Good Lord, Grandpa It All Came True

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Ideas change. A thigh thought massive in 1970 was another era’s ideal, and the pinups presented here never failed to draw admiring looks from gentlemen of the 1890’s, along with a chuckle or two at the presumption of these career-minded girls.

Before women smoked, the Buchner Tobacco Company promoted its Morning Glory cigarettes by slipping one such “Morning Glory Maiden” card into each package. The maids numbered fifty-one in all, together composing an awesome though imaginary picture of female accomplishment in sport and the professions.

Women of the ‘go’s knew their place, and few presumed to professions more daring than nursing or teaching. In that era locker room and boardroom were bastions of male supremacy—untainted by perfume or the ring of soprano voices.

But ideas do change and adapt in the name of progress. While baseball diamond and boxing ring (as of this writing) remain the preserve of men, women are track stars and weightlifters. In 1968 the first female jockey was licensed for flat racing to the clear accompaniment of jeers from her “gentleman” counterparts. Just one year later Miss Barbara Jo Rubin finished in the winner’s circle at Aqueduct. Today’s women are barbers, bakers, bankers, and barristers. It may only have been the passing of the trade of village blacksmith that kept females from the forge. It is probably just a matter of time before the first lady major-leaguer gets a comradely slap on the rump from the third-base coach as she rounds what the sportswriters call the hot corner.

What seemed a patronizing jest in 1890 is now a prophecy fulfilled. Women who once filed only their nails or some male boss’s letters are now filing lawsuits for job reform and picketing for abortion reform; liberating breasts and baring legs. If the ideal thigh is narrower now, so are the cigars and cigarettes designed for consumption by the gentle sex. Or as one tobacco advertisement, aimed exclusively at women, currently asserts, “You’ve come a long way, baby, to get where you got to today.”

Carlo Davidson