The Nervous Housewife eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 179 pages of information about The Nervous Housewife.

After marriage the rivalry of men expresses itself in business more than in love.  Even where a woman does not fear another woman as a rival she fears the rivalry of business,—­and with reason.  So she craves attention, sympathy, as well as the dull love of everyday life.  She ought to have it; it is her recompense for her lot, for her married life, her smaller interests.  Now and then some great man intent upon a great work has some excuse for absorption in that work; for the great majority of men there is no such excuse.  Their own affairs are also minor and are no more important than those of their wives.  Fair play demands that the women they have immured in a home have a prior claim to their company, in at least the majority of the leisure hours.  If in the time to come the home alters and a woman who continues to work marries a man who works, and they meet only at night, then it will be ethical for each to go his or her way.  Marriage at present must mean the giving up of freedom for the man as well as for the woman, in the interests of justice and the race.

In medicine we prescribe bitter tonics which have the property of increasing appetite and vigor.  For the husband of every woman there is this bit of advice; sympathy and attention constitute a sweet tonic, which if judiciously administered is of incomparable power and efficiency.



No true sportsman ever prophesies.  For the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the prophet.  If he is right, he can brag the rest of his days of his seer-like vision.  If he is wrong, no one takes the trouble to reproach or mock him.

Therefore I do not claim to be a prophet in discussing the future of woman, the home, and marriage.  At any time just one invention may come along that will totally alter the face of things.  Moreover we are now in the midst of great changes in industry, in social relations, in the largest matters of national and international nature.  Men and women alike are involved in these changes, but it is impossible to judge the outcome.  For history records many abortive reformations, many reactionary centuries and eras as well as successful reformations and progressive ages.

Whether or not it fits woman to be a housewife of the traditional kind, feminism is certain to develop further.  Women will enter into more diverse occupations than ever before, they will enter politics, they will find their way to direct power and action.  More and more those who work will be specialized and individualized—–­ the woman executive, the writer, the artist, the doctor, lawyer, architect, chemist, and sociologist—­will resist the dictum “Woman’s place is the Home.”  The woman of this group will either be forced into celibacy, or in ever-increasing numbers she will insist on some sort of arrangement whereby she can carry on her work.  She will perhaps refuse to bear children and transform domesticity into an apartment hotel life, in which she and her husband eat breakfast and dinner together and spend the rest of the waking time separately, as two men might.

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The Nervous Housewife from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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