Culture

Poetry Corner.

Yesterday saw the 100 year anniversary of right of some women to vote. This came about after many decades of women fighting to be given equal voting rights to men. Today’s poem is highlighting some of their struggle. This may seem like a strange concept to many in today’s society, but where great strides forward have been made there is still more to be done before full gender equality can be reached.

Their struggles can be read about here

And here

Charlotte_Perkins_Gilman_by_Frances_Benjamin_Johnston

Charlotte_Perkins_Gilman_by_Frances_Benjamin_Johnston Wikipedia

Women Do Not Want It

When the woman suffrage argument first stood upon its legs,
They answered it with cabbages, they answered it with eggs,
They answered it with ridicule, they answered it with scorn,
They thought it a monstrosity that should not have been born.

When the woman suffrage argument grew vigorous and wise,
And was not to be answered by these opposite replies,
They turned their opposition into reasoning severe
Upon the limitations of our God-appointed sphere.

We were told of disabilities–a long array of these,
Till one could think that womanhood was merely a disease;
And “the maternal sacrifice” was added to the plan
Of the various sacrifices we have always made–to man.

Religionists and scientists, in amity and bliss,
However else they disagreed, could all agree on this,
And the gist of all their discourse, when you got down in it,
Was–we could not have the ballot because we were not fit!

They would not hear the reason, they would not fairly yield,
They would not own their arguments were beaten in the field;
But time passed on, and someway, we need not ask them how,
Whatever ails those arguments–we do not hear them now!

You may talk of suffrage now with an educated man,
And he agrees with all you say, as sweetly as he can:
‘T would be better for us all, of course, if womanhood was free;
But “the women do not want it”–and so it must not be!

By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

2 replies »

  1. Here’s something which I think is odd…………there are still a lot of women, who have a ‘partner’ – are part of a couple – and have a full-time job, yet they still go home, every day, and make the tea, and do the housework.
    It looks like we’re not very good at catching up with ourselves, as a species.
    Women became enabled to go out to work, and, mostly, do the same work as men. And yet…….many, many households still hold on to the idea that the woman does the housework. What particularly gets me, is the idea of the same person, every day, though part of a – partnership – still having to come home, after a hard days work, and set too to make the evening meal. Why not share it? Alternate days, or whoever has had the least trying day?
    I’m heading into a rant – the telly adverts really annoy me about this – again and again, the woman is making the meal. Fair enough if she is at home, and that’s part of her ‘job’ – but….not every day, after a hard day’s work!
    As you can see, this is something which bugs me, and puzzles me – why don’t these women see that it’s completely unfair? Do some of them need, to be needed, so much that they slog away at the housework, as well as working outside the home?
    Of course, if someone actually WANTS to, LIKES to, do both – that’s their choice! But from what I’ve observed, that’s usually not the case, there is often resentment and dis-harmony because of it – not to mention extreme tiredness!
    My Mum and Dad did this, both had jobs, yet Mum did the cooking and the other house work (with some help from us children – except my brother – because he was ‘the only boy’, he wasn’t expected to do any housework!). That was a different time, and they had grown up in another, very different time.
    There’s no excuse for it, now.
    This also shows how a person can change their conditioning – you don’t have to live entirely as you were brought up – hold on to the bits that work for you, and ditch the rest!

    Like

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