The Case of the ‘Man who sued his wife for being ugly’ from the Perspective of a History Fanatic

1770

A STORY HAS BEEN GOING VIRAL RECENTLY about a man (Jian Feng) who successfully sued his wife for having an ‘incredibly ugly’ baby. At first, he accused his wife of cheating [because, according to his logic, ‘beautiful’ parents does a ‘beautiful’ child make], but the wife admitted that she’d spent over $100,000 in plastic surgery. The husband therefore claimed that she got him to marry her under ‘false pretence’.

This court case reminded me of something from history: women & cosmetics in 18th century England…

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In 1770, men’s fear of being tricked into marriage by means of cosmetics was so real that a law was introduced in Parliament (subsequently defeated) to ‘protect men from being beguiled into marriage by false adornments.’ This act demanded: that women of whatever age, rank, or profession, whether virgins, maids, or widows who shall seduce or betray into matrimony, by scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial teeth, false hair, shall incur the penalty of the law as against witchcraft and that marriage shall stand null and void.

I’m not saying that the issues surrounding the Jian Feng-case and the 1770 Act are one and the same, but they parallel in interesting ways: women altering their appearance to meet a cultural standard of beauty, and men outraged at their wives for their ‘counterfeit vizard’ / ‘false pretence’ and taking the legal system to a whole new level of ridiculousness.

Is history repeating itself in one way or another?

This is food for thought. Enjoy the meal, my dears.

Current Writing Music:

To quickly update readers about TRC’s progress, I’ve FINALLY finished the rough rewrite SAMSUNGof the story and have printed out the first-quarter of the manuscript. I’m so glad I now have a hard-copy version of the MS, as I find it really difficult to concentrate on the story when reading it off my laptop screen. So, I’m sorry trees, but I decided – what the heck – I’ll waste paper by printing each round of major revisions. BUT, I promise trees, I’ll make up for wasting lots of papers by reusing/recycling all that I print out ❤

And HERE is the story of my first querying (trying to get published) experience in 2009.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Case of the ‘Man who sued his wife for being ugly’ from the Perspective of a History Fanatic

  1. This is interesting. I hadn’t heard about the story before you mentioned it but I’ve looked it up since then and it seems pretty ridiculous. I’m going to keep reading it, but do far it seems like a parody or something…I’m finding if hard to believe if actually happened and that he actually won…

    But the historical perspective does give it some context.

    Glad to know that your writing is going well… I’m sure the trees know it’s for a good cause and are honoured to sacrifice themselves in the name of writing!

    Like

    • i was a bit suspicious too about this case so i’ve been doing some background research. But, so far from what I’ve gathered, the case seems legit but maybe not so much the fact that he won the case.

      Thanks for dropping by! and hope you’re doing well with your writing!

      Like

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