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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A quote a day for Women's History Month: 23rd March

The sexual relation is a matter upon which average man--and we emphasise the average--is unfit to reason; the finer shades of thought seem invisible to him: in his view a woman is just a woman, the object of whose life should be to subject herself to his will: he can see no good in one who repudiates this position.
Margaret Dalham, Mere Man (1911)
It seems impossible to find out much more about Dalham besides her authorship of this work, at least without a lot of detailed research in the records of suffrage and social purity organisations in the early C20th. However, on the basis of this work she can be identified as one of the several feminist polemicists attacking the existing relations of gender and sexuality of the pre-Great War era, though a good deal less well-known than Cicely Hamilton or Christabel Pankhurst or even Louise Martindale; or, of course, Rebecca West, who summed up their case admirably in one short sentence: 'Men are terribly poor stuff'.

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