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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Our Adorable Past

The Women of the Future… Of France… Of 1902

Don’t let the seeming progressiveness of these French playing cards from 1902 fool you: women were not actually allowed to participate in French elections until 1945. These cards were intended to be racy, silly, and improbable, even as they depicted women in the impressive (and since achieved!) positions of statesmen, rescue workers, soldiers, students and doctors. Which should be obvious as soon as you notice that the three star general has her stars of rank painted onto her bare arm.

Although, we have to say, if we got to dress in hats with ducks on them, fetching pince nez, and high-collared coats like the Journaliste above, we’d be pretty happy.

While these cards are racy for the standards of 1902, they’re perfectly safe for work these days. Venture forth unafraid!

The Member of Parliament.

The Mayor (And now I’m wondering what a gender swapped production of Les Miserables would be like… AWESOME, I’m guessing).

The Doctor.

The Lawyer.

The Master of Arms.

The Cabby.

The Student.

The General.

The Lieutenant.

The lowly Infantryman.

The Marine.

The Fireman.

The Policeman.

The Conscript.

Yes, the masculine forms of the words are the proper translations, as French is a language with gendered nouns, and a few other gendered problems as well, that France spends lots of time trying to keep from changing.

(via io9.)

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  • Anonymous

    “And now I’m wondering what a gender swapped production of Les Miserables would be like… AWESOME, I’m guessing.”

    This is what I think whenever I start singing Javert’s part.

  • Val Duvivier

    The cards are nice (I already knew some of them) but the link about the french langage being sexist? Pardon my native langage but: Mais elles ont fumé quoi cette fois? Faut arrêter la moquette là!

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  • Jessica Claire

    “The Cabby” looks like Helena Bonham Carter lol.

  • Maiasaura

    These are pretty spiffy.

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  • Anonymous

     If there was a correlation between grammatical gender and sexism, then Japanese society should be very progressive concerning gendered issues. Which it isn’t, despite there being no grammatical gender in Japanese. Sigh. Being a native speaker of a Latin language (which I’m rather fond of), I feel your pain.

  • Julian Beedee

    That would be a really good point if anyone was arguing that language is the sole determiner of the sexism of a culture, rather than merely one possible cause.

  • Robin Burks

    If that’s the case, aren’t all of the Latin based languages sexist? I think that’s just completely overthinking things.

  • Anonymous

     I thought that too!

  • Frodo Baggins

    Er, well, it would take place over 100 years before these pictures were taken, for one.

  • Roz Mosis

    Oh! For any Terry Pratchett fans reading this, is anyone else thinking of Monstrous Regiment right now? How about The Truth?

  • Frodo Baggins


    “Billet De Logement,” I know just enough French to be tickled and titillated by this one.

    Unfortunately, I work at the Society for Historical Reenactment, so I got in big trouble for looking at these at work… on my bizarre futuristic viewing contraption that should not exist yet!

  • janalyn.glover

     Good HEAVENS, yes! I saw ‘Le Journaliste’ and thought “Well, that’s Sacharissa Cripslock right there.” And then ‘Le Generale’ is totally how I picture Maladict in my head now.

  • Rose-Heather Mikhail

     70 years earlier, at least for the Paris based parts of the story.

  • Roz Mosis

     I’m pretty sure Tamsin Greig wore a similar outfit in the TV adaptation of Going Postal. The duck just some how… works.