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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/265

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WOMAN AND THE BALLOT.

It is not the casualties of life nor of business that drive women as a class into industrial occupations, but the constant inventions that liberate their time, once useful in the house. Woman's work has always been one of the main stays of the home, although men have cherished the fiction that they "supported" it. Now that man has laid violent hands on woman's former employments—cutting children's garments by machinery, baking, pickling, and preserving for the nation—it is inconceivable that woman, industrious woman, should fold her hands and sit in a corner. She has gone forth and sought for work; she has become "an economic factor," and this status is the precedent, not the consequent, of the ballot.

We are, however, informed that "women want the ballot in order that they may open to themselves a free career in all the professions and occupations in which men are engaged. . . . They wish to make wounds which the present social structure now receives its chronic status."

This diagnosis is faulty, the caution too late. The wounds were rifts in the larval envelope that woman has cast from her. She asks recognition now in the new order to which she is admitted.

It is to be deprecated that individualism in seeking its due should overlook what it owes to others. Women, in the past at least, have sought much more actively for duties than for rights, so that it is superserviceable for a man to suggest this course to them. Even yet some women need to be informed that they have any rights, such rights as the Constitution of the United States avers belong to every man—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our antisuffragist again brings forth the bugaboo which is dear to the conservative heart: the threat of unsexing woman.

"The inevitable ultimate result of subjecting the two human sexes to the same labors, the same employments, the same cares, will be just the same as when domestic animals have been subjected for long periods to the same conditions. Sexual differences, physical and mental, will tend to disappear, and the two branches of the race will tend to approximate a common type."

We can safely let the matter of sex rest entirely with Nature. It is a fundamental fact of our being, not to be disturbed by any little transformation scenes that we can bring about. We may go for analogies to the domestic animals, birds, or fishes, and in none of them will we find sexual differences disappearing or tending to disappear. What are called secondary sexual characteristics are very tickle in their nature, and do for various reasons often desert the sex with which they are identified. These are characters