Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Shaping the body in the 1920s

Recently NPR ran this story, about how we've shaped the human body to fit cultural norms throughout history:

Shake What Your Mama Didn't Give You: Shapewear Through The Ages

The article is about how we as a species have always shaped the human body, particularly the female body.  We think we've come so far by rejecting corsets and things like that, but today we still have Spanx, and of course, plastic surgery, liposuction, and entire buildings (gyms) devoted to changing people's bodies.

The temptation is to say, "But the 20s weren't like that!  That's when women rebelled against any expectation for their figures!"  But that's not really quite true.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Catch HBO's 'Bessie' about the life of Bessie Smith

NPR ran a story yesterday about the new HBO movie Bessie, about the life of Bessie Smith, one of the top blues singers during the 1920s.  Queen Latifah plays Bessie, and it's clear from the article that this movie about the blues singer is primarily Latifah's doing.  It sounds like she's been working toward this for more than 20 years.

Queen Latifah — who plays the title role in the HBO movie Bessie, which premieres tonight — has been working for more than 20 years to bring Bessie Smith's life to the screen and finally pulled it together with writer-director Dee Rees.


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