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Friday, May 20, 2005

Futures Past (Quick Quiz)

posted by PorJ
O.K., no cheating. Extra credit for anyone who can name (without looking at the link) the speaker of the following passage, and the year in which the speech was made:

When the germ theory finally came in and people learned how to arrange it so that women could have babies in reasonable safety, the world discovered to their surprise that women had a longer life expectancy than men. This had never been understood before, because throughout history women had, on the average, lived years and years less than men had. With all the dangers men faced, the hard work in the fields, the hunting accidents, the killings in war, everything else, women died faster for one reason and one reason only: childbirth. Every woman had one baby after another until one of them killed her. Usually, it didn't take long.
Well then, why do women do this? Because they are carefully told that being a wife and mother is the most glorious thing in the world, the one thing they're fit for, the most noble activity they can possibly have, and...and this is told to them until they believe it. And if they don't believe it, there's a lot of trouble made for them.
Well, I won't go into the whole thing. I suspect that you women know all about this already, and you men would rather not listen.
[group laughs mildly]
But notice the difference: once you want women not to have children, you're going to have to give them something else to do! It is absolutely impossible to tell a woman that she can't have children, and at the same time that she can't do anything else either except maybe wash an occasional dish.
[mild laugh from a few of the women in the group]
Because if you tell a woman that, she'll figure out some way to have a baby.
[swelling mild laughter from group]
I think I know the way, too!
[mild laughter from the group]
Well then, in the world of the 21st century in order to keep the birth rate down, we're going to have to give women interesting things to do that'll make them glad to stay out of the nursery. And the interesting things that I can think of that we give women to do are essentially the same as the interesting things that we give men to do. I mean we're going to have women help in running the government, and science, and industry...whatever there is to run in the 21st century. And what it amounts to is we're going to have to pretend...when I say "we", I mean men...we're going to have to pretend that women are people.
[group laughs]
And you know, pretending is a good thing because if you pretend long enough, you'll forget you're pretending and you'll begin to believe it.
[mild laugh from group]
In short, the 21st century, if we survive, will be a kind of women's lib world. And as a matter of fact, it will be a kind of people's lib world because, you know, sexism works bad both ways. If the women have some role which they must constantly fulfill whether they like it or not, men have some role which they would have to constantly fulfill whether they like it or not. And if you fix it so that women can do what suits them best, you can fix it so that men can do what suits them best too. And we'll have a world of people. And only incidentally will they be of opposite sexes instead of in every aspect of their life.

This should take the techno-geek readership all of twenty seconds.
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