Sunday, May 22, 2011

Times change


I live in the lower part of the 9th arrondissement, an area where there is almost no green spot, apart from a couple of gardens, like the Square Montholon, in the middle of which there is this interesting sculpture of female workers by Lorieux. It was made in 1908 and shows a tradition that is totally old fashioned. At that time, young girls who would reach the age of 25 and were still single would be given by her friends an extravagant hat and were made "the queen of the day" (read some explanation in English here). Sounds like fun, but I'm not sure it was, really! FYI,  nowadays, in France, women get married on average at 29,7 and workers (80% are males) represent about 25% of the population, against 80%, when this sculpture was made.

16 comments:

  1. Interesting post! Nothing like being the last to marry and being known as "the old maid of the group".

    Women as well as men are marrying much later in life now and having children even much later. I wonder if they realize that the older you get the harder it is to change your ways to include children.

    Kris

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  2. These women were in advance with their time and pleased like that even if probably badly seen at that time... Des pionnières.
    This is a very dynamic sculpture. What is changing in women nowadays that could be represented in a sculpture for our future grandchildren ? The size of the skirts probably! ;o)

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  3. A beautiful sculpture Eric - depicting another time, another era.

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  4. Yes, that certainly was a different time and environment. I suspect that the women who got those hats in many cases were not happy about the situation.

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  5. Times change, indeed, and in this case, I am glad. Lovely reminder of what life was like in the past though.

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  6. This is great, Eric! I remember so well la fete de Ste. Catherine. Heureusement, I was not living in France when I turned 25, so no funny hat for me! I married when I was 29. My grandmother did also, but at that time (early 20th century), she'd been labelled an "old maid" many years before.

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  7. It is a lovely sculpture, Eric....but now I am craving some of that taffy they described in the article!

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  8. Eric, I'll share this with my blog readers. I've been hosting a mail art exchange featuring different versions of a "St. Catherinette." I can't help but wonder if the 'old maids' of yesterday weren't actually feminists ahead of their time or maybe even lesbians? We haven't made quite as much progress as we should by now, but at least folks can be a bit more open minded!

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  9. Beautiful sculpture -- I have never seen anything like it. I watched the 1952 film classic "Moulin Rouge" the other night -- what a masterpiece. The hats are wonderful. Speaking of hats, Queen Elizabeth has many lovely hats, I think. Oh, to be Queen for a Day!

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  10. These hat-donning-queens-of-the-day certainly do look happy. They were single, footloose, and fancy free! Maybe they were happier. In any case, this is another nice capture in a city avec La Dame de fer who I believe may need a hat. Then again, she's perhaps wedded to the world. ;-)

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  11. I love the sculpture. What did they know that we don't know? Pioneers indeed, to be single (or even lesbians) at a time when it was frowned upon. Perhaps some didn't choose it, perhaps some did.

    My mother married at 23--already her family had despaired that she was too old. I married at 46. How things can change in one generation.

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  12. And now if a girl marries at 18, she seems so impossibly young! I married at 25, and I was already a bit of an old maid. Since my husband has said our daughter can't date until she's 35, she will probably marry later! I had our first child at 29 and our second at 32 and there is no way I would want to be an older mother. I have trouble keeping up with them now! :)

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  13. "How things can change in one generation."

    No to mention that at that time living with someone without being married was probably unthinkable.

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  14. This is such a very interesting Post and i have read this post and appreciate with your information that Times change.

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  15. This very good to see like this article.. thanks

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