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Feminist Rage Page
Equality never looked so pissed.
Elizabeth I does not approve of this bullshit 
12th-Apr-2009 07:00 pm
mus | like a bird in a cage
David Starkey says history has been "feminised". Among other things, he posits that Henry VIII was "emotionally incontinent" because he was raised surrounded by women, that Elizabeth I's status as a female icon is "ludicrous" ("During Victorian times her conduct was regarded as "perfectly deplorable", he added." Gee, maybe because the Victorians were repressed as all getout?), that seeing historical women as "power players" is falsification, and that all this is to blame on the female historians who write about women.

Here, have a clue: almost all of Henry's reign was shaped BY THE WOMEN IN HIS LIFE. The Reformation and the break with Rome? Anne Boleyn, and later Katherine Parr. The tensions with Spain? Catherine of Aragon. The Pilgrimage of Grace? Jane Seymour. So maybe they didn't sit at diplomatic tables or sign declarations of war, but they were every bit as important as the man himself, if not more. Henry was a spoiled brat, and that wasn't the fault of the women who raised him. Mature people suck it up and deal, and the fact that he was maturity-challenged was his fault, and no one else's. And as for Elizabeth I, if it weren't for her, you'd be speaking Spanish right about now.

There's nothing wrong with appreciating and celebrating the female leaders of history. Doing so is a way to reclaim our own power, and that of people who have been marginalised by male historians. And as for female historians writing women, does that apply to men only writing about men? If so, I suppose I should chuck all your books about Elizabeth I and Henry's wives. Clearly you can't write the opposite gender- I mean, if you want to write about someone, you should at least have some respect for them.
13th-Apr-2009 12:11 am (UTC)
Well, that's because Starkey is a massive, massive cock. And because this is obviously a giant snit over the fact that authors like Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser outsell him about three to one. (Not surprising really; both of them write far better prose than he does, for one thing.)
13th-Apr-2009 12:51 am (UTC)
I'd heard mentions of him being a jackass, but never any evidence of it until now. Honestly, I think this was brought on by his new book- he wants to sell, so he's taking a leaf from Joanna Denny's book and smearing everyone around Henry to make him seem more important. Nevermind that he built his career on books about Elizabeth and Henry's wives. Ugh.
13th-Apr-2009 12:55 am (UTC)
14th-Apr-2009 12:25 pm (UTC)
definitely true!
13th-Apr-2009 04:05 am (UTC)
Jesus, what a dipshit. Seriously, maybe their books focus on Henry's wives because they're...about Henry's wives? If I want a book about Henry VIII, I'll buy a book about Henry. It's like buying a book about Eleanor Roosevelt and then complaining that it's not about FDR.

Who knew that apparently women NEVER EVER DID ANYTHING USEFUL OR NOTEWORTHY IN HISTORY EVER just because David Starkey's having trouble selling books. Oh, yeah, and the Victorians were apparently great arbiters of historical value AHAHAHAHA PULL THE OTHER ONE MR. STARKEY.
13th-Apr-2009 09:38 am (UTC)
I like how it's obviously because the women tell biased stories. The male view of history is just the default, unbiased, unvarnished truth, dontcha know. But, no, when a woman tells it, and focuses on the women in history, it has to be biased.
13th-Apr-2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
I read that a few days back and it gave me The Rage so thanks for posting. I've never liked David Starkey anyway - far too full of his own self-importance and has an annoying tendency to accept his own hypotheses as Fact whilst denigrtaing those of other writers, usurally the female ones. Alison Weir's book on Henry's wives is a bout 20 times better than his and doesn't include masses of generalisations and assumptions.

Have you been watching his new tv series (for which these comments are obviously some cheap attempt at publicitity)? Already he is implying that all of Henry's later faults were somehow the responsibility of his mother who raised him wrongly.

He also misses the point that maybe feminine viewpoints have come the the forefront in recent times because for years they were surpressed by the dominant white male middle class perspective - an age I suspect he's rather like to return to!!
14th-Apr-2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
i completely agree - i've not watched the series yet but i'm taping it (as a historian i feel obliged!) - i suspect i'll just make me annoyed.
14th-Apr-2009 06:44 am (UTC)
Rage ON! I was totally disgusted by this, especially the idea of women historians writing history *for women*... FFS. (As you pointed out, the fact that he as a man has a massive massive obssession with Henry VIII doesn't mean anything). And the fact that he basically spoke about female historians and people who write historical romance novels as if they were the same thing... AARRRGH. Fuckin' HATE Starkey.
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