Margaret Sanger, "The New Feminists," Mar 1914.
Published article. Source: The Woman Rebel, Vol. 1, No. 1, Mar. 1914, 1 , Margaret Sanger Microfilm C16:0515 .
That apologetic tone of the new American feminists which plainly says "Really, Madam Public Opinion, we are all quite harmless and perfectly respectable" was the keynote of the first and second mass meetings held at Cooper Union on the 17th and 20th of February last.
The ideas advanced were very old and time-worn even to the ordinary church-going woman who reads the magazines and comes in contact with current thought. The "right to work," the "right to ignore fashions," the "right to keep her own name," the "right to organize," the "right of the mother to work"; all these so-called rights fail to arouse enthusiasm because to-day they are all recognized by society and there exist neither laws nor strong opposition to any of them.
It is evident they represent a middle class woman's movement; an echo, but a very weak echo, of the English constitutional suffragists. Consideration of the working woman's freedom was ignored. The problems which affect the working girl who slaves in the home or the nurse girl who spends her days and nights in the care of the babies of the feminists, were not dwelt upon. The freedom which the new feminists expound can only be obtained through a greater enslavement of the already enslaved workingwoman, and "where slavery is there liberty cannot be." Instead of launching a movement for woman's freedom the impression gained was that they aimed to combat the contentions of the conventional anti-suffragists.
To those who have been on the firing line for woman's freedom for the past several years, the new movement is sadly lacking in vitality, force, and conviction.
Any movement with fear lurking in the background, fear of the press, of public opinion, of our neighbors, or of the enemy, can not have that spirit which fearlessness of opposition brings. It is not for rights women should ask, all rights are here--rather is it for you to inculcate into her the desire to get these rights.
Feminists--Come out from under the cover of morbid respectability and let's get a look at you!
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project