Editorial: Decline of feminism (9-12-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 12, 1941)


By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

The chief ambition of the modern girl is to marry and have children, according to Dr. Lewis Jones, president of Bennington, which is considered our most liberal college for women.

Feminism is washed up, it seems – that is, if we think of it as a rebel movement, taking women out of the home. Like all movements, it went haywire for a while, leading its devotees into some devious and dangerous paths. We should not be surprised to see them coming back into the domestic folds once more.

The educational formula pronounced by Dr. Jones fills the bill in my opinion. He says:

We are trying to train young women to play their part in today’s confused and rapidly-changing society. If education is effective, they will be able to function well as citizens in marriage, career or a popular combination of the two.

When it comes to being individuals, women are usually on a spot. If they enjoy a normal life, meaning marriage and children, they are often forced to give up any thoughts of a career. And the bright young thing who wants to make her mark in the world, and sacrifices everything for ambition, may find herself with nothing left but a mark, which can fade very thin and become, in time, an unsatisfactory substitute for a family.

What the world needs now is more educated men – men smart enough to understand that women are people too and willing to give them every chance to be good citizens without taking away from them marriage and motherhood.

When American men are really civilized, we shall have no need for feminism because we shall be their mates and helpers. Feminine equality will be no good unless it comes as a voluntary gift, to us from them.


How has this article aged?

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Surprisingly a lot more relatable, speaking as an anti-feminist myself.

Feminism in that regard is far from being washed up, at least since the 1960s, though it has attained more of a negative reputation now than it did then. This line in the article aged the worst.

The curse of identity politics strikes again!

This aged well, in my opinion.

She seems to be placing the burden on men for achieving equality of the sexes (not keeping in mind that women ought to be just as responsible). This is also something that I see with some modern feminists, albeit a lot more blatant and with a very negative attitude toward marriage and motherhood.

In my opinion, she seems to be under the impression that feminism is egalitarianism which, from experience and research, is not the case, no matter how hard a feminist tries to use the “dictionary definition.”