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Speaking of Women

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Speaking of Women

Anti-Suffrage Reasoning

Women on Homesteads

Distinction of Spheres

Woman Suffrage Bill

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Nellie McClung, "Speaking of Women," Maclean’s May 1916.

The Cave Dweller, long ago, realizing that the food supply was limited and hard to obtain, was disposed to look upon every other man as a possible rival; and considered it good policy to kill at sight in order that the crowd around the Neolithic lunch counter might be lessened. The reasoning was economically sound, too. If the divisor is lessened, the quotient is correspondingly increased!

Life was simple then. Every man was his own lawyer, butcher, barber, drycleaner; he settled his own quarrels, without lawyers' fees or 'notes'; there were no apartment houses, tax-notices, rural mail delivery, water rates, subscription lists, or any other complication.

But it was not long before men began to plan greater tasks than could be accomplished by individual effort, and the idea slowly grew that the other man might be a real help at times and perhaps it was a mistake always to kill him. Co-operation began when one man chased the bear out of the cave and another man killed him when he ran past the gap!

Since then the idea of co-operation has steadily grown. Now we are so utterly dependent upon the other man—or woman—that we cannot live a day without them. But the primitive instincts die hard! Men are still haunted by the ghost of that old fear that there may not be enough of some things to go around if too many people have the same chance of obtaining a share. They join in the thanksgiving of the old blessing:

"Six potatoes among the four of us;

Thank the Lord there ain't any more of us.

 
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