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Browse Exhibits (5 total)

How Women Are Portrayed in Florida Postcards Over Time


This exhibit was created to showcase how the relationship between women depicted in early and current Florida postcards has evolved over time. To determine whether a change has occurred involving the depiction of women, this exhibit explores themes of gender, sexuality, and even race. These postcards were mainly created in the twentieth century, and are divided into two time periods, which include the earlier half of the century, ending around the late 1960s, and pick up from there, ultimately leading to the present day. Between each time period, the postcards were subdivided into two categories, which feature women at the beach and women in general, daily life. Both similarities and differences were drawn solely based on evidence taken from the image and text on the front of the postcard, as well as the textual descriptions on the back of each postcard.

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Leisure and Labor in the Lives of Women

This exhibit juxtaposes images of leisure and labor to show multi-faceted visual representations of women's agency throughout history. At the same time, this arrangement allows us to explore the diversity of identities women have inhabited as they challenged and eventually transgressed the cultural ideals imposed upon them.

Catherine Palczewski, in her work on anti-suffrage postcards, has observed how women's subjectivities are sometimes flattened: "However, as critical race scholars note, identity is intersectional. One is never only a woman or only a man. We also are composed of races, genders, sexualities, classes, religions, ethnicities, etc. One cannot study sex/gender distinct from other identity ingredients […]” (385). This exhibit helps us think about the historical implications of leisure and labor as modes of agency construction in women's lives. In some instances throughout, we can see that leisure is an active articulation of a certain lifestyle or socioeconomic status, while for other classes and races of women, labor is construed as a passive acceptance of the cultural status quo. 

Palczewski, Catherine. “The Male Madonna and the Feminine Uncle Sam: Visual Argument, Icons, and Ideographs in 1909 Anti-Woman Suffrage Postcards.” The Quarterly Journal of Speech 91.4 (November 2005): 365-394. 

Objectifying Women in Beach Postcards

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The postcard offers people a unique way to share significant moments with others, with the common intent being to capture the essence of a person, place, thing, idea or combination of the four and portray it through a single card. Whether depicted through real-life photography or composed illustration, the postcard always finds a way to successfully and appealingly represent. In many cases, the postcard communicates as a form of advertisement. This is especially true in the case of vacation postcards, which are used to not only share the experience an individual is having in a certain place but also to potentially attract future visitors. This type of advertising postcard will incorporate specific aspects in order to attract the audience in a special way.  This exhibit focuses on beach postcards in particular and aims to examine the role that women play in the crafting of these postcards. Women are both directly and indirectly used as objects in these postcards to attract people to the specific beach shown.

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Women in Postcards

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Florida State Architecture

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Florida State University architecture and how it evokes historical sentiments of southern antebellum grandure. 

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