Negative attitude towards women 

With the promulgation of evolution theory, Charles Darwin made a serious blow on women, as the theory props up the idea of the survival of the fittest on the basis of physical strength. Darwin says,

“Man is more powerful in body and mind than woman, and in the savage stage he keeps her in a far more abject state of bondage than does the male of any other animal: therefore it is not surprising that he should have gained the power of selection.” (The Descent of Man, p. 911)

If physical strength is taken into account to judge the human value then women can’t be equal to men and always have to surrender to the will of men, as Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–75), Italian writer, says,

“Whoever rightly considers the order of things may plainly see the whole race of woman-kind is by nature, custom, and the laws, made subject to man, to be governed according to his discretion”(Decameron, ‘Ninth Day’)

It was taken for granted that the physically strong and dominant sex would naturally do violence on the weaker one so women should get hold of a bit cunningness to survive as Rousseau suggests,

“I should not be sorry if sometimes she were educated to exercise a little cunning, not to elude punishment but to escape having to obey. Guile is a natural gift of her sex; and being convinced that all natural 
dispositions are good and right in themselves I think that this one should be cultivated like the rest. The characteristic cunning with which women are endowed is an equitable compensation fortheir lesser strength. Without it women would not be the comrade of man but his slave. This talent gives her the superiority that keeps her his equal and enables her to rule him even while she obeys.”(Emile of Today, pp. 140-141)

The same idea of physical inferiority of women was rampant in the medical treatise of the English Victorian period as it was dominated by theories that female body was most fragile because of its being subject to 
monthly cycle and hence most susceptible to mental disorder. Sally Shuttleworth points out the same thing, “Psychiatry, or as it was then known, mental science, was another emergent area of knowledge which similarly focused on female hysteria and insanity and the unstable processes of the female body.” (Charlotte Bronte and Victorian Psychology; Cambridge University Press 1996; p. 4)

To emphasise her point Shuttleworth quotes George Man Burrows (1771-1846) who says,‘Every body of the least experience must be sensible of the influence of menstruation on the operations of the mind. In truth, it is the moral and physical barometer of the female constitution.’(Commentaries on the Causes, Forms, Symptoms, and Treatment, Moral and Medical, of Insanity; London, 1828; p. 146)

The bulk of Western literature is rife with statements reiterating that women are by nature cunning and mysterious and they don’t have characters at all.

The quotations mentioned below will established such negative attitude towards women as inherently cunning:

The English satirist Samuel Butler says, “Brigands demand your money or your life; women require both.”

Jonathon Swift says,
“Improving hourly in her skill,
To cheat and wrangle at quadrille.”
(The Furniture of a Woman’s Mind)

As women are thought to be intrinsically cunning the British dramatist Noel Coward (1899-1973) recommends, “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.” (Private Lives, 1930)

Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychoanalyst, depicts woman as a mysterious and most ludicrous being. He says, “The great question . . . which I have not been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the 
feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want’?”

W. Somerset Maugham (1874–1965) British novelist presents the image of women in the following manner: “The Professor of Gynaecology began his course of lectures as follows: Gentlemen, woman is an animal that micturates once a day, defecates once a week, menstruates once a month, parturates once a year and copulates whenever she has the opportunity.” (A Writer’s Notebook)

Again Alexander Pope comes with the same idea when he says,
‘NOTHING so true as what you once let fall,
"Most Women have no Characters at all."
Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear,
And best distinguish'd by black, brown, or fair.
How many pictures of one Nymph we view,
All how unlike each other, all how true!’
(Epistle II, Ta A Lady: Of the Characters of Women, 1735)

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