Henry James, 1890
Thank you so much for your recommendation of Henry James’s novel The Bostonians (also discussed here, here, here and here.) I just finished it and I am reeling. I partly read it and partly listened to it through Librivox while I did my housework. I highly recommend Librivox to all my friends and you might pass that on to your readers and other “thinking housewives” whose hands are busy at their work.
It was these lines that struck me the most from the first book, end of chapter 20:
[T]he very essence of the feminine lot was a monstrous artificial imposition, crying aloud for redress. She [Olive] was willing to admit that women, too, could be bad; that there were many about the world who were false, immoral, vile. But their errors were as nothing to their sufferings; they had expiated, in advance, an eternity, if need be, of misconduct. [….]men must take their turn, men must pay!
For a long time now, I have thought that feminism has at its heart a rejection of the idea of virtue (and well that makes sense as virtue comes from the Latin for man.) For instance, humility is not something that a woman is supposed to have anymore – only men are supposed to be humble. Nor are women (according to feminism) supposed to be modest or kind or patient, but men are. In short, women have already been “virtuous enough” and they might sin heartily, egregiously, as they have already” expiated in advance an eternity of misconduct.” And to look around us I suppose we have entered into that brave new world now: into the “eternity of misconduct.” Now, thanks to feminism, women can behave badly without shame. Read More »