The Emancipation of Women. (I am not of course saying that this is a bad thing in itself; I am only considering one effect it has had in fact.) One of the determining factors in social life is that in general (there are numerous individual exceptions) men like men better than women like women. Hence, the freer women become, the fewer exclusively male assemblies there are. Most men, if free, retire frequently into the society of their own sex: women, if free, do this less often. In modern social life the sexes are more continuously mixed than they were in earlier periods. This probably has many good results: but it has one bad result. Among young people, obviously, it reduces the amount of serious argument about the ideas. When a young male bird is in the presence of the young female it must (Nature insists) display its plumage. Any mixed society thus becomes the scene of wit, banter, persiflage, anecdote—of everything in the world rather than prolonged and rigorous discussion on ultimate issues, or of those serious masculine friendships in which such discussion arises. Hence, in our student population, a lowering of the metaphysical energy. The only serious questions now discussed are those which seem to have a “practical” importance (i.e. the psychological and sociological problems), for these satisfy the intense practicality and concreteness of the female. That is, no doubt, her glory and her proper contribution to the common wisdom of the race. But the proper glory of the masculine mind, its disinterested concern with truth for truth’s own sake, with the cosmic and the metaphysical, is being impaired. Thus again, as the previous change cuts us off from the past, this cuts us off from the eternal. We are being further isolated; forced down to the immediate and the quotidian. –C.S. Lewis, Modern Man and His Categories of Thought
This phenomenon is now more destructive than ever. We spend more and more time in mixed sex company. Social activity is directed by the dictates of feminine whimsicality. The inability to settle basic questions early – who will be paired with whom? – degrades intellectual seriousness, which degrades civic seriousness, which degrades a nation. Is single-sex education a partial solution?