allowance for period
It is not fair of me to want to punch the author of English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century in the throat. After all, one must remember, it was 1937 when he wrote:
The distinctive feature of a woman’s shape is the disproportionate width of the hip-line, producing an inward slope to the legs, so that in the erect posture the outline of the body is wide at the middle and tapering toward the extremities. Such a shape imparts to the eye a sense of unbalance. Indeed, if the bias of sex-attraction could be set aside, such a shape would be unpleasing, because we have an instinctive dislike of objects that look top-heavy. Instinctively woman is conscious of this, and from the earliest times has attempted to conceal her hip-line. We are told that her first effort was by an apron of fig leaves, applied, no doubt, for that reason. Since then the main function of woman’s dress has been to conceal the bad proportions of her body. (emphasis added)
That’s right, ladies — you know, deep down, by instinct alone, that your body is Shaped Wrong. Your hips are disproportionate, because of course the right proportion is that of a man. Eve knew that in the Garden, without the benefit a mirror to look in! (Maybe Adam told her she had a fat ass.) And human beings hate top-heavy things, which is why, of course, we find it so unattractive when a man has well-muscled shoulders, right?
It is also not fair of me to want to punch him in the throat for the brief mention, in passing, that all the line drawings of hats and hairstyles, and all the notations for them, were done by his wife — who doesn’t get her name on or in the book, nosirree. He’s the only one who did any real work, after all.
1937. This was written in 1937. I have to bear that in mind. <breathes>