Friday, April 3, 2009

History: too "feminized"

From the Telegraph
"..... Dr Starkey said he found it "bizarre" that so much historical effort was now focused on the monarch's wives.

"But it's what you expect from feminised history, the fact that so many of the writers who write about this are women and so much of their audience is a female audience. Unhappy marriages are big box office."

Dr Starkey went further, by saying that modern attempts to paint many women in history as "power players" was to falsify the facts. "

So, its okay for men to write about men but not okay for women to write about women?? And we should now not delve into history and write about women who had both power and influence because its all about the male ego and the male achievements. Nor should we womenfolk concern ourselves with the marital goings-on of our historical monarchs, much less write about such flights of fancy (ala Mills & Boon). Do I detect the rantings of a man still stuck in the pages of history himself????

Maybe Dr Starkey should direct his attention to Dr John Knox for his next book - they have so much in common!

The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women
Letter to the Queen Dowager, Regent of Scotland


Melisende said...

Scrounging through the bookshop today, I could not be but struck by the book staring me in the face: "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" by none other than He Who Thinks History Is Too Feminised - I guess he is the exception to the rule.

So, it's not just us women who as fascinated by the lives of Henry's Queens......

Huscarl said...

Hi Mel, fascinating blogs!

I can actually see it from both sides- relevant male & female aspects and characters from history should be studied, and taught, it's not just about wealthy nobles but charismatic ordinary folks, too.
And there were many great and powerful female examples, as detailed in this wonderful site.

But for goodness sakes- and I interpret that this is what Dr. Starkey may have meant, or should have- let's not dumb history down and turn it into a chavvy, X-Factor, 'Hello' mag, "go-girl" hen-night-fest?

Wasn't that the target audience of that God-awful 'historical' debacle called "The Tudors"?

Anonymous said...

With you on this one, Melisende! And, yes, Starkey's being a gadfly (as ever). He's made a fortune from his biogs of the wives of Henry VIII and of Elizabeth I.
There are quite a few mediaeval records of women-of-influence, from tradesmen's relicts who took over their late husbands' businesses successfully to the likes of the very astute and influential Margaret Beaufort (serial widow!) and the dowager Duchess of Burgundy (sister of Edward IV and Richard III) who largely instigated & funded the Perkin Warbeck plot. And mustn't forget Eleanor of Aquitaine.