In Melbourne 1903, Mr John Norton – a hero, Australian democrat wrote the following.
The woes and wrongs of womankind are, according to certain women, to be righted when they have the franchise. True it is that votes have not righted the wrongs of men-, though, strange to say, women without the vote have had the best of the social and political deal through the operation of manhood suffrage.
Women enjoy immunities through exemptions from laws and obligations by which men are strictly bound. They are the favoured sex both by law and custom. This position has been willingly conceded and secured to them without their assistance, and even without their demand or expressed desire. It is the honourable concession of strength to weakness in deference to a ready and full recognition of woman’s physical and intellectual inferiority in many ways. There is now no real grievance or admitted disadvantage suffered by women which men are not ready and willing to remove.
The emancipation of women has been much more rapidly and thoroughly effected than that of men ; and the franchise will not make the lot of women, married or single, happier or more hopeful than it is at the present time. There is a large majority of women who recognise this, and who are as willing as ever to trust the sterner sex in politics as in love and matrimony. These are the real, true, lovable, womanly women at whom the strident sisters of the suffragists scream and scoff ‘ and sneer. They are the mothers, wives, and sweethearts of the nation, who love and love to be loved, and, loving, love to leave to their lovers those labors of love which loving men lovingly perform for loving women. – By so trusting in the faith and fealty of men to women, this softer sex lost nothing in the flays of chivalry, when man’s devotion was woman’s sole protection ; and in continuing so to trust they are not likely to lose anything now or in the future. Such, however, seems not to be the opinion of that shrieking sisterhood consisting of a, minority of medieval maidens, whose virginity is to motherhood what vinegar is to wine, and.-.to many of whom marriage and maternity are physical or moral impossibilities. As a matter of fact, the right of women to the franchise, recognised by the majority of thoughtful men and women, is conceded on sentimental rather than on practical grounds-as a. matter of theoretical justice, and not one of obvious expediency. Very few women claim it or want it ; those who do are an infinitesimal and melancholy minority.
If the vindication of women’s right to the franchise had been left to women, they would never have secured it ; it has been asserted and achieved for them by the bold, bad, brutal men so blatantly bullied on public platforms by those frothy-mouthed female faddists who, if they were not parading their mental and moral obliquities, physical angularities, and flat-chested frailties at public meetings, would probably be preaching anarchy or practising palmistry or midwifery instead of being at home darning socks or sewing buttons on. shirts. To them domestic duties seem more degrading than those of plantation slavery. Happily for the vast majority of women, and more happily for men, and still more happily for their sons and daughters, this minority of declamatory derelict dunes, who scorn husbands, sneer at wives, and scoff at their sons and deride their daughters, don’t and can’t speak for any but themselves. Women don’t want them, and won’t have them as companions, because in politics, as in love and matrimony, they prefer men. The great moral and physical -want of woman in MAN ; so It was when the world began, and so it will be when it shall end. They came into the world together ; they will leave it together, hand in Hand to Heaven or Hell for love. Such is woman’s love for man, and man’s love for woman. They Cannot live or act separately ; single they are nothing ; twain they are everything. The team that pulls the chariot of human progress is male and female, man and woman ; they can’t go alone; and must go in double harness. ‘A few flat-chested, flat-footed female brumbies can’t supply the place of the splendid breed sprung from Eden’s stock, and which has kept the world going ever since the frail, fond, foolish Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, and tempted Adam to eat. What Eve was in Eden, her daughters have been ever since ; and it is the sincerest and sweetest wish of her sons that her daughters may continue to copy her and tempt them in the same dear, delightful way that she tempted their common father. They have not lost any of the cunning taught by the Serpent to their mother ; and the forbidden fruit has lost none of its savour, which seems likely to survive the races of the children of men on earth, and promises to sanctify, the joys of Paradise, which many picture as the union of the sexes In perfect, unalloyed and eternal love. A big bouncing baby is a greater treasure to a woman than a vote ; a matron and mother is a sweeter thing than a stagnant, shrieking, female franchisist.
All this is, of course, so much cant and claptrap to those few flatulent females who claim to champion the cause of womankind. But it is when most women believe and practice. Very few married women who have babies to look after care to neglect their darlings in order to dabble in politics and it is like the infernal impertinence of these barren ‘blue-stockings’ to pretend to speak for the wives and mothers of the nation.
What sort of sympathies and sentiments can actuate these shrieking she-males who have never married, or, having married, have never been blessed with a baby. They are soured In face and physique ; and having failed to accomplish woman’s mission— matrimony merged in maternity— these disappointed and disillusioned derelicts look upon men as monsters who marry to make slaves of women. But all this is so much bunkum and balderdash; The vast majority of men are the slaves of their wives, whether those wives lie good or bad, but more especially if they be good. There are more bad wives than bad husbands ; and matrimonial misfortunes and miseries are for the most part, the results of, feminine fickleness and frailties, Most women know this ; and all good women admit it, and the records of the police and divorce courts prove it conclusively. The cheap claptrap indulged in by dubious downagers and disappointed demireps doesn’t count tor much against the everlasting veracities of human nature, of which the lawful union in love of man and woman is-first and foremost fixed. Of what consequence can such childish chattermaggery as that usually indulged in by the barren blatancies of the female franchisists to to healthy men and women who marry and are given in marriage, and obey the laws of God and marry by increasing and multiplying and replenishing the earth ? None whatever ; except to breed repugnance and disgust. Harried, folks, mothers, and fathers, and those who love in the fond hope of becoming such, can have no sympathy with those jaundiced Jezebels whose knowledge of human nature is confined to their own shrivelled souls and shrunken individualities.
The virginal viragoes have not and know not the “mens sana in corpore sano” of the mother, whose maternity is or ought to be the best guarantee of her moral and physical sanity. The woman who suckles a child saves her soul, says an old Persian proverb ; to which wise maxim may be added the corrollary: The woman upon whose breast a baby’s breath has not blown, is a blasted thing. Who makes the better citizen, the healthy, milky mother, or the blighted female in whom the fountains of fecundity have not flowed ? The one, in her offspring, gives life and health and being to the State, in the security and prosperity of which she has consequently an absorbing and enduring interest ; while the other, is a moral hermaphrodite, a sexual eunuch, in whom there is neither life nor health, nor hope nor joy. That the last should pretend to know the desires of the first, and presume to interpret them to the public, is one of the most marvellous manifestations of that dementia which afflicts a deluded democracy.
The strongest argument against the championship of the cause of Woman’s Rights by the blue-nosed, sallow-faced sexless or unsexed woman, is the fact that it is repudiated by the majority— by women who are married, by those who want to be married. These don’t choose as their champions ‘the rejected of men’ ; they want the championship of the men whom their charms of person and character compel to accept them as lovers and wives. They prefer to entrust their cause to the championship of those whom they have captured and lead captive by the cords of love. The women who marry are the great majority ; and these have emphatically declared that they don’t want the franchise and never asked for it ; and that now they have got it they won’t use it : or if they do, they will use it as their husbands or lovers desire. This is a sure and safe sign that the shrieking sisterhood of stagnant virginities are not going to lead captive to the polling booth the wives and mothers, sisters and sweethearts of men to vote for their fantastic fads and fallacies. There is much more likelihood of the priest and the parson controlling the woman’s vote than that It will be wantonly trailed at the end of the soiled skirts of a squad of shrieking style spinsters and meagre maidens, to whom matrimony is a mockery and to whom maternity would he a misery, and not a holy, healthy joy. Better, far better, that the Church should control the woman’s vote than that it should be sacrificed at the shrine of Our Lady of the Childless Womb.
Good wives and good mothers will want to work good fathers in the political sphere as in the domestic sphere ; to strengthen their hands and fortify their fortunes in the one as in the other. This is as it should be ; and it may be safely prophesied that it will prove to be both in Federal and State affairs. It would be a national misfortune were it to turn out otherwise; as it would menu domestic dissension in happy homes and harmonious households, and thus turn the supposed wrongs of a few vituperative vixenish virgins into the real wrongs of the majority of the matrons and mothers of today and tomorrow — a contingency altogether too terrible to contemplate.