Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Saturday, May 24, 2003  

"He had learned understanding of women with his much-loved sister Pauline, who was something of a madcap and rebel (perhaps inspired by her brother's contempt for the ways of society?) She wrote to him of an escapade where she had dressed as a man and gone out to see the sights one evening. He was horrified. His letter to her says everything about the situation of women then. He implored her never to do such a thing again. If she were caught, or even if there were rumours, then no one would marry her, and she would be doomed to a convent or to spinsterhood. Get yourself a husband at whatever cost, he told her, and then, once married, you can do as you like. Married women are free; unmarried girls slaves."

- Doris Lessing in today's UK Guardian, in an essay on the 19th century French writer Stendhal. Lessing notes, wthout qualifying the statement, Stendhal's comments on "the situation of women then" - almost implying such a situation no longer exists. Perhaps it doesn't in France, but it certainly does in many other societies and communities (including, I might add, in Trinidad & Tobago).

posted by Jonathan | 1:54 PM 0 comments


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