Thursday, 9 December 2010

Gender debates rage in my house


By way of a bit of light relief (for me especially - don't want to get overwrought) I thought I'd let you in on debates raging in my household.

My cats mainly complain about how much food they're getting. This level of dissent appears manageable - at least for now. If they evolve thumbs, I'm in trouble.

More pressing has been an ongoing dialogue over the other night's At Home With the Georgians, the splendidly entertaining series with the historian Amanda Vickery (above). The first episode sparked off what can only be termed 'vigorous debate' in my front room.

The Educator, with whom I share my life, argued that Professor Vickery's presentation seemed to posit that everyone always wants a partner - that she seemed to be in love with the idea of love, marriage, domestic bliss, all the trimmings - and indeed she did seem to take a fancy to some of her (male) letter-writers. Thus she ignored the harsh reality of domestic life, and all the dissenters who condemned it for being mean, narrow, harsh and often highly materialistic.

I argued that the programme was a bracing corrective to the dominant popular image of rakes dominating their wives and running off with the serving-girl at the drop of a hat (or something).

The difference seemed to be where you started from - feminist engagement on the part of The Educator, or mild historical/ historiographical interest on my part (domestic life not really being part of my research brief).

I bet animated discussions broke out all over!

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