Flirting with notice
Posted by gkb on December 01, 1997 at 22:23:17:
In response to Isn't it interesting..., written by Mark on November 24, 1997 at 19:28:57
Austen does not emphasize the officers' flirting, but she does come down pretty hard on men who flirt without meaning anything serious. And it is not the fact of flirting that she objects to but the promiscuous and mindless way that Lydia in particular goes about it. It is, again, the lack of civility, of consideration for others that she remonstrates against. Perhaps we do not look for exact equivalence between women and men in general because she has portrayed the characters so realistically that we can easily see the particular applications of such rules without seeking any artificial or rigid balance of absolutes. Also, women have a different mental construct of moral values. Men tend to have a more rigid, firmly categorical set of absolute principles, with the leading value being adherence to formal judgment; whereas women tend to apply prinicples more flexibly according to situation, with the leading principle being the maintenance of relationship. Hence, women see the particular situation of Lydia as being wrong and the general category of "flirting is bad" as arbitrary.
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.