But somehow things took a sinister turn, and the division of labor came to be understood as the demarcation of a social hierarchy. Women kept busy with numerous domestic responsibilities while their male counterparts' sole duty was tending to the flocks. Men had time to think critically, form political infrastructures, and ultimately, network with other men. Meanwhile, women were kept too busy to notice that somewhere along the line, they had become inferior. This is approximately when shit hit the fan.
To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man's injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?
Since middle-class Western women can best be weakened psychologically now that we are stronger materially, the beauty myth, as it has resurfaced in the last generation, has had to draw on more technological sophistication and reactionary fervor than ever before. The modern arsenal of the myth is a dissemination of millions of images of the current ideal; although this barrage is generally seen as a collective sexual fantasy, there is in fact little that is sexual about it. It is summoned out of political fear on the part of male-dominated institutions threatened by women's freedom, and it exploits female guilt and apprehension about our own liberation -- latent fears that we might be going too far.
She divorced her husband, y' know. I never knew him, it was before I met Jane. Apparently she came back from work one mornin' an' found her husband in bed with the milkman. With the milkman, honest to God. Well, apparently, from that day forward Jane was a feminist. An' I've noticed, she never takes milk in her tea.