“The Red Pill” in Manchester

or how people in the past were mainly focused on survival and bettering the lot of their family and didn’t really have time for oppressing their next of kin.


Just a very brief post on the poignancy of the screening of “The Red Pill” tonight in Manchester as I think that it is the most apt place to have the film screened. This is where the biggest and most abrupt historical change in men’s and women’s living circumstances happened. That the industrial revolution altered our lives as never before in human history is a fact that feminists and the general public like to completely disregard.
I was lucky to have spent an Erasmus year as an exchange student at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2007/8. I didn’t consider myself lucky at the time as the university was substandard in general and I and the other German exchange student were supposed to only take courses at the Languages Department, where we as advanced students of English and American Literature and Culture would be learning about the geography of the British Isles and how to analyse a text.
I wasn’t having any of that and while we were barred barred from the English Department I got us into the History Department and the wonderful lectures of the amazing Terry Wyke. One series of lectures took us to a different historical site in or outside of Manchester every Monday morning where we would get a very vivid image of the events that took place there in the 18th/19th century. One of the things I learned during that year was that English women really enjoy having cold feet. Otherwise why would they wear ballerinas in January when you have to stand outside for two hours?
In addition to that bit of cultural studies I got a real sense of what it meant that people’s life expectancy jumped and child mortality dropped within a life time. Moreover, how the migration from the countryside into the suddenly emerging cities changed the family structure.
I had surely learned about these things from books before but what you really need if you want to understand something is the theoretical knowledge, the bare facts AND the practical experience. Then you correlate one with the other and check the various connections.
Back then I didn’t enjoy my time in Manchester as it was always damp, my fellow students at MMU were very immature and the city was still as congested as Engel’s has described it. But in the years following my time there the close encounter with the Industrial Revolution really helped me on my way to understanding why the feminist view of history and male and female relations is so obviously misguided and yet why many people find it so easy to believe and so hard to question.
Now enjoy a snippet of Terry Wyke’s lecture in Castlefield Basin about the arrival of the Rochdale Canal 🙂