Thursday, March 12, 2015

On Women's Rights

Women's Rights came into the forefront during the later part of the 19th Century. Below is an article in response to another article that the writer totally disagreed with. Personally, I agree with the writer of this article but that's my own personal opinions and those of a 21st Century woman. However, it is always good to hear from those who were living at the time their opinions on Women's Rights. Enjoy!

The Husband Question.
[Written for the Journal.] Not long since, my eye fell upon an article in the Ladies' Home Journal, which struck my bump of combativeness, and aroused me to pass all former bounds and express myself on paper. The article mentioned was in answer to the question, "How shall I keep my husband at home?" and the answer in substance was that a woman should give her husband to understand that she knows nothing—therefore nothing must be expected of her; then he will be surprised and pleased should she give any evidence of possessing a little intellect and finally, if well entertained with all the neighborhood gossip and well fed, he will find his home attractive.
Now, I consider such an article [as that as just so much of a hinderance to the progression of woman. Through all the centuries since Adam and Eve, woman has been gradually lifting herself up to the plane upon which she will be recognized as the equal and natural companion of man, and every word which advises a woman to accept a position less than this has, in a measure, a tendency backward toward barbarism.
In this stage of civilization, and more especially in our own land of freedom, where young men and women mingle in society without the restraint of a chaperone and where marriages are founded on mutual attraction and without the services of a "go-between," it is reasonable to suppose that, as a rule, a man chooses one whom he regards as his equal to be his companion through life. Hence I say, the inequalities of married life are not intellectual inequalities, but differences arising from uncontrolled tempers and appetites, or from diversities of tastes.
If this be true, no amount of humbling one's self before one's husband is going to restore the lost congeniality. The man of the nineteenth century is prone to accept his wife's own estimate of herself, and if we give our husbands to understand that we are know-nothings, who can blame them if they treat us as such? If we entertain our husbands with neighborhood gossip and society scandal, can we blame them if they think us capable of nothing higher or better?
Since the beginning of civilization, homes have been held as sacred places. If a man be but one degree above a savage he expects the home influence to be elevating. If he be disappointed in this—if he feels that the sanctuary is desecrated, can he be blamed if he turn from it? Though he may go where a worse influence prevails, it will be where nothing better is expected; where he will not feel that there is a perversion of that which should be holy. Sister Lit.
Source: The Railroad Trainman ©1890

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