Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ida Tarbell: On the Business of Being a Woman (1914)

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm reading a terrific book called Hearts of Fire, by Kemp Battle.  Here's one of the selections from the book:

Ida Tarbell: On the Business of Being a Woman (1914)

     Not infrequently she is loath to encourage free expression because it seems to her to disturb the peace.  Certainly it does disturb fixity of views.  It does prevent things becoming settled in the way that the woman, as a rule, loves to have them, but this disturbance prevents the rigid intellectual and spiritual aatmosphere which often drives the young from home.  Peace which comes from submission and restraint is a poor thing.  In the long run it turns to revolt.  The woman, if she examines her own soul, knows the effect upon it of habitual submission to a husband's opinion.  She knows it is a habit fatal to her own development.  While at the beginning she may have been willing enough to sacrifice her ideas, later she makes the painful discovery that this hostage to love, as she considered it, has only made her less interesting, less important, both to herself and to him.  It has made it the more difficult, also, to work out that socialization of her home which, as her children grow older, she realizes, if she thinks, is one of her most imperative duties.
     A woman is very prone to look on marriage as a merger of personalities, but there can be no great union where an individuality permits itself to be ruined.  The notion that a woman's happiness depends on the man - that he must "make  her happy" - is a basic untruth.  Life is an individual problem, and consequently happiness must be.   Others may hamper it, but in the final summing up it is you, not another, who gives or takes it - no two people can work out a high relation if the precious inner self of either is sacrificed.


Tomorrow I'll share my experience with this issue...

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