Should Girls Pay?
( Originally Published 1916 )
SPEAKING of the emancipation of woman and all that, there is one little item that seems to be overlooked. In order to get upon the same footting as man, the woman demands the vote, the right to be a police officer, and to sit on a jury, the privilege of being a lawyer, physician, preacher, and merchant, commercial traveller, author, and clerk, and the eligibility to carry the latch-key.
One thing is passed by in the strife of tongues. It is the right of the woman to pay.
Reference is here had more particularly to young women in re food and drink, taxicabs, car-fare, ice cream sodas, dances, and theatres.
Think, sisters! So long as custom demands that you allow the male to settle the bill at the restaurant when you have consumed ten dollars' worth of birds and vintage, while he has had milk toast, on the plea of indigestion, but for the real reason of impecuniosity, will you not always be upon the level of an inferior, a child, a slave?
Can a girl retain her self-esteem when she permits her masculine escort to count out the ten cents for her chocolate sundae at the drug store, as if forsooth she were some sort of canary-let us not say poodle—to be fed with dainties, that her master may see her eat?
And would not a young lady feel far more in-dependent, and hold up her head with a far prouder mien, if, when she goes to a theatre, she pay her half of the cab fare, of the dinner, of the tickets, and of the supper? Why should she be a pensioner for her amusements upon mere man?
And why should he pay out eleven dollars for a bunch of long-stemmed roses, or, a clump of violets with a yard of purple ribbon, and send said floral offering around to her house? Who is she that she should be tricked out in bouquets like a prize horse? Would it not be more in keeping with woman's new-found live-your-own-lifeness if he were to send to her a flower catalogue, indicate with a blue pencil the kind that he would admire to see her have, and let her pay for her posies herself?
Money is the real badge of servitude. It is economic dependence, they tell us, that is throttling femininity.
Budding suffragettes, therefore, might do well to reflect that if they wish Simon-pure individuality they should insist upon Dutch treat. Then, instead of being "his girl," some one to be sheltered and fought for and paid for by him, she would be a comrade, an equal, and, possibly, a superior.
If you are going to strike at the very core and gist of the whole matter of feminine subserviency, girls, you must pay your own way.
Otherwise you may be some day nothing but a wife.