Writes Amanda Marcotte, mangling or accidentally getting close to the famous Samuel Johnson quote:
I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. Johnson: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."It's not that anyone thinks the woman preaching ceases to be a woman or the dog walking on its hind legs ceases to be a dog. It's that people act impressed simply because it happened and fail to hold the creature to the normal standard that would apply to men. I think Johnson's quote is regarded as quite sexist, but — looking only at this quote and not the whole body of Johnson's sayings and writings — it can almost be defended. It's patronizing to mention that a woman did something as if that's remarkable. Did she do it well? If you think women are as capable as men, that should be the question. But Johnson speaks in an aphoristic form that implies that women will never be able to preach well. He did not say — or Boswell did not transcribe his saying —You say a woman preached as you might say a dog walked on his hind legs; let me know when a woman preaches well.