*Biology is Destiny

Dear Dan,
I really admire your persistence, but I worry about you. How will you ever get married? I’m an enlightened woman, but as soon as you open your mouth you alienate most people.

My friends are quite tactful since you are my brother, but it’s easy to read their thoughts when they say, “Daniel is an unusual man, isn’t he? So handsome. Does he always talk that much?”

Danny, do you have to be so strident about your views? Change takes time. Don’t you think that you’ve achieved enough as a male professor at the finest school in the country? Do you have to apply for the position of dean? Another man, maybe – but you’re known as a radical masculist. What chance do you have? I’m sure you haven’t considered how the talk would affect the family. I don’t care for myself, but Mother will be retiring soon as Speaker of the House. She doesn’t need to cope with another round of debates about the Status of Men. Think of her heart.

But there you go, a typical man: act first and think of the consequences later, always after the rush of adrenalin. You men are so emotional.

Now Dan, I can just picture you getting red in the face, steaming (which proves my point), but you have to admit that women and men are physically different. Even our brains our different. Didn’t you see that special on the educational channel? Women think of many things at once and our brains are never at rest. Male brains can only focus on one task at a time and if not focused, the brain is off. Doesn’t that show that women are naturally made for intellectual work and men for labour? Just look at your muscles.

I’ve heard you say often enough, and you know I agree, that machines and technology have liberated men from labour, and so men should be admitted into work that requires intelligence. But you have to be more patient, dear. Change takes time and we’re going against nature’s way. Many people are afraid that community values are eroding with men leaving their traditional places in mines, fields and ditches to engage in sedentary, intellectual work. What will happen to all that pent up male energy if it’s not safely vented on chopping up rock? Have you seen the statistics on the increase in crime?

Not to mention your uncontrollable hormones. It wasn’t that long ago that there was an evening curfew for men to prevent them from randomly assaulting women and turning order into anarchy. It was for your own good. The jails are rotting now with men who just followed their natural aggressive instincts without thinking of the consequences. What good has equality done them?

Now don’t use yourself as an example. You’re an exceptional man, even you must admit that. I won’t deny that some men might be fit for the intellectual life, just as there are a few women more suited for the physical. That’s why I support equal opportunity. If a man can do a woman’s job, he should certainly be allowed to, but Danny you’re just confusing people when you tell them that their natural inclinations aren’t good enough. Men use to be proud of being the labourers of the nation. They saw themselves as builders of the Pyramids. It didn’t bother them that they weren’t the designers. That task belonged to woman.

You’ll say men just have to be socialized to govern their actions intelligently, but studies have shown that men respond instinctively to visual clues of anything that has the remotest resemblance to female parts. I can just imagine men in Parliament making decisions while looking at their coffee cups, their nether regions engorging. The very fact that men are so preoccupied with the size of their genitalia seems to indicate – well I don’t want to insult you, dear, but the truth is it does indicate that nature intended men as breeders, not leaders of civilization. What other explanation is there for such an irrational fascination with a dangly bit of flesh?

You know what they say, “the cradle of civilization is in the womb,” and “man is brawn, woman brain.” Just old sayings, but there’s always a grain of truth in old sayings.

Be satisfied that your school has decided to offer a program in men’s studies. I really haven’t had time to look through all the books you sent me, but I did glance at Men’s Poetry Through the Ages. That Willie Shakespeare isn’t bad. Nice imagery and rhythm. Like many male poets he doesn’t have any internal resource for meeting the world, but has to express himself through his love of a woman. How many sonnets did he write? But never mind, dear. As men have more contact with the realities of life, their literature will be more interesting.

I’m glad to see that you’ll be teaching a course on History Through the Eyes of Man. A fresh perspective always casts new light on the facts. But don’t lose sight of the facts dear. It’s so easy for men to get lost in fantasy. Just like male cats hissing and puffing up their fur to look bigger when another male steps into their territory.

I can’t believe that you, with your intelligence, actually believe that in prehistoric times men went out to hunt while women sat around the fire in a cave. Have you ever seen the size of Neanderthal Woman’s bones? How often do you think those little men could have brought down a woolly mammoth to feed the tribe? The facts, darling. Remember the facts when your dear male brain wanders into puffing and hissing. We know that it was woman who gathered roots and berries to feed the community of females and children, while men ate what remained, grubbing for insects and lifting boulders. It’s fine that you’re writing a book about the Naked Man Ape. You men should know your own history, but don’t expect it to replace real textbooks.

I don’t want to discourage your aspirations. You’re my brother and God knows I love you no matter how much of a masculist you are: and who can tell, if you’re right maybe She is a He.

But do try to put some thought into your actions sweetie, for Mom’s sake if not yours. You can only stretch nature’s design so far without tearing it apart.

Your big sister, loving as always,

Jan Cathyway.

P.S. There’s a new service agency called “Romantic Encounter: Mates for Unusual Men.” I’m enclosing their brochure.

(I wrote this small story in the 90′s after seeing a news story about young women being burned by their spouses in India for such reasons as not having a son. My outrage left me speechless, but eventually found its way into this. I wrote it a long time ago, and might think it wasn’t relevant anymore except for this blog post.)

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5 responses

  1. Found your link via Historiann.

    Brilliant satire! It so accurately captures the tone of the anti-feminist rhetoric I have seen bandied about for years.

    Thanks for linking.

  2. Thank you so much–I wanted to show that the rhetoric is just that, based on beliefs that aren’t facts, but a made-up story that could be made up differently.

  3. [...] 11, 2009 by Lilian Nattel I wrote “Biology is Destiny” as satire in the ’90’s: here is the real life [...]

  4. This is exquisitely wonderful. Thanks. Also here from Historian.

  5. Thank you and welcome here, hysperia.

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