Thursday, June 17, 2004

Let's try a little perspective

The guest blogger at Cliopatria has gone off the deep end. I find myself doing more and more social and cultural history in my work, and I suppose if done right--not some whimpering "evil men made women cover up the beautiful nature of their bodily processes" bit of nonsense--a history of menstruation might provide some interesting insights into the social-cultural lives of women in earlier times. But I think you might be missing a little perspective if even half-jokingly you call for shelves of books on a topic that really boils down to trivia while lamenting the proliferation of studies on world changing events and people like wars and presidents.

I once had a professor pose a question from a feminist historian that went something like: "What did teenage Maori girls on New Zealand care about World War II?" My reply then as now is if the United States had decisively lost the Battle of the Coral Sea, I imagine those girls would have cared quite a bit. Let me add that that would be true whether or not they had their periods. i know this might be controversial, but wars and presidents are more important than menstruation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Geez Tom,
If you are going to diss me, at least use my name. I guess the hyperbole of a whole shelf of books on menstruation was over the top. The whole, but seriously go read the Ulrich didn't get the point across. Some people are so literal.

Okay now that that's out of the way, let's talk about whether the practice of everyday life is or is not more important than military history. But let's do it at Cliopatria cause I don't like this sign in thing here.
David Salmanson