G.K. Chesterton said that “every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things” (The New Jerusalem, 211.) A radio reporter said recently that Hilary Clinton was determined to get the “lioness’s share” of the delegates from Puerto Rico. Aside from the fact that in the Aesop’s fable where we get the expression from it was a lion not a lioness, something doesn’t quite sound right about saying, “lioness’s share.” I don’t know much about lions beyond what I learned from that pop song, i.e. he “sleeps tonight,” but I’m willing to bet a lion gets more of a share than a lioness in the jungle* even as men get more than women in our real jungles of faux urbanity.
It is the “forgetting obvious things” that seems to be at work here. It is of a piece with the Marine’s ad campaign where they are apparently giving up the search “for a few good men” in favor of anyone at all. They now have a campaign where they proudly say, “There are no female Marines only Marines.” I imagine some Marines can even say this with a straight face despite the fact that they have different uniforms for males and females, different physical fitness standards for males and females, and still must check male or female on virtually every form they fill out. The obvious isn’t so easily forgotten, is it?
But we’re bound and determined to try. Ironically, when we succeed it won’t be the lionesses who gain but as always the lions. I don’t know if this is still in the Army regulations, but in the 70s it was a fact that at a military ball where dress blues were required for male Army officer’s, female officers were allowed to wear formal gowns. Now who do you think that little rule was for? Who do you think “benefited” from that? The lions who like their lionesses to look less like a lion and more like a woman.
I can already hear the young lionesses growling who still think feminism is about liberating women, about righting the real wrongs done to women, about anything a man can do a woman can do as well. They’re growling, “The Marines are changing that. I’ll bet that at their formal balls the women have to wear their dress uniforms too.” Ah you’ve misunderstood. While men “benefited” under the old Army system, the women who weren’t afraid to be a woman were the ones empowered. I was at those functions. The women wearing the mane of a lion got nothing but proper military respect. The women in the gown of a lioness got attention, service, admiration, deference. You might even say they got the lion’s share because lions lined up to get them drinks, food, chairs, etc.
You’re still growling. That’s because you think this is about good looking women, about women as mere sexual objects. Nope, it’s about lions being lions and lionesses being lionesses. It’s only when a lion is around a lioness and a lioness around a lion that each is fully what their Creator meant them to be. That is obvious, and that is what we’re forgetting as Adam’s famous roar, “At last! This is the one meant for me!” fades to a whimper.
*I don’t know how John Irving knows this but he says in his novel Avenue of Mysteries that according to studies of lions in the Serengeti “lionesses are responsible for the majority of the kills.” However, the lions asserted their dominance by eating their full before the lionesses were allowed to eat their share (400-1). Considering his last two novels have been unhinged from the reality of male and female in defense of LGBTQ-ism, this is a remarkable fact for him to include.