Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

$9

The third commandment of biology is the duty of the socialization of science.

If only the scientist himself can coöperate with God, public morality is impossible. Science, locked up in the scientist's head or in his unknowable tongue, cannot nourish the common man any more than the picture in the artist's imagination can touch with beauty the soul of the common man until it is transferred to the canvas. The writer, orator, and dramatist who understand the scientist's language and can also speak to the people must enter the temple with him, although they may not go behind the veil. They must then come out to the temple steps and give these mysteries to the people. And your duty as social, business, religious, educational, and political statesman is to organize these precepts from on high into social custom, legal statute, educational policy, religious worship, and the compelling forms of art. For if you gain the whole world of science for yourself and do not share it with all mankind, your civilization will lose its own soul. But if you bring all its ministries to the common man, you will endow him with new and unknown powers of personal character, political efficiency, and social service. For the social organization of science is simply the technical administration of the love of God.

8 10

And the fourth commandment of biology is the duty of vocational education.

Civilization has always failed, because it has never succeeded in fitting each and every man to its new forms of evolution. For evolution, your Excellency, is the resultant of four great

forces: variation, adaptation, selection, and heredity. First, each individual person "varies" from his forbears. Secondly, if his variation is not "adapted" to his environment, nature kills him. Thirdly, if his variation is adapted, nature "selects" him for survival. And, fourthly, he produces progeny, and by "heredity" transmits his survival values to his offspring.

It

This is nature's method. It is crude, horrible, wasteful. Many beautiful variations are lost in the vast mêlée. Real civilization must improve on nature's method by preserving all variations of worth and beauty. must fit the environment to them as well as fit them to the environment. Nothing else is true civilization but the selection and preservation by heredity of everything beautiful and ennobling that rises above the protoplasmic stream. For this reason vocational education must discover every human worth and fit the individual possessing it to an ever-widening and more complex environment, which the increasingly intelligent descendants of such a scientific social order are certain, from their inborn excellence, to build.

§ 11

The fifth commandment of biology is the duty of internationalism.

Even a scientific civilization, if it is only national, will soon be crushed by war. It will never make war, but it must defend itself. No nation can, therefore, remain civilized until all mankind is civilized. War has scarcely more selective survival-value than an earthquake. And just as earthquakes and volcanoes are going out of fashion, so must war go the same way. Your nationalistic slogans are not only insufficient unto a world order, but

they are not even sufficient unto a permanent national order.

Moreover, vast problems of race mixtures, crossings, and amalgamations will to-morrow tax all the genius both of science and statesmanship. Biology has exploded the myth of the melting-pot as well as the myth of war. Each race and nation must still create its own culture, its own national or racial psychology, its own specific intellectual discipline. But if one culture crushes another, or great spiritual disciplines are lost by hybridizations of strange and unharmonic peoples, all civilization will go down in the biological holocaust. Consequently, your petty nationalistic prides, ambitions, and shibboleths must disappear in the greater process of the unitary development of man.

$ 12

If the worship of physical beauty can, by inducing selection toward it, change the faces of men, the worship of moral beauty can likewise change the mind and character of men. In all its endless forms art is thus man's highest contribution to the evolutionary process. It should, then, become the end and aim of all your systems of education, leading men with its gentle ministrations toward a better, wiser, happier, and far more beautiful human

race.

I have thus laid before your Excellency the stern warnings and high commands which I believe it is the duty and privilege of the biologist to utter. I believe you will heed them. Your numerous charities, your ambitious schemes of education, your insatiate cry for "more democracy," give proof of this. But in your narrow

Lastly, the sixth commandment of nationalisms you have forgotten your biology is the duty of art.

Art is the herald of the march of evolution. Biology has suddenly given to art a new and incalculable significance. The very face and form of man have probably changed under its influence, for beauty sets up ideals of mate selection between man and woman. And mate selection between man and woman is the supreme cause of both racial glory and decline. Art determines ideals of beauty, and beauty in man and woman is the outward index of survival value-potential parenthood. Beauty is thus nature's flaming banner of her own evolution.

neighbor at the antipodes and your biologic brother of the unborn tomorrow. You have thought only to leave the men of your own tribe a material and cultural legacy instead of bequeathing to mankind the biological legacy of a strong body and a great soul. But if your cultures and societies are to endure, the completed Christianity of science must become the dominating spirit of your state, your mercy as well as your statesmanship must take on the wideness of the sea and the eternity of protoplasm. Respectfully,

THE BIOLOGIST.

Do Women Dress to Please Men?

By CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN and ALEXANDER BLACK Drawings by BERTA HADER, after "Godey's Lady's Book"

[ocr errors]

Yes! By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

PILE DRIVER, having thoroughly performed its task, would be no more surprised to see a battered, submerged victim pop lightly up again than was I to note the reappearance of a long-buried fallacy in a recent article in THE CENTURY MAGAZINE.

To doubt a dogma, a doctrine, a miracle, is bravely praiseworthy, but what shall be the meed of him who doubts a natural law?

That women dress to please men is so obvious, so conspicuously visible, so plainly recognized by the man in the street, that one wonders at any lingering doubt of it. Yet this most patent fact is airily denied by a no less authority than Alexander Black.

To one who has shown, taught, reiterated, and proved through an argumentative lifetime that women do, this buoyant assumption that they do not dress to please men seems unbelievable; yet there it is. Do not look for direct assertion,-that is not this graceful writer's way, but the heresy is there none the less, thus set forth:

It is not alone the failure in man's sense of humor that induces him to think

she is dressing solely for him. That blunder has a remoter explanation.

A blunder, is it? The pile-driver begins again.

To clamp the victim firmly, we must remove that qualifying "solely," his only excuse for wabbling. No one could assert that Eskimo ladies wear furs "solely" to please men, unless in the strained sense that it would not please them to have all their women frozen to death. Furs are worn by arctic savages for two compelling reasons: one that they must be warmly clothed or die; the other, that the skins of beasts are the only fabric available. No, the verb "to dress," in this discussion, does not mean wearing clothes, but the process now popularly rendered "to doll up."

It is idle to question the women as to their purposes. We have to deal with the real reason, with the basic cause, not with explanations offered by these much-adorned ladies. Little reck they of biological laws. They may modestly repudiate and honestly or angrily deny any conscious effort to attract. They may lay the blame or

the praise for their garniture on a variety of immediate pressures, as, for instance, that "it is so hard to get nice shoes without high heels"; but that does not touch the underlying fact that those inadequate curvilinear supports for the human frame are designed in obedience to man's admiration for a "feminine foot."

ones.

The hoof of a mare is "feminine,' the paw of a lioness is "feminine," yet in efficacy they are as good as male Our "feminine" foot is so ostentatiously decorative that it can neither stand, walk, nor run as well as if it were shod like a human foot instead of a female one.

The excessive and conspicuous sex appeal of women's shoes may be submitted to by individual wearers for a variety of reasons, but its cause is the approval of men for the ultra-feminine, for something smaller, feebler, more slenderly curved than what they consider "masculine."

Of the five main reasons for wearing clothes, protection, warmth, modesty, decoration, and symbolism, it is the last two we are here considering. The other three apply to both sexes, and that "solely" must not serve as a way of escape by referring to them.

The "dress" of women, th as here used, refers to the sharp distinction between

us and other creatures which shows the human female as the only one carrying that excess of ornament known as "sex decoration." In other species, where some added splendor appears

beyond the racial beauty common to both, it is seen upon the male. To him belong the lordly crest, the bulbous wattles, the floating plumes, the spreading tail, the gorgeous hues.

And all this beauty or would-be beauty-for sometimes his bluepainted callosities miss the mark as widely as do the corpse-white noses of our women-does serve to please the female. Whether developed by her conscious selection or not, it is patently used by her strutting suitor to attract her attention and to win her favor.

So with the human male, in so far as a ruthless economic pressure leaves him anything which can be called decoration, such as gay cravats and richly harmonious socks, his demand for these adornments appears with a rush when first he seeks to please the

other sex and continues longest in those individual men or classes with whom pleasing women is a permanent interest.

Observe the hasty adornments of a group of cow-boys when ladies, especially unattached young ladies, arrive at the ranch. Note even in the tedious reiterance of habits in "the movies" the demeanor of the young man when "she" is about to appear. In the adjustment of coat amp and waist-coat, the settling of collar and tie, he seeks to please through his attire.

We have here an overwhelming mass of evidence that "dress" in this sense of extra-decoration is used to attract the other sex by all males. If

[graphic]

women, the only females so empowered, use it for other purposes, the burden of proof is on them.

The reason that the female of the human species is saddled with this extra burden, in addition to her human activities and the large demands of motherhood, is clear enough. Other females have no need for the male except as a mate and co-parent, but we women need men as "providers." As was definitely stated in "The Wizard of Oz," "even the fairest face must be fed."

Painfully plain is

the case a priori; but we must follow it among the many corroborative proofs a posteriori. If the laboratory method could be employed, it would be finally convincing. This would require the segregation of numbers of women of similar type and equal opportunities, but cut off from men's society altogether; and the comparison of their dress with that of a group otherwise identical, but allowed masculine society. Failing such conclusive experiment, we find some approximation to it in the dress of women in an undermanned summer resort during the week compared with their sudden efflorescence on Saturday night, when the men arrive.

Still more convincingly it appears when mercenary mothers for the sake of their daughters, or other women for personal needs, deliberately set themselves to please men, making full use of dress. Even the wife, desiring to win some special indulgence from her husband, not only provides the

dinner he likes best, but wears the dress he likes best, if she has one.

Kipling, surely a most masculine type, freely acknowledges this motive, as in his story "Three and an Extra." It starts with a Punjabi proverb. "When halter and heelropes are slipped, do not give chase with sticks, but with grain." He underlines grain. The woman whose husband neglected her and was "annexed" by Mrs. Hauksbee took heart of grace and 'spent a week designing" a costume that the author thus feelingly describes: "It was a gorgeous dressslight mourning. I can't describe it, but it was what The Queen calls 'a creation'-a thing that hit you right between the eyes and made you gasp."

[graphic]

66

She wore it to a party to which he had taken Mrs. Hauksbee. It worked. "The men crowded round her for dances," her husband stared at her from doorways, "and the more he stared the more taken was he." Mrs. Bremmil recovered her stray with that one dress.

Another line of evidence is found among earlier authors who lectured women on their duties, frequently rebuking them for a laxity, even slovenliness, of dress after marriage. It

was all too evident that these ladies took great pains to "make their market," as the phrase went, and quite naturally relaxed their efforts when it was made. The obverse is familiar to us in the classic tale of the man who was censured for not showing the same gallant attentions to his wife that he had to his sweetheart.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »