Whoever tries to consider “which leg comes after which” in any line of physiological activity, is pretty sure to find himself in the ditch considering how to run. Wherefore, remember the centipede!
In which handicaps are dropped
A WOMAN’S ILLS
“THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES”
If ever there was a man who wished himself a woman, he has hidden away the desire within the recesses of his own heart. But one does not have to wait long to hear a member of the female sex exclaim with evident emotion, “Oh, dear, I wish I had been born a man!” It is probable that if these same women were given the chance to transform themselves overnight, they would hesitate long when it actually came to the point. The joys of being a woman are real joys. However, in too many cases these joys seem hardly to compensate for the discomforts of the feminine organism. It is the body that drags. Painful menstrual periods, the dreaded “change of life,” various “female troubles” with a number of pregnancies scattered along between, make some of the daughters of Eve feel that they spend a good deal of their lives paying a penalty merely for being women. Brought up to believe themselves heirs to a curse laid on the first woman, they accept their discomforts with resignation and try to make the best of a bad business.
="Since the War."= Nothing is quite the same since the war. Among other things we have learned that many of our so-called handicaps were nothing but illusions,—base libels on the female body. Under the stern necessity of war the women of the world discovered that they could stand up under jobs which have until now been considered quite beyond their powers. Society girls, who were used to coddling themselves, found a new joy in hard and continuous work; middle-aged women, who were supposed to be at the time of life when little could be expected of them, quite forgot themselves in service. Ambulance drivers, nurses, welfare workers, farmerettes, Red-Cross workers, street-car conductors and “bell-boys,” revealed to themselves and to the world unsuspected powers of endurance in a woman’s body. Although some of the heavier occupations still seem to be “man’s work,” better fitted for a man’s sturdier body, we know now that many of these disabilities were merely a matter of tradition and of faulty training.
There still remains, however, a goodly number of women who are continuously or periodically below par because of some form of feminine disability. Some of these women are suffering from real physical handicaps, but many of them need to be told that they are disabled not by reason of being women but by reason of being nervous women.