Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Newest Mean Girl

I found this story on my nerdy calendar called "Jeff Kacirk's Forgotten English" for the date of September 26th, 2013. It tells the story of Nathaniel Hawthorne, American author of The Scarlet Letter, who served the American consulate in England in 1854. He jotted down his thoughts about the English in his journal (eventually published as his English Notebooks). He writes:

"What chiefly struck me was the lack of beauty in the women . . . This ugliness surely . . . must be, in great part, the penalty of a life of gross feeding–of much ale-guzzling and beef-eating. Nor is it possible to conceive of any delicacy and grace of soul existing within; or if there be such, the creature ought to be killed, in order to release the spirit so vilely imprisoned."

Whooooa, claws in, you cat.

But he doesn't stop there, oh no. He quickly becomes every nasty, popular high school girl in every teen comedy ever:

"I truly believe that the entire body of American washerwomen would present more grace than the entire body of English ladies, were both together. American women of all ranks, when past their prime, generally look thin, worn, care-begone, as if they may have led a life of much trouble and few enjoyments. But English women look as if they had fed upon the fat of meat and made themselves gross and earthy in all sorts of ways. I prefer my own countrywomen, though it is a pity that we must choose between a greasy animal and an anxious skeleton".

So, in conclusion, English women: fat, greasy animals who are just better off DEAD.

I don't know what's more offensive–the ageism, sexism, ethnocentrism, or weight-shaming in all of this. I guess he lowered himself to write sensitively about Hester Prynne because even though she was a woman (who would get old one day, ewwwwwwwww), she was young, hot and American.

 I think it was also just after this point that he started wearing pink on Wednesdays.

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