Popular Science Monthly/Volume 47/June 1895/The Psychology of Woman
By Prof. G. T. W. PATRICK,
UNIVERSITY OF IOWA.
EVERY thoughtful observer of both the popular and the scientific movements of the day must have noticed the frequent lack of harmony or co-operation between them. Such lack of co-operation, if not of harmony, is well illustrated in the woman question. Two vigorous movements are now in progress. The first is a popular movement, whose end, apparently being very rapidly realized, is the advancement of woman to a position of complete political, legal, educational, and social parity with man—a position which means much more than mere equality of rights for woman; it means for her a changed sphere of activity, with new duties and new burdens, and may in the end involve radical changes in the state and in the family. The second is a scientific movement in anthropology, conducted by laborious and painstaking research, whose end is to ascertain the constitutional differences, both physical and psychical, between man and woman. It may be that these two movements will be found to support each other; but, if so, it is to be feared that it will be by happy chance rather than by intelligent co-operation.
It is the purpose of this article to bring together some of the results of these anthropological studies relating especially to the psychology of woman, in order that we may see what bearing, if any, they may have upon the above-mentioned popular movement. The most devoted patron of woman's political and educational advancement would hardly deny that the success and permanence of the reform will depend in the end upon the fact that there shall be no inherent contradiction between her new duties and her natural physical and mental constitution. It should be borne in mind, however, that the mere fact of woman's present intellectual or physical weakness, should such be shown, would not be a justifiable ground for denying to her full political and educational privileges. It might be quite the reverse, if it should appear that such weakness were itself the result of the subordinate position which she has been compelled to hold. It would, however, be a justifiable ground for advising woman to assume her new duties gradually, in order that disaster to her cause might not follow the overtaxing of her strength.
In outlining some of the psychological peculiarities of woman as revealed by modern anthropological researches, I shall endeavor to confine myself to those points upon which investigators generally agree, simply omitting those still in dispute, or mentioning them only as questioned. All facts are best studied in the light of an idea. It may be conducive to clearness, therefore, to mention first the leading theories now in the field concerning woman's peculiarities. It has often been asserted since Aristotle that woman is a stunted or inferior man and represents arrested development. Again, it has been said that woman is a grown-up child, that she belongs to the child type, and must ever to some extent retain the child relation. Again, more recently, it has been maintained that although woman belongs to the child type, yet the child type is in truth the race type and represents greater perfection than is represented by man, whose natural characteristic is senility. Finally, it has been said that throughout the whole animal world, where artificial circumstances have not modified natural relations, the female stands for physical superiority in size and vitality, and more truly represents the essential qualities of the species. Without prejudice for or against any of these theories, let us see what evidence there may be for each.
Psychology is no longer studied apart from physiology. We must therefore first notice some of the secondary sexual characteristics of woman in respect to her physical structure. Although we are chiefly concerned with the nervous system, a few other points may first be mentioned. Woman among all civilized races is both shorter and lighter than man, except at the age of thirteen or fourteen in our climate, when girls are both taller and heavier than boys of like age. Woman's form is more rounded and graceful, less bony and angular, having relatively more fat and less muscle. Her muscular tissue contains a slightly larger percentage of water. As shown by the dynamometer, woman's strength is at the most only about two thirds that of man, while her height is as sixteen to seventeen and her weight as nine to ten. In woman the trunk is, relatively to the length of the arms and legs, longer than in man. Owing to the greater inclination of the pelvis, woman is somewhat less erect than man. The head also is carried less upright, and the gait is comparatively unsteady and indirect. The greater length of the first finger as compared with the third is a feminine peculiarity. This relation, seldom found in man, is not uncommon among women. It gives grace to the hand, and would seem to be an instance of higher evolution, not being found among apes or savages. The vocal cords in woman are shorter and the voice is higher and shriller. The larynx is smaller and higher in the throat. The thyroid gland is considerably larger than in man. It is thought that women in respect to hair and eyes are slightly darker than men, but this has not been verified. Woman's lung capacity is in proportion to her size much less than man's, and the amount of carbonic acid expired is relatively less. Differences in the blood are well marked and are said to be significant. In woman the blood contains a less number of red corpuscles—about four million five hundred thousand in a cubic millimetre to five million in man. It has a larger percentage of water and a lower specific gravity. As compared with man, therefore, woman is naturally somewhat anæmic. The pulse-beat is from eight to twelve per minute faster than in man.
Some interesting differences are now clearly made out between man and woman in respect to birth, death, and disease. Statistics show that about one hundred and five boys are born to every one hundred girls in Europe and America. The proportion in other countries and among uncivilized races is said to be nearly the same. The greater mortality of males, however, begins with birth and continues throughout childhood and adolescence and the greater proportion of adult years. If, therefore, a count be made of boys and girls or men and women at any age after the first year, the females are found to be in a considerable excess, and this notwithstanding the decimation of women by diseases incidental to the child-bearing stage of their lives. These results, formerly attributed to accidental causes, are now known to be due to the greater natural mortality of males, and this is found to be in harmony with another series of sexual differences, namely, the greater power of woman to resist nearly all diseases. Hospital statistics show that women are less liable to many forms of disease, such as rheumatism, hæmorrhages, cancer, and brain diseases; and that while they are more liable to others, such as diphtheria, phthisis, scarlet fever, and whooping-cough, even in these the percentage of fatal cases is so much less that the absolute number of deaths falls considerably below that of men. Sudden deaths from internal causes are much less frequent among women. They endure surgical operations better than men, and recover more easily from the effects of wounds. They also grow old less rapidly and live longer. Among centenarians there are twice as many women as men. Women retain longer the use of their legs and of their hands. Their hair becomes gray later, and they suffer less from senile irritability and from loss of sight, hearing, and memory. In brief, contrary to popular opinion, woman is more hardy than man, and possesses a larger reserve of vitality. In this connection the absence of physical abnormities in woman should be noted. A mass of evidence from anthropological studies in Italy and England shows that degeneration marks, monstrosities, and almost all kinds of variations from the normal type are much less common in woman than in man. Here, too, we may note that statistics of the diseases to which men, women, and children are severally most subject, show a somewhat marked similarity between the diseases of women and of children. Among the peculiarities of the female skull the following are definitely determined by Rebentisch, Mantegazza, Schaffhausen, and others. The skull of woman is smaller, the base relatively contracted, and the crown larger. The forehead is more nearly perpendicular, making a sharper angle with the flatter crown. The glabella and ridges above the eyes are less prominent. The parietal protuberances are more developed, but the occipital protuberances and the mastoid processes under the ears are less so. The lower jaw is smaller and more rounded. Relatively to the size of the head the face is slightly smaller and lower, and there is a little more prognathism than in man.
The long-disputed questions about woman's brain are now approaching solution in a few leading points. In the first place, woman's brain is of less absolute weight than man's, the proportion among modern civilized races being about nine to ten. This fact in itself has little significance, as man is heavier and taller than woman. If we consider the weight of the brain relatively to the height of the body, it still appears that woman's brain is smaller; but if, as is more just, we consider the weight of the brain relatively to the weight of the body, it appears that there is nearly perfect equality, the difference, if any, being in favor of woman. These results are still of little value, for, as fairly pointed out by Havelock Ellis, other corrections must be made, such as this, that woman has relatively more fat and less muscle than man, the latter, of course, making greater demands upon the brain. On the whole it appears that there is no considerable difference, such as there is being in woman's favor. Of more significance in its bearing upon woman's mental capacity is the relative size of the different parts of the brain. Here it is shown that the lower centers as compared with the hemispheres are larger in the female brain. In the cerebrum itself the frontal region is not, as has been supposed, smaller in woman, but rather larger relatively. The same is true of the occipital lobe. But the parietal lobe is somewhat smaller. It is now believed, however, that a preponderance of the frontal region does not imply intellectual superiority, as was formerly supposed, but that the parietal region is really the more important. As a balance, perhaps, to these female deficiencies, we may note that the circulation of the blood seems to be somewhat greater in woman's brain. In respect to her whole physical structure woman is less modified than man and shows less tendency to variation. Women are more alike than men.
Before proceeding to consider the purely mental peculiarities of woman, we may pause for a moment to ask whether the facts already cited have any bearing upon the various theories regarding woman's nature that were mentioned above. Concerning the superiority of either sex—at any rate a rather meaningless question—little or nothing appears. Woman's greater vitality and immunity from disease might be offered to balance her thinness of blood and preponderance of lower brain centers. Concerning the hypothesis of the infantile character of woman, however, the above summary is more significant. We see at once that a large proportion of her physical peculiarities are also infantile traits. The rounded form, the larger proportion of fat, the percentage of water in the muscles, the greater length of the trunk as compared with the arms and legs, the forward inclination of the head and of the upper part of the body, the deficiency of red corpuscles in the blood, the rapid pulse-beat, the character of the voice and position of the larynx, the large size of the thyroid gland, the contraction of the base as compared with the crown of the skull, the perpendicular forehead, the less prominent glabella and eyebrows, the smaller mastoid processes and the large parietal protuberances, the small, rounded lower jaw, the smaller, lower, and more prognathous face, the preponderance of the lower brain centers and the greater relative weight of the whole brain (if the latter be admitted), all these are distinctively infantile marks.
Let us now trace well-marked psychical differences between man and woman. It should not be necessary to state here that in all these studies average women are compared with average men, but not a little confusion has resulted oftentimes from comparing the best women with average men, or the best men with average women. First, as regards the senses, the popular opinion that woman's sensibility is finer than man's does not seem to be verified by experiment. Lombroso, collecting the results of Italian and English investigators, believes that woman's sensibility is somewhat more obtuse in touch, taste, sight, and hearing, and that her sensitiveness to pain is decidedly less than man's. But each of these conclusions is open to question. Careful experiments made by Drs. Bailey and Nichols in this country showed that the women had a finer sense of taste than the men, but that the men were superior in delicacy of smell. In sight and hearing no conclusive results have been obtained. Attention is called to the fact that piano tuners, and tea and wine tasters, are almost always men. In respect to all the senses more experiments are needed to test the comparative fineness of sensibility. Havelock Ellis, who sums up a large amount of evidence on this head, believes with Galton that women have, on the whole, somewhat less sensibility than men, and that it is their greater affectability or nervous irritability that has given rise to the popular notion of their finer sensibility. In respect to color blindness there is a remarkable difference between the sexes. About three and a half per cent of men are color-blind to a marked extent, while not more than four tenths of one per cent of women are so. None of the popular explanations of this difference are at all adequate. The difference is a constitutional one between the sexes in this era, and is no doubt one of the forms of the greater variational tendency in man.
The general opinion that women are superior to men in manual dexterity seems to be borne out neither by actual experiment nor by accurate observation of woman's work in the mechanical arts. Experiments by Dr. Bryan on rapidity of movements with seven hundred and eighty-nine school children showed that the rate was slightly greater with boys at every age from five to sixteen years, except at the age of thirteen. The same experiments showed that rapidity increased regularly with age. Bryan also made experiments in precision of movements, with the result that there was little difference between the sexes, the figures showing a slightly greater precision for boys. Gilbert's painstaking and accurate experiments upon voluntary motor ability in twelve hundred school children in New Haven, including fifty girls and fifty boys for each year from six to seventeen, gave practically the same results. The tests were based upon the number of taps that could be made in five seconds with the finger. The boys excelled at every age without exception. The average number of taps in five seconds for boys was 29·4, for girls, 26·9; but the rate increased in both sexes from an average of about twenty-one at six years to thirty-four at seventeen years. Gilbert's experiments upon the reaction-time of school children showed that the reaction-time of boys was uniformly shorter at every age from five to seventeen, and that the time in both boys and girls decreased uniformly with age except a slight retardation at fourteen. In respect to dexterity in the manual arts there is much conflicting testimony. Havelock Ellis's inquiries concerning woman's skill in laboratories, in the cigar and cigarette trades, in cotton spinning and woolen weaving, etc., led him to the result that with few exceptions the finer and more dexterous work is done by man in fields where both sexes have equal opportunities and practice. In the cigar and cigarette trades of English manufacturing centers large numbers of women are employed, but are set to the coarser and lower grades of work, men being required to make the finer grades of cigars and to fold the narrow margins of the cigarette papers. Instructors in laboratories in coeducational institutions with few exceptions pronounce the men to be far more skillful in the use of the microscope and all other delicate instruments and to require less direction in the prosecution of their work. The superiority of women in needlework could not be adduced in this connection any more than the superiority of men in many fields where women have not entered into competition with them. We come now to the well-worn theme of the purely mental differences between the sexes, and here I shall make a brief summary of the more important and well-recognized differences, citing experiments and statistics where they are possible. In perception, woman is in general decidedly quicker than man. She reads a paragraph or book more quickly, and, knowledge of the subject being equal, she grasps more of it. In perception of objects she grasps more quickly a number of wholes or groups, and has a rapid unreasoned perception of relations which has the appearance of intuition. Her perception of details, however, is less accurate than man's, and her rapid reference of things to their proper classes extends only to matters of common human experience. In apperception the subjective factor is larger in woman, and she sees things more from the standpoint of her own experience, wishes, and prejudices. Even more than in man, where feeling is strong, objective perception is blind. Hence women make poorer critics than men, and more rarely are they impartial judges. For the formation of concepts, especially the more abstract ones, woman's mind is less adapted than man's. She thinks more in terms of the concrete and individual. Hence number forms and the associations of colors with sounds are, as is found, more common among women. Differences in habits of thought between the sexes may be well illustrated by a simple experiment in association. If fifty men and fifty women be required to write as rapidly as possible one hundred words without time for thought, in the women's lists more than in the men's will be found words relating to the concrete rather than the abstract, the whole rather than the part, the particular rather than the general, and associations in space rather than in time. As Lotze keenly remarks, women excel in arranging things in the order of space, men in the order of time. Men try to bring things under a general rule, without so much regard to the fitness or symmetry of the result. Women care less for general rules, and are inclined to look only to the immediate end in view, aiming to make each thing complete in itself and harmonious with its surroundings.
In respect to memory, as far as any general statements can be made, woman is superior. In memory tests college girls surpass boys. In Gilbert's tests on New Haven school children, however, the boys were superior in the exact reproduction of an interval of time. In reasoning of the quick associative kind women are more apt than men, but in slow logical reasoning, whether deductive or inductive, they are markedly deficient. They lack logical feeling, and are less disturbed by inconsistency. Analysis is relatively distasteful to them, and they less readily comprehend the relation of the part to the whole. They are thus less adapted to the plodding, analytical work of science, discovery, or invention. Their interest lies rather with the finished product. Of the 483,517 patents issued by the U. S. Patent Office prior to October, 1892, 3,458 were granted to women. In general, woman's thought is less methodical and less deep. The arts, sciences, and philosophy owe their progress more to man than to woman. Whether one studies the history of logic, mathematics, or philosophic thought, of the special sciences or scientific discovery and invention, of poetry or general literature, of musical composition or technique, of painting, sculpture, or architecture, one is engaged more with the names of men than of women. Even in those spheres for which woman by her peculiar physical or mental qualities is particularly adapted, such as vocal music, the stage, and the writing of novels, it is doubtful whether a list of the greatest artists would include more women than men. Even in the arts of cooking and dressmaking, when men undertake them they often excel. Woman, owing to her greater patience, her intuition, and her retentive memory, as well as her constant association with the young, is especially qualified for teaching and has equal or greater success in this work than man. Yet all educational reforms, from the kindergarten to the university, have originated with the latter.
What woman loses in profundity she gains in quickness. She excels in tact, and extricates herself from a difficulty with astonishing adroitness. In language she is more apt than man. Girls learn to speak earlier than boys, and old women are more talkative than old men. Among the uneducated the wife can express herself more intelligently than the husband. Experience in coeducational institutions shows that women are more faithful and punctilious than men, and at least equally apt. In colleges where a record of standing is kept the women gain probably a somewhat higher average. In the years immediately following graduation the men make much greater intellectual progress. Women reach their mental maturity at an earlier age, and develop relatively less after maturity. In many kinds of routine work, especially that requiring patience, women are superior, but they are less able to endure protracted overwork.
We have seen that woman is less modified physically than man and varies less from the average. The same is true mentally. Women are more alike than men and more normal, as it were. The geniuses have been men for the most part, and so have the cranks. Woman's thought pursues old rather than new lines. Her tendency is toward reproduction, while man's is toward production. Woman loves the old, the tried, and the customary. She is conservative, and acts as society's balance-wheel. Man represents variation. He reforms, explores, thinks out a new way.
One of the most marked differences between man and woman is the greater excitability of the nerve centers in the latter. Woman possesses in a higher degree than man the fundamental property of all nervous tissue, irritability, or response to any stimulus. The vasomotor system is particularly excitable, and this fact is in immediate connection with her emotional life. That woman is more emotional than man is only another way of stating the same fact. Various expressions and bodily changes which are really the ground of emotions, such, for instance, as laughing, crying, blushing, quickening of the heart-beat, are more common in woman, and in general her face is more mobile and witnesses more to her mental states. Various forms of abnormal mental conditions, closely connected with the emotions, such as hysteria, are more frequent among women. Women are more easily influenced by suggestion than men, and a larger percentage of them may be hypnotized. Trance mediums are usually women. The word witch has been narrowed almost wholly to the female, and this may be explained by the fact that various forms of mental disturbance connected with superstitious notions are more frequently manifested in women. Sympathy, pity, and charity are stronger in woman, and she is more prominent in works that spring from these sentiments, such as philanthropy and humane and charitable movements. Woman is more generous than man. Her maternal instincts lead her to lend her sympathy to the weak and helpless. She cares for the sick and protects the friendless, and, seeing present rather than remote consequences, she feeds the pauper and pardons the criminal.
In morals a few distinctions between the sexes are well determined. Male criminals outnumber female criminals about six to one. Woman's sympathy and love, her physical weakness and timid nature, her domestic and quiet habits, ill adapt her to the criminal life. Morally bad women too usually find other more attractive fields open to them. Some forms of crime, indeed, such as murder by poisoning, domestic theft, and infanticide, are much more common among women. When women do become criminals their crimes are often marked by greater heinousness, cruelty, and depravity. It is said by Lombroso and his school that in respect to cruelty in general woman surpasses man, particularly in her conduct to her own sex. Woman's appetites are not so strong and her passions are less intense. She is freer from intemperance and related forms of vice. The most marked moral superiority of woman appears in her altruism; her greatest moral defect in her untruthfulness. In her altruistic life of love and self-sacrifice woman shows herself the leader in the supreme virtue of Christian civilization. As far as she leads in this, so far does she fall behind in veracity. She has not the same conception of abstract truth as man, but thinks more of the good to be attained. Deception and ruse in woman, far more than in man, have become a habit of thought and speech. A series of conditions, social, intellectual, and physiological, have forced this habit upon her as a means of self-defense.
Woman's religious nature is stronger than man's. She possesses in a marked degree the qualities of reverence, dependence, devotion, trust, and fidelity. Fear and timidity are feminine qualities, while faith is so natural to woman that she is disposed to credulity rather than to skepticism.
Let us pause a second time to see what theory, if any, our results establish. Here, again, from her mental differences the doctrine of woman's inferiority receives no support—inferior, no doubt, in philosophy, science, and invention, and in her conception of abstract truth and justice, but superior in intuition, in charity, in temperance, in fidelity, in balance. But here again, as in her physical peculiarities, woman approaches the child type. This is seen in the preponderance of the emotional life over the discriminative, and of the impulsive over the voluntary. So also the quick perception and the retentive memory remind us of the child more than do the stern logical processes of the man. Woman's mental associations, selecting the concrete, the individual, the whole rather than the part, relations in space rather than in time, are also those of the child. Woman's receptivity, her faith and trust, her nai've freedom from skepticism, her fear and timidity, her feeling of dependence, her religious instincts, are all child traits. Children, like women, have slower reaction-time and lesser motor ability, are more easily hypnotized, have more number forms and color associations, have less power of inhibition, express their emotions more in their faces, and more readily give way to tears and smiles. Modern child study has shown that children are more cruel than adults and have little power to discriminate between truth and falsehood. They also are sympathetic and changeable, and act with reference to present rather than remote ends. Woman in respect to her altruism, pity, and charity has less resemblance to the child, but these traits are so intimately connected with her duties of motherhood as to have little bearing upon the theory of her naturally infantile constitution.
The hypothesis that woman approximates to the primitive rather than to the child type, that she represents arrested development, may be said to receive a certain amount of confirmation from her mental traits. Indifference to physical and psychical pain, freedom from color blindness, the preponderance of memory and intuition over reason, lack of mechanical inventiveness, conservatism and adherence to custom, precocity, changeableness, cruelty, tact, deceitfulness, emotional expression, religious feeling, are all traits conspicuous among primitive races, and, as we have seen, are more noticeable in women than in men. That women are less modified mentally and are more alike than men also argues for arrested development. It is well known that in insane asylums the female patients are more destructive, noisy, abusive, and vicious than the male patients, although their insanity is less serious and more curable. This fact, together with the other, that when women become bad they become more hopelessly bad, has led some too hastily to conclude that women, like children, are natural savages. The fact that woman has less logical and philosophical ability and has taken so little part in the development of the sciences, arts, and inventions, which are considered to represent human progress, is adduced as further confirmation of this theory. But in many of her mental traits woman departs further than man from the savage type. In her moral qualities she represents higher evolution. This is notably true in respect to her altruism, charity, sympathy, and pity. Woman's greater humanity, philanthropy, conscientiousness, fidelity, self-sacrifice, modesty, and patience, as well as her lesser disposition to crime, are qualities which separate her further than man from the savage. The same may be said of certain other subtle and scarcely definable feminine qualities, such, for instance, as grace and refinement. Woman's development along these lines certainly has not been arrested, and although it may be argued that these qualities are the logical outcome partly of her physical weakness and partly of her maternal duties, still it would be difficult to show that evolution in this direction represents less progress than in the more intellectual direction in which man has developed. It must be admitted, however, that woman's purely intellectual development has been retarded, and this may have a practical significance considering that on these qualities the struggle for existence now so largely turns.
But we must now consider another series of differences between the sexes which, it is alleged, more fully prove the arrested development of woman. These relate to methods of dress and adornment and to habits of life and conduct, in which the history of civilization has shown a constant and definite advance, but in which, it is said, woman is centuries behind. While some of these differences appear of a trifling character, we must admit that they have a certain cumulative force, and even the most trifling may have an anthropological significance.
One of the most interesting chapters in anthropology is that relating to dress. The origin of dress, as is now well known, was the desire to adorn the person, not to protect it. For the sake of adornment, the savage was willing not only to expend a considerable amount of time and wealth, but even to undergo much physical discomfort. To this end were used various paints and pigments, preferably of the brighter colors, feathers of brilliant hues, spotted or glossy skins and furs of animals, beads, shells, shining or colored stones and bits of metal, together with various oils, ointments, and perfumes, all designed to please the sense of sight or of smell. To the same end various mutilations of the body were endured, such as tattooing, or piercing the lips, nose, cheeks, or ears for the insertion of rings or pieces of fancy stone or metal. The neck, also, ankles, wrists, and fingers were used as convenient places for the attachment of ornaments, such as rings of gold or strings of shell or precious stones. The hair, too, was left uncut and tied up in various fantastic ways, and decorated with shells, beads, and gold and silver ornaments. Almost equally early, however, dress was made to serve another purpose than that of pleasing the senses of the beholder. It was used as a means of gaining favor and power by serving as a symbol of the wealth of the wearer. Hence those feathers, skins, and furs which were most rare and difficult to obtain were preferred, and those metals and stones which were not only brilliant but costly, such as gold, silver, diamonds, and rubies. In the manner of wearing this ornamental dress, neither protection nor concealment of the person was so much considered as display. The loose and flowing garments often impeded the movements of the wearer, so that in hours of work or warfare they must often be left behind. In inclement weather, also, they were often laid away, as it was considered more important to protect the dress itself than the person. Starting with these primitive ideas, the evolution of dress has shown a steady progress from display to utility. Clothing tends to be substituted for dress and to have for its end the protection and comfort of the body. Paint, feathers, and pieces of stone and metal tend to disappear as useless. The gaudy colors of the savage, the purple of chiefs and kings, the white of the Romans, give place to the plainer and more useful grays and blacks. Tattooing and other mutilations disappear, skins and furs are replaced by the more comfortable woven cloths, the flowing and dragging robes give way to the close-fitting garment which impedes the movements as little as possible, and the hair is cut shorter for convenience and economy of time. Together with these changes we notice that the symbolic character of dress disappears, so that less and less is it possible to judge of a person's wealth by his attire. It should be observed that none of these ends toward which the evolution of dress is tending have been fully realized even in the most civilized societies, but the civilization of any people is largely judged by the extent to which these ends have been realized.
In the light of these principles the theory of woman's arrested or retarded development receives, it is said, much confirmation. Among the women of the most civilized communities the idea of dress has only partly given place to that of clothing. The flowing and, upon occasions, even the trailing robe still persists. The hair is uncut and fantastically arranged with bits of shell or metal, and sometimes decorated with ornaments of shell, silver, or gold, or imitations of these. Feathers are still worn upon the headdress, and the headdress itself is purely for adornment, affording little or no protection to the head, and in inclement weather is sometimes left behind for safety or exchanged for a simpler kind. Upon the streets of European towns peasant women in the morning are usually seen with uncovered heads, and in America neighborly women are often so seen passing from house to house, but never upon state occasions. Furs are still worn by both sexes in winter, but much more commonly by women. The use of striking colors, such as red, yellow, blue, green, and purple, is still frequent in the dress of women and children, but much less so in men's dress, where the blacks, grays, and browns prevail. Survivals of the primitive custom of leaving parts of the body entirely exposed and unprotected are still seen in woman's evening dress, showing how little the idea of display has given place to that of utility. The use of rare metals and stones as ornaments for the ankles, wrists, fingers, ears, nose, lips, and neck persisted in the dress of women long after it became extinct with men. Rings in the ears were commonly worn by women within the memory of many of us, and rings and stones upon the wrists and fingers are still very common. For these purposes brilliant stones, such as diamonds, are much prized, but are not worn to the same extent by men as by women. Survivals of the neck ornaments are still seen in the various forms of pins and necklaces. Beads, so highly prized by the lower races, still persist to some extent in the bead trimming of woman's dress. The use of paint to decorate the person is now practically extinct with both sexes, but, as a means of decorating the face, was practiced by women within comparatively recent times. In respect to various powders and perfumes the evolution has not been so rapid, and they are still in use among women to some extent. Mutilations of the body for ornamental purposes are all but extinct, but among women certain mutilations, such as piercing the ears, unnatural constriction of the waist, and pinching of the feet, have persisted almost to the present time. In countries like China, where the last of these is still practiced, the practice is confined to women. In certain other trifling matters there is in woman's dress a suggestive survival of primitive customs. The dress of the primitive man was loosely and irregularly attached to the body, and was fastened with strings or thongs or afterward with pins of metal. Later these pins were attached to the garment and bent into the form of hooks. Buckles, and finally buttons, took the place of the primitive pins and hooks. But women still use the metal pins, and the primitive lack of definite correspondence between the dress and the body is seen, for instance, in the hat or bonnet, which does not fit the head and must be fastened on with strings or pins. This retarded development and absence of differentiation in woman's dress is curiously illustrated in the case of shoes. Only a few decades ago girls' and women's shoes were made straight and worn indiscriminately on either foot, while men's shoes were uniformly made rights and lefts. In many country stores old women's shoes may still be found made straight, while women's overshoes and rubbers are commonly so made at present, and are worn on either foot.
But the most striking case of retarded development in woman's dress is seen in the persistence of the idea that dress is not so much a protection for the body as a symbol of the wealth of the wearer or the wearer's family. In the more civilized societies now it is no longer possible to judge of a man's wealth by his attire; but to the same extent this can not be said of his wife and daughters. In the case of the latter the two primitive purposes of dress—ornamentation and expenditure—are still ascendant. We see the same display of rare and costly furs and feathers, of gold and diamonds, of velvets, laces, and silks, and of harmony of colors, and a somewhat constant relation between the cost of such display and the wealth of the owner. In her emancipation from the tyranny of fashion in dress woman has made less progress than man. In slave-like obedience thereto she submits to frequent and expensive changes in style, to heavy and cumbersome garments involving the sacrifice of comfort, health, and economy.
In justice to the above principles it is only fair to state that it is not urged by those who bring them forward that the dress of man is perfect or free from savage elements, or that the aesthetic motive common to the dress of the primitive man and of civilized woman is not a worthy one, but only that in the evolution of dress there is a definite progressive movement from the primitive conception of display and expenditure to the modern conception of utility and comfort, and that in this movement woman's dress has been retarded or arrested at a primitive stage.
Certain other facts than those of dress point, it is said, to woman's arrested development. The division of labor which marks the progress of civilization has reached no such extent in the work of woman as in that of man. In fact, it may be said that there is in woman's work hardly any division of labor, except in so far as, in recent years, she has entered upon pursuits formerly followed only by men. As we have seen that women are more alike physically and mentally than men, so their work is more alike. In domestic life, which still includes the mass of representative women, each one either does her own housework, or has it done by female servants whose labor is equally unspecialized. No man now in civilized communities makes his own clothes, yet this is not uncommon among women, and in primitive communities they may even spin and weave the material. Not only is their work and manner of work more primitive, but also their tools. In the German cities on market day, for instance, may be seen numbers of men and women bringing their produce from the country, the men using carts or wagons propelled by themselves or their horses, but the women bearing their burdens in baskets upon their backs in quite the primitive fashion.
Before attempting any summary of our results I must call attention to some recent biological researches which may throw new light on the natural relation of the sexes. It has been shown by Geddes and Thomson, Fouillée and others, that in many of the lower and simpler orders of animals the female is larger than the male. This is true, with exceptions, throughout the animal world as high as the amphibians, and is in close logical connection with certain other important differences between the sexes. These, observed also best among the lower orders, are as follows: The male is active, restless, agile. The female is passive and quiescent. She has lower temperature, greater longevity, and a larger fund of vitality; her birth is the accompaniment of conditions of better nourishment. The male is katabolic, representing the expenditure of energy, individualism, variation, and progress. The female is anabolic, representing economy and the building up, conserving, and reproductive functions. She is nearer to and more representative of the race. These, it is said, are natural sexual differences seen at the very threshold of life in the contrast between the male and female cells, and so far as these same differences appear in man and woman they can not and need not be accounted for by any theories of natural or sexual selection nor by artificial social conditions. Those peculiarities of modern woman which are contrary to the natural constitution of the female, such as her smaller size and her alleged retarded development, are rather the qualities in need of explanation. It has been suggested that the greater size and strength of the male among the higher vertebrates may be explained as the indirect result, in part, of his combats with rivals, and, in part, of his greater activity in protecting and supporting himself and his mate when the maternal duties of the latter incapacitate her for these actions, and furthermore that the retarded development of woman is due to artificial and unnatural restrictions arising from a sort of bondage which the above conditions have made possible. Again, if it should be shown that woman conspicuously resembles the infant in body and mind, very unwarranted inferences might be drawn from this. It is true that the infant of the human species has certain curious points of resemblance to the lower animals, notably the ape, but it is equally true that the infant ape has certain marked resemblances to the human species which the adult ape does not have. By analogy we may infer that the human infant has closer resemblance to the more highly developed being of the future than the human adult has, and if woman is more like the child than man is, then she is more representative of the future being. The matter, in fact, reduces itself probably to this: that woman, like the child, represents the race type, while man represents those variable qualities by which mankind adapts itself to its surroundings. Every woman is, as it were, a composite picture of the race, never much worse nor much better than all. Man is, as it were, Nature's experiment, modified to reflect, if possible, the varying conditions of his environment. If superiority consists in adaptation to present environment, then man is superior; if it consists in the possession of those underlying qualities which are essential to the race—past, present, and future—then woman is superior.
The facts examined in this article, then, lend a certain amount of confirmation to all of the four theories mentioned at the beginning, except so far as woman's inferiority may have been implied in them. Woman's more intimate connection with the life history of the race, her childlike, representative, and typical nature, her embodiment of the everlasting essentials of humanity, her at present arrested or retarded development—all these are indicated by modern anthropological studies. These results are indicated, not proved. They must be verified, supplemented, and no doubt, in some instances, corrected by future studies along these lines.
From these studies there would be no want of lessons for political and social reformers, if they would learn them. From woman's rich endowment with all that is essentially human, the most devoted enthusiast for woman's rights and equality might gain new inspiration. From her retarded development the educational and political reformer might learn that woman's cause may suffer irretrievable damage if she is plunged too suddenly into duties demanding the same strain and nervous expenditure that is safely borne by man, and if it is attempted to correct in a century the evil of ages. From woman's childlike nature the thoughtful "spectator of all time and all existence" might learn yet a deeper and more significant lesson. May it not be that woman, representative of the past and future of humanity, whose qualities are concentration, passivity, calmness, and reserve of force, and upon whom, more than upon man, rest the burdens and responsibilities of the generations, is too sacred to be jostled roughly in the struggle for existence, and that she deserves from man a reverent exemption from some of the duties for which his restless and active nature adapts him?