Is it, i wonder this morning, time for a radical newcampaign. A campaign designed to liberate one of the least reocgnised most maligned minorities in our Isles from the tyranny of popular prejudice and cliché?
Is it time to stand up for the faerie world?
We’ll see. I am just putting the finishing touches to my outfit before heading over to Burghley (near Stamford) where charity Anna’s Hope is raising funds by staging a “world record fairy count”. That’s nice: light-hearted, fun, a different way of engaging supporters.
And also one in the eye for Cambridge, whose Strawberry Fair started it all by claiming the world record back in June this year.
I shall participate in the spirit in which it is meant – which is not all that seriously – while all the same casting a wary eye over the Guinness Book of Records organisation, which will be there to ensure fairy propriety and to check that every person attending meets their strict criteria for what counts as fairy costume. Which, i quote, states:
“To qualify as a Fairy you have to wear a pair of wings, a tutu and a wand. If you wish to wear a fairy dress instead of a tutu it should have tutu type bottom to the dress.”
Oh, puh-lease! This is just so many types of wrong. It ignores all manner of faerie, from the dark gothic of Victoria Frances (my fave!) to the slightly more sordid eroticism of Luis Royo.
Not even Arthur Rackham was quite so twee. No: the Guinness vision is a colonisation of the faerie world. Faerie for the mass market, courtesy of “sugar plum” and owing not a little to the panto dame: no doubt today’s event will include not a small amount of the dragged up and comic. And that’s fair enough as individual choice.
Far from fair when its a trope imposed by one of the world’s most conventional, conservative and reactionary organisations.
What about the elemental? The Ariels, Pucks and Oberons? Air spirits and earth? Neither of which i can quite see involved in anything that requires tutus.
What, too, about the boys? This is as gendered as anything, yet again spreading the mythology that faerie is cute and pink and girly and no place for boys (which is also why THE boy is currently digging his heels in and may resist going even with a promise of entry to Burghley’s water garden at the end of it all). Ironic, given how the very word, “puckish” is an epithet that has, over the years, tended to be directed more at boys of a certain ilk than girls.
I shall go. I shall polay. I shall, without doubt, have a good time today…and later on, depending on mood and how the event played, i may be starting the faerie fightback: Guinness OUT of our imaginations, please. Go find a snake-biting contest to referee. Or something.