Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/305

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CONSTITUTIONAL CONSERVATISM OF WOMEN

offset by stress in the male. Food and protection must be furnished for two instead of one, and at times for more than two. It is because effectiveness during these critical periods is racially essential, that the males are larger, stronger and in general more pugnacious.

Our point of vantage includes also those flagrant expressions of masculinity, known as the secondary sex characters: among birds, the resplendent plumage of the cock, the comb and wattles; among mammals, manes, horns and scent glands; in man, the beard and deep voice. All these are the outward signs of maleness, for they come and go with the sexual life, and their development may be stunted or prevented by operation. Gelded stags never renew their antlers; sheep, oxen and antelopes grow inferior horns; whereas the preservation of valuable soprano voices in men is assured by the same means.

These effects are due to the absence of certain chemicals normally emanating from the male sex glands. Analogous results may follow in operated females, but usually most illuminating complications set in, for the female not only has distinctive characters of her own, but is largely dependent on the suppression of those belonging to the male. The functional derangements often associated with old age involve changes in the chemical output of the essential organs, and explain, not only the crowing hen in the barn-yard, but the greater resemblance of the sexes in senescence than in middle life.

All this is reducible to a chemical basis, certain substances being necessary for the development and persistence of the characters that stamp the male; others being essential not only for the positive traits of the female, but also to insure her freedom from male tincture. From the standpoint of the male, the female is an instance of arrested development, a conclusion bodily transferable to other attributes, for except in matters peculiarly her own the female is surpassed in amplitude by the male. Physiologically he cuts a wider swathe, and this inevitably involves greater variability. Accordingly we find that not only as an animal, but as a thinking being, man presents more departures from mediocrity than woman. On this point history testifies with her right hand up, for numerically and as individuals, men have always excelled, not only in knowledge and art, but also as sinners and fools.

"We may blame the social heritage of women for the supremacy of men, but heritage and supremacy alike have their head-waters in the greater variability of the male sex, for variability means special fitness for advancement. Departure from traditions has ever been the first step of progress, and it is to our variants, our gifted men and geniuses, that we owe railroads, wireless telegraphy and airships; it is to them also that we are indebted for our greater stories, plays and poems, and even for our deepest thoughts. This type of man startles us by his originality, and brings into the world things before unknown.