“I don’t understand you,” said Alice. “It’s dreadfully confusing!”
“That’s the effect of living in the Patriarchy,” the Queen said kindly: “It always makes me a little giddy at first—”
“Living in the Patriarchy!” Alice repeated in great astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“What sort of things do you do to fight the Patriarchy?” Alice ventured to remark.
“Oh, punishing the Man,” the Queen replied in a careless tone. “For instance, now,” she went on, “there’s the King’s Messenger. He’s in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn’t even begin until next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.”
“Suppose he never commits the crime?” said Alice.
“That would be all the better, wouldn’t it?” the Queen said.
Alice felt there was no denying that. “Of course it would be all the better,” she said: “but it wouldn’t be all the better his being punished.”
“You’re wrong there, at any rate,” said the Queen. “Were you ever discriminated against on the basis of your gender?”
“Only when it was my fault,” said Alice.
“But if you hadn’t been,” the Queen said, “that would have been better still; better, and better, and better!” Her voice went higher with each “better” till it got to quite the full hysteria of feminism at last.
“Only I have been so very mistaken about the world!” Alice said in a melancholy voice; and, at the thought of the injustice in the world, two large tears came rolling down her cheeks.
“Oh, don’t go on like that!” cried the poor Queen, wringing her hands in despair of ever meeting a young girl who wasn’t convinced that the world was fair and just. “Consider what a great girl you are. Consider what a long way you’ve come to-day. Consider what a great joke misandry is. Consider anything, only don’t cry!”
Alice could not help laughing at this, even in the midst of her tears. “Can you keep from crying by considering things?”
“That’s the way it’s done,” the Queen said with great decision: “nobody can do two things at once, you know. Let’s consider your age to begin with—how old are you?”
“I’m 21, actually.”
“You needn’t say ‘actually,'” the Queen remarked. “I can believe it without that. Most women your age don’t believe in feminism.”
“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.
“Can’t you?” said the Queen in a pitying tone. “Try again: take a long deep breath and close your eyes.”
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t be a misandrist!”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve done as much as six misandries before breakfast!”