Friday, December 23, 2016

Book Review: ‘In Defense of Women’

‘In Defense of Women’, by H. L. Mencken is a complete study of feminity, covering, The Feminine Mind, The Maternal Instinct, The Masculine Bag of Tricks, Biological Considerations, Romance, Marriage, etc.
The book caught my attention instantly, when I read: “Two of the hardest things that women have to bear are (a) the stupid masculine disinclination to admit their intellectual superiority, … and (b) the equally stupid masculine doctrine that they constitute a special and ineffable species of vertebrate, without the natural instincts and appetites …, and marked by a complete lack of certain salient mammalian characters.” I read again “... she talks—of anything, everything, all the things that women talk of: books, music, the play, men, and other women. No politics. No business. No religion. No metaphysics. Nothing challenging and vexatious”
The book is full of “ideas so novel that they will be instantly rejected as insane and outrageous by all right thinking men, and so apposite and sound that they will eventually conquer that instinctive opposition, and force themselves into the traditional wisdom of the race.”  Though the best and most intellectual in almost all occupations are not men, but women, and they have a fair share of the best writers, public functionaries, and composers and players of music, man, by remaining always in full possession of the modest faculties he can claim, continue to rule this world, the book posits.
The book notes the gradual emancipation of women that has been going on for the last century. Mainly due to the changing status of women in USA, such changes have been happening, which will free them of their traditional burdens and so stand clear of the oppression of men.
Many of the observations made by the author support the view of women as complete beings, unlike men. The ‘masculine shortfall’, though is not critically examined, supports once again, the view I have expressed through my book, ‘The Unsure Male’.