Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/549

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

female brain has been estimated at from five to six ounces less than that of the average male brain, and a general inferiority in size exists at every period of life, from the new-born infant to old age. Not only has this comparative decrease in size been determined, but it has been ascertained that the female brain is relatively smaller than that of the male, as compared to the weight of her body, and researches on this subject have shown that, while the encephalon of the female is ten per cent, less in weight than that of the male, her total bodily weight is only eight per cent. less. The brains of different races vary greatly in size, but whether it be in the most highly civilized nations, or in the lowest savages, the encephalon of the female is always comparatively and relatively smaller than that of the male. These facts show that the difference in size and weight is obviously a fundamental sexual distinction, and not one which can be explained on the hypothesis that the educational advantages enjoyed either by the individual man or by the male sex generally, operating through a long series of generations, have stimulated the growth of the brain in one sex more than in the other. All other circumstances being alike, the size of the brain appears to bear a general relation to the mental power of the individual. There are doubtless exceptions to this rule, but unquestionably the general axiom holds good in large averages; therefore, as the organ of intellect in the female is smaller and lighter than that in the male, we may fairly assume that it is less capable of such high and extended mental powers. It is justly stated that quality as well as quantity should be considered, but of this we can only judge by results, in which case it must also be conceded that women are at a disadvantage. This assumption, if it can not be anatomically demonstrated, is amply proved by facts. From the beginning of the world, as man has been characterized by his physical force as compared to woman, so has he been remarkable for his superiority of intellectual power. At every age, in every country and climate, and under every circumstance, we find that in the highest qualities of mind, of reason, judgment, genius, inventive power, capacity for acquiring and utilizing knowledge, man stands preeminent. It is true that there have been some noble and illustrious women who have proved themselves of the highest mental capacity, and who have risen to the first rank in various departments of intellectual culture, but it must be admitted that these are rare exceptions, and that even they in every particular have been enormously outnumbered and surpassed by men. It may then be reasoned that the female has hitherto not had the opportunities or education necessary to fit her to place herself on an equality with the other sex. This argument of itself proves that she has not been born with the mental force to assert her pretensions, for it can not be maintained that physical strength alone could have forced her into a secondary intellectual position. Besides, it is not so: for in literature, poetry, music, art, and in numerous other branches of study in which she has