We’ve come a long way baby

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What every woman ough to know As I was drifting off to sleep last night, still warm from the bath and smelling of Body Shop dewberry, I turned to my night stand and looked at my collection of books. I always have a high stack of half read novels, magazines and bits from the papers. I wanted something light. Not too heavy. Hmmm, this will do nicely. I picked up "What Every Woman Ought to Know". The author, Constance Mortimer, sent it to me a while back to check out.

After checking out the table of contents, I opened it up to about the middle of the book and landed in a minefield. I couldn't believe what I was reading. Well, actually, I could.

You read it, and let me know what you think.

I'm warning you now, put on your fighting gloves.

. . . . .

"Women Not Equal to Men — Scientist Says That Civilisation Makes the Gap Wider" by Dr. Charles Heydemann, PhD. Daily Mirror, 4 October 1909.

Women is not man's equal, never has been and never will. She is the complement of man, but the lesser one, as expressed in the term "minus". No one denies her great qualities, but if she is entitled to the sympathy of humanity, as such, she is not and never will be capable of understanding the duties of a citizen. (WTF?)

There is a certain section of women of the present day who claim equality with man, and more especially political equality. Now, woman can never be man's equal, either intellectually, morally or physically. (thanks for clearing that up you twat).

Of course, women are more precocious in their development than men, but the so are chimpanzees and all inferior races. Women have also a longer body or trunk compared to the lower members than men, in which they likewise are similar to monkey's and children's. (lower members?)

But in the intellectual sphere she may not only must remain inferior, but her inferiority or rather man's superiority must increase, if the race is to progress. That is the law of evolution, which has been proved in countless instances by the greatest scientists of the world. (looser)

It is said that brain capacity is not everything; that, intellectually, depends upon many other things, such as the senses and certain physiological functions. I am prepared to show that not only is woman man's inferior, but her senses are inferior in that she cannot see, hear, taste, feel and smell as well as a man can. (can't wait to see how you did that)

As a result, woman's mortality is inferior to that of a man. Her most powerful sentiment, and the one which dominates all others, is maternal love. What she loves in a man is not the lover, but the father of her children. As such, she will humour him; as such, she will tell lies for him — for a women's estimate of right or wrong is as easily altered to suit her convenience (or that of the individual she loves) as a new dress home from the dressmaker. (v. telling)

. . . . .

OMG, can you even imagine what it must have been like in 1909 for Dr. Highandmighty to think it was OK to write this? And the Mirror to publish it? What did his wife think? What about her friends and acquaintances? His mother? Sister? Did they secretly loathe him? Maybe his wife was a underground suffragette leader. Was this a last ditch PR effort of the anti-suffragettes. How sad. I'm so glad I wasn't born in that generation.

The article provoked loads of responses, including this one by F. L.D.

"Dr Charles Heydermann says that among inferior races man and women are very much of a par. This shows, I think, that it is education that has caused man's brain to develop. In these enlightened days women are being educated like men, and will, in about another century, have as much brain power as man. Girls are as intellectual as boys, when they are at school, but most women are obliged to give up their intellectual pursuits when they are married."

We've come a long way baby (sort of).

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28 Comments

  1. 05/03/2010 / 07:53

    This is one of the reasons so many women seem practically born with low self esteem! It drivees me nuts. But I do take comfort in the knowledge that this was published 100 years to the day before my daughter was born, and that the world has changed enough that I can raise her in the knowledge that she can do or be anything.

  2. 25/02/2010 / 14:18

    Scary to think how that wasn’t so long ago – for us & our daughters… imagine knowing that this was the attitude of the world you were raising girls in, or how it must be for mums of daughters in parts of the world now šŸ™
    Great to see that Enfield sketch again!

  3. 25/02/2010 / 10:58

    I see Ian beat me to it – “Women Know Your Limits”, Harry Enfield’s sketch shows that we can now parody this sort of thing because we all know now that women’s brains are actually superior to men’s!

  4. 24/02/2010 / 21:47

    I’m reeling from the fact that you used the word twat on your blog. LOL

  5. 24/02/2010 / 13:38

    I think he was right.. ha ha only joking!

  6. 23/02/2010 / 20:04

    Well it’s just as well women’s sense of smell is less efficient than a man’s. How else would we ever manage to launder all their smelly socks and put up with their post curry farts and survive?
    Then again, not convinced about our poorer hearing. Really? Like men hear babies crying in the night?

  7. 23/02/2010 / 15:30

    Funny stuff but I often wonder how much stuff written by journalists actually had much reflection on people’s general reality – I’m not sure women back then all went around thinking “I am not man’s equal, I am a chimps equal.” For example if you looked at The Daily Mail today you’d get a pretty distorted view of women and society generally if you were studying it as a historical text in the future.

  8. 22/02/2010 / 21:28

    Dr Charles Heydermann and my boss… separated at birth? Hmmm, quite possibly.

  9. 22/02/2010 / 20:35

    Wow. a good reminder of how lucky we are. Even just a generation ago women were not accepted into PhD programs because it was felt we were not capable and should be at home with the kids. I feel so sad for the women like me, with a thirst for scientific knowledge and a desire to do research, and there must have been many, who were thwarted by the prevailing ideas of the time.

  10. 22/02/2010 / 20:01

    @metormum well my children ARE monkeys so that is not far off šŸ˜‰

  11. 22/02/2010 / 17:03

    HAHA. I love that children and monkeys are mentioned in the same bracket.

  12. 22/02/2010 / 16:54

    @califlorna he just sounded so horrible I thought maybe his home life was not so good. Maybe the way she dealt with it was to lead the opposition.

  13. 22/02/2010 / 16:52

    @mummeee you said it!
    @heather not long at all
    @iota I’m sure women believed it, but I hope that they were a minority. It is interesting to think we are a product of our society. I often wonder what I would have been like in different circumtances. I most likely would not have met and married a foreigner!

  14. 22/02/2010 / 16:44

    Let’s hope his wife was an ‘underground suffragette leader,’ I like that idea!

  15. 22/02/2010 / 15:55

    You say “I’m so glad I wasn’t born in that generation”, and I agree totally. As Heather says, it wasn’t that long ago, in terms of generations.
    But if we had been around then, we would have been different people. Different hopes, dreams, expectations. There probably were women at the time who believed this stuff. (Or not? What do you think?)

  16. 22/02/2010 / 14:14

    Can you imagine living in a world like that? and it wasn’t that long ago really, not in generations.

  17. 22/02/2010 / 13:32

    I hope some inferior woman mustered up enough brain power to pick up a gun and shoot the bastard…

  18. 22/02/2010 / 11:14

    @ian FAB video! thanks
    @rosie I find it very interesting as I am fascinated with that time period. Life really was different then, and it was only 100 years ago.
    @antontella Yes, and I know it gets worse as we go south

  19. 22/02/2010 / 11:01

    Absolutely shocking! What upsets me most is that in certain societies, in certain countries a lot of people (=men) still believe this or something similar to this. And even in our so-called civilized environments there some who would like to go back to that state of things. Have a nice week. Ciao. A.

  20. 22/02/2010 / 10:31

    Women, know your limits.


  21. 22/02/2010 / 10:02

    @jennysnail that would be a really sad state

  22. 22/02/2010 / 08:55

    I always thought Constance was a womans name – surely this wasn’t actually written by a woman?

  23. 22/02/2010 / 07:42

    @chichmama, @mothership so near, yet so far

  24. 22/02/2010 / 07:39

    Judging from the horrendous misogynistic rubbish in the Daily Mail most of the time these days I’m not entirely sure that Dr. Heydemann wouldn’t get a reprint there. There is a LONG way to go and in fact I think we’ve slipped a bit in the last decade.
    I’m frankly shocked by the anger and hatred towards women that I see all the time openly displayed in the press (particularly British press) in recent years.
    Hold on to your hats, ladies, we’ve got a lot of fighting we need to do yet

  25. 22/02/2010 / 07:33

    Hmmmm, scary. I have to agree with your (sort of) we still have a way to go.

  26. 22/02/2010 / 07:31

    Women always had the brain power, but not the opportunity to show it. Kind of interesting in respect to all the maternity rights discussions going on.

  27. 22/02/2010 / 07:19

    I love the line ‘will have as much brain power as men’. Hah hah. If only they knew the truth.