+
More

23 photos from the '30s and '40s that prove your grandparents were so much more badass than you.

It's not even a contest.

Your grandparents went hard.

A light day at work for your grandpa in Pittsburgh, 1938. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration.


And now, there's photographic evidence to prove it.

Yale University recently released 170,000 photos from the Great Depression and World War II-era America: some classic, some obscure, many taken by New Deal government photographers, and all of them proving what bad MF'ers your grandparents were.

From California, to the Bronx, to Alabama, the parents of your parents did nothing but demonstrate their strength, hard work, and good ol' fashioned American can-do know-how just-try-coming-at-me-and-you'll-see-what-happens, time and time again.

Here are 23 of those times.

1. Your grandma, doing her laundry by hand in a metal bucket on top of a rickety wooden barrel

Imperial Valley, CA, 1937. Photo by Dorothea Lange/Farm Security Administration.

Oh, it's so hard to schlep your clothes all the way down to the basement? Well, here's your grandma in Dust Bowl-era California washing your dirty socks by hand in the middle of the street.

So, you know. Keep complaining.

Most likely, your grandma stuck it out in the cabbage fields until the beginning of World War II, when she and your grandpa found better paying industrial work that allowed them to move to the big city. Though if she was one of the thousands of the mostly Latino and Asian migrant workers who stuck around, there's a good chance she was part of one of the biggest workers' rights victories of all time two decades later, when many of California's agriculture laborers successfully agitated for their rights to unionize behind Cesar Chavez and United Farm Workers.

Either way, total badass.

2. Your grandparents, dominating the dance floor so hard that everyone else just flat-out left

Birney, Montana, 1939. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration.

Little known fact: "The Club" was invented in Birney, Montana, in 1939, by your grandparents. There they are. Look at them go.

3. Your grandma, obviously knowing what's up

Imperial Valley, California, 1937. Photo by Dorothea Lange/Farm Security Administration.

That's her in the middle. Her parents left their home, most likely in Oklahoma — or Texas, or Arkansas, or Missouri — and dragged her halfway across the country so they could find work picking vegetables.

Her friend on the left is jazzed, but your grandma knows the deal. She knows this is going to be some John Steinbeck ish. She's not here for any B.S.

4. Your grandpa, cutting these logs in half all by himself with nothing but an old rusty handsaw

Bradford, Vermont, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee/Farm Security Administration.

How do you heat your home in winter when you live in rural Vermont and you've been waiting decades for the gas company to give you an activation date?

You burn wood. Lots of it.

Who volunteered to cut it? Your grandpa, that's who.

5. Your grandparents, working together to make humongous guns

Erie, Pennsylvania, 1941. Photo by Unknown/Office for Emergency Management.

Even though the United States didn't officially enter World War II until 1941, mobilization efforts began significantly ramping up the previous year.

The period between 1940 and 1945 saw a larger percentage increase of women in the labor force than at any other time in the 20th century, and right in the thick of it was your grandma, seen here in the top middle, making sure these giant guns were good 'n' killy.

6. Your grandpa, chilling on a stump

Iron, Michigan, 1937. Photo by Russell Lee/Farm Security Administration.

That beard. That is all.

7. Your grandma, straight-up carrying a chicken on her shoulder

Manning, South Carolina, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/Farm Security Administration.

That's your grandma, one of a small number of black farmers who received a loan from the Farm Security Administration. Like many New Deal programs, white farmers fared far better under the FSA, which provided much-needed financial assistance to struggling farmers. Not coincidentally, the resulting poverty, along with the persistence of socially sanctioned terrorism, prompted many black families from places like Manning, South Carolina, to join the Great Migration to northern cities that began several decades earlier, and would last until around 1970.

In the meantime, your grandma is happy just casually hanging onto this chicken that could peck her eyes out at literally any moment.

8. Your grandpa, manually cranking up his jamz on a radio rigged to the top of his tractor

Jasper, Iowa, 1939. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration.

This is how your grandpa did work — driving that farm machine real slow, bumping "Nice Work if You Can Get It" all around that Iowa cornfield.

9. Your 6-year-old grandma, babysitting your baby great-uncle by herself

Hudson, Colorado, 1938. Photo by Jack Allison/Farm Security Administration.

Here's your grandma as a 6-year-old making sure her baby brother stays out of trouble. Her parents are hard at work at a nearby beet sugar farm in Hudson, Colorado, and she's on child care duty, despite being ... 6. Already more mature and responsible than you'll ever be.

10. Your grandma with the giant tree she just cut down while building a farm from scratch with her bare hands

Thurston, Washington, 1939. Photo by Dorothea Lange/Farm Security Administration.

There she is, clearing her own land in Thurston, Washington, leaning against the stump of a giant pine tree she probably just owned, looking suitably pleased with herself.

11. Your grandpa, rolling 200-pound barrels full of potatoes down the street

Presque Isle, Maine, 1940. Photo by Jack Delano/Farm Security Administration.

Or, as your grandpa called it, "the gym."

12. Your grandma, carrying heavy buckets full of water to thirsty farm workers

Belle Glade, Florida, 1937. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration.

Migrant worker camps sprouted up all over agricultural areas during the Great Depression — not just out west. Here's one in Belle Glade, Florida, and there's your grandma, being a goddamn hero, and getting swole in the process.

13. Your grandpa, single-handedly dragging a car across the river on some old wooden planks


Gees Bend, Alabama, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/Farm Security Administration.

One morning in 1939, your grandpa was just hanging out, looking amazing in his hat somewhere in Gees Bend, Alabama, when a government agent and photographer rolled up and said, "Howdy, sir! You wouldn't mind taking our heavy-ass car across the river on your tiny ferry, would you?" And your grandpa was like, "Oh great. Sure. Yes. Love to. Totally..." while giving them the world's hardest side-eye.

But he did it. He freaking did it. All by himself.

14. Your grandma, churning butter with one hand basically tied behind her back like it's NBD

Gees Bend, Alabama, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/Farm Security Administration.

The most ridiculous part? Your grandma was a lefty.

15. Your grandpa, having the time of his life literally playing in the gutter.

Bronx, 1936. Photo by Russell Lee/Farm Security Administration.

Every time you feel a secret twinge of shame scrolling through Twitter in front of your grandpa, this is why.

16. Your grandpa, looking stone-cold in the world's dopest shades

Ansonia, Connecticut, 1940. Photo by Jack Delano/Farm Security Administration.

As you sit at your desk, worried to the point of actual emotional distress that you might have to settle for the "bad" sandwich place for lunch today, here's a reminder that your grandpa worked in a factory in Ansonia, Connecticut, making metalworking equipment in 7-bazillion-degree heat, looking like the villain from a sci-fi horror film.

There he is holding onto some kind of rod, thinking a thought that will alter the universe as we know it.

17. Your grandpa ... actually, not sure about this one

Shelbyville, Kentucky, 1940. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/Farm Security Administration.

Polishing the wheels of a go-kart? Checking the axles of a wheeled dogsled? I don't know. No idea what your grandpa is doing here. But whatever it is, it's obviously serious as all hell.

18. Your grandpa wrestling a cow, delighting the neighborhood children

Marshalltown, Iowa, 1939. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration.

These days, we try to amuse our kids by giving them free run of the iPad or plopping them in front of "Dolphin Tale 2" — yet somehow, they never seem satisfied. Your grandpa, on the other hand, understood that nothing entertains children more than watching man and beast locked in a physical struggle for supremacy.

The site of these events is now probably a Panera.

19. Your grandpa, watching the trains go by from on the actual train tracks

Minneapolis, 1939. Photo by John Vachon/Farm Security Administration.

Your grandpa laughs in the face of danger.

20. Your grandpa, taking a nap on top of some dead fish

Baltimore, 1938. Photo by Sheldon Dick/Farm Security Administration.

Oh, you stayed at the office 'til 9 p.m. last night putting together the pitch deck for the new clients?

Here's your grandpa sleeping on some fish barrels in Baltimore. By all means, feel sorry for yourself.

21. Your grandma, rocking out on a giant guitar

San Francisco, 1939. Photo by Dorothea Lange/Farm Security Administration.

Here she is in her Salvation Army bonnet, bringing much-needed relief to the poor and needy in San Francisco. Though the Salvation Army hasn't looked quite so good recently, leading up to — and during — the Depression, the organization was omnipresent, feeding and housing what is technically referred to on the American West Coast as "hella" people. The Salvation Army also tried extra hard to make them Methodist, which, depending on your perspective, was likely either miracle balm for their eternal souls or annoying as hell.

These boys are all like, "Yo! Play that Woody Guthrie, Miss!" But your grandma just frowns and keeps rolling with the church music. Eventually, they like it. They always do.

22. Your grandpa, tolerating a ridiculous amount of racism just to get a drink of water

Oklahoma City, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee/Farm Security Administration.

This is some B.S. your grandpa had to put up with on a daily basis.

Your daily reminder that racism ruins everything.

23. Your grandma, posing for the world's first viral interspecies friendship photo

Weslaco, Texas, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee/Farm Security Administration.

If this photo were taken today, it would launch a thousand Internet posts with titles like "This little girl and this calf are the best of friends and my heart just exploded." Some intrepid web reporters would somehow dig up a half-dozen more shots, and before too long, they'd have a book deal. As it is, we only have the one.

Let's just be glad we do.

Whether they're still alive or long passed on, your grandparents deserve our thanks, on behalf of America, for being the slam.

For more photos of your grandparents, check out the full archive here. You'll be glad you did.

And your grandparents will be like, "Told you so."

This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

Because you're a girl.

This article originally appeared on 04.14.17


I was promoted a few weeks ago, which was great. I got a lot of nice notes from friends, family, customers, partners, and random strangers, which was exciting.

But it wasn't long until a note came in saying, “Everyone knows you got the position because you're a girl." In spite of having a great week at a great company with great people whom I love, that still stung, because it's not the first time I've heard it.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less
All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less