Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/219

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By Prof. G. T. W. PATRICK,


EVERY thoughtful observer of both the popular and the scientific movements of the day must have noticed the frequent lack of harmony or co-operation between them. Such lack of co-operation, if not of harmony, is well illustrated in the woman question. Two vigorous movements are now in progress. The first is a popular movement, whose end, apparently being very rapidly realized, is the advancement of woman to a position of complete political, legal, educational, and social parity with man—a position which means much more than mere equality of rights for woman; it means for her a changed sphere of activity, with new duties and new burdens, and may in the end involve radical changes in the state and in the family. The second is a scientific movement in anthropology, conducted by laborious and painstaking research, whose end is to ascertain the constitutional differences, both physical and psychical, between man and woman. It may be that these two movements will be found to support each other; but, if so, it is to be feared that it will be by happy chance rather than by intelligent co-operation.

It is the purpose of this article to bring together some of the results of these anthropological studies relating especially to the psychology of woman, in order that we may see what bearing, if any, they may have upon the above-mentioned popular movement. The most devoted patron of woman's political and educational advancement would hardly deny that the success and permanence of the reform will depend in the end upon the fact that there shall be no inherent contradiction between her new duties and her natural physical and mental constitution. It should be borne in mind, however, that the mere fact of woman's present intellectual or physical weakness, should such be shown, would not be a justifiable ground for denying to her full political and educational privileges. It might be quite the reverse, if it should appear that such weakness were itself the result of the subordinate position which she has been compelled to hold. It would, however, be a justifiable ground for advising woman to assume her new duties gradually, in order that disaster to her cause might not follow the overtaxing of her strength.

In outlining some of the psychological peculiarities of woman as revealed by modern anthropological researches, I shall endeavor to confine myself to those points upon which investigators generally agree, simply omitting those still in dispute, or mentioning them only as questioned.