History and Women: Women and Pants

Clippings from news sources involving fashion freedom and other gender equality issues.
Coder
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History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by Coder »

I ran across this article today (yeah, I know this isn't "The Pants Cafe" :D):

https://www.historyandwomen.com/2012/04 ... pants.html

And while nothing particularly special, it mentioned "Pit brow women" whom I had never heard about before:

Image

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/p ... tain-pants

While their motivations for wearing pants appears to be born out of practicality (I have yet to find an article where they wear pants for "comfort" back then, although this was around the time bloomers came into fashion), I find the parallels quite interesting. If you read the first link it seems to draw a conclusion that celebrity appearances in pants helped pave the way for broader acceptance of pants on women - you can almost see a similar dynamic happening with male celebrities and skirts, though hasn't been adopted by major retailers:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-hist ... ba4ad34fe7

It seems serious efforts at pantsuits WERE made by designers and companies - as for male skirts - I would hardly call today's catwalk and the pathetic attempts by some manufacturers - and better attempts by others - as amounting to much.

Obviously skirts have a lot of "baggage" associated with them - instead of pants as a power symbol they represent the opposite in many minds.

Why bring all this up? No particular reason, woke up early and a discussion going on here (women who refuse to let their partners wear pants) made me curious about what women went through as they fought for their right to wear pants, and how that differs from today's challenge.

Happily I think we are past one hurdle - I think general societal tolerance has set in. It isn't quite perfect - I feel it is marred by the heavy focus on gender that society is obsessed with at the moment - but really I think it's about as good as it's going to get short of a major retailer like Levis branding a skirt for men.
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by trainspotter48 »

Coder,
From the picture, I would guess that it was a woman working in a colliery.
In the UK we tend to have deep coal mines with underground galleries (following the coal seams) accessed via a vertical shaft - usually with a lift cage in it. The top of the shaft is known as the 'Bank', or in this case 'Brow'. Hence the woman is working on the surface at the top of the shaft (Women were not allowed to go underground). I suspect that owing to the industrial/physical nature of the work the women were allowed to wear trousers. There is apparently some history of women (and children) working as 'pickers of bats and brasses' in North of England pits in the early to mid 19th century.
I would guess that the picture dates from one of the war periods when the men were conscripted into the armed services.
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by partlyscot »

Coder wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:57 pm
Why bring all this up? No particular reason, woke up early and a discussion going on here (women who refuse to let their partners wear pants)
Did you mean "refuse to let their partners wear skirts"? If not, which discussion are you talking about?
Coder
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by Coder »

partlyscot wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:27 pm
Coder wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:57 pm
Why bring all this up? No particular reason, woke up early and a discussion going on here (women who refuse to let their partners wear pants)
Did you mean "refuse to let their partners wear skirts"? If not, which discussion are you talking about?
Oh gosh! My bad :P

Yes - refuse to let their partners wear skirts. D’oh.
Coder
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by Coder »

trainspotter48 wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:58 pm
Coder,
From the picture, I would guess that it was a woman working in a colliery.
In the UK we tend to have deep coal mines with underground galleries (following the coal seams) accessed via a vertical shaft - usually with a lift cage in it. The top of the shaft is known as the 'Bank', or in this case 'Brow'. Hence the woman is working on the surface at the top of the shaft (Women were not allowed to go underground). I suspect that owing to the industrial/physical nature of the work the women were allowed to wear trousers.
Yep! The linked articles touch on some of the prevailing attitudes of the time, and even legislation that outlawed women/children working underground in the mines. Some of the rationalization (to stop them from working in the mines) was the barbaric clothing they had to wear (paraphrasing here).
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by moonshadow »

From the comment section:

UnknownFeb 7, 2016, 12:47:00 PM
Trousers are for men not for women

Reply


Heh... I guess they have those finger wagglers too! 8)
"The price of freedom of religion or of speech or of the press is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish."

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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by Coder »

moonshadow wrote:
Sun Jun 20, 2021 12:33 am
From the comment section:

UnknownFeb 7, 2016, 12:47:00 PM
Trousers are for men not for women

Reply


Heh... I guess they have those finger wagglers too! 8)
I saw that comment and it gave me a chuckle. Oh they exist, trust me (although I assume you do know).
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by STEVIE »

Hi Guys
The ban on women and kids working underground was not rigorously enforced and continued regardless.
The females commonly wore trousers under their skirts to protect their legs. The weight was tremendous and safety ignored.
However, that was the strength of the taboo in some areas.
Steve.
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by rivegauche »

My mother was one of the first women in her small, very religious and traditional community to wear trousers in the 1940s. She got a hard time for it. Strangely, she abandoned this and I was in my 20s before I saw her in trousers.
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by STEVIE »

I think that my Mother was well into her retirement when she first wore trousers.
In terms of community, I don't think the neighbours would have been scandalised.
On the other hand my Father would have had definite views.
I know that he did not like her using cosmetics.
Ironically he was quite socialist in his politics but highly conservative in outlook.
If he had caught me wearing a skirt I would have been punished, severely!
Steve.
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by Jim »

My Mom was a fashion leader in pants in Minnesota. She wrote:
When I first came to Minnesota, that first winter I wore snow pants that I had used in Chicago. The farm kids had never seen such a thing --pants on girls! -- and I had to take a lot of teasing. But the next winter the fashion had reached even Minnesota, and I was no longer the laughing stock.
This would have been around 1930 or 1931 when she was 6 or 7.

I think snow pants make sense when playing in the snow.
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moonshadow
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by moonshadow »

Interestingly, if you run an internet search on "women wearing pants", you get results in one of two categories:

a) General historical pages discussing how women have progressed into the pants wearing world

b) Religious websites regarding the issue of women wearing pants, which can be further subdivided into:

b.1) Religious bodies that condemn women wearing pants (not at all common)

b.2) Religious bodies that support women wearing pants (much more common)

One takeaway about this is that unlike the discussion we're having in another thread, is it doesn't appear that the pants wearing woman ever had to endure any type of "gender identity politics" that we deal with today with regards to us [men] wearing skirts. No, it seems that with women, it's a simply binary matter of, you're going to burn in hell, or you're not.

One fun aspect to observe is how multiple religious institutions seems to be engaging in some serious biblical manipulation and reasoning to allow women to wear pants. Many of these same arguments could be said for the skirt wearing man, but it would seem that that is a bridge too far.

Not too many of us members have worn skirts in our various churches, so I'd be curious as to how tolerant organized religion has become to such practices. Somehow I imagine that in my region, few churches would turn me away at the door, but I doubt I'd be allowed to formally "join" the congregation, unless I vowed to give up my "sinful ways". I believe OldSalt has worn skirts and some downright feminine stuff to his church before, and I believe Daryl from Louisville has also worn skirts to his church with no reaction (according to him), I'm not sure about anyone else. As for me, I've not sat through a Protestant church service in well over a decade. I don't count the times I spent at a Unitarian church a few years back. That didn't really work out for a couple of reasons, mainly I think [believe it or not] I was too... um, "libertarian" for them. There was also the matter where I felt a little out of place there. I know one man in particular seemed bothered by my appearance.
"The price of freedom of religion or of speech or of the press is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish."

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Jim
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by Jim »

moonshadow wrote:
Sat Jun 26, 2021 9:45 pm

Not too many of us members have worn skirts in our various churches, so I'd be curious as to how tolerant organized religion has become to such practices. Somehow I imagine that in my region, few churches would turn me away at the door, but I doubt I'd be allowed to formally "join" the congregation, unless I vowed to give up my "sinful ways". I believe OldSalt has worn skirts and some downright feminine stuff to his church before, and I believe Daryl from Louisville has also worn skirts to his church with no reaction (according to him), I'm not sure about anyone else.
I wear a skirt to my rural Mennonite Church regularly. Just a few comments and questions. One woman said she liked the skirts. Our song leader told me he was asked why I wore skirts by an exchange student from Nigeria, so I explained it was primarily for comfort. Never anything negative. It's not the conservative type of Mennonite church where the women have to wear head coverings. I'm a fairly new member as my previous Mennonite church closed. I'm asked to read scripture or help at communion from time to time. I feel fully accepted, although I've been asked to not be too public about my nudist views.
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by Faldaguy »

moonshadow wrote: ↑Sat Jun 26, 2021 3:45 pm

Not too many of us members have worn skirts in our various churches, so I'd be curious as to how tolerant organized religion has become to such practices. Somehow I imagine that in my region, few churches would turn me away at the door, but I doubt I'd be allowed to formally "join" the congregation, unless I vowed to give up my "sinful ways". I believe OldSalt has worn skirts and some downright feminine stuff to his church before, and I believe Daryl from Louisville has also worn skirts to his church with no reaction (according to him), I'm not sure about anyone else.
Dave, PDX Fashion has written a few times about wearing dresses to his church, not a problem -- I don't recall the denomination. I wear my skirts to Quaker Meetings, school, and events. I've also been in Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, & Episcopalian facilities -- but not as a member or attender of their services -- with no apparent concern. I suspect churches much like business are more hungry for customers than conflict; and churches probably figure they can 'cure' you should you be afflicted with something! :wink:
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Re: History and Women: Women and Pants

Post by Coder »

moonshadow wrote:
Sat Jun 26, 2021 9:45 pm
One takeaway about this is that unlike the discussion we're having in another thread, is it doesn't appear that the pants wearing woman ever had to endure any type of "gender identity politics" that we deal with today with regards to us [men] wearing skirts. No, it seems that with women, it's a simply binary matter of, you're going to burn in hell, or you're not.
This very question has bugged me for a very long time, and I don’t quite have an answer for it. Well… I have some ideas but not sure how thoughtful they are.

However, there is an EXCELLENT modern example of this in an Old Spice body wash commercial running on YouTube at the moment (was watching some tool restoration videos). A guy is in a ?bathroom? and this woman is in with him. She’s about to take some body wash and he admonishes her because it’s his/“a mens”/“made for a man” product. She looks guilty, I think does a side to side look and gathers the product and takes off.

Just flip the script - can you even imagine them having the guy do the stealing? What would you think? If you’d find it weird the guy took the woman’s body wash - but not the other way around - why?
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