. Mrs, Miss, and Missed!
These are your options, ladies. Fat, Floozy, or Forgotten.
2. This Girl is Right for Hubby's Office!
Because look at that no-nonsense posture! And how she handles that typewriter! Such dexterity and accuracy!
3. Grace Before Meat.
Well, if she didn't want to be publicly humiliated by loafers then she shouldn't have tried to exercise in the sunshine! Who does she think she is, a person?
4. All This Just for a Sore Throat?
Obviously the good doctor is concerned that a possible lymph infection might have spread to other nodes. She should be grateful for his thorough approach.
5. Grin and Bear It.
You got yourself into this, sunshine, what with your playing with toys and seeking true love. Now go starch something.
6. That Sartainly Must Be A Show Girl.
Uck. Ankles. What a strumpet. Frankly she deserves whatever she gets.
7. The Hunting is Wonderful!
It's a simple matter of safety. He couldn't tie the shotgun to the hood! That would be dangerous.
8. A Waste of Time and Labor.
Because she already has a deep sense of self-worth, no matter how much make up she wears! I assume that's what they're getting at. Anything else would just be completely unfunny and cruel, right?
9. What's in a brain!
Cerebral Cortex! Cerebellum! Brainstem! Good thing she had a book to look up the answer in!
10. It's Your Tonsils After All!
Do not question the doctor's methods, madam. He has a degree from Medical College.
11. A Quiet Smoke At Last!
Poor, dear man. Everyone grieves in their own way.
12. Go On, Smack It, Dad!
Don't worry! She stood up after being smacked and they all had a good laugh! Maybe she even baked them a pie after!
13. Adjusted Muffler
Opinions equal forcible restraint, darling. You know this.
14. Wife Beater's License.
15. Don't Stop Now!
Ah! He's got us there! Women do love being assaulted on the street. Makes us tingle all over!
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