Since the dawn of the patriarch women have been misjudged, held back, held down, underestimated, and punished for trying to rise above their station. However, women have had a nasty history of pushing back and fighting for their rights. We know we can shatter that glass ceiling and break the stereotypes placed upon us by the so called ‘superior’ sex. The intellect of women is a power that has been supressed and shoved in a closet because, at least per Darwin’s writings, “the average standard of mental power in man must be above that of woman” (269) as men are larger and must therefore have a larger brain capacity. History will show us however that Darwin was wrong. Man is not superior to woman, but equal. Some major women who have shaped the modern world and inspired girls and women would be: Cleopatra, Gloria Steinman, Harriet Tubman, Jodie Wilson-Raybould, Eleanor Roosevelt, Indira Gandhi, Raicho Hiratsuka, Marie Curie, and Emmeline Pankhurst, just to name a few. These are the women that fought to be equal and for women to be equal to men. They are remembered by history because modern women are still looking to these legendary women for inspiration and strength, especially in times of hardship and struggle. If the world had followed Darwin’s way of thinking, that women are inferior intellectually and would therefore not have as great an impact on society, the worlds societies would not have progressed and work by the likes of Gloria Steinman for the feminist movement would be seen as gibberish women who should be in the kitchen were spewing; Indira Gandhi would not have become the first, and so far, only, female prime minister of India if the world had still thought women couldn’t be as intellectual as men; Emmeline Pankhurst would have been silenced had both men and women not believed she was fighting the good fight and without her, vital moments in Woman’s Suffrage in Britain would not have happened.
Further more, the fact that Darwin has said:
It is generally admitted that with woman the powers of intuition, of rapid perception, and perhaps of imitation, are more strongly marked than in man; but some, at least, of these faculties are characteristic of the lower races, and therefore of a past and lower state of civilization (269).
Saying women’s ability to perceive what is around them and act accordingly is inferior is not only insulting, but untrue. Stating that the practice of imitation is one that belongs to a lower race is also untrue as it is an effective way to survive in a world that can be, at times, dead set against you. The ability to see, understand, and react to an environment is an advantage as it has allowed women to know how to make peace and how to break it. The earliest suffragettes in England saw the discontent amongst their fellow women and reacted in a way that would change the course of history for the better. As for a woman imitating her environment to survive, look back at Elizabeth the First. She was a woman in a powerful position surrounded by men who wanted to control her. She learned early on that the only way to keep her power was to be just cunning and strong as those around her. In order for her to do that she imitated what was before her and became one of the most iconic women in history.
Women are not inferior to men intellectually, or in any way for that matter. Women are strong, intelligent, powerful, and we learn to survive and adapt in world riddled with injustice done unto us simply because of our sex. Women’s intelligence is growing and it is spreading. It’s been a hard battle to be seen as equal to men, and in many countries and in many situations we still aren’t, that doesn’t mean we are going to give up because us nasty women still aren’t nasty enough.
“I think that men and women, shoulder to shoulder, will work together to make this a better world. Just as I don’t think that men are the superior sex, neither do I think women are. I think that it is great that we are beginning to use the talents of all of the people, in all walks of life, and that we not longer have the closed doors that we once had.”
-The notorious RBG