One thing about being a teacher for twenty-eight years is that it helps you develop a very strong bullshit meter. Not that you would need much of one for this bit of nonsense. In 1921, women in the US had gotten the vote, so there are no need to be a suffragette. It may look like the women are eating pizza, but in the early 1920s, pizza was not the easily-obtained food that it is today. And I’ve never, ever heard of groups of women eating to annoy men.
This photo was taken from Shorpy, where it is plainly labeled that the women are eating pie, something you can see for yourself in an enlarged view of the original.
We are all adults here, so I’m hoping I’ll not be bursting any bubbles when I tell you that you simply cannot believe everything you see – or read – on the WWW. There are entire websites dedicated to exposing the fake and the falsely captioned. It seems to be a huge losing battle, as the desire to make a twitter photo or a facebook post go “viral” is so much more important to many users than is the truth.
One of the great values of the internet is the ability to share information. I’ve talked here many times about merely posting about an object or a clothing company is a fantastic way to collect information about it. People who know the answers will find you, eventually, through Google.
Many people are using the internet to discover the “lost” stories of defunct fashion companies and to piece together the trends of the past. Rubbish like the pizza-eating suffragettes only muddies the historical waters.
Of course ClassicPics could have simply repeated the caption from Shorpy, and even credited that site as the origin of the photo. But what would be the fun in that?
My second beef with this twitter posting is the lack of a source. The photo itself is quite interesting, and might be just the thing that a researcher needs to illustrate a paper or a presentation. The problem then becomes finding the original source, something that one of the debunking sites had already done in this case, but would have taken me all day to figure out.
I’ve had that great blog post at Wynken de Worde on my mind, the one I posted a link to in last week’s Vintage Miscellany about the same issues I’m addressing here. This really struck home yesterday when I spotted two of my photos on Instagram, both of which had been cropped, neither of which was attributed to me or to the copyright holder. It’s disheartening that people who profess to love fashion history are posting photos out of their true context, separating objects from their history.
For the most part I don’t mind if people use my images as long as a credit is given (and a link is even better). That way if someone stumbles across one of my images elsewhere on the internet, they can follow the breadcrumbs back here to read more about the object. It is a win for everyone concerned. But images without a way to learn more about them steals a learning opportunity from the viewer and it robs me of a visitor to this blog.
I have gotten to the place where I’ll point out when an image was taken from my site. I don’t like doing it because I always feel like I’m being a bit passive-aggressive in my approach. But it is either that or silently fume, which is something I just refuse to do.