alice duer miller poetry feminism sexism
“I don’t pretend I’m clever,” he remarked, “or very wise,”
And at this she murmured, “Really,” with the right polite surprise.
“But women,” he continued, “I must own I understand;
Women are a contradiction—honorable and underhand—
Constant as the star Polaris, yet as changeable as Fate,
Always flying what they long for, always seeking what they hate.”
“Don’t you think,” began the lady, but he cut her short: “I see
That you take it personally—women always do,” said he.
“You will pardon me for saying every woman is the same,
Always greedy for approval, always sensitive to blame;
Sweet and passionate are women; weak in mind, though strong in soul;
Even you admit, I fancy, that they have no self-control?”
No, I don’t admit they haven’t,” said the patient lady then,”
“Or they could not sit and listen to the nonsense talked by men.”
– Alice Duer Miller, “What Every Woman Must Not Say”