People who glamorize the past, do not understand history. People who wish they lived in the past piss me off to no end because they only know hollywoods/fictions version of history and think it was this great time to live in because the activism was better, culture was better, etc. When in reality, it was more oppressive. It takes a person with privilege to want to live in the past.
The Enlightenment was not a better era to be living in. Yes, they did believe in learning and gaining knowledge… if you were a white upper class man. If a white upper class woman she was lucky, she had a father who thought women should also be educated and was educated. Otherwise, she was not educated. She wouldn’t have had access to education unless her husband allowed her to be educated. Some of these enlightened men owned slaves and would argue slavery was a good thing because Africans were just like animals. These enlightened men were racist and sexist fucks. Some men of the Enlightenment did believe in ending slavery but not the majority. The race based science was created in the Enlightenment to keep Europeans on top.
Tudor England? Oppressive as fuck. You know Thomas Moore? He had his daughters educated and believed they should be educated… He didn’t allow his wife to be educated. Henry VIII? He was a rather big creep. He stalked Anne Boleyn. Yes, she did pursue him in the end because she wanted to be Queen but their relationship did not start out that way. Very few women and men in this time period was educated. Living in the royal court was not that bad. Being gentry was not bad. If you were below the gentry, your life was not great. Remember in season 3 during the religious rebellions when Henry VIII had people slaughtered? Actually happened. Mary and Elizabeth also had people killed. The hygiene, life expectancy, etc. of the time period was not that great. England was trying to catch up to the rest of Europe throughout Henry VIII reign. It wasn’t until Elizabeth came to the thrown did England have any real standing in Europe. They continued to grow until they became the leading world power. In the 18th century, Britain was the leading country in the slave trade. The Irish were used as Englands punching bag. Ireland was the country England loved to fuck with. Charles II is adorable and just one loveable monarch on Horrible Histories. He was loved by his country, for the most part. They were pretty damn pissed when he would just go hunting and having fun during the Great Plague. Weren’t to thrilled about the great fire as well. Renaissnace England wasn’t really that great of a place to be in either.
Antebellum South? Why in gods name would anyone want to live there unless they were an elite white man. I do not understand why (mostly) white women want to live in the Antebellum South. The pretty dresses they love? Were not that comfortable. The society was oppressive as fuck. If they were lucky, they would get an education. This is assuming they were elite. If they were not elite, you can kiss those dresses goodbye. Gone With the Wind was make believe. Scarlett Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: SOUTHERN WOMEN IN THE CIVIL WAR ERA by Laura F. Edwards is a great book to check out of the library. If you were a black woman, you were most likely a slave. Scarlett actually had them in the film, if you remember seeing them when you were not to busy obsessing over the pretty dresses. If you were an immigrant in the south, God help you. Southerners absolutely hated immigrants, much hasn’t really changed in that regard. If you are a damn yankee, they hated you as well. Remember they caused the Civil War and it wasn’t over slavery. /rolleyes.
The Roaring 20s? Not a great time period either. Sure there was very pretty fashion. I’m all for reviving the fashion, most of it was beyond gorgeous. Lets not revive the rest of it. The 50s? Another oppressive time. Not a time period you really wanted to live in if you were not a rich white man. Also, it was the start of the Cold War. The FBI was targeting everyone who was not a rich white person. The 60s and 70s? The good old days of activism right? Wrong. Yes, there were a hundred and one causes for you to get involved in but this was at the height of social change. It was still oppressive as fuck. Those activist you love so much? Were literally risking their lives for the change they brought. There was also the Vietnam War, which brought along with it all the oppression and racism of us being involved in Vietnam. More people actually resisted the draft in WWII than in Vietnam, but there was no strong anti-war culture during WWII. We really should never revive anything from the 80s. The Reagan years? Yeah, we don’t need them back. 90s and 2000s? Don’t need to revive those either.
Pick any time period in history and you would not want to actually live there. While in tv dramas and crappy historical fiction these time periods sound lovely, in reality they were not. Revolutionary France is another place you would not want to live in, especially if you had too radical of views. What are too radical of views? Just as Olympe de Gouges. It takes a lot of privilege to actually want to live in the past. The past is filled with racism, classism, sexism, etc. on top of crappier living conditions unless you were rich. So while some people may think Gone With the Wind is a perfect movie and it would be perfect to live in Antebellum America, its just not true. I don’t understand the fascination with that movie or Antebellum America, to be honest. The “good old days” never existed. They will never exist.
reblogged again for longform.
I HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS FOREVER. Thank you feministhistorian.