Episode 485: The Feminine Mystique

Episode 485

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Ep 485 Dolby

It should go without saying that Frederick is swooning away in the last panel not because he is a female, but because he is Frederick the Great - our at least our version of Frederick the Great.

You have to dig pretty hard to find Frederick saying something positive about the female gender, which is, like everything about Frederick, surprising considering the depth of his intellectual and spiritual relationship with his sister, and that his grandmother, Sophia Charlotte, was one of the most amazing women of the late 17th century, being one of the only people in history to intimidate Peter the Great into mawkish silence. Perhaps because the two principle roadblocks to his expansionist schemes were women - Madame de Pompadour in France and Maria Theresa in Austro-Hungary. Perhaps because his instincts towards ideal platonic relations with men as the purest form of friendship raged at giving way to the confines of a politically opportune marriage. Perhaps it would have been different had he been raised in the female-headed salon culture of Paris rather than the beer-and-snuff-drenched sausagefest of Potsdam. In any case, this is one instance when he did not rise above the standard views of his time, and now, I have a feeling, all of that is going to come crashing down on him... and Voltaire, who was hardly any better, and Newton, who was basically only theoretically aware that women existed, though this is hardly the first time Newton has had to shoulder the sins of his companions.

- Count Dolby von Luckner

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