Charlotte Perkins Gilman - The Man-Made World or, Our Androcentric Culture

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The Man-Made World; or, Our Androcentric Culture Gilman, Charlotte Perkins Published: 1911 Categorie(s): Non-Fiction, Political science Source: 1 About Gilman: Charlotte Perkins Gilman (July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935) was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and non fiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feminist during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women, and she served as a role mo
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  The Man-Made World; or, Our Androcentric Culture Gilman, Charlotte Perkins Published: 1911 Categorie(s): Non-Fiction, Political science Source: 1  About Gilman: Charlotte Perkins Gilman (July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935) was a prom-inent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, andnon fiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feministduring a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women,and she served as a role model for future generations of feminists be-cause of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. Her best rememberedwork today is her semi-autobiographical short story, The Yellow Wall-paper , which she wrote after a severe bout of post-partum depression. Also available on Feedbooks for Gilman: ã  Herland (1915)ã The Yellow Wallpaper (1892)ã What Diantha Did (1910) Copyright: This work is available for countries where copyright isLife+70and in the USA. Note: This book is brought to you by Feedbookshttp://www.feedbooks.comStrictly for personal use, do not use this file for commercial purposes.  2  Chapter  1 AS TO HUMANNESS. Let us begin, inoffensively, with sheep. The sheep is a beast with whichwe are all familiar, being much used in religious imagery; the commonstock of painters; a staple article of diet; one of our main sources of cloth-ing; and an everyday symbol of bashfulness and stupidity.In some grazing regions the sheep is an object of terror, destroyinggrass, bush and forest by omnipresent nibbling; on the great plains,sheep-keeping frequently results in insanity, owing to the loneliness of the shepherd, and the monotonous appearance and behavior of thesheep.By the poet, young sheep are preferred, the lamb gambolling gaily; un-less it be in hymns, where all we like sheep are repeatedly described,and much stress is laid upon the straying propensities of the animal.To the scientific mind there is special interest in the sequacity of sheep,their habit of following one another with automatic imitation. This in-stinct, we are told, has been developed by ages of wild crowded racingon narrow ledges, along precipices, chasms, around sudden spurs andcorners, only the leader seeing when, where and how to jump. If those behind jumped exactly as he did, they lived. If they stopped to exerciseindependent judgment, they were pushed off and perished; they andtheir judgment with them.All these things, and many that are similar, occur to us when we thinkof sheep. They are also ewes and rams. Yes, truly; but what of it? All thathas been said was said of sheep,  genusovis, that bland beast, compoundof mutton, wool, and foolishness so widely known. If we think of thesheep-dog (and dog-ess), the shepherd (and shepherd-ess), of theferocious sheep-eating bird of New Zealand, the Kea (and Kea-ess), allthese herd, guard, or kill the sheep, both rams and ewes alike. In regardto mutton, to wool, to general character, we think only of their sheepish-ness, not at all of their ramishness or eweishness. That which is ovine or bovine, canine, feline or equine, is easily recognized as distinguishing 3  that particular species of animal, and has no relation whatever to the sexthereof.Returning to our muttons, let us consider the ram, and wherein hischaracter differs from the sheep. We find he has a more quarrelsome dis-position. He paws the earth and makes a noise. He has a tendency to butt. So has a goat—Mr. Goat. So has Mr. Buffalo, and Mr. Moose, andMr. Antelope. This tendency to plunge head foremost at an ad-versary—and to find any other gentleman an adversary onsight—evidently does not pertain to sheep, to  genusovis; but to any malecreature with horns.As function comes before organ, we may even give a reminiscentglance down the long path of evolution, and see how the mere act of but-ting—passionately and perpetually repeated—born of the belligerentspirit of the male—produced horns!The ewe, on the other hand, exhibits love and care for her little ones,gives them milk and tries to guard them. But so does a goat—Mrs. Goat.So does Mrs. Buffalo and the rest. Evidently this mother instinct is no pe-culiarity of   genus ovis, but of any female creature.Even the bird, though not a mammal, shows the same mother-loveand mother-care, while the father bird, though not a butter, fights with beak and wing and spur. His competition is more effective through dis-play. The wish to please, the need to please, the overmastering necessityupon him that he secure the favor of the female, has made the male bird blossom like a butterfly. He blazes in gorgeous plumage, rears haughtycrests and combs, shows drooping wattles and dangling blobs such asthe turkey-cock affords; long splendid feathers for pure ornament appearupon him; what in her is a mere tail-effect becomes in him a mass of glit-tering drapery.Partridge-cock, farmyard-cock, peacock, from sparrow to ostrich, ob-serve his mien! To strut and languish; to exhibit every beauteous lure; tosacrifice ease, comfort, speed, everything—to beauty—for her sake—thisis the nature of the he-bird of any species; the characteristic, not of theturkey, but of the cock! With drumming of loud wings, with crow andquack and bursts of glorious song, he woos his mate; displays hissplendors before her; fights fiercely with his rivals. To butt—to strut—tomake a noise—all for love's sake; these acts are common to the male.We may now generalize and clearly state: That is masculine which be-longs to the male—to any or all males, irrespective of species. That isfeminine which belongs to the female, to any or all females, irrespective  4
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