Personally, I don’t get offended by genuine curiosity, even if the question is annoying or cliché. However, when someone asks me, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve done?” my response is usually a pretty dramatic and dismissive eye roll.
The lives of 19th century women are known to us today mainly through their letters and writing, but also through the then new (black-and-white) portrait photography, and the vivid paintings, pastels and watercolours of impressionist artists.
Whenever my job is mentioned in newspapers, blogs, or magazines, the same tropes tend to pop up: moral panic, drug abuse, violence. Journalists quote us selectively, so that it sounds as if we’re living out the sex-negative, whorephobic stereotypes the public are used to consuming.