Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Question from Donna - Self-esteem, shyness, etc.

In Tudor times, did some people have self-esteem issues, shyness/social anxiety, and/or compare themselves to others? It would actually seem to me that that would not have been so, in "simpler times" in which there was no advertising, technology, cameras, (the camera "adds ten pounds" phrase didn't exist) or media/social media. Life wasn't perfect back then, but at least, in a way, everyone seemed actually more socially accepting of different body types.

9 comments:

Nicole said...

To answer your question, Donna, yes, people will always be people, and that would’ve included some who were shyer and had lower self-esteem, even back centuries ago. I’ve had actually had it in mind to write a story set in 14th century England, about a shy and timid squire/knight, who over the course of the story eventually overcomes his shyness and gradually becomes braver and more assertive. That’s just my wacky idea I had to share.

John said...

Sounds like a great idea, Nicole. As a male myself, it fascinates me that you're making the male hero shy and timid, for once, rather than the classic, cliche' female heroine. (Fighting back against gendered behaviors and double standards, am I right)?

Donna said...

Absolutely yes! Thanks guys for responding to my question.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the idea of a shy, timid knight might sound anachronistic, but it really isn’t. Writing a story, and getting it published, about that, is no more “anachronistic” than making up a story about an anorexic or bulimic knight, a good, saintly knight, or an evil, villainous knight, or any other kind of knight! You should be able to write about what you want to, and make the characters any way you want.

Anonymous said...

Would it be okay for me to write a story about an anorexic medieval knight, set in 14th century England, or would it be too “anachronistic”? In my story, ever since childhood, when he was just a page, his elders have been obsessed with/watched his weight. They fat-shamed him, warned him about “gluttony”, and getting fat/gaining too much weight, only allowed him “certain foods”, mostly only bland meals, and when he becomes a squire, he starts dieting, starves himself, and deprives himself of desserts. He is 6’3”, and weighs only 100 lbs. by his 21st birthday, in which he becomes a knight. So, would I be writing a pretty good story, or would I just be imposing modern day issues on historical society? Somebody please comment and tell me your thoughts.

Howard said...

Hey anonymous, if you want to write a story like that, then heck, go for it! Eating disorders have existed for centuries and centuries. I personally think the part where the adults in his life fat-shame him, and put him on strict diets, in his childhood, and the motivation for why he develops anorexia, as a teenager, may be a little far-fetched, but other than that, no I wouldn’t say you’d be imposing modern issues on the past, but rather, if this is your (eccentric, odd) way of trying to raise more awareness on the issue, then that’s totally fine. Some men can develop eating disorders, too, and have a bad body image. Nobody in my family has really talked about it, but, my great-grandfather after (or maybe even during) his time serving in the trenches in WW1, became anorexic, and also munched on/swallowed some small inedible, non-food objects, too. My grandfather, seemed unfortunately to have taken after his father, and post WW2, had bulimia and often binged-ate, in secret.
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Just your average historian said...

I can’t really say specifically about “Tudor”, but my ancestry goes back a long ways on these issues. My wealthy Ancient Rome ancestor was going to become an emperor, (but didn’t) the problem was, he was so shy, timid, and introverted, that he would often stay hidden in his room, and wait/stay up until nighttime, and sometimes even after (modern day) midnight, just so he could come out and have some piece and quiet to himself. We all know how communal and non-private Ancient Rome was, the only people he wasn’t afraid to/could stand to be around more, were his slaves. In Anglo-Saxon England, I have an ancestor who was too shy and scared to “discipline” his own wife. (Modern day values don’t agree with this, but) he was “henpecked”, and his wife was definitely the more outspoken, assertive, and unabashed of the two! Further up, my great-great-grandfather, and my great-grandfather from WW1 and WW2 also had eating disorders. Unfortunately, though, after WW1 my great-great grandfather was put in a mental hospital for having anorexia, and my great-grandfather, after discovering he suffered from bulimia, was lobotomized, he, for sure, was never the same after!

Jill said...

Wow! To both Howard and Just Your Average Historian, that’s so cool about your ancestry! Wish I could find out about my ancestors as easily as you guys did!

Jill said...

Also, I like to say, that pretty much from ancient times, up to the early 20th century, people/society really didn’t used to worry about “carrying a few extra pounds” / being “a little overweight”. In fact it seems that part of the reason (not all of it) that suddenly, thinness became more ideal, and was/is now associated with/used as a “status symbol” was when the model Twiggy came along. Also, I think it was because it was “easier” to be/stay skinny, centuries, or decades ago, and that less people were overweight. Absolutely in aristocratic families, being a little portlier/plumper was their “status symbol” for showing off how well-off they were. Now obesity was a different story, but having a wife, and/or even servants who had “reasonably portly/plump” bodies, would’ve reflected back to the lord/the man of the house, so that he could have a way to show off how rich, or “healthy” he was.