Chicagoer Arbeiter Zeitung -- September 26, 1888Woman's Vocation. By Johanna Greie.
In the hands of the woman rests, for the bigger part, the task of raising the future generation, and of making this generation understand true human virtues.
Then why is it that we women are kept eternally in a condition of bondage, when in our hands rest the good and evil of future generations? Why should the only class that produces mankind, be stripped of its human rights?
These are questions that come up involuntarily when one realizes how numerous are the enemies of a reasonable emancipation of women.
The progressive class-conscious workers especially should realize the necessity of giving more consideration than has been done so far to womankind as educators and formers of the future generation.
How can a mother be in a position to teach her children reasonable understanding 2of our world and life when her own mind is crammed with antiquated screwy ideas and prejudices.
If a woman wants to give her children a good education aimed at a practical life, she must be in a position where she herself is able to judge happenings and events in practical life, and she must be acquainted and well versed with those. She can and will only then be able to teach her children rational thinking and acting, after she has learned them first herself.
Mothers must be given entirely different positions in society if the education of children is to be a real solid one in conformity with actual conditions. There must not be any rules of exception for women, or the degeneracy of coming generations will infallibly be the result.
It is indeed unspeakably sad to have to admit that our children must combat always anew the errors and mistakes produced by the same faulty education as we had in youth, in order to reach a clear, rational view and that this fight is going on under much more disgusting and pressing conditions now.
Is it not far more our holiest duty to help and try to make this battle easier 3for our children? Should we not direct our undivided attention to the early acquisition of consciousness of genuine human dignity on the part of our children, to which acquisition every single human being as a part of the universe has the same right.
If we want to reach this goal we have first to bring to life this consciousness. The interest of all women must be aroused for present day questions and demands of imminent importance to all workers.
This understanding will come just as it did with men.
The mother, being acknowledged to have the greatest influence in most cases on the mental development of her children, will then be in a position to form her children into real human beings who will become loyal, spirited followers of the suppressed and enslaved proletariat.
Is not this aim worth while - to throw away old ideas of rights and laws, opinions and habits?
Is it not high time to help women in their efforts to become emancipated, by advice and deeds, instead of working against them, and to use head and hand for 4energetic co-operation in order to realize the demands of a rational emancipation of women which is in harmony with the principles of justice and humanity!
Just cast a glance at present day married life. I will not go into details with regard to the married life of the upper ten thousand, as I presume that the way those marriages are contracted and the growing demoralization in marital fashions are well known to everybody.
The same stands for marriages within the so-called bourgoise or middle class.
There is no concern whether the future bride is physically well or whether her character guarantees a happy married life in the future. No, the first question is: Is there money in her family, and how much?
You will hardly find more than three or four marriages in a hundred that are found to be at least a bit bearable. There cannot be any talk of happiness, as found in a union based on free mutual harmony and love in which the two individuals supplement each other.
And married life within the working class? Seldom, very seldom do we meet 5a couple of human beings who are of equal mentality and feeling.
Defective education and the steady grinding fight for existence, for daily bread, hinder the formation of a harmonious, really happy life.
When the earnings of the husband are not sufficient to procure the barest necessities and wife and children must go to work for support of the family - then what is life of such a married life?
It is now easily understandable that as a consequence of these pressing worries for existence disharmony and dissatisfaction appear.
And how does all this affect the minds of the children who a re witnesses of unpleasant scenes, resulting from this disharmony?
Or let's assume that the earnings of the husband are sufficient to enable him to live a halfway decent and care-free life. The wife, then, is in a position to give herself fully to the education of the children and to make a comfortable home for her husband.6
But he is also interested in liberal progressive ideas. He goes occasionally to meetings and tries to discuss afterwards with his wife what he heard and saw. But she shows no understanding, no interest in such serious questions and perhaps even differs with her husband and agrees with the opinions of reactionary tendencies, as, by the way, most females do.
The husband stands firm in his conviction, the wife the same in hers; one word leads to another and the matrimonial disrupture is accomplished.
The wife begins to hate the causes, the meetings, organizations, etc., out of which come these ideas and discussions which in her opinion estrange her husband from children and herself.
What a different picture is presented to our eyes when husband and wife are mutually interested and have understanding between themselves.
A little patience and indulgence on the part of the man, and graciousness and reasonable discernment on the part of the woman, and it cannot be otherwise than that the woman will grow to respect, honor and love her husband's convictions.7
She will become interested in the ideas of our present time and will understand them, and will perhaps become a fearless fighter for truth and right.
The man, on the other hand, will now be able to have discussions with his wife of a more serious nature, which will gain in interest as the mutual exchange of ideas and opinions furnishes the necessary stimulus.
He will feel more comfortable in his home from then on, the spare time left him after the day's work will become a time of real recreation because he knows that his wife is of the same feeling and thinking as he.
The wife must be the best friend, the most loyal comrade to her husband.
Then this marriage will show a mental harmony which is necessary for happiness.
The wife will, furthermore, in correct judgement of the situation, raise her children to be energetic brave men.
No sneaks, flatterers and egoists, excelling in servility, slavery and bigotry, will grow up, but an absolutely true, proud and brave generation will bloom 8forthwith!
Mothers, take interest in all those serious questions concerning the good and evil of mankind. Learn to realize that you have to make use of your energies in the interest of humanity.
Do not be afraid of obstacles and interceptions in your way but fight your way bravely through trash of silly prejudices of past days.
Demand your human rights and fight for them. Your slogan shall be:
"It is for the future of our children," and you, men, do not remain any longer in inactivity and stubbornness in regard to woman's emancipation, but try to have your wives and daughters spend a few hours for the advancement of a just and rational woman's emancipation.
You should be proud when your wife learns to think instead of remaining thoughtless all her life and unacquainted with high idealistic aims of humanity.
It is not the purpose to set women against men but to but to bring them to the point of a realization that is necessary for the whole nation.9
Don't let us forget that all we are doing should be done in the interest of suppressed and suffering mankind.
Therefore we demand liberation of our women from those unworthy chains with which custom and laws have bound them.
Let us help to raise women to what they were predestined: "The educator and true mother of her children, the loyal companion and respected comrade of her husband."
I K, I B 3 b, I B 3 c, I E, I H
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