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'Ladies who built a long time ago' and dared to love other women

by archyde

A Twitter thread was the origin of the book 'Ladies who built a long time ago', where the writer and researcher Cristina Domenech brings to light the story of several pioneers who, from the 17th to the 20th century, dared to love other women , to express their sexuality and boldly challenge social conventions.

For more than 15 years, Domenech (1987) has been researching "lesbians in history" and has been doing it "as a hobby," the author explains in an interview, who is also preparing a doctoral thesis where he analyzes historical literature from a queer perspective (cisgender people).

On March 7, it occurred to him to share one of his investigations with «a couple of friends» on Twitter, for which he opened a thread announcing that he was going to tell «the story of the two ladies who were embedded and then it was not known if they were lesbians, because they gave themselves a bible ».

With a string of tweets, Domenech managed to spend «from 200 followers to 10,000» in this social network in just a few days.

"It was a shock and people asked me for more," says the author, adding: "I was opening threads with more stories, the thing continued to grow and became a book." In November it went on sale published by the publisher "Plan B" and, in just one month, the third edition is already underway.

Domenech declares herself satisfied to learn that several people "have left the closet" giving the book to their parents, as they have told him on Twitter: "It has given me a lot of joy because there are people inside the closet having a very bad time. I like that the book serves to normalize a situation ».

'Ladies who built themselves long ago' tells the lives of 19 women. It begins with the story of Mademoiselle de Maupin, a 17th-century opera and duelist singer, whom Louis XIV twice forgave his death sentences executed for participating in these duels, which had been banned by his predecessor Louis XIII.

The book concludes in the twentieth century and tells, among others, the trajectory of the bisexual artist Josephine Baker, who says she "helped win a war with her underwear."

But, among all, Domenech highlights the life of Anne Lister, "the first modern lesbian," who "had a fairly advanced mindset" for the early nineteenth century and who "marked a before and after."

"She was the only one capable of making history and falling asleep simultaneously," Domenech reveals, recalling the moment in which he tried to bless in the church "his union with his wife" and fell asleep during the office, "as was usually the case at Mass. ».

Lister spoke "in full detail of their relationship women" in their diaries, although they were "partially coded." So, when they were deciphered and discovered about 1980, it changed the "innocent" thinking of many historians who assumed that two women "had no sex because they did not know that concept."

"It was clear that there were many women who were very clear that they wanted to spend their lives with women and that they had no problem accessing and practicing sexual information," said Domenech, who also highlights the life of Natalie Clifford Barney.

And he does it because he says he "was an exceptional woman." She was an American who lived in Paris and who, although she failed to succeed as a poet, "boosted the career of other artists of the time" and "mainly women who found it more difficult to sell their work."

Hidden in the story

During her research, Cristina Domenech has verified that the academic field of female homosexuality in history and in historical literature has always been "tiny and equivocal" because until the end of the 19th century she had no name.

He explains that "it was closely linked to pathology and insane lifestyle", so, "when a historical figure was to be exalted and suspicions were found that he could have had homosexual relationships, this data got under the carpet ».

And it reveals that in the case of women it was easier to hide because in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries "there was a kind of fashion or social rule that was romantic friendship."

It consisted of "having a friend with whom you weave a very exalted and very passionate friendship -with kisses, gifts and a letter a day-, which looked very good". They were relationships that "in many cases entered the field of the emotional and even the sexual", although "they were covered with marriages."

For the book, Domenech has opted for a "close and colloquial" language because he did not intend to write an essay, but "put into the hands of everyone information that I think we should know."

(tagsToTranslate) ladies (t) embedded (t) dared (t) love (t) women

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