Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dorothy Sayers on women and men

From Sayers in "Are Women Human?", trying to help us with modern "political correctness"-- both contemporary to her and to us...

The question of "sex-equality" is, like all questions affecting human relationships, delicate and complicated. It cannot be settled by loud slogans or hard-and-fast assertions like 'a woman is as good as a man'--or 'woman's place is the home'--or 'women ought not to take men's jobs.' The minute one makes such assertions, one finds one has to qualify them. ‘A woman is as good as a man’ is as meaningless as to say, ‘a Kaffir is as good as a Frenchman’ or ‘a poet is as good as an engineer’ or ‘ an elephant is as good as a racehorse’ – it means nothing whatever until you add: ‘at doing what?' In a religious sense, no doubt, the Kaffir is as valuable in the eyes of God as a Frenchman – but the average Kaffir is probably less skilled in literary criticism than the average Frenchman, and the average Frenchman less skilled than the average Kaffir in tracing the spoor of big game. There might be exceptions on either side: it is largely a matter of heredity and education."

"...a woman is just as much an ordinary human being as a man, with the same individual preferences, and with just as much right to the tastes and preferences of an individual. What is repugnant to every human being is to be reckoned always as a member of a class and not as an individual person. A certain amount of classification is, of course, necessary for practical purposes: there is no harm in saying that women, as a class, have smaller bones than men, wear lighter clothing, have more hair on their heads and less on their faces...What is unreasonable and irritating is to assume that all one's tastes and preferences have to be conditioned by the class to which one belongs. That has been the very common error into which men have frequently fallen about women -- and it is the error into which feminist women are, perhaps, a little inclined to fall about themselves."  

And from "Human-Not-Quite-Human":

"The first thing that strikes the careless observer is that women are unlike men. They are 'the opposite sex'-- though why 'opposite' I do not know; what is the 'neighboring sex'? But the fundamental thing is that women are more like men than anything else in the world."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home