Benjamin Franklin...A Misogynist?

Essay by sthrnbelleUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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You asked us to read "Old Mistresses Apologue" to see how Benjamin Franklin begins as a solemn friend and adviser to a young man but soon reveals himself as a hedonistic lecher, then after reading you asked if we see any signs of a misogynist in Benjamin Franklin's letter. To begin I looked up the word misogynist to get a better understanding of what it meant. According to Webster's Dictionary, misogynist means a hatred of or hostility toward women, a women hater. After reading Benjamin Franklin's letter, it was hard to see Mr. Franklin as a women hater. I find him being finicky about his women preferring older to younger women being almost discriminatory towards younger women in general, but not actually a women hater. If anything, he has good things to say about women as a whole.

In the very first paragraph of his letter, Benjamin Franklin says great things of women in the state of union with a man.

First, he states that "It is the Man and Woman united that make the compleat human Being." [sic] Those are powerful word to say if you are a women hater. He also states in the same paragraph that man would be of less value if they were not married and they are incomplete without their better half. Hence his words, "A single Man has not nearly the Value he would have in that State of Union. He is an incomplete Animal. He resembles that odd Half of a Pair of Scissars." [sic]

Beginning after the first paragraph Benjamin Franklin begins stating increasingly how he would prefer an older woman to a younger one saying; "you should prefer old Women to young ones." [sic] Then he proceeds to explain why he believes this theory with eight...