Women fucking Dickinson

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In Dickinson Women fucking Dickinson, hair is a narrative strategy. Unlike these women, her mother and sister and lover, Emily Dickinson, we seem initially to be meant to see, is free, or wants to be — free from constraint, free from convention, free from the shitty ache of bobby pins. Free in fact from the image of Dickinson you may have had in your mind — or at least, the one you maybe had before you started to see Steinfeld-as-Dickinson on billboards and internethair flowing, gazing at you with piercing enticement.

I have been writing about televisual hair studies since Connie BrittonI have spent literally hours of my one and precious life pondering the hair of television ladies from Gilead to Westeros to as special consultant the NFL, so I can say with confidence that Dickinson is a major Hair Studies event.

Critical hair studiesin my mind, is special branch of gender studies that, when partnered with media analysis, finds in TV hair a barometer for what kind of reality, what kind of relation, a given show can imagine for its especially women characters. And, Dear Television, let me bring you the good news that, considered from this perspective, Dickinson is one of our richest televisual texts yet.

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A spoiler here the first of several, but mostly about season 1 : Dickinson is so much more subtle about hair than the opening flowing-hair-is-freedom imagery would lead us to believe. But that just makes it all the more interesting that when it comes to hair, Dickinson makes a ificant choice. Do you care that it was red? About your my concerns, Dickinson takes a cavalier tone. Dickinsonas one relevant aesthetic metric would put it, fully slaps, and here it is, inviting you. Go with it, to the side of freedom and youth. Go, or feel yourself morph into what you — you meas a lover of the 19th century, of Emily Dickinson, of bookish rebels, of girlhood — never wanted to be: a prude.

And yet still I want to come picking about this red hair point. But I do think that the swirling hair is, like the twerking, a kind of fascinating aesthetic revisionism that, unlike the twerking, remains mostly invisible as such. And — hello, Dear Television, reading this in the midst of January — revisionism Women fucking Dickinson a question it is pressing for us to consider, as showrunner and writer Alena Smith who, full disclosure, I know a little on the internetis clearly aware.

Although I have not myself seen it, a lock of her hair exists. So, for further corroboration, I consulted with two of the foremost scholars of 19th-century poetics, both of whom also are exemplary models of human noticing, Meredith McGill and Virginia Jackson.

In case you cannot picture it, this is what a chestnut burr looks like.

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It does not look like Hailee Steinfeld. Why does it matter? This visual link, even in textbooks, has been a kind of storytelling, a fantasy about being a white woman in the 19th century. Crucially, what Dickinson offers us in place of this fantasy is not an attempt at reality but rather another fantasy. It knows this, all the time. How we fantasize about Emily Dickinson — an emblem of 19th-century white womanhood, and, in fact, one of the major sites of contemporary projections about what the forms of the past were like — is what this show wants its viewers to consider.

And: which historic fantasies of femininity and freedom are available to whom? Witnesswhich I saw when I was nine, is a movie about how hot it is to imagine Harrison Ford wearing Amish clothes and doing Amish carpentry tasks and falling in love with a beautiful widowed Amish mother, Kelly McGillis. Watching it was like suddenly reading Little House and watching Han Solo all at oncewhich, what could be better? Surging with emotion, McGillis makes her choice: she chooses desire, she chooses love, she chooses freedom!

But as a nine-year-old girl, the key lesson was clear: if you want to be the person who gets to make out with Han Solo in a field, hair freedom is what you need. The reason has to do with a desire to feel free. Speaking personally as someone who basically refuses to read novels set in the present moment, I like fantasies of the past because they make a different frame to consider choices, particularly choices about self-determination. But careful scholars of Hair Studies, such as the Dickinson production team, know that Hair Freedom is a more complicated matter than it first may appear.

If you read your way through an archive of 19th century imagery about bonnets, bonnet removal, social freedom, and Hair Narrative which, here is a whole syllabus for you! Emily Dickinson, in Dickinsonneeds a lot of things — personal agency, creative role models, intense personal connection. She begins the series believing that hair freedom will help her achieve those things. She ends the season realizing that hair freedom will not. Here is a good place for me to say that my experience of watching Dickinson Season 1 was a slow build of appreciation — each episode is better than the last.

And the whole thing is most compelling when Women fucking Dickinson re-watch Women fucking Dickinson you can really see the truly elegant formal parallels the show sets up. And nowhere is the rejection of simple binaries more in evidence than in the first and last episodes of the season and their contrasting treatments of hair. Even a quick over view will suffice. The iconography could not be clearer. If you just looked at the pictures after a girlhood spent watching Witness and believing the repressive hair hypothesis you might believe that Dickinson is a sad story, a tragedy — a story of a young woman going from freedom and innocence to confinement and grief.

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Dickinson ends with Emily in her room, while her now-married friend and lover Sue literally floats away in a hot air balloon. In the final scenes, when Emily looks the most confined, she is also the most powerful. Her tied back hair, in this image, does not illustrate her submission to rules; instead, the bun parallels her ability to regulate her own boundaries.

Her hair selects its own society, then shuts, to the room of her own, the door.

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What happens over the course of the first season to get Emily to this poetical point? It has something to do with falling in love with and then losing her boyfriend Ben the excellently cast Matt Lauria who came to Dickinson after pursuing a degree in Hair Studies in Dillon, Texas with Connie Britton. She carries Women fucking Dickinson confinement with her, her belly swelling like the hot air balloon that carries her away.

In the first episode ificantly, during the bedroom scene pictured — disturbingly — above Emily convinces her father to hire a maid, an Irish woman named Maggie Darlene Huntwho changes the dynamic of gender and work in the household. Specifically, women of color, are working to Women fucking Dickinson the s of femininity — the beautiful dresses, the meals — against which white women then wonder if they should rebel.

Who is it, really, who needs to talk more about or to dead white people? That question is complicated, but one answer is that the stories white people told and wrote about themselves in exactly the moment Dickinson takes place have left, for many reasons, an outsized mark on American popular culture. A common feature of the beautiful white women in these stories is that all of them, all of them, all of them, have really amazing hair.

So much is this the case, in fact, that an oft-cited index of the best-selling stories from this time collated by Nina Baym, genius includes the hair-color of both the heroine and the antiheroine. For me and the white women of my life, these stories of moral white womanhood have been something of a bane, but also, in ways that are less often brought to light, a blessing. Grappling with the legacy of this powerful story, white women can easily understand ourselves as victims in the very story that aimed to lift us up.

White women need to get free of this story, many white feminists have told us me ; we need to wash it right out of their hair like a bad, oppressive man. But when white women like me stage ourselves as the victims of the story of our constriction, it is easy to miss how that story was always a story. It was a story that celebrated a white domestic scene made for and by white women, often at huge, violent expense to people of color.

These scholars show how received narratives about white women obscure two things simultaneously: the cruelty that 19th century white women perpetuated in order to establish the domestic femininity for which they were praised, and what Black women, despite the ongoing threat of that cruelty, have managed to accomplish. Among these accomplishments, as Hattie will go on to show, is to assert their own visibility — and to write stories of their own ghosts. Among the many shows right now provocatively representing the dead white people of the 19th century most obviously Bridgertonanother major hair studies event Dickinson stands out to me for how it so forcefully engages the stories that white people have reiterated and believed about dead white women — and, by extension, about white women now.

We talk about how these issues have real force for the security of people living in this strange country now. Sometimes aesthetic and symbolic fantasy register too: there has been a lot of discussion of that guy with the confederate flag invading Women fucking Dickinson capital. Put differently, revisionist versions of the past can expose realities that some originalist versions try to conceal.

Here are some images from episode one: And here is what you need to see about episode The iconography could not be clearer.

Women fucking Dickinson

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