Margaret Sanger, "Choose!," Jun 1914.
Published article. Source: The Woman Rebel, Vol. 1, No. 4, June 1914, 29 , Margaret Sanger Microfilm C16:0543 .
Would that women invest themselves with the dignity of an aim higher than the chase for things; choose to do in life outside of the making of things and keep it in mind -- not for a day, nor a year, but for a lifetime. And then keep faith with themselves! Not be a light-o'-love, to-day professing this and to-morrow that, and easily reading oneself out of both whenever it becomes convenient; not advocating a thing to-day and to-morrow kissing its enemies' sleeve, with that weak, coward cry in the mouth, "Circumstances make me." Take a good look into yourself, and if you love Things and the power and plenitude of things better than you love your womanhood--dignity, human dignity, oh, say so, say so! Say it to yourself, and abide by it. But do not blow hot and cold in one breath. Do not try to be a revolutionist and a respected possessor of Things at the same time. Do not preach the straight and narrow way while going joyously upon the wide one. Preach the wide one, or do not preach at all; but do not fool yourself by saying you would like to help to usher in a free society, but you cannot sacrifice an armchair for it. Say honestly, "I love armchairs better than free women, and pursue them because I choose; not because circumstances made me. I love hats, large, large hats, with many feathers and great bows; and I would rather have those hats than trouble myself about social dreams that will never be accomplished in my day. The world worships hats, and I wish to worship with them."
But if you choose the liberty and pride and strength of the single soul, and the free sisterhood of women as the purpose which your life is to make manifest, then do not sell it for tinsel. Think that your soul is strong and will hold its way; and slowly, through bitter struggle, perhaps, the strength will grow.
At the end of life you can say "I have not been dominated by the Dominant Ideas of my Age; I have chosen mine own allegiance and served it. I have proved by a lifetime that there is that in woman which saves her from the absolute tyranny of Circumstance, which in the end conquers and remolds Circumstance, the immortal fire of Idealism which is the salvation of the Future."
Let us have Women who will say a word to their souls and keep it--keep it not when it is easy, but keep it when it is hard--keep it when the storm roars and there is a white-streaked sky and blue thunder before, and one's eyes are blinded and one's ears are deafened with the war of opposing things; and keep it under the long leaden sky and grey dreariness that never lifts. Such women make and unmake Circumstance.
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