CW: Strong descriptions of violence, femicide, sexual violence
We all know who Jack the Ripper is. Well, no-one actually has a clue who he is, but we know the name ‘Jack the Ripper’. And we know who he killed – the ‘Jack the Ripper victims’, or ‘Ripper victims’. Hardly anyone bothers to learn their actual names or who they were as it’s easier to lump them under the header ‘victims’ and simply assign to them the same nickname given to their killer. Except, of course, we know their names.
Their names were Elizabeth, Catherine, Mary Ann, Annie and Mary Jane.
There are others who were possibly killed by the same man but these are the ones generally agreed upon by historians. While we never bother to remember their names, we know everything about their deaths. Ask someone about the Ripper killings, and you’ll hear the same details.
Earlier this year, an application for the UK’s first women’s history museum was approved for a location on Cable Street in the east end of London. Cable Street and the surrounding area has a rich history of famous female residents and women-led action, and women’s history in the UK has long been pushed to the sidelines or forgotten entirely, so the news was met with excitement from local residents.
In July the museum opened. And what we got was a tacky, gruesome tribute to the memory of Jack the Ripper, famed misogynist and killer of women.
A new London museum, originally proposed to be a celebration of women in the East End, was met with understandable outrage and branded a ‘sick joke’ as the owners revealed it would be dedicated to Jack the Ripper – an unknown man who killed Whitechapel residents Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly in 1888.