Thursday, 15 October 2009

Keeping Grown Women in School Uniform and the Search for a Suitable Governess Role Model

Those wonderful people at Aristasia - the folk behind that fine female disciplinary manual that I featured a while back - have made their television Documentary film, A Weekend at Miss Martindale's, available on Utube. Part 2 is particularly appropriate if good old fashioned classroom discipline is your thing - and I've kindly provided a link (just clic on the pic to the right-hand side above. Seeing an obviously quite mature woman treated as a naughty school child and meekly accepting it as if a matter of course got me to thinking yet again as to how appearances can influence behaviour, both directly and also indirectly - by affecting the way the individual is viewed and treated by others. For example 18-year-old Jessica here (right) is very much kept in school uniform by her guardian, full-time, seven days a week, 365 days a year. In many areas of the world she would be old enough to vote or even marry; but as seen here, in her school summer dress, or if you were to come across her in the winter months in her gymslip, starched white blouse, striped tie and blazer and with her hair tied up in pigtails, ask yourself this - would you be prepared to hand her any sort of responsibility? Would you treat her, as I'm sure she would prefer, as an adult or would you more likely be incline to have her stand in the corner with her hands on her head or sit her at a school desk and have her lovingly copy from the pages of some long-winded and tediously mind-numbing tome. Similarly, it would seem the most natural thing in the world to lecture this group on the left, but I know for a fact (because it's a scene from a new movie) that the young lady closest to us is 22 years of age. I recall once reading a magazine interview with one of the actresses that had played a schoolgirl in the film The prime of Miss Jean Brodie in which she told of how the various members of the movie company on the set and the canteen staff etc began to treat them differently when they were in the school uniforms they were required to wear and how they themselves had gradually subconsciously begun to fall into role as a result.

A similar argument can be put forward regarding the other side of the d/s relationship coin of course. A professional bearing and stern no-nonsense attitude is one thing and all well and good, but couple this with an appropriately authoritative manner of dress and a whole new dimension is opened up. This is one of the areas I've been researching on the Internet of late with regard to the events I have planned for INSTITUTIONALISED volume 3, when I eventually get round to writing it. My two young heroines, in the company of two other young women of similar age, are going to be under the care of a governess and a children's nurse or nanny for several months over the summer and although I have pretty much decided on the whole Victorian thing I've yet to decide exactly how these two women should appear. I've been hunting around for suitable images to use as a sort of role model so to speak. I came across this Gene Bilbrew drawing (right) which is one possible source of inspiration even if not in a Victorian mode.
But then again perhaps a governess should wear a uniform of some sort and certainly the nursery nurse must. Within the walls of a secure institution nothing could be more appropriate than a suitably authoritative and professional looking medical uniform (left) - perhaps that of the traditional ward sister or hospital matron; either would seem to endow the situation with a certain degree of legitimacy. One cannot overestimate the psychological effect and the impact produced. Can you imagine our Jessica, above, standing up to either of these two women?
.....
One can almost hear the words forming on their lips: “If you dare to disobey, expect punishment. From this moment on you are never to speak to me, unless I ask a question. Now, come hither young lady - drape yourself across my lap this instant, skirt up and knickers down! "

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope in INSTITUTIONALISED volume 3 we will see the women kept terribly busy on mind-numbing tedious tasks such as copying out the entire Bible in their finest handwriting, or spending time doing lines and dictionary copying. The corner is god for a woman but she also needs to write for many hours a day.

Madmonkey said...

What is the name of that new movie you mentioned in your post?

orage said...

Well, no! The link is on the LEFT-hand side picture!
Madmonkey, you read too fast: Garth gave the name!

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking the picture was from "Jean Brodie" but is that really a "new" movie?

It might be interesting to see a story about a method actress in her twenties preparing for a role who enrolls herself in a reformatory with a strict uniform policy. When the production is delayed due to financing problems, her agent and the producers strand her there, reasoning that the longer she is there the more completely she will submerge into her role.

I'd be curious to hear how the crew treated the adult actresses portraying the students, and how it made them feel. Details!

Farmd0g said...

Great post. Here's some real life input. Awhile back I decided that my wife needed a weekly "chat" with me about her behavior. During these sessions I have noted when she had behaved improperly and often gave her lists or tasks to complete in the coming week to help her improve. It didn't work as well as I expected UNTIL I had her dress in rather conservative old fashioned attired that I had her buy just for the occaision. What a wonderful change. She was quiet and attentive and very much seeking my approval. Dress is extermely important for a woman's place in the world.