Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Sort of MAN a Woman Likes.

Domineering, Henry VIII - and is unfortunate second wife, Anne Boleyn.
Following on from the previous post, the tables turn as women from the early 20th century debate what they like in a man. These comments are taken from articles published in 1913 in the ‘Strand Magazine’ [famous for publishing Conan Doyle’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ stories] ; written in response to men espousing that women liked to be dominated, some females give their opinions.

What makes the following comments even more intriguing is that in 1913, the Suffragette movement was in full swing; in June 1913 the suffragette Emily Davison threw herself under the King’s horse at Epsom and died three days later. This was a time when women were fighting for the vote, and had ambitions to be treated as equals with men. Fashion tended to polarise into those who donned mannish clothes, as an indication of their political views, and those who donned frills, feathers and furs as a celebration of their womanhood.

Magazine cover commemorating the death of Emily Davison.
Not doubt men were feeling threatened when they suggested women liked to be dominated…and here’s what women wrote in response.
Adelaide Arnold wrote:
“Whilst all women detest a bully, personally, there are many who secretly approve a master.”

Marjorie Bowen agreed.
“I think women do like to be tyrannized over, and the one unforgiveable thing in women’s eyes is weakness of the sprit.”

Mrs Stanley Wrench seems to back this up:
“In her secret heart woman likes to be tryannized over, though never, even to herself will she acknowledge this. If she is in love…there is more of the Cave Woman in her than she imagines.”
So much for the suffragist movement!

But dissenting voices were beginning to be heard, including Sophie Cole who wrote:
“As to being tyrannized over, I think women imagine they like it before marriage, and discover they deterst it after…It is ‘understanding’ which men and women have craved of each other since the time they were created so dissimilar that the aspiration is impossible of fulfilment.”

And the final word goes to the philosophical Mrs H Penrose, who observed:
“The average woman has never been very exacting in her demands – perhaps owing to her melancholy preponderance in the marriage market which inclines her to take what she can get and be thankful for the moment.”

So please, leave a comment – What do you look for in a man?


  1. A kind spirit, firm hands, and a love for cats!

  2. I look for a sense of humor in everyone.

  3. Great comments - a kind, well adjusted man with a sense of humour and strong hands...yep, sounds good to me.
    PS There's something extra attractive about a man who likes cats!


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