Tuesday, February 15, 2011
In today's world, we read with interest and curiosity about the escapades of young, gorgeous, high-profile women. We elevate to celebrity those beautiful and talented but flawed women and then cast them down. We cluck and carry on about all the news space devoted to them and we treat all of it as recent phenomenon. Not so. Consider Evelyn Nesbit. (1884-1967)
Nesbit was an artist model and muse. By all accounts, she was an exceptionally beautiful young woman and the sole support of her family. She first came to notice as the model for Charles Dana Gibson's "Gibson Girl."
For 20 years the Gibson girl epitomized beauty and grace. From the late 19th to the early 20th century her image was merchandised on everything from cups and saucers to umbrella stands. Women strove for the "Gibson Girl" look.
Today, Nesbit would be a supermodel. She even commanded modeling fees equivalent to about $200/half day and $400/ full day.
Like today, all that came to an end for Nesbit at a young age. (She was 21) Her husband shot and killed the man who was her ex-lover. The newspapers ran sensationalized and often fictionalized stories
about her even though she had nothing to do with the murder. It would create much curiosity and interest in her - until the next scandal came along. (Think of the movie, "Chicago.)
What is it about our regard for women? We have many ill-behaved, naughty male actors and sports figures. Yet, once they get sober or stop the behavior, we accept them. Why isn't it the same for most women?
Nesbit said that her dead lover was lucky. He died in the middle of his career as a very successful architect while she lived the rest of her life remembered only for the sensational murder. As a biographer wrote of Nesbit, "Her celebrity lasted from ages 14 to 21 and her entire life was defined by that period."
Posted by R-Atencio Art at 5:40 PM