So why a Victorian drawing room?
Well I have always loved anything Victorian as well as anything Henry viii, et al. Sounds a bit strange, I know, but I have often said that I was born in the wrong era.
I should have been born in the days of real Ladies and proper Gentlemen! Any one of the fantastic eras of past will suffice (although perhaps the dark ages is going back a bit far!)I would have enjoyed lounging around the drawing-room, indulging in my needlework ( actually I’m a bit rubbish at that!), learning new music on the piano, enjoying the idle chat and camaraderie of the other women in my life, taking high tea (OH YEAH!)…
Ok…before all the feminists get their knickers in a knot…I am fully aware of the restrictions on women in the days long gone. So perhaps a compromise. Victorian living in a modern-day setting. I wouldn’t be able to live without my laptop anyway… and my life would feel hollow and incomplete without my daily dose of Facebook and Twitter. Where else would I be able to express myself, have my LOL’s and pmsl?
But the draw of Victorian times et al is not in the limitations of women but the way certain historical novels portray their strengths. Yes, I do know that(many of) those novels are fictitious. However, there is nothing like settling down with a good Jane Austen and completely immersing oneself into the lives of Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, Fanny Price and even the meddling Emma Woodhouse. (And please don’t start lecturing me on the date incongruities here – after all I did include a ‘et al‘ and am perfectly aware that Jane Austen did not live in the Victorian era but I think that were the Prince Regent here now he would agree that the different eras to which I am referring, could be thrown together into a great melting pot, poured nonchalantly into a wax mould and the end result would STILL be Jane Austen’s characters!)
When I read a novel that has, at its centre, a wonderful, compelling, strong woman, I can actually feel myself being drawn into her soul. I become the protagonist. I live the life of said woman. I absorb her strength. I assist her through her trials and tribulations, I laugh with her, I cry with her and I celebrate her success.
I know what you’re thinking: That there are many strong female characters in modern-day books. Women who have had to overcome great adversity, women who have laughed in the face of their misfortunes and have obtained everything they desired. Yes I have read the likes of Maya Angelou, et al. Yes I love their portrayals of strong independent women. Yet on balance, I still lean towards the characters of old. Why would that be? Well, perhaps it is because of the settings, the backdrops to the novels. Jane Austen’s female characters were strong in a time where women were expected to be weak. They were independent in a time where women were expected to marry and be dependent on their spouse in order to have any worth in a male dominated society. So what’s’ the difference? Well, in some societies – nothing. But in our wonderful ‘free’ western world of democracy, women actually have the choice. A woman in this type of society here and now, does not need to rely on a man but can rather choose to have one (or many) in her life. So, I am all for the underdog. I like the idea that there are people out there willing to stand up and be counted – who will fight for their beliefs (even though it may mean their own demise). I do this vicariously through them and it makes me feel good! Don’t get me wrong: I am in no way downtrodden, mistreated or a slave to the norms of society. But I don’t know if I could be one of those women – one of Jane’s ladies whom I admire so much.
Well, that last bit was right off the beaten track ( you will find as the posts become more frequent that I tend to digress quite a lot!) But I think you get the gist of why I like the Victorians et al.
I have spoken at length about the wonderful women of our historical past. What about the men, then? Well, I would suppose a great deal of them would have been lazy, good-for-nothing louts (haha the feminists are ROTFL). However, I have to believe that there were indeed (some) fine gentlemen in the vein of the gallant Mr Knightly and the insatiable Mr Darcy. If I cannot believe this then I will fail to complete my wonderful, romanticised idea of Victorian era et al. And I certainly do have delectable visions of fantastic romances developing between strong ‘knights in shining armour‘ and swooning ladies falling into their arms.
A bit of hypocrisy? Perhaps. As much as I like a strong woman who knows what she wants, I like a strong man always ready and willing to save her (if she so desires)even more…Ahhhhh Darcy I am waiting patiently……
Now, men, don’t complain about the lack of exposure for you and your brothers. Do you wonder why women get paragraphs while men get a couple of lines? The answer is easy:
Women are COMPLICATED
Men are not!
Love you all,