Well-behaved women

Dear Hannah,

My favorite feminist slogan is well-behaved women seldom make history -- because they've forgotten that almost nobody makes history.  Among women, the number of people who make history is even fewer; and the number's even smaller when considering their jackasses.

In a certain sense this is doing women a favor.  Anyone who reads history books knows that the happiest times are the times we never really talk about -- and poor behavior is a terrible reason to make it into a history book.  Not only because it's the easiest reason to make it into a history book, but because the people who remember you will hate you.  Why, after all, do we celebrate men?  Because they've built something worth celebrating, overcome something worth overcoming, and beaten somebody worth beating.  We curse just as many of their counterparts.  The Duke of Wellington has his Napoleon, and Winston Churchill has his Hitler.  Gibbon said that history is little more than a register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.  Putting feminists in charge would add weight to our history books -- but only by increasing the number of villains.

The idea that women ought to behave badly is an embarrassment to the feminist movement.  It means that women believe audacity means advancement.  The feminist wants what man has without wanting to be as good as the men we love for getting it.  She wants her opinions revered without having anything good to say.  She values loudness over eloquence; demands love without charm; leadership without charisma; respect without character; and advancement without improvement.  She wants to get ahead, but only by stepping on the people she's supposed to be helping.  

A feminist is someone who wants women to lead before asking where women want us to go.  She sees woman's advancement as a matter of numbers, not a competition with man's spiritual greatness, or even the good of the whole.  She sees male opinion as something to be fought and not something to be won; and she wants to be spiteful to men instead of being great in spite of them.  She lives to prove that she isn't under someone's thumb, which is another way of proving she is.  Whether a man is technically her master or not, he essentially determines her behavior.  Whether he benefits from it or not, he's the defining factor of her lifestyle. 

It may be worth mentioning, at this point, that the author of the quote wasn't Eleanor Roosevelt or Marilyn Monroe or even any of the other women we normally think said it, but a woman nobody could forget because nobody had ever known her in the first place.  Whether she took her advice seriously or only dreamed about it is irrelevant to the fact that almost nobody knows her except herself.  Her words live on without her, and are attributed to everyone else.

But women will be remembered by the few people they encounter.  One may not be famous -- but her lovers might hate her.  The people she works with, the person she marries, the children she raises will have something to say about her -- and it should be something other than she never took the opinions of men seriously.  They should say she was kinder, brighter, more reasonable and educated and industrious -- in a word, better -- than any of the men that we knew.  They should say when she died men wept because there wasn't another woman like her.  An old Sanskrit saying goes, when you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced.  Live your life so that when you die, others will cry and you'll rejoice.  A good saying to anyone with dignity.  

If anyone wants to be a feminist, she should make women look good by being an excellent person.  The ambitious woman who plans otherwise will have plenty of friends -- with her cats, her sterile, ugly fellow activists, and the few people mentioned in her will.

Your father,


  1. Jeremy, I just discovered you. I am a woman and I wonder if you are not the new G.K. Chesterton, a man so great no one reads him. I pray that is not your fate, dear heart; this letter to your daughter was beautiful and beautifully written. May you write and write and write. God bless.

    1. You're too kind -- thank you for letting me know you enjoy my work!

  2. I found your blog through a Milo Yiannopoulous random search and I must say your writing is incredible <3


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