Book Review: Are Women Human?

I greatly anticipated an introduction to Ms. Dorothy L. Sayers.

While at Oxford, she occasionally met with the group of intellectuals known as the “Inklings” which included the likes of C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

While reading Lewis’ book “Miracles” I came across a reference to a book on the mind of God by Dorothy Sayers.  If C.S. Lewis recommends her, then she’s good enough for ol’ Shotgun.

“Are Women Human” consists of two short essays.  I figured it would be an excellent place to begin familiarizing myself with her thought.

Dorothy Sayers wrote during a time of great societal turmoil, much of it surrounding the feminist movement.  Being an intellectual, woman and author, she was looked to for guidance.  Ms. Sayers represents what I consider to be “feminism, before feminism went bad.”

The summary from the back of the book provides a great overview of her thoughts:

“The proper role of both women and men, in her (Sayers’) view, is to find the work for which they are suited and to do it.”

Many people are unhappy with their lot in life.  Some people are more suited to certain jobs than others.  Sayers eloquently argues that if women are more suited for a particular job, then they should do it, and if men are more suited for a particular job, then they should do that!

She, quite directly, points out that the two sexes are not equal.  In fact, no man is equal.  We are all born to different stations in life.  We all have different skills, different abilities, strengths and weaknesses.  The fact that we happen to be male or female does not change the truth of our different lots.  No egalitarian was Dorothy Sayers!

So, contrary to the male bigots out there, Sayers argues for the right of women to pursue their callings; however to the dismay of the more radical feminists, she calls for restraint of female passions.  (Many women were wanting to do what the men did, just because the men were doing it.  They would walk around town in trousers, for instance.  The practice is, today, taken for granted, but back then was done pointedly, as a way to make a statement.  This was contrary to what Sayers wished for.  If wearing pants was practical for the situation, then she was all for it.)

A vivid illustration from Sayers’ book is when a male fan of her mystery novels asked her about the authenticity of the male dialogue and she responds by saying, “I made them talk like humans”.

So, are Women really human?

I guess they are after all.

(But, still–keep your distance because, while they may be human, they ARE known to make guys sell the occasional sports car and buy a mini-van in its place! Oh the horror!)

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2 Responses to Book Review: Are Women Human?

  1. thewhitechrist says:

    Gotta love Sayers. She was also a faithful and devout Anglican, of the ‘high-church’ stripe, as well. Clearly, a first-class mind. (and her mystery novels are REALLY good!)

    – Fr. John+

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