Death & the Maiden
Death & the Maiden (also known as deadmaidens) is a website founded by Lucy Coleman Talbot, and Sarah Chavez (Troop), Executive Director of The Order of the Good Death and a founding member of Death Salon. At the advent of the current wave of the death acceptance movement, the observation was widely made by press, funeral industry professionals and advocates, of the overwhelming number of women participating and expressing interest in death – from academics, to health care professionals, to artists.
As founders, their aim with Death & the Maiden was to create a space of exploration to examine the relationship between women and death by creating a platform for both discussion and feminist narratives. Death & the Maiden offers a supportive and inclusive community which endeavors to amplify the voices of those actively creating the future of death.This is accomplished by publishing articles, interviews and running a popular Twitter account that features the work and experiences of those working directly with or are inspired by themes of death. We acknowledge that social justice movements fighting for human, social, or reproductive rights of women such as Black Lives Matter, Ni Una Mas and countless others, are streams of the death positive movement. Among our contributors are scholars, death doulas, scientists, morticians, game developers, museum professionals, artists, anthropologists and activists, to name a few.
In the press, women working with death are often reduced to stereotypes of the nurturing, sensitive, party planner – portrayed as selfless martyrs or even Disney Princesses – viewing the individuals, the work and the movement through a narrow lens, acknowledging only a fraction of the picture.
As women and non-binary folks, many of us are often forced to confront death in ways men are not. Murders of trans women of color, indigenous women in Canada, women in Mexico and El Salvador, or at the hands of our domestic partners and law enforcement are so common that they are now deemed “epidemics” by experts. Care of elderly and dying family members overwhelmingly falls to women, Latina teens and trans women have the highest rate of suicide attempts and deaths in the U.S., and of course, there is a long history of reproductive rights tied to death in countless ways.
Each day, there are new blogs, websites and social media accounts dedicated to exploring topics of death, however, the vast majority of them are limited in scope, providing only one narrative that fits into the good or beautiful death. The founders of Death & the Maiden believe that we will never change our death denying cultural attitudes if we continue to keep death confined to pretty Victorian keepsakes, academic lectures and clever memes. At Death & the Maiden, they strive to portray death in its entirety, and encourage their contributors and audience to confront this often challenging topic through science, literature, art, first person narratives, culture, history and current events.
Death has a face and it belongs to us all.
Dr Christina Welch
Dr Christina Welch gained her first class BA (Hons) in Religious Studies with Psychology at King Alfred’s College in 2000, and her MA (with distinction) in the Archaeology of Art & Representation from the University of Southampton in 2001. In 2005 she gained her AHRB-funded doctorate from the University of Southampton. Titled ‘The Role of Popular Visual Representation in the Construction of North American Indian and Western Alternative Spiritual Identities’, it combined her interests in religion and visual representation. Christina started university as a mature student having previously had a career in the financial services sector. She did much of her study as a single parent, and is dyslexic.