Thursday, June 13, 2013

Susan Bordo

Susan Bordo, Otis A. Singletary Professor in the Humanities at University of Kentucky, is the author of Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, a book that is still widely read and assigned in classes today. During speaking tours for that book, she encountered many young men who asked, "What about us?" The result was The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private. Her latest book is The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen.

From Bordo's Q & A with Natalie Grueninger, creator of the website On the Tudor Trail:

Anne Boleyn has been represented in film and literature in a variety of ways, including: the romantic heroine, marriage breaker, religious reformer, adulteress, witch, enchantress and victim. Describe your Anne Boleyn?

I don’t really have “one” Anne, but I do have bits and pieces that made me fall in love with her: Her speech at her trial, in which she describes her one “crime” as not having shown Henry enough humility—I think that’s an extraordinary, “feminist” insight for a woman of her time. Her dark, ironic sense of humour, which never left her, even at the end. The fact that she never tried to aspire to the beauty-standards of her day, but wore her own style with supreme confidence, probably altering ideas about beauty in the process. Her passion about making the bible available in English to all subjects. The fact that she expressed her jealousy rather than suppressing it as a “good” wife should. The way Elizabeth is so clearly her daughter, with that distinctive blend of brains, femininity, assertiveness, and flirtatiousness that they both apparently had.

I also see “my” Anne in every young woman who comes to my office, struggling with the contradictory demands of being female in complex times: Can I be myself—fully myself, sexual and smart, serious and playful, sometimes demanding, sometimes jealous, sometimes too loud, sometimes wanting only to be left alone—and still be loved? Can I be loved—fully loved, body, soul, and mind—and still remain myself? If forced to choose, what will I sacrifice and what will I hold fast to? Anne’s struggle speaks powerfully to these young women, and I think that’s a big reason why...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at the official The Creation of Anne Boleyn website.

My Book, The Movie: The Creation of Anne Boleyn.

--Marshal Zeringue