Do you find this Oscar Wilde quote sexist?

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LoriBell
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''No woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.''
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Mad_Dog_Graveson
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(Original post by LoriBell)
''No woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.''
Not necessarily. But he is talking a load of crap
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LoriBell
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(Original post by Mad_Dog_Graveson)
Not necessarily. But he is talking a load of crap
how is it not sexist?
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MidgetFever
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It could certainly be perceived that way, but it also sounds like he's being somewhat critical of men too.
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MidgetFever
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(Original post by newmemebr93)
It can also be perceived that you support the suffering of billions of animals you goth whore.
Oh bore off.
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LoriBell
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(Original post by newmemebr93)
You don't speak to me like that you goth ******.

I will spread rumors about you.
why the unnecessary rudeness?
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MidgetFever
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(Original post by LoriBell)
why the unnecessary rudeness?
He likes to attack those that aren't vegan, and has been doing so for a long time. Pay no mind to him, he'll end up banned soon enough.
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Scotney
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(Original post by LoriBell)
''No woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.''
This is a quote from Dorian Gray from Lord Henry.This character comes out with lots of radical ,provocative statements and starts off the book by seeming to be all knowing to the young Dorian.In the end he is shown to be naive and very mistaken.So need to look at quote in context.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by LoriBell)
''No woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.''
Thanks for putting this quote in context for me, Scotney.

You could say this remark could be seen as a reflection of the age in which Oscar Wilde wrote the quote.

Sexism was much more acceptable then than it is now, so you can't judge it by today's woke standards. I am sure you would hear similar remarks in smoking rooms upon and down the country at the time.

Women were not given much of an education in those days, so their chance to be geniuses would be restricted. Yes, they would have natural charm and were taught female accomplishments. The ultimate goal in those days would be to catch and marry an eligible man, therefore they would be encouraged to look stylish and beautiful, or "decorative" as the quote would have it. Nowadays, when you see so many women in higher education and at Oxbridge, you can thankfully see how the world has moved on. If you want to be a genius and a woman, it is now perfectly possible!

In the Victorian age, I suppose everything was neatly labelled. Men were in charge, and women were their charming, decorative vassals. This didn't work if you were not the type to be labelled. For example look at Wilde himself. Despite his brilliance, he was still treated appallingly by society because of his homosexuality. This is a crying shame, as if he were born in this day and age he would have been celebrated by not only the gay community but the entire world.

The whole quote is full of sweeping generalisations, probably as an illustration of the character's stupidity.

Not all women are non geniuses
Not all women look decorative
Not all women are devoid of witty, useful conversation
Not all men are immoral.

To summarise, if someone like Boris Johnson said this today, I would be horrified.

However if I am to judge this quote by the standards of the day, I would not even bat an eyelid, and see this as the generally accepted view. You only have to look at Agatha Christie's novels to see that looking down on the working classes was seen as natural and okay. It is still possible to appreciate them as being masterpieces, written by a middle class lady who is used to having servants and sophisticated society friends.
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Quick-use
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I'm very fond of Wilde's literature. That being so, for a very long time, I've wondered if he was jealous of women/the female sex considering that they were the sole object of desire and interest within an undeniably heteronormative society. There was no place for him in society. No man could publicly profess their love to him like they would a woman.

In any case, I think Oxford Mum hit the nail on head. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Last edited by Quick-use; 7 months ago
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Quick-use)
I'm very fond of Wilde's literature. That being so, for a very long time, I've wondered if he was jealous of women/the female sex considering that they were the sole object of desire and interest within an undeniably heteronormative society. There was no place for him in society. No man could publicly profess their love to him like they would a woman.

In any case, I think Oxford Mum hit the nail on head. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Thanks, Quick Use! I feel that what happened to Oscar Wilde, Tchaikovsky and Alan Turing (all hounded severely because they were gay) is nothing short of tragic, viewed through the prism of this day and age.
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cletclaw
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(Original post by LoriBell)
''No woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.''
Yes, definitely, the quote makes a lot of derogatory generalizations towards women as a whole and some towards men too.

Although in context it becomes a bit interesting as well, as it comes from a character in "The Picture of Dorian Gray", Lord Henry. and Lord Henry is generally portrayed as having low and twisted opinions of people in general, and as having a twisting effect on Dorian Gray. He's the main person shown personally leading Dorian down disrespectful an corrupting paths. And as many people pointed out above he also echoes many commonly heard sentiments at the time The Picture of Dorian Gray was being written.

But that's not to say they necessarily have no connection to Wilde's thoughts, the correspondence between what characters and authors say is rarely a simple 1 to 1 either way.
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