As soon as I heard about this new collection of photography, I knew it would be brilliant. The day it went on sale in the UK, I took home a copy.
Snapshots of dangerous women was created by Peter. J. Cohen, who found old black and white photos in car boot sales and charity shops, and brings together a bunch of women doing things outrageous for the time. Some are in traditionally domestic dress; this ideal of womanhood placed next to activities forbidden to the fairer sex is often hilarious.
There are women of all ages, smoking, drinking, boxing, shooting. Flying planes. Holding tools. Wearing the trousers, metaphorically and literally.
Beyond anything else, these women look so, so happy. They are carefree and delighted with the lives they are living. They are bursting with liberation.
It’s important, I think, to consider these pictures. The women in them faced a different time’s sexism, when showing your legs, or doing work traditionally kept for men, would have had more serious social consequences. But what would a collection of our time look like? What activities and personas are still considered ‘inappropriate’ for women today?
In the introduction, Mia Fineman posits an interesting thought; that women have more fun in this world than men, as there is more forbidden to them. When you look at the photos, it’s difficult to argue that point.
Do women dare more, try more, break more rules purely because we are so systematically told that we cannot, should not, must not?