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The Girls of the Future

December 22, 1902 — 280th anniversary celebration of the landing of the Pilgrims, Pilgrim Mothers’ Society, Astor Gallery, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City


The young girl of the future, I hope, may find no greater responsibilities, no wider paths, no more difficulties than the girl of the present has. Many women who are most valiantly anxious to gain their rights have always forgotton [sic] one thing — that the party of the first part, our brothers, are to-day where they were in the beginning; they have always the same advantages, the same responsibilities, the same difficulties, and, fortunately, they have the training to meet them. The girl has all of these things — and 753 extra tasks. And her back is no stronger and her shoulders are just as small as they ever were. I do not think there is much difference between the girl of to-day and Eve.

The girl of the future will be definitely obliged to choose between her ever-present privileges and her rights. And, if anybody were to ask me, I would advise her to hang on to her privileges and let her rights go.

If you can’t get your vote, you can always get your voter, and you can influence him in his vote.

[Miss Daskam then proposed what she called “a little scheme.”]

Let him live and perish in the conviction that he knows and can do many things that you cannot, and always pretend that you never know.

[She said that men wanted to do for women things which they believed women could not do, and were angered when they learned that they could do those things. She said that the man ought to be permitted to keep the bank book, and to decipher for his wife the railroad time table, a thing which, of course, no woman is capable of doing. Two things Miss Daskam said she regarded as absolutely necessary in an entirely satisfactory girl, and these things she said were precisely the same in the furthest island of the Pacific and in a high school in Massachusetts. These were that the girl must be good and she must be charming.]

You may think that the charm lies in her knowledge, in her parliamentary ability, in her oratorical powers, or in canning peaches, but it must be there. And neither the goodness nor the charm alone would be satisfactory. If the girl is good and nothing else, she will be as dull as anything imaginable, and if she is not good the world cannot progress, because while a bad woman may be interesting, yet she cannot perpetuate nations, and after all that seems to be the main object for which we were created.



Source:  The New York Times, December 23, 1902, p. 7.