DLS says it all

Here’s DLS on Equality

“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 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 those on 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.

Or take the sniggering dishonesty that accompanies every mention of trousers. The fact is that, for Homo, the garment is warm, convenient and decent. But in the West (though not in Mohammedan countries or in China) Vir has made the trouser his prerogative, and has invested it and the skirt with a sexual significance for physiological reasons which are a little too plain for gentility to admit. (Note: that the objection is always to the closed knicker or trouser; never to open drawers, which have a music-hall significance of a different kind.) It is this obscure male resentment against interference with function that complicates the simple Homo issue of whether warmth, safety, and freedom of movement are desirable qualities in a garment for any creature with two legs. Naturally, under the circumstances, the trouser is also taken up into the whole Femina business of attraction, since Vir demands that a woman shall be Femina all the time, whether she is engaged in Homo activities or not. If, of course, Vir should take a fancy to the skirt, he will appropriate it without a scruple; he will wear the houppelande or the cassock if it suits him; he will stake out his claim to the kilt in Scotland or in Greece. If he chooses (as he once chose) to deck himself like a peacock in the mating season, that is Vir‘s right… Man dresses as he chooses, and Woman to please him; and if Woman says she ever does otherwise, he knows better, for she is not human, and may not give evidence on her own behalf.

Probably no man has ever troubled to imagine how strange his life would appear to himself if it were unrelentingly assessed in terms of his maleness; if everything he wore, said, or did had to be justified by reference to female approval; if he were compelled to regard himself, day in and day out, not as a member of society, but merely… as a virile member of society. If from school and lectureroom, Press and pulpit, he heard the persistent outpouring of a shrill and scolding voice, bidding him remember his biological function. If he were vexed by continual advice how to add a rough male touch to his typing, how to be learned without losing his masculine appeal, how to combine chemical research with seduction, how to play bridge without incurring the suspicion of impotence. If, instead of allowing with a smile that “women prefer cavemen,” he felt the unrelenting pressure of a whole social structure forcing him to order all his goings in conformity with that pronouncement.”


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