Tattooed Lady Dress | Dangerfield | Dangerfield
Hey look, zebra View all 10 comments. Came off as as a not-terribly-scholarly casual research project cobbled together with a couple of other not-terribly-scholarly casual research projects, but if you treat this as light entertainment and a fun collection of photos, you won't be disappointed. Well, except by the bits on contemporary tattooed lady performers.
Ugh, boring strippers with a few tattoos, big freaking deal; it would have been much more interesting to see and hear from some of today's OK Would like to see these topics explored further by really brilliant researchers and writers; hopefully that will be coming down the pike. I'll hold on to this for now. During the lateth and early 20th centuries, women chose tattooing to purposely attract a specific kind of attention. Whether it was at the behest of a spouse already in the carnival or to get out of the drudgery of a life of servitude, many young women chose to become The Tattooed Lady — a life explored by Amelia Klem Olmstead in her eponymous book.
However, when she tried to find further information about Western women and tattooing in the same period, very little was available.
Olmstead introduced her readers to the more famous tattooed ladies such as Irene Woodward, Nora Hildebrandt, Surita, Artoria Gibbons, Bertha Ritchie, and Emma de Burgh, plus many more unnamed women who were photographed on the sideshow circuit. She also touched briefly on the history of tattooing and the emergence of the tattooed lady. Throughout the stories, Olmstead discussed how tattooed ladies came to prominence in the s.
Many of the women told various tales of how they came to be tattooed, the most common story of being captured by natives and tattooed under duress. Ultimately, as Olmstead concluded, women tattooed their bodies as a way to assert their independence and escape dreary lives. Little opportunity was available for women of the era and a life on the carnival circuit provided income and adventure.
Olmstead tied the Victorian tattooed lady to the modern sideshow and burlesque resurgences as she closed the book. Jumping straight to the rise of the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow on the Lollapalooza tour in the final chapter, she discussed how the tattooed lady has moved from a main attraction to a secondary characteristic of a performance.
Now, sideshow women are sword swallowers, fire-eaters, and burlesque dancers who also happened to be tattooed. Overall, Olmstead provided an excellent overview of the development of the tattooed lady as sideshow.
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The women she profiled are shown in historic and modern photographs. However, the drawback of the book is that the reader is left feeling as though there is more to the story. A good looking book with wonderful pix, sources and index and even an attached ribbon bookmark.
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The writing could use some editing, information was frequently repeated from one chapter to the next and before I became accustomed to this flaw I found myself confused about maybe having lost my place; no matter how elegant or well employed, a bookmark won't help in that respect. I'd like to see more photos and less redundancies. May 26, Shannon Noonan rated it did not like it. I wish this book had a better editor; a historian perhaps? The first two chapters were essentially the same, covering the same topics, women, and stories. Plus there were so many questions not explored.
I understand there will be some limitations due to scant historical records, but I feel the writer could've covered a lot more than she did. Wonderful subject, disappointing research and writing.
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An interesting look into the history of the tattooed lady as a circus attraction. The lives of these women who chose to tattoo themselves and how they were perceived by society at the time. With a wonderful collection of pictures to accompany the text, you really get a feeling for who these women were.
This book is highly entertaining for the first 40 pages, but suffers from poor editing. Much of the latter part of the text reads like an undergraduate research paper-- a paper that deserves an A but not full-length publication. The pictures are fascinating and from a librarian's point of view the captions provide excellent reference points for resources in this genre. There were a few great nuggets of information but overall redundant and I remain disappointed.
Telemedicine and the Tattooed Lady.
Jun 10, Gabrielle rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , american , feminist , historical , reviewed , own-a-copy , read-in , goodreads-made-me-do-it. But a recent burst of intellectual curiosity led me to dig a little deeper on the subject and I found this book. My interest in tattooed ladies was greatly reinforced by this book, and I found their stories to be very inspirational.
Most of these women were from working class or poor families and had very few prospects: the decision of getting extensively tattooed and making a living by showing off their body art and often becoming tattooists themselves drastically changed their lives, allowing them to travel extensively and often make better wages than they could have ever hoped for had they stayed at home.
They were all clearly independent women, who embraced that idea of being different and used that to control their lives the way very few other women could in that day and age. What I found very interesting was that they were always presented as refined ladies, with fancy hair-dos and beautiful jewelry — people who had visible tattoos at the turn of the century were usually sailors and criminals more respectable people often had tiny ones, strategically placed so they could be hidden almost all the time , so this idea of a sophisticated and elegant high-class woman being covered and ink was a stark contrast to the accepted status of the average tattoo wearer.
Their tattoos were also placed so that when they were dressed in the acceptable attire for women of that era, no one could have told what they did for a living. The role these women had in body-art and body-modification culture is undeniable, as they still fascinate, intrigue and inspire us today. They paved the way for tattoo enthusiasts such as myself, and the amazing female tattoo artists working today. But their legacy clearly endures despite lingering stereotypes about tattooed women.
Sadly, about a quarter of it is information we have read before being repeated, which was frustrating. The author does a very good job of explaining the historical setting of the shows tattooed ladies worked in and giving us interesting biographies of the most famous ones, but she rehashes details ad nauseum. She also provides a lot of interesting background information on tattoo traditions through history and cultures, showing that the practice, while marginal, was always around in many different contexts.
All of this is very interesting, and I learnt a lot, but I also felt like the overall work was too casually researched. I wanted to know more about everything : the historical setting, gender roles of the time, the actual tattooing techniques used, the policies of traveling circuses and sideshows, etc. It all felt like the author was scratching the surface and that there was a lot more to learn that was never really explored.
The final part of the book, featuring tattooed burlesque and circus performers was very disappointing.
I really think that there are much more interesting tattooed ladies, whether we are talking about performers or actual tattoo artists, who illustrate the legacy of women like Artoria and Irene Woodward than the ones featured. She has eyes that folks adore so, And a torso even more so. On her back is the Battle of Waterloo.
Beside it the wreck of the Hespherous, too. La la la, la la la, la la la, la la la When her robe is unfurled, she will show you the world, If you step up and tell her where. For two bits she will do a mazurka in jazz, With a view of Niagara that nobody has. And on a clear day you can see Alcatraz. You can learn a lot from Lydia. La la la, la la la, la la la, la la la Come along and see Buff'lo Bill with his lasso.