For the third day of Costober I present Social Justice Warrior Jo March. Josephine March, like her author, Louisa May Alcott, is a tomboy and a storyteller. She and her sisters were raised to look out for each other and their community, and Jo in particular is an early feminist heroine.
About the Look
I first met Jo March in a cartoon film I rented from the local video store numerous times. Little Women’s Christmas Story was a compilation of two episodes of the anime series Tales of Little Women. It ended with Father March returning from war. Then I found the 1933 Katherine Hepburn film at the library and it was a revelation. Not only was there so much more to the story, it kicked off a deep Katherine Hepburn phase I’m kind of still in.
But the 1994 film starring Winona Ryder was “my” Little Women. By this point I’d read the novel and the film was a faithful retelling with beautiful visuals and heartwarming scenes. I loved Christian Bale as Laurie and especially Christian Bale’s hair. As a proud member of Team Amy I adored Kirsten Dunst’s spunk and the build up to adult Amy winning it all. And I found the scene where Baehr takes Jo to the opera wildly romantic, which is a neat trick given I (and everyone) think he’s the worst.
Finally, the most recent film adaptation by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan, was another revelation. Gerwig’s script and direction play clever games with continuity and her heroines are finally allowed to give voice to Alcott’s opinions. Jo is an author in all of these adaptations, but in Gerwig’s she is an author first and foremost.
About My Look
I wanted to incorporate nods to period fashion and specifically to Jacqueline Duran’s designs for Gerwig’s Little Women (2019) into the look while highlighting how Jo pushes against gender boundaries in fashion and life.
I’ve owned the cape for years and I love it. Unfortunately I do not recall where it came from, but the style is somewhat timeless and reappears every Fall. I’ve also owned the gloves for years, they were handed down from a costume shop. I bought the shoes secondhand for Costober 2019.
I purchased the hat and short jacket in a thrift store (Savers). I was determined to find a blue hat like Jo’s in the film and I’m quite happy with this facsimile. The bow, the puffed sleeves, and the gloves are feminine, more what Meg might wear (Meg’s gloves are in fact a plot point). But as Duran points out, Jo doesn’t eschew all femininity, she simply puts her own spin on it.
The t-shirt is a replica of the infamous Joelle Jones cover of Mockingbird #8. I bought it in solidarity with Cain and women in comics everywhere during the backlash. The shirt is available from a number of artists on RedBubble, TeePublic, and Etsy. I’d initially purchased the ‘Feminist’ necklace I wore yesterday as Dawn Schafer for Jo March, but ultimately decided to pair the periodesque blues with this t-shirt to connect Jo to Bobbi, and Alcott to Cain, and all of them to me. Little Women is Alcott’s and Jo’s and Gerwig’s feminist agenda.
The book is a collection of short stories in the ‘thriller’ genre that Louisa May Alcott published under a different name — aka the melodramatic stories Jo writes in her attic