Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/45

This page has been validated.

tastes, those who were fascinated by power, bodily or mental, and who married men able to protect them and their children, were more likely to survive in posterity than women to whom weaker men were pleasing, and whose children were both less efficiently guarded and less capable of self-preservation if they reached maturity. To this admiration for power, caused thus inevitably, is ascribable the fact sometimes commented upon as strange, that women will continue attached to men who use them ill, but whose brutality goes along with power, more than they will continue attached to weaker men who use them well. With this admiration of power, primarily having this function, there goes the admiration of power in general, which is more marked in women than in men, and shows itself both theologically and politically. That the emotion of awe aroused by contemplating whatever suggests transcendent force or capacity, which constitutes religious feeling, is strongest in women, is proved in many ways. We read that among the Greeks the women were more religiously excitable than the men. Sir Rutherford Alcock tells us of the Japanese that "in the temples it is very rare to see any congregation except women and children; the men, at any time, are very few, and those generally of the lower classes." Of the pilgrims to the temple of Juggernaut, it is stated that "at least five-sixths, and often nine-tenths, of them are females." And we are also told of the Sikhs, that the women believe in more gods than the men do. Which facts, coming from different races and times, sufficiently show us that the like fact, familiar to us in Roman Catholic countries, and to some extent at home, is not, as many think, due to the education of women, but has a deeper cause in natural character. And to this same cause is in like manner to be ascribed the greater respect felt by women for all embodiments and symbols of authority, governmental and social.

Thus the a priori inference, that fitness for their respective parental functions implies mental differences between the sexes, as it implies bodily differences, is justified; as is also the kindred inference that secondary differences are necessitated by their relations to one another. Those unlikenesses of mind between men and women, which, under the conditions, were to be expected, are the unlikenesses we actually find. That they are fixed in degree, by no means follows: indeed, the contrary follows. Determined as we see they some of them are by adaptation of primitive women's natures to the natures of primitive men, it is inferable that as civilization readjusts men's natures to higher social requirements, there goes on a corresponding readjustment between the natures of men and women, tending in sundry respects to diminish their differences. Especially may we anticipate that those mental peculiarities developed in women, as aids to defense against men in barbarous times, will diminish. It is probable, too, that, though all kinds of power will continue to be attractive to them, the attractiveness of physical strength and the mental attributes that commonly go along with it will decline, while the attributes which