I Dare Say – A woman for you! (8-7-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 7, 1941)



A woman for you!

By Florence Fisher Parry

Jones Beach, Long Island –
Far be it from me to disparage my own sex, but I stoutly maintain that what has held back women in the field of equal enterprise has not been lack of opportunity but a certain congenital resignation.

She must naturally put up with things which men would have dealt with summarily centuries ago.

I cite but a few terrible inconveniences which in my own day I have seen, not women, but men, improve. Since plumbing was introduced into the home, women have put up with low sinks, breaking their backs over the dishes complaining, no doubt, to their spouses, that they didn’t see why sinks couldn’t be higher. But they didn’t do anything about it until just recently. They have had low ovens for centuries, putting up with stooping down in impossible positions in order to light the gas or peer at the cake. They have stood for kitchen cupboards built so high that no female arm could possibly reach them. They never evinced the initiative or inventive necessary to produce reforms in their own realm.

For years they let men design their clothes and dictate their styles. Under the slavish dictates of fashion, they let themselves suffer immoderately in tight, hot, voluminous clothes that squeezed them in and weighed them down like instruments of inquisition.

I remember as a young girl listening to an artist friend of mine tell me about a corset her mother had been trying for years to introduce to the fashion designers. It sounded to me reasonable enough. It contained no steel or whalebone “ribs,” it was not “straight front,” it adhered to the natural contours of the body. It was flexible and restraining.

I discouraged her:

But women will not accept it, it will make their waists look too thick and will show the shape of their stomachs.

She corrected:


She insisted:

The Venus de Milo, the Victory of Samothrace, have “stomachs.” If a female figure is beautiful; nude, it should be equally beautiful clothed, retaining the same contours.

I gloomed:

But women won’t stand for it.

That was in 1912. Only 30 years ago. A few years after, “contour” corsets swept into fashion.

But not of woman’s designing.

The crisis!

What has brought all this to mind is the present silk stocking “crisis” in the United States. Frenzied women have raided the stores and bought up the hosiery supply. In an agony of apprehension, they bring their hands over the prospect of a shortage in the one article of female clothing which, more than any other, had provided the perfect example of why women don’t amount to much in the world of enterprise. For years now, they have permitted themselves to be enslaved by one of the greatest merchandising feats ever perpetrated upon female acceptance: the silk stocking. In no other article of clothing have women evinced such slavish conformity and resignation. They have put up with a condition men would not endure for a moment.

I attest. If men had found, after wearing silk hosiery for a reasonable, experimental time, that the runner problem was going to develop into the expense which women have borne for years without concerted protest, they would have refused to wear them and turned to a substitute – or, more likely, demanded and accomplished – some runner-proof improvement.

Lost opportunity

Now, after years of slavery and appalling extravagance (why yes, silk stockings are the greatest single article of expense in a woman’s wardrobe), a war crisis has offered to women complete emancipation! They are given a real, substantial, powerful, exciting, patriotic, provocative, original means by which to cast off their yoke and declare themselves FREE forever of the hosiery bondage. They are offered a runnerless era. They are proffered emancipation from the silkworm.

A woman beside me here on the beach sobs:

And the worst of it, I had to take a half-dozen pairs of the lightest kind of beige, knowing that the fall shades aren’t even IN yet! And even worse, they were Seconds; which means that half of them have runners in them at the very first wearing!

Her companion shouted:

Well, at least you HAVE them, runners or no runners.

And they lay back in the sand in their trunks and brassieres happy in the knowledge that for the present at least they had solved the supreme question.

Europe was prostrate. Locked on the Eastern Front, millions of human beings were facing the worst kind of death. Dislocation was already doing its sad work in nearly every American home. For two years American women were reading, hearing, talking war. Isn’t it terrible about the Czechs! Isn’t it awful about the French! Isn’t it horrible about the Greeks! They meant it, yes. But it didn’t sink in. You could tell, by how quickly they recovered and went about their shopping…

But now? The war has become, for the first time, a fact. There is a silk stocking crisis. Put it to the average American woman: If you really couldn’t get them any other way, would you smuggle silk hose from Japan?

It’s a test question. I wonder, how many female characters would stand up under the strain of such a delicate choice?


Uhh…still working on it I guess but a great read after 79 years


This is the woman who wrote the article:

How was ‘Parry’ pronounced? Was it pronounced like ‘Perry’?

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Nope. Wrong lady. She was 55 by this point.




Perhaps it was her mother

I’m not fully in depth regarding her pre-1922 life. The closest I got was a David Heide of Kenosha, Wisconsin, but I can neither confirm nor deny that at the moment.

EDIT: She married David Parry in 1915.