Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/258

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
244
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the state of civilization and the industrial development of a country, this generalization is valueless. The employments of men and women also depend upon the condition of the nation, whether militant or peaceful, and in regard to certain kinds of work no universal rule can be made. Women act as horse-car conductors in South America; Chinamen prefer the laundry in the United States; while in East Central Africa men insist upon sewing their own and their wives' garments, leaving the women to build the houses and hoe the corn. The modern readjustment of vocation in our midst arises, as it has been pointed out, from the increased leisure afforded women by the introduction of machinery. It is a wonderful evolution for woman, proceeding as noiselessly as the spinning of countless cocoons, liberating many who would have grubbed a hundred years ago to try their wings to-day if they will.

The next statement volleyed at us is very like an explosive used by Mrs. Lynn Linton in one of her harangues against women.[1] "The political disability is one irrevocably connected with that very office and raison d'être which called woman into existence."

Despite our advancement in science it seems next to impossible to extricate some minds from the mire of tradition. Brushing biology and common sense aside, these primitive souls continue to regard woman as the mythical rib of Adam. Those of us who have progressed beyond this dogma look upon it just as flatly contradictory to Nature as the biblical view of the earth as a plane. Woman's sexual life is shorter than that of man, her individual life longer. Therefore, if either was "called into existence" for the office of parenthood, it was obviously the man, not the woman. From a biological point of view the functions of life are two—nutrition and reproduction; and there is as much sense in saying that nutrition is the reason of man's existence as to state that motherhood—if that be "the office" meant—is the "raison d'être" for women.

As for us, we frankly confess we do not know anything about "reasons of being" or causes of existence. If Mrs. Lynn Linton, Mr. Talbot, et al., have been taken into the creative confidence, no doubt they have interesting revelations to offer the world!

Our antisuffragist, not being quite content with delving into prehistoric purposes, next hazards a prophecy of the feminine officeholder. As wives and mothers are, according to his premises, ineligible, only "those who have made shipwreck of their domestic ventures," the forlorn and déclassées, will pose as nominees.


  1. The Wild Women as Politicians. Mrs. E. Lynn Linton. Nineteenth Century, July, 1891.