From The Guardian:
Friedrich Engels condemned prostitution but enjoyed it himself; called for equality but dismissed female suffrage. Tristram Hunt on a strangely enlightened sexist
“It is absolutely essential that you get out of boring Brussels for once and come to Paris, and I for my part have a great desire to go carousing with you,” Friedrich Engels wrote to Karl Marx in 1846. “If I had an income of 5000 francs I would do nothing but work and amuse myself with women until I went to pieces. If there were no Frenchwomen, life wouldn't be worth living. But so long as there are grisettes [prostitutes], well and good!” The life of Friedrich Engels, the mill-owning Marxist, was one of supreme self-contradiction – particularly when it came to feminism. He was a socialist who condemned the use of prostitutes as “the most tangible exploitation – one directly attacking the physical body – of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie”, but then regularly enjoyed their services. He demanded female equality, but couldn't bear the company of high-minded women. Engels was the intellectual architect of socialist feminism, and an old-fashioned sexist.