I’ve seen one or two articles about Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman recently. For some reason, they’re an object of interest for one or two newspapers due to the Victorian lifestyle that they lead. However, it was a comment that Sarah made about feminism while talking to the Hamilton Spectator that sparked my interest.
In the article, she’s discussing how a gift of a corset from her husband Gabriel empowered her to embrace the Victorian life more. She says that the corset straightened her posture and distributed the weight of her breasts over the whole corset. As with any steampunk, the couple believe they make women look nicer and more feminine. Asked about what the biggest downside is to her way of life and she says it’s the heckling and jeering from people who think that everyone should be the same and dislike diversity. “It’s a disease in society to attack anything that’s different. That is what we have to challenge,” she says.
The Hamilton Spectator – or The Spec – considers that her views on feminism could be deemed controversial, and they’re right. She thinks that feminism today has taken women’s rights further backwards than they would let us believe. She says that women have “tremendous power exercised in different ways” and believes that women were considered morally superior in the late 19th century.
It’s indicated by the lack of supercharged steam driven quantum generators, ray guns and cake on display in the photographs that Gabriel and Sarah are more Victoriana than steampunk. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but the statement surprised me because as a steampunk, I wholly embrace a woman’s right to do whatever she pleases. I consider that a step forward. A steampunk universe is a welcoming one and even though we all have our own individual universes to live in alongside one another, there are certain elements that remain the same.
I think the statement made is somewhat ambiguous and maybe that’s why it’s considered controversial. If she had said that EXTREME feminism is ruining women’s rights, then I agree. Extreme feminism wants to see the downfall of man altogether while actual feminism simply wants equality. I also believe that a lot of modern feminists are going about things the wrong way. They’re right to engage social media in order to spread their word and, for example, I agree with their viewpoint on the over sexualising of the female nipple. Unfortunately, while the hash tag they’ve created (#freethenipple) will help to make [women’s breasts] more normal and less sexual, at the moment it’s a way for boys and men to get free content of them. There needs to be more done with education and not radical approaches that are only organised to incite anger and embarrassment.
While it’s also true that women were indeed considered morally superior, they were still looked upon as inferior to a degree although that was all changing at that time. After all, it’s said in the article that Sarah makes bread from scratch, but doesn’t indicate that Gabriel does too. If he doesn’t, that’s not exactly equal.
You can read the full article here: Modern Victorians embrace iceboxes, corsets