The Equality of the Two Sexes

The equality of the sexes debate did not commence by accident

I introduce a story about the life and times of the eminent French philosopher and author Francois Poullain de la Barre. I feel it is not likely many of my readers have heard of this great figure in French history but those who have been actively involved in women’s studies at tertiary level probably have. I understand the feminist movement considers this author to be amongst the most important figures in their long struggle to obtain equality with men. Poullain wrote his original thesis in 1673. I do not pretend to understand the history of the women’s movement. The little I know  has been principally derived from television programmes I have watched from time to time.. The translators from the original text are A. Daniel Frankforter and Paul J Morman.

Pollain’s ideas are that men and women do not differ intellectually, and sexual inequality has no basis in nature. He believes that female inferiority came from social inertia and historical conditioning, and that women are intellectually and physically capable of serving as heads of state, clergy, military officers and college professors. Pollain says women were relegated to an inferior role at some early point in human history, and have acquired habits from that period which have developed into permanent institutions such as those that exist today. In other words the historical acceptance of women being inferior to men has been perpetuated by society and in doing so has transformed the historical secondary role of women into self-fulfilling prophecies. It appears, perhaps to a lesser degree these same words apply in 2014.

It seems that at the time Poullain was hoping to convey to his readers that they should programme (re-adjust) their thinking relating to women’s issues and by doing so help counter prejudices against women that he felt were rife at the time. I feel the contents of the blog remain relevant to the same gender debate today.

I have created two separate files for readers who are interested in this topic. The first one is a file that contains extracts from the original work that I feel are most relevant and the second one is the complete article itself.

Equality sexes extracts.pdf

The Equality of the Two Sexes.pdf

Deep connectedness and affection between men during times of war

A story about the gentler side of males

As the 21st century begins to unfold, so are cultural attitudes towards sexuality. I have made this the subject of other blogs. However, I have decided this blog should be a separate item because I feel the material I am introducing provides a strong pointer to what I feel is the hidden side of men, which I feel contemporary culture, for whatever reason, seems to be determined to smother. I have no doubt the same repression applies to women as well. It is against this background that I feel this little story needs to be shared. It is about men at war during WW2 and how they form powerful bonds between each other, including deeply affectionate ones that at times included sexual expression. Having read about the wartime stories of men during other wars I feel my words today do not relate solely to WW2.

During WW2, the Americans took many thousands of pictures of relaxed men as they prepared for new battles and waited to travel to the front lines. Furthermore, journalists from the time recorded many volumes of ancillary stories from individual men. These included the more intimate moments of those military men who were prepared to speak about them.. I feel no more words from me are needed. I rely upon both the distributors’ reviews as well as independent reviews of two particular books on the topic entitled “At Ease: Navy Men of World War II” and “Men of WW2. Fighting men at ease” to relay their personal observations of these books as well as commentary from readers as well. The independent reviewers and commentaries are included in the pdf file attached. I feel it is important to note the thousands of intimate photos of American men and women at war I talk about have only began to be released over the last few years. They were largely denied public access immediately following WWII. Perhaps there is a message for all of us here. The author of both books is Evan Bachner.

Distributor’s commentaries:

Item one: Navy “At Ease…”

“In the years following World War II, images of comradeship, particularly of men being physically close, largely disappeared from the public record. But, as these stunning photographs attest, ordinary American men in the extraordinary circumstances of World War II were affectionate, winsome, and playful – disarmingly innocent in a time of cataclysmic peril. Led by photography giant Captain Edward J. Steichen, the U.S. Naval Aviation Photographic Unit was organized during the war to record the daily experiences of Navy men all over the world and to provide newspapers and magazines with images to promote the American cause. The unit’s photographers, which included Wayne Miller, Horace Bristol, Victor Jorgensen, and Barrett Gallagher, took thousands of pictures of soldiers as they relaxed, trained, prepared for the next battle, and waited. This book brings together more than 150 of those photographs culled from the National Archives, including many that have never before been published. Whereas World War II imagery tends to be dominated by combat photography and monumental depictions of weaponry, these photographs offer a rare, intimate look at the Navy men themselves.”

Evan Bachner (Author), Wayne Miller (Photographer), Horace Bristol (Photographer), Victor Jorgensen (Photographer), Barrett Gallagher (Photographer).

Item two: Military generally “Men of WWII…”

The long awaited follow-up to the original At Ease presents 160 new, never before published photographs of WWII Navy men. These photos are not the combat photography we’re so accustomed to seeing; here are disarmingly winsome and playful pictures of sailors and soldiers at leisure, displaying an innocent affection for each other that is practically unthinkable today. This was a time when men had no reservations about showing their devotion to their comrades through physical contact, and the included photographs are truly snapshots of a lost era. This volume includes photos from the National Archives by Edward J. Steichen, Wayne Miller, Horace Bristol, Victor Jorgensen, Barrett Gallagher, and many others.

Pictures taken by the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit capture the fighting men during their time of just being men who are away from home and loved ones, who form bonds of friendship while putting their lives on the line for their country. The majority of the shots taken were of the men during their free time. It is a great montage of men relaxing together, playing, exercising, taking their meals, and a wonderful collection of photos showing the individuals dealing with their circumstances in the best way they could.

This book as well as its predecessor AT EASE are wonderful books.

For further reviews of these books:

Editorial Reviews for at ease navy ww2