This morning, Vox published a piece by Sarah Chrisman called “I love the Victorian era. So I decided to live in it.” In the article, Ms. Chrisman describes how she and her husband, both academics who study the late Victorian era, decided to live like the people they study. They power their Washington home with oil lamps and a kerosene space heater, keep food cold using an icebox, wear historically accurate attire and get around on a high-wheel tricycle.
But while Ms. Chrisman’s commitment to historical detail is admirable, the tone of her piece was off-putting, as was her failure to acknowledge that the Victorian era was not exactly the most fun time for anyone who was not a well-off, white male property owner. Naturally, Twitter was abuzz with discussion.
Some commenters used cold hard facts to dispute Ms. Chrisman’s ideas—artist Kristin Hanley Cardozo went on a lengthy screed against the article’s tone deafness:
Former child star Mara Wilson also dropped a few truth bombs on Ms. Chrisman:
Mostly, however, the article was just an occasion for people to bring out their sickest burns:
The icing on the stale 19th century cake, of course, is that Ms. Chrisman posted this piece on the Internet, which many people said ruined what little Victorian mystique she had:
Take a lesson, folks—if you love a certain era, think twice before cosplaying and writing about it in a way that makes the American Girl dolls look complex.