Friday, July 15, 2011

Girl love, vintage style

With vintage imagery and classic films dominantly depicting opposite-sex relationships and sexuality, queer vintage bloggers being far and between, and many of the vintage related activities largely relying on heterosexual coupling (such as swing dancing), the vintage scene can sometimes feel alienating those of us who are not straight. But it doesn't have to be that way, you know.

Here's to girl love, vintage style!

Photos via Vintage Lesbian at Tumblr


  1. Hear, hear! I love this post. Fantastic and beautiful images! Coincidentally I posted photos from my wedding today. I can only hope one of them might someday be as classic as these. :)

  2. Ah Tash I was just going to direct Riikka to your blog and your fantastic pics!

    I don't think it should be alienating but I do know what you mean, having said that despite being 'straight' - sorry I hate that word what on earth does it mean anyway - I often dance with other women and I lead despite being extremely short! I know several gay men on the vintage scene too. Hopefully it's changing, it should have by now!

  3. Non-heterosexist acknowledgements of queer history (esp. in the 30s and 40s) are few and far between online, especially in the "world" of vintage, this is a totally refreshing blog post. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh, and as for swing dancing and the politics of sexual orientation: nevermind: there are some serious patriarchal issues that I, as a feminist straight woman, have had to deal with when taking up ballroom. The whole idea that the man leads and the woman must get good at following...I had to bite my tongue so many times!! Still, you're totally right that it is even harder for male-male dancers or female-female dancers to break onto the mainstream stage with any level of success. I've only seen one all- male couple (one was gay, his partner wasn't) audition for the show, So You Think You Can Dance. It was SO interesting to see how they completely turned the traditional gender dynamics of ballroom on their heads (each took turns leading and following within the same routine). In the end, because they would have had to be split up during competition, they would have both been forced into dancing the part of the male lead with a female partner and neither felt comfortable in such limiting dance roles....anyway, really foregrounded the way various forms of dance are intrinsically heteronormative and founded on patriarchal gender dynamics!

  5. I never knew about this tumblr, thanks a bunch for sharing! Great. I've actually been quite annoyed lately with the heteronormative world, almost everything in popular culture revolves around straight people. It's not directly my problem, but I haven't put myself in a box, so.. Never denying the possibilites!

  6. Tasha - Good to hear that there are more queer ladies in the world of vintage blogging, others who feel the same way I do. Your wedding photos are absolutely lovely!

    Straight Talking Mama! - I don't think the vintage scene should be alienating to queer people either but unfortunately a fact is that it does come off that way at times. My experiences with swing dancing are all based in Finland but it is very sexist and opposite-sex based there. Hopefully it is different elsewhere!

    BaronessVonVintage - Thank you for sparking up the discussion! I completely agree with you re: the sexism issue. Like I said above, all of my experiences with swing dance derive from Finland. The classes that I attended did not divide people by those who lead and those who follow, for example, but by gender (with men automatically being the ones who lead and women the ones who follow). Not much room for anything else but the patriarchal, hetero-normative model there - apart from when we were short of men. I find it really sad that even today we have to rely on these traditional roles.

    Thanks for all the interesting comments, ladies!