For non-conformity the world whips you with its displeasure. And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face. The bystanders look askance on him in the public street or in the friend's parlor. If this aversion had its origin in the contempt and resistance like his own he might well go home with a sad countenance; but the sour face of the multitude, like their sweet faces, have no deep cause disguise no god, but are put on and off as the wind blows and a newspaper directs. Yet is the discontent of the multitude more formidable than that of the senate and the college. It is easy enough for a firm man who knows the world to brook the rage of the cultivated classes. Their rage is decorous and prudent, for they are timid, as being very vulnerable themselves. But when to their feminine rage the indignation of the people is added, when the ignorant and the poor are aroused, when the unintelligent brute force that lies at the bottom of society is made to growl and mow, it needs the habit of magnanimity and religion to treat it godlike as a trifle of no concernment.
We’ve come the way the rabbits come
through brambles and raspberry bushes,
where everything is fiercely dark—a skein of black
stalks weaving above us, thistles the color of woodsmoke
under our palms. This part drops into a tunnel, a caved in road
from an age far past, holding tree roots, curled as if clinging
to the damp clay. My sister clutching me as we move, vision dotted
by berries, like gnats on a porch screen. The tiny hollow yields a needle
of light, after moments, and the gap widens, and we emerge. And there—
in the distance—the wind chimes we’ve hung on the wizened tree,
the smooth metal tolling against the ridges,
It is certainly not realistic to hope that a majority of men, in the arts, or in any other field, will soon see the light and find that it is in their own self-interest to grant complete equality to women, as some feminists optimistically assert, or to maintain that men themselves will soon realize that they are diminished by denying themselves access to traditionally “feminine” realms and emotional reactions. After all, there are few areas that are really “denied” to men, if the level of operations demanded be transcendent, responsible or rewarding enough: men who have a need for “feminine” involvement with babies or children gain status as pediatricians or child psychologists, with a nurse (female) to do the more routine work; those who feel the urge for kitchen creativity may gain fame as master chefs; and, of course, men who yearn to fulfill themselves through what are often termed “feminine” artistic interests can find themselves as painters or sculptors, rather than as volunteer museum aides or part time ceramists, as their female counterparts so often end up doing; as far as scholarship is concerned, how many men would be willing to change their jobs as teachers and researchers for those of unpaid, part-time research assistants and typists as well as full-time nannies and domestic workers?