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Chapter I
The Present Position of Women
(I) The Unmarried

We have seen that the disillusionment that dogs the heels of the values directing our civilization and its alleged progress consists in our ultimate discovery that Life, as seen through the optics of our impaired and science-aided bodies, appears to have lost a substantial portion of its reputed value. The joie de vivre becomes an antiquated myth, no longer a present experience.
        If, however, this is true from the standpoint of modern men, how very much more true it must be from that of modern women! For, if it is right to claim that some of Life's greatest and most lasting joys are connected with the maintenance of the species, woman, whose share in reproduction is much greater than man's, must necessarily be the greater sufferer when the corporeal equipment of the race becomes defective.
        In these degenerate days of fourth-rate bodily joys, therefore, when the corporeal

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equipment of man and woman has to be scientifically completed with the help of elaborate extra-corporeal aids, it is among the women of the species that we should expect to find the greatest revolt against the old notions concerning Life, Motherhood, and Domesticity.
        For man's degeneracy in itself contributes an added woe to woman's impaired physical life, by depriving her of the very extra-corporeal equipment (supplied by Nature herself in this case) for the urgent needs of her body. Or, if it does not altogether deprive her of this equipment, it gives it to her in a form so atonic, fireless, and un-ideal that the misery of modern women, even when they are married, is very great. Hence, we believe, the huge development of the modern novel, the demand for which has been created almost entirely by the female population. For only people whose lives are unsatisfying endeavour to enjoy life vicariously in the unreal world of fiction.
        Perhaps it was the recognition of this fact, that the value of life for woman depends to a great extent on her physical efficiency and health, which led the ancients to feel so much concern about the physical condition of their womenfolk, and this probably explains why such careful instructions are to be found in

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sacred books — like that of Manu, for instance — regarding a father's duty towards his daughters.
        Manu goes so far as to say: "Reprehensible is the father who gives not his daughter in marriage at the proper time." And he adds: "To a distinguished handsome suitor should a father give his daughter. . . But the maiden, though marriageable, should rather stop in her father's house until death than that he should ever give her to a man destitute of good qualities."
        In Ecclesiasticus we read the following exhortation to fathers: "Hast thou daughters? Have a care of their body." 1
        And in Aristophanes we find the following sentiment expressed by a

        1 It might be argued against the line taken in the Introduction that here is an instance of the Care of the body in the literature from which the body-despising values are alleged to hail. But this is a misunderstanding. Not only is Ecclesiasticus apocryphal, but also, as everybody must know, the Old Testament and the New are quite different in their attitude towards the body. In the New Dispensation, and certainly in traditional Christianity, it is never suggested, as it is in Judaic law, that a man who is bodily defective denies the sanctuary of the Lord when he approaches it. This healthy attitude to the body, which constantly recurs in the Old Testament, can be found neither in the New Testament nor in historical Christianity.

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married woman: "      ;                   " (But do not let us complain about ourselves. What breaks my heart is the sight of all these young girls who will grow old sleeping alone.) — Aristophanes, Lysistrata, II. 592–3.
        Evidently these exhortations and sentiments hail from an age preceding that in which the body-despising values were created, for they breathe a different atmosphere, and ring strangely in our ears.
        As late as the sixteenth century in England, when, it may be supposed, a vestige of the old pagan spirit still lingered among our people, there is indeed a tender allusion to the female body; and, strange to say, it occurs in our Book of Common Prayer. But the very oddness of the sentiment to our modern ears shows how completely foreign it is to the atmosphere created by our values, and we may be sure that it is seldom read, or, if read, seldom understood, at a modern marriage service. It is as follows:
    "For the husband is the head of the wife . . . and he is the Saviour of the body."
        We have lost all sympathy with this attitude. We no longer consider the physical side of our daughters' and sisters' lives. We may wish them to have

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a "good time"; or, if we are poor, we wish them to be self-supporting. But bodily considerations scarcely enter into the first wish, and into the second — never!
        Coupled, however, with our attitude of callous indifference to the young female's body is also the increasing doubt which is spreading among all classes regarding the actual value of the normal and natural life for woman. Impaired physical efficiency has turned so many of the joys and beauties of the natural life to pain and horror that there is no longer that certainty which Manu felt about the desirability of motherhood for women. And, even when motherhood is not regarded as a greatly over-rated pleasure, the mates by means of whom motherhood can be experienced are, as a rule, such poor shadows of men that the whole of Manu's attitude has begun to be discredited. The Feminist Movement, in fact, is actively engaged in discrediting it, and that is why the Feminist Movement itself may be regarded as a remote offshoot of the body-despising values.
        Indeed, things have come to such a pass in this country that at present rich and poor alike are far more concerned about giving their daughters a calling than a mate; and, when once this has been done, it is felt that parents have discharged their responsibility.

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        The most convincing demonstration of the prevalence of this attitude was the uproar that arose a year or two ago, when one or two imprudent journalists inadvertently referred to our 2,000,000 excess of women over men as "surplus women." The daily press was immediately flooded by indignant letters from women of all classes, protesting that, as a large proportion of these 2,000,000 were self-supporting and ample room existed for the remainder in our industries and professions, it was absurd to speak of them as "surplus." Articles soon followed, in which the same views were expressed, though possibly more magisterially. But there was no reference to the bodily destiny of these 2,000,000 females — not a hint that the word "surplus" might have some relevancy if they were looked at in relation to the available males, or that a civilization which condemns one sixth of its adult females to celibacy must be very wrong!
        It was for all the world as if being self-supporting and useful in industry or the professions were the sole and unique object of human life, and nobody seemed to see that, in this case, there was no conceivable reason why human beings should have been created or become male and female. Of course the howl of indignation that arose at the word "surplus"

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was greatest among those women who are frankly hostile to men, and who are keenest about making the bodily destiny of their sex a matter of no consequence. Nevertheless, the cruelty of the attitude adopted by all was never actually felt as cruelty by anyone, because the very people responsible for those articles and letters would have been the last to suspect themselves, or to be suspected by others, of any trace of inhumanity. All they wanted to imply, and wished everybody else to believe, was that a human life can be full and can be lived adequately without that!
        And yet to anyone who reveres the body, and who knows how the spirit is tortured by a body unsatisfied and neglected, how thoroughly unfounded does this claim appear! A thwarted instinct does not meekly subside. It seeks compensation and damages for its rebuff. True sublimation, except through whole-hearted and unremitting religious practices, is rare. What then is the fate of these 2,000,000 women? Can we reckon with certainty on their all being so much below even the common standard of their married sisters that they will have no instincts to thwart? There is an inclination abroad to adopt this comforting view. So accustomed have we become to the spectacle of our omnibuses, trams,

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and trains being filled each morning with unmarried female workers, that we are easily led to the erroneous conclusion that, as time goes on, these female workers will grow as used to filling their lives by means of self-support as we have grown accustomed to seeing them.
        And, indeed, there would be something to be said for this view if, by a kind of unemotional parthenogenesis, these spinster workers could breed their own kind, each generation of whom would be ever more perfectly adapted. But unfortunately this cannot be so. People forget that each generation of them is born from mothers who, in an uninterrupted line reaching right back to our anthropoid ancestors, have filled their lives with something more than self-support and business usefulness. Each generation of these unmated women-workers is born from mothers who must have known the ardent embrace of a lover, the ecstasy of consummated love, and the clinging devotion of adoring offspring. No break can have occurred in this long dynasty of love, otherwise they — the women-workers themselves — would not be there. It is impossible at present to rear a species of human beings to lovelessness as you can rear a breed of dogs to retrieving or sheep-minding. Love must always have existed one step back. And

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it is this fact, that these unmated women-workers are all so fatally close to love, all such near blood-relations of love, that makes lovelessness such an ordeal and a trial to them — an ordeal and a trial no human being who has not sinned against society should be made to suffer.
        Thus the modern world is inclined to be very cruel to the young unmated woman. For, while everything is done to facilitate her self-support and usefulness, no provision is made either to ensure the sublimation of her mating instincts (a problem of almost insuperable difficulty now, though solved with success in the Middle Ages), or to give her the chance of expressing them without dishonour and disgrace. On the contrary, the whole tendency is to ignore, to shelve, and to conceal that aspect of her life; and thousands of bitter or sub-normal women, whose thwarted or deficient passions have unsaddled their natural love of man, are now only too eager to assure her and everybody else that human beings can well get on and be happy without sexual expression — in fact that a spirit and a body can quite easily play the life-long rôle of a disembodied spirit.
        All this does not mean that the solution of the unmated woman problem is an easy and obvious one, which modern people are too blind to see. But it does

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mean that the very first step towards its proper solution can never be taken as long as we persist in arguing and behaving as if a full life can be lived by merely paying one's way.
        In 1921 the population of England and Wales amounted to 37,885,242 persons, of whom 19,803,022 were females. Of this female population 4,302,568 consisted of children under twelve, and the remainder, amounting to 15,501,454, were divided up as follows:
        9,070,538 were married or widowed or divorced, and 6,403,916 were single. Of the married 1,106.433, and of the single 4,000,000 (to be precise, 3,914,127) were occupied in some form of work, thus making a total of 5,020,560 women-workers, 3,000,000 of whom were employed in industry alone.
        These figures give some idea of the formidable development of women's employment within recent years, nor is there any sign whatsoever that the movement is likely to abate. Those who are aware of the harm that modern industry and commercial offices have done to the spirit and bodies of men for generations, by converting them into little more than machine-minders or adding-machines, exercizing few if any of their highest faculties, may deplore the fact that the sex which hitherto had still to a large extent escaped

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these dehumanizing labours should now be enrolled in such large numbers to accomplish them. The last check on the complete besotment of our people seems thus to have vanished. But, in view of the existing atmosphere and tendencies, there seems to be little hope of a reaction.
        The 4,000,000 spinster workers alone represent a formidable army; and, when it is remembered that this vast legion of single women not only compete with and directly replace male labour, thus reducing still more their chances of marriage, but are also drawn away from home and from the many arts that could be learnt there, we cannot help feeling alarmed at the possible consequences of the development we are witnessing.
        The duties and virtues of the home are almost all connected with the body and its care — sewing, cooking, and the nurture of the young. All these arts are gradually being lost; and, when they have to be performed by inexperienced hands, they are performed badly.
        Meanwhile, abetting this movement and rendering it ever more practicable, there are hundreds and thousands of commercial and voluntary corporations whose whole energies are directed towards taking the home-arts out of the hands of women. Science, as usual, following the hints implicit in values, has come to the

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assistance of our female population deficient in domestic skill and knowledge. The art of cooking is gradually becoming simplified into a mere fool's game, and in its place we are being deluged by innumerable patent and proprietary products, the preparation of which requires no thought and no trouble. These products are very largely injurious to the bodies of those who live on them, but, as they leave the housewife ample leisure to gad about or else to earn money outside the home, no one complains. Quick gravy-makers, pudding- and cake-powders, tinned foods of every description all ready for consumption, custards, porridges, and jellies that require only a few minutes' cooking, jams and preserves, and a multitude of other artificial aids to replace, though not to equal, the dishes of former days, now compose the normal contents of almost every working-class and middle-class market-bag. Never have the country's food and its preparation been in a more deplorable condition than they are to-day. Nevertheless, so strong is the tradition to neglect bodily concerns, that all this vast machinery for supplementing traditional knowledge, skill, labour, and good food, in the home, has grown up in our midst without a word of protest from anyone.
        As regards the lot of infants and

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children, so completely broken is the tradition which, once upon a time, was handed down from mother to daughter, that now child-welfare-workers in every town in England, equipped with but a smattering of sound knowledge on the subject, have to teach the women of the masses the arts they have had no opportunity of acquiring. In the departments of dress-making, millinery, and lingerie, it is just the same. Together with the loss of skill and knowledge in the home, the supply of ready-mades from outside increases with leaps and bounds, and huge drapery-businesses, carried on in palatial premises, now line all our leading thoroughfares in a practically unbroken frontage.
        Thus, even if the girls and young women of the nation who are or who are not eligible for marriage were to remain at home, there would now be little for them to learn, and still less for them to do; and the recent Girl Guide Movement is the best possible proof that this fact has already been recognized.
        Meanwhile, it may be asked what it is that these 4,000,000 learn away from their homes. What do they acquire in exchange for their lost arts?
        Those who have not actually adopted dress-making, millinery, or lingerie as an occupation, have, as a rule, acquired only the knowledge necessary for running a

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certain machine — a cutter, a folder, a binder, a stamper, or a typewriter, etc. Or else they have learnt to wait in restaurants, sell goods across a counter, or keep books. Only about one million of them are either domestic servants or hospital nurses.
        Those engaged in industry or commerce who remain at their work and do not marry are at least prevented from passing on their acquired besotment to the next generation; but, meantime, no one inquires about their bodies, and the general feeling is that a girl withered and broken by long years of typing is not a tragic figure because in the first place her career has been morally unimpeachable, and secondly it has brought neither herself nor anyone else any pleasure. In the better classes, teaching and the professions obtain the bulk of the recruits each year, 1 and girls are now trained quite unselectively from earliest childhood with a view to entering these occupations, as if it were taken for granted that they would never marry.
        Not all of the 6,403,916 spinsters — whether workers or not — are doomed to

        1 In 1923 in England and Wales there were 22 women barristers, and 66 law students; 5 women solicitors; 76,117 Government officials, and 2,000 doctors; and, in 1921, 93,987 elementary and secondary school-teachers.

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spinsterhood. As we have seen, the excess of females over males in England and Wales is only 1,720,902. 1 But unless they attempt to emigrate, these odd 2,000,000 must certainly remain unmated, and even if emigration could now be organized on a much bigger scale than hitherto, they could hardly be satisfactorily disposed of.
        The self-governing Dominions cannot absorb more than 432,284 2 in all, and even if they could, it is doubtful whether such a large number of girls could be induced to leave their native country. Why should they, when almost every one of them considers her chance of matrimony at home as at least equal to her sister's or neighbour's?
        Dame Muriel Talbot, O.B.E., writing on the effect of Dominion life, is not so very encouraging either. "For the woman," she says, "it means only too often an unduly heavy burden of work, since there are so few at hand to help." 3

        1 Although, however, the actual excess of women amounts to 1,720,902, the number of women actually doomed to spinsterhood is much greater, owing first to the cases of celibacy among the available men and secondly to the marriage of widows.
        2 This figure represents the excess of men over women in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa in 1921.
        3 See The Woman's Year Book, 1923.

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        Owing to the degeneracy and unattractiveness of modern man, a certain noble and estimable proportion of these 6,000,000 will of course refrain from any attempt at marriage. Still faithful to the lost and antiquated values that once led people to respect and care for their bodies, they will feel secretly that their bodies deserve something better than the mate the twentieth century can offer them; and, although they may be fully and admirably equipped for happy motherhood, this noble and very small minority will turn nauseated away from it in order to become absorbed in interests that will help them to forget. These are the greatest sufferers among modern women, and their unmated condition constitutes our greatest national loss.
        But the great majority will be too thoroughly unsophisticated, too completely immersed in the values of their day, to see anything wrong or odd in degeneration. These, like the 9,000,000 already mated, will strive after marriage and the home. They will insist on having their third-rate or fourth-rate bodily ecstasies with the inferior men of the age, and on rearing their fourth-rate children. And, if their hopes are disappointed, either through their inability to find a mate or owing to the rude awakening that too often comes with modern matrimony,

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they will become either wretched spinsters or disgruntled wives. We shall consider their fate as wives, however, in the next chapter.
        There are also a large number whose bodies are so conspicuously inferior in passion and equipment that they will be indifferent to marriage through sheer physiological apathy. Looking at life through the optics of their atonic or badly functioning bodies, they will declare love unnecessary to human well-being, and the natural life a wholly antiquated desideratum. They will lack the desire even for fourth-rate bodily experiences, and scorn all such experiences in consequence. They will boast that they are "above sex." To them the Feminist reformers will point triumphantly in refutation of all the arguments of those who, like ourselves, claim that sound and desirable women cannot be happy unmated. And the more simple and unsuspecting among mankind, looking upon these adapted unmated women, will begin to believe that the Feminists are right. As the number of these women increases every year, and, in their systematic depreciation of the value of life, they are joined and supported by thousands of disillusioned married women who also have become slanderers of love and man, the ranks of those who scoff at marriage

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and motherhood as the only satisfactory calling for women, swell with imposing rapidity.
        With two million spinsters, and — if we reckon the disgruntled married women — with probably two or three million more women distributed all over England, who are prepared to malign both man and life and to cause the effect of their thwarted impulses to be felt in a thousand ways, a good deal of misery and friction must necessarily arise from modern conditions which it is extremely difficult to relieve.
        But the most serious aspect of the spinster and embittered wife question, from the standpoint of the nation's life, is the compensation which, consciously or unconsciously, these unmated women and revolted wives, particularly the wealthy and leisured ones, seek for their thwarted instincts. The mother's fostering care never having been experienced, its joys and thrills are sought along other channels. The lust of exercizing power becomes a consuming passion, and its owner is usually quite indifferent as to the means she uses to express it. Any movement, any policy, any kind of interference may supply the opportunity, and the merits of the case will always be subordinate to the urgent need of alleviating the hunger for compensatory power. Thus influences and forces are let loose which have about

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as much wisdom in them as accident alone can be expected to introduce into any lustful action; and, all the while, the loftiest motives will be professed for the activities pursued. The very natural discontent which arises from thwarted instincts will also tend to express itself in many instances, particularly among the disillusioned married, as a bitter hatred of man; and, as I shall show later, in its extreme form as an unconscious jealousy of healthy young women and happily married women. This will lead to an attempt to wean the latter from the lure of love and men. Signs are already visible which show that such a movement is on foot, and, although these Lysistratas of the modern world have not Lysistrata's patriotic motives, this will not make them any the less anxious to achieve their end.
        At all events, from the imperfectly concealed triumph with which such people, particularly the female working-woman leaders, will tell you that in 1923 700,000 of the 5,020,560 women-workers were directly replacing males in industry alone, it is impossible not to read the signs of hostility to the male in their general outlook; and, to examine their literature, is to become convinced of it, careful as they are to cover it up.
        Among the organizers of women-movements to-day, there can be no question

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that there is this note of hostility to the male; and the reason of it is that women-movements are largely led either by spinsters or else by unhappy married women.
        Now the attitude of Feminism towards our vast army of spinsters and disgruntled wives is that of Socialist organizations all over the world towards discontented labour elements. It is one in which the latent discontent is turned to every possible advantage for the Cause. Feminism offers no bodily solution of the problem presented by our unmated women and our disillusioned wives, and it escapes from the responsibility of so doing by consistently regarding the whole crowd as nothing more than disembodied spirits. It does not even recognize that the muddle in which we now find ourselves is chiefly due to physical degeneration: for that it is too Puritanical. All it does is to promote and intensify the very tendencies which have brought us to our present pass, and to use the power obtained from its supporters to express in every possible way, legislatively and otherwise, its general hostility to man and its radical hatred of the bodily side of life.
        Meanwhile, it misses no opportunity of appealing to the vanity and mistaken ambition of its potential victims, in

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order to lure even the normal and desirable among modern young women in ever greater numbers into neutral pursuits and interests only fit for neuters. And it sets to work with a conscience so clean, with such a profound conviction of its rectitude, and above all with such a great display of moral indignation, that the more guileless sections of the modern world, always taken in by moral indignation, are almost led to believe that Feminism is a natural and desirable evolutionary development, on which all hope for the future depends.
        Why does Feminism act with a conscience so clean and a conviction so profound of its rectitude? — Because, behind it, it feels the support of the body-despising values, which tell it that Puritanism is right, that sex-equality is at last a fact owing to the marked degeneration of man, and that man, as the traditional enemy of female "virtue," is the enemy par excellence.



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