Quiz: Whose terrible thoughts about English women are these?

A naughty English tart

A very naughty English tart

Today, a sort of quiz. Below, you’ll find extended excerpts from a rather Man Boobzy article about young English women. Afterwards, I want you to guess where, and when, this article came from.

The girl of the period is a creature who dyes her hair, and paints her face … whose sole idea of life is plenty of fun and luxury; and whose dress is the object of such thought and intellect as she possesses. …  and as she dresses to please herself she does not care it she displeases every one else. Nothing is too extraordinary and nothing too exaggerated for her vitiated taste … .

[S]he cannot be made to see that modesty of appearance and virtue ought to be inseparable, and that no good girl can afford to appear bad, under penalty of receiving the contempt awarded to the bad. …

The girl of the period envies the queens of the demi-monde far more than she abhors them. She sees them gorgeously attired and sumptuously appointed, and she knows them to be flattered, feted, and courted with a certain disdainful admiration of which she catches only the admiration while she ignores the disdain. …

No one can say of the modern English girl that she is tender, loving, retiring, or domestic. … Love indeed is the last thing she thinks of, and the least of the dangers besetting her. …

The legal barter of herself for so much money — representing so much dash, so much luxury and pleasure — that is her idea of marriage; the only idea worth entertaining. For all seriousness of thought respecting the duties or the consequences of marriage, she has, not a trace.

If children come, they find but a stepmother’s cold welcome from her; and if her husband thinks that he has married anything that is to belong to him … the sooner he wakes from his hallucination and understands that he has simply married some one who will condescend to spend his money on herself, and who will shelter her indiscretions behind the shield of his name, the less severe will be his disappointment.

She has married his house … his balance at the banker’s, his title; and he himself is just the inevitable condition clogging the wheel of her fortune; at best an adjunct, to be tolerated with more or less patience as may chance. For it is only the old-fashioned sort … that marry for love, or put the husband before the banker.

But she does not marry easily. Men are afraid of her; and with reason. They may amuse themselves with her for an evening, but they do not take her readily for life. Besides, after all her efforts, she is only a poor copy of the real thing; and the real thing is far more amusing than the copy … Men I can get that whenever they like …

[I]t cannot be too plainly told to the modern English girl that the net result of her present manner of life is to assimilate her as nearly as possible to a class of women whom we must not call by their proper-or improper-name.

And we are willing to believe that she has still some modesty of soul left hidden under all this effrontery of fashion, and that, if she could be made to see herself as she appears to the eyes of men, she would mend her ways before too late.

It is terribly significant of the present state of things when men are free to write as they do of the women of their own nation. …

It is only when these [women] have placed themselves beyond the pale of masculine respect that such things could be written as are written now; when they become again what they were once they will gather round them the love and homage and chivalrous devotion which were then an Englishwoman’s natural inheritance. The marvel, in the present fashion of life among women, is how it holds its ground in spite of the disapprobation of men.

It used to be an old-time notion that the sexes were made for each other, and that it was only natural for them to please each other, and to set themselves out for that end.

But the girl of the period does not please men. She pleases them as little as she elevates them; and how little she does that, the class of women she has taken as her model of herself testifies.

All men whose opinion is worth having prefer the simple and genuine girl of the past, with her tender little ways and pretty bashful modesties, to this loud and rampant modernization, with her false red hair and painted skin, talking slang as glibly as a man, and by preference leading the conversation to doubtful subjects. …

[S]he will not see that though men laugh with her, they do not respect her, though men flirt with her they do not marry her; she will not believe that she is not the kind of thing they want, and that she is acting against nature and her own interests when she disregards their advice and offends their taste….

[A]ll we can do is to wait patiently until the national madness has passed, and our women have come back again to the old English ideal, once the most beautiful, the most modest, the most, essentially womanly in the world.

Ok, now comes the quiz part.

So where did I get this from?

A) The Thinking Housewife blog, in April of 2011

B) “Whore-Imitating Sluts Are Ruining England,” The Spearhead, in August of 2012

C) Margaret Thatcher, “Up From Sluttery,” Tory Press, 1972.

D) “The Girl of the Period,” The Perth Gazette and West Australian Times, 6/5/1868

Click on this link to find out the answer.







NOTE: I cheated a teensy bit by taking out some of the more egregiously old-fashioned language. But if you ignore the old-fashioned style, the content of the piece is strikingly similar to a lot of stuff posted in the more traditionalist corners of the Manosphere today.

Thanks to Magpie for posting a link to this piece in the comments!

PS: Margaret Thatcher didn’t actually write a book entitled “Up From Sluttery,” nor did The Spearhead run a piece titled “Whore-Imitating Sluts Are Ruining England.” At least it hasn’t yet.

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon, Time.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on May 23, 2013, in all about the menz, creepy, disgusting women, evil sexy ladies, evil women, lazy women eating bon bons, misogyny, oppressed men, patriarchy, playing the victim, reactionary bullshit, the olden days, whores and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 131 Comments.

  1. @ Tulgey Logger;

    Thanks for this link. I’m in the midst of watching it now so cannot comment further.

  2. BritterSweet

    @ melody – It’s at least comforting that the vast majority of comments (and upvoted ones at that) are calling out his assholery.

  3. @Amnesia “Women: Where the only winning move is NOT TO PLAY!”–There’s NO winning move in the male supremacist game, & you’re not allowed to politely opt out. In the male supremacist view women exist to serve men, & a woman who makes her own way through her own efforts is regarded as somehow cheating. I’m 60, & have been told at various times in my life that I was “taking a job away from a man”, “cheating a man” by declining to marry, & most memorably, that I was “for women’s convenience rather than the survival of the race” by declining to have children–& observed a few years ago, before the ’08 crash, that some frothing jerk proposed denying Social Security benefits to retiring women who’d never had children on the grounds that the women had harmed the U.S. by working during their prime years instead of churning out more workers–never mind that homelessness & unemployment has been a growing problem since the ’80s.

  4. @Brittersweet: There’s nothing wrong PER SE with dating someone shy, or… well… being a bit of a manic pixie dream girl. I guess me and my husband do fit that trope a bit. He was depressed and fairly shy when I met him, although he was never an entitled asshole or misogynist, and he didn’t go around self-identifying as “love-shy” or talking about what a nice guy he was or anything like that… And I, well, was pretty insane. The reason we immediately hit it off like we did was kind of a combination of having lots of things in common (the same tates, liking the same pop-cultural stuff, the same political views, to a fairly large extent the same life history up to the point where we met) although we complemented each other on the point that I brought lots of energy and ideas and he brought “being in touch with reality”. So yeah… guess it was a bit of “shy guy meets manix pixie dream girl” in real life there, and a year and a half after we became a couple we got married, and we’re married still and ridiculously happy with each other twelve years later.🙂

  5. Sorry, the same TASTES, not tates.

  6. @melody – I’m not even going to look at that “please shave your pubic hair” page. My feeling on that suggestion is “Guys, please wear a tampon up each nostril simultaneously.”

  7. CassandraSays

    Actually I’ve found that the most effective response in terms of pissing people who make those kinds of blanket demands off is a flat, perfectly unemotional “no”.

  8. The laughable thing (well, if you’re not of a mindset to be pressured by it) is that it’s a great filter. Some dude expects/requires women to shave? He’s automatically in the Piece of Shit pile.

  9. … which, the moment after I hit post, reminded me of this Pierre.

  10. In case of nosebleed…

    “Guys, please wear a tampon up each nostril simultaneously.”

  11. I’m a bit mystified by this not liking vaginas rubbish. To say you want s.e.x. but not liking vaginas? If you really want sex, you’re thinking squishy squelchy cooperative activity is what you want. And the squishier and squelchier the better.

    Or is a vagina supposed to have some totally not-at-all-like-a-vagina properties that I’m unaware of?

  12. neuroticbeagle

    “Guys, please wear a tampon up each nostril simultaneously.”

    Love the image.

  13. neuroticbeagle

    I did a blockquote!!! Yea!! *Does happy dance while dog gives confused looks*

  14. ::high fives neuroticbeagle::

    mildlymagnificent – yeah, I don’t get that either. Even allowing that these idiots never seem to know the difference between the vagina and the vulva, it makes no sense.

    OT didja see the comment I addressed to you yesterday?🙂

  15. Weeeeell… I’m gonna curse in church and say that someone might coherently want sex but not the squishy-squashy. Maybe someone just loves to rub against another person with clothes on until everyone involved comes, and they really dislike the squishy-squashy. IF someone has that for a sexual preference and does NOT couple it with nasty misogynism I think that’s a completely valid preference to have.

  16. Fair comment, but d’you reckon these guys are likely to think of anything except PiV as “real” sex – unless they want the sort of stuff in the type of porn I’d bet they watch?

  17. neuroticbeagle

    I saw Mads practicing TEH CUTE. TEH CUTE and dirty looks are techniques used by both cats and dogs designed by the furrinati to keep teh hoomins in line. Dogs will also use TEH BREATH and licking as means to get what they want (in my case its usually space on the bed/couch or to be put under the blanket). TEH CLAWS are used by cats to maintain their position on the top of the furry hierarchy.

  18. Yeah kittehs, I saw that. What fun!

    Cursing in church? Oh, preferring non squishy squashy activity is absolutely fine – but, in my mind at least, that’s a bit different to both wanting PIV sex and disliking vaginas. I’d suspect the totes satisfying fully clothed sex would horrify this crowd anyway. A bit too not-PIV – how does that make anyone happy? would be the response I’d expect from this lot of know-nothings. They wouldn’t be so much horrified as mystified.

  19. @neuroticbeagle

    This is TRUTH! Rabbits are excellent at dirty looks too, I have learned from the Disapproving Rabbits site. TEH BREATH is one of the dogs’ harsher weapons, though TEH WET STINK is potent, and TEH FART probably the most dangerous of all, even worse than cats’.

    Mads has just got down from sitting on the teddies, AGAIN. Her excuse this time was that she had a Poor Sore Eye* and needed cossetting. Well, more cossetting than usual.

    *If she does in fact have a Poor Sore Eye it’s either directly self-inflicted by running into things, or indirectly self-inflicted by giving Fribbie a hard time and getting her face smacked.

  20. Oh doesn’t that make beautiful sense. Weird thinking/writing might be contagious, I fear.

    You know what I meant I hope.

  21. Yeah kittehs, I saw that. What fun!


  22. LOL I got what you meant, it’s pretty much what I was thinking – they want PiV but freak out about the V bit and prolly don’t know or don’t believe anything else is Teh Secks. ::brain explodes::

  23. Oh dear. Our poor dear 20 year old Pearl had a bit of an incident this morning. I have a feeling they’re just as likely to have TIA events as humans are. Mr noticed her on the bed having not a fit but showing random uncoordinated movements. When he brought her into the living room she was a bit disorientated and staggered around. So I held her on my lap for quite a while. She purred a bit, but not much. Eventually I took her to the bedroom, put her on the bed to let her lie down alone.

    Riiiiiight. She jumped straight off, ran to her door, went through the cat flap and ran off. We had to go out for an appointment. I was afraid she’d gone off to die and we’d come home to no wailing and complaining – a deaf cat has no idea how much noise she makes (though how many cats would care anyway). She turned up as usual, seems perfectly fine – in that nagging, complaining, I have to eat this?! manner we all know and love.

    But it might be a signal that she’s going to be a bit more fragile from now on.

  24. neuroticbeagle

    a bit blurry but here is my beagle conspiring with her superior (my mom’s cat)

  25. @neuroticbeagle – cuuute! She has such big floppy ears, and your mum’s kitty looks so like my mum’s Abbey.🙂

    @mildlymagnificent – ow, I didn’t know cats could have those (I’m gathering TIA is the mini-stroke thing, yes?). Glad she’s okay for the moment, hope she stays so!

    Never occurred to me (I am doing well here) to think of the noisiness of deaf cats. Fribs has selective deafness and boy does she make a racket.

    Okay, we’re off to watch some telly, which means me being sat on by Fribs. Later!

  26. Sorry. For those who don’t know, a TIA is a transient ischemic attack – basically a very small stroke.

  27. neuroticbeagle

    I hope pearl is ok. The dog sends kisses and cuddles to mostly Pearl, but teh hoomins can have some to.

  28. thebionicmommy

    @mildlymagnificent, I hope your kitty recuperates okay from that. It’s so sad for elderly kitties when their health starts going downhill.

    If one has to be around them, one should be able to gross them out. Or frighten them enough to make them wet themselves. That’d be fun. Probably not difficult, either. People Being Female or People Enjoying The Company Of The Opposite Sex give the poor little petals the willies. Hmm, I wonder if that’s why they spend all their lives tucked away in the basement?

    Anecdote here about how the things that make MRA’s mad don’t register with most people. At the park yesterday, I saw a little girl wearing a T-shirt with female superheroes on it. They were Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman. The caption was “Step aside, boys. The girls are in charge now!” I chuckled about the shirt, thinking, “Oh God, if MRA’s saw that shirt, they would be so pissed”. They’d have to write a long Spearhead screed about “grrrl power” ruining girls, and how only men can be superheroes, dammit!

    So later in the day, I told my husband about the shirt, and this is how the conversation went:

    Me: So are you offended by the shirt?

    Him: Do what now?

    Me: Offended by the shirt with female superheroes saying ‘Step aside boys. The girls are in charge now’. Do you think it’s against men?

    Him: (laughing) Um, no. It sounds fine to me.

    He then talked about how Supergirl is way stronger and better than Batgirl or Wonder Woman.

    before the ’08 crash, that some frothing jerk proposed denying Social Security benefits to retiring women who’d never had children on the grounds that the women had harmed the U.S. by working during their prime years instead of churning out more workers–never mind that homelessness & unemployment has been a growing problem since the ’80s.

    Does he realize there are 7 billion people on earth? It’s not like people are an endangered species. He’s also overlooking how much money working women pay into the Social Security system.

  29. Historophilia

    That sounds like a really awesome t-shirt and I even thought I don’t tend to wear tops with graphics or slogans on them I kind a want it.

  30. @True, Magnificent, if MRA:s heard about a man preferring fully clothed sex they’d say he was somehow perverted by FEMINISTS and that’s how he became that way.

  31. Love that story, thebionicmommy!😀

    Hmm, I can think of some clothes that would definitely make fully-clothed sex a happening thing.

    ::drifts off into thoughts of stamped satin and lace collars and leather jerkins and velvet breeches and bucket-top boots and plumed hats::

  32. … which, the moment after I hit post, reminded me of this Pierre.

    I love that comic. So suggestive, yet so innocent.

  33. Yes! I can has blockquote!

    But shouldn’t the link remain intact?

  34. I like in that pubic hair piece how he tries to be all nice, like, “Well you don’t *have* to shave it, but don’t blame me if I can’t get aroused!” Pubic hair or no, why would I want to sleep with someone who doesn’t find me attractive? Seriously, if he sees my naked body and doesn’t think I’m sexy, I’m not going to be running for a razor to remove the offending hair.

    And as someone who was full-on hippie (as in, didn’t shave any body hair) for much of my promiscuous youth, I always wonder if the guys who act like body hair on women is so revolting actually, you know, have sex with women. Because I didn’t date hippie guys (well, not often), and I never had anyone kick me out of bed or have difficulty staying aroused once they saw my hairy body–even guys that I knew preferred women who shaved. Maybe I’m just so gorgeous they could overlook it (hahahaha), or maybe it isn’t actually that big of a deal to men who don’t expect their partners to look like porn stars…

  35. And hopefully that wasn’t TMI…I just hate it when people put out that, “You must conform to current beauty standards or people will run screaming from your bed!!!” crap. Because I’ve had all kinds of different personal grooming styles, and never found my experiences to be different regardless of what my hair looked like.

  36. I’m really fortunate that I never encountered the incel/PUA philosophy in my younger years, cuz I might have fallen for it. I was socially-awkward in my teens and twenties (and still am, in some ways), and wasn’t happy with my (lack of) dating life at the time. I never feared women, per se, but I did tend to think of them as a collective mind, or a video game waiting for the right cheat code or something.

    But, I grew out of it. I can’t really nail down a turning point, but somewhere along the way, I just got comfortable with my geekiness and social awkwardness, and I started finding women who found that sort of thing attractive. I no longer hide the fact that I love Doctor Who, play D&D and other analog rpgs, am a walking encyclopedia of dinosaurs and other prehistoric life, etc. I’ve found that simply not being ashamed of who I really am, and paying a little more attention to my hygeine and health, made all the difference.

    So, to build on what Cassandra said ealier to any “incels” and such who may be lurking: just focus on being your best self, and stop worrying about “techniques.” Be happy and healthy, put yourself out there, and the rest will take of itself eventually.

  37. My money is on PineGrove33….

  38. tl;dr until I can get an audio version narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch

  39. …Someone needs to create a screen reader that reads everything in Benedict Cumberbatch voice. For full points, it must also be able to spell phonetically.

  40. @katz YES, please. Someone…anyone. Come on, internet, do your job.

  41. thebionicmommy

    Oh yeah, and I just read an article on Yahoo where MRA’s are crying about a Samsung commercial that shows a lazy couch potato husband turn into a sweet, helpful husband with the Samsung Revolution. Didn’t those same guys tell Anita Sarkeesian not to take things so seriously and make a big deal about sexism in video games? They told her she was too sensitive, but oh no, a commercial shows a man in an unflattering light and all hell breaks loose.

    What a bunch of hypocrites

  42. grumpycatisagirl

    That Samsung ad is pretty stupid, I think, and I’m not sure what the company was thinking releasing it.

    That said, so many of the men complaining about it in the YouTube comments are making themselves look a million times worse than the ad possibly could. The top comment? “Go fuck yourself, it is not funny. I am a man who works hard and women are lazy these days. Lazy in bed, can’t raise kids, can’t cook and can’t even carry a conversation. This stereotype is dead and so is my brand loyalty to samsung.” To be fair, I think dude is right about one thing – I don’t think I could carry a conversation with *him.*

    This is another gem: “Not really a good stereotype to begin with because most feminists are ugly and single.”

  43. It’s that zero-sum mentality again: the only alternative they can think of to degrading portrayals of men is degrading portrayals of women. They don’t want to have the short end of the stick, so they think someone else has to have it instead.

  44. All men whose opinion is worth having prefer the simple and genuine girl of the past, with her tender little ways and pretty bashful modesties

    i.e., Amelia Sedley.

  45. On a related note, Doad wants a GPS with Alan Rickman’s voice. One that berates you when you make mistakes. “No. I told you to turn left.”

  46. @bittersweet

    and even shamelessly encouraging a user to murder his crush. When someone called him out on that last one, he simply smugly replied that if the guy did actually go out and kill a woman, he (the guy who was given the “advice”) is the idiot for listening to him.

    I…wow that guy is a shitstain.


    I hope your cat is (or more of, stays) okay. Jedi hugs for you and your kitty if you want them🙂


    And hopefully that wasn’t TMI…I just hate it when people put out that, “You must conform to current beauty standards or people will run screaming from your bed!!!”

    ::shrugs:: I don’t think it was TMI, but I have a rather small brain/mouth filter, so I tend to expect everyone to operate on the same principles.

  47. thebionicmommy

    @grumpycatisagirl and katz,

    You know, if they had just responded to the ad with something like “Hey, we find this problematic, and don’t think it accurately reflects gender roles”, then it’d be no big deal. Instead, they react in such an over the top, misogynistic way, it makes me want to defend Samsung just out of spite. It doesn’t help that these are the same guys who love telling feminists that we can’t take a joke or that we are too sensitive.

    Also, what does the ad say about straight women? It says that straight women should just tolerate their husbands or boyfriends laying around covered in Cheeto crumbs and literally farting while women do all the work.

    Once again, I did a survey of one person and asked my husband his reaction. He said, “Wow, so this gadget makes any Samsung TV into a smart TV? That’s amazing, how much does it cost?”

    Score so far:

    Samsung: 1
    MRA’s: 0

  48. I did guess correctly that the article was 19th century. Far too educated in tone to be a modern misogynist.

  49. I find myself wondering if there are any gay men who find aspects of the male body equally distasteful. Maybe the MRAs who find the vulvular area icky are just unfamiliar with actual,non-pornified women’s bodies?

  50. RE: Robert

    As a gay man, I sometimes was NERVOUS around certain male attributes… but that’s because I have a rape history, and once I was out of abusive situations, that resolved itself.

  51. Katz: I would buy the hell out of a GPS with Alan Rickman’s voice.

  52. Imagine how much more driving people would do if their GPS had Alan Rickman’s voice. Even if it did mean he was berating them the whole trip.

  53. Kickstarter time.

  54. On unrelated but terribly important news, I just did my first attempt at cable knitting.

  55. If a GPS had Alan Rickman’s voice, he’ll, I’d buy it just to let him berate me.

  56. He’ll = Hell. Frickin autocorrect.

  57. Even in the edited version, the language gave the game away. (Before I saw the options, my guess was ’19th century’.) The average present-day MRA would have a hard time writing in a consistently formal register and avoiding the use of buzzwords, and even an English one wouldn’t be able focus so much on English women without bringing up how he prefers women who are more likely to do what he wants them to do.

  58. LOL good point. The language would have to be completely mangled for it to pass as an MRA’s effort.

  59. “The girl of the period” was written by a female named Eliza Lynn Linton, not a male.

    Full book http://archive.org/details/girlofperiodothe01lint

    Like Kittehserf said the mid to late 1860s was a radical time in that century (like the mid to late 1960s), with skirts hitched up to show colorful petticoats and crinolines that lift up to show the feet when playing croquet, the game of the 1860s, loads of false hair starting in 65.

    The massive chignons of 66-68.



    Crinolines collapsing in 67 and then turning into a bustle starting in mid 68.


    Some dude in the 1930s talking about the 1860s with Freudian stuff.


  60. “The girl of the period” was written by a female named Eliza Lynn Linton, not a male.

    Not all that unusual. Crash Course American History last week used a document by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s sister to make a point about the pervasive nature of the Cult of Domesticity in the 19th century.

  61. I think that some people may not realise, that when the author is talking about English women, she is actually talking about Australian women, the colonists at the time didn’t think of them selves as separate from england.

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