"Even so I find it difficult to believe in this deliberate insult following upon the enjoyment of Parker's hospitality; though if I confess that if there is one thing too wonderful for us, it is the way of the woman's mind."
That brought me up with a jolt. I had to read it twice to get the sense of it, because of course when I read the first clause, I included myself in it - and why wouldn't I, because I was reading it, wasn't I? And it's a fairly common occurrence for a historian to speak of the fellowship in that way. But considering myself very much a part of that "us", it was only to find myself unceremoniously ejected by the second clause. Ho ho ho isn't it funny that women are so CRAZY! Lol omg etc...
This is a particularly egregious example, because it is actively stupid, not to mention pretty irrelevant to his argument. But there are plenty of others which, while equally excluding, are to be forgiven because of when they were written - but are nonetheless actually quite upsetting. I can't count the number of times I've read the construction "the historian ... his" or "the historian ... he will find...". Every time, I am taken aback - only for a second, but enough to unsettle me. Every time. Not only that, but talking about Elizabeth I seems to bring out the worst sorts of generalisations and tunnel vision (when Henry V or Edward IV paid attention to expenses, they were thrifty, but Elizabeth I is of course HOUSEWIFELY! Thanks for that, Simon Adams.) And this made me think about representation, and how important it is that people see a recognition in books and tv and films that people like them exist. Black people. Non-camp, non-butch, non-glossy glammy gay people. People with disabilities (good work CBeebies, incidentally, for employing one-handed Cerrie Burnell as a presenter, but boo to the people who think children will be "scared"). Because if I'm upset by being reminded that once upon a time, historians would invariably be men, poor me, but am otherwise pretty well represented, being a white middle-class Londoner with a posh voice, then how much worse is it for everyone else who's "different" from the norm, for whatever reason?
The thing is, words matter, they matter a lot, and it's too easy to forget that. And it's easy too not to notice the exclusion of others, so even though it pisses me off when white, middle-class men complain about how OPPRESSED THEY ARE OMG, at least it gives them a teeny tiny insight into what it's like for others. Just as Preofessor Happy Institionally Sexist Neale reminded me.
ETA to clarify my point about "herstory", lulz