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Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 239 – Our F/Favorite Tropes Part 3: Adapting Marriage Tropes - transcript

(Originally aired 2022/09/17 - listen here)


Today we’re going to look at historic romance tropes involving marriage and how they can be adapted to female couples.

It's common for articles about demographic studies to focus heavily on the methodology and definitions used for interpreting the data. This is of vital importance, as all such interpretations are conditional on the accuracy of the premises. But this sort of approach can give the impression that nothing at all is known for certain. To some extent, that's an accurate impression if one focuses on the "for certain" part, though not with regard to the "nothing is known" part.

A "completist" entry in this series, but as my summary points out, not of particular interest to the Project. Which aligns fairly well with my current mood. Let me tell you about the last 12 hours. I was supposed to fly out of SFO this morning at 08:30 (going to Chicago for Worldcon), which meant setting my alarm to get up at 05:00 to get BART to the airport.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 238 - On the Shelf for September 2022 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2022/09/03 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for September 2022.

As with so many moral judgments imposed on women, it's rarely a case that some particular action or state is praised or blamed in abasolute terms, but rather that it is conditionally praiseworthy depending on how it upholds patriarchal ideals and structures. Being/remaining single may default to being discourged, but circumstances may elevate it in support of some other ideal or principle. Thus, the "widow faithful to her dead husband" is praiseworthy...unless she has failed in the higher principle of procreation.

It may not entirely be coincidence that last week, when I wanted some background entertainment for processing my apple harvest, I decided to do a re-watch of I, Claudius. The Augustan marriage laws get a mention in one scene, and of course an exaggerated version of imperial Roman upper class marriage shenanigans is featured throughout. But as this article points out, despite the clear intention of penalizing people for remaining unmarried, the laws ended up only affecting a limited set of the population, and in very limited ways.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 237 – Our F/Favorite Tropes Part 2: Spinsters - transcript

(Originally aired 2022/08/20  - listen here)


The spinster, the wallflower, the woman who is considered “on the shelf” and faces a future as an old maid. And then she meets…well, that’s going to be a surprise.

Demographics -- and especially demographic studies that include individual illustrative examples -- are fertile ground for thinking about character backstories. As I read this article, I took a lot of mental notes for my long-trunked-for-massive-revisions 1st century historic romance. I’d already decided to give one of my protagonists an Egyptian background to make use of some of the evidence and hints regarding f/f relations in Roman Egypt.

I'm starting another collection of articles, this time with a hybrid approach: some blogged at length, some with a fairly short note, and those that aren't relevant to the purpose of the Lesbian Historic Motif Project simply listed at the end of this first entry. (That doesn't mean they aren't interesting! Just not directly relevant.) Depending on how I schedule the individual articles, this may take me well into September (which would be convenient as I'll be doing some traveling then) or I may post them more frequently to get through the lot in August.

We come to an end of Terry Castle's The Apparitional Lesbian. There's a steadily shrinking list of early "foundational" works that I have yet to cover in the Project. The remaining ones tend to be dense and theory-focused, like several works of Judith Butler on gender theory. (Older works on gender theory can be particularly tricky, given how rapidly the field morphs.) But for now, I'll be moving on to cover some of the articles in the collection The Single Life in the Roman and Later Roman World.


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