"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" ~Albus Dumbledore

Friday, 8 April 2011

Friday Eighth - scandal

Good evening, Blog. It has been another warm and sunny day, hence the denim shorts and tank top I am currently sporting. The subject of today's BEDA entry is my lecture this afternoon.

One of my module's for this year is entitled 'Scandal and Sobriety: the Enlightenment to the Victorians' and that is what I had today. As it is ending the year, we are on our last text (The Importance of Being Earnest, if anyone is interested) and we have been discussing Fin de Siecle, or end of the century. Bill, my tutor and lecturer on the subject, spent the hour this afternoon telling us about 19th century medicine, gender and how it relates to the play. It was mostly a background knowledge kind of lecture, so I was zoning in and out (I know, bad student!). But I did learn about 19th century medicine and their preconceptions on the human body, particularly the differences between male and female. Apparently, "self-abuse" (and I think we all know what I'm talking about here - if you don't, you are probably too young to be reading this) was not only scandalous that it was morally wrong, it was pleasure for pleasures sake. Doctors in the 1890's thought that the blood went through some kind of conversion in the body that turned it into semen. There was also a kind of ratio that 7 ounces of blood made about 3 ounces of semen. Bill's phrase was 'an armful gives a handful'. Therefore, when a man was ... self-abusing, he was wasting blood. They also thought that if a man did this too much, he would lose too much blood and make him feel like a woman on her period.

Yeah ... this is the fun stuff we learn at my university.

Good night and see you tomorrow.

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