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Woman in Modern Society   By: (1861-1935)

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First Page:

WOMAN IN MODERN SOCIETY

BY THE SAME AUTHOR:

STUDIES IN EDUCATION (IN TWO VOLUMES)

WHERE KNOWLEDGE FAILS

WOMAN IN MODERN SOCIETY

BY

EARL BARNES

AT ONE TIME PROFESSOR OF EUROPEAN HISTORY IN THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF INDIANA, AND LATER PROFESSOR OF EDUCATION IN LELAND STANFORD JUNIOR UNIVERSITY

NEW YORK B.W. HUEBSCH

COPYRIGHT, 1912 BY B.W. HUEBSCH PRINTED IN U.S.A.

This volume is dedicated to a woman endowed by her ancestors with health and strength, reared by a wise mother, trained to earn her own living, and university bred, at one time an independent wage earner and now equal partner in the business of a home, a social force in the life of her community, member of a woman's club, a suffragist, the devoted and intelligent mother of a group of fine children, and the center of a family which loves and reverences her and finds the deepest meaning of life in her presence.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A WOMAN 9 II. WOMAN'S HERITAGE 31 III. WOMEN IN EDUCATION 57 IV. THE FEMINIZING OF CULTURE 85 V. THE ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE OF WOMEN 107 VI. WOMEN IN INDUSTRY 123 VII. THE MEANING OF POLITICAL LIFE 150 VIII. WOMAN'S RELATION TO POLITICAL LIFE 173 IX. THE MODERN FAMILY 207 X. FAMILY LIFE AS A VOCATION 231 XI. CONCLUSION 251

WOMAN IN MODERN SOCIETY

I

What it Means to be a Woman

If we go back to the earliest forms of life, where the unit is simply a minute mass of protoplasm surrounded by a cell wall, we find each of these divisions to be a complete individual. It can feed itself, that its life may go on to day; it can fight or run away, that it may be here to fight to morrow; and by a process of division it can create a new life so that its existence may continue across the generations. With such units it is quite conceivable that life might go on through all eternity, death following birth, were it not that protoplasm contains within itself a principle of change. Life and change are synonymous.

And this change moves ever toward a complexity, which we call development, where cells unite in a larger life, and functions and organs are specialized. Thus there comes a time when the part split off carries with it power to eat and digest, to fight or run away, but only half the power of procreation. This half unit, this incomplete individual, is either male or female, and from this time on, the epic of life gathers around the search of these half lives for their complements. The force that impels to this search, while at first valuable only for the perpetuation of the generations, gathers into itself modifying feeling and desires and, at a later period, ideas and ideals, which finally, when men and women appear, make it the greatest of all the shaping forces in life.[1]

[1] The fact that sexual selection does not play the part in organic evolution which Darwin assigned it does not affect this statement. See chapter on Sexual Selection in YVES DELAGEE and MARIE GOLDSMITH, The Theories of Evolution , New York: Huebsch, 1912.

Of course, in such a sweeping statement as this, one must include under sex hunger all the forces that drive men and women to seek each other's society, rather than that of their own sex. In this sense, it can be truly said that it gives a motive for our care of offspring, and for all our other most self forgetful devotions, our finest altruisms, our most polished expressions in language, manners and dress. It justifies labor, ambition, and at times even self effacement. It underlies nearly all the lyric expressions in art; furnishes almost the only theme for that delineation of modern life which we call the novel; and is a main support for music, painting, statuary and belles lettres... Continue reading book >>




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