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Feminism Politics

Getting Georgian England Wrong

Cracked's caption: "Right after the artist was finished, this thing went full-on orgy." What's actually happening: those officers are going to march out at 3 a.m. to meet Napoleon's army. (WikiMedia)
Henry O’Neil’s “Before Waterloo,” depicting British officers at a ball given by the Duchess of Richmond. They’ve just gotten the news they’ll be marching out at 3 that morning to face Napoleon’s army. Cracked’s caption: “Right after the artist was finished, this thing went full-on orgy.” ROFL, Cracked, ROFL! (WikiMedia)

My impression of Cracked.com was that it provides accurate information in a humorous way, but I was not amused by the over-simplifications in a recent post on sexual mores during England’s Georgian period. Yes, there was a lot more sex going on than in your typical Jane Austen novel, but the article implies that this was an equal-opportunity sexual liberation, which it emphatically was not. Here’s a sample (and you’re right if you guessed that the part that got me was where the author described Jane Austen as “a sexually repressed spinster who almost never left her hometown, so what did she know?”):