Women are people!/Section 1
Women Are People!
"The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government."—George Washington: Farewell Address.
"The people's government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people."—Daniel Webster: Second Speech on Foot's Amendment.
"When we say: 'We, the people, do ordain and establish, etc.,' it is not an unmeaning flourish. The expression declares in a practical manner the principles of this Constitution. It is ordained and established by the people themselves."—Judge Wilson, in the Pennsylvania convention to consider the Constitution of the United States.
WOMEN ARE PEOPLE!
Advice to Rebels
("American women will win the vote, because their campaign has been polite, dignified and tactful.")
When the Barons faced King John
They were civil as could be,
Doffed the crowns they all had on,—
They were well, they said, and he?
Thus their liberty was won,
Pretty manners set them free.
When the Commons killed the King,
Their behaviour was the same.
"Yes," they said, to draw the sting,
"Really, sire, it's a shame!"
For they knew the slightest thing
Rough or rude would lose the game.
Washington was most polite
To the British long ago,
Said he fancied he was right,
But of course one couldn't know.
Had he tried to sulk or fight,
They'd have thought him simply low.
These examples, ladies all,
Should control your every act.
Never argue, nor recall
Any crude, unwelcome fact.
Revolutions rise and fall
By the rebels' social tact.
The Selfish Creatures
("In this age of discontent, hundreds of thousands of girls, who have no necessity to support themselves, leave home in order to win pin money."—Anti-suffrage leaflet. Apply to G. D. M., Albany.)
I stopped to ask a scrub-woman:
"Why labour like a man?
You cannot feed your children? Well,
There must be some one can."
She said: "I merely work because
I need a feather fan."
I went to a steam laundry,
And asked with smile polite:
"Ladies, why will you work so late?"
They said: "We think it right
To buy our opera cloaks ourselves,
And so we work at night."
Observe how nagging women are:
Their work is just a feint
To make Man feel inadequate,
And selfish—which he ain't.
True womanhood would rather starve,
And starve without complaint!
("I wonder if fanatical feminists, male and female, ever stop to ask themselves what will happen when the romance of sex is forgotten, or lost sight of, in the furious struggle between men and women which universal suffrage is sure to bring."—The Phœnix.)
Chivalry, I don't abuse you,
Not at all—the only rub
Is that those who praise you, use you
Very often as a club.
As a club or stick of candy,
As a punishment or prize,
Finding you extremely handy
When they want to sermonise.
Chivalry, they say you'll linger
Only where the girls obey;
Where they show the smallest ginger
Instantly you fly away.
Many a stern, relentless Anti
Threatens us poor suffragettes
As a mother tells how Santy
Naughty children quite forgets.
Yet in spite of all their talking,
In a day dream, in a trance,
Every day I see you walking
Arm in arm with old romance.
"Oh," cried the old men,
"The times are full of danger,
And chivalry is dying,
Its funeral knell has rung;
Love to these young men
Is utterly a stranger,
Love, that was so fine a thing
When you and I were young."
"Yes," said the women,
"The girls have now no mystery,
No modesty to beckon,
No graces to be sung;
This will be called
The darkest age in history,
That killed love, the true love
We loved when we were young."
The young men and maidens,
With pity in their glances,
They looked upon their elders,
And, oh, their hearts were wrung!
"How sweet, but how unreal
Were all their old romances,
For true love is our love,
While you and I are young!"
The Demise of Chivalry
("Would it not be a little more just to state that for her taxes this woman receives police protection, fire protection . . . pure food inspection, and ash and garbage removed?"—Letter of president of the Hudson River Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage.)
The courteous policeman on my beat
Who always helps me cross the crowded street,
Had I the ballot—as I understand—
Would throw me underneath the horses' feet.
The garbage man, whose wise, efficient plan
Is daily to remove my garbage can,
Would pass me by, all coldness and neglect,
If he should catch me voting like a man.
But one there is who will not change, I know,
However far astray we women go,
Who questions not of woman's sphere or charm—
The tax collector never answers no.
("We women are not supposed to be humorous, I know."—Anti-suffrage speech.)
Ladies, true to the tradition
Of the ivy and the oak,
Never make the dark admission
That you see a joke!
Laugh and smile, for that's beguiling,
If the teeth are good;
But not knowing why you're smiling—
That's true womanhood.
Humour must remain a stranger
To the loving female mind,
If we would avoid all danger
Of a thought unkind.
Chivalry would go to Hades
Very, very quickly then.
Men may laugh at us poor ladies;
We must not at men.
(A distinguished opponent has been converted to the principles of woman suffrage. Under the title "Personal Liberty" he writes in Case and Comment: "American freedom is the child of American democracy. It involves equal rights and equal duties. . . . The state on the one hand should refrain scrupulously from giving to any individual or association advantages which are denied to others. All should be on an equal plane of opportunity as far as the law can give it.")
O Liberty, how many men there are
Who do you honour in a flowing phrase,
In martial measures and in patriot lays,
Invoking you as goddess and as star;
Though fire and cruelty and bloodshed mar
Your pathways, every deed of yours they praise
So they were done in long forgotten days,
Or rumoured in strange lands, unknown and far;
But when you first approach them, when you turn
On their pale eyes your eyes' unwavering light,
When they perceive you—enemy to peace
And easy comfort, dangerous and stern,
They fly before you, crying in their fright:
"Arrest this wild-eyed jade! Police! Police!"
On the Recent Good News from Kansas
("The State of Kansas is out of debt."—Press clipping.)
Kansas is out of debt!
Oh, when the anti-speaker, stern and tense,
Declares that woman has no business sense,
Describes the wild taxation we shall pay,
When woman, flighty woman, has her way,
Paints the financial smashes,
The failures and crashes
That must ensue when woman takes a hand
In governing the land;
Don't be annoyed; just smile and say:
Kansas is out of debt."
Kansas is out of debt,—
Kansas where women vote; whereas to date
New York, the proud, the rich, the Empire State,
With its magnificently male finance,
And business interests that have looked askance
On women taking any part
In matters other than the heart,
New York has not, from recent information,
Met every obligation;
New York, which prudently will only let
The sex of business experts vote. And yet
New York's not out of debt!
Protect the Shrine
(Mr. Webb, of North Carolina, recently voted against a bill to restrict child labour. But he said in his anti-suffrage speech: "The most sacred and potential spot on earth is the fireside shrine, and over this shrine the devoted mother presides, the uncrowned queen.")
Oh, home is a shrine for a mother, it may be,
But a shrine is no place for a promising baby.
Small children are fond of disturbance and riot,
But a shrine should be sacred and lonely and quiet.
O, come all ye factory owners, combine;
Though the world misinterpret your noble design,
Keep children away from a spot so divine,
So potential and pure as the fireside shrine.
O woman, O mother, we love and respect you,
As queen and as goddess we long to protect you,
And how can we give you a pleasanter day
Than by keeping your dear little children away?
O, come all ye factory owners, combine;
Protecting the home is your own special line,
Since childhood is boist'rous, we firmly decline
To permit it to trouble the fireside shrine.
("Why do you come here and bother us?"—Chairman Webb, at the suffrage hearing in Washington.)
Girls, girls, the worst has happened;
Our cause is at its ebb.
How could you go and do it!
You've bothered Mr. Webb!
You came and asked for freedom,
(As law does not forbid)
Not thinking it might bother him,
And yet, it seems, it did.
Oh, can it be, my sisters,
My sisters can it be,
You did not think of Mr. Webb
When asking to be free?
You did not put his comfort
Before your cause? How strange!
But now you know the way he feels
I hope we'll have a change.
Send word to far Australia
And let New Zealand know,
And Oregon and Sweden,
Finland and Idaho;
Make all the nations grasp it,
From Sitka to El Teb,
We never mention suffrage now;
It bothers Mr. Webb!
("The debutantes are entertained."—Headline.)
The debutantes are entertained,
Though Europe sink in smoke and blood
And every hope of womanhood
Is there endangered, twisted, stained—
The debutantes are entertained.
The debutantes are entertained,
Though many women young as they
In this free country day by day
Are underfed and overstrained—
The debutantes are entertained.
O, lovely creatures, young and kind,
How long, how long ere you rebel
Against this tyranny, this spell
That dims the mirror of your mind
And keeps you debutantes—and blind!
The Scallops' Campaign Song
("That great constructive piece of legislation, the Thompson bill, defining an 'adult' scallop, passed the Senate to-day without one dissenting vote."—Evening Post, April 15, 1916.)
Oh, sister scallops, rejoice,
Tyranny ends at last;
Without a dissenting voice,
The scallop bill has passed!
Never again in the briny
Waters near shore
Shall a scallop, timid and tiny,
Tremble as heretofore—
Tremble and start and wake
To the sound of scoop and rake,
The terrible means men take
Now nevermore, nevermore.
In a quiet, scalloplike manner
We worked for our bill;
Never a ball or banner,
Nor nagging, nor talk, until
The Senate, wholly at leisure,
Made it their pride and pleasure
To pass the scallops' measure—
The better scallops' will.
Then perished party passion
When it was understood
That scallops, in good old fashion,
Were not too clever for food.
For the power of scallops is much;
And men will yield at a touch
Of scallops acting as such,
True to their scallophood.
Is It Like This in Brooklyn?
("Instinctively we think of woman as a creature to be coddled, and not to be excited emotionally."—Editorial, Brooklyn Eagle.)
I think my cook a creature to be coddled,
To my laundress I know just the things to say,
And my bearing to my scrubwoman is modelled
On the bedside manner of a better day.
To the women in my factory I mention
What divine and fragile flowers women are,
And my constant intervention spares my typist nervous tension,
And my switchboard girl has never known a jar.
("They are for holding their notions though all men be against them, but I am for religion in what, and so far as, the times and my safety will bear it. They are for Religion when in rags and contempt; but I am for him when he walks in silver slippers in the sunshine and with applause."—"Pilgrim's Progress.")
Oh, alas, for all the women
Who are converts to our cause,
But who wait for silver slippers,
And for sunshine and applause.
Oh, alas, for all the people
Who can feel and reason straight,
But who always get in action
Just a little bit too late.
Just too late to make their gesture
Something splendid and sincere,
Just too late because it's patent
That the victory is here.
Oh, alas, for those who forfeit
What can never come again—
The delight of having struggled,
In contempt and in the rain.
The Safest Place
("No woman in the state has been insulted, beaten, choked or murdered at the polls. Since the vote has been bestowed on the women of Illinois all these things have happened to women in their own homes."—Rheta Childe Dorr, in The New York Evening Mail.)
Go out to the polls, my Mary,
For a girl is safer there
Than she is in any place on earth.
But if you stay home, beware!
It's dangerous up on a ladder,
Dangerous lighting a stove;
When Aunt was hanging the clothesline out
Five stories down she dove.
It's a risky place, my Mary,
Though both of us hold it dear;
But more women die at home, you know,
Than anywhere else each year.
So don't stay home, my darling,
Get used to your vote in youth;
For no one ever heard of a girl
Who died in the polling booth.
On the Woman's Account
("The ——— National Bank values the woman's account. True, a woman ordinarily has not at her command and disposition funds in the amount customarily handled by a man, but the aggregate of a number of women's accounts is useful to a bank. . . .
"The ——— National Bank maintains a separate department for women's accounts, with a maid in attendance, and a businesslike but courteous service."—Adv.)
* * * * * *
It's a proud day, my sisters,
For all the female clans;
A bank will take our money,
As if it were a man's!
In a pioneering spirit
They'll accept it,—cash or checks,
Our timid, trifling money,
Money of the weaker sex.
Our gold seems just as golden,—
Or so these flatterers say—
Our ounce of silver weighs as much
As any man's could weigh;
And our long, long green ones,
And our crisp, crisp yellows,
Are just about as valuable
As any other fellow's.
Oh, happy days, my sisters,
Oh, give these bankers thanks,
Who for our sake will even take
Our money in their banks;
Nor are they cross about it;
They neither scratch nor strike;
They take it in a manner,
"Courteous, but businesslike."
* * * * * *
The Indirect Influence
("The travelling men of New York are asking for legislation which will enable them to vote—that is to say, to enable them to register although absent from their residence.")
Travelling men, what is the matter?
Why this unrest and alarm?
Can't you cajole, coax or flatter?
Can't you depend on your charm?
How can you say, even in play,
You need a ballot to get your own way!
Charm is what statesmen kotow to,
Charm is their rise and their fall,
Votes they would never allow to
Alter their conduct at all.
Charm is your dower; cling to that power.
Votes is a pleasure that fades in an hour.
"What Is Coming"
("There can be no question that the behaviour of the great mass of women in Great Britain has not simply exceeded expectation but hope. And there can be as little doubt that the suffrage question, in spite of the self-advertising violence of its extravagant section, did contribute very materially to build up the confidence, the willingness to undertake responsibility and face hardship that has been so abundantly displayed by every class of woman. . . . At every sort of occupation they have been found efficient beyond precedent and intelligent beyond precedent. There is scarcely a point where women, having been given a chance, have not more than made good. . . . These women have won the vote."—From "What Is Coming," by H. G. Wells.)
Oh, Mr. Wells, your words sound very nice,
Yet if efficiency and sacrifice
Could win the vote for women, don't you know
We should have won it many years ago?
In every battle that was ever fought
In war or industry or law or thought,
Men have received with wondering delight
The help their women gave them in the fight:
But after war there is no other debt
That men it seems so easily forget.
Therefore I fear the Englishman will say
In the old scornful, ante-bellum way:
"Women are kind and good, hardworking, too,
But women, voting—that would hardly do!
Besides they do not want the vote, one hears."
And when they cry "We do!" he'll stop his ears.