In Defense of Women by H. L. Mencken
American author, critic, and journalist, H. L. Mencken maintained that "the average woman, whatever her deficiencies, is greatly superior to the average man. The very ease with which she defies and swindles him in several capital situations of life is the clearest of proofs of her general superiority." Ever the iconoclast, Mencken viewed gender relations as a battlefield. His deference to female supremacy is that of a soldier awed by an opponent's overwhelming skill and cunning: "There was no weakness of man that she did not penetrate and take advantage of. There was no trick that she did not put to effective use. There was no device so bold and inordinate that it daunted her." In Defense of Women was written during World War I and first appeared in print in 1922, only a few years after American women had achieved the right to vote. Nearly a century later its topics, ranging from monogamy, polygamy, and prostitution to the double standard, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and declining birth and marriage rates, remain of vital interest to modern readers. Written in Mencken's characteristic no-nonsense manner, this volume crackles with controversy and caustic wit.