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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Edinburgh still standing

For the moment. Freedom and Whisky has lots of jolly pics of the recent events. I went and ambled for justice on Saturday, which I may post something about if any non-boring observations come to mind (I did meet James and Ella, though, which was jolly nice); and mercifully I had no need to go anywhere near Princes St yesterday.

Meanwhile, and completely unconnectedly: Dorothy L. Sayers's kind of feminism.

'[...] 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 th "neighbouring sex"?). But the fundamental thing is that women are more like men than anything else in the world. They are human beings. Vir is male and Femina is female: but Homo is male and female.

'This is the equality claimed and the fact that is persistently evaded and denied. No matter what arguments are used, the discussion is vitiated from the start, because Man is always dealt with as both Homo and Vir, but Woman only as Femina.

'I have seen it solemnly stated in a newspaper that the seats on the near side of a bus are always filled before thoseon the off side, because, "men find them more comfortable on account of the camber of the road, and women find they get a better view of the shop windows." As though the camber of the road did not affect male and female bodies equally. Men, you observe, are given a Homo reason; but Women, a Femina reason, because they are not fully human.
[...]
'Women are not human. They lie when they say they have human needs: warm and decent clothing; comfort in the bus; interests directed immediately to God and His universe, not intermediately through any child of man. They are far above man to inspire him, far beneath him to corrupt him; they have feminine minds and feminine natures, but their mind is not one with their nature like the minds of men; they have no human mind and no human nature. "Blessed be God," says the Jew, "that hath not made me a woman."

'God, of course, may have His own opinion, but the Church is reluctant to endorse it. I think I have never heard a sermon preached on the story of Martha and Mary that did not attempt, somehow, somewhere to explain away its text. Mary's, of course, was the better part - the Lord said so, and we must not precisely contradict Him. But we will be careful not to despise Martha. No doubt, He approved of her too. We could not get on without her, and indeed (having paid lip-service to God's opinion) we must admit that we greatly prefer her. For Martha was doing a really feminine job, whereas Mary was just behaving like any other disciple, male or female; and that is a hard pill to swallow.'

from 'The Human-Not-Quite-Human',in Unpopular Opinions (London, 1946)

Interesting stuff. Right thrust, I think, though I'm not sure about all her illustrations. More tomorrow from another essay on the same subject, perhaps.