venus teaches cupid that no means yes

I’m sure that this was intended to be cute. Indeed, I believe I remember a time when a self of mine would have found it cute. But that time is not now, and that self is not me. In 2017 this “cute” poem and drawing presents as nothing but the the purest spine-chilling rape-culture programming. It’s from The Carolyn Wells Year Book of Old Favorites and New Fancies for 1909, which was a sort of weekly planner with interspersed “light” verse and almanac-type information. The poem at the bottom reads:

The Spelling Lesson

When Venus said: “Spell no for me,”
“N-O,” Dan Cupid wrote with glee,
And smiled at his success;
“Ah, child” said Venus, laughing low,
“We women do not spell it so.
We spell it Y-E-S.”

Art is by Oliver Herford. A footnote (visible on the large version) attributes art and verse both to a 1900 publication Idle Idyls from publisher Dodd Mead and Company.

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