A French mime.
And above all else,
Colette wore many hats over the course of her life, but it seems that the most significant act she undertook was writing.
She created the modern teenager through her Claudine novels.
She challenged the patriarchy as a woman breaking into the writing world while fighting for the right to brand her name on her own early works.
She challenged hetero-normative society by bravely kissing her AFAB lover in front of an audience at the Moulin Rouge in a pantomime called Egyptian Dreams.
She travelled and indulged. She enjoyed the simplicity and complexity of nature.
Most of all, she painted sensual and colourful depictions of the modern woman in early 1900’s Paris.
Perhaps, if she had the word then, she would have identified as a bisexual woman, as she is known to have had affairs with several men and women in her time in addition to her three husbands.
No matter how she identified herself, Colette was a force to be reckoned with and refused to let her work be overshadowed by the men in her life.
I chose to cover Colette this month after having seen the 2018 film of the same name earlier this month for the British Film Festival.
I saw the trailer and some stills for the film earlier in the year. I saw Keira Knightly in a three-piece suit and I was sold.
Once the last scene ended, I knew I had made a good choice. Colette was a stunning film from start to finish, sharing with us a queer woman who was strong and sharp, a great model for young girls to look up to.
Of course, cinema has a gift of painting a pretty picture of the figures from history, brushing over, or blatantly ignoring, that which is seen in a far different light today.
Colette is my first Ancient Archive where I have come out of the research disillusioned. I was forced to learn a lesson I should have probably learned earlier in my bid to share the history of those I had never heard of;
When you dig deep enough into a historical figure, you inevitably stumble across a fact of their lives that will leave a bitter taste in your mouth, a sick feeling in your stomach, or just the same sad disappointment of realising a person you looked up to wasn’t quite the same as the version you created in your head.
I tried completing this Ancient Archive and I could not. I just don’t want to at all.
Why??? Because I found out that Colette had an affair with her 16-year-old step-son while in her forties and now I want to die a little.
I’m currently in the process of finally, officially and legally changing my name. It’s been a long time coming so I really should have a final name decided on already right? Wrong!
I mean I have most of it, I just need a middle name. Enter Colette.
I left the cinema thinking, this is it. Colette will be my middle name.
I was in post name decision ecstasy. I loved it! It was perfect! A middle name based on a sapphic author who broke the boundaries for women in her field??? Perfection!
So then I decided I was going to do my first Ancient Archive back on Colette. I was so excited I even picked up a book from the library for research!
Up until now, all my Ancient Archive research has been done online because I’m hopeless and leave this one post until the last minute EVERY TIME.
So I started digging, needing to know more about this groundbreaking historical figure and then…
I come across the fact that Colette had an affair with her 16-year-old step-son while in her forties.
Guys, I can’t.
Now I could have just picked another subject to study but I don’t have enough time to do anyone else justice, to be honest.
So instead you’re getting my very upset and heartbroken rant.
I should have fucking just done Cleopatra like I was planning to.
Is there a historical figure you were disappointed by?
Have you seen Colette?
Should I do Cleopatra next month?