The Business of Being a Woman eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 106 pages of information about The Business of Being a Woman.

The great strength of the radical program is now, as it has always been, the powerful appeal it makes to the serious young woman.  Man and marriage are a trap—­that is the essence the young woman draws from the campaign for woman’s rights.  All the vague terror which at times runs through a girl’s dream of marriage, the sudden vision of probable agonies, of possible failure and death, become under the teachings of the militant woman so many realities.  She sees herself a “slave,” as the jargon has it, putting all her eggs into one basket with the certainty that some, perhaps all, will be broken.

The new gospel offers an escape from all that.  She will be a “free” individual, not one “tied” to a man.  The “drudgery” of the household she will exchange for what she conceives to be the broad and inspiring work which men are doing.  For the narrow life of the family she will escape to the excitement and triumph of a “career.”  The Business of Being a Woman becomes something to be apologized for.  All over the land there are women with children clamoring about them, apologizing for never having done anything!  Women whose days are spent in trade and professions complacently congratulate themselves that they at least have lived.  There were girls in the early days of the movement, as there no doubt are to-day, who prayed on their knees that they might escape the frightful isolation of marriage, might be free to “live” and to “work,” to “know” and to “do.”

What it was really all about they never knew until it was too late.  That is, they examined neither the accusations nor the premises.  They accepted them.  Strong young natures are quick to accept charges of injustice.  To them it is unnatural that life should be hampered, that it should be anything but radiant.  Curing injustice, too, seems particularly easy to the young.  It is simply a matter of finding a remedy and putting it into force!  The young American woman of militant cast finds it is easy to believe that the Business of Being a Woman is slavery.  She has her mother’s pains and sacrifices and tears before her, and she resents them.  She meets the theory on every hand that the distress she loathes is of man’s doing, that it is for her to revolt, to enter his business, and so doing escape his tyranny, find a worth-while life for herself, and at the same time help “liberate” her sex.

And so for sixty years she has been working on this thesis.  That she has not demonstrated it sufficiently to satisfy even herself is shown by the fact that she is still the most conspicuous of Uneasy Women.  But that she has produced a type and an influential one is certain.  Indeed, she may be said to have demonstrated sufficiently for practical purposes what there is for her in imitating the activities of man.

FOOTNOTES: 

  [1] Declaration of sentiments

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The Business of Being a Woman from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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