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Rippercast - A Petticoat Parley: Women in Ripperology

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  • Rippercast - A Petticoat Parley: Women in Ripperology

    I'm listening to an interesting recent episode of Rippercast, entitled "A Petticoat Parley: Women in Ripperology", hosted by Ally Ryder, with guests Tiffany Durkan, Samantha Hulass, Suzie Huntington, Madeline Keane and Amanda Lloyd:
    http://www.casebook.org/podcast/listen.html?id=307

    I haven't heard it all yet, but so far the focus is squarely on Hallie Rubenhold's book, "The Five". I think the comments repeatedly hit the nail in a number of respects (down to Rubenhold's attempt to give the false impression that she has a Ph.D.). In particular, near the beginning Ally Ryder puts in a nutshell what I dislike most about the book (at about 9:30):
    The reason that I argue against the assertion that "Oh, they weren't really prostitutes" - besides the fact that it's just a blatantly untrue claim, which should be reason enough to argue against it - is that when you make that argument, much less when you write an entire book devoted to promoting the idea that they weren't really prostitutes, whether you intend to or not, you are promoting the completely sexist idea that if they weren't sex workers then their deaths were somehow more of a tragedy. Because, well, of course if they weren't prostitutes then they didn't really deserve what happened to them. They were just innocent women as opposed to, well, prostitutes who - it's just an occupational hazard, so it's not like it's a tragedy, if it happens to prostitutes.

  • #2
    I listened to it the other day - it’s excellent.

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    • #3
      Me too. It’s very good.
      Regards

      MichaelšŸ”Ž


      " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

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      • #4
        Me too. It was an excellent episode, I highly recommend it.

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        • #5
          The second half became just a general discussion on feminist issues and strayed well off topic.

          The point was briefly raised that Hallie Rubenhold had in essence trolled 'Ripperology', while simultaneously claiming to be the victim of trolling.
          I thought it was fairly obvious at the outset that she had picked a fight with 'Ripperology' as part of a marketing strategy... and it worked for her like a dream. I though it was rather clever of her.
          Her book has been tremendously successful and I have no doubt that it brought tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of new people into this field. If it were not for these periodic popular flights of fancy the field would die out!
          For most it started with the factual drivel of Stephen Knight. Then there is the Michael Caine mini series, the Diary, From Hell, The Chamber of Horrors, The London Dungeon, the shawl. Where it not for these episodes where would Ripperology be? Would it even exist?
          In reality 'Ripperology' is intimately, symbiotically, bound up with this carnival of unreality. It has been since the first sensationalist newspaper headlines, since the 1888 Whitechapel Road macabre victim wax works display.
          In truth Hallie Rubenhold should be thanked... and even applauded. Particularly by other women I should have thought.

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          • #6
            I don’t see the discussion straying off topic as attitudes toward women are central to the points being made Ed. The derogatory comments made about Ripperology have been made from the perspective that the subject is dominated by men with sexist/misogynistic views so I think that a response from women who have had personal experience of sexism and misogyny is important. Any responses from male Ripperologist are just going to be met with “well you would say that wouldn’t you?” Rubenhold has already showed jaw-dropping condescension by saying that those women had been ‘sent’ by men.

            I don’t see how she has done Ripperology or more importantly women in general any favours. Yes there’s been publicity but it’s all been negative and based on falsehoods and hasn’t achieved anything positive.. I agree though that she had an agenda from day one but I don’t see that she deserves any pats on the back for it. Indeed that’s pretty much all that she’s received so far in the form of a deluge of misguided praise. I think that the women in the podcast made a meaningful start in redressing the balance.
            Regards

            MichaelšŸ”Ž


            " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

            Comment


            • #7
              I felt it did lose contact with Ripperology towards the end.

              I thought another interesting aspect was Ally's opinion, about a minute in, that the identification of Mary Kelly was the "Holy Grail of Ripperology". Realistically I suspect most Ripperologists would still, given the choice, opt for the identification of the killer rather than the identification of his last victim. But undoubtedly far more effort has been expended by Ripperologists in trying to identify Mary than was expended by Rubenhold.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post
                I felt it did lose contact with Ripperology towards the end.

                I thought another interesting aspect was Ally's opinion, about a minute in, that the identification of Mary Kelly was the "Holy Grail of Ripperology". Realistically I suspect most Ripperologists would still, given the choice, opt for the identification of the killer rather than the identification of his last victim. But undoubtedly far more effort has been expended by Ripperologists in trying to identify Mary than was expended by Rubenhold.
                Yes, the MJK section was the most disappointing. A mere 35 pages with nothing new beyond Rubenhold’s imaginary account of Kelly’s activities in the West End and France.

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                • #9
                  I have always found the Mary Kelly infatuation a bit distasteful as it is in large part based on her supposed youth and good looks - with the implication that this made her a more significant victim to the less attractive and more bedraggled others.
                  Besides the lack of her true identity or back story, and that she was the last of the five, her looks and age inform many of the theories that suggest the whole case revolved around her.
                  This is a feminist issue that was passed over in favour of the Hilary Clinton ending to the podcast.

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