Alternately. . . .
Posted by Ken on November 25, 1997 at 15:48:12:
In response to An observation, written by Mark on November 24, 1997 at 09:55:27
] Do you realize that we, along with the P&P world, heap scorn upon the two younger Bennet sisters for being such terrible flirts, and yet nobody thinks twice about the way all the officers return their attentions in spades.
] Are we employing a double standard? After all, it takes two to tango, does it not?
I don't see the officers moving from girl to girl, though, probably because Austen isn't interested enough in it to comment. On the other hand, Lydia does pay attention to more than one officer. If Austen had described a male equivalent--Wickham doesn't really count, because of the drastic consequences of his actions--I'd probably think of him the same way, although the word "flirt" itself wouldn't come to mind.
Which may be another way of getting to the same point: why wouldn't one think of "flirt"? Possibly because such behaviour in a man at the time carries more potential for a serious sequel? A woman flirting need not carry through with any intentions whatsoever. But if you observe that men have most of the power, then the consequences of flirting with women might be serious ones. But since "flirt" itself connotes "lightness", then we don't readily associate it with men.
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