‘Everyday Feminism’: Masculinity is a universe, and we’re all stars. Except the lesbians.

Jeanne de Montbaston

Image via flickr.com/photos/sshreeves and http://www.autostraddle.com/150-years-of-lesbians-144337/ Image via flickr.com/photos/sshreeves and http://www.autostraddle.com/150-years-of-lesbians-144337/

The photo above is one you may have seen before. It, and a collection of other photos from the Victorian and Edwardian eras have been collected together here, in 2012, as a tribute to 150 years of women’s history. It’s a lovely picture. I think most people enjoy the idea of looking at something like this and imagining the story behind it. And, it’s fun to try to glimpse a part of history that’s often hard to recover – the lives of women in same-sex relationships before those relationships were socially condoned, let alone celebrated. But, at the same time, it makes me uneasy. The woman who set up the initial collection of photos explains herself carefully, noting that we can’t always know whether women in photos like this – taken so long ago – would have understood themselves to be ‘lesbians’ in any modern…

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