CONTRA O GOLPE CIVIL EM CURSO E A FAVOR DA DEMOCRACIA
terça-feira, 8 de julho de 2014
Was art critic John Ruskin really repulsed by his wife's pubic hair?
Age: 80 when he died.
Appearance: Flaccid. Possibly. Allegedly.
Oh, I know this guy! He's the one who didn't know women had pubic hair! What?
That is literally all I know. It's all anyone knows. He was an amazing man. An art critic, patron of many members of the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, social philosopher, prescient proselytiser for environmental concerns, writer, philanthropist ...
Wow! All that and he still didn't know anything about lady gardens. I can see we are going to have to deal with this issue. After all, the forthcoming film of his life, written by and starring Emma Thompson, seems to be placing it front and centre.
An unfortunate phrase, but continue. Art historians who have seen previews of the film, Effie Gray –
Is that the woman whose hoo-ha caused all the hoo-ha? She was his wife for five unconsummated years, yes, before leaving him for his protege John Millais.
Woah! Five years? Because she had pubic hair? Will you just listen? Art historians who have seen previews of the film say that it perpetuates the myth that Ruskin was unable to perform on his wedding night because he was revolted by the sight of her naked.
How does such a myth begin? Probably with a letter from Effie to her father that said Ruskin "alleged various reasons" for never consummating the marriage, including "hatred to children, religious motives, a desire to preserve my beauty, and, finally ... [he] told me his true reason ... that he had imagined women were quite different to what he saw I was, and that the reason he did not make me his Wife was because he was disgusted with my person [that] first evening ..."
But that could be her making stuff up – especially if she wanted to run off with Millais. Perhaps. But Ruskin did say during their eventual annulment proceedings: "It may be thought strange that I could abstain from a woman who to most people was so attractive. But though her face was beautiful, her person was not formed to excite passion. On the contrary, there were certain circumstances in her person which completely checked it."
It's not looking good for our hero, is it? But no one knows what those "certain circumstances" were. Pubic hair and menstrual blood have both been mooted, but nobody knows.
Well, what else would it be? Cellulite? I thought they quite went for the Rubenesque look back then. Rubens was about 200 years before this.
Was she secretly covered in scales? Millais, whom she married and with whom she had eight children, would probably have mentioned it if so.
I reckon it was pubes, then. The point is, that's not the point. Art lovers in general and Ruskin aficionados in particular are protesting against the reduction of a brilliant, fascinating and influential man to this one vulgar factoid.
Totally pubes. You're probably right. They are disgusting, after all.
Do say: "Look! Nature bursting forth in all its glory!"
Don't say: "Sort it out, love. Looks like something died down there."