Hot Sluts of the Victorian Age

4 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Y’all, I saw an article on Burlesque Dancers of the late 19th Century and I was freaking captivated. I’ve often repeated on this blog, to the point it could be considered a mantra, that culture determines beauty and what is “beautiful” is then reverse engineered into what is considered “healthy” or the “optimum physiology”.  Well, the “loose women in tights” are perfect examples of this.

Take a look at this woman:

women in tights 3

As it says on her card, Ida was a “prize beauty”. Notice how her figure looks? Notice a certain amount of adipose tissue? Notice how she is NOT too fat yet is probably twice the size of one of today’s hotties?

In contrast, let’s tale a look-see at a modern beauty, Angelina Jolie. A face as symmetrical as hers will always be “beautiful”, but she she is also thin “enough”. In fact, the picture I found has a list of helpful ways you can morph into Angelina:


This may have been photoshopped, but it serves the purpose of showing us what “beauty” looks like today. It’s all about the muscles, fat-free body, and thigh gap, baby. Although you are supposed to keep big hooters as well, so hie thee to a plastic surgeon to get some DD sweater bunnies on top of dieting until you can be threaded through the eye of a needle.

Thigh gap and an ultra-thin body were not the goal for a beautiful woman 125 years ago:

women in tights 1

Sometimes, a beauty could be downright chunk-o-luscious:

women in tights 2 

That woman could plow a field and then carry the mule home. Her body is beautiful and strong. Nowadays, she would be dressed in sweats and loathing her “fat” and trying to shrink herself into invisibility. I think that is sad.

Oh, and all these women were “sluts” for their time. They dared to show more of their body than the patriarchal culture wanted them to, and they pissed the patriarchal hegemony off something fierce by using their bodies to make money for themselves and control their own careers/destiny. These women weren’t at home, saving all their sex up for reproduction and pleasing their culturally appointed master.

The next time you hear/read someone slut shaming a starlet, remember that her sluttiness is just as subjective as the “extreme” immoral clothing and actions of the women in tights.


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