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a frog the size of texas

May 6th, 2009

09:25 am - A quick note...

I just visited the home ec shelves again and one of the books, Lessons in Living for the Young Homemaker, from 1970, has an illustration style for the non-photographic pictures in it that is so self-consciously hip I feel it should be shooting finger guns at me.

Lessons in Living

(I grew up in the 1970s and 80s with this style of illustration in EVERYTHING. I sort of hate it now.)

10:21 am

Yo, vom_marlowe, one of your stories got name-checked in a recent column in the Hooded Utilitarian!

11:08 am - From the 1970 book...

If you have never removed the hair from your underarms or your legs and decide to do so, you should ask your mother or teacher or some other adult to show you how.
Barring the unfortunate cases where you can't ask your mom or sister or other close friend or relative, I think that asking a teacher to show you how to shave your legs would rank right up there among the list of humiliating things in your life.

However, this book does what none of the previous books did: acknowledge the existence of black people. We see black girls and women in the photos and illustrations, although Asians don't appear to exist yet. The 1959 book had a few photos that might have had Latino/as in them - I can't tell for sure, just going by appearance - but they tended to be from newspaper file photos of kids in Houston and San Antonio, as the book was written by the woman who was head of the homemaking department in the Houston Independent School District at the time, and the South Texas areas tend to be heavily Latino. The photos from other sources remain resolutely white.

12:26 pm - Yay for lunchtime!

It means I can sit down and do some real reading on home ec textbooks!

In the 1970 book, we are lectured on proper behavior at concerts:
At some concerts, you are expected to do foot-stamping or soulful mourning. Such events might be jazz concerts, folk music festivals, or concerts of the popular teen-age idols. Make sure you are in the right place when you stamp your feet and express your feelings about a singer or music group.
Oh, you wacky kids with your "jazz" and your "folk music"!

And finally, there is a section on behavior on the job that acknowledges that women might actually work outside the house! At a job! For money! OK, it assumes you're doing it because you have to earn money, not because you find outside work more fulfilling. Baby steps, baby steps. There are also four photographs in the chapter, two of which show women (and one man) working in secretarial/receptionist jobs, one titled "Cooperating on the job" which, when examined closely, shows three male and one female high school students in a classroom trying to make a projector work,* and one illustrating an interview, I think, where a young girl in a sweater and short skirt is very stiff and smiling while an older man in a check jacket is leaning forward at her. I'm getting way different vibes from that last photo than they intended.**

The 1959 book had one sentence in the section that talked about helping your mother around the house that said many mothers might have to work, in which case she deserves your extra help. But only as the last sentence in a couple of paragraphs that assume the real reason your mother is out of the house and not staying behind and cleaning it is that she is volunteering (as is her civic duty!).

I will say, however, that in the exercises at the end of the chapter in the 1970 book, the list of jobs they ask you to find out the job skills for are primarily stereotypical women's jobs, all dealing with caregiving, food service, or children: waitress, baby-sitter, cook, nurse's aid[e], teacher, nursery school teacher, food service supervisor in a hospital. Now if only that last were a CHILDREN'S hospital, we'd have the Chick Job Trifecta! (At least it's a supervisory job. Small graces.)

The chapter about civic duty has an entire section devoted to committees.


--
* The girl is the one reading the directions. Make of that what you will.

** Also interesting: the differences in attitudes about skirt length. The girl in the photo has a loose, high-necked, long-sleeved sweater that is, however, paired with a skirt that exposes about 6-8" of her thigh above her knee when she sits down, and the text on the page warns: "Some women wear tight-fitting, skimpy clothes to attract the attention of men. This is not the proper way to dress for a job. You can lessen your chances for job success if you do dress this way."

I recall my seventh-grade English teacher telling us that when she was in college, about this time, the skirt length that was fashionable was, when you were standing with your arms against your sides, no longer than the middle of your hand. Which would explain why the skirt in the photo would be considered modest enough for the workplace. Wrapping my brain around that ... hard. XD

01:38 pm - One more post...

...before I focus on my real job. :D

Your Home and You is a home ec textbook from 1960, aimed at high school students. In the food section, there is a black and white photograph whose caption reads:
11-5. Here is a nourishing meal for a person on a reducing diet. It is essential that the dinner includes foods rich in protein.
It shows a smiling woman sitting down to a meal that consists of: a plate to the side with some sort of fruit and what may be nuts on it, garnished with some sort of (I assume) greenery, a dinner plate with a chunk o'charred meat, a piece of broccoli with a HUGE knob of butter on it*, and mottled green beans, accompanied by a full glass of milk and a bowl of ice cream.

I note also that the picture is credited to the National Dairy Council.



* I'm estimating 1.5-2 tablespoons from the size of it.

03:37 pm - About livelongnmarry...

We know that some people who donated for items or services on livelongnmarry never got the things they bid on, for one reason or another. [info]rachelmanija has just posted a new entry over there.

In short, if you did not receive the items or services you bid on, post there without naming the person you won them from, describing what you won. Others: please keep an eye on the post, and if you see something you can and want to fulfill, please do so!

Note: These are auctions where the donation has already been made, so no further donation is necessary.

And please advertise the post far and wide, so we can get these people the stuff they won! :D

10:07 pm - WOLVERINE!!!!!

Just came back from Wolverine, and I had a very enjoyable time. The movie was exactly what I expected, and I expected Wolverine's ass. I did not expect great scriptwriting, involving plot, great acting, or much of anything else.

The plot was, of course, Yet Another Marvel Retcon, but as the X-movieverse is a retcon of the comicverse, that's not surprising. And a trawl through Amazon.com to see what Weapon X stuff there is produced an approximate 2497358923749374 versions of Weapon X, Wolverine: Origis, and so on.

Color me so surprised. *rolls eyes*

I quit reading the X-books about the point where Magneto pulled the adamantium out of Wolverine's bones* (and started reading them about the time the first Weapon X storyline started) - anyone out there know how many different versions of his origin there currently are?


* Spurred, actually, by stupid writing involving Sabretooth, of all people. He's my favorite evil villain, because I showed up in the X-verse right when they were doing interesting things with his character, and then someone screwed it all up again, completely reversing all the character-building they'd done, I got disgusted, and I left. If anyone actually wants me to rant about that, let me know.
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