January 1, 2010
In 1898, Elizabth Bisland wrote a brilliant essay on the advance of what is now known as feminism. Woman is not by nature egalitarian, she argued. At heart, she is an aristocrat, prone to selfless loyalty to the hero who fires her romantic yearnings. Men were forcing egalitarianism on women. With the advance of radical democracy, they suddenly refused to play the role women’s loyalty demanded of them.
“He is relentlessly forcing a democracy of sex upon woman; industrially, mentally and sentimentally,” Bisland wrote. “He refuses to gratify her imagination; he insists upon her development of that logical selfishness which underlies all democracy, and which is foreign to her nature.”