Cartoon: In My Day, Young Women Never Dressed Like That

I love doing these history cartoons with Becky Hawkins – we both enjoy doing the research and I’m really proud of the results.  And I genuinely find it fascinating that so many things repeat and repeat over the centuries. I’m really pleased to end the year with this cartoon.

(It occurs to me, as I’m typing this paragraph, that I really should make a “history” topic on so it’s possible for people to see all the history cartoons in a single link).

Becky writes:

I enjoy drawing Barry’s “eight kinds of asshole” scripts, historical outfits and likenesses, so this was a natural fit for me. It was scheduled for last month, but I was too busy and asked for a less-complicated script to draw. Unsurprisingly, December was also busy, which is why this cartoon is going up on New Year’s Eve!

Carrie Nation was the most fun figure to research. She was an ardent Prohibitionist after experiencing the effects of widespread alcoholism on her family and community. She started by standing outside of saloons and scolding the men who went in, to understandably little effect. She eventually pivoted to traveling with a hatchet and trying to hack down buildings that sold liquor. She raised bail funds by selling merch like this hat pin (click on the pic to see it big:


There’s a place in my heart for principled killjoys, in-jokey merch, and alcohol, so she’s a complicated figure for me. It would’ve been fun to draw her with a hatchet, as many newspapers did, but that would have distracted from this cartoon.

Also, FYI there’s a bar in Boston named after Carrie Nation that does drag brunch.

Dabbing one’s eyes with a handkerchief is up there with using a fork in terms of relatively common hand motions that I forget how to do as soon as I’m thinking about it. I’ve heard you enjoy gratuitous reference selfie(s):

Back t0 Barry: I mentioned research before; but in this case, the research was made very easy, because other people did it first. (Honestly, that’s usually the case.) Most of the quotes in this cartoon were found in a thread on Twitter by Paul Fairie, based on his book The Press Gallery, and in the article A Brief History Of Men Moaning About Women’s Clothes by Rosalind Jana.

This cartoon has nine panels. 
The center panel (what you might call the Paul Lynde panel) is taken up mostly by large red lettering on a scroll. The lettering says IN MY DAY, YOUNG WOMEN NEVER DRESSED LIKE THAT. Each of the remaining eight panels shows a single speaker.
A middle-aged woman who looks like a successful politician – blue suit jacket over a red blouse, and slightly wavy hair that’s clearly been done by a professional – speaks at a podium, her hands on her hips. She has an annoyed, judgmental expression. 
WOMAN: I hate how young women today flaunt their bodies by wearing revealing clothing! Can’t they dress like we did?
A blonde woman sits at a desk with a laptop open in front of her. There’s a nice but also kind of fussy lamp on the desk, her blonde hair is combed to the side without a strand out of place, and her red blouse is buttoned to the top button; she gives the impression of being extremely straight-laced.
WOMAN: “Women nowadays dress too sexy in see-through tops, bare mid-riffs, halters and tube tops.” –Chicago Tribune, July 2000
A man in a brown suit and tie, carrying a newspaper rolled up under his arm, makes an angry, dismissive gesture as he speaks. His short hair and his brown fedora look 1950s.
MAN: “American women have too much of themselves showing — that would never do in Europe.” –Capital Times, 1954
An older woman wearing a blue cloche hat and a brown coat with a thick fur collar is holding a hanky to her eye as she cries.
WOMAN: “Women dress too scantily! Lately the sights that meet the eye on streets makes self-respecting women feel ashamed!” –Evening Sun, 1934
This is the center panel. It’s mostly filled by large red lettering on a scroll. The lettering says IN MY DAY, YOUNG WOMEN NEVER DRESSED LIKE THAT. 
The scroll has two young women leaning on it. The woman on the left wears a flapper dress with a sailor’s collar and a cloche, both mint green with pink highlights.
The woman on the right is extremely contemporary – a long coat with holes exposing her shoulders, a short skirt, bare midriff, cool clunky boots, and dyed green hair in an undercut.
A white haired man with an impressively groomed white gray mustache raises a forefinger as he speaks, like a professor making a point. He’s lifting one eyebrow like Spock, but we know that he would never be as cool as Spock was, let alone as cool as Leonard Nimoy was.
“I condemn the scantily-clad, jazzing flapper. To whom a dance, a new hat, or a man with a car, are of more importance than the fate of nations.” –Dr. R. Murray-Leslie, 1920
A cheerful-looking older woman squints. She’s wearing oval glasses, a blue bonnet, a short gray cape around her shoulders, and a blue long-sleeved blouse. One of her hands holds a Bible, while she’s pressing the fingers of the other hand into the center of her chest in an “oh dearie me” gesture. Other than her face and hands, not a millimeter of skin is exposed.
CARRIE NATION: “Women dress too gaily.  They should be more Modest and wear clothes something like what I’m wearing.” –Carrie Nation, 1901.
Panel 8
A middle-aged man wearing one of those gray curly wigs that upper-class aristocrats used to wear speaks with angry, wide-eyed fervor.  He’s wearing dark gray judge’s robes.
JOHN WESLEY: “Gay and costly apparel creates and inflames lust. It kindles a flame that will plunge you and your admirers into THE FLAMES OF HELL!” –John Wesley, 1786
Panel 9
A middle-aged man with a thick brown beard holds an open scroll and is reading it. He’s wearing brown robes and a light brown head wrapping, and looks extremely stern.
TERTULLIAN: “Make-up is fittingly called womanly disgrace. The care of hair and of those parts of the body that attract the eye is prostitution!” –Tertullian, 197 A.D. 

In My Day, Young Women Never Dressed Like That | Patreon


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2 Responses to Cartoon: In My Day, Young Women Never Dressed Like That

  1. 1
    bcb says:

    How dare you! You included a quote from 1934, but you missed the best one!

    In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
    Was looked on as something shocking
    But now, God knows
    Anything goes

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    I LOVE that song, but I don’t think Cole Porter really counts as someone being AGAINST how young women are dressing! :-p

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