The following excerpt by the French sociologist Gustave Le Bon was composed in 1879 and is a testament to how far the perception of women has (mercifully!) advanced:
In the most intelligent races, there are a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to those of gorillas than to the most developed male brains. This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion. All psychologists who have studied the intelligence of women recognize today that they represent the most inferior forms of human evolution and that they are closer to children and savages than to an adult, civilized man. They excel in fickleness, inconstancy, absence of thought and logic, and incapacity to reason. Without doubt, there exist some distinguished women, very superior to the average man, but they are as exceptional as the birth of any monstrosity, as for example of a gorilla with two heads; consequently, we may neglect them entirely.
A desire to give them the same education, and to propose the same goals for them, is a dangerous chimera. The day when, misunderstanding the inferior occupations which nature has given her, women leave the home and take part in our battles; on this day a social revolution will begin, and everything that maintains the sacred ties of the family will disappear.
Le Bon also penned The Civilisation of Arabs, 1884 – given his views on women, I am intrigued to discover his views on the Middle East…