Equality of Women and Men


I see male and female everywhere,
The female equally with the male I sing,
I know that the woman is to be equal to the man,
And I will show of male and female that either is but the equal of the other.

A man is a great thing upon the earth and through eternity,
But it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,
The wife, and she is not one jot less than the husband,
The daughter, and she is just as good as the son,
The mother, and she is every bit as much as the father.
The experienced sisters and the inexperienced sisters,
They are ultimate in their own right—they are calm, clear, well-possess’d of themselves,
They are not one jot less than I am.

I have been asked, Which is the greater, the man or the woman?
Yes, I tell you, with the same answer that I tell whether time is greater than space.
It is just as becoming, when both understand it as, that the man cook for the woman as that the woman cook for the man.

The woman is not less than the man, but she is never the same;
The female contains all qualities and tempers them,
She is in her place and moves with perfect balance,
She is all things duly veil’d, she is both passive and 
active.

The creation is womanhood,
Mistress and source of all, whence life and love and aught that comes from life and love.
Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest, and is the exit of the rest,
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul,
Envelop’d in you sleep greater heroes and bards.

Unfolded out of the folds of the woman man comes unfolded, and is always to come unfolded,
Unfolded out of the friendliest woman is to come the friendliest man,
Unfolded out of the folds of the woman’s brain come all the folds of the man’s brain, duly obedient,
Unfolded out of the justice of the woman all justice is unfolded,
Unfolded out of the sympathy of the woman is all sympathy,
Every jot of the greatness of man is unfolded out of woman—greater than man through their divine maternity, always their towering, emblematical attribute.
First the man is shaped in the woman, he can then be shaped in himself,
If the woman have not the grand attributes in herself, the man cannot have them afterwards.

Nothing is greater than to conceive children and bring them up well,
(Who knows through the centuries what heroes may come from them?)
O the mothers’ joys!
In them, and of them, natal love—in them that divine mystery, the same old beautiful mystery.
The mother with mild words, clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor falling off her person and clothes as she walks by,
The limitless sweet love and precious suffering of mothers,
The watching—the endurance—the precious love—the anguish—the patiently yielded life—
The finish beyond which philosophy cannot go, and does not wish to go.

The inimitable beauty of the mother of many children,
The inimitable music of the mother’s voice in lullaby;
Unspeakable is the charm of her illuminated face,
She beams sunshine out of all these duties, and makes them illustrious,
She is clean and sweet and simple with immortal health.
Patient, considerate, self-denying, mother!
Blessed is the home, blessed are the children, where such as you are found.

Have I not said that womanhood involves all?
Have I not told how the universe has nothing better than the best womanhood?
She is the best-beloved, it is without exception, she has no reason to fear, and she does not fear,
The gross and soiled she moves among do not make her gross and soiled,

She knows the thoughts as she passes, nothing is conceal’d from her,
She is none the less considerate or friendly therefor,
Oaths, quarrels, hiccupp’d songs, smutty expressions, are idle to her as she passes,
She is silent, she is possessed of herself, she is strong,
She receives them as the laws of nature receive them, she is strong,
She too is a law of nature—there is no law stronger than she is.

You womanhood divine,
Do you suppose you have nothing waiting for yourselves to do, but to embroider, to clean, to be respectable and modest, and not swear or drink?
Women approach the day of that organic equality with man,
(Without which, I see, men cannot have organic equality among themselves,)
Where women
walk in public processions in the streets the same as the men,
Where they enter the public assembly and take places the same as the men,
Erecting therefor a lofty and hitherto unoccupied framework or platform, broad enough for all, the female equally with the male.
 

I expect to see the time in politics, business, public gatherings, processions, when women shall not be divided from men, but shall take their part on the same terms as men.
O you young and elder daughters! O you mothers and you wives!
Never must you be divided, in our ranks you move united,
Both sexes teaching, commanding, equally electing and elective—
By my side or back of me Eve following,
Or in front, and I following her just the same.
 

Women shall mix in healthy games, the same as men,
Run, leap, ride, swim, play at outdoor plays, the same as men,
(Women can have capital times among themselves, with plenty of wit and jovial abandon,)
Great, at any rate, as man, in all departments—
Or, rather, capable of being so, soon as they realize it.

Woman portray’d or outlin’d at her best, or as perfect human mother, does not hitherto, it seems to me, fully appear in literature.
A new founded literature, achieving the entire redemption of woman out of these incredible holds and webs of silliness, millinery, and every kind of dyspeptic depletion—and thus insuring to the states a strong and sweet female race, a race of perfect mothers—is what is needed,
New words are needed to answer the modern, rapidly spreading faith of the vital equality of women with men, and that they are to be placed on an exact plane, politically, socially, and in business, with men.

To the movement for the eligibility and entrance of women amid new spheres of business, politics, and the suffrage, the current prurient, conventional treatment of sex is the main formidable obstacle;
Why should there be these modesties and prohibitions that keep women from strong actual life?
Most of what is called delicacy is filthy, or sick, and unworthy of a woman of live rosy body and a clean affectionate spirit.
Only when sex is properly treated, talked, avowed, accepted, will the woman be equal with the man, and meet his words with her words, and his rights with her rights.

NEXT: JUSTICE FOR BLACK AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE