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The Man Made World by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - HTML preview

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The Man‐Made World

or Our Androcentric Culture

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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CONTENTS

I. AS TO HUMANNESS.

II. THE MAN‐MADE FAMILY.

III. HEALTH AND BEAUTY.

IV. MEN AND ART.

V. MASCULINE LITERATURE.

VI. GAMES AND SPORTS

VII. ETHICS AND RELIGION.

VIII. EDUCATION.

IX. “SOCIETY” AND “FASHION”

X. LAW AND GOVERNMENT.

XI. CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.

XII. POLITICS AND WARFARE.

(with WOMAN AND THE STATE.)

XIII. INDUSTRY AND ECONOMICS.

XIV. A HUMAN WORLD.

The Man‐Made World

I. AS TO HUMANNESS.

Let us begin, inoffensively, with sheep. The sheep is a beast with which we are all familiar, being much used in religious imagery; the common stock of painters; a staple article of diet; one of our main sources of clothing; and an everyday symbol of bashfulness and stupidity.

In some grazing regions the sheep is an object of terror, destroying grass, bush and forest by omnipresent nibbling; on the great plains, sheep‐keeping frequently results in insanity, owing to the loneliness of the shepherd, and the monotonous appearance and behavior of the sheep.

By the poet, young sheep are preferred, the lamb gambolling gaily; unless it be in hymns, where “all we like sheep” are repeatedly described, and much stress is laid upon the straying propensities of the animal.

To the scientific mind there is special interest in the sequacity of sheep, their habit of following one another with automatic imitation.

This instinct, we are told, has been developed by ages of wild crowded racing on narrow ledges, along precipices, chasms, around

sudden spurs and corners, only the leader seeing when, where and how to jump. If those behind jumped exactly as he did, they lived. If they stopped to exercise independent judgment, they were pushed off and perished; they and their judgment with them.

All these things, and many that are similar, occur to us when we think of sheep. They are also ewes and rams. Yes, truly; but what of it? All that has been said was said of sheep, genus ovis, that bland beast, compound of mutton, wool, and foolishness. so widely known. If we think of the sheep‐dog (and dog‐ess), the shepherd (and shepherd‐ess), of the ferocious sheep‐eating bird of New Zealand, the Kea (and Kea‐ess), all these herd, guard, or kill the sheep, both rams and ewes alike. In regard to mutton, to wool, to general character, we think only of their sheepishness, not at all of their ramishness or eweishness. That which is ovine or bovine, canine, feline or equine, is easily recognized as distinguishing that particular species of animal, and has no relation whatever to the sex thereof.