Men and women are alike and different. Some are more alike and some are more different than others. That’s my 2 cents before quoting from “On Women”, an article the Italian author Natalia Ginzburg wrote for Mercurio magazine in 1948 (The NY Review of Books has the whole thing and more behind a mini-paywall):
…. women have the bad habit, now and then, of falling into a well, of letting themselves be gripped by a terrible melancholy and drown in it, and then floundering to get back to the surface—this is the real trouble with women. Women are often embarrassed that they have this problem and pretend they have no cares at all and are free and full of energy, and they walk with bold steps down the street with large hats and beautiful dresses and painted lips and a contemptuous and strong-willed air about them. But I’ve never met a woman without soon discovering in her something painful and pitiful that doesn’t exist in men—a constant danger of falling into a deep, dark well, a danger that comes precisely from the female temperament or maybe from an age-old condition of subjugation and servitude that won’t be so easy to overcome….
I’ve met a lot of women, calm women and women who are not calm, but the calm women also fall into the well: they all fall into the well now and then. I’ve met women who think they are very ugly and women who think they are very beautiful, women who travel and women who can’t, women who, now and then, have a headache and women who never have a headache, women who wash their necks and women who don’t wash their necks, women who have a large number of white linen handkerchiefs and women who never have a handkerchief or, if they do, they lose it, women who wear hats and women who don’t wear hats, women who worry they are too fat and women who worry they are too thin, women who toil all day long in a field and women who break wood over their knee and light the fire and make polenta and rock the baby and nurse him and women who are bored to death and take a class in the history of religion and women who are bored to death and take the dog for a walk and women who are bored to death and torment whoever is at hand, their husbands or children or the maid, and women who go out in the morning their hands purple with cold and a little scarf around their necks and women who go out in the morning swaying their hips and looking at their reflection in shop windows and women who’ve lost their jobs and sit on a bench in the garden at the station to eat a sandwich and women who’ve been dumped by a man and sit on a bench in the garden at the station and dab a little powder on their faces.
I’ve met so many women I am now certain I’ll soon discover in each of them something to commiserate—a large or small concern, kept more or less secret: the tendency to fall into the well and find in it the possibility of boundless suffering that men don’t know….
PS: I also posted this on Post.News, a new site that may replace might end up being “Twitter for Reasonable People”. You have to apply to open an account. There’s a waiting list but when I applied, the wait wasn’t very long.