In January of 2015, Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, a former diversity chief at Google, had plans approved to build a museum in Whitechapel, London that would “retell the story of the East End through the eyes, voices, experiences and actions” of women. Six month later, construction covers have been removed to reveal few minor changes in Palmer-Edgecumbe’s vision. Instead of focusing on women’s history, Palmer-Edgecumbe’s museum is now devoted to the infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper.
So, buddy, why the change of heart?
“We did plan to do a museum about social history of women but as the project developed we decided a more interesting angle was from the perspective of the victims of Jack the Ripper,” Palmer-Edgecumbe told the London Evening Standard. “It is absolutely not celebrating the crime of Jack the Ripper but looking at why and how the women got in that situation in the first place.”
That’s right. It’s because the history of women—at least the parts of it where we’re not being terrorized by a murderer or having our uteruses cut out—is so totally boring. Play it Palmer-Edgecumbe’s way and not only do we get to ignore the terribly dull suffragette movement—we also get to focus on women getting violently slaughtered while engaging in some very belated victim blaming.
WEIRDLY, the change in Palmer-Edgecumbe’s plans has the museum’s neighbors feeling livid.
“We feel we have been completely hoodwinked and deceived. My neighbor thought it was some kind of sick joke,” remarked local filmmaker, Julian Cole.
“The history of the East End is not just about misogyny,” added fellow local Jemima Broadbridge. “It’s about the Battle of Cable Street, it’s about Oscar Wilde and The Picture Of Dorian Grey, among other things.”
But despite complaints from these FEMINIST KILLJOYS, the Jack the Ripper Museum is likely there to stay. As the Tower Hamlets council—the council that initially approved Palmer-Edgecumbe’s misleading plans—puts it, “Ultimately the council has no control in planning terms of the nature of the museum...The council is investigating the extent to which unauthorized works may have been carried out.”
So come one, come all! It’s the finest sex worker murder museum in all of London!
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via Getty.