Meaning Of The Woman Movement
( Originally Published 1916 )
VERY few of those engaged in the movements of modern feminism, or of those opposed, realize the depth, the tidal resistlessness, the cosmic character, of the force which is, now quietly and now with turbulence, bringing women into even higher prominence in our civilization.
Most of the things advanced women are striving for are straws, but they show the way the wind blows. Getting the vote, in itself, means little; so also mean little the wearing of trousers, the entrance into the professions or into business, or the capture of any of the superficial privileges traditionally enjoyed by men only. But as indications of the gradual feminization of the race these things mean much.
In a state of nature and of freedom, where society is not continually prevented from normal growth by wars and threatening wars, as has been the case up to this age and everywhere but in America, woman would be naturally the superior and dominant sex.
Ruskin points out that Shakespeare, and Scott, and Dante, and all the greatest masters of literature have not been mistaken in making the heroine always the stronger spiritually. It is she who is queen and disposer, it is for her the hero fights and labors, his reward and his incentive are in her keeping.
Man is the weaker vessel. Only in imperfectly developed races is the strong man master. As culture and intellectual growth advance the reins of control pass into the woman's hands.
Biologists are now intimating that it is probable that Eve was made first and that Adam is the after product created to assist in the perpetuation of the race.
That women now "look up" to men, and are usually clinging vines and leaning, dependent creatures, idle dolls or indolent playthings, is simply due to the lingering influence of centuries of artificial conditions caused by the universal presence of war.
In time to come the woman and not the man will be the Head of the Family. Hers are the children more than his; she carries them while they are being formed; her body and soul is poured into them.
In marriage the man will take the woman's name. All that he achieves will be frankly recognized as caused by her direction. Property rights will be vested in her, not in him.
She it is that has the divine beauty of face and form, and when the struggle shall have been transferred from fists and clubs to ideas and spirit potencies she will naturally assume leadership.
The farther we evolve from beasthood the nearer we approach to a woman-ruled world.
In all the things that tend to the health and soundness of mankind, and hence to "the outpopulating power" of a nation, woman is superior. She has by nature the strength that lies ,in chastity, loyalty, and the appreciation of the higher spiritual quantities of reverence, self-control and idealism. Man is carnal, drunken, and earthy, only kept up to the mark by the enchantment woman casts upon him.
The "mastery" of such men as Napoleon and Bismarck is crude, cheap stuff. The world to-day, and even more tomorrow, needs and will need another kind of mastery, not that of battle might, of Tammany power, of the brutal efficiency of enormous capital, but the mastery of conscience, of the sense of justice, and of the just estimate of human values.
Here woman is supreme. Hail to her, queen of the coming race !
Even today a man does no work worth while except it be to lay it at the feet of the woman he serves.