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28 January 2017 @ 09:17 am
Body shame  
The Victorians really had something to hide. (gross details)
Marionweofodthignen on January 28th, 2017 05:32 pm (UTC)
I thought the muscles of the hand were in the forearm? I know the finger muscles are, at any rate - so presumably all that fuss is about the muscle at the base of the thumb? Seems to me it must be somewhat exaggerated, unless she had flattened the hand out somehow.

Except for the sad end of the old lady at the end, I didn't find anything in the article to be disgusted about. And the writer has never been around people in the US who can't afford medical care, or even the poor in the UK, I reckon - I've seen plenty of blue teeth, swollen feet, chronic sores, burn scars, and growths, and I don't even live on the street. Oh, and "osteoporotic humps", yup, plenty of those still around ... what are old women supposed to do, hide when they get bent over, or get spinal transplants?

I find the writer's obsession with phsyical appearance over-done, actually. Maybe that partly comes from being face-blind; maybe it partly comes from being relatively immune to the idea that beauty connotes goodness (and that a Yorkshire accent is "genteel", rofl, "Where there's muck there's brass"; but do I detect a prejudice that Irish is not genteel?). Maybe I'm just unobservant; I would probably not have noticed that Elizabeth Barrett Browning was darker-skinned than usual, although I know the Victorians cared about pale skin. And I carefully avoid looking hard at details of a man's anatomy, including his facial hair and how many zits he has. I actually lost a job once because some people had an esthetic objection to one of my shoulders being higher than the other; which is a quirk honestly come by from toting bags full of books on that shoulder.

I associate typecasting by physical appearance with Americans. A bit sad to see it applied relentlessly by a Brit to people dead and gone who made their names other than by being pretty faces on the stage. Is my take.

eub on January 29th, 2017 09:27 am (UTC)
The thumb muscles are the biggest ones, but there's also some in the palm for the little finger, and some on the sides of the fingers for making "scissors" motions, and I could believe some additional ones involved in squeezing.

Deldel_c on January 29th, 2017 12:58 pm (UTC)
I couldn't make sense of the thesis. The author says poor people were in each other's faces and that's why they covered up, but then all her examples are the privileged minority she says could afford privacy. She says they also covered up because they had more horrifying disfigurement than we do, but then gives examples that aren't worse than today, and examples that weren't covered up, like mouths. Any such theory has to explain why we don't cover up. Has the break out of beards since 2010 been the result of some mutilating plague, or is it just a fashion following a period of general smooth shaven chins? Was scarring rarer in the 18th century, when beards were less in vogue?
Deldel_c on January 29th, 2017 01:30 pm (UTC)
She isn't saying Yorkshire is genteel and Irish is not, she's saying "genteel Yorkshire" as if you would say "middle-aged Texan", without any implication that all Texans are middle-aged, or that no Californians are.