Context

Bee's picture
Sat, 12/04/2010 - 07:45 -- Bee

While unpacking I have been reading a random assortment of books and essays that turn up at the top of teetering stacks of shit. This is consistent with my normal approach to literature, but for whatever alchemical reason I keep encountering this stereotype of the English Rose - British women with dewy, lovely skin.

I've lived here for six years and honestly, I don't see this characteristic in the people around me. Unless all of these writers actually mean the slightly moldy look of being deprived of sun most of year? Because it is true that many locals (like me) look pallid and wan. One might go so far as to say anaemic.

Though in context I presume the English Rose is code for something more sinister - a colonial or imperial (and certainly class based) assertion of worth. In these books virtue, value, and national pride are equated with white skin. Even if the author has official beliefs to the contrary.

This is absurd for all of the obvious reasons, and shocking because similar comments turn up in contemporary media. Um, in a word, no.

Though fascinating given the enduring modern British fad for tanning, fake or otherwise.