The general indifference to men’s issues – male victimization in domestic violence and rape, inequality in family life as a matter of custom and law, exponentially higher male homelessness, death, injury and suicide rates – is often blamed on feminism, as if this is some new phenomenon and never happened in the good old days. In fact feminism did not invent or propound this indifference but merely inherit it for the traditional order that feminists flatter themselves by thinking they oppose it. They do not oppose it, they reside in it when it comes to caring about men or men’s issues and they make hypocrites of themselves when they claim their feminism is the remedy.
Here is Florence Nightingale on the subject. To refresh your memory, Florence Nightingale went out from Britain to care for soldiers wounded in the Crimean War as a nurse. She was “The Lady with the lamp”. The Crimean War was a war fought as part of an imperial policy that benefited everyone with any wealth in her country, women as well as men, quite materially and substantially. This was in the 1850s, hardly the high tide of the suffragette movement or any kind of feminism. This indifference on the part of women towards the plight of these men was just a feature of plain old-fashioned traditional femininity.
I have read half your book thro’, and am immensely charmed by it. But some things I disagree with and more I do not understand. This does not apply to the characters, but your conclusions, e.g. you say “women are more sympathetic than men”.
Now if I were to write a book out of my experience, I should begin Women have no sympathy. Yours is the tradition. Mine is the conviction of experience.
Now look at my experience of men. A statesman, past middle age, absorbed in politics for a quarter of a century, out of sympathy with me, remodels his whole life and policy – learns a science the driest, the most technical, the most difficult, that of administration, as far as it concerns the lives of men – not, as I learnt it, in the field from stirring experience, but by writing dry regulations in a London room by my sofa with me. This is what I call real sympathy.
Another (Alexander, whom I made Director-General) does very nearly the same thing. He is dead too. Clough, a poet born if ever there was one, takes to nursing administration in the same way, for me.
I only mention three whose whole lives were remodeled by sympathy for me. But I could mention very many others…
I have never found one woman who altered her life by one iota for me or my opinions.
Now just look at the degree in which women have sympathy – as far as my experience is concerned. And my experience of women is almost as large as Europe. And it is so intimate too. I have lived and slept in the same bed with English Countesses and Prussian Bauerinnen. No [other woman] has ever had charge of women of the different creeds that I have had. No woman has excited “passions” among women more than I have. Yet I leave no school behind me. My doctrines have taken no hold among women…and I attribute this to a want of sympathy.
It makes me mad, the Women’s Rights talk about “the want of a field” for them – when I know that I would gladly give £500 a year for a Woman Secretary. And two English Lady Superintendents have told me the same. And we can’t get one … they don’t know the names of the Cabinet Ministers. They don’t know the offices at the Horse Guards…Now I’m sure I did not know these things. When I went to the Crimea I did not know a Colonel from a Corporal. But there are such things as Army Lists and Almanacs. Yet I never could find a woman who, out of sympathy, would consult one for my work.
I do believe I am “like a man,” as Parthe says. But how? In having sympathy.
Women crave for being loved, not for loving. They scream out at you for sympathy all day long, they are incapable of giving any in return, for they cannot remember your affairs long enough to do so…They cannot state a fact accurately to another, nor can that other attend to it accurately enough for it to become information. Now is not all this the result of want of sympathy?
I am sick with indignation at what wives and mothers will do of the most egregious selfishness. And people call it all maternal or conjugal affection, and think it pretty to say so. No, no, let each person tell the truth from his own experience.”
An obvious question is that if women are so lacking in sympathy, how then did Florence Nightingale show so much sympathy for men? Perhaps it was because her father had progressive social views for the time, which meant that he had her educated and raised her to desire an active life out in the world. She never married.
Here is an example of what the kind of sympathy we are talking about looks like. Here is an article with one woman interviewing another woman about a men’s rights issue, in this case the “Don’t Be that Girl” poster campaign in Edmonton, and the issues surrounding it, from the perspective of sympathy with men. It can be done. It’s not all that hard. It’s just a matter of caring equally about people.
Latest posts by Jim Doyle (see all)
- The Woman Card - May 2, 2016
- Frat boy bachelorettes and the invasion of gay bars - April 15, 2016
- “Not my kid….” - February 22, 2016