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Title: Lysistrata; or, woman's future and future woman

Author: Anthony M. Ludovici

Author of introduction, etc.: Norman Haire

Release date: January 7, 2023 [eBook #69734]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: E. P. Dutton & Company, 1925

Credits: Tim Lindell, Barry Abrahamsen, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This book was produced from images made available by the HathiTrust Digital Library.)





DÆDALUS, or Science and the Future
By J. B. S. Haldane
ICARUS, or The Future of Science
By the Hon. Bertrand Russell, F.R.S.
By F. G. Crookshank, M.D. Fully Illustrated
By Prof. A. M. Low. With four Diagrams
NARCISSUS, or The Anatomy of Clothes
By Gerald Heard. Illustrated
TANTALUS, or The Future of Man
By Dr F. C. S. Schiller
By Prof. C. J. Patten, M.A., M.D., Sc.D., F.R.A.I.
CALLINICUS, A Defense of Chemical Warfare
By J. B. S. Haldane
QUO VADIMUS? Some Glimpses of the Future
By E. E. Fournier d’Albe, D.Sc., F.Inst.P.
By H. W. S. Wright, M.S., F.R.C.S.
HYPATIA, or Woman and Knowledge
By Dora Russell (Hon. Mrs. Bertrand Russell)
LYSISTRATA, or Woman’s Future and Future Woman
By A. M. Ludovici
By the Hon. Bertrand Russell, F.R.S.
In Preparation
PERSEUS, of Dragons
By H. F. Scott Stokes, MA.
By Rebecca West
By Alan Porter
AESCULAPIUS, or Disease and The Man
By F. G. Crookshank, M.D.
Other Volumes in Preparation.


Woman’s Future and
Future Woman
Author of “Woman: a Vindication,” “A
Defence of Aristocracy”; etc.
New York
681 Fifth Avenue

Copyright, 1925

All Rights Reserved

Letter from Dr Norman Haire

My dear Ludovici,

It has been a great pleasure for me to read Lysistrata—it is so stimulating. Whether one agrees with your views or not (and I disagree with many of them), the book impels one to re-examine one’s standards of value, and that is the highest function a book can perform.

Perhaps I am prejudiced, but to me you seem very hard on the medical profession. With the present idiotic system of paying the doctor better for illness than for health the wonder is, not that we doctors have so many faults, but that we have so few. In a saner age we shall get a retaining fee for keeping each person or group of persons well, and so, in order to avoid excessive work, if for no higher motive, we shall aim at preventing disease rather than at alleviating it. To a large extent we do that now, in spite of the fact that it takes money out of our pockets.

Your exhortation to breast-feed babies is backed by all but a few cranks, and I find your suggestion to make confinement easier by proper diet during pregnancy very interesting. I remember that at the obstetric hospital at which I was trained we used to notice that patients who had been on special treatment for albuminuria had, in general, easy confinements. It is very significant, from the standpoint of your suggestions, that in the diet of these patients the protein element had been very greatly reduced. I shall follow up your idea and let you know the result.

I am sure you are right when you say “Sound and desirable women cannot be happy unmated.” The fact that there are some women who can does not invalidate the general truth—they are atypical.

Another of your phrases I would that you should trumpet forth in a voice that should reach to the uttermost ends of the earth: “Strictly speaking, moral depravity is no more voluntary than physiological depravity.” I am confident that as Science advances the former will be found always to depend on the latter.

In speaking of the unfit, infanticide, and concubinage, your frankness is splendid, though on my pet subject, Birth-Control, I disagree with you. There can be no doubt that much of our present-day “humanitarianism” only results in wasting on the hopelessly unfit money and care which might be spent very profitably on the fit, and in keeping alive those who should never have been born. With the decay of sentimentalism, infanticide must come to be practised on those who at birth are obviously below a (variable) minimum standard, and sterilization (destruction of fertility without interference with sexual potency or pleasure) on those whose deficiency becomes unmistakable only at a more advanced age. Contraception will be used mainly to ensure an optimum interval between births in the interest of both mother and child, and to limit the offspring to a (variable) number most suitable in the individual, financial, and social circumstances of each family.

Some modification of our present marriage-arrangement is inevitable, and concubinage seems quite a probable solution. At present we pretend to be a monogamous people in spite of widespread fornication and adultery, overtly with prostitutes and covertly with “amateurs.” But sooner or later we shall have to drop the pretence and admit that men are polygamous. (A few men are monogamous, and a few women polyandrous, but both are exceptions.) Surely it would be better to allow every woman to have half a husband, if she wants to, and remain respectable, than to give half the women a whole husband and the others no share in a husband at all.

For this book you will probably be denounced as a daring and fantastic visionary, and I shall be blamed as an aider and abettor, but that doesn’t matter. It will have stimulated many unthinking people to a re-examination of their table of values.

Ever yours,

Norman Haire

90, Harley Street, W.

Values direct Science

From a brief survey of his fellow-countrymen, there are many strange lessons to be learnt in England to-day, by anyone who keeps his eyes open and is on his guard against taking too much for granted.

The observer has only to exchange a few words with the men, women, and children he passes by, and to look into their faces—no more is required to tell him all he wishes to know. Nor will he need to have a very high standard of human beauty to feel disappointed by the features of the great majority, while the most elementary knowledge of psychology and hygiene will enable him to see from their behaviour and expressions that they are very largely harassed, unhealthy and badly fed (i.e., not starving, but improperly nourished).

But among the first of the curious facts he will notice is this—that large masses of his fellow-countrymen appear to have become so thoroughly accustomed to living their lives with the help of every variety of artificial aids that the latter no longer provoke either shame or concern.

For instance, men and women—young and old—constantly pass by wearing glasses, and they look quite cheerfully and confidently up through these optical aids when they are addressed. To speak to others in the crowd, and to see them smile, is to recognize instantly that some or all of their teeth are bad or false. But they smile with just as much conviction, whether their dentition happens to be natural or manufactured. Numbers of the younger adults and children about have upon their faces, in the region of their eyes and brows, certain tiny, almost imperceptible, scars, revealing the fact that they were brought into the world by means of obstetric instruments. And countless others there are whose birth was just as artificial, though they bear no marks to show it. But no one seems to trouble, or to inquire how such frequent interference with a natural function might be avoided. Everywhere people are seen shaking hands, and sincerely proclaiming themselves “Quite well,” when that very morning, and many previous mornings, their intestines have functioned only through the agency of some widely advertized artificial aid. But none of them feels guilty of any grave inaccuracy in declaring himself well in the circumstances.

Mothers can be seen by the hundred thousand, serenely wheeling in perambulators, or leading by the hand, infants and children, not one of whom has ever put its lips to a human breast. The advertisements recommending the artificial foods on which these infants and children have been reared can be read on every boarding. But it never occurs either to the mothers themselves, or to the children, or to the onlookers, to consider whether this state of affairs is of a kind that justifies so much self-complacency, good cheer, indifference, and apparent contentment.

These indications of a highly standardized life, revealing almost universal imperfections of some kind in our bodies and their functions, are now so common, so much a commonplace in our midst, that nobody notices them, nobody mentions them as odd, and certainly nobody seems to show any concern or alarm about their monotonous frequency.

Mention might be made of other less obvious aids to normal functions which are in daily use among the population of these islands; but, since we are speaking of the lessons that may be learned by an ordinary observer who keeps his eyes and ears open in our streets and lanes, we may well confine ourselves to the obvious.

Now, since all marked uniformity can result only from holding similar fundamental views, similar general principles, in common, if our wanderer wishes to pursue his observations he may be led to inquire from what substratum of guiding rules, from what basic values, this uniformity arises. If he is right in concluding that the population he sees about him—the people who are regarded as well and healthy, not the people who crowd our hospitals, asylums, and homes for cripples and incurables!—are largely sub-normal, or sub-human, in the sense that they are neither complete bodily nor capable of functioning without artificial aids; if, moreover, he is right in thinking that they do not seem to be much perturbed about their sub-humanity, he may wish to know the nature of the atmosphere in which their thoughts and ideals are formed. Their readiness to declare themselves “quite well,” or “quite fit,” simply on the strength of their not being under a doctor, or on a sick-bed, is singular. The question they ask themselves is not “Am I really quite fit or well?” but “Am I just able to discharge my daily duties, walk about, shop, have a family, and take ordinary meals?” If they can answer this question in the affirmative, they reply with no conscious insincerity that they are quite fit.

Evidently, then, among this population of to-day there is no severe standard of good bodily condition, no cultivated taste about it. Or, if there is, it is surprisingly low.

Defective functioning and incomplete bodily equipment no longer debars anybody from regarding himself, or from being regarded by others, as desirable and normal. Even in the vital matter of mating, this is so—how much more customary it must be, therefore, in less vital matters! Stand up, smile, and agitate your four limbs to indicate that they are intact and still movable, and that is enough. The bias against a whole list of defects and blemishes has completely disappeared.

Moral depravity is still stigmatized. About physiological depravity, however, the world is frivolously indifferent. In the popular novels, which best reflect the spirit of the age, the heroine rejects a suitor, not because he has false teeth or chronic dyspepsia or varicose veins—such things are so common that they are never mentioned; but because he is “selfish,” or lacking in chivalry, or in “a sense of humour.” The hero whom she accepts may be less healthy, less complete anatomically than the man she rejects. He may also function less normally, have two or three false teeth and a furred tongue—in fact, he may be in every respect a much less desirable potential sire; but she considers his “soul,” as the expression goes; and every reader is satisfied that she behaves in the best possible way.

The spiritual atmosphere of our population, therefore, is one in which all stress seems to be laid on the soul, in which the severe standards are soul standards, and in which the importance of the body and its completeness are almost entirely overlooked. As an instance of this, it is interesting to note that there is no such thing to-day as a guilty conscience about bodily depravity. The results of hundreds of years of steady moralization has ended at last in the condition known as “guilty conscience” becoming restricted entirely to the soul and to the moral life. To say that so-and-so “can’t help it,” immediately stifles criticism and arrests nausea. This alone shows how purely moral our outlook is. Least of all are people able to despise themselves when their own teeth are false, or when they habitually assist normal functioning by means of artificial aids.

And in all these matters the unanimity of the modern civilized world is so striking that the conclusion is forced upon us that here we are confronted with the outcome of certain ruling and fundamental values which must be common to all the people we have been discussing. From the nature of the uniform attitude to which these values have led, we are also obliged to infer that they must have taught at least two very definite doctrines with unswerving consistency—(a) the over-emphasis of the importance of the soul, and (b) the contempt and general slander of the body. Or, to put it less offensively, they must have taught mankind not only to place soul always before body, but also to leave the body out of the reckoning when valuing the quality of human beings.

So much we know must have occurred, and we come to this conclusion merely from judging the results which we see about us to-day. When, however, we set out to inquire into the history of our population, and attempt to discover whether such values have indeed operated in forming their spiritual atmosphere, then, not only are our suspicions abundantly confirmed, but we are actually able to lay our finger on the body of doctrine containing the values whose existence we posited a priori.

Having attained this end, while we may still continue to deplore the results we see about us, we can no longer wonder at them. Indeed, we should marvel if, in such an atmosphere, we had failed to degenerate, or ceased from degenerating. The wonder is, not that we have become a nation of decadents and crocks, but that it should have taken all this time to make us such a nation.

If our values had not for scores of generations turned us away from strict standards concerning the body, it is inconceivable that we should have become what we are; it is inconceivable that this atmosphere of toleration and indifference towards bodily defects should have become so universal. A nation ultimately becomes the image of its values. The values are the die, the nation is the coin. From the face of the coin we judge the die. From the faces of modern English people we can judge their values.

Moreover, these values must have been so deeply rooted that they now mould opinion without those whose opinion is moulded by them being conscious of the source of their mental attitude. The best illustration of this is that, although these values ultimately derive from a great religion, the most irreligious people of the modern world share with the religious the spiritual atmosphere we have been describing. People no longer believing in the soul from the religious standpoint, nevertheless show by their tolerance towards bodily defects, in themselves and others, that they are being unconsciously influenced by the same atmosphere. They may even have ceased to identify their opinions with any fundamental values whatsoever, and regard their attitude as quite original, as many, particularly women, do. No matter! Let them reveal just that significant difference of standards in their judgment of human “fitness” and their judgment of the “fitness” of animals, and we know the ancestry of their mental attitude.

For this reason it is surely somewhat muddle-headed on the part of a writer like Dean Inge, situated as he is, to plead with such vehemence on behalf of Eugenics. For how can we hope for a reaction in favour of the body as long as the values which lay all stress on the soul and despise the body abide as an influence among us? Are they not the values by which he stands, and which he is officially expected to inculcate upon his generation?[1]

1.  Mr. G. K. Chesterton is more consistent here, and shows a deeper understanding of his true position. He, like Dean Inge, accepts the fundamental values which by slow degrees have brought the modern world into existence, and he therefore very rationally rejects Eugenics.

If ever these values are proved before the whole world to be false, and cease to exercise any influence, no eugenic effort will then be required. Because, the moment we begin to value people according to their physiological as well as their spiritual worth—the moment, that is to say, we value them according to the promise which they give in their own bodies and minds of guaranteeing the survival of human life in a desirable form, eugenic mating will become quite as common and instinctive as dysgenic mating is to-day.

Dean Inge, while recognizing the widespread degeneracy and physiological botchedness to which allusion has been made, does not seem to perceive, as our observer has, the singular readiness with which all modern people overlook or condone it in themselves and others, and he argues, plausibly enough, that our regrettable physical condition is due to our industrialism and hypertrophic urbanism.

But this is tantamount to regarding the latest accompanying symptom of our condition as its chief cause. For, in the first place, it is extremely doubtful whether the Industrial Revolution could ever have come about without that contempt for the body and its needs which lies embedded in our ruling values. Secondly, does Dean Inge find no signs of that contempt of the body before the Industrial Age? How about the Middle Ages? How about the Great Rebellion in England? The present writer once went to the pains of tracing all the Puritan contempt for the body, and the fatal consequences it had for the English people, to the values that Dean Inge upholds. He was even able to show that, without those values, the seeds of modern industrialism could hardly have been sown, as they were in the middle of the seventeenth century.[2] Was not this before the so-called Industrial Revolution?

2.  Vide A Defence of Aristocracy (Constable and Co., London: 1915).

How could the food-conditions in this country ever have become as appalling as they are without an old tradition involving the neglect of bodily concerns? These things antecede the Industrial Revolution, as the present writer has shown elsewhere, by hundreds of years. Evidently, then, strict standards about the body had already gone long before the Industrial Age. And, when the latter came, it found no barriers in the English people’s prejudices regarding the body and health: otherwise it could never have proceeded as successfully as it did to a further debilitation of the national physique.

We may take it, then, that the spiritual environment of all modern sub-human people is the outcome of our fundamental values, as is also their sub-humanity; and that this spiritual environment is characterized by a tendency to neglect and despise the body and bodily considerations.

At all events, to put it in the mildest and most moderate terms, it is impossible altogether to absolve these fundamental values from responsibility in the matter; and to ignore their influence, and to join the Eugenic movement, without first reckoning with their power, as Dean Inge has done, is to be guilty of a confusion of thought unworthy of anyone who professes to guide public opinion.

Now what is the material environment of our population?—Quite clearly, it is one in which the mechanical elaboration of daily life has been carried to a degree entirely bewildering. These sub-human people of the twentieth century live among marvels of technical skill and ingenuity; and the appliances, apparatus, and general equipment of their every-day life have reached a complexity and perfection quite unprecedented in history. Far from having learnt any lesson from the doctrines Darwin taught last century, all our energy and skill have been concentrated in precisely the opposite direction. Progressive evolution is no longer a fact with us; for, as a species we are steadily falling back to a level below that attained by our race in former ages. While we ourselves, however, steadily recede along the scale of quality, our environmental conditions, our tools, our means, acquire ever greater perfection.

The onus of evolution has, as it were, been transferred from our own shoulders to the shoulders of our environment. Blinded by the dazzling achievements of the mechanical and other sciences, we still speak about ourselves as if it were we, as living organisms, who were continuing to evolve. But, truth to tell, it is nothing of the sort. Even in the sphere of intellectual powers, we are miserably below standards already achieved.

To the bulk of unobservant and unthinking mankind, this state of affairs is largely hidden; because, while science increases the efficiency of our extra-corporeal equipment, it has also, pari passu with our degeneration, provided us with the means of keeping our corporeal equipment going. Almost as fast as we have wanted them, the sciences of chemistry and of medicine have given us the means of replacing lost parts of our bodies, and of supplementing failing functions. A whole sphere of activity—indeed a whole world of interests and ingenuity—has been created by modern physical degeneracy. The patent-medicine, patent-appliance, and patent-food industries, alone represent some of the largest going concerns in the land. In fact, it might be said that these industries themselves are but the reverse of the medal representing our fundamental values. Where you have values such as ours, you will necessarily possess a huge and flourishing medical profession and a vast army of dentists, chemists, and osteopaths, daily directing their wits towards making good the increasing defects of the human body. You will also be compelled to have your patent-drug, patent-appliance, and patent-food magnates, who, taking advantage of the universal physiological depravity of their contemporaries, amass large fortunes in merely offering “salvation” at popular prices to the physiologically depraved.

To be strictly logical, even the nature of scientific research should be added to the consequences of a people’s ruling values; because the ultimate goal of scientific investigation is necessarily determined by the desiderata implicit in values. If the values of an age tend more and more towards tolerating bodily defects, and towards securing satisfaction merely by patching or artificially replacing them, scientific research will concentrate ever more and more on those discoveries which promise either to alleviate physical degeneration or else to conceal it. And, as fast as we slough off further parts of our bodies, or lose further powers of functioning, we may rely upon science being ever ready with artificial aids, to make our lives just possible notwithstanding.

In this way, values direct science. If we altered our ruling values, we should find that the direction of science was also altered, because the desiderata always implicit in ruling values would then have changed.

“But,” cry the modernists à outrance, “if science is ever ready, and will continue to be ever ready, with artificial aids to make good the losses in our corporeal equipment and efficiency, why all this fuss and pother? Why worry?”

Now this view, tacitly held or openly professed by the bulk of modern mankind to-day, would be all very well, and would justify a certain modicum of optimistic contentment, if we could act and think, and continue to reproduce our kind in a desirable form, independently of our bodies. But, unfortunately for the modern man, this is impossible. Not only that, but a good many of life’s joys—some of its greatest and most lasting—are connected precisely with the reproduction of our kind, with the maintenance of our bodily efficiency, and with happy functioning. The moment physiological serenity goes, the moment a function ceases to be a pleasure, the body becomes the most tyrannical and insistent pleader against Life. It constantly sets the most formidable question-mark against the value of Life.

The pleasures of the healthily functioning body are very real pleasures. They constitute a very large proportion of the sum of joy on earth. And nothing can be more obvious than that Nature means them to contribute largely to this sum of joy. To eat with false teeth is not as pleasant as to eat with natural teeth. Artificially to promote either appetite or digestion soon proves but a poor and delusive imitation of Nature’s way. To wear glasses is not as good as to be without them. Neither is the face or the expression of one who always wears glasses as attractive as the face and the expression of one who does not. To a mother, the hand-feeding of her infant child is not the unforgettable experience that breast-feeding is. And, in the deepest and most rapturous transports of love, where a large proportion of the ecstasy depends upon the bodily savouriness and sweetness of the couple involved, natural and normal physiological equipment is of paramount importance. A clean mouth, full of natural teeth, firmly set in unimpaired gums; a clean fresh tongue, not even slightly furred by incipient chronic indigestion; a sweet breath, and the natural fragrance of a healthily functioning body!—who knows love as Nature intended him to know it if he has not known these things?

And yet, how many modern men and women ever can know love in this form? How is it possible?

Can it be wondered at, therefore, that modern mankind as a whole are beginning to suspect that the joie de vivre is grossly over-rated? Can it be wondered at that the bulk of mankind are beginning to feel that life can well be lived without love?

This, then, is the disillusionment that follows on the heels of the values directing our scientific progress. While, through them, we are content to exist despite our defective bodily equipment, we are gradually weaned from our love of life and from our deepest convictions concerning the value of life. For not only does our debilitated or incomplete body itself give us but second-rate joys, but the science that comes to our aid offers us only substitutes, and we are apt to measure the value of life according to those second-rate joys, and according also to the level of happiness attained by means of these substitutes.

Thus the values that revile both life and the body in the end succeed in making both life and the body vile.

So much for the æsthetic side, which is important, because life is very largely an æsthetic phenomenon. But there are even more serious consequences than these. For instance, it is highly improbable that our vitality and intellectuality can fail to suffer depreciation when once normal functioning has been interfered with. So intricate and inter-dependent are the various parts and functions of the superior mammal’s body, that it is hardly possible to disturb the balance of one part or one function without impairing the whole. Thus it is not unlikely, in these latter days when ninety-nine per cent. of the population of highly civilized countries is suffering from some kind of defective function or bodily part, that all of us are sub-human in spirit as well as in body. It is even conceivable that the hopeless pass at which we are arriving in Western civilization is but the inevitable outcome of our chronic sub-normality or sub-humanity, and that nothing but a reform of our bodies can possibly help us out.

Nor is it any longer valid to argue that this view is materialistic. We thank Dean Inge en passant for his able reply to those who, objecting to the standpoint that has just been advanced, are ready to accuse those who hold it of materialism.

At all events we can honestly deny that we are materialists, and do not believe that we are any the less religious or spiritual for having fought hard for our heterodox religious views through years of metaphysical study and thought. Secondly, we repudiate the suggestion that to preach the care and maintenance of the beauty and health of the body is necessarily material; for it is the invalid, the sick man, the man of this age, who calls himself “well,” who is constantly reminded of his body. A healthily functioning body can be forgotten. Thanks to its serenity, its muteness in efficiency, it allows its owner to indulge in every variety of spiritual exercise.

While, therefore, we accuse the values which for centuries have cast a slur on life and the human body of being the cause of modern decadence, we do not thereby proclaim ourselves either irreligious or materialistic; for, let those who would too hastily presume both our irreligiosity and materialism remember that there are other religions besides that which first created the body-despising values to which we allude.

And, when we challenge the modern age to prove that it can be anything else than materialistic, with its countless millions of sick or deficient bodies; when we challenge it to show in what manner the two thousand years of body-contempt and body-neglect have led us to a loftier spirituality, the very grossness of modern life, the very besottedness of the modern mind, and the very system of government in the modern world, Democracy, which is materialism in politics (estimating the value of an idea or policy by measuring the body-weight behind it, not by measuring the authority, ability, or competence behind it)—all rise before us in their ugliness, leaving us but few qualms concerning the danger that we, of our persuasion, run, of falling into materialism by questioning the values that have brought us thus far.

The masses are materialistic to-day because, in the first place, lowered vitality and defective functioning depress the spirit and dull the wits, thus unfitting the mind for all lofty pursuits; and, secondly, because at every moment of their lives their attention is either riveted upon their own halting functions or else distracted by similar disturbances in those among whom their lot is cast.

The Present Position of Women

(I) The Unmarried

We have seen that the disillusionment that dogs the heels of the values directing our civilization and its alleged progress consists in our ultimate discovery that Life, as seen through the optics of our impaired and science-aided bodies, appears to have lost a substantial portion of its reputed value. The joie de vivre becomes an antiquated myth, no longer a present experience.

If, however, this is true from the standpoint of modern men, how very much more true it must be from that of modern women! For, if it is right to claim that some of Life’s greatest and most lasting joys are connected with the maintenance of the species, woman, whose share in reproduction is much greater than man’s, must necessarily be the greater sufferer when the corporeal equipment of the race becomes defective.

In these degenerate days of fourth-rate bodily joys, therefore, when the corporeal equipment of man and woman has to be scientifically completed with the help of elaborate extra-corporeal aids, it is among the women of the species that we should expect to find the greatest revolt against the old notions concerning Life, Motherhood, and Domesticity.

For man’s degeneracy in itself contributes an added woe to woman’s impaired physical life, by depriving her of the very extra-corporeal equipment (supplied by Nature herself in this case) for the urgent needs of her body. Or, if it does not altogether deprive her of this equipment, it gives it to her in a form so atonic, fireless, and un-ideal that the misery of modern women, even when they are married, is very great. Hence, we believe, the huge development of the modern novel, the demand for which has been created almost entirely by the female population. For only people whose lives are unsatisfying endeavour to enjoy life vicariously in the unreal world of fiction.

Perhaps it was the recognition of this fact, that the value of life for woman depends to a great extent on her physical efficiency and health, which led the ancients to feel so much concern about the physical condition of their womenfolk, and this probably explains why such careful instructions are to be found in sacred books—like that of Manu, for instance—regarding a father’s duty towards his daughters.

Manu goes so far as to say: “Reprehensible is the father who gives not his daughter in marriage at the proper time.” And he adds: “To a distinguished handsome suitor should a father give his daughter.... But the maiden, though marriageable, should rather stop in her father’s house until death than that he should ever give her to a man destitute of good qualities.”

In Ecclesiasticus we read the following exhortation to fathers: “Hast thou daughters? Have a care of their body.”[3]

3.  It might be argued against the line taken in the Introduction that here is an instance of the care of the body in the literature from which the body-despising values are alleged to hail. But this is a misunderstanding. Not only is Ecclesiasticus apocryphal, but also, as everybody must know, the Old Testament and the New are quite different in their attitude towards the body. In the New Dispensation, and certainly in traditional Christianity, it is never suggested, as it is in Judaic law, that a man who is bodily defective defiles the sanctuary of the Lord when he approaches it. This healthy attitude to the body, which constantly recurs in the Old Testament, can be found neither in the New Testament nor in historical Christianity.

And in Aristophanes we find the following sentiment expressed by a married woman: “Καὶ Θἠμέτερον μὲν ἐᾶτε; περὶ των δὲ χορῶν ἐν τοῖς θαλάμοις γηρασχουσῶν ἀνιῶμαι” (But do not let us complain about ourselves. What breaks my heart is the sight of all these young girls who will grow old sleeping alone.) Aristophanes, Lysistrata, ll. 592-3.

Evidently these exhortations and sentiments hail from an age preceding that in which the body-despising values were created, for they breathe a different atmosphere, and ring strangely in our ears.

As late as the sixteenth century in England, when, it may be supposed, a vestige of the old pagan spirit still lingered among our people, there is indeed a tender allusion to the female body; and, strange to say, it occurs in our Book of Common Prayer. But the very oddness of the sentiment to our modern ears shows how completely foreign it is to the atmosphere created by our values, and we may be sure that it is seldom read, or, if read, seldom understood, at a modern marriage service. It is as follows:

“For the husband is the head of the wife ... and he is the Saviour of the body.”

We have lost all sympathy with this attitude. We no longer consider the physical side of our daughters’ and sisters’ lives. We may wish them to have a “good time”; or, if we are poor, we wish them to be self-supporting. But bodily considerations scarcely enter into the first wish, and into the second—never!

Coupled, however, with our attitude of callous indifference to the young female’s body is also the increasing doubt which is spreading among all classes regarding the actual value of the normal and natural life for woman. Impaired physical efficiency has turned so many of the joys and beauties of the natural life to pain and horror that there is no longer that certainty which Manu felt about the desirability of motherhood for women. And, even when motherhood is not regarded as a greatly over-rated pleasure, the mates by means of whom motherhood can be experienced are, as a rule, such poor shadows of men that the whole of Manu’s attitude has begun to be discredited. The Feminist Movement, in fact, is actively engaged in discrediting it, and that is why the Feminist Movement itself may be regarded as a remote off-shoot of the body-despising values.

Indeed, things have come to such a pass in this country that at present rich and poor alike are far more concerned about giving their daughters a calling than a mate; and, when once this has been done, it is felt that parents have discharged their responsibility.

The most convincing demonstration of the prevalence of this attitude was the uproar that arose a year or two ago, when one or two imprudent journalists inadvertently referred to our 2,000,000 excess of women over men as “surplus women.” The daily press was immediately flooded by indignant letters from women of all classes, protesting that, as a large proportion of these 2,000,000 were self-supporting and ample room existed for the remainder in our industries and professions, it was absurd to speak of them as “surplus.” Articles soon followed, in which the same views were expressed, though possibly more magisterially. But there was no reference to the bodily destiny of these 2,000,000 females—not a hint that the word “surplus” might have some relevancy if they were looked at in relation to the available males, or that a civilization which condemns one-sixth of its adult females to celibacy must be very wrong!

It was for all the world as if being self-supporting and useful in industry or the professions were the sole and unique object of human life, and nobody seemed to see that, in this case, there was no conceivable reason why human beings should have been created or become male and female. Of course the howl of indignation that arose at the word “surplus” was greatest among those women who are frankly hostile to men, and who are keenest about making the bodily destiny of their sex a matter of no consequence. Nevertheless, the cruelty of the attitude adopted by all was never actually felt as cruelty by anyone, because the very people responsible for those articles and letters would have been the last to suspect themselves, or to be suspected by others, of any trace of inhumanity. All they wanted to imply, and wished everybody else to believe, was that a human life can be full and can be lived adequately without that!

And yet to anyone who reveres the body, and who knows how the spirit is tortured by a body unsatisfied and neglected, how thoroughly unfounded does this claim appear! A thwarted instinct does not meekly subside. It seeks compensation and damages for its rebuff. True sublimation, except through whole-hearted and unremitting religious practices, is rare. What then is the fate of these 2,000,000 women? Can we reckon with certainty on their all being so much below even the common standard of their married sisters that they will have no instincts to thwart? There is an inclination abroad to adopt this comforting view. So accustomed have we become to the spectacle of our omnibuses, trams, and trains being filled each morning with unmarried female workers, that we are easily led to the erroneous conclusion that, as time goes on, these female workers will grow as used to filling their lives by means of self-support as we have grown accustomed to seeing them.

And, indeed, there would be something to be said for this view if, by a kind of unemotional parthenogenesis, these spinster workers could breed their own kind, each generation of whom would be ever more perfectly adapted. But unfortunately this cannot be so. People forget that each generation of them is born from mothers who, in an uninterrupted line reaching right back to our anthropoid ancestors, have filled their lives with something more than self-support and business usefulness. Each generation of these unmated women-workers is born from mothers who must have known the ardent embrace of a lover, the ecstasy of consummated love, and the clinging devotion of adoring offspring. No break can have occurred in this long dynasty of love, otherwise they—the women-workers themselves—would not be there. It is impossible at present to rear a species of human beings to lovelessness as you can rear a breed of dogs to retrieving or sheep-minding. Love must always have existed one step back. And it is this fact, that these unmated women-workers are all so fatally close to love, all such near blood-relations of love, that makes lovelessness such an ordeal and a trial to them—an ordeal and a trial no human being who has not sinned against society should be made to suffer.

Thus the modern world is inclined to be very cruel to the young unmated woman. For, while everything is done to facilitate her self-support and usefulness, no provision is made either to ensure the sublimation of her mating instincts (a problem of almost insuperable difficulty now, though solved with success in the Middle Ages), or to give her the chance of expressing them without dishonour and disgrace. On the contrary, the whole tendency is to ignore, to shelve, and to conceal that aspect of her life; and thousands of bitter or sub-normal women, whose thwarted or deficient passions have unsaddled their natural love of man, are now only too eager to assure her and everybody else that human beings can well get on and be happy without sexual expression—in fact that a spirit and a body can quite easily play the life-long rôle of a disembodied spirit.

All this does not mean that the solution of the unmated woman problem is an easy and obvious one, which modern people are too blind to see. But it does mean that the very first step towards its proper solution can never be taken as long as we persist in arguing and behaving as if a full life can be lived by merely paying one’s way.

In 1921 the population of England and Wales amounted to 37,885,242 persons, of whom 19,803,022 were females. Of this female population 4,302,568 consisted of children under twelve, and the remainder, amounting to 15,501,454, were divided up as follows:

9,070,538 were married or widowed or divorced, and 6,403,916 were single. Of the married 1,106,433, and of the single 4,000,000 (to be precise, 3,914,127) were occupied in some form of work, thus making a total of 5,020,560 women-workers, 3,000,000 of whom were employed in industry alone.

These figures give some idea of the formidable development of women’s employment within recent years, nor is there any sign whatsoever that the movement is likely to abate. Those who are aware of the harm that modern industry and commercial offices have done to the spirit and bodies of men for generations, by converting them into little more than machine-minders or adding-machines, exercising few if any of their highest faculties, may deplore the fact that the sex which hitherto had still to a large extent escaped these dehumanizing labours should now be enrolled in such large numbers to accomplish them. The last check on the complete besotment of our people seems thus to have vanished. But, in view of the existing atmosphere and tendencies, there seems to be little hope of a reaction.

The 4,000,000 spinster workers alone represent a formidable army; and, when it is remembered that this vast legion of single women not only compete with and directly replace male labour, thus reducing still more their chances of marriage, but are also drawn away from home and from the many arts that could be learnt there, we cannot help feeling alarmed at the possible consequences of the development we are witnessing.

The duties and virtues of the home are almost all connected with the body and its care—sewing, cooking, and the nurture of the young. All these arts are gradually being lost; and, when they have to be performed by inexperienced hands, they are performed badly.

Meanwhile, abetting this movement and rendering it ever more practicable, there are hundreds and thousands of commercial and voluntary corporations whose whole energies are directed towards taking the home-arts out of the hands of women. Science, as usual, following the hints implicit in values, has come to the assistance of our female population deficient in domestic skill and knowledge. The art of cooking is gradually becoming simplified into a mere fool’s game, and in its place we are being deluged by innumerable patent and proprietary products, the preparation of which requires no thought and no trouble. These products are very largely injurious to the bodies of those who live on them, but, as they leave the housewife ample leisure to gad about or else to earn money outside the home, no one complains. Quick gravy-makers, pudding- and cake-powders, tinned foods of every description all ready for consumption, custards, porridges, and jellies that require only a few minutes’ cooking, jams and preserves, and a multitude of other artificial aids to replace, though not to equal, the dishes of former days, now compose the normal contents of almost every working-class and middle-class market-bag. Never have the country’s food and its preparation been in a more deplorable condition than they are to-day. Nevertheless, so strong is the tradition to neglect bodily concerns, that all this vast machinery for supplementing traditional knowledge, skill, labour, and good food, in the home, has grown up in our midst without a word of protest from anyone.

As regards the lot of infants and children, so completely broken is the tradition which, once upon a time, was handed down from mother to daughter, that now child-welfare-workers in every town in England, equipped with but a smattering of sound knowledge on the subject, have to teach the women of the masses the arts they have had no opportunity of acquiring. In the departments of dress-making, millinery, and lingerie, it is just the same. Together with the loss of skill and knowledge in the home, the supply of ready-mades from outside increases with leaps and bounds, and huge drapery-businesses, carried on in palatial premises, now line all our leading thoroughfares in a practically unbroken frontage.

Thus, even if the girls and young women of the nation who are or who are not eligible for marriage were to remain at home, there would now be little for them to learn, and still less for them to do; and the recent Girl Guide Movement is the best possible proof that this fact has already been recognized.

Meanwhile, it may be asked what it is that these 4,000,000 learn away from their homes. What do they acquire in exchange for their lost arts?

Those who have not actually adopted dress-making, millinery, or lingerie as an occupation, have, as a rule, acquired only the knowledge necessary for running a certain machine—a cutter, a folder, a binder, a stamper, or a typewriter, etc. Or else they have learnt to wait in restaurants, sell goods across a counter, or keep books. Only about one million of them are either domestic servants or hospital nurses.

Those engaged in industry or commerce who remain at their work and do not marry are at least prevented from passing on their acquired besotment to the next generation; but, meantime, no one inquires about their bodies, and the general feeling is that a girl withered and broken by long years of typing is not a tragic figure because in the first place her career has been morally unimpeachable, and secondly it has brought neither herself nor anyone else any pleasure.

In the better classes, teaching and the professions obtain the bulk of the recruits each year,[4] and girls are now trained quite unselectively from earliest childhood with a view to entering these occupations, as if it were taken for granted that they would never marry.

4.  In 1923 in England and Wales there were 22 women barristers, and 66 law students; 5 women solicitors; 76,117 Government officials, and 2,000 doctors; and, in 1921, 93,987 elementary and secondary school-teachers.

Not all of the 6,403,916 spinsters—whether workers or not—are doomed to spinsterhood. As we have seen, the excess of females over males in England and Wales is only 1,720,902.[5] But unless they attempt to emigrate, these odd 2,000,000 must certainly remain unmated, and even if emigration could now be organized on a much bigger scale than hitherto, they could hardly be satisfactorily disposed of.

5.  Although, however, the actual excess of women amount to 1,720,902, the number of women actually doomed to spinsterhood is much greater, owing first to the cases of celibacy among the available men and secondly to the marriage of widows.

The self-governing Dominions cannot absorb more than 432,284[6] in all, and even if they could, it is doubtful whether such a large number of girls could be induced to leave their native country. Why should they, when almost every one of them considers her chance of matrimony at home as at least equal to her sister’s or neighbour’s?

6.  This figure represents the excess of men over women in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa in 1921.

Dame Muriel Talbot, O.B.E., writing on the effect of Dominion life, is not so very encouraging either. “For the woman,” she says, “it means only too often an unduly heavy burden of work since there are so few at hand to help.”[7]

7.  See The Woman’s Year Book, 1923.

Owing to the degeneracy and unattractiveness of modern man, a certain noble and estimable proportion of these 6,000,000 will of course refrain from any attempt at marriage. Still faithful to the lost and antiquated values that once led people to respect and care for their bodies, they will feel secretly that their bodies deserve something better than the mate the twentieth century can offer them; and, although they may be fully and admirably equipped for happy motherhood, this noble and very small minority will turn nauseated away from it in order to become absorbed in interests that will help them to forget. These are the greatest sufferers among modern women, and their unmated condition constitutes our greatest national loss.

But the great majority will be too thoroughly unsophisticated, too completely immersed in the values of their day, to see anything wrong or odd in degeneration. These, like the 9,000,000 already mated, will strive after marriage and the home. They will insist on having their third-rate or fourth-rate bodily ecstasies with the inferior men of the age, and on rearing their fourth-rate children. And, if their hopes are disappointed, either through their inability to find a mate or owing to the rude awakening that too often comes with modern matrimony, they will become either wretched spinsters or disgruntled wives. We shall consider their fate as wives, however, in the next chapter.

There are also a large number whose bodies are so conspicuously inferior in passion and equipment that they will be indifferent to marriage through sheer physiological apathy. Looking at life through the optics of their atonic or badly functioning bodies, they will declare love unnecessary to human well-being, and the natural life a wholly antiquated desideratum. They will lack the desire even for fourth-rate bodily experiences, and scorn all such experiences in consequence. They will boast that they are “above sex.” To them the Feminist reformers will point triumphantly in refutation of all the arguments of those who, like ourselves, claim that sound and desirable women cannot be happy unmated. And the more simple and unsuspecting among mankind, looking upon these adapted unmated women, will begin to believe that the Feminists are right. As the number of these women increases every year, and, in their systematic depreciation of the value of life, they are joined and supported by thousands of disillusioned married women who also have become slanderers of love and man, the ranks of those who scoff at marriage and motherhood as the only satisfactory calling for women, swell with imposing rapidity.

With two million spinsters, and—if we reckon the disgruntled married women—with probably two or three million more women distributed all over England, who are prepared to malign both man and life and to cause the effect of their thwarted impulses to be felt in a thousand ways, a good deal of misery and friction must necessarily arise from modern conditions which it is extremely difficult to relieve.

But the most serious aspect of the spinster and embittered wife question, from the standpoint of the nation’s life, is the compensation which, consciously or unconsciously, these unmated women and revolted wives, particularly the wealthy and leisured ones, seek for their thwarted instincts. The mother’s fostering care never having been experienced, its joys and thrills are sought along other channels. The lust of exercising power becomes a consuming passion, and its owner is usually quite indifferent as to the means she uses to express it. Any movement, any policy, any kind of interference may supply the opportunity, and the merits of the case will always be subordinate to the urgent need of alleviating the hunger for compensatory power. Thus influences and forces are let loose which have about as much wisdom in them as accident alone can be expected to introduce into any lustful action; and, all the while, the loftiest motives will be professed for the activities pursued. The very natural discontent which arises from thwarted instincts will also tend to express itself in many instances, particularly among the disillusioned married, as a bitter hatred of man; and, as I shall show later, in its extreme form as an unconscious jealousy of healthy young women and happily married women. This will lead to an attempt to wean the latter from the lure of love and men. Signs are already visible which show that such a movement is on foot, and, although these Lysistratas of the modern world have not Lysistrata’s patriotic motives, this will not make them any the less anxious to achieve their end.

At all events, from the imperfectly concealed triumph with which such people, particularly the female working-woman leaders, will tell you that in 1923 700,000 of the 5,020,560 women-workers were directly replacing males in industry alone, it is impossible not to read the signs of hostility to the male in their general outlook; and, to examine their literature, is to become convinced of it, careful as they are to cover it up.

Among the organizers of women-movements to-day, there can be no question that there is this note of hostility to the male; and the reason of it is that women-movements are largely led either by spinsters or else by unhappy married women.

Now the attitude of Feminism towards our vast army of spinsters and disgruntled wives is that of Socialist organizations all over the world towards discontented labour elements. It is one in which the latent discontent is turned to every possible advantage for the Cause. Feminism offers no bodily solution of the problem presented by our unmated women and our disillusioned wives, and it escapes from the responsibility of so doing by consistently regarding the whole crowd as nothing more than disembodied spirits. It does not even recognize that the muddle in which we now find ourselves is chiefly due to physical degeneration: for that it is too Puritanical. All it does is to promote and intensify the very tendencies which have brought us to our present pass, and to use the power obtained from its supporters to express in every possible way, legislatively and otherwise, its general hostility to man and its radical hatred of the bodily side of life.

Meanwhile, it misses no opportunity of appealing to the vanity and mistaken ambition of its potential victims, in order to lure even the normal and desirable among modern young women in ever greater numbers into neutral pursuits and interests only fit for neuters. And it sets to work with a conscience so clean, with such a profound conviction of its rectitude, and above all with such a great display of moral indignation, that the more guileless sections of the modern world, always taken in by moral indignation, are almost led to believe that Feminism is a natural and desirable evolutionary development, on which all hope for the future depends.

Why does Feminism act with a conscience so clean and a conviction so profound of its rectitude?—Because, behind it, it feels the support of the body-despising values, which tell it that Puritanism is right, that sex-equality is at last a fact owing to the marked degeneration of man, and that man, as the traditional enemy of female “virtue,” is the enemy par excellence.

The Present Position of Women

(II) The Married

We shall now examine a little more closely the lot of the 9,000,000 odd women in England and Wales who are or who have been married, and endeavour to find out whether similar tendencies to those already discovered in the previous chapter are making their influence felt in the matrimonial life of the country.

Attention has already been called to the fact that, almost as fast as bodily parts or functions are lost, science comes forward with aids that enable us to carry on notwithstanding; and also that these substitutes, combined with the third-rate bodily experiences secured by our impaired physique, make us question the value of both life and love.

Nowhere, however, are the effects of imperfect functioning or incomplete bodies more acutely felt than in the married state; and that is why, if science had recognized the importance of securing happiness for this state, it would have left no stone unturned in order to restore to us the natural conditions on which happiness depends, instead of giving us ever more and more efficient substitutes.

In our present world the effect of the body-despising values enters as a disturber of our bliss into almost every aspect of matrimony.

It enters first in the form of our impaired physiques, and affects the female partner in two ways: it depreciates the quality of her most important natural extra-corporeal equipment, man, and therefore the quality of her joy; and it further depreciates that joy through her own indifferent bodily condition.

It enters next in the form of Puritanism, which, thanks to its associated fear of, and incompetence in, sexual matters, arrests the male partner’s impulses, causing him to hesitate, flounder, and frequently to fail, whereby the ideal relationship of two ardent lovers is marred, if not destroyed; and it usually succeeds in preventing them from attaining the top wave of ecstasy by imposing inhibitions against perfectly instinctive desires.

Finally, it enters by rendering ever more and more harassing for the woman the natural consequences of conjugal intimacy—gestation, parturition, and lactation; and by converting these once beautiful and enthralling functions into things of ugliness and pain.

We cannot here discuss the many ways in which our bodily disorders and defects interfere with the happy congress of man and wife. Suffice it to say, however, that science already gives a good deal of assistance even here, and is likely to perform a good deal more.

At all events, this much we may say without impropriety—that, as fast as Puritanism and bodily imperfections together have conspired to cast a slur on sex by converting the congress of the human couple from an experience of magic beauty into an ordeal of both painful embarrassment and actual pain, not only have a certain number of women begun to think that conception without congress would be a god-send, but a scientific technique, which realizes this desideratum, has also been brought to ever greater efficiency. Artificial impregnation—the scientific aid again!—is now a thoroughly familiar operation, frequently performed; and, if the present tendencies continue, and the body-despising values culminate in their extreme logical consequence—the elimination of the body—there can be no doubt that it will become ever more and more customary.

In the limited space at our disposal, however, we must concentrate upon gestation, parturition, and lactation in this chapter, more particularly as they form so important a part of woman’s share in married life.

Now it may be stated straight away that there are no human functions that have got into a more alarming state of abnormality and muddle than gestation, parturition, and lactation. Indeed, so great are the divergences from Nature in the two latter functions, that it is no exaggeration to say that, all hope of ever recovering normal conditions having long since been abandoned, all persons have now resigned themselves to an almost complete reliance on artificial aids. In the middle and so-called “upper” classes instruments and anæsthetics are now very nearly the rule in helping the function of parturition, while among the poorer classes they are very common. And in regard to lactation, all kinds of unnatural food, including, of course, cow’s milk, take the place of breast-feeding.

The doctors, the nurses, the mothers, and the whole population have, we declare, resigned themselves to the modern conditions of difficult and scientifically aided childbirth; but it would be more strictly accurate to say that they have meekly prostrated themselves before a fait accompli; for, as far as we have been able to judge, no attempt on a grand scale has ever yet been made to ascertain whether the present difficulties are as hopelessly inevitable as they seem, or whether a more normal method of functioning might not be recovered.

The ugly circumstances of modern childbirth, mitigated to some extent only by a liberal use of anæsthetics, are now sufficient to intimidate any young woman who happens to reflect, before marriage, on her future prospects; while to those already married they constitute a heavy lowering cloud, which hardly ever disperses until the climacteric at last puts an end to all anxiety. Stated in the most moderate terms, these ugly circumstances at least add to the arguments which, in our Puritanical and Feminist atmosphere, accumulate year by year against both the body and the sexual life; and for this reason alone, if for no other, it is important for us to examine them and to see how, or whether, they can be mitigated.

The curious part of it is that, here, we are not confronted by degeneration or malformation nearly to the extent that some people suppose; but by ignorance, lack of initiative in the medical profession, and the foolish superstitions of all the chief actors in the muddle—the expectant mothers, the doctors, and the nurses.

A certain percentage of births still takes place each year under normal conditions—that is to say, without anæsthetics or instruments; but even of these it is safe to say that they are accompanied by much more pain than can possibly be natural; while, owing to circumstances quite independent of the mother’s bodily condition, even these cases often receive quite unnecessary scientific aid.

The circumstances that cause doctors to interfere more and more frequently with confinements that promise to be normal are the following: In the well-to-do classes, the extreme busyness of the doctor, on the one hand, which makes him disinclined to wait for Nature to do her work; and, on the other, his interested relationship to his patient, which makes it almost necessary for him to appear as her champion. By encouraging the patient to be put to sleep and to allow the process to be hurried, the doctor thus kills two birds with one stone. After only a few hours’ labour, therefore, he will employ anæsthetics, and the result is that what might have been a fairly normal confinement, free from anæsthesia and instruments, becomes a serious operation, in which damage is frequently inflicted on the young mother.

In the poorer classes the same thing happens, except that poor women often go to some public institution to be confined. It should not be forgotten, however, that young and aspiring doctors have to acquire some practice with the obstetric forceps, and that it is precisely in homes and hospitals that this practice can be obtained. Instead of its being the excessive busyness of the doctor that leads to the hasty and unnecessary use of instruments, therefore, it is now the circumstance that the woman may find herself in a maternity-home or hospital. And the tragic part of it is that the demonstrating surgeon in such cases, far from electing an abnormal pregnancy for his exhibition, deliberately chooses the most normal of his patients, because of the greater ease with which the demonstration can then be made. Thus, even when Nature is most willing and modern women are most normal, natural functioning is spurned and rebuffed. Such cases, however, are possible only in an atmosphere that has long been infected with body-despising prejudices. In no other atmosphere would the doctors dare to behave in this way.

At all events, among both the rich and the poor, normal confinements are becoming increasingly rare, and we shall now try to discover why, except in case of obvious abnormality, this is so; and why, moreover, even in normal confinements there is always, or almost always, the alleged “sorrow” or excessive pain of biblical tradition.

Provisionally we suggest the following reasons for the difficulties of parturition among modern women, and for the fact that nothing is done to restore more normal functioning:

(a) The absurd superstition that our heads are getting larger and that the pelves of women are getting smaller. Doctors are persuaded that the difficulty of modern childbirth must be due to “Progress.” And, since “Progress” is erroneously connected in their own and most people’s minds with the belief that men are growing more intelligent (which quite obviously they are not), the facile conclusion is reached that, as our brains must be growing larger, our heads must follow suit. It is hardly necessary to say that this is sheer nonsense, and no more than an indolent excuse for the Conservative stagnation of the medical brotherhood. The heads of modern people are certainly not larger than the heads of their ancestors ten thousand years ago (vide Keith’s Antiquity of Man); and as to the shrinking of women’s hips, this also is an invention. It is certainly found, but only where the pelvis is rachitic, or where undue strains on the thighs in early childhood (in violent games, etc.) have led to a premature stiffening of the fleshy, and a premature ossification of the bony, parts. At all events, it is much less common than is usually supposed; and, in any case, it is very seldom that there is any disproportion between the sizes of the foetus and the pelvis. See, however, how convenient the explanation is—Increasing brains, larger heads, and shrinking pelves!—The doctors, shrugging their shoulders before this apparently vicious circle, can quietly resign themselves, à la Walrus and Carpenter, to a permanent engagement as artificial functionaries to supersede a perfectly natural human function; and, what is more, they need feel no dread about growing thinner or poorer themselves as time goes on, nor trouble to discover how normal functioning can be recovered.

(b) The still more absurd superstition that a baby should be 8 or 9 lbs at birth. This is universal in England, and whether it is the daily newspapers over the birth of a prince, or a poor woman’s neighbours over the birth of a new pauper, everybody is jubilant if an 8-lb baby is born. It may have required a team from Harley Street to deliver it, and it may, and usually does, lose weight after birth; but all this does not matter: nobody cares, nobody troubles to think, provided that it has registered the full 8 lbs in the first hour of its existence. Unfortunate women, permanently injured by instruments, smile triumphantly over the thought that they have had a baby-boy weighing 9 lbs. But what can we expect when their doctors encourage them in these lunatic transports?

(c) The belief, deeply rooted in the modern and lay minds, that it is God’s decree that children should be brought forth in sorrow. Having rejected the Genesis version of the origin of man and all living creatures, it is remarkable that the modern world, led by its men of science, should take so seriously a curse mentioned in the first book of Moses, which, even if its effect be admitted as possible, had probably only a tribal or national application when it was uttered. And it is still more odd that they should regard us and our womenfolk as still lying under its spell. For, apart from the fact that there are savage and semi-civilized tribes still in existence with whom childbirth is not nearly such a sorrowful event as some might suppose, but a simple and easy function (teste almost every ethnological work), why should we assume that the Jewish women, to whom the curse originally applied, were normal or lived normally? From our knowledge of the Syrian Jewess, it seems highly probable that, if her remote ancestors resembled her, their confinements must have been extremely sorrowful. But what has that to do with us? This never seems to have occurred to the modern medical man; and, taking the Genesis curse as his motto, he has now solemnly allowed the agony to be piled up, till it is no longer merely in sorrow, but almost in tragedy, that children are brought forth—not to mention the extra-corporeal equipment of instruments, etc. And, why should there be any limit? When once the principle is admitted, where is the line to be drawn, particularly if it pays not to draw it? We protest, however, that even if we admit—which we do not—that there must be “sorrow,” this can hardly have meant the miserable failure and elaborate scientific technique which modern medicine has made of parturition in general.

Now, in view of these three articles of faith, not only are the doctors and the public in an attitude that paralyses all endeavour to effect a change for the better, but both the doctors and the public have ceased to ask whether any such change is possible. Having ceased to ask the question, no effort is made to inquire into the means of achieving the end it suggests; and, as usual, everything is staked on artificial aids. Anyone who, like ourselves, asks whether there are not other ways of overcoming the enormous difficulties of parturition among modern women, in order to remove this cloud from life and love and restore pleasure to a natural function, is laughed at.

Nevertheless the present writer continues to ask the question, and for the following reasons:

For a long time it has seemed to him suspicious that Nature, who is so uniform in her methods and who with such unfailing consistency has made all vital functions pleasant, should have made this one conspicuous exception, particularly in regard to a function linked to the most vital moment in our lives. Being unsatisfied with the verdict of science on the subject, therefore, he made inquiries on his own account, and was not at all surprised to find, not only that a number of existing races still enjoy infinitely greater ease in parturition than most European women, but also that, as he expected, there are still to be found among mankind faint vestiges of that ecstasy which he believes must once have attended the function in normal circumstances. Even the dreams of some European women lead the inquirer to suspect the existence of this ecstasy not so very far back along the racial line. When, however, the present writer expressed this view in a recent work dealing with the subject,[8] he provoked the most violent indignation, particularly among women themselves.

8.  See Woman: A Vindication (Constable and Co.: 1923).

After having made a number of observations and experiments on the higher animals, he discovered not only that parturition is in fact ecstatic among these animals when in their natural condition, but also that their ecstasy can quickly be altered to anguish by only the smallest divergence from the normal in their food during gestation.

Observing animals in a state of nature, moreover, he arrived at this interesting conclusion, that their young, even when the mothers are in splendid fettle, are only skin and bone at birth, that their birth is an ecstatic function to the mother only when they are in this state, and that young born in this way not only never lose weight, but grow as plump and vigorous as could be wished in the first twenty-four hours.

If, however, the gestating mother’s food be so modified as to make it unlike the natural food of the species—for instance, if large quantities of potatoes, bread, cabbage, and rice-pudding be given to a female cat, with rations of cooked instead of raw meat—the birth of the kittens, which are grossly fat, is immensely difficult, and some of them may be still-born or appear only after long delay in mutilated fragments.

The present writer has confirmed these facts repeatedly, and they led him to ask this question: whether civilized women, even in antiquity, have not habitually taken the wrong food during gestation, with the result that their babies have been too fat or too hard in the bone at birth?

It is notorious that a small, healthy 6-lb baby frequently flourishes better than the heavier infant of 8 or 9 lbs; also that, since the larger baby usually loses weight after birth, its bulk is demonstrably unnecessary at that stage. What then prevents us from adopting what is obviously Nature’s plan—the birth of relatively thin and small babies, through care of the gestating mother’s food?

It is obviously only a question of feeding and hygiene, and of ridding the public and the medical profession of a number of absurd prejudices: the rest will necessarily follow if only it be earnestly desired.[9]

9.  As the present chapter is being written, we notice with pleasure that at a conclave of doctors held recently at Bradford, Dr Μ. E. Mackenzie, of Leeds, put a question to the meeting which showed that she is evidently on the track of the reforms we recommend; but we were not surprised to find that the President, Dr J. S. Fairbairn, declared that he did not take her remarks seriously. (See British Medical Journal, Aug. 16th, 1924).

We feel convinced, from our study of animals, that this is the direction in which inquiry should be directed, for at least it offers some hope of an improvement, whereas the elaboration and more persistent use of artificial aids offers none. Doctors should exert themselves to discover that ideal gestatory diet which will lead to an infant’s being born whose weight is from 6 to 6½ lbs, whose body is lean, whose head is small and not too hard, and who will gain and not lose weight after birth. But we can hardly refrain from adding that, when once these food-conditions are found, medical men are likely to discover that they have much less to do than at present by the bedside of the expectant mother, and that they will then be invited to delegate their duties to someone less learned, less expensive, less pressed for time, and therefore less interested in achieving the result by scientific aids.

Dr Eichholz of Kreuznach, writing in the Frauenarzt as early as 1895, outlined a system of dieting which he declared produced the results described above; while Dr Lahmann, who was the first to point out that our aim should be to obtain smaller and thinner babies, with heads less hard at birth, experimented with a diet poor in nitrogen, which he declared was completely successful.

According to Lahmann, it is not only excessive feeding and drinking during pregnancy which, owing to the natural greed of women and the sycophantic encouragement of that greed by ignorant doctors, is the universal error, but the excessive eating of foods rich in protein; and he recommends a diet rich in food-salts and poor in meat and cereals, which seems to approximate very well to what one may imagine the food of primitive mankind to have been.

The compass of this work, however, does not allow us to enter into the minutiæ of the Lahmann diet. All we wish to emphasize here is that, if only we can rid our minds of a few ridiculous superstitions and aim at a natural ideal, the attainment of which cannot be beyond the wit of man, the probability is that the “sorrow” in which children are brought forth will be greatly mitigated, if not wholly removed, and much of its pristine bliss restored to the life of woman and to motherhood.

Since our aim should be the recovery of our belief in the value of life and love, by improving our bodily functions, we cannot halt at any difficulty in the way of our success. But success means not only contesting the sway of the body-despising values, but also fighting the Conservatism and prejudices of a great profession, which, while it has great power to-day, can hardly fail to identify its best interests with a perpetuation and aggravation of our present physical disabilities.

Passing now to lactation, which constitutes one of the chief joys of motherhood, and which, in its serenity and bliss has in all ages symbolized the beauty of the feminine virtues, the home, and the family, it will perhaps not astonish the reader to hear that there is at present no human function, except parturition, which is more often replaced by artificial means than this one.

The vast multiplication in recent years of patent infant-foods and preparations of cow’s milk sufficiently demonstrates the extent to which modern women are failing in this respect; and, when it is remembered that this failure is to be observed in all classes, even among those who cannot plead society obligations as an excuse, the situation appears to be deplorable enough.

No doubt a certain percentage of this increase in artificial feeding is due to actual physiological defects; but we must not make too much of that. Truth to tell, degeneration and defective functioning account for but a trifling number of those who, every year, have recourse to the bottle instead of the breast in the feeding of their infants. For, with few exceptions, lactation can be established in every woman.

The general authoritative opinion seems to be that “when care is exercised and adequate attention paid to the necessary details, the glands can in nearly all cases be brought into the required degree of activity,” and that “if the value of natural feeding were realized, it can hardly be doubted that the capacity for breast-feeding would be found to be practically universal among the women of England.” (Dr Janet E. Lane Claypon).

The enormous popularity of artificial feeding, therefore, must be due to the increased activities of women of all classes outside the home, which is one of the most noticeable features of the Women’s Movement, and the consequent disinclination on their part to undertake the rearing of their children in the natural manner. Together with the decline in the function on the one hand, and women’s refusal to suckle on the other, there has, as usual, arisen both a scientific technique and a host of substitutes which take the place of mother’s milk; and, in accordance with our traditional tendencies, we have once more neglected the effort to restore natural conditions, in order to apply all our ingenuity to the task of bringing artificial aids to perfection.

Now this would be all very well, and no one could rightly complain, if the substitutes in this case were more akin to natural conditions than are most artificial aids. If this were so we might regret, from the sentimental and the æsthetic standpoints, the evanescence of breast-feeding, and sympathize en passant with the mothers who were deprived of it as an experience; but we should be able to advance no practical reasons why it was to be deplored from the standpoint of human desirability.

And, indeed, for many years this has been the position. Although doctors and commercial corporations repeatedly protest that breast-feeding is best, they are quite ready in the same breath to admit that artificial feeding can be made “as good as mother’s milk”; and no one is in the least perturbed when he hears that his own child or that millions of other babies are being hand-fed. We have even read the work of one English doctor who smugly proclaims that we shall improve on Nature in this matter!

Thus, once again, while flagrant abnormalities are becoming the rule amongst us, science hastens to set our minds at rest by a shower of artificial aids; and, since we can “carry on,” nothing more is said.

The problem appears to be a simple one, and, to give scientists their due, they have done little to complicate it. Mother’s milk contains so much water, so much protein, carbo-hydrates, fat, and mineral salts, and, when once you have these ingredients in the proper proportions, you have a synthetic product “as good as mother’s milk.” Indeed, so long have these ingredients and their quantitative values held the field, to the exclusion of everything else, that we have come to believe that cow’s milk or even Allenbury’s is as normal as breast-feeding.

And yet, if we were to undergo a strange and uncommon test hardly ever applied in highly civilized countries, how quickly would our blind faith in even the best artificial methods receive a shock! True, sentiment alone would be responsible for the commotion; but in this case sentiment would be strangely akin to true knowledge.

Place a human baby at the dug of a cow, a goat, or an ass, as you sometimes see them placed in semi-civilized countries, and what is it that you immediately feel? The sight is an offence to the eyes, a humiliation of our racial pride.—Why?

Instinctively we feel and intellectually we know that Nature makes the wisest provision for her needs. When, therefore, we see one of our babies at the dugs of a goat, our sense of fitness is shocked: even our practical utilitarian prejudices receive a blow. We know instantly that the baby cannot have been meant to take that milk, because it is a nobler creature than the goat and its body has tasks and feats to perform with its food which the kid has not. Above all, it has that huge brain to develop, which the kid has not. Can it be possible that Nature could have overlooked that? The human brain is not only larger at birth than that of any other animal, but its rate of growth is also greater. Is it conceivable that Nature could have made no special provision for that?

Hence our sense of degradation and revolt—feelings which somehow are not provoked when the milk reaches us in a bright glass-bottle, or in a nice clean tin covered with printed matter—because all the degrading side of it is then hidden from our view.

The strange part of it, however, is that this sense of degradation and revolt is based upon fact; for not only on a priori grounds may we deny that goat’s milk or any other substitute can adequately replace breast-feeding, but we may also deny it from positive knowledge.

Years ago Dr Biedert showed that the most important differences between human and cow’s milk were qualitative rather than quantitative. A little later Dr G. von Bunge confirmed this view; and Dr Halliburton, the great physiologist, has recently repeated and emphasized it. It is impossible to enter here into the qualitative differences to which these authorities refer: suffice it to say that the gravity of the whole question from our standpoint lies not merely in the greater digestibility of human milk, but in the conspicuous difference between human milk and all other substitutes as a brain-developing food. Dr von Bunge, who calls attention to this point, claims not only that human milk is more complex than its substitutes, but that in it we find lecithin bodies in peculiar proportions, which serve for the construction of the inordinately large human brain.

It is not surprising that this important point should have been overlooked all this time. As we have already said, materialism is necessarily the creed of body-despisers. But, if Dr von Bunge’s view is correct, how severe must have been our loss in intelligence and genius, precisely owing to the decline in breast-feeding! Certainly the uncontrollable and increasing stupidity of our governing classes for over a hundred years, seems to point to the truth of von Bunge’s views; for it is among them that, for social reasons, artificial feeding has been, and still is, most common. Dean Inge comments somewhere on the increasing besottedness of modern people, and we entirely agree with his view; but we wonder whether it has ever struck him that the decline in breast-feeding, which is the outcome of his body-despising values, may be one of the most powerful contributory causes of it.

For we should always bear in mind, in comparing our poor spiritual achievements with the genial performances of antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the pre-Victorian era, that the artificial feeding of infants is essentially a modern invention, and that it was unknown to antiquity.

From Plato down to Pope Alexander VI no one had ever heard of a baby’s bottle. The alleged ancient artificial feeder discovered in Cyprus by Franz von Löher was probably no more than an old traveller’s gourd or wine-bottle. As late as the fifteenth century the only kind of infant-feeding, other than breast-feeding by the mother, that was known, was that which a foster-mother, or so-called wet-nurse, could provide. Metlinger in 1473 appears to be the first to mention cow’s milk as a substitute, and Rosslin comes next, in 1522, with a theory about egg-yolk and bread-mash. But these men speak of these substitutes as applicable only in case of extreme need, and there is nothing to suggest that the practice of artificial feeding was common.

At all events, it is safe to say that the vast expansion of artificial feeding, as we know it to-day, is something quite recent and new; and, since there appears to be no doubt that, qualitatively, human milk is quite inimitable, it is impossible to calculate the damage which the latest development of “Progress” may ultimately do to the spirits and bodies of civilized men.

Woman’s Future

People ultimately become the image of their values. Discover their ruling values, and their future is foretold.

Now, if we are right in inferring from the many signs and portents to which attention has been called, that our values are largely body-despising values, and that modern conditions already reveal these values well on their way to a complete triumph; if we are right, moreover, in recognizing in modern degeneration, science, Feminism, Puritanism, and the increasing cleavage between the sexes the logical outcome of these values, then there can be but two possible alternatives for the future: either the complete realization of the desiderata implicit in these body-despising values, or else a revolt against them, the strength for which will be drawn from the æsthetic, older, and more healthy side of our nature. As both of these alternatives are possible, and, moreover, each will mean a different future for women, it will be necessary to examine them separately.

Dealing first with the future which will result from the complete realization of the desiderata implicit in our body-despising values, we must now recall the main tendencies of the present day, so that we may discover whither they must necessarily lead.

We have seen that in our present world we have:

(a) A population the bulk of which are physiologically sub-human, and frivolously oblivious of this fact. It is a population, therefore, to which the value of Life and Love is beginning to be a matter of doubt, and among which Puritanical prejudices are likely to become a spontaneous growth where they are not already present. Puritanism, however, must also bring about this indirect and unexpected result: that, where it prevails, man is likely to become an object of general disapproval; because, since the desires of the body are regarded as sinful, man as the initiator, instigator, and active agent in the sexual encounter, will gradually appear as the traditional villain of creation, the natural butt of all gratuitous moral indignation.

(b) A body of sciences and commercial enterprises which, guided by body-despising values, tends rather to provide us with an extra-corporeal equipment for our declining bodies than to aim at restoring to us our pristine functions and original corporeal equipment. This enhances our doubt concerning the value of Love and Life, though it helps us to “carry on.”

(c) A marked decline in the ability, versatility, and masculinity of men, which is the outcome partly of physical and partly of intellectual inferiority, brought about on the one hand by besotting and cramping labour for generations, and, on the other, by the deliberate attempt, throughout Anglo-Saxon civilization and its imitations, to limit the notion of manliness to martial bravery and proficiency at sports. This has led to a loss of mastery over all things which is far from edifying, and has enabled women during the last century and recently to draw unduly favourable comparisons between themselves and men—which, while comprehensible in the circumstances, give quite a distorted view of the situation. It is the case of two climbers, M. and W. who, while ascending a hill, find that, through the sudden weakness of M., W.’s pace appears to be wonderfully enhanced. W., however, interprets M.’s retrograde movement not as abnormal weakness but as accelerated speed on her part, and therefore feels contempt for M. as M., not merely as enfeebled M.

(d) A large body of disgruntled women, mostly unmarried, who, having turned away from Life and Love either through lack of mates or the nausea acquired in modern matrimony, are prepared to slander not only Life, but also motherhood, domesticity, and Man, and who, in their conscious or unconscious jealousy of younger women and girls, try to convince the latter that life can be lived happily without bodily adaptation.

(e) Social circumstances which force millions of women into open competition with men, and therefore increase the initial hostility fostered by (a), (c), and (d).

(f) A state of abnormality so acute in some of the chief functions connected with the sexual life that more and more cogent arguments are found ready to hand for those who, through Puritanism, jealousy of the rising generation, or hostility to the male, wish to slander life and emancipate themselves and others from “that side of it.”

(g) A movement known as Feminism, generated chiefly by (a), (c), and (d), and greatly reinforced by (e) and (f), but having also a strong trace of (b) in its attitude, which claims that it can recruit among its own supporters the mastery, ability, and strength to put the world right, and which proposes to do so by superseding man everywhere, if possible, even in his reproductive rôle.

This is the picture at a glance. To what can it lead?

The history of all reforms and radical innovations in this world has shown that far-reaching changes are always the work of a leading, active, gifted, and small minority, striving with zeal and determination to realize an ideal. This ideal may be based on misconception or on error; but that does not matter. In the end, the wilful minority establishes the environment, or mould, and the inert, ductile masses pour into it and receive their shape.

Now there is not a particle of doubt in anybody’s mind that the leading, active, and gifted minority now constituting the van of the Women’s Movement, are by far the most vital and energetic body of women in the civilized world, admirable in their zeal, and noble in their readiness to shoulder the responsibility of setting things right. This does not prevent us, however, from believing them mistaken in their reading of the situation, and pathetic in their illusions about their own and their sex’s capacities. So indefatigable are they, indeed, that large numbers of apparently monorchid and shallow-minded men have already gone over to their side; while the conversion of girls and young women to a sexless life is one of the least obvious but most pernicious results of their activities. And, since there appears to be no general recognition that our present state of muddle and lack of mastery over all things is the outcome of masculine degeneracy; since, moreover, there seems to be no attempt made to discover how man himself can recover his quota of manly qualities, it is not only possible, but highly probable, that the mass of mankind, through not having its attention called to the only remedy, which is the regeneration of man, will, out of sheer lack of principles and policies, see in the quack-cure of Feminism their only hope.

Given, therefore, the persistence of the body-despising values, and the conditions to which they give rise, we may expect to see the energetic minority of women, who now lead the Feminist movement, determine the future of their sex; and, if we watch them and try to understand them, we shall be in a position to describe the world they will call into existence.

We have seen that Feminism is not only the outcome of the modern world’s main characteristics, but also that it embodies these characteristics as elements in its general attitude. Truth to tell, if we take our values as given, together with all the results they were sure to bring about, then Feminism was a foregone conclusion from the start.

Neglect and degeneration of the body were bound to lead to a loathing of the body and the wish to be emancipated from its thraldom. This, however, necessarily destroyed one of the chief bonds between man and woman, and left the natural and radical hostility of the sexes naked and unconstrained. This is one side of Feminism.

Next we have the fact that physical neglect and degeneration were also bound to lead to the decline of man as the male, both in the material and in the spiritual senses. This, in its turn, led on the one hand to our lack of mastery in everything, which caused women to wonder whether they could not help to clear up the muddle; and, on the other, to a growing contempt of man’s powers, and, as we have seen, to an exaggerated notion of woman’s. This is the other side of Feminism.

To complete the movement, all that we required was, (a) a large body of disgruntled females, either spinsters or wives, all ready to slander life and man; and (b) economic pressure driving women into open competition with men in all paid employment. Both these conditions having been fulfilled, the rest naturally followed.

The first indication we had that Feminism consisted of these elements was the fact that the old passionate calls to which women once responded gradually began to yield before calls of mere vanity and to the desire for notoriety. Numbers of women no longer showed the old eagerness to express physical passion, or the old sad resignation when it was rebuffed: they were content with gratifying their vanity in every kind of sterile pursuit that gave them the appearance of being important.

Without any promise whatsoever of doing better than degenerate men, and certainly without any past record of achievement that would justify us in expecting wonders from them—for in those departments of life over which they have held supreme sway for thousands of years the most deplorable muddle and ignorance prevail[10]—they claimed municipal and even parliamentary power, they sought prominence even in empty privileges, such as the right of sitting among the Peers; and were triumphant when, at last, they figured in a position which has naturally excited the abhorrence of all decent men for centuries—the jury box.

10.  Vide Chapter X of Woman: A Vindication.

The whole change revealed in the leaders of the movement and numbers of their followers a transmutation of the once powerful bodily passion into something more feeble, more volatile, and more exclusively dependent on vanity; while accompanying it throughout were the two elements growing daily more acute—the longing to be rid of the thraldom of sex, and hostility to man, which these women like to see more general.

Nothing startling has come of women’s political power, and we can prophesy with perfect confidence that nothing ever will; even when, as may quite possibly happen, Parliament consists only of females. So far, the measures they have introduced or clamoured for have indicated merely a continuation and intensification of the Puritanical tradition, but not a sign of anything hopeful or new, in the sense that it was beyond degenerate men.

But the very demand for the vote was, in itself, merely a confirmation of the view, held by ourselves and a few others, that no possible good could come from Feminism, that it offered no hope of a better world, and that it was a quack remedy for our sickness. For, if there had been any intrinsic quality in it, any political or other genius peculiarly feminine and foreign in kind and degree to anything found in man, how can we explain that one of its first claims was to obtain a political privilege, the futility and undesirability of which had been demonstrated ad nauseam long before this century dawned? Modern democracy with its political machinery is so thoroughly discredited, and is moreover such a menace to our national greatness, that, if there had been any social acumen or shrewdness in woman, she would have proved it by utterly scouting this political faux pas of degenerate manhood. A creative woman’s movement, if such an idea can possibly be conceived, would have introduced something new and hopeful into our political life. It might, at least, have tried to resuscitate the best in our pre-democratic past; and, even if it did not show this amount of flair, it might, when it got the vote, straight-way have shown its power by initiating reforms that are peculiarly within woman’s province. It might have demanded a reform of our food-conditions, and of the proprietary-food, patent-medicine and culinary-aid industries, which are in a scandalous state; or a reform of the conditions under which midwifery is practised in this country. But it neither attempted, nor showed any inclination to attempt, any one of these feats. It demanded the preposterous vote; and, having got it, proceeded, both in Parliament and out, to try to effect only Puritanical reforms, some of which were frankly hostile to men.

We are likely to suffer a rude awakening, therefore, if we look to Feminism for any marked improvement in our affairs. Nobody with any profound understanding of woman’s nature, and of her past achievements, can possibly expect it. What we can expect, however, when once the forces of Feminism are completely organized, is a systematic intensification of all the tendencies that have culminated in the modern Women’s Movement.

The hostility to man and the jealousy of happy and passionate youth, felt by all disaffected women, whether spinsters or wives, is sure to lead to every effort being made to lure girls more and more from bodily happiness. We can, therefore, expect an increasing emancipation of girls and women from domestic arts and duties, together with an aggravation of our present vices regarding foods. This will be accompanied by the intensive manufacture of every kind of condensed, preserved, compressed, and synthetic food, with a corresponding multiplication of aids to minimize trouble in food-preparation. The ideal will be a standardized and complete food, containing its own correctives for failing digestion, to be obtained probably in tabloid form, and requiring no further preparation whatsoever. Ultimately, there can be little doubt that this form of food will be discovered, and may possibly become the product of a special Government Department. Meanwhile, the human system will have undergone years of painful attempted adaptation to increasingly bad food-conditions, and acute indigestion, with repeated intestinal operations, will probably have become as common as dental caries and tooth-extraction are to-day.

The tendency as regards men will be to rear ever larger numbers of them along the lines already indicated by modern taste—that is to say, their manliness will be limited more and more to military courage and proficiency at games. Thus, while they will prove increasingly harmless and amenable to female rule—as Aristotle said such men always would—they will be even more besotted, more lacking in mastery, will-power and understanding, more feeble as lovers, and more contemptible than the men of to-day.

We can expect an increasing assertion of the rights of females in every branch of industry, commerce, and the professions, accompanied by such a multiplication of ready workers that competition between the sexes will become acute. The first moment of violent strain will occur when women employers and women labour-leaders, both working under Feminist guidance, appropriate certain industries wholly to female labour. This will be accompanied by a vast extension of an idea already materialized—the female bank, that is to say, financial houses and interests devoted entirely to the women’s cause. Epicene organizations and staffs will then tend to disappear, and soon the national industry will be divided into two sections, each of which will be conducted by and for one sex only, and in which the most poorly paid workers will belong to the other sex. These two sections will confront each other jealously like two competing nations, and, while each will try to encroach on the domain and wealth of the other, it will also try to compass the other’s failure.

Occasionally this bitter rivalry will lead to riots and savage street-fighting, in which, owing to the fact that moral indignation will always be on the side of the women, the men are certain to be routed, and to lose credit, prestige, and lives. In any case, owing to the continued besotment of men, the female domain will steadily corrode and eat into the male, and soon men will cease to be employers altogether, and become the poorest-paid workers in an industry run entirely by women.

Abetting and assisting this movement, we shall see engineering and machinery so much perfected that skill in operative work will entirely vanish. A team of intelligent monkeys will then be adequate for the productive work of the nation, and, with this final blow at the spiritual and physical qualifications of both sexes, women will overrun every department of production. This development was adumbrated during the Great War, when it was found that, although 5,000,000 men had left their work, girls and women easily took it over. Hundreds of thousands of these men imagined that they had been doing both skilled and manly work. The ease with which they were replaced by inexperienced girls and women proved that they were wrong. It also proved, incidentally, that such was the extent of our urban degeneration and emasculation that only the fewest among the peace-occupations of the country were essentially masculine or demanded masculine qualifications.

Meanwhile, owing to health having suffered a further decline, owing to motherhood having become more and more distressing, and owing to sexual and bodily joys having become more completely suspect, celibacy among women will be more common than it is at present, and legislation may have to be passed to compel a greater percentage of wage-earners to marry. To help increase the population, greater benefits will be conferred on parents than ever before. But, as by this time it will be becoming more and more plain that man is growing superfluous except as a fertilizer and a soldier, and as, through his contemptible condition, the feeling will be gaining ground that it is an indignity for a free female citizen to live in intimacy with him simply in order to provide the state with children, there may be an attempt to legalize marriage by proxy, accompanied by scientific fertilization without actual congress with any man personally known to the woman. Artificial impregnation will tend to become common, and women—the wealthiest and most embittered foremost—will soon give up ordinary marriage altogether and choose to have children without concourse with the other sex. The whole act of fertilization will be consummated in the surgery, just as vaccination is now. There are signs even to-day that this revolt against cohabitation is spreading, and there are not a few women who, either in their Puritanism or jealousy of their happier sisters, would be glad to see it become more common.

Keeping pace with these changes, lactation will wholly disappear, and, even among the lowest women, it will be regarded very much as cannibalism is to-day. Pictures and statues of women in the act of suckling will be mutilated, destroyed, or hidden from the public view, just as a certain class of Greek statues are now mutilated and concealed; while the ideal of beauty in the female will be a creature completely flat-chested and with the hips of a youth. Girls and women who happen to throw back to the ancestral type will be pitied, and may even be operated upon, just as people with facial blemishes are now.

Meanwhile modifications will have occurred in the relations of the sexes. The congress of male and female will have begun to seem much more guilty and disgusting even than it is to-day, and as the male will still be looked upon (as he is now) as the principal culprit in the matter, the age of consent will probably be extended to thirty-five or forty, if not to the menopause. Seduction and rape will be punished brutally, probably by means of emasculation; and men of vigorous sexuality will be eliminated in order to make way for a generation of low-sexed, meek, and sequacious lackeys.

It will not be long before even the necessity for male soldiers will vanish. When the manipulation of the engines of war becomes as simple as typing or making tea, girls and women will make just as efficient soldiers as men; and, since war will then be carried on without visualizing the enemy, all that will be required will be an army of obedient operatives, who will not need the traditional courage and endurance of the male in the face of the foe.

When once artificial impregnation is an every-day occurrence, a Parliament of women will doubtless pass legislation to make it illegal for any man to procreate a child naturally, if it is the wife’s desire to have one by the intermediation of science; and, no matter how many children she may wish to have in this way, he will be compelled to support them. This, however, will be the final blow to marriage. Hundreds of thousands of women will still be naturally fertilized, but they will be despised, and form a class apart. Social prejudice will be against them, and movements will be started to emancipate and rescue them, just as there are movements to-day to rescue harem-women. Jealousy will still play a part in this movement; but, owing to the deplorable degeneration of men as lovers and mates, it will be fainter than ever before.

There will, of course, be fluctuations in this development, and some decades will reveal shameful lapses into matrimony and natural fertilization. Then the Lysistratas of the Feminist world, burning with indignation once more, will be heard crying aloud, just as Lysistrata cried over two thousand years ago in Greece:

“ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν αὐτὰς ἀποσχεῖν οὐκέτι οἵα τ᾽ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνδρῶν· διαδιδράσκουσι γάρ.”

(I can no longer hold the minxes. They are running to the men; they are deserting).—Aristophanes, Lysistrata, ll. 718-9.

But the aggravated horrors of childbirth, and the alarming increase in the performance of the Cæsarian section, together with the general surfeit of the body and the intensified loathing of men, will cause these retrograde movements to diminish, and very soon such a clamour will arise for extra-corporeal gestation that science will be allowed no rest until a technique is discovered that will meet the public demand. The results achieved by men like Alexis Carrel, Ebleing, and Fische, all of whom are now working with success on tissue-culture and the transplantation of anatomical structures from one living organism to another, will be improved upon, and a means will be discovered by which the fertilized ovum will be matured outside the female body.

At first, we venture to predict, this will occur by again enlisting the cow or the ass into our service. Science already suspects that vital fluids are not specific, and it is probable, therefore, that in the early days of extra-corporeal gestation, the fertilized human ovum will be transferred to the uterus of a cow or an ass, and left to mature as a parasite on the animal’s tissues, very much as the newborn baby is now made the parasite of the cow’s udder. And, with this innovation, we shall probably suffer increased besotment, and intensified bovinity or asininity, according to the nature of the quadruped chosen. Thus extra-corporeal gestation, or “ectogenesis” (to use a word coined by Mr J. B. S. Haldane for the purpose) will become a possibility, and the Feminist ideal of complete emancipation from the thraldom of sex will be realized.

Fresh legislation will now be passed, which will make it a felony for a man to give a woman a child in the old corporeal sense, and any male found guilty of such an offence will be sentenced to death or else to a long term of hard labour. In view of the initial heavy cost of extra-corporeal gestation, however, public centres will be provided where the Borough Council will undertake to “grow” children for the destitute and the poor.

A little later on, of course, this artificial aid will be perfected, and even the cow will become unnecessary. The fertilized ovum, cultivated in embryonic tissue-juice, will then be independent of the foster uterus of animals, and will mature very much as chickens now do in incubators.

These discoveries are all potential in the scientific achievements of our day, and implicit in our values. All they need to bring them into existence is the further direction of these values, together with the continued anti-sexual and anti-masculine bias of Feminism.

With this final blow levelled at the corporeal equipment of sex, triumphant Feminism will probably reach its zenith, and in a few generations a kind of woman will appear the only vestige of whose sex will be her smooth face and primary genital glands. Men will then be frankly regarded as quite superfluous. Having lost their powers, first as spiritual and bodily leaders, secondly as masters and lovers, thirdly as skilled craftsmen and soldiers, and fourthly as specialized workers, their social use will have lapsed, and their numbers will begin to be felt as a source of irritation and even indignation.

At this stage the social muddle will have become so intricate, and have grown so alarmingly out of hand, that nothing but the most drastic and sweeping changes will be able to prolong the life of the community. A shortage of food, occasioned by difficulties arising in the Government Department responsible for food-preparation and food-distribution, will give the signal for the last and most bitter sex-struggle. Either through incompetent administration or the revolt of the workers, there will be a threat of starvation. No food will be made for weeks, stores will be on the point of being depleted, and panic will reign everywhere; when suddenly a few of the leading women will perceive with apocalyptic clarity not only that the superfluity of men has become a burden on the community and a menace to the food of the children, but also that the reduction of their numbers to the barest minimum indispensable for the purposes of fertilization would be a twofold boon—it would relieve the food-crisis both for the moment and possibly also for the future, and obviate for ever the danger of a masculine or slave rising.

A sex-fight at the distributing station of a large store will suffice to light the first spark of this new conflagration. A dead set will be made against the men, not only round the original focus of the trouble, but everywhere. The legislature, recognizing their opportunity, will support the popular fury, and proceed to a systematic slaughter of males, until, with the help of the regular troops, it will be found necessary to protect and preserve a small nucleus for next year’s fertilization.

By that time, however, a significant precedent will have been established, and a lesson learnt that will not easily be forgotten. The superfluousness of men above a certain essential minimum (about 5 to every 1,000 women) will have become recognized officially and unofficially as a social fact. The legislature will establish laws to guarantee that this minimum should not be surpassed, and in a very short while it will become a mere matter of routine to proceed to an annual slaughter of males who have either outlived their prime or else have failed to fulfil the promise of their youth in meekness, general emasculateness, and stupidity.

The only circumstance that can avert this ultimate development is the discovery by science of a means of determining the sex of the ovum. If this can be done, then, of course, only a certain small number of males (½%) will be reared every year, and the periodical slaughter will be avoided. But in this connection it should be remembered that man will long since have grown too dull to be capable of scientific wonders of any kind; and, as it is not in woman’s nature to be inventive or to make great discoveries, the probability is that society will petrify at the level of mechanical and scientific progress reached at the moment of man’s most serious decline, and, therefore, that the periodical slaughter of males will remain just as much a necessity with the human female workers as with the worker-bees.

Meanwhile, to these millions of workers life will have become little more than a dreary, colourless, and hopeless round of toil and self-sacrifice. The only sources of excitement and pleasure will be the pastimes offering chances for public parade and appeals to vanity, the criticism of the latest Government foods and their corresponding digestive aids, and the reading in the papers about the prosecution of refractory female characters, either for sedition, immorality, or indolence. Under immorality will be included all attempts at writing, reading, or circulating any poem, novel, or treatise faintly reminiscent of love as we now know it, all attempts at unearthing or recalling the “obscene” literature of former ages—particularly the romantic fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and all efforts to draw, paint, carve, or otherwise represent any graphic image of barbaric woman, when she still bore on her body the traces of the corporeal equipment for motherhood.

Looking round upon this cold, hard, and business-like world, however, in which the unremitting industry, so much exalted by Maeterlinck, will be the only activity and almost the only interest, it is not unlikely that millions of these female workers will ask themselves, with ever increasing perplexity and distress, what purpose it all serves, what good it all does, and what advantage or pleasure they derive from it. In their lives of stoic “purity” and monotonous bread-winning alone, they are likely to discover that even waiting for the end is intolerable, and many who will regard the normal term of human life as an unmerciful prolongation of their inexplicable misery will have recourse to all possible means of terminating their hardships. Gradually it will dawn upon a few independent and rebellious spirits that to have attempted to live like spirits before the spirit-world was reached, to have attempted to extinguish the joys and thrills of the body and to taste of the interests of angels, before having shuffled off this mortal coil—in fact to have planned and organized an æsthetic phenomenon such as life without retaining its æsthetic side, was a tragic and utterly brutal blunder. By the time, however, that this inevitable discovery is made—the only great discovery that an exclusively female community is ever likely to make—those who will be responsible for it will look aghast upon their own and their sisters’ bodies; and, perceiving with horror the impossibility at that late hour of recovering the functions, powers, and bodily parts, which centuries of disuse and degeneration will have withered to nothing, they will, if they still have enough spirit left, execrate and curse the memory of those who first envisaged their state as a future possibility, and who, having once conceived it as desirable, deliberately planned and schemed to bring it about.

“Almighty God,” they will cry in desperation, “mercifully spared the bees our consciousness!”

Future Woman

The picture, given in the last chapter, of the world that is likely to result from the extreme consequences of our present tendencies may seem overdrawn and fantastic; but it should not be too readily dismissed as absurd on that account. The fact that, as a whole, it may seem incredible is no argument against the inevitability of certain of its chief characteristics; for it should always be remembered that, since the main stream of human life as we now know it, is based upon the bodily relation of the sexes and upon the love which makes this relation a thing desired, all influences tending to deteriorate the human body or to upset that bodily relation, and all scientific technique and substitutes which tend to supersede it, must, if they are allowed to develop, lead to a dislocation so complete of the original scheme that there is no telling in what monstrous changes they may culminate.

Had we not already reached bodily degeneration, brought about and condoned by body-despising values; had we not a Puritanical tradition reinforced by Feminism; and, finally, had we not a group of sciences whose discoveries, either actual or potential, allow us to expect every kind of extra-corporeal substitute and aid for our defective corporeal functions and parts, we could afford to laugh at the dangers indicated in the previous chapter. In view, however, of the undeniable truth of the description of our state previously given, it is impossible lightly to reject the ultimate evanescence of sexual love, for instance, as a remote future development. And, if we admit that, we must reckon with the disappearance of our most effective protection against the instinctive hostility of the sexes.

It is for this reason that there is still a fight to be fought with Feminism, and why we ourselves, though heart and soul pro-feminine, still remain active anti-Feminists. People point to the victories of Feminism in recent years, and say: What is there left for active anti-Feminists to do? Now that women have the vote and that they sit in Parliament, now that they have practically the whole of the Press behind them, their battle is surely won, and anti-Feminism is a lost cause! Obviously, however, if anti-Feminism means resisting the further development of Feminism, to prevent it from culminating in some or all of the changes outlined in the previous chapter; if it means a struggle to maintain the natural relations of the sexes, together with the normal functioning of male and female in reproduction; and if it also means the retention of the family, the home, and some beauty in our social scheme, then it certainly cannot yet be a lost cause, and those who, like ourselves, remain anti-Feminists despite the Feminine Franchise, the Feminist Press, and the Woman Μ. P., feel that we have still much to protect and much to achieve before we can regard our position as hopeless.

Fortunately, however, there is an alternative to the developments described in the last chapter—an alternative which, if we so choose, we may well be able to bring about quite as certainly as the future already outlined. But, if we are in earnest about this alternative future, and if we seriously wish to realize it, we must not forget that, since the other is more or less implicit in our present trend, and will evolve automatically out of it if only we continue to acquiesce in everything that constitutes modernity, this other, or alternative, future will require to be actively fought for.

The future is in our hands, and we can mould it as we will—certainly! But, as we have seen, it is also as potential in the present as a flower is potential in the bud. While, therefore, the future sketched in the last chapter—or, at all events, very essential parts of it—will come without any special effort on our part, merely as a further growth of existing tendencies, the alternative future, which we now propose to describe, will, if it is to be realized, demand from us not only the hardness and determination of iconoclasts, but also the creative gifts, patience, and constructive energy of builders.

There is much in our present that must be destroyed, and even more that will subsequently require building and re-building.

Among the first things that we shall destroy is our table of value. We shall do this, however, not in the spirit of anarchists eager only for greater licence and more “freedom”—for that is always the temptation of the mob, and requires no particular courage or constructive programme; but in the spirit of builders who want more discipline for greater achievement.

The first values to be destroyed will be the body-despising values, and everything connected with them. We shall no longer condone ugliness or physiological depravity either in ourselves or in others. The fact that some bodily defect cannot be helped by the man who reveals it does not make him any the more desirable. We shall remember that, strictly speaking, moral depravity is no more voluntary than physiological depravity; and, since we refuse to accept the excuse mea non culpa for moral depravity, it is only logical and right to reject that same excuse for bodily depravity. Why is it important not to accept this excuse for bodily depravity? Because to condone is to overlook, to condone is to accept, and, above all, to condone is to become accustomed to. Where physiological depravity is a matter of custom, however, it very soon ceases, as we know, to be regarded as depravity; and mating, love-making, and procreation quickly become possible in spite of it. That is why it is more important to alter our values than to promote Eugenic legislation. For, if our values are altered and physiological depravity is no longer condoned, Eugenic legislation will become unnecessary, and will be anticipated by the taste of the people; whereas, if our body-despising values remain intact, Eugenic legislation will always be fighting an up-hill fight.

The most difficult feature connected with the task of suppressing our body-despising values is the duty it enjoins on each individual not only of condemning his neighbour but also of condemning himself, if he is physiologically depraved; but this each of us will learn to do. We shall feel the shame of bodily defects once more, and strive unremittingly to recover bodies complete anatomically beautiful, and no longer defective functionally. Even at the risk of great immediate suffering, we shall learn to eschew artificial aids of all kinds, and regard it as beneath our dignity to use them. Then, since very little is beyond the wit of man, other means will be found, and we shall recover our former bodily splendour.

We must bear in mind, however, that we are almost at the eleventh hour; that to-morrow may be too late; and that, if we wish to spare ourselves the great discovery of the desolate women-workers of the previous chapter, there is no time to lose.

Secondly, we shall destroy the value which makes it noble, virtuous, and desirable to sacrifice the greater for the less. This value also belongs to the group of values which Dean Inge supports, despite his apparent enthusiasm about Eugenics,[11] and is among the greatest causes of modern degeneracy. When once you admit the principle that it is noble and virtuous to sacrifice the greater for the less, the desirable for the undesirable, the corn for the weeds, the god for the mob, you necessarily invite the condition which we find around us to-day. Everything that is best in the nation, all those elements on which the successful survival of our race depends, are being penalized and sacrificed for the sake of the defective, the lunatic, the crippled, the incurable, the half-witted, and the blind. Honours are acquired not for promoting the multiplication of the sound and hale, but for promoting the comfort, ease, and daily welfare of the physiologically and spiritually hopeless. This value must go. Its disappearance will clear the air. So long, however, as one sound family in England continues to be penalized even to the extent of only sixpence a year in order to support humanity’s wreckage and rubbish, we shall continue to be sacrificing the greater to the less. This absurd and degenerate value must be transvalued into the following: It is noble and virtuous to sacrifice the less for the greater, the rubbish for the precious. When once this transvaluation has been effected, we shall begin to ascend.

11.  Another instance of his astonishing confusion of thought.

Thirdly, we shall recognize the error of our modern conception of masculinity. We shall try to forget the Great War, which at present tempts us to think highly of ourselves; and we shall endeavour to understand that to limit the notion of masculinity to proficiency in sports and bravery in war is to overlook a whole catalogue of masculine virtues without which degeneration can hardly fail to overtake us in spite of all our games and our feats of arms. This limitation of the idea of manliness to proficiency in sport and bravery in war is acceptable to women, because it makes for a breed of men who are easily led and still more easily misled; but it is fatal to civilization. We shall learn to expect of the manly man not only courage and proficiency in sport, but also will-power, leadership, mastery over the mysteries of life, and not Puritanical funk in their presence, intelligence sufficient to overshadow any female brain that is placed alongside of him (a feature notoriously absent both in the average soldier and in the average sportsman, or at least, if not absent in, not essential to), and clarity and decision regarding every problem that it concerns him to understand—in fact, a man whose presence alone makes the claim of sexual equality a manifest and transparent absurdity.

Nothing less should satisfy us; for we shall always remember that it was the man who possesses merely courage and proficiency at sport that is responsible not only for all our present muddle, but also for Feminism.

Here again, therefore, we shall recast our values, and, hard as it may seem, discipline ourselves to a new outlook. Nothing else can save the world and nothing else can put woman back in her place—which is only another way of saving the world. Every other remedy is quackery. The highest type of this kind of manly man is the ruler who gives us a new order and a new goal; while even the lowest type is the husband who fills a woman’s life and whom she finds it a joy to obey and no indignity, no hardship to serve. Without this kind of man in large numbers in our midst, the world cannot fail to go hopelessly astray, and it will be our principal object henceforth to discover not only how he can be restored to us, but how it is that, during the last hundred years, we have failed to produce him in England. This is the only kind of scientific research that can possibly be fruitful of good results at the present juncture, and it is the first direction in which we shall turn our remaining energy. Nor need we be deterred by the journalistic scoffers who will tell us that we are in search of that mythical monster the Superman, for we have no such highfalutin’ schemes. The men we wish to rear again have already been reared once before in these islands, and history records their lives. They are not a magic fantasy, but a possible reality. They are not demi-gods, but mortals. And we ourselves, who claim that they are indispensable for the salvation of modern humanity, do not hope for them as a race of Supermen, but merely as the leaders of a Masculine Renaissance.

With regard to the world these leaders will create, and to the position of women in that world, while we cannot safely foretell what they will do, we venture to suggest the following:

We may expect a total and complete exposure of the shallowness, impracticability, and danger to national survival of Democracy as we now understand it, and therefore the evanescence of democratic forms of government. The great suffering and chaos to which such forms of government lead will probably leave a deep impression upon the soul of humanity, and this impression will help the leaders of the Masculine Renaissance to remodel the national life without having recourse to the discredited and preposterous vote.

We may expect a revival of agriculture and craftsmanship, because one of the first things to be done is to arrest the dry-rot in spirit and body, which industrial and urban conditions have brought about under the sway of the body-despising values. Men will learn to respect themselves once more, and this they can do only by expressing their highest impulses in their work. They will become agriculturists and craftsmen again, because this is the only way by which they can recover their dignity, their lost faculties, and their vanished health.

We can also expect that science instead of concentrating, as now, upon providing us with ever more efficient extra-corporeal equipment such as wireless telegraphy, aeroplanes, etc., and more and more substitutes and aids for our defective bodies, will turn its research in the direction of restoring to man bodily perfection and to extending the range of his faculties. It will probe the mystery of powers like clairvoyance, and direct healing (such as that effected by the laying on of hands from time immemorial); it will discover the mechanism (if any) behind telepathy and behind the peculiar magnetism of cultivated will-power, and discover an educational technique by which these properties and powers may become more general, more efficient, and more far-reaching. It will seek the method behind the laws of heredity, and establish principles whereby family and stock qualities may be brought to perfection. It will also sift the mass of evidence and facts collected by modern science, in order to co-ordinate the data, and establish lines of proper conduct and legitimate aspiration. Finally, it will aim at co-ordinating religious and naturalistic truths up to date, with the view of offering to mankind a new faith, and a new metaphysic, purged of the sick and degenerate elements of former religions.

Recognizing that æstheticism is an essential part of terrestrial life, the possession and expression of beauty will no longer be relegated to certain sections of the community, but will be made a part of the national life. The Puritanical prejudice against beauty and its lure will be exploded, and beauty will be cultivated in the human body as an indispensable factor in a happy life. The old Puritanical belief that it is possible to have a beautiful soul, a beautiful character, and a beautiful mind in an ugly body with evil-smelling breath, will have to be recognized for what it is—that is, merely a credo for the comfort of repulsive people.

Meanwhile large hypertrophied cities and towns will tend to disappear, and the population will be thinned by rigorous selection at birth. Abnormal, crippled, defective, incurable, and undesirable people will no longer be allowed to grow up. Their uselessness and their danger as a burden and an eye-sore will be recognized. The old belief in the extreme sacredness of every human creature, irrespective of bodily and mental perfection, will vanish, in order to make way for a valuation based on quality of mind and body. This gradual elimination of the undesirable dregs of humanity with all the physiological botchedness they stand for, will clear the air, and relieve coming generations of many heavy burdens. The energy, spare wealth, and spare time of the community, will then be devoted to the desirable, and the magnificent mansions which are now distributed all over the country, for the housing of human monsters, will be converted into palaces for people of promise.

The regeneration of man will immediately transform woman and her position; because, while her contempt for the male will vanish, she will recover both physically and spiritually that lost joy of looking up to her mate. Through the mastery he will introduce, her present very justifiable anxiety about the world will tend to disappear, and the serenity of a dependent existence will be restored to her. Her life through being filled by a mate sufficiently versatile to supply her not only with offspring, but also with every possible interest, will gradually lose the feverish restlessness of the modern woman, who is seeking constantly to forget the void both in her heart and in her existence; and in time she will learn to measure at their proper worth the vanities which now supply her with but a poor substitute for her former bliss.

With these changes, women’s claim to equality with men will gradually cease to be heard of. Here and there it may still continue to be raised in some quarters; but, the moment its absurdity is made everywhere visible to the very eye of onlookers, it will necessarily die down. It is merely the fact that the claim is not manifestly absurd to-day that lends it for the time being a certain fatal plausibility.

But, before woman is sound enough in body and mind to give birth to this new breed of masculine sons, and to rear them herself, she will undergo many transformations, and learn to look at life from a very different standpoint. In the first place she will regenerate her own body before it is too late, and recover the ease, if not the ecstasy of old, in all her functions. She will learn to despise herself if she wears glasses, if she has false or bad teeth, if she cannot function without scientific aids, and if she cannot suckle her child. She will perceive the boastful levity of the present generation of women who concern themselves more and more with highfalutin’ interests and matters of the soul, when all the while they are not masters of their bodies. She will see that a workman who wished to leave his bench and his tools in order to try to master high finance when he had not yet mastered his trade, would very justly become an object of derision, and that modern women, with their feverish interest in every new-fangled creed and power, are also objects of derision, because all the while their bodies grow more and more out of hand.

Helped by her men of science, she will apply herself to the task of discovering that mode of life and that diet which will restore to her normal and easy functioning in her digestive system; that mode of life and diet during gestation which will restore to her the joy of childbirth—a joy that has probably not been known to mankind for thousands of years—and, without losing heart over her initial failures, she will persevere until the necessary discoveries are made.

When once bodily normality is recovered—and this will come about much more speedily by a change of values, and therefore by a change of taste, than by legally enforced Eugenics—she and her mate will attach a new value to life, and a new value to motherhood, domesticity, and marriage. All three will appear nobler and more desirable, not only because they have become more beautiful, and more productive of beauty, but also because their responsibilities and annoyances are endured for a man and for children who make them appear thoroughly worth while.

In Chapter II we pointed out the direction in which inquiry might profitably be directed in order to achieve certain eminently desirable improvements in the present conditions of childbirth. These indications may prove to be misleading. It is possible that their application may be disappointing. This, however, should not deter us. The ideas suggested in Chapter II may or may not be of value; but what is important is that inquiry should be directed towards the goal to which they point, and, if this end be assiduously sought, it cannot fail to be reached sooner or later. It must be obvious to all that, by persisting in our present direction of improved artificial aids, we can never attain to anything either good or desirable—therefore that our present direction is manifestly wrong and hopeless.

The elimination of the bungled and the botched, and a rigorous selection of the newly-born on qualitative lines both of mind and body, will so much relieve the situation in all over-populated districts that early marriages will become a possibility again. Where it is difficult, assistance will easily be found. For where people acquire honour in helping and promoting the best, instead of promoting and helping the worst, the rich will seek distinction in endowing desirable people instead of endowing wrecks, cripples, and incurables.

When once these reforms have been instituted, it will be possible to order life on a much happier scale, particularly for women. Since males and females are normally about equal in number, the increased prosperity will enable most men to marry and most girls to find husbands, and the misery of modern sexual abstinence will cease for millions of women. But, as happiness can be permanently secured only if a nation cuts its coat according to its cloth, careful measures will have to be taken to keep the population within certain limits. Seeing, however, that birth-control and contraceptive methods sacrifice the adults in order to achieve this end, the tendency will be, in a society whose principle it is to sacrifice the less to the greater, to proceed to some kind of controlled and legalized infanticide. This will allow standards governing infant-selection to be periodically revised, and will thus lead to an improvement of the race.

Since, however, wars and the greater danger attending male pursuits are always likely to create a preponderance of females in the community, concubinage will be tolerated for the sake of the surplus women; but, instead of its being a concubinage like that of to-day, which is hidden, secret, sterile, condemned, and therefore productive of much distress and tragedy, it will be open, tolerated, recognized, and fruitful, just as it has been in the best civilizations of the past. There are other and very deep reasons why some form of concubinage is essential. I have already dealt with them elsewhere.[12] Suffice it to say here, however, that no shame or discomfort will necessarily attach to the life of the concubines. They will be legally recognized; they will have their social status; and they will be protected by public opinion and by law. Nor will they be encountered in every household. As in former societies which have recognized them, they will be found only where their need is felt, and where their own taste guides them to seek protection.

12.  See Woman: A Vindication, pp. 172-3.

Women old enough for matrimony and older, therefore, will tend to be withdrawn more and more from industrial, commercial, and public life, and the old industries of the home—bread, cheese, butter, jam, and confectionery making—will be revived, and will flourish once more. Under the guidance of science, domestic medicine will gradually be transferred from the doctor’s consulting-room to the kitchen and the still-room, and there it will remain, as it always ought to have remained, and doctors and their powers will tend to disappear. Children will be much more the apprentices of their parents than they are at present; the duties of education will tend to be delegated less and less to elders who are not blood-relations; and parents will have a higher sense of their responsibilities. Education outside the home will be regarded—at least for boys and girls under fifteen—as a pis aller, more or less as we to-day regard the various arrangements that have to be made for orphans.

Meanwhile, with improved bodies and brighter wits, women will share with men the joy of the developed faculties which, as we have pointed out, it will be the object of science to realize; and a richer and more eventful intellectual and spiritual life will be led, because humanity will be able to apply itself to the pursuit of ever loftier interests. We shall have greater arts and greater religions, deeper thoughts and a mightier grasp of reality; because, having mastered our bodies and solved once more the secret of their harmonious working, we shall no longer be in the difficult dilemma of mortals who, with neglected and badly functioning physiques, try to anticipate here on earth the pastimes and pursuits of the immortal world.