December 17, 2005


The Background of Modern Feminism: a review of Woman and Society by Meyrick Booth (Christopher Dawson, October 1930, The Criterion)

Dr. Booth argues, as I think, rightly, that the root of the problem lies in the fundamental maladaptation of modern civilization to feminine needs. "Woman," he writes, "is so deeply rooted in the soil of personal relationships and racial instincts, that she can never permanently thrive in the arid soil of a dehumanized and technical type of life." And the more successful is the feminist movement, and the further women penetrate into economic and professional life, the deeper becomes her disillusionment and the more intense her discontent and sex-hostility. It is precisely in those societies and classes in which the feminist programme has been most completely realized that women are most dissatisfied. It is true that modern civilization presses hardly on the male personality also; but as D. H. Lawrence pointed out in one of his last essays, a man can live by will alone, he can find satisfaction in personal ambition and in a purely external activity, whereas woman seeks her fulfillment in a deeper and more instinctive contact with life and can find no rest in the dry and empty places of modern mechanistic civilization.

Thus Feminism marks the disintegration of the traditional social order in its most fundamental aspects, but it does not offer any prospect of reintegration or social construction. It may be argued that modern civilization requires the levelling down of sex distinctions, and that the society of the future will be a human hive of almost sexless workers in which the function of reproduction will be delegated to a specialized minority. But such a solution would demand such fundamental changes in human nature that it is hardly conceivable. It is much easier to suppose that the present situation is due to the temporary failure of an artificial civilization to adjust itself to the permanent needs of human nature and that we shall have to retrace our steps.

Always remarkable to read the great conservatives of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries and see how clearly they understood the imposibility of the Left experiment, then consider that the experiment would run for two hundred years anyway.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 17, 2005 12:00 AM

And despite it's "impossibility", it's still going. And you still take the complaints of those left behind as evidence of it's failure. Pure sophism, OJ, pure sophism.

Posted by: Brandon at December 17, 2005 5:14 PM

Gotta burn your hand first. Repeatedly.

Posted by: Mikey at December 17, 2005 5:38 PM