Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/455

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439
THE STATUS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

widely-diffused practice. It is general with the Bhils, Gonds, and Hill-tribes of Nepaul; it obtained in Java before Mohammedanism was introduced; it was common in ancient Peru and Central America; and among sundry existing American races it still occurs. Obviously, a wife long labored for is likely to be more valued than one stolen or bought. Obviously, too, the period of service, during which the betrothed girl is looked upon as a future spouse, affords room for the growth of some feeling higher than the merely instinctive—initiates something approaching to the courtship and engagement of civilized peoples. But the facts chiefly to be noted are—1. That this modification, practicable with difficulty among the rudest predatory tribes, becomes gradually more practicable as there arise established industries affording spheres in which services may be rendered; and, 2. That it is the poorer members of the community, occupied in labor and unable to buy their wives, among whom the substitution of service for purchase will most prevail; the implication being that this higher form of marriage into which the industrial class is led, develops along with the industrial type.

And now we are introduced to the general question, "What connection is there between the status of women and the type of social organization?"

 

A partial answer to this question was reached when we concluded that there are natural associations between militancy and polygyny, and between industrialness and monogamy. For, as polygyny implies a low position of women, while monogamy is a prerequisite to a high position of women, it follows that decrease of militancy and increase of industrialness are general concomitants of a rise in their position. This conclusion appears also to be congruous with the fact just observed. The truth that, among peoples otherwise inferior, the position of women is relatively good where their occupations are nearly the same as those of men, seems allied to the wider truth that their position becomes good in proportion as warlike activities are replaced by industrial activities; since, when the men fight while the women work, the difference of occupation is greater than when both are engaged in productive labors, however unlike such labors may be in kind. From general reasons for alleging this connection, let us now pass to more special reasons.

As it needed no marshaling of evidence to prove that the chronic militancy characterizing low, simple tribes, habitually goes with polygyny, so it needs no marshaling of evidence to prove that along with this chronic militancy there goes a brutal treatment of women. It will suffice if we here glance at the converse cases of simple tribes which are exceptional in their industrialness, and at the same time exceptional in the higher positions held by women among them. Even the rude Todas, low as are the sexual relations implied by their com-