Thursday, October 27, 2005

I dub me "Dr. Virago"

OK, Ancrene Wiseass has convinced me that I can change my blog identity to Dr. Virago and yet keep Quod She as the title and URL of the blog. If Twisty Faster of I Blame the Patriarchy and ProfGrrrl of Playing School can do it, so can I. (See sidebar for these blogs -- I'm too lazy to link.)

I'm also too lazy, er, busy to explain right now why I like the name Dr. Virago, why it's significant, and how it's medieval. I will do so in the near future, however. Really. I promise.

But from here on out I will be known to the blogosphere as Dr. Virago!

UPDATE: I've already been asked via e-mail why "Dr. Virago" and what virago means, so I might as well post that reply here:

A virago is *either* a strong and admirable woman *or* a shrill and demanding woman. It's the kind of ambiguous word that elegantly wraps up the history of western attitudes towards women in one deeply fraught nutshell; that is, how easily for some people the first, positive quality slides into the second, negative one. Oh, and even its etymology is a kind of double bind: it comes from Latin "vir" for man, and originally meant a warrior-woman or woman with admirable man-like qualities -- as if to be admirable was neccessarily to be man-like. And St. Jerome called each of the virgin-martyrs a virago for her admirable ability to stand up against prelates and other patriarchs, but, of course, also said that the martyrs were unusual that way and other women couldn't hope to emulate them. (And nevermind that these "man-like" martyrs were tortured in very gender-specific ways, having their breasts cut off, being threatened with gang rape, and so on.) Chaucer used the word on occasion, too (usually in the bad sense.) So I like its complicated history and I'm reclaiming it the way Bitch Ph.D. reclaims Bitch. Also, the gender-bending quality of it suits me -- the Boyfriend tells me I have the sense of humor of a boy, and a grad school friend used to say something similar, and I always was a tomboy and proud of it. And again, I like the punning resemblance to Dr. Zhivago, if only because of that damn music box I had (I've actually never seen the movie!).

So there you go, the story of Dr. Virago.


Ancrene Wiseass said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, Dr. V.

Dr. Virago said...

Thanks! And ya know, I *do* feel kind of like I've just started this blog from scratch, now! It's like I'm a whole new me! Weeeeeee!

Dee said...

I can't remember what it was, but last year in world history we had a medieval source that used "virago" (I think in complimentary fashion) and then I had to explain that whole process of evolving meaning to my students, who had never heard the word. I think I even made it to Virago Press. They seemed fascinated (majority female class). I didn't do it as well as your paragraph here, though--I didn't know the Latin etymology.

It's a very good blog identity. I followed the link from NewKid just because I liked the name.

Dr. Virago said...

Thanks, Dee. I'm very pleased with finally coming up with a good alias ("Quod She" is a great blog title but not a good name) and glad it gets me more attention!

Oh, and thanks for reminding of Virago Press.