Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Monstrous Woman - Mathieu of Boulogne

Now you can see how foolhardy it is to take a wife. What will your response be? What is the point of your studying the matter? Don't get married, have mistresses. If you are weak by nature, it will be safer for you to have a hundred of them rather than devote yourself to one; treat them as if they were no more important than a straw. And if you are strong, take my advice, don't plunge yourself in the mire or frequent either one woman or many - I forbid you to have anything to do with them, for in the garden lurks a snake; and no one approaches it without regretting it afterwards.

Now I should like to rest for a while. for whoever sets out to expose the evils of the female sex, finds her poisonous acts too numerous to relate. Nature shows and teaches us that every woman is a real monster and that she is quite happy to put up with her own faults. There is no shortage of proof of this, or demonstration of how monstrous she is. It is said that woman was conceived without nature's consent. A philosopher testifies to this quite clearly in his works, saying that nature, having embarked on creation, was shocked when she contemplated her mistake and blushed as she became aware of it. Woman is a monstrous hermaphrodite, proving to be a chimaera with horns and a tail bigger than a peacock's or pheasant's. Thus she bears the marks of a monster, as this treatise informs you.

And if anyone were to say that women in general are slandered without taking account what each individual woman might do, and that some, who are specially favoured, deserve our respect and praise, I would venture to say that this would be an unnatural thing and that there has never been such a great miracle. For their sex in no way prepares them to be virtuous or to do good, indeed they are predisposed to do the very opposite.

In a vision the narrator remonstrates with God about the creation of woman and the institution of marriage. Moreover, he objects to the injustice of the punishment for the Fall, and argues that God, as good shepherd, must save people, whatever their sin.

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