Tuesday, July 12, 2011

German lesbian postcards from the Weimar Republic

My largely sapphic friend in Canada S has commented that we haven't had any lady love on this blog for a time and, indeed, haven't had any posts at all for too long. So, we aim to remedy this over the next week or so.

After Paris, the other great European centre for the production of erotic photographs and postcards was Berlin, although its output was nothing like as great as that of the French capital.

As in France, the post Great War environment was conducive to a greater acceptance of lesbianism.  Women, at least in the big cities, felt more able to express their distaff sexuality and, indeed, as in Paris, it actually became fashionable for some women to affect lesbian styles in dress and hair.  It was said that an actress could increase her popularity if it was rumoured that she was having a relationship with another actress.  The lesbian movement, riding on the coat-tails of greater acceptance of male homosexuality in Berlin society, had the added advantage that lesbianism wasn't illegal (unlike homosexuality) and so women could appear more openly in general (rather than closed, elite) society.  The image of lesbians changed from their late nineteenth century image of being destructive seducers of young girls to being one reflection of womens' increasing independence.

Berlin even produced two magazines aimed at these women, Die Freundin and Garconne  which had stories and style tips all aimed at a lesbian readership.  Sadly, all this freedom really only flourished under the short-lived Weimar Republic (1919-1933).  With the coming of the Nazis "pornographers" were stamped down on and Germany's fashionable lesbians, like other groupings who were or dared to be "different" were suppressed. 

These pictures are from a series and, as usual, are anonymous.  It is hard to date these, other than by hairstyle, which places them somewhere between the early twenties and early thirties.  Over eighty years after they were taken this is still a daring and sexy set.

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