Saturday, October 16, 2010

A New Feminine Citizenship

I found this article from Harper's 1911, reprinted in Maclean's, that supplies a cure to the era's RESTLESS WOMAN SYNDROME. The author suggests that women are 'natural slaves' of a sort, but that they do, indeed, need an upgrade in status in a State that believes (rightly or wrongly) in equality between citizens.

The author totally ignores the place that money, economics, plays in relationships and, especially, in whether a woman marries or not. But don't laugh, the Powers That Be in Canada actually bought into this solution: they created "the new profession of homemaking," a profession just for women, with a new improved status but NO PAY.

"It is necessary to point out the scope of our present ignorance and indecision upon those two closely correlated problems, the problem of family organization and the problem of women's freedom. In the Normal Social Life (sic) the position of woman is easily defined. They are subordinated but important. The citizenship rests with the man and the woman's relationship to the community is through the man. But within those limitation, her functions as mother, wife and homemaker aare cardinal. It is one of the entirely unforseen circumstances that has arisen, from the decay of the Normal Social Life and its autonomous homes while great numbers of women, while still subordinate, have become profoundly unimportant. They have ceased, to a very large extent to bear children, they have ddropped most of their homemaking arts, they no longer nurse or educate such children as they have, and they have taken on no new function to compensate for these dwindling activities of the domestic interior.

That subjugation, that is a condition of the Normal Social Life, does not seem to be necessary to the Great State. It may or it may not be necessary. And here we enter upon the most difficult of all our problems. The whole spirit of the Great State is against any avoidable subjugation; but the whole spirit of that science (sic) which will animate the Great State forbids us to ignore women's functional and tempermental differences. A new status has still to be invented as women, a Feminine Citizenship, differing in certain respects to the normal masculine citizenship. Its conditions remain to be worked out.

We have indeed to work out an entire new system of relationship between men and women, that will be free of servitude, aggression, provocation, or parasitism. (Who's the parasite, the Man or the Woman?) The public endowment of motherhood as such will perhaps be the first broad suggestion of the quality of this new status. A new type of family, a mutual alliance in the place of subjugation, is perhaps the most startling of all the conceptions that confront us directly, as we turn ourselves towards The Great State."

This was reprinted in The Review of Reviews section of Maclean's.. a summary of articles printed elsewhere. Obviously the Maclean's editors thought this was interesting, but whether they agreed or not, I cannot say. The next review is of an article titled "Why the Chinaman is the next Jew" and that article says that as Chinese are good with money they should be kept out of Canada.

I just can't tell whether these articles where reprinted with a giant SIC or not.