Women Demand “Parity in Pants”

Saturday, Jan. 9, 1943

Women may have been wearing overalls in the factory but Chicago was not about to allow it in public. A 19-year old machinist in a defense plant was arraigned in court for violating the city ordinance against what we would call cross-dressing. This was no joke! The young woman, oldest of 13 children, stated that she wore pants because “they were more comfortable than women’s and handy for work.” Word of the arraignment prompted massive protests by prominent women as well as many men. Why shouldn’t women be allowed to wear trousers in public, they demanded. Meanwhile, despite below freezing temperatures, stores continued to offer dresses and skirts that bared the leg.

Trying to keep warm at home, my parents had run into a problem with the fireplace in the new house. Unlike the one in Berwyn, this fireplace didn’t draw well. In his latest letter to his sister, my father reported: “What a day – I started a fire in the fireplace today, it smoked so much that while we were trying to drive the smoke out, the vegetables burned.” My mother added, “I not only burned the vegetables but I overcooked the hamburgers besides. About her pregnancy: “I feel pretty good except for seasickness and a complete lack of interest in food. But that will pass soon and I’ll be wolfing my meals like everybody else.” So she might not have missed dinner after all.

This entry was posted in Chicago during WW II, Jewish life in America during WW II, Music and Media, WWII, Today in WWII, Uncategorized, World War II and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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