The Thinking 

On Domestic Slavery

February 11, 2018


James McNeill Whistler; The Rose Scarf c 1890

“Paganism regards woman as a slave, and this is the result of failure to appreciate every human being as a distinct, living personality. When personality is overlooked, a slave ceases to be an intelligent being, and becomes merely a thing, or at best a domestic animal. Where woman is regarded as the slave of her husband, polygamy results, for he may have several slaves and consequently several wives. ** The number of his wives and slaves is as unimportant as the number of his domestic animals and of the utensils employed in his business. A further result of this theory is that marriage ceases to be permanent. A worn-out utensil is thrown away, a worthless slave is got rid of in one way or another, and so is an animal which is no longer required. If the wife is nothing but a chattel belonging to the husband, he can keep her or dispose of her as he chooses.

“Someone may feel inclined to exclaim that all this has nothing to do with us; no wife is now her husband’s slave. Of course she is not legally, but is she not sometimes practically a slave? Do not men allow their wives to toil in order to support the family? Do none amongst us heap upon women cares and burdens such as the men alone are qualified to bear? Men are very apt to relieve themselves of their troubles; and women are by nature inclined to take anxieties upon themselves.

At the wedding feast in Cana a difficulty presented itself– the wine ran short, and our Lady became aware of the fact. She, being a woman, sympathized at once with the embarrassment felt by the host, and was impelled to do her best to remove it. She revealed a truly feminine trait, one that God’s hand seems to have impressed upon woman at her creation, but the more a man may admire it, the more careful should he be not to abuse his wife’s emotional and sympathetic disposition by casting upon her burdens that she is unfit to bear.”

“Christian and Pagan Views of Marriage,” by the Rev. K. Krogh-Tonning, D.D. [emphasis added]

[Ed. — Polygamy is arguably more harmful to men as a whole than it is to women. A significant percentage of men in polygamous societies never marry. Wealthy or powerful men monopolize the marriage market. Therefore polygamy does not view the weaker man also as a “distinct, living personality.”]

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