Several photographs of women “then” and now show how shockingly, women have changed over the years in maturity, values, and comportment. One of the great things about the Internet is the constant juxtaposition of things past and present, a reminder that history did not begin yesterday, or in 1968. The Black and White photographs (and a few in color) of the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information Collection are now digitized and available for online viewing and downloading. They provide a fascinating look at the dress, physiques, general living conditions, and more of average Americans in the 1930’s through WWII. Several photographs, contrasted with America’s first modern female celebrity, show how the change in American women have been, for both good and bad. Particularly as the change relates to “guns.”
First, Madonna, age 51, on a Yacht in the Mediterranean:
Note the customized basketball jersey and shorts. And well, the “guns’ or very muscular arms (with no body fat) as Madonna tries vainly to remain 28 forever.
Now look at the images of the “Victory Corps” from 1942. The “Victory Corps” was a program, lasting from 1942-June 1944, that prepared High School students for the military, increasing fitness and specific skills (aviation, mechanic, marksmanship) but also included girls, as well as Blacks, and included other skills such as first aid, industrial or manufacturing training, radio repair and operation, and canning of food.
Here is a series of images of young women at Roosevelt High School (now almost entirely Latino-Mexican origin) in East Los Angeles:
Now, bear in mind these girls are teen-agers when these pictures are taken. But their general manner of carriage, dress, and demeanor make them look like women in their twenties today. Part of it is hair-styles, teen girls do not wear their hair or dress in that fashion today, making them look “older” to today’s eyes. But they also have a no-nonsense approach, in posing for the picture. Probably created by a childhood of chronic shortages and severe economic constraints, followed by war-time rationing and emergencies. At ages 16-17, they look more mature than Madonna at age 51.
Also note their guns. Not gym toned results of hyper-dieting with expensive prepared food and private trainers, but real guns that shoot bullets (they look like .22 LR training rifles based on the Springfield 1903 series). There’s even, yes, a firing range at the school. Can you imagine real life girls at Roosevelt High School today practicing with rifles in a school shooting range today?
There is much good in the world of today. Women are independent, and don’t need to worry about being their father’s or husband’s dependency, they have their economic destiny in their own hand. They have freedom of choice in all areas of their lives. Women today don’t live in a segregated society with different drinking fountains for Whites and non-Whites. There is no threat of a gigantic, racist and murderous Japanese or Nazi empire intent on wiping out the Anglosphere. There is no long history of a brutal depression that caused bread riots and massive social strife, and internal migration. Women have, for the first time in their lives, total freedom to live and do as they please.
But in all that … there has been a loss of seriousness and purpose in women’s lives. I would not trade the world of 1942 for that of today. But the images of the past do teach us one thing. Women should be practicing with guns. Not developing them. And teen-agers of the past were more mature than the grotesque parodies of aging pop stars today. Those same girls practicing with rifles, likely went on to become mothers, wives, and had careers. Madonna, at age 51, is a professional pop tart who pathetically tries to keep time at bay. In that sense at least, the world of 1942 was wiser in America than we are today.