Category Archives: The Ballroom

Women’s Power

There are plenty of anti feminists who make grand arguments about the power that women have always had and have always wielded to exhibit control over their lives….I don’t think this is what they had in mind:

 “The Ballroom: A Novel” by Anna Hope –

““Well, they’re behind bars too. Being fed with tubes. And whenever it gets bad in here, I think of them. Locked up too, because they want something else, something more. And I think, if they can stand it, I can. I’ll stay here and belong to myself. Not to my father, or brother, or any man. So that’s what I do, I stay. And my family pays to keep me here, and I get my own clothes, and I have my books, and every time that they let me out, I make cuts on my wrists so they’ll send me back.” 

Clem rolled up her sleeves, so that what had been hidden before was displayed, a livid badge of courage. 

“I have a razor,” she said. “I took it from my father’s house. I keep it sewn in here.” She gestured to her sleeve as she rolled it back down . “No one knows. Except you.” The look on her face was half-pleading, half-proud. “My father thinks I’ll break . But I won’t break. And now that you’re here”—Clem was smiling now—“ I can bear it even more.””

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From the Eugenics movement:

“The Ballroom: A Novel” by Anna Hope –

“I have no hesitation in saying, from personal experience, that nowadays the degenerate offspring of the feeble-minded and chronic pauper is treated with more solicitude, has better food, clothing, and medical attention, and has greater advantages than the child of the respectable and independent working man. So much is this the case that the people are beginning to realize that thrift, honesty, and self-denial do not pay.”

This sounds way too close to complaints made by American Conservatives who hate social welfare programs.

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1911 insane asylum…

“The Ballroom: A Novel” by Anna Hope –

“And though John did not know the man from before , he knew the brokenness on his face, the restless eyes—as though the world were a trap ready to spring upon you— had seen it on too many faces to count. And on most of them too, the same bafflement, as though unable to understand that this was where they had ended up.”

The shortest explanation of what’s wrong is that pileptics and “feeble minded” people made up too much of these asylums population. You should read about Carrie Buck who was the poster child for why the”feeble minded” and epileptics should be forcibly syerelized. It’s more complicated and more haunting than you think.

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