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These 22 Exotic Dancers from the 1890’s Are a Whole Bunch of Strange

Mar 14, 2012 By Abraham

These postcards from the Charles McCaghy Collection at the Ohio State University Libraries feature burlesque dancers from the end of the 19th century. It’s fascinating to see how much styles and preferences have changed in the last hundred-odd years. I wonder what things will be like in the 2090’s…


    1. Heather says:

      Not to sound snide, but if the purpose of the whole “real women” campaign is to make EVERY woman feel beautiful, then what is the point of putting down women who are on the smaller side? Why be hurtful to those of us who weren’t blessed with curves.

    2. GrumpyDave says:

      Gee, Ray, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but all women ARE women regardless of their physical shapes. I will note however, that not all women are ladies . . .

    1. Amber says:

      These corsets typically required the women to break their bottom two ribs and allow them to “set” still broken so that they would be concave instead of convex. Alternatively, the corset would simply reshape the ribs over time.

      1. Vieve says:

        Just goes to show that women have always tried killing themselves for beauty. Before, they broke their own ribs. Now, we starve ourselves :/

      2. Anna says:

        I would rather exercise and diet than remove ribs…although trying to shove my ribs back together after kids is tempting…

      3. Chris Waterous says:

        Urban legends. I own 5 steel boned corsets myself and my ribs haven’t been broken. Your floating ribs are flexible, and a properly fitted corset is surprisingly comfortable.

        1. J Bear says:

          @Chris Waterous

          I just saw your comment. You are SPOT ON! I, sadly, own only one steel boned Victorian. I. LOVE. IT!!!! I also posted an article you might like. :-)

          Cheers! :-)

      4. J Bear says:

        False. Read this article.


        Everything you have ever heard about corsets are wrong. A of the myths come from dime store novels from the time. I personally own an historically accurate custom made Victorian corset. I LOVE wearing it. Properly made and fitted corsets don’t bruise skin, they don’t damage organs and they don’t break ribs. The only time it has done so is if it was made improperly, not made for your body or laced and cinched wrong. And women preferred to wear them. And there was even a male version of the corset. :-)

        1. J Bear says:

          Oh, and, as dangerous as surgery was back in the 1800s, women didn’t have their bottom two ribs removed to make their waists smaller, another myth from a dime store novel. :-)

  1. Amanda says:

    i’m not real keen on some of the costumes but very nice curvy figures some outfits are quite nice. I really don’t like the poses with thier arms crossed…they look pissed off :(

  2. lo says:

    a child bearing body was seen as beautiful back then. wide hips, large breasts, strength etc. the corsets were pulled tight (and ribs broken) to make the hips and shoulders more dominant. this is the same reason that many men prefer women with hips and larger breasts even today.

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