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Late 19th Century Sexuality

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I have a piece up at Alternet exploring the relationship between 19th century sexuality and today’s Republican War on Women, channeling my inner Rachel Maines and focusing on the history of the vibrator to compare the trivalization of women’s bodies in the medical profession during the Gilded Age to how conservative white men are talking about women today.

In a related piece, Lisa Wade both reviews Peter Stearns’ new book on the relationship between body shape and beauty in American history and provides us some pictures of exotic dancers from 1890, the year Stearns identifies as the beginning of the shift toward the thin body as the ideal of beauty. A couple of examples of highly sexualized women from 1890:

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