Readings for Rural Life

From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY

July 23rd, 1864

Female Independence

In the present age of the world, as, indeed, in all ages, female self-dependence and independence, are very seldom constitutes of the female character – the lack of which no intellectual nor moral accomplishment can supply. The modern female born and reared the younger portion of her life, perhaps, in the home circle, and when she has attained a proper age, is transported to a fashionable boarding school, where she may expand her intellect to the supposed utmost limits – where she attains, in her opinion, to the highest degree of female excellence, and enters upon the cares and vicissitudes of life. But upon departing from the parental roof, how very seldom has she been found to possess the most substantial basis of female honor and respect, vis: Independence!

In is conclusively proved that the female mind, if left unchained and free from all common lady traits, is capable of as broad expansion, and as sound thoughts, as the opposite sex; and although they have been heretofore the subjects of ridicule, and sometimes of public amusement on account of their innumerable foolish weaknesses and foibles – yet, by self-culture and independence of mind to resist the tempting allurements of the fashionable worl, and obey the dictates of common sense and sound judgment, they may lay up a store of information and science, which they now can not appreciate, because of their fondness of novels and fictitious writings, which they can summon to their use at all times, and which will prove a passport through cultivated society, more reliable and more respected than mere external beauty.

How common a circumstance it is to see young and middle-aged female puffed up with price and self-exaltation, who have not independence sufficient to oppose public opinion, but are guided wholly by the opinions of others and prevailing fashion! And how many devoted mothers sacrifice the comforts and even the necessaries of life to educate and accomplish their daughters, in whom, perhaps, there is not the least hope of future usefulness. It is a lamentable fact that the majority of females at the present day, have no more exalted view or aim in life than their own personal gratification in the way of dress and food, and allow their minds to grow gradually weaker until they are entirely engrossed in idle gossip or the most trivial subjects of earth.

But it may be asked how can this defect in female character be remedied? By simply turning our attention from trifles, applying our energy and zeal to some purer mental and moral excellence than is generally stained by those who are termed ladies.

If this great, visible defect could be supplied in the female mind, the world would be freed of a vast amount of female gossip and dependence upon others, and their views of life would be exalted; they would strive to emulate those who are worthy, and ere long the great fact would illumine their dependent minds, that by a little exertion on their part, a little more genuine thought, they might release themselves from  the fetter of entire dependence on male intellect, and gain such a store of knowledge as will be their guide and support at all times without the overseeing hand of man.

It is to be hoped that before many generations shall pass, females will avail themselves of independent minds, and stand before the world in the highest sense, ladies. A. Aikin. Tekonsha, Mich., 1864

 

Published in: on July 23, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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