When a woman wants me to do anything, I always insist on knowing why

When a woman wants me to do anything, I always insist on knowing why. The oftener you make them rummage their own minds for a reason, the more manageable you will find them in all the relations of life. It isn’t their fault (poor wretches) that they act first, and think afterwards; it’s the fault of the fools who humour them.

The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins, 1868

That’s what you call sexism. No way a writer would get away with that today. Then again, I’m reminded of what Jack Nicholson’s character says in the movie As Good as it Gets when a young female receptionist can’t resist asking him:

Receptionist: How do you write women so well?

Nicholson: I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability.

The reason they get away with it, of course, is that it’s the character’s opinion, not the writer’s. But, given the way that political correctness and language management is infiltrating everything from the mainstream media to primary schools, how long people will be able to tell the difference remains to be seen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *