This vintage ad for a cockroach racing game is a great reminder that what seems normal isn’t necessarily natural or inevitable.  Most Americans today would grimace at the idea of playing with cockroaches, as the insect is held up as an icon of filth and disease.  But sometime in the ’40s, someone at the International Mutoscope Reel Company thought this was a good idea!  Or, then again, maybe times haven’t changed so much; the company went bankrupt in 1949.

1From Weird Universe.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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