Typos p. 32, n. 1: persistance [= persistence]; p. 47: despirited [= dispirited]
The Inequality of the Sexes Part II
Like the sex-rôles in the rest of the mammalia, they have led to
(a) Differentiation of the two organisms, male and female, and the possession by each of a particular and suitable physical form, and the resulting experience of a different existence.
(b) The necessity that each is under to select and reject only in the manner which harmonizes with a particular destiny, and, in each, the specialized functioning, resulting from different structures, which, as long as health and vigour last, constitutes a need that is met with great eagerness and determination.
(c) Each sex has the instincts, emotions and mental powers related to the kind of life that it will have to lead, and the corresponding limitation in selecting and rejecting. For instance, the male as the active participator in coition is the wooer and initiator; he has to awaken desire for himself in the female, and finds his pleasure in these rôles. The female finds pleasure in
Happiness will be pursued by each sex in trying to fulfil the specialized functions that derive from its own rôle. And, if the object be to make either sex miserable, this will be best achieved by compelling them to break bounds. Sexual desire is thus the need to perform a specialized function, and love for the opposite sex is attachment to the sexual object which makes this performance possible. Happiness comes with performance.
Each sex will find pleasure in the adaptations peculiar to its own rôle, and will pursue happiness by seeking those adaptations. The female will find pleasure in exhibitionism, while the male will find pleasure in voyeurism, or, to put it plainly, in feasting his eyes. 1
1 The abnormal manifestation of these instincts should not blind us to the fact that they have a natural and normal basis. Only when the expression of sex is fixed at one of these preliminaries to the coitus (i.e. when morbid fixation has occurred in development) are they abnormal. The fact that a sort of modified exhibitionism has long characterized woman's ordinary dress, and is regarded as quite natural in civilized countries, should not be overlooked in judging of the deep-rooted origins of female exhibitionism and male voyeurism. (See p. 10, ante, for mention of female exhibitionism in the mammalia.)
The original picture of this relationship, in broad and rude outline, is to be found at almost every stage of our pre-mammalian and mammalian ancestry. It is as much part of ourselves as is the instinct to eat or to move. To attempt to break bounds here, to attempt by Puritanical and prurient interference with sacred things, to cut out any of the natural preliminaries to the coitus which we have so briefly described, is merely to suppress or repress a need, the violence of which will recoil against the nervous equipment of the individual. 2
1 Again, here, we get abnormalities only in cases of morbid fixation. The natural place of the preliminaries, however, is not the end, but the means to the end the path thither. The moment they become an end in themselves they cease to be desirable or normal.
2 A large amount of female neurasthenia is due to the fact that the coitus is not normally approached in Puritanical countries, and that many of the essential preliminary stages, which are necessary for a full sex-expression, are either deliberately cut out, or left out through ignorance or timidity on the part of the male.
History, science, fiction, the lives of all great peoples, the experience of every one of us evidence of every kind and from every corner of the compass tells us convincingly how fundamental and how wonderful this relationship is. Some of the greatest and noblest acts of heroism have been performed precisely for the sake of this love which unites two people of different sexes, and examples could be multiplied ad infinitum, to show the extremes of devotion, fidelity and happiness which it inspires.
If we leave aside our androgynous ancestors, this relationship is probably the oldest and most profound of the consequences of sex dimorphism. It is incalculably older than parenthood, and the relationship of either sex to offspring. And if, for a moment, we divest ourselves of the preconceived and habitual notions of latter-day conditions, and pause for a moment to take a realistic view of the history we have outlined, we are bound to admit that offspring tend rather to disturb and to deflect the current of sexual love, than to intensify it. 1 Possibly that is why, in spite of all that is now
1 The extent to which we are still unadapted to this disturbance which offspring bring into our lives, and the degree of original sexual love which continues to enter into, and to fortify even parental and filial love, has been sufficiently proved by the wonderful contribution that
We have now to consider woman's further extension and distribution of the sex instincts and emotions in her relationship to the young which she bears and suckles. Like her mammalian ancestors in the lower animals, she has suitable and elaborate structures, differentiating her sharply from man, by means of which she bears her young alive and suckles them for some time after birth. And the exercise of the specialized functions associated with these structures, constitutes just as urgent a need to her as it does to her more lowly sisters. She pursues happiness or in biological terms adaptation, in seeking the means whereby she can perform these specialized functions, and, as long as health and vigour endure, she will only encounter unhappiness by breaking bounds.
psycho-analysis has made to the understanding of human psychology. Thus even in the relationship of child and parent, and parent and child, the oldest source of love is tapped to strengthen and solidify the bond.
1 In my Woman: A Vindication, Chapter VIII, I dealt with the social aspects of this unreasonable accent, but I had no space to show, as I have shown here, the biological ground for its absurdity. Incidentally, the gross exaggeration of the child's importance is, as we know, leading at the present day to an enormous amount of child idolization and consequently to lack of discipline among children. But this is not the place to discuss this unexpected result of the morbid hatred of sex.
The devotion of which the best mothers are capable, the joy they find in tending and feeding the young of their own flesh and blood, and the enduring attachment that follows, afford sufficient testimony for the fact that woman finds happiness in this unique relationship; and even if there can be no doubt that this extended and distributed form of sexual passion inevitably mars her relationship to her children's father, 2 that is an aspect of human life which we can no more change or readjust than we can change or readjust the position of the sun. The fact that the male, as father, is usually the principal sufferer in this domestic triangle, can no more alter the natural course of things than any other form of suffering can; and the most we can do is to recognize it as a
1 For a more elaborate treatment of this aspect of sexual life see my Lysistrata (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1924).
2 Stated in the most moderate terms, it cannot leave her original fund of ardour and capacity for attachment unaffected; for, by being divided over two or more objects, it must surrender some of its intensity towards one of those objects. The reply to this usually is that the love for spouse is "different" from the love for offspring. But this will hardly do; for, quite apart from the evidence supplied by psycho-analysis, if we conceive a creature's capacity for warmth of feeling and devotion as a unit and this we can hardly avoid that unit cannot fail to be reduced in one direction if it have to meet urgent claims in another. A woman who has become a mother would need to be in a position to draw reinforcements from infinity, in order to retain towards a first object of affection that same energy and depth of feeling, which she felt before other claims came to be made on her heart.
We now have to consider the evidence that has been collected to support the view that woman shows in her development, (a) more infantile characters than man, and, like the females of the quadrumana, greater resemblances to the young of the species than her mate; and (b) that her growth, like that of many of her own more lowly ancestors and fellow female mammals, ceases earlier and is more precocious than that of the male of the species.
For, although, as Lipschütz points out, 2 "it is illegitimate to explain all differences in body shape between man and woman, by the woman remaining always in an infantile stage, or by the growth of the woman's body stopping earlier than that of man's, it seems certain . . . that the body shape in the woman is nearer to the infantile form than that of the man." But it is the infantile form of woman, and the infantile character of many of her organs, considered in conjunction with other facts with the fact, for instance, of her precocity, of the heavy claims upon her physical resources, and of the antagonism
1 The physical standpoint will be found discussed in Chapter VII, pp. 1628, of Woman: A Vindication.
2 The Internal Secretions of the Sex Gland (1914), p. 17.
We have to remember that the asexual embryonic soma, with its sexual equipotentiality, recapitulates in mammals and birds "a phylogenetic phase in which sexual differentiation related only to the generative cells." 2 In plain English, we have to remember that the unsexed body of the embryo in mammals and birds, with its equal capacity for becoming either male or female, points to a stage in their evolution when the only sexual differences resided in the generative cells. This stage which, as we have already hinted, probably covers the period of the reptiloid precursors of the mammals, in which male and female were more alike than they are now, leads us to ask what influences, other than the increasing stress imposed on the female by mammalian motherhood, could have operated to cause the greater differentiation between male and female which we now observe. We must, in this respect, remember the precocity of other mammals already referred to, 3 and
1 Dr. Schültze, in Das Weib in Anthropologischer und Sozialer beziehung (Leipzig, 1920), says: "How is it that woman in her build approximates so much more to the child than to man? The explanation is to be found in the unequal claims which the organs of reproduction and the preservation of the species have laid upon her for thousands of years."
2 Lipschütz, Op. cit., p. 460.
3 See p. 6, ante. In order to make quite sure of the modern expert's opinion on this point, I wrote to Professor Frederick Hobday, C.M.G., F.R.C.V.S., the well-known veterinary specialist, and asked him for his views. On October 13, 1925, he answered me as follows: "I think that any veterinary surgeon will tell you that he has met with precocity of the female in all species of animals, in fact it is so generally recognized that beyond making a passing remark upon it, we make no further comment."
There is also this further fact to be considered: as foreshadowed on page 6, ante, a third additional stress has been placed on the female human being's system, which female mammals lower down in the scale are spared. Whereas the latter differ in their sex-concentration from their reptiloid ancestors in nourishing their young with lactiferous mammæ, and bearing them alive after carrying them as parasites in their own bodies until they are able to lead a separate existence, the human female differs from her reptiloid ancestors not only in suckling her young, and in placental gestation, but also in the menstrual discharge. This periodical function which imposes an additional stress on her system, and which she endures in common with various female monkeys, baboons and higher apes, 2 may prove another factor in arresting her growth and precipitating precocious and imperfect
1 Op. cit., pp. 17, 46, 492.
2 For details about the menstrual process in the quadrumana see F. H. A. Marshall (Op. cit., pp. 5659, 8491). In the species Macacus Rhesus, for instance, the menstrual discharge has been found to last "from three to five days" (p. 58). According to Professor W. Kohler (The Mentality of Apes, p. 315) the female chimpanzee definitely menstruates at intervals of thirty to thirty one days, and always for a period of between three to six days.
He writes, 1 "in the mammals, as far as we have been able to observe, the secondary sex characteristics, in so far as they are confined to differences of muscle development and strength, are not so much pronounced, in fact, are not nearly so much pronounced, as in the human species. . . . The menstrual process, which for thousands of years has been working its effects upon the young and not yet fully grown body of woman, has accentuated the secondary sexual characteristics. Thus, in my opinion, the menstrual process is one essential cause the more, accounting for the fact that woman, above all in the development of her muscles and strength, is not equal to man, and that her organs have for the most part remained closer to the infantile type."
Thus, in the female human being's sex rôle, we have to reckon with three tolls on her system, two of which are more recent than her reptiloid ancestors, and one of which is more recent than the ancestors of the quadrumana. All three of them, however, in the opinion of so great an authority as Dr. Schültze, account for her approximation to the infantile type and for the apparent arrestation of development that occurs in her at an earlier age than in man.
But these influences may also account for the widely recognized female possession of a lesser variational tendency; for, if by remaining at a more infantile, or more potential stage of development, the marked accentuation of character that comes with ripe adulthood is indefinitely postponed in woman, her lesser variational
1 Op. cit., p. 51.
What is the alternative? The alternative is to suppose that the three extra tolls above mentioned have, in the course of evolution, had no effect upon the female since she departed in form and function from her reptiloid ancestors that is to say, we are to suppose that there is no necessary relation between development and expenditure, or between development and sexual genesis, 2 and that an unequal expenditure of energy, like that to be observed in man and woman, or in the female reptile and the female human being, does not necessarily lead to any difference in bodily development. The absurdity and untenability of this view, however, is obvious; and we are therefore forced to the conclusion that the three tolls in question have exercised a strain on the physical resources of the female, that they have been balanced, and that this balance probably consists in an earlier arrestation of development, and, therefore, in the retention of more infantile characters.
Now what is the evidence that the female form is more infantile than the male?
Dr. Oskar Schültze who, in a recent work, 3 conveniently and impartially sums up the knowledge available on this vexed question up to the present day, and who confirms most of the facts previously recorded by investigators like Daffner 4 and Ellis, 5 produces overwhelm-
1 See Havelock Ellis, Man and Woman (1904), p. 420. "We must regard genius as an organic congenital abnormality . . . and in nearly every department it is undeniably of more frequent occurrence among men than among women. . . . Genius is more common among men by virtue of the same general tendency by which idiocy is more common among men. The two facts are but two aspects of a larger zoological fact the greater variability of the male."
2 For interesting information on these relations see Herbert Spencer, Principles of Biology, sections 1826.
3 Already quoted above.
4 Dr. Franz Daffner, Das Wachstum des Menschen (Leipzig, 1897).
5 Op. cit.
"Woman's bony structure is on the whole smaller and weaker than man's, for the individual bones are, generally speaking, smaller and weaker. They are also smoother, because woman's muscles require fewer rough surfaces for their origin and development. 1 . . . Her muscles are also less highly developed. They are moreover paler and softer than man's, a condition probably due to their larger content of water. In all these respects she is more like the child than man is. Woman, like the child, also develops much more fatty tissue than man. 2 . . . In her skin, finger nails, and hairiness woman is also nearer than man to the child. 3 . . . In her proportions, i.e. in her shorter legs and her longer and larger belly, she is again nearer than man to the child. 4 . . . The bones of her thorax are disposed more in the form of a tub than man's, and are narrower than his. In man the breadth of the thorax is greater than the depth. Woman's sternum is shorter and more vertical than man's, and in section his thorax appears to be more oval than hers, which is more circular in form. Here again woman is the more infantile of the two. 5 . . . Woman's skull stands half way in development between man's and the child's. 6 . . . Woman's blood, like the child's, is more watery than man's. . . . Her liver, like the child's, is proportionately larger than man's. 7 . . . In view of her slightly larger lungs woman
1 Op. cit., p. 5.
2 P. 6.
3 P. 8.
4 Pp. 9 and 20.
5 P. 11.
6 P. 27.
7 P. 27.
Finally, Dr. Schültze emphasizes the fact that women mature more quickly and sooner than men, 6 and, what is more important still, that they have a smaller variational tendency than men. 7
These are the facts. The next question is, how are we to interpret them? There are various alternatives. We may conclude that, as the cumulative result of the extra tolls on the female body since its differentiation from the mammalia's reptiloid ancestors, an arrest of growth and a consequent greater likeness to the child has become a permanent characteristic of the female sex-concentration. Or we may argue that these characteristics, consisting of arrested development and of greater similarity to the child, are simply feminine, and that the infantile nature of the female is only a coin-
1 P. 38.
2 P. 37.
3 P. 43.
4 P. 38.
5 P. 48.
6 P. 22. Daffner (Op. cit., p. 89) states that men reach, maturity between the ages of 23 and 27, while women do so between the ages of 19 and 23. Ellis (Op. cit., p. 39) says: "A woman may be said to have reached her full development at the age of twenty; a man continues to show a fair degree of development for some years after this age." See also Marshall (Op. cit., p. 713): "In women puberty occurs at a slightly earlier age than in the male sex. The Constitutional changes characterizing this period take place more suddenly in the female, the girl almost at once becoming a woman, whereas the boy is several years before he develops into a man, complete maturity not being reached until the 25th year." The precocity of certain lower mammals and of certain species of the quadrumana has already been mentioned. See pp. 6 and 22, ante.
7 Op. cit., p. 37: "Eine geringere Variabilitätsbreite." This is confirmed by numerous investigators, including Darwin (Op. cit., p. 224) and Ellis, as already mentioned, but see especially Chapter XVI, Man and Woman.
Dismissing the second alternative as too improbable to be entertained seriously, we will turn our attention to Havelock Ellis's view. And, first of all, we would point out that we fail to see the necessity for these teleological aids to explanation. They strike us as a little far-fetched, and they also seem to contain very serious non-sequiturs. There is nothing to show that it is necessary to be like a thing to understand it (unless objective study must always be inferior to subjective initiation). 2 There is also nothing to show that women display any understanding of children whatsoever. They may, and undoubtedly do, find great pleasure in children's company; they may, and unquestionably do, amuse children by amusing themselves with children; but some of the grossest errors concerning child psychology are of woman's creation. Indeed for consistent misunderstandings of children, in all their different aspects, it would be impossible to beat either the average spinster or the average married woman. They are both alike in this. No mother understands her child in the sense that she can explain his mental processes, the mechanism of his psycho-physical motivation. All this understanding of the child has been man's work, as has also been the recent research work regarding child welfare and the successful artificial feeding of infants. Again, there is nothing to show that the retention of youthfulness (I suppose by this Ellis means infantile characters) is necessary for the sake
1 Op. cit., p. 450.
2 To understand a creature absolutely it is certainly necessary to include (that is to say to comprehend it); but that is not necessarily to be like it. Man understands woman and the child because he includes (comprehends them) and this explains why women and children do not understand him.
What happens is this. Women grow old just as fast, if not faster, than men, but they start growing old at a
1 Many animals, the mare, the cow, and carnivore for instance, can go on breeding almost until their death. There appears to be no climacteric in the horse, ruminant or carnivore. See Major-General Sir F. Smith, K.C.M.G., C.B., A Manual of Veterinary Physiology (1921), p. 757.
Arguing from the superiority of the infant ape over the adult ape, in the line of evolution, because the infant ape is very much nearer man than the adult ape, 1 Ellis claims (apparently on the line of analogy alone) that the human infant is also higher in the line of evolution than the man. "The human infant," he says, "bears the same relation to his species as the simian infant does to his," . . . i.e. he is higher in the line of evolution than the adults, particularly the male adult. And, as woman resembles the child, she too, therefore, stands higher in the line of evolution than man.
But, surely, this is to question one of the most important principles upon which the hypothesis of evolution relies. According to the evolutionary hypothesis, the individual, in his development, retraces the course his ancestors have followed in their evolution. Haeckel, who gave great publicity to this doctrine, called it the biogenetic law, and formulated it in the terms that ontogeny, or the development of the individual, is a repetition of phylogeny, or the evolution of the race.
If, however, this principle is true, how can the infantile stage show a higher degree in evolution than the adult stage? It can do so only if and when there has been in the whole species a degradation from a higher type in evolution. Thus, if modern man had descended from
1 Op. cit., p. 445. It should be pointed out to those readers who are not aware of the facts, that the infant ape's head for instance, the infant orang-outang's head is nearer the human type than is that of the adult ape, and the same is true of the infant gorilla.
But it may be possible in fact, it has actually been maintained that the existing apes have descended from a higher type, which was the common progenitor of both modern man and the orang-outang and the gorilla. What then becomes of the analogy? Mr. Ellis foresees this objection and in a footnote he says: "It may be argued in explanation of the phenomena, that the ape has descended from a more human ancestor, but there is no ground for this assumption." 1
No ground? But is this not precisely what Dr. Hermann Klaatsch set himself to prove? 2 He not only maintains that the existing higher apes are degenerates and have descended from a more manlike ancestor, but shows that fossil apes of two million years ago had better skulls than their descendants of to-day. 3
Even if these conclusions be disputed, however, it can hardly be denied by the most ardent advocate of Mr. Ellis's view, that the higher apes both in the length of their arms and particularly in the degeneration of their thumbs, show specializations constituting a departure from the progenitors of both the apes and man. How then can it be so boldly maintained that "there is no ground" for the assumption that the apes have descended from a more human ancestor?
1 Op. cit., p. 446.
2 See his Evolution and Progress of Mankind, pp. 7071, in fact, the whole of Chapter III.
3 See also p. 584 of the Vol. Mammalia in the Cambridge Natural History, where, speaking of the fossil ape's skull found in Java, the author says its cranial capacity is 400 cm. greater than that of any anthropoid ape.
It may be replied to Mr. Ellis, therefore, that there is no ground for the assumption that, because the infant ape happens to be more human than his male parent, that, therefore, the human child stands higher in the line of evolution than his father; and, in taking exception to his claim that women and babies in the matter of hairiness bear the special characteristics of humanity in a higher degree than man, 2 I would point out that this is not necessarily a sign of superiority, and that in this they were anticipated, as Mr. Elliot Smith has pointed out (see footnote below), by races which are generally acknowledged as inferior to the modern European (for instance, the negroes and Mongolians, who are believed to have shot off from the main stem of the Caucasian race by earlier specializations).
To argue further, as Mr. Ellis does, that growth in man from about the third year onwards is to some extent growth in degeneration and senility, 3 because,
1 The Evolution of Man, p. 38. See also p. 34. "In many respects man retains more of the primitive characteristics for example in his hands than his nearest simian relatives, and in the supreme race of mankind many traits, such as abundance of hair, persist to suggest pithecoid affinities, which have been lost by the more specialized negro and other races. Those anthropologists who use the retention of primitive features in the European as an argument to exalt the negro to equality with him are neglecting the near teaching of comparative anatomy, that the persistance of primitive traits is often a sign of strength rather than of weakness."
2 Op. cit., p. 447.
3 Op. cit., p. 447.
Mr. Elliot Smith says: "It is important then to bear in mind the fact that the retention of primitive characters is often to be looked upon as a token that their possessor has not been compelled to turn aside from the straight path to adopt protective specializations, but has been able to preserve some of the plasticity associated with his primitiveness, precisely because he has not succumbed or fallen away in the struggle for supremacy. It is the wider triumph of the individual who specializes late, after benefiting by the many-sided experiences of early life, over him who in youth becomes tied to a narrow calling." 1
Thus we find it impossible to accept Mr. Ellis's interpretation of the facts, and incline to Dr. Schültze's conclusion that the differences between man and woman, which make woman approximate more than man does to the infantile type, are the outcome of the great inequality in the cost of reproduction to the two sexes. According to this view, the greater toll on woman's physical resources has to be compensated, and this compensation takes the form of preventing her from attaining to the full development of man. 2
To be reminded that, in mammals and birds, the sexually differentiated type originates from an asexual
1 Op. cit., p. 447.
2 Mr. Ellis admits the fact of woman's arrested development (Op. cit., p. 54), but does not appear to admit any connection between it and the greater cost of reproduction which falls to her, and prefers to abide by teleological speculations about Nature and the latter's alleged desire to keep woman youthful.
The precise way in which these formative influences of the sex glands operate, is not known, but the fact that they promote growth here and arrest it there is well established. We may therefore suppose that in some obscure way they memorize for the organism the experiences of its past in the line of evolution, and prepare it for its reproductive rôle; and, by preventing in the female the expenditure of energy on full development, enable her the better to meet the heavy claims that begin to come with puberty.
At all events, since the argumentation based upon those anatomical differences between the two sexes, which are not directly connected with the copulating and genital apparatus, or with the sexual auxiliary apparatus, must still depend a good deal upon conjecture, we have no wish to press it too far. And, if we conclude that woman is more infantile than man in these somatic characters which are not directly connected with reproduction, and account for this by pointing to her precocious and earlier arrest of development, owing to the heavier claims which reproduction makes upon her physical resources, we state no more than what is consistent with our present knowledge of the facts, and a fair interpretation of them.
Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that this infantile character of woman is intimately bound up with her smaller variational tendency, and consequently with her inferiority to man in the attainment of genius in all fields, and, as such, is very important in estimating the ultimate insuperable differences in the achievements of the two sexes.
If, however, we turn from those somatic characters
1 Lipschütz, Op. cit., p. 468.
The primary fact that emerges from our inquiry is the great inequality in the cost of reproduction to the two sexes. This may be subdivided as follows:
A. Physical consequences of the inequality of the cost to women.
(1) The three great tolls on her physical resources menstruation, parturition and lactation, which in their cumulative result through the ages, has led to the early arrest of her development. It should be borne in mind that the first toll at any rate, cannot be escaped.
(2) The longer sexual cycle which, including gestation and lactation, may last eighteen months or more after the fertilizing coitus. This means that while man is ready for a fresh sexual experience as soon as he has recovered from the coitus, woman is only ready for a fresh coitus provided the first has not effected fertilization. If fertilization has been effected by the first coitus, both for the sake of the coming child and herself, she is best left alone. When once the child has come she is happiest left alone. 1
(3) The loss of freedom due to the presence of the beloved parasite, and the need to spend a good deal of her lifetime with it.
(4) The inferior wieldiness of her body through her broader pelvis, larger abdomen, and shorter legs. We
1 Among many savage peoples this desirable segregation of the gravid and nursing female from the male is frequently enforced by tribal law. For a full discussion of this aspect of the sex relation and its bearing on monogamy see Woman: A Vindication, pp. 1627. See also G. Pitt-Rivers (Psyche, January issue, 1926), for attitude of Maoris to this question.
(5) The earlier ageing of women, which is probably due to the consequences of their faster and greater expenditure.
B. The physical consequences of the inequality in the cost to the man.
(1) Fewer tolls on his physical resources. No ineluctable loss like that of menstruation. Higher and longer development.
(2) A very much shorter sexual cycle, consequently, if it is desirable for the sake of the coming generation that he should not approach his mate after fertilization, a great intolerance of monogamy. 1
(3) Greater freedom. Man is not tied down to the beloved parasite, and need not spend much of his lifetime in associating with it.
(4) Greater agility and wieldiness of body, owing to narrower pelvis, shorter trunk, longer legs. We might add, greater sustaining power, and stronger muscles. (The greater bodily agility, like all bodily qualities, finds its counterpart in greater agility of mind.) It is interesting to note in this respect that only once in its history has the Derby been won by a mare. At least, so I have been informed.
(5) Slower and later ageing, which leaves a longer freshness of mind and body and enabled some men, like Goethe, Gladstone, Bismarck, Bernadotte, Cardinal Fleury, Dufaure, Thiers, Rémusat, Guizot, Titian, Corot, Bonnat, Cervantes, etc., only to abdicate with their life their freshness and combativeness. 2
1 The Feminists who are anxious to forestall the argument for polygamy that can be based on this contention, deny that monogamy necessarily involves this insuperable difficulty. And they prefer to see an unfortunate sister produce a child a year than to admit that because interference with a gestating or nursing mother is deleterious to both mother and child, monogamy must lead to degeneration.
2 Bernadotte, when 80 years of age, with mental powers still intact, presided at his Council of Ministers. Guizot at the age of 83 wrote the
(1) The earlier arrest and precocity of development have, as we have seen, limited the female's variational tendency so that, in no sphere, does that sex produce the extremes that the male sex produces. Thus genius in all fields is rarely if ever a female phenomenon.
(2) The drains on her energies, by lessening her powers of endurance, make woman weaker in application, concentration and sustained mental effort than man. To condense into a short statement what is meant by this, we may quote Edmund Gosse's remark about women in poetry: "In order to succeed in Poetry," says Edmund Gosse, "women must be brief, personal and concentrated." 1 Why? They must be brief because their inspiration is not powerful enough to endure a prolonged
first four volumes of his remarkable Histoire de France Racontée à mes Petits Enfants. Dufaure at 78 was President of the Council. The great chemist Berthelot, who died at 80 worked right up to the end of his life. Titian at the age of 95 completed his Christ crowned with Thorns. Herbert Spencer was over 70 when he wrote some of his best essays, and revised his Synthetic Philosophy. Corot, when 77, painted Le Village du Sin-le-Noble, one of his best pictures, and when almost 89, L'Intérieure de la Cathédrale de Sens, which is a chef-d'uvre. Bonnat was 87 when he exhibited at the salon of 1919 portraits which showed that this grand artist had lost nothing of his talent. Finally Cervantes was 55 when he published the first part of Don Quixote. Regarding the procreative ability of old men, it is notorious that it may last until extreme old age. To mention extreme instances, Jacob was probably over 90 when he begat Joseph and Benjamin; Cato, the Censor, was 80 when he married and had a son. Dr. Défournelle of Barjac was 102 when he married a girl of 26 "by whom he had children." Baron Baravicini de Capelli died at 104, leaving his fourth wife enceinte with his eighth child. In 1860 Mr. Tyler, a President of the United States, married at 75 and became the father of a girl. Lakanal was married and had a son when 77. The Due de Bouillon, when 66 years old, had a son. Prof. Lacassagne, in his interesting work A Green Old Age, from which most of the above details have been culled (London, 1923), states (p. 49) that Dr. Duplay examined the testicles of fifty-one old men over 70 years of age, and in twenty seven of the subjects found that they were in every respect similar to those of men in middle life.
1 Century Magazine, June, 1923. Article: "Christina Rossetti."
(3) The limitations imposed by the beloved parasite on woman's freedom (and it should always be remembered that woman without the beloved parasite is not sexually adapted) prevent that persevering and continuous preoccupation with a subject or with a problem which conduces to mastery.
(4) The fact that woman does not attain to man's degree of development, makes man for ever a mystery, a misunderstood creature to her. She never includes man, and therefore cannot comprehend him. That is why among other facts that could be adduced in support of this view, women can never paint good portraits of men. No such achievement is known. To express adequately one must understand. As for the literary portraits, they are only the expression of the wish-thought. They are portrayals of what the racial tradition in woman regards as the desirable sexual mate hence such characters as Heathcliffe (the finest of all male characters created by a woman), whose complete absorption in one sexual adaptation is the one grandiose though unrealistic trait in his character. Thus man always eludes woman's grasp, and idealization and romantic fiction, whether unduly laudatory or depreciatory, take the place of a realistic representation of his nature. By cunning women, desirous of deceiving credulous and simple men, this truth is usually inverted, and the dictum is spread that woman always eludes man's grasp.
D. The mental consequences of the inequality in the cost to men.
(1) The possibility of attaining to genius, as also to the lowest depths of depravity and stupidity. (Idiots are more common in men than women.)
(4) The inclusion and comprehension of woman (except among effeminate or degenerate men) which, with the understanding of his fellow-men, leads man to a greater capacity for realistic conceptions about man, woman, the child and life. Romanticism and idealization, in so far as they are distortions either of man's or woman's nature, are a sign that the male who is guilty of them approximates to the sick or degenerate type.
E. The mental consequences of the functional differences of sex to woman.
These are all dealt with in detail in Woman: A Vindication. 1 For the mental consequences of the difference in her rôle on copulation see above, pp. 15, 16. (It should never be forgotten that the mental qualities reared through the ages by woman's part in the coitus, are probably among the oldest that characterize her; they are much older than those mental qualities which have been reared in her during the existence of the mammalian order.)
F. The mental consequences of the functional differences to men.
(1) For the mental consequences of the difference in his rôle in copulation see above, pp. 15, 16. (As the coitus constitutes man's only part in reproduction, and this part has probably not changed very materially in the male since the time of the warm-blooded ancestors of the mammalia, man is, in the mental consequences of his rôle in reproduction, much less differentiated from his earlier ancestors among sexually dimorphic animals
1 See particularly the Chapters on Marriage and Chapter X: "The Virtues and Vices of Women."
(2) The mental consequences of the part of protector and ruler of the family or horde a part which we already see played by the male monkeys and the male apes are: combativeness, bravery, heroism in battle, 1 intolerance of other males and particularly a tendency to be jealous of younger males. 2 (We have seen that in the monkeys this jealousy of younger males is a salient characteristic of the older members of the same sex, and in man it is just as pronounced, although man successfully conceals it, at least in civilized communities, where it usually manifests itself in the form of Puritanical constraints upon the young.) Again here, as under (1) above, leadership, with all that it means in responsibility, in a fondness for exercising protective rights, and in the habit of expecting and commanding obedience, becomes a prominent characteristic.
(3) The mental consequences of the very much shorter sexual cycle in man, with its smaller drains upon his physical resources, has, as we have seen, consisted in giving him greater freedom thoroughly to acquire expertness and mastery in almost any undertaking. The absence of the beloved parasite from man's life (except as an indirect burden), added to the fact of his higher development, thus gives him an advantage, to which his unquestionably greater achievements in every field must be ascribed.
(4) The mental consequences of the greater freedom resulting from man's functional difference also manifests itself in his nature as independence and self-reliance, and endows him with that pioneer spirit, which, both in the sciences, the arts, and the task of world-mastery, exploration and exploitation, causes him to be an innovator, a discoverer and inventor.
1 See a particularly fine case of this reported by Lyddeker, Vol. I, pp. 7273, in reference to the leader of a monkey horde of the Langur species.
2 See last section Chapter X for more exhaustive treatment of this subject.
In the first place, we have devoted much labour and space simply to the object of establishing what must surely appear to be no more than the obvious truth that specialized functions associated with structural differences between organisms are, and always must be, accompanied by special instincts, emotions and mental powers. 2
Tracing this law throughout animal species, we find it operating also in that differentiation within species which we have termed the sex-rôles; and, finally, we found it determining those distinctions between the human male and female which, from time immemorial,
1 See p. 262, Early Civilization, by A. A. Goldenweiser, where the author, who is, if anything, inclined to be feministic in his bias, concludes that "in religion woman is scarcely anywhere on a level of equality with man." See also W. H. Rivers, History of Civilization, p. 148: "A rule of wide application is that occupations involving ritual, i.e. involving knowledge of manual or verbal rites implying appeal to higher powers, are practised by men, while occupations devoid of this sacred aspect are open to women."
2 It is the popular denial of this law to-day which makes it necessary to devote so much labour and space to the demonstration of what ought generally to be regarded as a truism.
Secondly, therefore, we have shown man and woman to be essentially unlike each other, unequal and incapable of equality, and we have demonstrated this essential dissimilarity of the sexes, not only in those bodily characteristics which are directly concerned with reproduction, but also in those other physiological features which, sometimes called secondary, do not directly co-operate in the functions of multiplication.
Finally, we have endeavoured to bring out clearly all those mental characters, instincts and emotions, which are associated with the structural and functional differences that have been noticed, in order to show, not only that there is a necessary psychical differentiation associated with the different rôles of male and female, but also that this psychical differentiation accounts for and harmonizes with mankind's general experiences and knowledge concerning the marked disparities between male and female achievement.
Thus the second important fact that emerges with overwhelming force from our inquiry is the immense advantage with which man starts as a performer in all fields of human endeavour not directly connected with the bearing and rearing of children.
We have seen that he is the senior of the two sexes, 1 inasmuch as he is probably more like the remote adult ancestor of the race than the female, and retains an equipment of instincts, emotions and mental powers which for millions of years has been much less modified than hers by the changes which produced placental mammals.
We have also seen that, owing to the changes which have affected the female of all mammalian species, since
1 No attempt will be made in the following catalogue of man's advantages to enumerate all the peculiarities and possibilities of the masculine body and mind, but only those which most sharply distinguish the human male from the human female, and are easily traced to the different rôles of each sex in reproduction.
Furthermore we have given the scientific authority for regarding man as capable of greater variability than woman the second probable contributory cause of genius in the male.
And we have also called attention to:
(a) His freedom from the beloved parasite, with all that this means in a capacity for concentration, application, independence, and thoroughness, in all that he undertakes hence his greater ability in science, art and all effort.
(b) His freedom from the physical stresses occasioned by the beloved parasite, with its resulting greater sustaining power, greater enduring power, and greater energy.
(c) His rôle in copulation, which imparts to his psychical character that quality of leadership, initiation, responsibility, boldness, originality, independence, the habit of dominance. And, since this is the oldest part of the sex-relationship both in him and woman, the qualities arising from the respective rôles of the sexes in copulation must be considered as much more deeply rooted in both of them than the qualities connected with parenthood.
(d) His greater bodily agility, with a corresponding greater agility of mind.
(e) His slower and later aging.
(f) His inclusion and comprehension of woman.
(g) His combativeness, bravery, heroism in battle, self-reliance, and independence, as the outcome of his rôle of protector and ruler of the family or horde, and again here his training in leadership, implanting in him the pioneer spirit for all undertakings.
(h) His shorter sexual cycle,
These are indeed immense advantages, and their derivation from the structural and functional peculiarities differentiating man from woman, make them permanent advantages as long as the sex-rôles remain as they are.
But, if we accept these advantages as proved, if, in the light of what physiology, psychology, and above all history tell us, we recognize that they are definitely associated with maleness in humanity, then we are forced to acknowledge that the human male enters life with such a paramount superiority for successful achievement, with such a formidable bias in his favour, that it is inconceivable that he can ever allow himself to sink either to equality with, or subordination to, the female, without making such a renunciation of his heritage, such a surrender of his endowments and traditional distinctions, as to have become almost a different creature, a member of a new and hitherto unclassified sex.
For what order of being, gifted as he is gifted, and liberated as he has been liberated from the heavy handicap imposed on woman, could have failed to establish his supremacy in every field when in competition with the other sex? Even admitting that the two sexes started millions of years ago in pre reptiloid days with the same equipment, the same opportunities, and the same adaptations which is obviously untrue man, with all the positive and negative advantages which the male sex has acquired through the ages, must inevitably have won in the competition for achievement, however soon or however late that may have started.
When, therefore, we find chiefly the names of men in all the records of human greatness; when in some fields, such as the arts of architecture, sculpture, music, and the highest of all arts legislation, we find almost the only names worth considering those of men both young
To talk of a natural equality between man and woman, therefore, is obvious nonsense. To talk of an equality that can be acquired or imposed by law, is not less absurd. But to suppose, as many at present do suppose, that the equality that clearly is not and never can be present, can be secured either by educating or in some mysterious way, transforming the female, is to contemplate the possibility, not only of removing woman's life handicap, but also of endowing her with those qualities of mind and body which, deriving directly from man's specialized functions, she never has possessed and can never possess as he possesses them.
And yet there is a large body of people to-day, who not only question this fundamental inequality of the sexes, but who, with a stubborn refusal to look at the record of history, are prepared to go to extreme lengths to defend the opposite doctrine and to make it the leading principle of their lives. When forced to recognize the overwhelming evidence which the records of the past and present afford of the absurdity of their position, they reply that hitherto woman has been suppressed, or repressed, or violently subjugated into relative inferiority. 2 When confronted with the physiological and functional differences of the sexes, and asked to acknowledge that these differences must be associated with a corresponding
1 And this despite the exorbitant sentimental fuss which it has been customary to create about any female achievements, however mediocre.
2 This position, which was assumed by John Stuart Mill, and has since been adopted by all Feminists, will be found adequately dealt with on historical lines and refuted in Chapter X of my Woman: A Vindication.
It is owing to the increasing prevalence of such singular people, that it has become necessary to restate the more or less obvious truths that have been the subject of these first two chapters; for, although their attitude argues very profound and wilful prejudice and a degree of unenlightenment almost incredible at this late stage of European culture and learning, we have to accept the fact that the world has grown both foolish and credulous, and we have to deal with it on that basis. Another alternative would have been to regard these sex-egalitarians as less honest then they are obtuse, less irrational than they are deliberately deceptive. This may be so. But in that case we have only to convince their ignorant followers of the fraudulent nature of their claims in order to defeat their disingenuous tactics.
At all events we have very reluctantly indeed thought it necessary to restate with some elaborateness the case for sexual inequality. And, although we have not yet finished with the sex-egalitarians, we challenge them to prove satisfactorily to all concerned that the differences between the sexes which we have enumerated are not differences, that in fact specialized functions do not involve corresponding instincts, emotions, and mental powers, and that the records of history are mythical and unreliable.
But we who are satisfied that there is still some meaning in the words man and woman, and that they still connote, and will continue to connote very definite attributes
Not only can a woman not see or feel a thing as a man sees and feels it, but even when he and she appear to do the same thing, that thing is not done and cannot be done in the same way. The approach and adaptation of each to the world is, and cannot help being, utterly and unalterably different.
There is indeed a method by which the human male and female can be made to appear equal in all fields of achievement; there are even means by which the former may be reduced to a position of inferiority in all such fields a method and a means which modern mankind, particularly in Western Europe and America are, and have for some time been steadily pursuing as if intent upon altering and reversing the relationship of the sexes.
That method and those means, as we shall see, have consisted in dwarfing, limiting and reducing man's claims and prerogatives, in truncating and extirpating his hereditary gifts, in making him timid and hesitating where he should be most intrepid, in sentimentalizing, cowing and debilitating him, and above all in besotting and impoverishing his intellect and his body. This method and these means have been man's own invention, man's own deliberate choice. He himself has been directly responsible for their adoption and for their continued operation. And, now that they have begun to produce their direst consequences, now that, partly emasculated, effeminized and despirited, he finds himself no longer the creature he was, he is confronted by a condition of affairs which he does not understand, which he cannot
His mate, woman, on the other hand, arguing as if man's stubborn and self-sought retrogression were really her own advance, her increased endowment, and as if his scandalous abandonment of his great heritage were really an inevitable evolutionary phase, by which she herself has come to assume greater importance and higher powers, is now interpreting as natural and desirable an apparent equality between the sexes in achievement, and, in the ultimate extreme, an inferiority of the male, which, far from being an inevitable evolutionary phase, by which "she has come into her own," is merely the latest symptom of man's deliberate dissipation of his spiritual and physical patrimony.
An ignominious and voluntary retreat is thus, as is customary in warfare, interpreted by the opposing horde as a successful and irresistible forward movement on their own part.
The cry and the claim of sexual equality are therefore merely symptoms of male degeneracy, they are the by-products, as it were, of the disintegration of the manly character, and it may be taken for granted that the gradual crescendo of the soprano voice in all civilized communities is the signal of their decline. It was so in Greece, as we shall show in Chapter III, and it was also the case in Rome, and in France before the Revolution.
That is why I call this work, in which I propose to analyse the causes of the current cry, and the current partial fact, of the Equality of the Sexes, not the Defence of Man, or his Vindication, but his Indictment; for it is with him, and with him alone, that all the responsibility lies for every phase and every step of the present triumphant movement known all over Western civilization as Feminism and Sex Warfare. And it is because I believe that this movement in recent times has spread from England, and through the paramount influence of Anglo-Saxon ideology, that I shall in these pages pay particular attention to the Englishman and the factors which in England have led to the degeneration of the male.