I really shudder to think (the impossibility aside) what this world would be like without any women in it. How unlivable! How drab! How barbarous! And worst of all, how BORING! You can’t help but read literature, read history, and engage in the rather menial task of opening one’s eyes without recognizing the utter charm women so often bring to human existence in ways men are just not capable of doing.
Unfortunately, the modern tendency is to act as if the sexes are really not substantively different, the consequence of which is to completely shut out the possibilities available to human existence by the concurrent existence of very different but equally important categories of people. If men and women are really not different, then the world has just gotten infinitely less interesting, and the boundary beyond which dullness is the necessary consequence has just been breached. As a result, a whole series of myths have arisen concerning men and women, as well as the history of how they have related.
Imagine my surprise when reading the Founders and discovering that what they actually had to say about women was a lot different than the stereotypes we are so often indoctrinated with today. It is true that men and women were seen as having different roles, a concept that is simply not compatible with our modern ideas. However, women were seen as absolutely essential the health of families, societies and, by extension, the country as a whole. John Adams noted:
“I say then that national morality never was and never can be preserved without the utmost purity and chastity in women: and without national morality a republican government cannot be maintained. Therefore my dear fellow citizens of America, you must ask leave of your wives and daughters to preserve your Republic.” (John Adams to Benjamin Rush, Feb. 2, 1807)
Commenting on the importance of mothers, Adams observed that mothers were oftentimes the primary determiner of their child’s future well-being:
“It is by the female world that the greatest and best characters among men are formed. I have long been of this opinion to such a degree that when I hear of an extraordinary man, good or bad, I naturally or habitually inquire who was his mother? There can be nothing in life more honorable for a woman than to contribute by her virtues, her advice, her example, or her address, to the formation of a husband, a brother, or a son to be useful to the world.” (John Adams to Abigail Adams II, Aug. 13, 1783)
When he visited America, the famous Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville noted that women were held in the upmost respect in the United States:
“Americans constantly display their complete confidence in the understanding of their wives and have a deep respect for their freedom. They estimate that her mind is as capable as a man’s of discovering the plain truth and that her heart is just as resolute in following it. They have never sought to place her virtue, any more than his, under the protection of prejudice, ignorance, or fear.” (“De Tocqueville,” pg. 698)
He further remarked that it was this respect for women that was behind America being one of the only countries at the time (1830s) which still had the death penalty for rape:
“American legislators, who have softened almost all the articles of the penal code, still punish rape by death. And no other crime is prosecuted with the same relentless severity by public opinion. The explanation is this: since Americans have nothing they value or respect more than a woman’s honor and independence, they consider no punishment too harsh for those who deprive her of both against her will.”
“In America,” he continued, “a girl can set out on a long journey alone and without fear.” This was said during a time in which women were far more “oppressed” than they are today (so we are told). And yet, could this be said of our country today? Quite the contrary, if the distinction between men and women has not been (or at least is on its way) to being completely obliterated, it is at least common to see many of our country’s most successful “artists” seize upon the distinction in order to exploit it sexually, degrading women in the process, transforming them into objects of lust rather than persons of respect and honor.
So those today who are trying to erase the differences between the sexes; those who contend that men and women are basically the same; those who contend that relationships between men and men and women and women are thereby no different than those between men and women, while they do so in the name of “diversity” and “tolerance,” they are actually helping to create a world that is less of both.
But the fact is, men and women are different, and what a far more interesting and nuanced world we live in because of it! The fact that men and women are different leads to the very diversity those who seek to obliterate this distinction claim to be defending, not just because of the differences between the sexes, but because by the combination of those differences through the bonds of marriage and procreation, all the multitudinous variety we see in the world, all the various different types of people and personalities we behold in our daily lives, are made possible.
That is true diversity. If men and women aren’t different, and men and men or women and women are the same as men and women, then the results are simple: less diversity, and no life.
I’ll take more diversity and more life, thanks.
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