Wear Sunscreen

An historian's view on life, love and leisure

Category: Women

Carpe diem en out of control haar

Documenteren of niet

Enkele maanden geleden had ik de intentie om vast te leggen wat ik allemaal meemaakte op mijn kankerreis. Ik zag het als een soort dagboek. Iets dat ik wilde bijhouden om mij er ‘later’ aan te herinneren waar ikzelf en ons gezin doorgegaan waren. Iets om ons eraan te herinneren dat je best geniet van elke dag. Carpe diem, zoiets.

Inmiddels moet ik toegeven dat ik op heel wat momenten helemaal niet meer wilde nadenken, laat staan dat ik nog wilde vastleggen wat er met mij gebeurt. Het is mij nu, 7 maanden na mijn operatie, duidelijk dat ik nooit meer dezelfde zal zijn. Dat is geen fatalistische uitspraak, dat heeft niets te maken met ‘slechte gedachten’, maar alles met de realiteit van kanker. Dat is ook de reden waarom er weinig of geen foto’s zijn van mij tijdens de chemokuur. Nochtans wilden zowel ik als de wederhelft wel graag een foto maken, ergens wil je wel documenteren, maar zo bewust ervoor gaan poseren, ging mij toch wat te ver. Continue reading

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Hallelujah and Armistice Day

For the past two days, everything people are talking about, all over the world, is the election of Donald Trump as the new president of the USA.

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5 images, 5 things I’ve done in the past few weeks

 

we've moved!

I hate moving, I really, really, really hate moving. This was actually my 5th or 6th move, so by now I can probably write a book about what to do – and especially about what not to do – when you prepare to move. Anyway, we survived. Barely, but we did. Our new house has a bigger office space and it’s closer to the offpring’s school. Everybody happy. More or less.

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Of strong women then and now

The Archduchess Isabella of Spain ruled the (Southern) Netherlands from 1598 until her death in 1633. Atelier of Frans Pourbus II, ca 1600 All rights: www.rijksmuseum.nl

The Archduchess Isabella of Spain ruled the (Southern) Netherlands from 1598 until her death in 1633.
Atelier of Frans Pourbus II, ca 1600
All rights: www.rijksmuseum.nl

 

Most people still have a somewhat – as we often say in academia – 19th century view on women’s roles in past societies.

No doubt these views are also more than a little influenced by what cinema’s and TV show us. From the tragic life of Georgiana Spencer in The Duchess to the unlikely love story between the lady Sybil and her chauffeur in Downton Abbey, we seem to be hovering between the idea of women being forced into doomed marriages or women constantly challenging accepted gender norms. Victims or heroines in other words.

Rarely are we presented with women who managed to work with these roles and who carved out a position in society without having to completely revolutionize the way people – mostly men – seemed to think about them.

When I first applied for a position at a university in the Netherlands, I had to defend my research proposal in front of a jury consisting mostly of men, mostly of non-historians, and who were mostly completely oblivious to the wondrous worlds of both gender and court history. When asked what the point was about researching noble women’s lives, I stated that women did more than needlework in castle tower chambers.

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