About

Why clutch pearls?

I’m Emer, a research student and writer based in Dublin. I also manage the Instagram marketing for the delightful Handheld Press.

A few things I like to write about: new books, old books, kooky 18th century women, knitting, vegan food, art history, cinema, and the Tintin comics.

I’ll use the space here to write up my vague little thoughts about all things vaguely cultural (read: the things I like). I’m lucky to have opportunities to review new releases at the Irish Independent as well as other avenues to talk about my research, but this blog is for self-indulgent things that don’t quite fit elsewhere. Read at your peril.

But first, a few words on naming:

The image of a pearl clutcher is funny, but I have spent too long in the world (read: Twitter) to be able to hear it as entirely amiable and good-natured. It strikes me that the term is often to dismiss out-of-hand concerns and objections raised by women about things that make them uneasy or uncomfortable. Honestly, I can sometimes be a bit of a pearl clutcher, but that’s okay. I see it as something to embrace, not shy away from. What I’m saying is, you can be a pearl clutcher AND be cool, alright?

Besides, to my way of thinking, pearls are not exactly the squeaky-cleanest of all possible terms of prudery. May I simply present to you the Victorian magazine, The Pearl: A Magazine of Facetiae and Voluptuous Reading? Add that to the infamous ‘You pearl! You pearl!’ scene from Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith (a refreshingly literal take on clutching pearls), and you start to wonder whether pearls are really the best image for the sour-faced puritans we attempt to conjure up when we use the word.

Just a thought.

Anyway, be a proud pearl clutcher. That’s all I ask.

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