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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/346

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types of young women created for us by the writers of genius, to whom I referred in my first lecture. That type is physiologically, as well as psychologically, true to nature. It is absolutely necessary as a complement to the masculine type of mind. Both are incomplete by themselves. The world can not do without them both; they correspond to the bodily organization of each sex. Now, if the education process for the female is to be just on the lines of that for the male, if the mold into which the brain of each is to fit is to be the same type—and there is no question of emasculating the male type—then, undoubtedly, in the result, we must expect to find a change in the female type of mind. Very many competent observers say that this is actually very apparent in some of the school-girls of the present day. The unceasing grind at book-knowledge, from thirteen to twenty, has actually warped the woman's nature, and stunted some of her most characteristic qualities. She is, no doubt, cultured, but then she is unsympathetic; learned, but not self-denying. The nameless graces and charms of manner have not been evoked as much as they might have been. Softness is deficient. It takes much to alter the female type of mind, but a few generations of masculine education will go far to make some change. If the main aims and ambitions of many women are other than to be loved, admired, helped, and helpful, to be good wives and mothers with quiverfuls of children, to be self-sacrificing, and to be the centers of home-life, then those women will have undergone a change from the present feminine type of mind. But we must comfort ourselves with Lord Bacon's reflection, that "Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished."

American experience in the education of young women has been very instructive. The natural intelligence, the form of government, and the stimulating climate, have all united in making the standard of education very high for women as well as for young men. The national hurry has tended to make them do much in as short a time as possible too. In the Eastern States—especially Massachusetts—the schools for girls have for many years been most highly elaborated. At first the effects were not much noticed, or they were attributed to the climate, or to the hurry of life, or to the national fondness for pastry; but soon the American physicians sounded the alarm about the way the New England girls were being educated. They pointed out that during education a high pressure was kept up in girls that no constitutions could stand without risk. They pointed to the thinness and the nervousness of American young women. Oliver Wendell Holmes directed attention to the "American female constitution, which collapses just in the middle third of life, and comes out vulcanized India-rubber, if it happens to live through the period when health and strength are most wanted." It was shown how small the families of educated American native-born women were, as compared with those of their German and English sisters, and with the Irish living