To Henry Higgin’s expostulation, ‘why can’t a woman be more like a man?’… the brief answer is of course that she can; but then she will be less like a woman. Is that progress? Is she made richer or poorer by that? Is humanity made richer or poorer? Or is everyone made richer if woman is more like a woman?
But – do these questions make sense? A woman is born a woman, isn’t she? Can she, as she grows, become more like a woman or less like a woman? Does it make a difference? I think she can; and I think it makes an immense difference. This implies – as I believe – that sexual identity, masculine or feminine, is not just a ‘given’ at birth, but also a goal to be sought; and to be achieved – or not. Some aspects of feminine identity and its achievement are what I propose to consider in this study.