Wiesner__276-294 - HEE‘VIDENCE . .;. Source 1 from...

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Unformatted text preview: HEE‘VIDENCE . .;. Source 1 from Pierre—Joseph Proudhon, De la Justice dans la Revolution et dans I’Eglise (Paris, 193 5). Excerpts from Susan Groag Bell and Karen M. Ofi‘en, eds, Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, Vol. 1 (Stanford: Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Ir. University, 1983), pp. 325~33o. Used with the permission of Stanford Unzoerszty Press, www.3up.org. 1. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon on Women’s Equality, 1858 Are man and woman each other’s equals or equivalents? Or are they merely complementary to one another, in such a manner that there can be neither equality nor equivalence between them? In any case, what is the social func— tion of woman? Following from this, what is her dignity? What is her right? How should she be considered in the Republic? . . . PHYSICAL INFERIORITY OF WOMEN It is a fact of life, common to all mammals, thatuntil puberty the make—up of the young man and the girl are scarcely different, but from/t1}; momgnt mascu- linedevelopment begins, man takes the lead in several respects: the squareness of his shoulders, the thickness of his neck, the hardness of his muscles, the girth of his biceps, the strength of his loins, the agility of his entire body, the power of his voice. It is a fact that the development can be arrested and re— tained, so to speak, in the neutral state by mutilating the young male; and that the adult male himself, undergoing castration, redescends insensiny and loses his virile qualities, as if by the generative faculties with which he is endowed the man, before engendering his kind, engenders himself and brings himself to a degree of strength such as woman never attains. It is also a fact of life that the abuse of amorous encounters and seminal losses, like castration itself, deprives man of his strength and its accompanying qualities—uagility, ardor, courage—and that the age at which he begins to grow old is that at which his organs produce less of this semen, of which the greatest part is used, it appears, for the production of strength. Finally, it is a fact of life that between individual males the differencesin strength and physical agility are not generally proportional to the height, mass, and weight, but to Virile energy and to the relative efficiency with which this energy serves and maintains the system. . . According to these observations, therefore, the physical inferigijty of weanflhsrrgaadetheregeneenlirity- " Tfiéljompleftgehhgnlflbgmg, adequate to his destiny (1 am speaking here of phySique),_i_smifla male, who by means of his Virility attains the highest degree [276] of muscular and nervous tension that his nature and his destiny require, and thereby the maximum of activity in work and in combat. The woman is a diminutive of man, and lackswan organ necessary. to become amthiggettéflhahififfiéfifiatadslt Why has nature given only to man this seminal Virtue, whereas it has made woman a passive being, a receptacle for the seed that man alone produces, a place of incubation—like the earth for the grain of wheat—by itself an inert organ, lacking its own goal, which can be activated only by the fertilizing ac- tion of the father, but for another goal than that of the mother? This contrasts with the case of man, for whom the generative power has its positive utility in- dependent of generation itself. Such an arrangement can have no reason to exist other than in the couple and the family; it presupposes the subordination of the subiect, outside which its self-sufficiency would be impossible, and it could rightly speak of itself as afflicted by nature and as the suffering Victim of Providence. . . . Whatever the inequality of vigor, suppleness, agility, constancy, that one can observe between men and women, it can be said without much risk of error that on the average t_h,e ratigifphysigaligrce of’manhto that_of WOIIIaIL is 3 to 2. Thus, from this perspective, the numerical__ratio of 3 to 2 indicates the ratio gfyalue between the sexes. . . . M‘W’M' “ What—l have saidsdwfar'is based on theory: in practice, the condition of woman encounters an even greater subordination through maternity. . . , Without mentioning her periods, which take up eight days of the month, ninety—six days per year, one must count nine months for pregnancy; for recov— ery, forty days; for nursing, 12 to 15 months; for child care after weaning, five years: for a total of seven years for a single birth. In the case of four births at two-year intervals, maternity requires twelve years from a woman. Here we must not engage in quibbling or haggling. No doubt the pregnant woman and the nursing mother, along with some one who cares for bigger children, is capable of some service. In my own estimate, during these twelve years the woman’s time is absorbed almost entirely in bearing and raising chil— dren; whatever she can do beyond this without deteriorating is strictly fortu- itous, and thus she and her children inevitably become dependent on man. If, therefore, during the better part of her eXistence, woman”; ccmdernned by her nature to subsist only with thgflhelpmfggnam if lie—whether father, thiEbTierj or lover—:de—finitively becomes her sole protector and sup- plier, how (1 reason always from pure logic and without regard to any other in- fluence), how, I say, will he be able to submit to the control and the direction of a woman? How is it that she who does not work [for a living], who lives on the work of others, could—in her continual pregnancies and births—govern the worker? However you propose to regulate the relations of the sexes and the education of children—~whether in a Platonic community or by an insur— ance system, as M. de Girardin proposes-won if you prefer, by maintaining the [2771 u: monogamous couple and the family—whatever you do, you arrive at this same result—that woman, because of her o/rgamkness and the interesting situation she inevitably falls into (however little the man~contributes to it), will be fatally and juridically excluded from all political, administrative, doctrinal, industrial governance, and from all military action. INTELLECTUAL INFERIORITY OF WOMEN Like man, woman has five senses; she is constituted like man; like man she sees, she smells, she feeds herself, she walks, she loves. From the standpoint of physical force, she lacks only one thing in order to rival man, which is to pro— duce seed. Similarly, from the standpoint of intelligence, woman has perceptions, memory, imagination; she is capable of paying attention, of reflecting, of judg— ing. Whgglogshgfllagglloprgduce seeds, that is to say, ideas; what the Latins Elledggfliiis, the generative faculty"5f%in61. What is genius? . . . Genius is . z . Virility of spirit and its accompanying powers of abstraction, generalization, invention, conceptualization, which are lacking in equal mea- sure in children, eunuchs, and women. And such is the solidarity of the two or— gans that, just as the athlete must separate himself from woman in order to conserve his vigor, the thinker must also separate himself in order to conserve his genlus—as if the reabsorption of the semen were any less necessary to the brain of the latter than to the muscles of the former. . . . To the generation of ideas as to the generation [of children] woman brings nothing of her own; she is a passive, enervating being, whose conversation ex- hausts you as much as her embraces. He who wishes to conserve in its entirety the strength of his body and his mind will flee her: she is a murderer. . . . Since, in View of all that I have said, intelligence correlates with strength, we rediscover here the ratio established earlier, that is, that the intellectual power of man is 3, and that of woman, 2. And insofar as in economic, political, and Soc1al action the strength of the body and that of the mind go in tandem and are multiplied by one another, the physical and intellectual Value of man will be, with respect to the physical and intellectual value of woman, as 3 X 3 is to 2 x 2, that is as 9 is to 4. No doubt woman contributes, insofar as she is able, to the social order and to the production of wealth, and it is just that her voice should be heard. But, whereas in general assembly the vote of the man will count as 9, that of woman will count as 4. Thus do arithmetic and Justice agree. MORAL INFERIORITY OF WOMAN 7 But is it true that in the moral order of things, from the standpoint of Jus- tice, of liberty, courage, and modesty, woman might be the equal of man? A1— [278] ready we have seen that, in both, intelligence is proportional to strength; how can virtue not also be proportional? : . , The question becomes one of asking whether woman possesses her own virtue, every bit of it, or whether by chance she does not derive her moral value, in part or in totality, from man, just as we know she derives her intellec— tual value thus. . . . regeiyeszheiintsllect By nature unproductive, me sense of Justice or modesty, she requires a father, a brother, a lover, a husband, a master, a man of some sort to give her, if I may put it this way, the where— withal that will render her capable of the virile virtues, and of soc1al and intel— lectual faculties. From this one can appreCiate her devotion to love; it is not merely the in— stinct for maturity that encourages her; it is the emptiness of her soul, the need for courage, Justice, and honor that propel her. For her it is insuffiCient to be chaste, virgo; she must also become a heroine, virago. Her heart and her brain require fertilization no less than her body. . i 7 All these facts about the physical and moral comparableness of man and woman must be stated, not in a vain spirit of denigration and for the stupid pleasure of exalting one sex at the expense of the other, but because they reveal the truth, because truth alone is moral and cannot be mistaken by anyone for either praise or insult. If Nature wanted. the two sexes to be unequal and thereby united according to the law of subordination rather than by that of equivalence, she had her reasons—deeper and more conclusive than the utopias of the philosophers, and more advantageous not only to man, but to woman, to the child, to the entire family. It has long been said that the further humanity has risen from its base origins, the more glorious its morality has be— come. What is true for the conjugal collectivity is equally true for each individ— ual partner; leave to man the heroism, the genius, the jurisdictions that are his prerogative, and you will soon see woman succeed in overcoming the imper— fections of her nature to arrive at an incomparable transparence, which by it- self is worth the sum of our virtues. Thus, follow our reasoning to its conclusion. Inferior to man in conscrence as much as in intellectual and muscular power, woman finds herself as member of domestic as well as of civil soc1ety definitively relegated to the second rank; from the moral point of View as well as from the physical and intellectual point of view, her comparative value is still 2 to 3. And since society is constituted according to a combination of these three el— ements—work, science, and Justice—the total value of man and womanwtheir relationship and consequently their comparative share of influence will be 3 X 3X3tozx2x2,or27to8. [279] Under these conditions, woman cannot pretend to balance man’s virile power; her subordination is inevitable. According both to Nature and before Justice she weighs only a third of man; this means that the emanc1pation being sought in her name would be the legal consecration of her misery, if not of her servitude. The sole hope remaining to her is to find, without violating Justice, an arrangement that will redeem her: all. my readers have identified this arrangement as marriage. Source 2 from “An Appeal Against Female Safirage,” The Nineteenth Century 147 (lime 1889): 781785. Reprinted in Bonnie G. Smith, Changing Lives: Women in European His— tory Since 1700 (Lexington, Mass: DC. Heath, 1989), pp. 3 58—3 59. 2. Mrs. Humphrey Ward, "An Appeal Against Female Suffrage,” 1889 We, the undersigned, wish to appeal to the common sense and the educated thought of the men and women of England against the proposed extension of the Parliamentary suffrage to women. While desiring the fullest possible development of the powers, energies, and education of women, we believe that their work for the State, and their re- sponsibilities towards it, must always differ essentially from those of men, and that therefore their share in the working of the State machinery should be dif- ferent from that assigned to men. Certain large departments of the national life are of necessity worked exclusively by men. To men belong the struggle of de- bate and legislation in Parliament; the working of the army and navy; all the heavy, laborious, fundamental industries of the State, such as those of mines, metals, and railways; the lead and superVISion of English commerce, the ser- vice of that merchant fleet on which our food supply depends. At the same time we are heartin in sympathy with all the recent efforts which have been made to give women a more important part in those affairs of the community where their interests and those of. men are equally concerned; where it is possible for them not only to decide but to help in carrying out, and where, therefore, judgment is weighted by a true responsibility, and can be guided by experience and the practical information which comes from it. As voters for or members of School Boards, Boards of Guardians, and other im- portant public bodies, women have now opportunities for public usefulness which must promote the growth of character, and at the same time strengthen among them the social sense and habit. But we believe that the emancipating process has now reached the limits fixed by the physical constitution of women, and by the fundamental difference which must always exist between their main occupations and those of men. The care of the sick and the insane; the treatment of the poor; the education of children: in all these matters, and [280] others besides, they have made good their claim to larger and more extended powers. We rejoice in it. But when it comes to questions of foreign or colonial policy, or of grave constitutional change, then we maintain that the necessary and normal experience of women does not and can never provide them with such materials for sound judgment as are open to men. In conclusion: nothing can be further from our minds than to seek to depre~ ciate the position or the importance of women, It is because we are keenly alive to the enormous value of their special contribution to the community, that we oppose what seems to us likely to endanger that contribution. We are con— Vinced that the pursuit of a mere outward equality with men is for women not only vain but demoralizing. It leads to a total misconception of women’s true dignity and special mission. It tends to personal struggle and rivalry, where the only effort of both the great divismns of the human family should be to contribute the characteristic labour and the best gifts of each to the common stock. Source 3 from Almroth E. Wright, The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage (Lon— don, 1913). Reprinted and excerpted in Marvin Perry, Sources of the Western Tradition: from the Renaissance to the Present (Boston: Houghton Miffli’n, 1999), pp. 226~228. 3. Almroth E. Wright, The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Sufi‘rage, 1913 The primordial argument against givrng woman the vote is that that vote would not represent physical force. Now it is by physical force alone and by prestige—which represents phySi~ cal force in the background—that a nation protects itself against foreign inter~ ference, upholds its rule over subject populations, and enforces its own laws. And nothing could in the end more certainly lead to war and revolt than the decline of the military spirit and loss of prestige which would inevitably fol~ low if man admitted woman into political co-partnership. . . . [A] write and imperial race will not brook any attempt at forcible control by women. Again, no military foreign nation or native race would ever believe in the stamina and firmness of purpose of any nation that submitted even to the semblance of such control. . . , The woman voter would be pernicious to the State not only because she could not back her vote by physrcal force, but also by reason of her intellectual defects. Woman’s mind . . . arrives at conclusions on incomplete ev1dence; has a very imperfect sense of proportion; accepts the congenial as true, and rejects the un- congenial as false; takes the imaginary which is desired for reality, and treats the undesued reality which is out of sight as nonexistent—building up for [281] itself in this way, when biased by predilections and aversions, a very unreal picture of the external world. The explanation of this is to be found in all the physiological attachments of woman’s mind: in the fact that mental images are in her overintimately linked up with emotional reflex responses; that yielding to such reflex responses gives gratification; that intellectual analysis and suspense of judgment involve an in- hibition of reflex responses which is felt as neural distress; that precipitate judgment brings relief from this physiological strain; and that woman looks upon her mind not as an implement for the pursuit of truth, but as an instru— ment for prov1ding her with creature comforts in the form of agreeable mental images. . . . In further illustration of what has been said above, it may be pointed out that woman, even intelligent woman, nurses all sorts of misconceptions about herself. She, for instance, is constantly picturing to herself that she can as a worker lay claim to the same all—round efficiency as a man—forgetting that woman is notoriously unadapted to tasks in which severe physmal hardships have to be confronted; and that hardly any one would, if other alternative of- fered, employ a woman in any work which imposed upon her a combined physical and mental strain, or in any work where emergencies might have to be faced. . . . Yet a third point has to come into consideration in connexion with the woman voter. This is, that she would be pernicious to the State also by virtue of her defective moral equipment. . . . It is only a very exceptional woman who would, when put to her election between the claims of a narrow and domestic and a Wider or public morality, subordinate the former to the latter. In ordinary life, at any rate, one finds her following in such a case the sug— gestions of domestic—I had almost called it animal—morality. It would be difficult to find any one who would trust a woman to be just to the rights of others in the case where the material interests of her children, or of a devoted husband, were involved. And even to conSider the question of being in such a case intellectually just to any one who came into competition with personal belongings like husband and child would, of course, lie quite be— yond the moral horizon of ordinary woman. ; . . In this matter one would not be very far from the truth if one alleged that there are no good women, but only women who have lived under the influence of good men. . . . The proposal to bring man and woman together everywhere into extremely intimate relationships raises very grave questions. It brings up, first, the ques— tion of sexual complications; secondly, the question as to whether the tradition of modesty and reticence between the sexes is to be definitely sacrificed; and, most important of all, the question as to whether [bringing men and women together] would place obstacles in the way of intellectual work. . . . What we have to ask is whether—even if we leave out of regard the whole system of attractions or, as the case may be, repulsions which comes into oper- [282] w.___-___ ~.*..__mm_~_.—flflm~w-m ation when the sexes are thrown together—purely intellectual intercourse be- tween man and the typical unselected woman is not barred by the intellectual immoralities and limitations which appear to be secondary sexual characters of woman. , . . V Wherever we look we find aversion to compulsory intellectual co—operation with woman. We see it in the sullen attitude which the ordinary male student takes up towards the presence of women students in his classes. We see it in the fact that the older English universities, which have conceded everything else to women, have made a strong stand against making them actual mem- bers of the university; for this would impose them on men as intellectual asso- c1ates. Again we see the aversion in the opposition to the admissmn of women to the bar. I : But we need not look so far afield. Practically every man feels that there is in women—patent, or hidden away—an element of unreason which, when you come upon it, summarily puts an end to purely intellectual intercourse. . . , From these general questions, which affect only the woman with intellectual aspirations, we pass to consider what would be the effect of feminism upon the rank and file of women if it made of these co—partners with man in work. They would suffer, not only because woman’s physiological disabilities and the re— strictions which arise out of her sex place her at a great disadvantage when she has to enter into competition with man, but also because under feminism man would be less and less disposed to take off woman’s shoulders a part of her burden. . V And there can be no dispute that the most valuable finanCial asset of the or— dinary woman is the possibility that a man may be willing—and may, if only woman is disposed to fulfil her part of the bargain, be not only Willing but anx— ious—to support her, and to secure for her, if he can, a measure of that freedom which comes from the possession of money. In View of this every one who has a real fellow-feeling for woman, and who is concerned for her material welfare, as a father is concerned. for his daugh— ter’s, will above everything else desire to nurture and encourage in man the sentiment of chivalry, and in woman that disposition of mind that makes chivalry possible. . And the woman workers who have to fight the battle of life for themselves would indirectly profit from this fostering of chivalry; for those women who are supported by men do not compete in the limited labour market which is open to the woman worker. _ From every point of View, therefore, except perhaps that of the exceptional woman who would be able to hold her own against masculine competition— and men always issue informal letters of [admission] to such an exceptional woman—the woman suffrage which leads up to feminism would be a soc1al disaster. Source 4 from the Research Librarzes, New York Public Library. 1847, German cartoon. Reprmted in Bonme S. Anderson, Joyous Greetings: The First International Women's Movement, 18304860 (New York: Oxford Unzversz'ty Press, 2000), p. 98. 4. German Cartoons of "Emancipated Women,” 1847 émnmthc Emu-u em: Em magma. ‘ ' m 1mm». __.-_._,.__..._.___. ._._-___._._.__ _‘_._....__. __.___,__ _--..v.... ...__.____ _._m__._ _.._._._...,.., .—.——.—..—.._.———____—_(_.__—_—.—————_—_.—_—.—. w-——W Source 5 from the Prmt Collection, New York Public Library. Honore Daumier, from Les Femmes Somalistes for Charivari, May 23, 1849. 5. Daumier Cartoon from the Series "Socialist Women,” 1849 The Source 6A from Ieanne Deroin, “Aux Citoyens Francais,” La Voix des Femmes, no. 7 (March 27, 1848). Translated and reprinted in Susan Groag Bell and Karen M. Ofi‘en, eds, Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, vol. I (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1983), pp. 247—248. Source 68 from Derain’s election poster and “Réponse a Proudhon. ” Translated and reprinted in Susan Groag Bell and Karen M. Ofi‘e‘n, eds., Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, vol. 1 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1983), pp. 280, 281. Source 6C from [Jeanne Derozn], "A M. Michetet. Drolt politique des femmes.” Translated and reprinted zn Susan Groag Bell and Karen M. Oflen, eds, Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, vol. I (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1983), pp. 282—284. 6. Jeanne Deroin on Women’s Rights, 1848—1849 6A. The reign of brute force has ended; that of morality and intelligence has just begun. The motives that led our fathers to exclude women from all participa— tion in the governance of the State are no longer valid. When every question was decrded by the sword, it was natural to believe that women—who could not take part in combat—should not be seated in the assembly of warriors. In those days it was a question of destroying and conquering by the sword; today it is a question of building and of organizing. Women should be called on to take part in the great task of soc1al regeneration that is under way. Why should our country be deprived of the services of its daughters? Liberty, equality, and frat rifyhavewbggn“ proclaimed for all. Why should “7011139 bablfllfil‘yfyfiifiliil.sat_..x3§19.£gl£ilbzvithofillgefiégfiéfifiifits of 115mm they be excused from paying taxeifind'from obeying—the laws of the State? Will they be obliged to obey the laws and to pay the taxes imposed upon them? Are they to become the helots of your new Republic? N0, citizens, you do not want this; the mothers of your sons cannot be slavesl We address this just de— mand not merely to the provisional government, which alone cannot decide a question that is of interest to the entire nation. We come to plead our cause—so holy, so legitimate—before the Citizens’ assembly: our cause is theirs. They will not want to be accused of injustice. When they abolish all privileges, they will not think of conservmg the worst one of all and leaving one—half of the nation under the domination of the other half. They will at least give us a role in national rep- resentation; some women chosen among the most worthy, the most honorable, the most capable, will be nominated by the men themselves, to come forth in de- fense of the rights of their sex and the generous principles of our glorious Revo— lution. Liberty, equality, and fraternity will thus be realized. [286] 6B. [Derozn’s election poster, addressed to the Electors of the Department of the Seine] Citizens: V I present myself for your votes, out of devotion to the consecration of a great principle: the civil and political equality of the sexes. r 7 It is in the name of justice that I appeal to the sovereign people against negating the great princ1ples that are the foundation for the future of our society. If, using your right, you call upon woman to take part in the work of the Legislative Assembly, you will consecrate our republican dogmas in all their integrity: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity for all women as well as for all men. A Legislative Assembly composed entirely of men is as incompetent tc make the laws that rule a society of men and women, as an assembly composed en— tirely of privileged people to debate the interests of workers, or an assembly of capitalists to sustain the honor of the country. Jeanne Derom, Candidate [Ieanne Derozn: "Reply to Proudhon”) Citizen Editorl I i I beg you to insert my reply to the peculiar protest on the SLIb]€ClZ of my can— didacy that appeared in the journal Le Peuple. 7 By putting forth my candidacy to the Legislative Assembly have accom— plished a duty: I demanded, in the name of public-morality and in the name ofustice, that the dogma of equality should not be a lie. ‘ It is precisely because woman is equal to man, and yet not identical to him, that she should take part in the work of soc1a1 reform and incorporate in it those necessary elements that are lacking in man, so that the work can be com— plete. r ‘ ‘ . I Liberty for woman, as for man, is the right to utilize and to develop one 5 faculties freely. 6C. That’s betterl The lines are drawn and clear! To the question so often asked of you: “What do you think of women’s political rights?” you replied in your last lecture: “Women have the same rights as men, but the means of exercising these rights is not possible under present conditions—we therefore appeal to women themselves.” . . . 7 Because you appealed to women’s sentiments in this Circumstance, Mon— s1eur, I shall try to reply in their name. I ought to do so all the more, perhaps, because of a remarkable fact, which cannot have escaped attentive observers, that proves to me that in contradicting your conclusions on this subiect I am in truth the faithful interpreter of woman’s sentiments. [287] [~14 Men, to 1udge by your auditors, agree entirely with your Views on votes for women. . , But did the women agree with this point of View? Did they also applaud? No, Mon51eur, not one did so; and yet usually on every other ques— tion, upon hearing your sympathetic voice the applause of both sexes is min— gled and blended. Whence came this quite exceptional reserve of the women upon a point that touches them so closely? Did that reserve not carry the weight of a protest? As far as I am concerned, I did not understand it otherWise and, moreover, I have observed that woman's good sense, easily displayed on the spur of the moment, has later been proved correct by reason. But let us return to your very words, in order to examine various state— ments. When you say: "Women have the same rights as men," you offer in its com- pleteness a princ1ple that is increasingly accepted by free thinkers and inde— pendent spirits. But is it the same when you add: "Women under present conditions cannot exerc1se their political rights without compromising the cause of progress:”? On this point we utterly disagree. I believe, on the contrary, that our actual conditions are eminently favorable for the exercise of political rights by women. Let us consider a case in which women present themselves at the ballot boxes. What would happen in such a case? Are there large numbers of politically inclined women? That is the first ques- tion. This is immaterial; it is not the right question to ask. Are these women of the people or of the bourgeoisie? Are they those who are called Ladies? None of this is significant. Those women who would like to exercise their right to vote would present themselves in the name of the law; they would claim their privilege, they would base themselves on our republican institutions; that is all. What would happen then? The situation, it will no doubt be said, could become embarrass— ing, if not downright ridiculous. That is no response. Republicans, Democrats, Soc1alists all agree unanimously that allowmg women to vote under present con— ditions would be the greatest disaster for the Republic and for the cause of progress and, consequently, women who present themselves must be told that they cannot be allowed to vote. Very well, but if these ladies persist, saying that to let them vote is not at all the same thing as to make them vote; if they protest against the illegality committed against their persons, concerning their RIGHTS as women? If, finally, they require that a formal attestation of denial of justice be drawn up, to document the injustice they claim to have suffered, how will you extricate yourself from that embarrassment, and which side will you take? Have no doubt, sir; this is the manner in which the question will soon be posed and, indeed, the manner in which it has already been raised by a coura- geous woman, Madame Pauline Roland.5 But that was an individual case, which occurred in the provinces and, thus, did not make a great noise. 5, N, Pauline Roland was a Frenchwomen who tried to register to vote in 1848. [288] Do not believe, however, that this example will be lost. On the contrary, you may be sure that it will be repeated and multiplied. Do you not sense this when you see the persistence with which women come back to that very ques- tion on every occasion? Is this not a sure indication of the importance they at— tach to this question? 7 I One woman presented herself in the provinces but in Paris a hundred Will present themselves. I _ That number is not at all impresswe, you say? So much the better! You Will be better able to choose sides before the number increases to infinity. Do you wish to make a fiction of the law? Do you wish to repulse women in spite of the law and in the most flagrantly illegal manner? , . . That would be a disastrous course. This protest of a few women, this example of civic courage and,_ above all else, your moral persecution will perhaps produce the spark that Wlll leap all the way to the domestic hearth to kindle the fire of independence and liberty! One should not play either with justice or with fire. Justice is the sacred fire of the conscience; cursed be they who do not tend it! . . . To return to the question that concerns us—and to preserve the future from the evils we fear just as much as you do—I have but one thing to say, and I ad— dress it to all who cherish the realization of orderly progress. I Do you wish to be [List as well as prudent? Do you wish to remain Within the bounds of legality? Then let women vote freely, and. take care only that nothing is changed for them in the present conditions of the vote. These condi- tions are the very guarantees of progress; every honest opinion submits to them easily. Source 7 from john Stuart Mill, The Sub}ection of Women (London, 1869). Reprinted and ex— cerpted :11 Marvin Perry, Sources of the Western Tradition: From the Renaissance to the Present (Boston: Houghton szfli’n, 1999), pp. 219—221. 7. From John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women, 1869 The object of this Essay is to explain, as clearly as I am able, the grounds of an opinion which I have held from the very earliest period when I had formed- any opinions at all on social or political matters, and which, instead of being weakened or modified, has been constantly growing stronger by the progress of reflection and the experience of life: That the principle which regulates the existing soc1al relations between the two sexes—the legal, subordination of one sex to the other—is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one Side, nor disability on the other. . . [289] 1’4! . A The adoption of this system of inequality never was the result of deliber— ation, or forethought, or any social ideas, or any notion whatever of what con~ duced to the benefit of humanity or the good order of socrety. It arose Simply from the fact that from the very earliest twilight of human society, every woman (owing to the value attached to her by men, combined with her inferi- ority in muscular strength) was found in a state of bondage to some man. . . . But, it will be said, the rule of men over women differs from all these others in not being a rule of force: it is accepted voluntarily; women make no com- plaint, and are consenting parties to it. In the first place, a great number of women do not accept it. Ever since there have been women able to make their sentiments known by their writings (the only mode of publicity which society permits to them), an increasing number of them have recorded protests against their present social condition: and recently many thousands of them, headed by the most eminent women known to the public, have petitioned Parliament for their admission to the parliamentary suffrage. The claim of women to be educated as solidly, and in the same branches of knowledge, as men, is urged with growing intensity, and with a great prospect of success; while the demand for their admission into professions and occupations hitherto closed against them becomes every year more urgent. Though there are not in this country, as there are in the United States, periodical Conventions and an organized party to agitate for the Rights of Women, there is a numerous and active Society or— ganized and managed by women, for the more limited object of obtaining the political franchise. Nor is it only in our own country and in America that women are beginning to protest, more or less collectively, against the disabili- ties under which they labour. France, and Italy, and Switzerland, and Russra now afford examples of the same thing. How many more women there are who silently cherish similar aspirations, no one can possibly know; but there are abundant tokens how many would cherish them, were they not so strenu— ously taught to repress them as contrary to the proprieties of their sex. . . . Men do not want solely the obedience of women, they want their sentiments. All men, except the most brutish, desire to have, in the woman most nearly con— nected with them, not a forced slave but a willing one; not a slave merely, but a favourite. They have therefore put everything in practice to enslave their minds. The masters of all other slaves rely, for maintaining obedience, on fear; either fear of themselves, or religious fears. The masters of women wanted more than sim— ple obedience, and they turned the whole force of education to effect their pur- pose. All women are brought up from the very earliest years in the belief that their ideal of character is the very opposite to that of men; not self-will, and gov— ernment by self—control, but submissmn, and yielding to the control of others. All the moralities tell them that it is the duty of women, and all the current senti- mentalities that it is their nature, to live for others; to make complete abnegation of themselves, and to have no life but in their affections. And by their affections are meant the only ones they are allowed to have—those to the men with whom they are connected, or to the children who constitute an additional and indefea- [29o] sible tie between them and a man. When we put together three things—first, the natural attraction between opposite sexes; secondly, the wife’s entire depen— dence on the husband, every privilege or pleasure she has being either his gift, or depending entirely on his will; and lastly, that the principal object of human pur— suit, consideration, and all objects of social ambition, can in general be sought or obtained by her only through him—it would be a miracle if the object of being at— tractive to men had not become the polar star of feminine education and forma— tion of character. And, this great means of influence over the minds of women having been acquired, an instinct of selfishness made men avail themselves of it to the utmost as a means of holding women in subjection, by representing to them meekness, submissweness, and resignation of all individual will into the hands of a man, as an essential part of sexual attractiveness. Can it be doubted that any of the other yokes which mankind have succeeded in breaking would have subsisted till now if the same means had eXistecl, and had been as sedu~ lously [diligently] used to bow down their minds to it? On the other point which is involved in the just equality of women, their ad— missibility to all the functions and occupations hitherto retained as the monop- oly of the stronger sex. . . I believe that their disabilities [in occupation and Civil life] elsewhere are only clung to in order to maintain their subordination in domestic life; because the generality of the male sex cannot yet tolerate the idea of living with an equal. Were it not for that, I think that almost every one, in the existing state of opinion in politics and political economy, would admit the injustice of excluding half the human race from the greater number of lu- crative occupations, and from almost all high social functions; ordaining from their birth either that they are not, and cannot by any possibility become, fit for employments which are legally open to the stupidest and basest of the other sex, or else that however fit they may be, those employments shall be inter- dicted to them, in order to be preserved for the excltiSive benefit of males. . . . It will perhaps be sufficient if I confine myself in the details of my argu~ ment, to functions of a public nature: Since, if 1 am successful as to those, it probably will be readily granted that women should be admissible to all other occupations. . . .And here let me begin . . . [with] the suffrage, both parliamen— tary and munic1pa1. . . . To have a v01ce in choosmg those by whom one is to be governed, is a means of self—protection due to every one, though he were to remain for ever excluded from the function of governing. . . Under whatever conditions, and within whatever limits, men are admitted to the suffrage, there is not a shadow of justification for not admitting women under the same. The majority of the women of any class are not likely to differ in political opinion from the major— ity of the men of the same class, unless the question be one in which the inter— ests of women, as such, are in some way involved; and if they are so, women require the suffrage, as their guarantee of just and equal cons1deration. . . . With regard to the fitness of women, not only to participate in elections, but themselves to hold offices or practise professmns involvmg important public [291] responsibilities; I have already observed that this consideration is not essential to the practical question in dispute: since any woman, who succeeds in an open profeSSion, proves by that very fact that she is qualified for it. And in the case of public offices, if the political system of the country is such as to exclude unfit men, it will equally exclude unfit women: while if it is not, there is no ad— ditional evil in the fact that the unfit persons whom it admits may be either women or men. . . . . . There is no country of Europe in which the ablest men have not frequently experienced, and keenly appreciated, the value of the adVice and help of clever and experienced women of the world, in the attainment both of private and of public objects; and there are important matters of public administration to which few men are equally competent with such women; among others, the detailed control of expenditure. But what we are now discussing is not the need which so— Ciety has of the serVices of women in public business, but the dull and hopeless life to which it so often condemns them, by forbidding them to exercise the prac— tical abilities which many of them are conscious of, in any Wider field than one which to some of them never was, and to others is no longer, open. If there is any- thing vitally important to the happiness of human beings, it is that they should relish their habitual pursuit [that is, they should be happy in their work]. This requisite of an enjoyable life is very imperfectly granted, or altogether denied, to a large part of mankind; and by its absence many a life is a failure, which is pro— Vided, in appearance, with every requisite of success. Source 8 from the French Union for Women’s Suflmge (Paris, 1913). Translated and reprinted in Lisa di Caprio and Merry E. Wicsner, Lives and V01ces: Sources in European Women’s History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001), pp. 385—386. Reprinted by permisszon of the Houghton Mifllin Company. 8. The French Union for Women’s Suffrage Report, “The Question of the Vote for Women,” 1913 SOME ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF THE VOTE FOR WOMEN We are going to try to prove that the vote for women is a just, possible and de- sirable reform. It is just that a woman vote. Aflemaaissuhmjhe lawcpays.i:lirect_an§tiasiirecméemlist as a Plan dOESLiflaflQWQf—Mmyfitéelflfil taéeexarscmmamLi/ramert. A woman possesses her own property; she can inherit, make a will; she has an interest in havmg her say in the laws relating to property. A woman has responsibility in the family; she ought to be consulted about the laws establishing her rights and duties with respect to her husband, her children, her parents. [292] Women work—and in ever greater numbers; a statistic of established that at that date 6,4o0,99gfrenghlmmegwegegaigfully employed, that the proportion of fenialeflworkers was 42 per cent of the wordeii‘oVer thirteen years of age, and that the number of women workers was 3 5 per cent of the total number of workers, both male and female. If she is in business, she, like any busmessman, has interests to protect; it would be unjust for her not to be represented in the Chambers of Commerce, and in the regulatory bodies and courts dealing with commercial matters. Many questions pertaining to busmess can be deCided only by the MuniCipal Councils and regulatory bodies. If a woman is a worker or a domestic, she ought to participate as a man does in voting on unionization laws, laws covering workers’ retirement, social secu- rity, the limitation and regulation of work hours, weekly days off, labor con— tracts, etc. If she is a civil servant (postal employee, schoolteacher, professor), should she not have the right to give her opinions on the questions of her salary, of her service, of vacations, of the special rules to which she is subject? If she is a doc— tor, lawyer, writer, artist, she must fight to make her rights recognized. And the others, who do not yet work but who will have to work in View of the increas— ing costs of the necessities of life, will also have to fight to assure that new ca— reers will be open to them as well as to men. Certainly many beneficial reforms have been made on behalf of women, in the name of justice, by a legislature composed of men. But in order for them to correspond to the real rights of women it is necessary that the latter participate in their establishment. A woman is from this day on capable of voting. Her education has improved considerably; the elementary school curricu— lum for boys and girls is the same, and in coeducational schools girls profit from the instruction at least as much as boys; higher education is available to young women, secondary education is as serious in girls" secondary schools as it is in boys’ secondary schools. Woman’s importance in the family is greater and greater, her moral author- ity and economic power are increasing; new legislation on marriage and di— vorce and on paternity suits tend to make her independent and allow her to develop her personality Finally, her special characteristics of order, economy, patience and resource: fulness will be as useful to society as the characteristics of man and will favor the establishment of laws too often overlooked until now. The women’s vote will assure the establishment of important social laws. All women will want: To fight against alcoholism, from which they suffer much more than men; To establish laws of health and welfare; To obtain the regulation of female and child labor; [293] To defend young women against prostitution; Finally, to prevent wars and to submit conflicts among nations to courts of arbitration. We will see, by studying what has been accomplished by the women's vote in countries where women have obtained it, that it is legitimate to expect that all these urgent reforms will be realized in France too when French women vote. Source 9 from September 26, 1913, issue of the Vote, the newspaper of the Women’s Freedom League. Reprinted in Lisa (11' Caprzo and Merry E. Wiesner, Lives and Vorces: Sources in Eu— ropean Women’s History (Boston: Hougliton Mifili'n, 2001), p. 392. 9. Pro-suffrage Cartoon, 1913 STUDIES IN NATURAL HISTORY. The Antysuitragyst or Prejudicidon. The Antysuffragyst or Prciudicidon. This curious animal has the smallest brain capacity of any living creature. Its sight is so imperfect that it cannot see turther than the end of its nose; but it has a wonderful capacity for discovering the stupefying plant called "Humbugwort," on which it feeds uoraciously. It is closely allied to the Lunaticodon, and it is a fierce enemy of the Justiceidon. [294] QU‘ ’ STIONS'TO CONSIleR ' As you have no doubt noticed, in some cases arguments on each srde of the women’s rights debate were grounded in fundamentally different premises: Those who rejected women’s full citi— zenship argued that women were in therr very being inferior to men, while those who supported women’s rights argued that men and women were ba- sically equal and that differences came primarily from differing opportunities for education and work. Looking at your notes, which of the authors would you see as best typifying these two positions? On what abstract prin— Ciples are they basing their argument? How are they describing their oppo- nents and supporters? Do you think there would have been much room for discussion among these authors? Along with those who argued that men were superior and those who ar— gued that men and women were equal, you have also no doubt noticed that some of the authors asserted that men and women were diflerent, but that this difference was not necessar— ily a hierarchical one. You may have also noted that this emphasis on the differences between men and women, and on the complementarity of their soc1al roles and functions, emerged in authors on both sides of the women’s rights debate. How would you com- pare, for example, Mrs. Humphrey Ward’s ideas about women’s proper role in the community (Source 2) with the statements about what all women want at the end of the pamphlet by the French Union for Women’s Suf— frage (Source 8)?'Where does Jeanne Deroin (Source 6) seem to fit on the equal versus complementary scale? Why do you think an emphaSis on complementarity led to different p051- tions in terms of women’s full citizen— ship? Along with differing ideas about the relative merits of men and women and the proper limits of their social and political roles, parties on both sides of this debate had differing ideas about the proper bases of citi- zenship itself. Look first at Sources 1 and 3. How do Proudhon and Wright View the relationship between phy— sical force and political rights? Be— tween intellectual ability and political rights? Do they see these as histori- cally variable? Now look at Derom’s argument in Source 6. How does she View the relationship between force and citizenship? What does she see as the proper baSIS of citizenship? Does Mill (Source 7) agree with her on this? The tactics of women’s rights groups varied from country to coun— try; those in England ultimately turned to militant moves such as hunger strikes and other types of Civil disobedience, while in most other countries women used more moder— ate means, such as petition drives (a political tool first developed by women’s groups), lobbying, and let- ters of protest. Some advocates of women’s rights argued that only rights exactly equal to those of men were acceptable, while others re— garded incremental steps as better than nothing, that once some women had the vote it would be easier to gain the vote for others. Looking at Sources 6 through 8, what evxdence do you see of these two opinions? [295] ...
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