Soak Up Some Feminist History

by Libby Zay

Okay, I have a confession to make: I love postcards.  But who doesn’t?  Nothing fills my heart with honest-to-goodness sentimentality like a 4×6 piece of flimsy cardboard sent from a friend in a faraway place.  That’s why when I saw an exhibit dedicated solely to postcards featuring ”bathing beauties” of the 20th Century is opening, I instantly knew it would be a gush-worthy spread of feminist nostalgia.

And connecting feminism and fashion is exactly what the exhibit at on Penn State Harrisburg’s campus lauds to demonstrate: a news release on their website asserts that the ”postcards captured the transition of American female swimwear and the changing social and cultural attitudes about the female body.”

The photographs, taken by famed slapstick silent film director Mack Sennett, are mostly pulled from the personal collection of a journalist and femrobilia collector, Alice Marshall.  Her collection of more than 700,000 postcards, most of which were considered risque for their time, must have been quite the task to wade through.  If you’re interested in taking a dip with your bathing-suit clad feminist foremothers, click here for more info.

(Photo courtesy of Looking for Mabel Normand )

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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