The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who was Kitty Fisher?

Kitty Fisher, by Joshua Reynolds - her every move was followed by the media


If you thought the kiss-and-tell girl was a 20th/21st century phenomenon then you’d be wrong. Long before the days of Jordon and Monica Lewinsky were the Georgian girls who craved fame and used their feminine wiles to get it.  Kitty Fisher was one of the more well known 18th century celebrities: she was a born of humble beginnings and rose through society through introductions to various wealthy men. She had soon acquired many conquests including the Earl of Coventry and was reported to have spent £12,000 a year on maintaining her lifestyle. She even had her own nursery rhyme:
Lucy Locket lost her pocket
Kitty Fisher found it
Not a penny was there in it
Just a ribbon round it
There are varying reports as to the meaning of this rhyme; some take it literally to mean that Lucy was poor and lost her purse and the wealthy kitty found it. Others see a more seedy meaning behind the rhyme; some believe that pocket could mean patron and that Kitty stole Lucy’s husband. The last two lines would then imply that he was unable to have children, or that he had no wealth.

People then, just as now, were obsessed with sexual gossip.  Newspaper columns became devoted to it and it became the subject of many magazines and books. The 18th century girls became experts at exploiting the press and gossip to earn a living, the minor celebrities of today are merely following in their footsteps. The problems with a career such as this though still remain; the lack of privacy, the false rumours taken for reality and the sheer exhaustion of having to have so many high profile lovers.

Eventually, Kitty Fisher married a politician but died just four months later from small pox.  In the end she had managed to build herself up from nothing, just like many of the gossip page girls of today, so is it about time we started seeing these women as business women with a brand rather than the ‘fake celebrities’ that so many label them as?

-Emma Hatherall
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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