At the bottom of the page are four documentaries. They are listed not in the order in which they appeared on television (BBC) but chronologically by era – Tudor, Victorian and Edwardian. Please note there several hundred years between the Tudor and the Victorian but, you know, “television.”
These documentaries are significant in terms of business law. For one thing, they demonstrate social change. If you watch the films you will note that while women were treated badly during the Victorian era, the sufferings of women in the Tudor period are appalling.
For another, these are largely pre-regulation societies, and I’m referring directly to business regulation. You’re going to see electric companies simply making up the rules as to proper voltage, insulation and wiring as they go along. You’re going to see food adulteration; sour milk made to taste okay but still sour and bread that appears nourishing but is actually full of inert filler. You’re going to see beauty products that kill, maim and disfigure women. It would not be incorrect to say that the idea of regulating business developed because of all these deaths over many years.
These documentaries are also windows into the past. If you have been in one of my classes, you know that I am a fierce critic of television portrayals of American history. Often overly dramatic, these television shows portray women very much as they live and act today, not to mention having an incredible focus on beautiful outfits. Women did not act in the past as they do now. They were very limited in how much participation in any form of social activity they were allowed and they were certainly almost always placed at a safe distance from power. That some women were able to be influential should not be considered as proof that women were influential but as amazing exceptions to the general rules. For almost all women through almost all of American history, they were relegated to the “women’s” sphere. And as to the glamorous clothing portrayed in these TV shows and movies, a lot of women’s clothing styles in the past were ugly and bizarre. It takes tremendous effort on the part of clothing designers to make this stuff look good. And this is because imposing ridiculous, nonsensical and cruel standards of beauty on women has never gone out of style.
I hate these portrayals because when there is a strong implication that women were always vital, respected members of society, this implies that no action was really necessary to give women a fuller role in society and belittles the terrible trials suffered by women who advocated for a more equal and better world. And I don’t like the emphasis on fashion and clothes because it implies a level of sophistication and beauty for past eras of crass stupidity, rampant disease, and moral degradation as well as high levels of illiteracy and superstition.
So, have a look at several bygone ages and see how other people have lived and suffered.
Hidden Killers of the Tudor Home BBC Documentary 2015 – YouTube
Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home – YouTube
New Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home – YouTube
Hidden Killers of the Edwardian Home – YouTube