Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Plus ça change...

"Do you know any man who sincerely admires a woman for her brains?"

"Well," said Harriet, "certainly not many."

"You may think you know one," said Miss Hillyard with a bitter emphasis.  "Most of us think at some time or other that we know one.  But the man usually has some other little axe to grind."

"Very likely," said Harriet.  "You don't seem to have a very high opinion of men -- of the male character, I mean, as such."

"No," said Miss Hillyard, "not very high.  But they have an admirable talent for imposing their point of view on society in general.  All women are sensitive to male criticism.  Men are not sensitive to female criticism.  They despise the critics."

"Do you, personally, despise male criticism?"

"Heartily," said Miss Hilliard.  "But it does damage.  Look at this University.  All the men have been amazingly kind and sympathetic about the Wome's Colleges.  Certainly.  But you won't find them appointing women to big University posts.  That would never do.  The women might perform their work in a way beyond criticism.  But they are quite pleased to see us playing with our little toys."

Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night (1935)

Sorry for the brief descent into bitterness.  I'm trying -- and obviously, not being wildly successful in this -- to spend less time in bitterness mode.  But that's where we are tonight, folks.  And, as usual, Dorothy L. Sayers says it very well indeed. 

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