On damsels and influencers

So, the other day I was over on my extremely good Patreon that you would like if you joined, having a chat in a video about my research methodologies and some books I have used lately. I gushed about one book in particular, Kim M. Phillips’s Medieval Maidens: young women and gender in England, 1270-1540, which absolutely rules. The book focuses on the idea of “maidenhood”, which especially for the aristocratic, was a phase of life was strongly correlated with the conception of a nebulous “youth” similar our own teenage.

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On constructing the “ideal” woman

This morning I started my day by treating myself to a long read with my cup of coffee. In this case, the long read in question was Emily Ratajkowski’s excellent, disturbing, and important “Buying Myself Back”, an excerpt from her upcoming book of essays printed in New York Magazine. It is in many ways a harrowing read (Content Warning – it recounts a sexual assault), but I bring it up because Ms. Ratajkowski so deftly describes the personal experience of something that I have been writing about a lot lately: the male gaze and women’s ability, or indeed inability, to assert themselves against a constructed “ideal”.

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