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|Screaming and fainting
Written by Mary Anne
(10/30/2012 3:50 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The downside of sensibility, penned by LouAnn
]But the book also shows how women in that society were expected to faint, be more 'sensible,' etc. and it was considered a positive feminine trait to a certain degree . . .
I couldn't help thinking, after I read this, about a scene in Gone With the Wind when Mammy tells Scarlett she ought to faint more--not around home but out in company when she sees a mouse or hears distressing news; Scarlett is proud that she has never fainted in her life and Mammy sees this as something men will find unattractive. Of course, after the girl is safely married, it's "too late" if the man finds out the woman has brains after all---and besides, gentlemen expect their wives to have sense. And there's the way the scene ends:
"There was no one to tell Scarlett that her own personality, frighteningly vital though it was, was more attractive than any masquerade she might adopt. Had she been told, she would have been pleased but unbelieving. And the civilization of which she was a part would have been unbelieving too, for at no time, before or since, had so low a premium been placed on feminine naturalness."
I'd argue a little with the "before or since" because you seem to be pointing out a similar phenomenon in your post. It also reflects the degree to which women were forced into certain behaviours but then were often blamed for those behaviours: e.g. deny women access to higher education but then deny their intelligence or their ability to master advanced subjects. Even more maddening when education is wasted on guys like Robert Ferrars. X-P
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