Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Woman and Man's Sphere.
    Are you not aware that a woman's virtue is not longer
highly prized?  Woman has entered man's sphere as his com-
petitor and rival in business, and has "manified" herself and
accepted the responsibility of getting on his moral standard.
She casts aside fog rules and laws of past centuries to enjoy
herself as she sees fit, assuming the same liberties of men,
confident the world will soon accept the new conditions as
they have accepted all advancements and progress in the
past, first with a show of resistance, and then with a welcome.
                Most cordially,     THIRTY-TWO.

The writer of the words quoted above is a man,
and he is mistaken.  He leaps to conclusions
too rapidly.  That is a feminine fault, and he
should avoid it.  Woman has entered man's sphere,
it is true, and she goes to many excesses in her
search for liberty.  She sometimes imagines it
means license.  But such types are not uni-
    Whatever changes custom may bring, however
old-established ideas of the proprieties may alter,
woman remains in all essential characteristics very
much the same from one century's end to
    Such changes as occur in her character are for the
    Take the days of Catherine de Medici and her
"Flying Squadron."  It was composed of nearly
half a hundred young women, all of "noble" birth,
all beautiful, all educated and bright, and all more
or less immoral.  Their work was to captivate and
attract the men who were political powers in the
land, to become their confidants, and to repeat their
plans and projects to Catherine de Medici.
    These young women were the social leaders of
their world, and it was a large world.
    Such an assemblage of women, whose intrigues
with men or renown were matters of public com-
ment, would not be tolerated in any society or land
to-day.  Woman places a far higher value upon her
virtue than she did in past centuries.
    In America we are not as austere as were our
Puritan ancestors, but austerity is not a synonym
for morality, not liberality for vice.
    In France, the unchaperoned young girl is de-
classe, but in America no man suspects her of being
other than her own sweet, brave, true self, merely
because she goes about her business alone.
    The American girl's independence is teaching the
old world a long-needed lesson.  Until her advent
the prevailing idea of woman's virtue seemed to be
that it was like a mouse--liable to run away unless
    The moment woman was allowed any freedom,
she was expected to fling her morals broadcast.
    The American girl carries her morals with her
through all sorts of experiences, and they are in
excellent condition when she has finished a tour of
the world or completed her education for a profes-
sion, or done any one or all of the unusual things
which she alone can do.
    No, my dear sir, do not make the mistake of
thinking woman is going to bring herself down to
man's level of immorality; instead, she is slowly
but surely bringing him up to her standard.

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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