I had a little disagreement on IG earlier today. The esteemed Mark McGinnis was paying tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and someone I follow (and like) made a valid, but I think misplaced, observation that she didn't understand men who didn't appreciate smart women. OK, fair enough but far more women don't appreciate smart highly accomplished women in the public eye unless they happen to be beautiful and/or glamorous and I'll present evidence.
As longtime Den readers (across 6 continents and counting) will attest, GSL is a champion of women of merit due to his strong matrilineal line. My Great-Grandmother was widowed at age 26 when her husband died in the Spanish Flu Epidemic (is it racist for me to call it that?) of 1918. She had 4 hungry children under 6yo to feed yet she didn't do victim. She began selling insurance in rural Ohio to supplement her teacher's income and sent those 4 children to college. My grandmother & mother were equally strong and resourceful even if their circumstances were less daunting. I have vivid recollections of Mum & Grandma Cooper singing my Great-Grandmother's praises of overcoming the adversity she faced but they never once put her success in the context of men making negative comments or being an obstacle. I'm sure some men did underestimate her and made belittling comments but G-Grammy didn't catalog those slights to pity-party over nor teach her daughters to either. One reason I suspect is because men were usually the buyers of those insurance policies and more often than not felt duty bound to offer encouragement and referrals to a young widow raising 4 young children...just as I would.
How many times have we heard the reason some of the best early women writers used male pseudonyms because male owned publishing houses wouldn't publish female authors? Let's put that bullshit to rest and chalk it up to Feminist S & M Fantasies. First of all, Elizabeth Carter, publishing under her own name, earned 1000 pounds, a staggering sum in 1758, for the first English translation of Epictetus. I'd bet the ranch at least 90% of the buyers/readers were men whose purchase was largely due to Dr Johnson's high praise.
Maybe all that male oppression of 19C women writers can be laid at the feet of 'misogynist' George Eliot whose 1856 essay Silly Novels by Lady Novelists expressed disgust over their low quality...yet we've been told women writers couldn't get published?
Hey girls, perhaps those Whine Merchants in the faculty lounges of Gender Studies (that Camille Paglia astutely notes, incomprehensibly make no allowance for Biological examination) have been peddling snake oil all these years. I think the real reason first rate women writers used male pseudonyms is because they wanted to be taken seriously and not be associated with all the garbage then being published, purchased, and read by women. Dickens knew at once Middlemarch, that he rated highly, was written by a woman. They'd never say it at Vasser or Wellesley but the best female writers historically had, as their early champions, men rather than women, and valued the readership and affirmation of men over women (ouch!).
|Nobel Prize winning Doris Lessing became a Feminist Icon with her touchstone The Golden Notebook.|
GSL thinks it no accident that 'Feminist Icon' Jane Austen has Mr Bennet the parent that appreciates and encourages his precocious daughter's intellectual attainments and Mrs Bennet silly and ridiculous who only desires her daughters marry well. Jane Austen was mostly educated by her father and brother Henry was her great champion.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a good intellect must be in want of a GSL.
I'll be here all week.
P.S. The Den has been especially disappointed by the neglect female readers have for Barbara Tuchman and Hillary Mantel . GSL is also grateful to Peter Hitchens for his recommending the largely forgotten Josephine Tey.