December 2, 2023


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Review: The new woman is a century old

Review: The new woman is a century old

Top hat, cigarette, unicorn, boxing, cars – from Z to A, what was typically considered masculine became a matter for women (who also loved to appear as androgynous). This femininity vehemently refused to be cute. Sharp tongue, quick-eyed, hair and skirt split in half into bob and midi – that’s how she presented herself in the golden-floral twenties in Berlin of the last century. The recently published volume “The Appearance: The New Woman” features engaging short texts – whether essay, reportage, column, prose or memory – by contemporary/partisan heroes and witnesses to that very short phase between the “beer belly era”, the global economic crisis and the Nazi march.

Also interesting: stories about love and opportunism in a dictatorship

Some icons among them: Dietrich, of course, who – still chick Marilyn on the scene – snatched the role of brilliantly cooked versatile singer Lola from Trud Hesterberg in “The Blue Angel”. Claire Walduff feeds on songs like “After Penny Goes Crazy Jans Berlin”. Blandine Ebinger inspires in “Café Megalomania” by saying “Oh Moon, don’t you look so stupid.” Josephine Baker dances wildly with the Charleston band with nothing on her body but a banana apron and talks about her experience in Berlin.

Provocateur instead of a sunflower

Literary, political cabaret, theatrical, operetta, whirlwind. The woman was present, more modern than sophisticated, without a lack of self-confidence, preferring extravagance and provocation over flowers. “In short, a wonderful companion.” This status boost is by no means fun or harmless. It is quite combative: “Going out with men from the Reichstag” is broken. The credo of Valeska Gert, the grotesque inventor of dance, is: “The old world is rotten, cracking in every joint. I want to help break them. I believe in the new life. I want to help build it.” Gabriel Terjet and Elsie Lasker Schuller protest para 218. Fashion is used purposefully in duels of the sexes.

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How do women make men angry?

Erica Mann, daughter of Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann, attacks gentlemen who do not dim their lights when they see oncoming traffic. Nothing to do with this! Because: “One day he will steal your inheritance.” In general, women drive better when men hate it. Paula Negri tells us how to do it in the (satirical) Ten Commandments. It’s a fine selection of texts by Brigitte Lands, editor of The Look: The New Woman. Knowledgeable, intelligent and highly profitable to the public. U and E make a great cocktail that perfectly reflects the heyday of creativity of the century-old Weimar Republic. At the same time, the reader can (re)discover some interesting artists and authors. The question is that many of the women’s questions that were raised a century ago are still waiting for an answer to this day.