Monday, 10 September 2012

How to spank a sufffragette

British television used to produce excellent period drama, but that was when the dramatists really got into the skin of the characters, rather than doing as they do today which is to dress people up in old clothes and let them keep their 21st century attitudes and values.

Parade's End is a case in point. No woman a century ago would have had her hair as short as this actress has hers, nor would she dream of stepping outside without a hat. No man would ever address her without removing his hat, even if he were as angry as this fellow seems to be. She may be a suffragette, but she is still a member of the upper class and can expect to be treated accordingly.

That aside it is the dialogue that is anachronistic. He tells her that he is minded to give her a spanking, and she replies that she is sure that he thinks of nothing else. He then goes on to drool over her in an overtly sexual way. This is post-Freudian dialogue in a pre-Freudian world. People did not talk like that because it was not in their vocabulary. A young, unmarried girl would be spanked by her father if her conduct warranted it in his opinion, and this chap is clearly the guardian or something similar to the girl. So threatening her with a spanking was quite acceptable, but he would never have gone on to speak her  as he did here, and she would never have replied in that way. It is not how the Edwardian Era operated.

If you want to know how Edwardian suffragettes behaved then we have more than enough press reports to help us understand what happened back then:

In June 1912 an army of Belfast mill workers turned out to greet the great Protestant hero, Sir Edward Carson, and a group of suffragettes tried to disrupt the hero's welcome. So the female mill workers grabbed one of them, stripped her almost naked and gave her a sound spanking in the street. That same month two suffragettes were hauled up in front of the Belfast magistrates and complained that the local mill hands were "stripping and spanking suffragettes." It is unclear of this is a reference to the earlier incident or is other suffragettes had been taken in hand, but it is clear from the reports that nobody thought of these incidents as being in any way sexual - it was what happened to lippy women on occasion.

So come on British TV. Get back to the standards that we used to enjoy and leave out the trendy ideology because it does not help your period drama in any way, shape or form.

1 comment:

sixofthebest said...

I wish he had right there and then upturned her long dress, taken down her bloomer's and spanked her bare bottom bright red. One can only wish such spanking scenes had taken place.

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