Wed, August 19, 2020 11:00 A.M.
Join Parkway Central Library Senior Services for a virtual lecture by University of Pennsylvania historian Kathy Peiss. This free lecture will be presented using Crowdcast. Advanced registration is recommended by clicking this link.
In 19th century America, a woman was either a “lady” or a “hussy. “ Ladies relied on “kitchen physic,” such as buttermilk and rice powder to achieve real beauty. Hussies depended on powder and paint, giving rise to the most painful insult of all, “painted woman.” By the 1920’s, a woman could be both lady and hussy as the mood struck her.
Kathy Peiss blends history, humor and her own extensive research, to show how American women used cosmetics to declare their independence, celebrate their sexuality and let the world know that they would never accept the bland lives that their mothers had lived. Kathy also profiles such amazing Black and white entrepreneurs as Madame C. J. Walker, Annie Malone, Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein who turned their knowledge of female hearts into fortunes. She also explains how in the end, men came to control everything.
Kathy Peiss is the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History at Penn, where she teaches courses on modern American cultural history and the history of American sexuality, women, and gender. Her research has examined the history of working women; working-class and interracial sexuality; leisure, style, and popular culture; the beauty industry in the U.S. and abroad; and libraries, information, and American cultural policy during World War II. She is particularly interested in the ways that culture shapes the everyday lives and popular beliefs of Americans across time.