A Chesterfield warning on the dangers of reorienting one’s foremost purpose to the objective of empowering women.
As women are a considerable, or at least a pretty numerous part of company; and as their suffrages go a great way toward establishing a man’s character in the fashionable part of the world (which is of great importance to the fortune and figure he proposes to make in it), it is necessary to please them.
I will therefore, upon this subject, let you into certain Arcana that will be very useful for you to know, but which you must, with the utmost care, conceal and never seem to know.
Women, then, are only children of a larger growth; they have an entertaining tattle, and sometimes wit; but for solid reasoning, good sense, I never knew in my life one that had it, or who reasoned or acted consequentially for four-and-twenty hours together. Some little passion or humor always breaks upon their best resolutions. Their beauty neglected or controverted, their age increased, or their supposed understandings depreciated, instantly kindles their little passions, and overturns any system of consequential conduct, that in their most reasonable moments they might have been capable of forming.
A man of sense only trifles with them, plays with them, humors and flatters them, as he does with a sprightly forward child; but he neither consults them about, nor trusts them with serious matters; though he often makes them believe that he does both; which is the thing in the world that they are proud of; for they love mightily to be dabbling in business (which by the way they always spoil); and being justly distrustful that men in general look upon them in a trifling light, they almost adore that man who talks more seriously to them, and who seems to consult and trust them; I say, who seems; for weak men really do, but wise ones only seem to do it.
-Lord Chesterfield in a letter to his son
Chesterfield here is essentially arguing for restricted female agency, and therefore the necessity to men of wisely shielding women from matters of true importance – like immigration policy – while pretending as if women’s counsel was desired.
Feminine women don’t really desire, as beta males are wont to believe, full egalitarian inclusion in serious business or political decisions. Having it bores them and they often rebel by deciding for changes that subvert the bounty for which they were charged by obsequious, supplicating men to protect and preserve. What women really love is the man who “trifles with them”, but also assuages their fear that their instinctive female predilection for flirtation and little passions won’t be exploited to embarrass them in polite company as frivolities.