Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Amelia Bloomer

Faugh, on such twaddle! ‘Golden rules for wives’–‘duty of wives’–how sick we are at the sight of such paragraphs! Why don’t our wise editors give us now and then some ‘golden rules’ for husbands, by way of variety? Why not tell us of the promises men make at the altar, and of the injunction ‘Husbands, love your wives as your own selves’? ‘Implicit submission of a man to his wife is disgraceful to both, but implicit obedience of the wife to the will of the husband is what she promised at the altar.’ So you say! What nonsense! what absurdity! what downright injustice! A disgrace for a man to yield to the wishes of his wife, but an honor for a wife to yield implicit obedience to the commands of her husband, be he good or bad, just or unjust, a kind husband or a tyrannical master! Oh! how much of sorrow, of shame and unhappiness have such teachings occasioned. Master and slave! Such they make the relationship existing between husband and wife; and oh, how fearfully has woman been made to feel that he who promised at the altar to love, cherish and protect her is but a legalized master and tyrant! We deny that it is any more her duty to make her husband’s happiness her study than it is his business to study her happiness. We deny that it is woman’s duty to love and obey her husband, unless he prove himself worthy of her love and unless his requirements are just and reasonable. Marriage is a union of two intelligent, immortal beings in a life partnership, in which each should study the pleasure and the happiness of the other and they should mutually share the joys and bear the burdens of life.

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M is for Margaret, who was swept out to sea...