This 150 Year Old Satire Of A Men’s Rights Convention Is Still Brutally Hilarious (ARCHIVE)
(Originally posted on my main website on January 2, 2016)
New Year’s 2016 fell on a weekend, so I can understand why folks may be choosing to phone it in at their chosen profession, even amongst the blogosphere. “Best Of” Articles and such are all over the place; I get it. But the sadclowns over at A Voice For Men have taken it a step further, recycling material from two centuries ago. Unable to find a significant enough example of men’s oppression in the past two hundred years, they began openly weeping about a satirical article from the 1850s.
But rather than, you know, make any actual commentary on it, they just copy-pasted the text and called it a day. Because ethics in crying about sesquicentennial satire, I’m sure. They didn’t even post source material, just a couple half-ass links to Wikipedia. With about ten minutes on Google, I managed to track down the source material, which I will now post/reference because public domain. Also, I want this archived somewhere besides A Voice For Men.
Anyway, the article comes from the April 1852 issue of Godey’s Magazine And Lady’s Book. The magazine itself was incredibly popular in pre-Civil War America. Edgar Allen Poe got his start there, when they published several of his short stories (including “The Cask Of Amontillado”!). You can find archives of the entire print run of the magazine at archive.org and at accessible-archives.com. The article in question can be found here:
As for the author, Chericot, Google is really not helping much with finding details. Apparently they also wrote a short story (with a sequel) called “Who Wants A Monkey” for Arthur’s Home Magazine around the same time. Maybe a pen name?
The article itself is as vicious as it is hilarious, in an olde-tymey way.
On taking- a survey of the meeting, one thing struck us very forcibly — the uneasy and restless anxiety that characterized the demeanor of most of the men; the slightest noise caused a general sensation; and, in one instance, the shrill cry of a fishwoman threw a gentleman into hysterics, which he explained, on his recovery, to have resulted from his mistaking it for the voice of his wife.
The basic premise is that the author is beholding a formative “Men’s Rights” meeting, in which a bunch of 19th-century sensitive “nice guy” patriarchs get together to kvetch and wring hands about how empowered their wives have gotten. It’s pretty brutal.
That an unblushing claim has not only been made on our clothes, but on all our masculine privileges; and as this evil has resulted, in the first place, from the impunity with which the women have put their hands in our pockets, and as it will end only in the usurpation of our business, and of our sole right to the ballot-box, it becomes necessary for us to impress upon this rebellious sex our united determination to resist their aggressions
As a work, it definitely hasn’t aged well in terms of racism. There’s a scene involving a Native American MRA that is as embarrassing as it is unnecessary. Seriously, skipping over it doesn’t even make a hiccup in the narrative.
The proceedings themselves are a series of bickerings, non-sequitors and displays of plumery until such moment as the founder’s wife appears, beckoning him home. After which the henpecked revolutionaries tuck tail and disperse.
“Here I am, my dear !” said a sharp voice, and a small, thin, vinegar-faced lady entered the room, and walked up to the platform, at the head of a numerous procession of females. “My love,” continued she, “it is late; I am afraid you will take cold. Hadn’t you better come home?”
“If you think so, my dear, certainly,” replied Mr. Husband, turning pale, and trembling so he could scarcely stand, perceiving which, his wife affectionately offered him her arm. Mr. Easyled meekly obeyed an imperative gesture from Mrs. Easyled, and Mrs. Bluster picked up the general, who had fainted, and carried him out in her arms.
Exeunt omnes, in wild confusion.
All in all, replacing fedoras with top hats and neckbeards for monocles, it’s still a pretty biting work of humor, and a treasure of a find.
Hey if this is your first time checking out my writing, please take a moment to clap for it if you enjoyed it. Feel free to follow and also browse my profile to see if there is anything else up your alley. If you want to support my work I have a Patreon and an Amazon wish list. On my Patreon you can find links to all sorts of other projects I am up to.