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Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society

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One of the first women to graduate from Oxford, Dorothy Sayers pursued her goals whether or not what she wanted to do was ordinarily understood to be "feminine." Sayers kept in mind that she was first of all a human being and aimed to be true not so much to her gender as to her humanity. The role of both men and women, in her view, was to find the work for which they were One of the first women to graduate from Oxford, Dorothy Sayers pursued her goals whether or not what she wanted to do was ordinarily understood to be "feminine." Sayers kept in mind that she was first of all a human being and aimed to be true not so much to her gender as to her humanity. The role of both men and women, in her view, was to find the work for which they were suited and to do it. While Sayers did not devote a great deal of time to talking or writing about feminism, she did explicitly address the issue of women's role in society in the two penetrating essays collected here. Though she wrote several decades ago, she still offers in her piquant style a sensible and conciliatory approach to ongoing gender issues.


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One of the first women to graduate from Oxford, Dorothy Sayers pursued her goals whether or not what she wanted to do was ordinarily understood to be "feminine." Sayers kept in mind that she was first of all a human being and aimed to be true not so much to her gender as to her humanity. The role of both men and women, in her view, was to find the work for which they were One of the first women to graduate from Oxford, Dorothy Sayers pursued her goals whether or not what she wanted to do was ordinarily understood to be "feminine." Sayers kept in mind that she was first of all a human being and aimed to be true not so much to her gender as to her humanity. The role of both men and women, in her view, was to find the work for which they were suited and to do it. While Sayers did not devote a great deal of time to talking or writing about feminism, she did explicitly address the issue of women's role in society in the two penetrating essays collected here. Though she wrote several decades ago, she still offers in her piquant style a sensible and conciliatory approach to ongoing gender issues.

30 review for Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    I found these two essays to be provocative and exceptional which is not surprising as they wer written by Dorothy Sayers. Can't wait to discuss them with Angelina on The Literary Life Podcast. I found these two essays to be provocative and exceptional which is not surprising as they wer written by Dorothy Sayers. Can't wait to discuss them with Angelina on The Literary Life Podcast.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I picked up Are Women Human? by Dorothy L. Sayers expecting a rather lengthy and involved discussion on feminism that I would need to re-read several times to fully grasp. Instead I got a volume of barely 75 pages composed of two essays and an introduction so full of common sense that it hardly took any time to read at all. Though groundbreaking as one of the first females to graduates from Oxford and well-known for her work as a writer of fiction and academia, Sayers did not have much to say ab I picked up Are Women Human? by Dorothy L. Sayers expecting a rather lengthy and involved discussion on feminism that I would need to re-read several times to fully grasp. Instead I got a volume of barely 75 pages composed of two essays and an introduction so full of common sense that it hardly took any time to read at all. Though groundbreaking as one of the first females to graduates from Oxford and well-known for her work as a writer of fiction and academia, Sayers did not have much to say about feminism. In fact, I would say this volume fulfills more our need (as readers) to have her say something than her need, or even desire, (as an author) to say anything about what it means to be a woman. The essays were originally published with several others by Sayers in 1947. While they are somewhat dated, they remain quite relevant today. Many of the issues women struggled with then apply to both men and women today. Sayers’s main point is primarily that men and women have more in common than not and that each should be allowed to find the role that suits them best. If a woman is good at business, she should do it because that is what she was made to do. However, if a woman desires to have a family and be a traditional housewife, that too should be regarded as good because that is what she is meant to do. The same standards apply to men and women equally. She gets a bit more snarky in the second essay, “The Human-Not-Quite-Human,” but her point remains the same. One of my favorite parts comes from her discussion of women wearing “trousers.” While this isn’t controversial today, I think this passage illustrates her style, and humor, well: “Let me give one simple illustration of the difference between the right and the wrong kind of feminism. Let us take this terrible business…of the women who go about in trousers. We are asked: ‘Why do you want to go about in trousers? They are extremely unbecoming to most of you. You only do it to copy the men.’ To this we may very properly reply: ‘It is true that they are unbecoming. Even on men they are remarkably unattractive. But, as you men have discovered for yourselves, they are comfortable, they do not get in the way of one’s activities like skirts and they protect the wearer from draughts about the ankles. As a human being, I like comfort and dislike draughts. If the trousers do not attract you, so much the worse; for the moment I do not want to attract you. I want to enjoy myself as a human being, and why not?”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    Sayers' answer is, of course, Yes. Her point is that both men and women often argue as if women were an undifferentiated class, inherently different from men (the real humans) and necessarily possessed of a common female set of needs, desires, opinions, abilities, etc. She argues that the first prerequisite of equality is to regard all people as individuals who have different talents and preferences. These gifts, not sex, are what should determine employment and other activities. To find satisfa Sayers' answer is, of course, Yes. Her point is that both men and women often argue as if women were an undifferentiated class, inherently different from men (the real humans) and necessarily possessed of a common female set of needs, desires, opinions, abilities, etc. She argues that the first prerequisite of equality is to regard all people as individuals who have different talents and preferences. These gifts, not sex, are what should determine employment and other activities. To find satisfaction in doing good work and knowing that it is wanted is human nature; therefore it cannot be feminine nature, for women are not human. It is true they die in bombardments, much like real human beings: but that we will forgive, since they clearly cannot enjoy it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Suzannah

    So great. Spot on and frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious, although I think that the same author's novel Gaudy Night goes into these questions in a little more depth. I read the two brief essays comprising this volume from Unpopular Opinions, which can be accessed online here. So great. Spot on and frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious, although I think that the same author's novel Gaudy Night goes into these questions in a little more depth. I read the two brief essays comprising this volume from Unpopular Opinions, which can be accessed online here.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dhanaraj Rajan

    This is a book that contains the two essays that Dorothy L. Sayers wrote on the "Women Question." It is not a well developed theory in the lines of feminist thinkers. (Sayers will be against the usage of the term 'Feminist' anyway.) It is more like a novel writer's observation of the society and her critical remarks. This is the quote from the book which is central to her arguments: "...the fundamental thing is that women are more like men than anything else in the world. They are human beings. V This is a book that contains the two essays that Dorothy L. Sayers wrote on the "Women Question." It is not a well developed theory in the lines of feminist thinkers. (Sayers will be against the usage of the term 'Feminist' anyway.) It is more like a novel writer's observation of the society and her critical remarks. This is the quote from the book which is central to her arguments: "...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 that 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." The society is not ready to accept the women as human beings. Sayers quotes D. H. Lawrence in this regard besides giving some interesting examples. The D. H. Lawrence quote is interesting. So I give it in full. "Man is willing to accept woman as an equal, as a man in skirts, as an angel, a devil. a baby-face, a machine, an instrument, a bosom, a womb, a pair of legs, a servant, an encyclopaedia, an ideal or an obscenity; the one thing he won't accept her as is a human being, a real human being of the feminine sex."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    This wasn’t really what I was expecting it to be. I was expecting it to be much funnier than it turned out. It wasn’t really all that funny at all. And then I thought it might have a stronger message regarding feminism too – but even that was quite light, really. The second essay, and the one the book isn’t named after, is the better of the two. This is mostly because the second essay does some lovely inversions of gender roles – having men justify their membership of the male sex despite their This wasn’t really what I was expecting it to be. I was expecting it to be much funnier than it turned out. It wasn’t really all that funny at all. And then I thought it might have a stronger message regarding feminism too – but even that was quite light, really. The second essay, and the one the book isn’t named after, is the better of the two. This is mostly because the second essay does some lovely inversions of gender roles – having men justify their membership of the male sex despite their working in what might be considered less than masculine occupations. I think my main problem with this is that the core message is 'we are all individuals' - and given this is our society's central mantra I find it annoying that this would be the core message of anything presented as 'astute and witty'. Sayers doesn't think of herself as a feminist as she is an individual first and foremost - I consider myself a feminist because women are disadvantaged in our society and that is something our society can do something about, but chooses not to. Where she sees society as made up of individuals, I see society as something bigger and more than the sum of those individuals and with obligations to more than individuals too. This is a very short book, 69 pages which are basically half size with large print, and even so it fits in two essays and an introduction. Like I said, it just wasn’t really what I was hoping it would be. It turns out that they are human, by the way. Hope I haven't spoilt the book for anyone...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laura Verret

    This slim collection of essays is basically the We Should All Be Feminists of the 1930s, which is to say that, while tiny slivers of its discussion are dated, the majority of the text is pure, glittering gold.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeannette

    I am starting to appreciate everything Dorothy L. Sayers has ever written. This is a clear, no nonsense articulation of the role of women and a quick dismissal of all the misunderstandings and popular grievances of feminism. While you read it, you are thinking, “Of course!”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This book comprises three essays -- an introduction by Mary McDermott Shideler, then Sayers' own "Are Women Human?" and "The Human-Not-Quite-Human." The first of Sayers' essays is a 1938 address to a women's society. In it, Sayers explained why she was not pleased with some contemporary trends in feminism. It would be unfortunate, Sayers argued, if the women's movement made the same mistake that men had been making -- to treat women as a class with a single collective end rather than as individua This book comprises three essays -- an introduction by Mary McDermott Shideler, then Sayers' own "Are Women Human?" and "The Human-Not-Quite-Human." The first of Sayers' essays is a 1938 address to a women's society. In it, Sayers explained why she was not pleased with some contemporary trends in feminism. It would be unfortunate, Sayers argued, if the women's movement made the same mistake that men had been making -- to treat women as a class with a single collective end rather than as individuals with unique ends. The second essay, on the other hand, rebuked Christian churches for failing so often to treat women as equal individuals. In rich sardonic tones, Sayers described what men's lives might be like if they were collectively trivialized as women had been: "if [a man's life] 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 day out, not as a member of society, but merely [...] as a virile member of society. If the centre of his dress-consciousness were the cod-piece, his education directed to making him a spirited lover and meek paterfamilias; his interests held to be natural only in so far as they were sexual. If from school and lecture-room, Press and pulpit, he heard the persistent outpouring of a shrill and scolding voice, bidding him remember his biological function."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    She has some incredible statements in here. "A woman is just as much an ordinary human being as a man, with the same individual preferences, and with just as much right to the tastes and preferences, and with just as much right to the tastes and preferences of any individual." "It is perfectly idiotic to take away women's traditional occupations and then complain because she looks for new ones." "But there are other questions – as, for example, about literature or finance – on which the 'woman's p She has some incredible statements in here. "A woman is just as much an ordinary human being as a man, with the same individual preferences, and with just as much right to the tastes and preferences, and with just as much right to the tastes and preferences of any individual." "It is perfectly idiotic to take away women's traditional occupations and then complain because she looks for new ones." "But there are other questions – as, for example, about literature or finance – on which the 'woman's point of view' has no value at all. In fact, it does not exist. No special knowledge is involved, and a woman's opinion on literature or finance is valuable only as the judgment of an individual. I am occasionally desired by congenital imbeciles and the editors of magazines to say something about the writing of detective fiction 'from the woman's point of view.' To such demands, one can only say, 'Go away and don't be so silly. You might as well ask what is the female angle on an equilateral triangle.'" "What we ask is to be human individuals, however peculiar and unexpected. It is no good saying: 'You are a little girl and therefore you ought to like dolls'; if the answer is, 'But I don't.' there is no more to be said." "'What,' men have asked distractedly from the beginning of time, 'what on earth do women want?' I do not know that women, as women want anything in particular, but as human beings they want, my good men, exactly what you want yourselves: interesting occupation, reasonable freedom for their pleasures, and a sufficient emotional outlet." I also liked the part where she flips the narrative and puts a man in the position of a woman and the questions she is daily bombarded is. It shows so clearly how silly it is to treat women that way. Unlike other (often male) reviewers of this book, I did not find her to be catty or bitter at all. Rather she truthfully stated the way of life for a lot of women in a lot of places. I read some other reviews of this book that said she focused too much on individualism. From my reading, I felt she was saying that just because we label someone as "woman" does not mean that they have a stock set of likes, dislikes, and traits. That, I think, is important. Community, and seeing one's self as part of a community, is vitally important, but we also have to understand that a community is still made up of individuals, each of whom is their own unique person. And we should respect that. Sayers is charming and funny and now I want to read some of her other books.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    The "I'm not a feminist but..." thing is quite old, apparently (not that I'm surprised). If this isn't a feminist work though I don't know what is. Such wonderful writings that are still a bit ahead of their time in many ways. The second essay was better and really resonated with me. The first was still very good, but a bit weaker. Really excellent work. Now to read her fiction. The "I'm not a feminist but..." thing is quite old, apparently (not that I'm surprised). If this isn't a feminist work though I don't know what is. Such wonderful writings that are still a bit ahead of their time in many ways. The second essay was better and really resonated with me. The first was still very good, but a bit weaker. Really excellent work. Now to read her fiction.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mark Jr.

    Short and witty. Not quite up with the times, of course, but still valuable for all that. Pretty weak on the appeals to Scripture or natural law; I was disappointed there. And there seemed to me to be a pretty bald appeal to Western indivudalism. But there were some memorable lines and some important points. Her spoof on what it would be like to be a man who is always defined by his sex ("the first male to do X") was brilliant and thought-provoking. Read this by the fire at the Wade Center at Wh Short and witty. Not quite up with the times, of course, but still valuable for all that. Pretty weak on the appeals to Scripture or natural law; I was disappointed there. And there seemed to me to be a pretty bald appeal to Western indivudalism. But there were some memorable lines and some important points. Her spoof on what it would be like to be a man who is always defined by his sex ("the first male to do X") was brilliant and thought-provoking. Read this by the fire at the Wade Center at Wheaton!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Justin Wiggins

    Other than reading a few quotes, some letters, a biography, and a chapter from one her Lord Peter Whimsey books, this is the only full length book by Dorothy Sayers that I have actually read. I really enjoyed her critique of sexism, and her expounded on her high view of women, which is sane, brilliant, and something I greatly appreciate. Let us all be thankful for the amazing women in our lives.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    But 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 that is persistently evaded and denied. No matter what arguments are used, because Man is always dealt with both Homo and Vir, but Woman only as Femina. This book has much to recommend it. Very interesting.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rowena

    Quite witty and thought-provoking.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Annie Monson

    An apologist’s argument for the dignity, equality, and responsibility inherent in personhood. I think if we listen closely to Sayers here, more of us might agree than we think. And from there move towards a society that operates with both strong hands, rather than with one or the other tied behind our back.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Mary McDermott Shideler introduces us to two essays author Dorothy L. Sayers wrote about women and also provides a few remarks she made in an introduction to another book she wrote. Sayers did not consider herself a feminist although she did believe women should be able to choose a vocation suited to them. She believed aggressive feminism more harmful than helpful. This quick and interesting read shows Sayers' familiarity with philosophy and showcases her Christian faith. Mary McDermott Shideler introduces us to two essays author Dorothy L. Sayers wrote about women and also provides a few remarks she made in an introduction to another book she wrote. Sayers did not consider herself a feminist although she did believe women should be able to choose a vocation suited to them. She believed aggressive feminism more harmful than helpful. This quick and interesting read shows Sayers' familiarity with philosophy and showcases her Christian faith.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Noninuna

    Are Women Human? is a collection of 2 essays written by Dorothy L. Sayers about feminism in the belief that men & women are equal and should be treated as human on every level of humanity. When I first seen this book recommended by a Booktuber, I found myself asking out loud, "What do you mean 'Are women human?'?!" because that is a really provocative title if you ask me. However, when I did read it, I can say that this is the 'feminism' that I would totally agree & relate with. The introduction Are Women Human? is a collection of 2 essays written by Dorothy L. Sayers about feminism in the belief that men & women are equal and should be treated as human on every level of humanity. When I first seen this book recommended by a Booktuber, I found myself asking out loud, "What do you mean 'Are women human?'?!" because that is a really provocative title if you ask me. However, when I did read it, I can say that this is the 'feminism' that I would totally agree & relate with. The introduction by Mary McDermott Shildeler is really helpful as it shed some light of who Dorothy L. Sayers to someone like me, who found her through this book rather than her works.

  19. 5 out of 5

    E.C. Newman

    I nearly underlined everything in this little book. For being about 80 years old, the essays still speak to today. I understand why some people don’t like the word ‘feminism’. It singles out the female and therefore people believe it only supports the female. By definition this is not true, but humans have a way of twisting words and ideas into the exact thing it’s not. Sayers doesn’t call herself a feminist. In 1938, she is even concerned about the aggressive feminists and the possible damage t I nearly underlined everything in this little book. For being about 80 years old, the essays still speak to today. I understand why some people don’t like the word ‘feminism’. It singles out the female and therefore people believe it only supports the female. By definition this is not true, but humans have a way of twisting words and ideas into the exact thing it’s not. Sayers doesn’t call herself a feminist. In 1938, she is even concerned about the aggressive feminists and the possible damage they could cause. But by the very definition of feminism: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes (Merriam-Webster), she is one. She mostly focused on the fact that women are individuals, just like men, and that perhaps, a woman does want to be an engineer, shouldn’t she be given that opportunity? Not all women want to be engineers (I’d be horrible at it), but neither do all men. Some men want to be teachers. Some men want to be nurses. Some men want to be politicians. And guess what, some women want those professions too. It seems so incredibly simple, but Sayers, like her contemporary C.S.Lewis, is gifted at making often complicated issues (complicated by humans, not necessarily complicated in themselves) seem quite clear and logical. And then I assume I’ll be able to explain it next time I’m in a discussion, but I always seem to fall short. I’d really like to have my students read this. We occasionally get into discussions about this very topic (in covering Antigone, I ask if they think Sophocles was a feminist, which I define via actual definitions and not cultural examples) and I am known (a bit) as a feminist teacher. I think these essays accurately portray what I mean when I talk about feminism and I would hope my students would read it with open minds and make their own conclusions. But I hesitate, because the mere act of asking them to read this, reinforces the negative connotation of being a feminist teacher. Would changing the word help? If it was called something with the root of ‘equal?’ Is that what it would take for people to see the true cause under the twisted view society has of this idea? I’m not as smart as Sayers, but I believe I will follow in her footsteps of not using words when they’ve been misused and perverted until I state what I believe about this life. And then maybe what I hope to teach will take root.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cris

    In this slim book, Dorothy Sayers, christian apologist and self-described non-feminist argued at the turn of the 19th century that women had and have the right to pursue any occupation that they are able to perform. She couches this argument based on the common abilities and aspirations of the species regardless of qualifier (vir/femina). Sayers also develops this thesis in part based on a 'work ethic' from other books that says the work is the most important consideration and he who can and wan In this slim book, Dorothy Sayers, christian apologist and self-described non-feminist argued at the turn of the 19th century that women had and have the right to pursue any occupation that they are able to perform. She couches this argument based on the common abilities and aspirations of the species regardless of qualifier (vir/femina). Sayers also develops this thesis in part based on a 'work ethic' from other books that says the work is the most important consideration and he who can and wants perform it is the logical person to do it. Sayers was clear that lowering the standards of a job or performing a job for symbolic equality was not what she was advocating. Although, I agreed with a lot of common sense statements in these essays, I also had mixed feelings about the supporting body of arguments and their philosophical sources. I agree that women are first Homo sapiens: souls, intellects, wills and hearts as well as bodies. The argument from purpose is also sound. However, the argument from individualism (a philosophical view that the individual should fulfill his needs/abilities without answering the demands of society), that every woman ought to be viewed independently of her sex seems to me to be flawed. Take that far enough and you have Ayn Rand. In Christian terms, the dignity of the person co-exists with the relationship to God and community. No such thing as a disembodied intellect. (She herself talks about feminine minds and natures.) Something else that bothers is her assertion that men are not measured on the basis of their sex, which I'm not sure is true, but if it were that would be a problem not something to emulate. Why do we not ask: How are that man's choices affecting his ability to be a good father or spouse? We should.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Great stuff! Dorothy L Sayers claimed not to be a feminist. However, if a feminist is a person who believes that women and men should have equal rights, then Sayers was definitely one. These writings exemplify Sayers: pithy, witty, seriously smart and still relevant 70 years down the track.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Morgan

    Must-read. Written with a Christian world-view during the rise of the feminist movement, this book articulates very well how our society has incorrectly defined women. Women are human, and men are human. Individuals have different quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. But what would it look like if we started thinking of/treating individuals as individuals? Let the one who is most gifted at the work do that work, whether man or woman. Should be taken in context of Scriptural guidelines and commands Must-read. Written with a Christian world-view during the rise of the feminist movement, this book articulates very well how our society has incorrectly defined women. Women are human, and men are human. Individuals have different quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. But what would it look like if we started thinking of/treating individuals as individuals? Let the one who is most gifted at the work do that work, whether man or woman. Should be taken in context of Scriptural guidelines and commands regarding manhood and womanhood.

  23. 4 out of 5

    DestroyerbossAOele

    This book is totally witty.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    the tea is scalding hot, ladies and gentlemen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I like how the subtitle includes “the role of women” and DS is very “shut up about the role of women!” I don’t agree with her on everything (she’s more optimistic on where we are headed socially) but her arguments and ideas are blessedly free of generalizations and bad faith.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    Two short, thought provoking essays from Dorothy Sayers. She advocates for viewing women as human beings, with more in common than different from men, and individuals, not a "voting bloc." Clever, and full of wit. Two short, thought provoking essays from Dorothy Sayers. She advocates for viewing women as human beings, with more in common than different from men, and individuals, not a "voting bloc." Clever, and full of wit.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anjanette Barr

    Short and sassy! This little book is packed with so many things to think about. I just love Dorothy Sayers!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joseph R.

    This book has two essays by Dorothy L. Sayers on the role of women in society. Her position is rather straightforward. Men and women are human beings first and foremost, their gender does not constitute a radical divide between them. Women have just as many and as diverse skills and interests as men; pigeonholing women as "the weaker sex" or as "domestic goddesses" does a great disservice to actual individuals who may be more physically fit or less domestically inclined than the common stereotyp This book has two essays by Dorothy L. Sayers on the role of women in society. Her position is rather straightforward. Men and women are human beings first and foremost, their gender does not constitute a radical divide between them. Women have just as many and as diverse skills and interests as men; pigeonholing women as "the weaker sex" or as "domestic goddesses" does a great disservice to actual individuals who may be more physically fit or less domestically inclined than the common stereotype. And there's the problem. People get so wrapped up in arguing about the issue that they fall back on stereotypes and sound bites to present their position, when a deeper understanding and a more fully developed argument is required. Treating people as individuals is more important and more sensible than treating them strictly as class-members with monolithic tastes and abilities. Her arguments are quite persuasive. The essays are also fun to read. Sayers' style is no-nonsense and laced with nice humor and colorful examples. This book is an enjoyable, quick, and valuable read. Sample Quote: There is a fundamental difference between men and women, but it is not the only fundamental difference in the world. There is a sense in which my charwoman and I have more in common that either of us with, say, Mr. Bernard Shaw; on the other hand, in a discussion about art and literature, Mr. Shaw and I should probably find we had more fundamental interests in common than either of us had with my charwoman. I grant that, even so, he and I should disagree ferociously about the eating of meat--but that is not a difference between the sexes--on that point, the later Mr. G. K. Chesterton would have sided with me against the representative of his own sex. Then there are points on which I, and many of my own generation of both sexes, should find ourselves heartily in agreement; but on which the rising generation of young men and women would find us too incomprehensibly stupid for words. A difference of age is as fundamental as a difference of sex; and so is a difference of nationality. All categories, if they are insisted upon beyond the immediate purpose which they serve, breed class antagonism and disruption in the state, and that is why they are dangerous. [pp. 45-46]

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    "The first thing that strikes the careless observer is that women are unlike men. They are 'the opposite sex' - (though why 'opposite' I do not know; what is the 'neighboring sex'?). But 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." p. 53 I very much enjoyed the Peter Wimsey mysteries, especially after Harriet Vane appeared on the scene. I listened to them long before so "The first thing that strikes the careless observer is that women are unlike men. They are 'the opposite sex' - (though why 'opposite' I do not know; what is the 'neighboring sex'?). But 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." p. 53 I very much enjoyed the Peter Wimsey mysteries, especially after Harriet Vane appeared on the scene. I listened to them long before social media started helping me track my reading. I had read that Sayers had written some essays about women and religion, but it took a course in Women and Christianity to get me to read these feminist essays. I will read these again and probably again. Sayers reminds me of how far women have come and how far we have to go. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. These essays were originally published in 1947. World War II had ended and apparently men were worrying about women in trousers. Trousers! At least we don't have that debate anymore. However, women are still considered the opposite sex. We are still making less money for the same work. When a profession becomes "pink-collared" the salary goes down for everyone, but especially women. Much of what Sayers is concerned about in these few pages is still a problem. When will all human accept that all humans should be treated humanely and with love and compassion? Some days it seems hopeless. With any luck my mom will borrow my copy and we will have the opportunity to talk about Sayers' thoughts about women and men. We will enjoy our discussion because Sayers writes clearly and with humor - attributes that all essays need. If you have not ever read anything by Sayers, start with the mysteries, they are so much fun. However, if you have any interest in the human condition, pick up these essays and see if you can answer Sayers' question: Are Women Human?

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lynley

    Dorothy Sayers is my kind of feminist. She will not be hedged in by any side; not by the radical feminists, not by the "conservative" women reacting against feminism, and certainly not by any man. She decries the absurd notions of feminine nature as another creature: "Men have asked distractedly, '[What] on earth do women want?' I do not know that women, as women, want anything in particular, but as human beings they want, my good men, what you want yourselves." Some favorite quotes: "[He] was y Dorothy Sayers is my kind of feminist. She will not be hedged in by any side; not by the radical feminists, not by the "conservative" women reacting against feminism, and certainly not by any man. She decries the absurd notions of feminine nature as another creature: "Men have asked distractedly, '[What] on earth do women want?' I do not know that women, as women, want anything in particular, but as human beings they want, my good men, what you want yourselves." Some favorite quotes: "[He] was yet occasionally visited with shattering glimpses of the obvious." " Poor little married gentleman, nourished upon generalisations--and convinced that if his wife does not fit into the category of 'a woman' there must be something wrong? Perhaps she resents being dumped into the same category as all the typical women of the comic stories. If so, she has my sympathy. A woman--not an individual person disliking perhaps to be reminded of the remorseless flowing by of the years and the advance of old age-- but 'a' woman, displaying the conventional sentimentalities attributed to her unfortunate and ridiculous sex." "Indeed, it is my experience with both men and women are fundamentally human, and that there is very little mystery about either sex, except the exasperating mysteriousness of human beings in general." "Man dresses as he chooses, and women 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."

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