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Quiz: Whose terrible thoughts about English women are these?

A naughty English tart
A very naughty English tart

Today, a sort of quiz. Below, you’ll find extended excerpts from a rather Man Boobzy article about young English women. Afterwards, I want you to guess where, and when, this article came from.

The girl of the period is a creature who dyes her hair, and paints her face … whose sole idea of life is plenty of fun and luxury; and whose dress is the object of such thought and intellect as she possesses. …  and as she dresses to please herself she does not care it she displeases every one else. Nothing is too extraordinary and nothing too exaggerated for her vitiated taste … .

[S]he cannot be made to see that modesty of appearance and virtue ought to be inseparable, and that no good girl can afford to appear bad, under penalty of receiving the contempt awarded to the bad. …

The girl of the period envies the queens of the demi-monde far more than she abhors them. She sees them gorgeously attired and sumptuously appointed, and she knows them to be flattered, feted, and courted with a certain disdainful admiration of which she catches only the admiration while she ignores the disdain. …

No one can say of the modern English girl that she is tender, loving, retiring, or domestic. … Love indeed is the last thing she thinks of, and the least of the dangers besetting her. …

The legal barter of herself for so much money — representing so much dash, so much luxury and pleasure — that is her idea of marriage; the only idea worth entertaining. For all seriousness of thought respecting the duties or the consequences of marriage, she has, not a trace.

If children come, they find but a stepmother’s cold welcome from her; and if her husband thinks that he has married anything that is to belong to him … the sooner he wakes from his hallucination and understands that he has simply married some one who will condescend to spend his money on herself, and who will shelter her indiscretions behind the shield of his name, the less severe will be his disappointment.

She has married his house … his balance at the banker’s, his title; and he himself is just the inevitable condition clogging the wheel of her fortune; at best an adjunct, to be tolerated with more or less patience as may chance. For it is only the old-fashioned sort … that marry for love, or put the husband before the banker.

But she does not marry easily. Men are afraid of her; and with reason. They may amuse themselves with her for an evening, but they do not take her readily for life. Besides, after all her efforts, she is only a poor copy of the real thing; and the real thing is far more amusing than the copy … Men I can get that whenever they like …

[I]t cannot be too plainly told to the modern English girl that the net result of her present manner of life is to assimilate her as nearly as possible to a class of women whom we must not call by their proper-or improper-name.

And we are willing to believe that she has still some modesty of soul left hidden under all this effrontery of fashion, and that, if she could be made to see herself as she appears to the eyes of men, she would mend her ways before too late.

It is terribly significant of the present state of things when men are free to write as they do of the women of their own nation. …

It is only when these [women] have placed themselves beyond the pale of masculine respect that such things could be written as are written now; when they become again what they were once they will gather round them the love and homage and chivalrous devotion which were then an Englishwoman’s natural inheritance. The marvel, in the present fashion of life among women, is how it holds its ground in spite of the disapprobation of men.

It used to be an old-time notion that the sexes were made for each other, and that it was only natural for them to please each other, and to set themselves out for that end.

But the girl of the period does not please men. She pleases them as little as she elevates them; and how little she does that, the class of women she has taken as her model of herself testifies.

All men whose opinion is worth having prefer the simple and genuine girl of the past, with her tender little ways and pretty bashful modesties, to this loud and rampant modernization, with her false red hair and painted skin, talking slang as glibly as a man, and by preference leading the conversation to doubtful subjects. …

[S]he will not see that though men laugh with her, they do not respect her, though men flirt with her they do not marry her; she will not believe that she is not the kind of thing they want, and that she is acting against nature and her own interests when she disregards their advice and offends their taste….

[A]ll we can do is to wait patiently until the national madness has passed, and our women have come back again to the old English ideal, once the most beautiful, the most modest, the most, essentially womanly in the world.

Ok, now comes the quiz part.

So where did I get this from?

A) The Thinking Housewife blog, in April of 2011

B) “Whore-Imitating Sluts Are Ruining England,” The Spearhead, in August of 2012

C) Margaret Thatcher, “Up From Sluttery,” Tory Press, 1972.

D) “The Girl of the Period,” The Perth Gazette and West Australian Times, 6/5/1868

Click on this link to find out the answer.







NOTE: I cheated a teensy bit by taking out some of the more egregiously old-fashioned language. But if you ignore the old-fashioned style, the content of the piece is strikingly similar to a lot of stuff posted in the more traditionalist corners of the Manosphere today.

Thanks to Magpie for posting a link to this piece in the comments!

PS: Margaret Thatcher didn’t actually write a book entitled “Up From Sluttery,” nor did The Spearhead run a piece titled “Whore-Imitating Sluts Are Ruining England.” At least it hasn’t yet.

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9 years ago

He’ll = Hell. Frickin autocorrect.

9 years ago

Even in the edited version, the language gave the game away. (Before I saw the options, my guess was ’19th century’.) The average present-day MRA would have a hard time writing in a consistently formal register and avoiding the use of buzzwords, and even an English one wouldn’t be able focus so much on English women without bringing up how he prefers women who are more likely to do what he wants them to do.

9 years ago

LOL good point. The language would have to be completely mangled for it to pass as an MRA’s effort.

8 years ago

“The girl of the period” was written by a female named Eliza Lynn Linton, not a male.

Full book

Like Kittehserf said the mid to late 1860s was a radical time in that century (like the mid to late 1960s), with skirts hitched up to show colorful petticoats and crinolines that lift up to show the feet when playing croquet, the game of the 1860s, loads of false hair starting in 65.

The massive chignons of 66-68.

Crinolines collapsing in 67 and then turning into a bustle starting in mid 68.

Some dude in the 1930s talking about the 1860s with Freudian stuff.

8 years ago

“The girl of the period” was written by a female named Eliza Lynn Linton, not a male.

Not all that unusual. Crash Course American History last week used a document by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s sister to make a point about the pervasive nature of the Cult of Domesticity in the 19th century.

Leah Dehnel
Leah Dehnel
8 years ago

I think that some people may not realise, that when the author is talking about English women, she is actually talking about Australian women, the colonists at the time didn’t think of them selves as separate from england.

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