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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/261

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WOMAN AND THE BALLOT.

all those vocations that expose to premature death or great physical suffering." An inventory of these exemptions follows:

1. From the perils, wounds, and deaths incident to war.
2. From all kinds of labor dangerous to life or exposing to hardship and privation.
3. From the care of earning her livelihood and that of her offspring.

One is at first sight aghast at this record of masculine arrogance. Women might retort, and say Men have exempted themselves—

1. From the care of their progeny.
2. From the preparation of clothes, food, and household toil.
3. From nursing the sick.

All these "exemptions" are misnomers. Men have "exempted" women from nothing. They have excluded women in former times, and still exclude them in some degree, from the higher institutions of learning, the professions, and government. These exclusions, however, would form another "bill of grievances." The immunities mentioned are purely imaginary. Man chooses to fight, to sail the seas, to dig for gold and iron, to hew wood, and cut his own pathway in the-world because he is a man and likes it, not to save any woman nor womankind from such tasks. He has the. combative instinct that greets a struggle, the well-knit muscles that crave vigorous action, the adventurous spirit that courts the unknown, and the courage that defies danger. Does a boy wrestle with his playfellow to spare his sister; or run away to sea, or to the gold mines of South Africa, from an altruistic feeling for womankind?

Neither do men go to war or enter upon any dangerous calling with the purpose of exempting women. When John takes the peach and hands Jane the apple, we do not say, "Jane is exempted from eating the peach." Were all womankind swept from the earth to-morrow, men would not bury their weapons nor let the ships drift. Love of the other sex is a spur to the endeavor of either, but the choice of occupations calling for physical force is instinctive with the sex possessing it in greatest degree. All intellectual pursuits are feminizing in tendency, and it is only with men engaged in these, only with the smaller number among them who have allowed their masculine instincts to become atrophied, that the fallacy of "exemption" would take root. The wrestler, the sailor, the Alpine hunter, the blacksmith, would laugh such a creed to scorn. Men have not exempted women from deeds of force, from war, from labor, nor from self-support. They have generally chosen these offices for themselves, and left women to do the things that were left undone.

Woman is not only weighted by these gratuitous immunities.