New York Times


Prof. W. I. Thomas of that institution of up-to-date enlightenment, the Chicago University, has made woman his life study. So did Tom Moore, as he tells us in his verses about the lies in womenís eyes. But Prof. Thomasís point of view is different. He treats of woman anthropologically and intellectually. He has said some striking thins about the sex hitherto, and aroused the dissent of women. We judge, however, from his latest contribution in the subject, in the American Magazine for December, that Prof. Thomas is cruel only to be kind. Indeed, we are not quite sure that he is not inclined to become, under provocation, the most disheartening of modern agitators, a male female suffragist.

But Prof. Thomas has collected statistics to show that the mind of woman is as yet imperfectly developed. The trouble began in primitive times when man had to hustle about for food and woman remained in the cave to mind the babies, and her activities were necessarily limited. She was not quick on her feet and her mind suffered. Doubtless Prof. Thomas has observed that women are apt to be quick enough on their feet these days, but the mischief was done in the dawn of human life. He notes, and finds eminent German authority to bear him out, the girl students in universities, while they may be models of attention and application and of retentive memories, lack individual reason.

But all this is a matter of individualization and specialization and not of sex. Prof. Thomas scoffs at the piffling kind of science which judges intellect by the relative weight of brains. The woman has all the needful qualities, but they have been undeveloped or improperly developed, since the dark early ages. The world at present is a white manís world in which "no women enter in the fullest sense." When woman enters the world she will transform it, for there is no type of work in it which she cannot perform when properly developed. Meanwhile it is a horribly imperfect and ill-conducted world.

Probably few women will ever thank Prof Thomas for his efforts in behalf of the sex. He does seem to have kept his mind too closely on statistics and special information and lacked clear observation of the goings on around him. Woman seems to be doing very well, indeed. In art and literature she shares the honors with the men. She is invading the law, commerce, and the trades. Socially she is predominant, and her political influence is enormous. Sensible women do not want the right of suffrage, but if they did want it, and joined their less thoughtful sisters in clamoring for it, no existing power in this horribly imperfect "white manís world" could keep it from them. Logic is not a distinctive quality of woman, perhaps, and she is apt to be swayed by her emotions more than men. But, all in all, the best qualities of the human mind, in its present state of development, are not monopolized by the men. Let us not be misled by the preposterous big hats. Men are frequently foolish, too. And the sum of wisdom resides in no one human noddle.


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