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Father and Daughter

June 26, 2012



INGRESas we have discussed before, was famous for his portraits, including official portraits of Napoleon and idealistic renderings of nineteenth-century European artistocrats. While living in Rome, he also executed many drawings of wealthy tourists, usually family portraits full of character and charm. Here is his drawing of Charles Hayard and his daughter, Marguerite, a work which captures the subtle tenderness between a father and his child. The girl depicted  is precocious, intelligent and clearly proud of her father. They seem utterly comfortable in each other’s arms. Ingres was fascinated with the clothing of the period and its interplay with personality. Here, the father’s stiff high collar and military cuffs  contrast with the slim, fragile child he clasps. The drawing examines the ever-powerful tension between masculine and feminine, both necessary and incomplete. Neither smiles here, at least not in the way we tend to think of smiles today; both are content.

Ingres is famous for saying, “Le dessin c’est la probité de l’art,” or “Drawing is the probity of Art,” so great was his conviction regarding the power of the simple outline. One of his inspirations was the British sculptor and illustrator John Flaxman, whose illustrations of Homer’s poems captured action and personality with simple outline and silhouette. How is it possible that lines on paper can bring so much to life?

Odysseus in the Underworld, John Flaxman, 1792

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Artificial Wombs, Sexbots and the Men’s Rights Movement

June 26, 2012


IZZY, who is 17 years old and lives in Canada, writes:

There is a contingent within the Men’s Rights Movement, which can be found in various places on the Internet, that pushes the idea of artificial wombs. They say that selectively choosing boys over girls is a good thing. They actually advocate exterminating one sex. To state this simple fact will incite rage, name-calling, and the oh-so-tired label of “feminist”from the Men’s Right Movement. One must ask, however, what makes them speak this way? It may be obvious to say, but most MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) are young men who have had no success with women, and so hate them for denying them. Though this is a foolish way to judge someone, it is one of the reasons why they think they way they do. Instead of seeking better opportunities, they flock to the idea that to get rid of all women is the best thing. Read More »


Fighting Feminist Discrimination in Britain

June 26, 2012


FEMINISTS, such as Anne-Marie Slaughter, often claim that  companies have an obligation to create an equal number of positions for men and women because equality is profitable. The expenses of accommodating women employees in demanding jobs, so the argument goes, are ultimately compensated. If employees devote much less time to their jobs and are often distracted, productivity increases.

This fantastical argument, rehashed in Slaughter’s latest piece in The Atlantic, defies common sense. It has also been refuted. See British academic Catherine Hakim’s long report on the subject.

Despite the many forces pushing equality, there is virtually no organized resistance to this flawed thinking and the coercive project of workforce quotas. There is promising news, however, from Britain. A businessman, Mike Buchanan, has started a new organization, Campaign for Merit in Business, to resist “positive discrimination for women.” He writes:

The reasons for the ‘imbalances’ between the numbers of men and women in the senior reaches of organisations in general, and in the boardroom in particular, are very well understood, although not widely understood. They’re attributable (as are phenomena such as the ‘gender pay gap’) to the choices freely made by men and women with regard to the world of work and have nothing to do with discrimination against women.

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Request from a Reader

June 26, 2012



My computer catastrophe of last Thursday wiped out all my e-mail records including my e-mail addresses. I am asking my correspondents to e-mail me at so that I might rebuild my address book. About a dozen of the friendliest ones are regular readers of The Thinking Housewife.

Thank you.


A Soldier Then — And Now

June 26, 2012


PAUL writes:

My brother was a combat medic in Vietnam. I don’t ask him about his horrific experiences, but they come out from time to time. He recently told me about his platoon crossing a river and trying to avoid huge Chinese claymore mines (much bigger than American claymores). His platoon used makeshift flotation devices such as tree branches. Read More »


Before There Was Chick Lit

June 26, 2012


PENNY writes:

Your recent entry on women who want to have it all made me think of the author Emilie Loring. She wrote romances from the 1930s through the ’50s. Her heroines were spirited, can-do women who tried to make the world a better place. They had a sense of humor, were loving, and believed in family. The heroes were hard-working men who, like the heroines, placed duty above personal desires. Read More »

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