Chicago Tribune

Prof. W. I. Thomas Says Life In Beginning Was Female and Woman Ruled.
Her Position Bad Now, Writes University of Chicago Teacher in Essay.

Prof. W. I. Thomas of the University of Chicago, a sociologist authority of note and a fellow instructor of Prof. Charles Zueblin, has produced a treatise on woman, which, after ignoring the Adam and Eve and numerous other theories of the origin of humans, proposes a unique history of the relations of man and woman from the beginning of time to the present day.

Life itself in the beginning was female, and for countless ages after man was created from woman the latter ruled him and was his superior, the professor holds, in the essay, which is printed in the current number of the American Journal of Sociology, issued from the University of Chicago press yesterday. Then cam a transition in which man gained the upper hand which has resulted, in the middle and higher classes, in the degeneration of the physical, moral and mental life of woman.

Prof. Thomasí theory delves into sex problems much deeper than Prof. Zueblin attempted in the recent course of lectures on "The Common Life." Many of his statement from an academic point of view pass the conventional border lines of conservatism.

Woman May Regain Superiority.

Manís superiority over woman in physical, moral and mental qualitites he regards as adventitious, and hints that the time may come when the restoration to the earlier state of affairs, with the dominating force in economics as well as social affairs, will take place.

Prof. Thomas places the title, "The Adventitious Character of Woman" to his essay. His theory is expressed in part as follows:

"Life itself was in the beginning female, so far as sex could be postulated of it at all, and the life process was primarily a female process, assisted by the male.

"Up to a certain point in his physical and social evolution man shows an interesting structural and mental adaptation to woman or to the reproductive process which she represents, while the latter stages of history show, on the other hand, that the mental attitude of woman, and consequently her forms of behavior, have been profoundly modified, and even her physical life deeply affected, by her effort to adjust to man.

"Man represented the more violent and spasmodic activities, involving motion and skillful coordinations, as well as organization for hunting and fighting, while woman carried on the steady, settled life. Consequently he attention was turned to industries, since these were compatible with settled and stationary habits."

After a time, Prof. Thomas says, hunting "played out," and man began to "adopt the settled occupations of woman. Gradually he began also to rely not altogether on armament, exploits, and trophies to get the attention and favor of woman.

Woman the Real Wooer.

"Under a new stimulation to be attractive, and with the addition of ornament to the repertory of her charms, woman has assumed an almost aggressive attitude toward courtship. The means of attraction are so elaborated, and her technique is so finished, that she is really more active in courtship than man. We speak of man as the wooer, but the falling in love is really mediated by woman.

"The American woman of the better class has no superior rights and no duties, and yet she is worrying herself to death — not over specific troubles, but because she has lost her connection with reality. Many women more intelligent and energetic than their husbands and brothers have no more serious occupations than to play the house cat, with or without ornament. It is a wonder that more of them do not lose their minds; that more of them do not break with the system entirely is due solely to the inhibitive effects of early habit and suggestion.

Irregularities Are Frequent.

"The theory which accounts for the short career of the fast woman on the score of an early death is wellnigh groundless. Society simply cannot keep track of these women, and the world is large that the reappear in the ordinary walks of life, marry and are given in marriage — and the world is no wiser. There are thousands of girls leading irregular lives in our large cities whose parents think they are in factories, stores and business positions, and many of them return to their native communities, or drift farther, and are married, and make good wives — uncommonly good wives, many of them, because they have had their fling.

"The remedy for the irregularity, pettiness, ill health, and unserviceableness of the modern woman seems to lie, therefore, along educational lines. Not in a general and cultural education alone, but in a special and occupational interest and practice for women, married and unmarried. This should be preferably gainful, though not onerous nor incessant.

"It should, in fact, be a play interest, in the sense that the interest of every artist and craftsman who loves his work and functions through it is a play interest."


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