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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/85

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REPLY TO MISS HARDAKER.

ternity does make large draughts upon the energy of woman is not to be overlooked. But, unless it can be shown that the mental activity of man is ceaseless, that his manual labor diverts no blood from the brain, that his imaginative and reasoning powers keep steadily at work year in and year out, limited only by supply of food, it does not necessarily follow that women must fall behind men in the brain-work of a life-time. Both men and women need mental rest—no brain-worker can keep at the top of his speed for ever; and women whose duties as mothers divert their energy from the brain may overtake men in their voluntary holidays. This fact will have more concrete significance when we reflect that the professional brain-workers in both sexes are in the minority, and that women who are such are usually unmarried, or mothers of small families. At the same time, the labors of men who form the great masses of population are not more stimulating to brain-culture than the vocations of their wives. But, granting what is probably true, that woman as a whole can never show as much mental product as man, because some of her time and energy must be devoted to motherhood, still she may be quite as capable of production. Therefore, any reasoning which excludes women as a class from the advantages of equal mental training with men, on the ground that they must be the mothers of the race, is forcing the activity of women into one channel, and rendering all other efforts (such as the writing of a scientific article, perhaps) unnatural and unwomanly.

But suppose the whole of Miss Hardaker's argument to be founded on true premises, and all her conclusions to be just and accurate, it may yet be pertinently asked, Cut bono? Miss Hardaker would slam the educational doors in women's faces because, being smaller, they are unfit to enter the select retreats of Brobdingnag. But, if justice is to prevail in the rules of admission, the woman who possesses a brain of fifty-six ounces is entitled to precedence over the great majority of males whose brains weigh only forty-nine and a half. Should the environment be more favorable to the woman whose brain-weight is forty-four ounces, she can claim the advantage over the larger male brain whose environment is less favorable. Then, too, the applicants for entrance must be subjected to the test of an eating-match, and the dyspeptic must consent to suicide or rejection. All this must be done, for, although Justice carries her scales, she is blindfolded. She can only weigh brains, food, environment, but can not see the sex of suitors for admission into the new academy. Miss Hardaker must be aware that, were every element in her assumptions true, some women must be greatly superior to the average men, although the highest point reached by the male could not be obtained by the female. Miss Hardaker would, perhaps, object to having the doors of journalism closed against her, because she can never think as profoundly as Lord Bacon, or because in general woman's literary production has not made so fair a showing as man's. It is not long ago since this sort of reasoning