'Blaming the Women' (1-11-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 11, 1941)

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Have you ever noticed that, when everything is going right with the world the men take the credit, and when all is wrong they blame it on the women?

Somerset Maugham is our most recent accuser. He is reported to have said:

The downfall of France can be traced partly to the close ties existing between mothers and sons. This leads to moral breakdown and final defeat.

It may strain your mental powers to get the connection between family affection and moral breakdown, but we’ll let that pass. Mr. Maugham is merely muttering into his mustache and, like a lot of other critics, having run out of alibis, he proceeds to damn the ladies.

Some of our own foremost analysts of the disaster have indulged in the same behavior – insisting that the United States is over-feminized, which it seems now constitutes a danger almost as great as Nazi bombs. From being the noblest of human instincts, mother love has become a kind of crime.

Women who train their sons in humanitarian principles, emphasizing the truths taught in Church and in the primary grades, are making their children soft. Maybe they won’t want to go out and commit mass murder upon innocent women and children and non-combatants, which now seems to be the masculine definition for courage, gallantry and nobility.

We don’t know what sort of a world we are walking into, of course. But if it is to be one dominated wholly by these masculine ideals – a vicious circle of depressions, booms and wars – then we are against it, boldly and with vehemence. Also, when women are told to bear and rear sons for the benefit of the state only, it is high time for mothers to go on strike. Gold stars and white crosses are not sufficient rewards for such patriotism.

What’s going on, anyway? Because we have begun war preparations, must we relinquish our most profound beliefs in the humanitarian way of life? Are we going to fight Hitlerism by imitating it?

Nations do not fall because of feminine shortcomings. France had too many crooked politicians to survive – and these politicians were not women.