Woman under socialism
by August Bebel
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse


Females for Every Census 1,000 Countries. Year. Males. Females. Population. Men.

Danish Greenland 1888 4,838 5,383 10,221 1,112 British North America 1881 2,288,196 2,229,735 4,517,931 974 United States of North America 1880 25,518,820 24,636,963 50,155,783 965 Bermuda Islands 1890 7,767 8,117 15,884 1,046 Mexico 1882 5,072,054 5,375,920 10,447,974 1,060 ————— ————— ————— ——- North America and Islands 32,891,675 32,256,118 65,147,793 981

Nicaragua 1883 136,249 146,591 282,845 1,076 British Honduras 1881 14,108 13,344 27,452 946 Cuba 1877 850,520 671,164 1,521,684 789 Porto Rico 1877 369,054 362,594 731,648 983 British West Indies 1881 589,012 624,132 1,213,144 1,060 French West Indies 1885 176,364 180,266 356,630 1,022 Danish Possessions 1880 14,889 18,874 33,763 1,263 Dutch Colony Curacao 1889 20,234 25,565 45,799 1,263 —————- ————— ————— ——- Central America and the West Indies 2,170,430 2,042,530 4,212,965 941

British Guiana 1891 151,759 126,569 278,328 834 French Guiana 1885 15,767 10,735 26,502 681 Dutch Guiana 1889 30,187 28,764 58,951 953 Brazil 1872 5,123,869 4,806,609 9,930,478 938 Chili 1885 1,258,616 1,268,353 2,526,969 1,008 Falkland Islands 1890 1,086 703 1,789 647 ————— ————— ————— ——- South America total 6,581,284 6,241,733 12,823,017 949 ————— ————— ————— ——- Population of America 41,643,389 40,540,386 82,183,775 973

3. ASIA.

Females for Every Census 1,000 Countries. Year. Males. Females. Population. Men.

Russian Caucasia 1885 3,876,868 3,407,699 7,284,567 879 Siberia, minus Amur and Sachalin 1885 2,146,411 2,002,879 4,149,290 933 Province Uralsk 1885 263,915 263,686 527,601 999 General Province of the Prairies 1885 926,246 781,626 1,707,872 844 Province Fergana 1885 365,461 350,672 716,133 959 Province Samarkand 1885 335,530 305,616 641,146 911 ————— ————— ————— ——- Russian Possessions, total 7,914,431 7,112,178 15,026,609 899

British India (immediate possessions) 1891 112,150,120 108,313,980 220,464,100 966 Tributary States (so far known) 1891 31,725,910 29,675,150 61,401,060 935 Hong Kong 1889 138,033 56,449 194,482 409 Ceylon 1881 1,473,515 1,290,469 2,763,984 876 Of the French Possessions: Cambodscha ? 392,383 422,371 814,754 1,076 Cochinchina 1889 944,146 932,543 1,876,689 988 Philippines (partly) 1877 2,796,174 2,762,846 5,559,020 988 Japan 1888 20,008,445 19,598,789 39,607,234 979 Cyprus 1891 104,887 104,404 209,291 995 ————— ————— ————— ——- Total population in Asia 177,648,044 170,269,179 347,917,223 958


Females for Every Census 1,000 Countries. Year. Males. Females. Population. Men.

Australia, New Zealand (1890) and Tasmania 1891 2,059,594 1,772,472 3,832,066 861 Fiji Islands 1890 67,902 57,780 125,682 851 French Possessions (Tahiti, Marquesas, etc.) 1889 11,589 10,293 21,882 888 Hawaii 1890 58,714 31,276 89,990 533 ————— ————— ————— ——- Total 2,197,799 1,871,821 4,069,620 852


Females for Every Census 1,000 Countries. Year. Males. Females. Population. Men.

Egypt 1882 3,401,498 3,415,767 6,817,265 1,004 Algeria (minus Sahara) 1886 2,014,013 1,791,671 3,805,684 889 Senegal 1889 70,504 76,014 146,518 1,078 Gambia 1881 7,215 6,935 14,150 961 Sierra Leone 1881 31,201 29,345 60,546 940 Lagos 1881 37,665 39,605 75,270 998 St. Helena 1890 2,020 2,202 4,222 1,090 Capeland 1890 766,598 759,141 1,525,739 990 Natal 1890 268,062 275,851 543,913 1,029 Orange Free State: White 1890 40,571 37,145 77,716 915 Black 1890 67,791 61,996 129,787 914 Republic: White 1890 66,498 52,630 119,128 791 Black 1890 115,589 144,045 259,634 1,246 Reunion 1889 94,430 71,485 165,915 757 Mayotte 1889 6,761 5,509 12,270 815 St. Marie de Madagascar 1888 3,648 4,019 7,667 1,102 ————— ————— ————— ——- Total 6,994,064 6,771,360 13,765,424[93]968

Probably the result of this presentation will be astonishing to many. With the exception of Europe, where, on an average, there are 1,024 women to every 1,000 men, the reverse is the case everywhere else. If it is further considered that in the foreign divisions of the earth, and even there where actual enumeration was had, information upon the female sex is particularly defective—a fact that must be presumed with regard to all the countries of Mohammedan population, where the figures for the female population are probably below the reality—it stands pat that, apart from a few European nations, the female sex nowhere tangibly exceeds the male. It is otherwise in Europe, the country that interests us most. Here, with the exception of Italy and the southeast territories of Bosnia, Herzegovina, Servia, Bulgaria, Roumania and Greece, the female population is everywhere more strongly represented than the male. Of the large European countries, the disproportion is slightest in France—1,002 females to every 1,000 males; next in order is Russia, with 1,009 females to every 1,000 males. On the other hand, Portugal, Norway and Poland, with 1,076 females to every 1,000 males, present the strongest disproportion. Next to these stands Great Britain,—1,060 females to every 1,000 males. Germany and Austria lie in the middle: they have, respectively, 1,039 and 1,047 females to every 1,000 males.

In the German Empire, the excess of the female over the male population, according to the census of December 1, 1890, was 957,400, against 988,376, according to the census of December 1, 1885. A principal cause of this disproportion is emigration, inasmuch as by far more men emigrate than women. This is clearly brought out by the opposite pole of Germany, the North American Union, which has about as large a deficit in women as Germany has a surplus. The United States is the principal country for European emigration, and this is mainly made up of males. A second cause is the larger number of accidents to men than to women in agriculture, the trades, the industries and transportation. Furthermore, there are more males than females temporarily abroad,—merchants, seamen, marines, etc. All this transpires clearly from the figures on the conjugal status. In 1890 there were 8,372,486 married men to 8,398,607 married women in Germany, i. e., 26,121 more of the latter. Another phenomenon, that statistics establish and that weigh heavily in the scales, is that, on an average, women reach a higher age than men: at the more advanced ages there are more women than men. According to the census of 1890 the relation of ages among the two sexes were these:

Excess Excess of Males. Females. of Males. Females. Below ten years 5,993,681 5,966,226 27,455 ... 10 to 20 years 5,104,751 5,110,093 ... 5,342 20 to 30 years 3,947,324 4,055,321 ... 107,997 30 to 40 years 3,090,174 3,216,704 ... 126,530 40 to 50 years 2,471,617 2,659,609 ... 187,992 50 to 60 years 1,826,951 2,041,377 ... 214,426 60 to 70 years 1,177,142 1,391,227 ... 214,085 70 and up 619,192 757,081 ... 137,889 ————- ————- ——— ———- 24,230,832 25,197,638 27,455 994,261

This table shows that, up to the tenth year, the number of boys exceeds that of girls, due merely to the disproportion in births. Everywhere, there are more boys born than girls. In the German Empire, for instance,[94] there were born:—

In the year 1872 to 100 girls 106.2 boys In the year 1878 to 100 girls 105.9 boys In the year 1884 to 100 girls 106.2 boys In the year 1888 to 100 girls 106.0 boys In the year 1891 to 100 girls 106.2 boys

But the male sex dies earlier than the female, and from early childhood more boys die than girls. Accordingly, the table shows that, between the ages of 10 to 20 the female sex exceeds the male.

To each 100 females, there died, males:—[95]

In 1872 107.0 In 1884 109.2 In 1878 110.5 In 1888 107.9 In 1891 107.5

The table shows, furthermore, that at the matrimonial age, proper, between the ages of 20 and 50, the female sex exceeds the male by 422,519, and that at the age from 50 to 70 and above, it exceeds the male by 566,400. A very strong disproportion between the sexes appears, furthermore, among the widowed.

According to the census of 1890, there were:—

Widowers 774,967 Widows 2,154,870 ————- Excess of widows over widowers 1,382,903

Of these widowed people, according to age, there were:—

Age. Males. Females. 40-60 222,286 842,920 60 and over 506,319 1,158,712

The number of divorced persons was, in 1890: Males, 25,271; females, 49,601. According to age, they were distributed:—

Age. Males. Females. 40-60 13,825 24,842 60 and over 4,917 7,244

These figures tell us that widows and divorced women are excluded from remarriage, and at the fittest age for matrimony, at that; there being of the age of 15-40, 46,362 widowers and 156,235 widows, 6,519 divorced men and 17,515 divorced women. These figures furnish further proof of the injury that divorce entails to married women.

In 1890, there were unmarried:—[96]

Age. Males. Females. 15-40 5,845,933 5,191,453 40-60 375,881 503,406 60 and over 130,154 230,966

Accordingly, among the unmarried population between the ages of 15 and 40, the male sex is stronger by 654,480 than the female. This circumstance would seem to be favorable for the latter. But males between the ages of 15 and 21 are, with few exceptions, not in condition to marry. Of that age there were 3,590,622 males to 3,774,025 females. Likewise with the males of the age of 21-25, a large number are not in a position to start a family: we have but to keep in mind the males in the army, students, etc. On the other side, all women of this age period are marriageable. Taking further into consideration that for a great variety of reasons, many men do not marry at all—the number of unmarried males of 40 years of age and over alone amounted to 506,035, to which must be added also the widowed and divorced males, more than two million strong—it follows that the situation of the female sex with regard to marriage is decidedly unfavorable. Accordingly, a large number of women are, under present circumstances, forced to renounce the legitimate gratification of their sexual instincts, while the males seek and find solace in prostitution. The situation would instantaneously change for women with the removal of the obstacles that keep to-day many hundreds of thousands of men from setting up a married home, and from doing justice to their natural instincts in a legitimate manner. For that the existing social system must be upturned.

As already observed, emigration across the seas is, in great part, responsible for the disproportion in the number of the sexes. In the years 1872-1886, on an average, more than 10,000 males left the country in excess of females. For a period of fifteen years, that runs up to 150,000 males, most of them in the very vigor of life. Military duties also drive abroad many young men, and the most vigorous, at that. In 1893, according to the report officially submitted to the Reichstag on the subject of substitutes in the army, 25,851 men were sentenced for emigrating without leave, and 14,522 more cases were under investigation on the same charge. Similar figures recur from year to year. The loss in men that Germany sustains from this unlawful emigration is considerable in the course of a century. Especially strong is emigration during the years that follow upon great wars. That appears from the figures after 1866 and between 1871 and 1874. We sustain, moreover, severe losses in male life from accidents. In the course of the years 1887 to 1892, the number of persons killed in the trades, agriculture, State and municipal undertakings, ran up to 30,568,[97] of whom only a small fraction were women. Furthermore, another and considerable number of persons engaged in these occupations are crippled for life by accidents, and are disabled from starting a family; others die early and leave their families behind in want and misery. Great loss in male life is also connected with navigation. In the period between 1882-1891, 1,485 ships were lost on the high seas, whereby 2,436 members of crews—with few exceptions males—and 747 passengers perished.

Once the right appreciation of life is had, society will prevent the large majority of accidents, particularly in navigation; and such appreciation will touch its highest point under Socialist order. In numberless instances human life, or the safety of limb, is sacrificed to misplaced economy on the part of employers, who recoil before any outlay for protection; in many others the tired condition of the workman, or the hurry he must work in, is the cause. Human life is cheap; if one workingman goes to pieces, three others are at hand to take his place.

On the domain of navigation especially, and aided by the difficulty of control, many unpardonable wrongs are committed. Through the revelations made during the seventies by Plimsoll in the British Parliament, the fact has become notorious that many shipowners, yielding to criminal greed, take out high insurances for vessels that are not seaworthy, and unconscionably expose them, together with their crews, to the slightest weather at sea,—all for the sake of the high insurance. These are the so-called "coffin-ships," not unknown in Germany, either. The steamer "Braunschweig," for instance, that sank in 1881 near Helgoland, and belonged to the firm Rocholl & Co., of Bremen, proved to have been put to sea in a wholly unseaworthy condition. The same fate befell, in 1889, the steamer "Leda" of the same firm; hardly out at sea, she went to the bottom. The boat was insured with the Russian Lloyd for 55,000 rubles; the prospect of 8,500 rubles were held out to the captain, if he took her safe to Odessa; and the captain, in turn, paid the pilot the comparatively high wage of 180 rubles a month. The verdict of the Court of Admiralty was that the accident was due to the fact that the "Leda" was unseaworthy and unfit to be taken to Odessa. The license was withdrawn from the captain. According to existing laws, the real guilty parties could not be reached. No year goes by without our Court of Admiralty having to pass upon a larger number of accidents at sea, to the effect that the accident was due to vessels being too old, or too heavily loaded, or in defective condition, or insufficiently equipped; sometimes to several of these causes combined. With a good many of the lost ships, the cause of accident can not be established: they have gone down in midocean, and no survivor remains to tell the tale. Likewise are the coast provisions for the saving of shipwrecked lives both defective and insufficient; they are dependent mainly upon private charity. The case is even more disconsolate along distant and foreign coasts. A commonwealth that makes the promotion of the well-being of all its highest mission will not fail to so improve navigation, and provide it with protective measures that these accidents would be of rare occurrence. But the modern economic system of rapine, that weighs men as it weighs figures, to the end of whacking out the largest possible amount of profit, not infrequently destroys a human life if thereby there be in it but the profit of a dollar. With the change of society in the Socialist sense, immigration, in its present shape, also would drop; the flight from military service would cease; suicide in the Army would be no more.

The picture drawn from our political and economic life shows that woman also is deeply interested therein. Whether the period of military service be shortened or not; whether the Army be increased or not; whether the country pursues a policy of peace or one of war; whether the treatment allotted to the soldier be worthy or unworthy of human beings; and whether as a result thereof the number of suicides and desertions rise or drop;—all of these are questions that concern woman as much as man. Likewise with the economic and industrial conditions and in transportation, in all of which branches the female sex, furthermore, steps from year to year more numerously as working-women. Bad conditions, and unfavorable circumstances injure woman as a social and as a sexual being; favorable conditions and satisfactory circumstances benefit her.

But there are still other momenta that go to make marriage difficult or impossible. A considerable number of men are kept from marriage by the State itself. People pucker up their brows at the celibacy imposed upon Roman Catholic clergymen; but these same people have not a word of condemnation for the much larger number of soldiers who also are condemned thereto. The officers not only require the consent of their superiors, they are also limited in the choice of a wife: the regulation prescribes that she shall have property to a certain, and not insignificant, amount. In this way the Austrian corps of officers, for instance, obtained a social "improvement" at the cost of the female sex. Captains rose by fully 8,000 guilders, if above thirty years of age, while the captains under thirty years of age were thenceforth hard to be had, in no case for a smaller dower than 30,000. "Now a 'Mrs. Captain,'" it was thus reported in the "Koelnische Zeitung" from Vienna, "who until now was often a subject of pity for her female colleagues in the administrative departments, can hold her head higher by a good deal; everybody now knows that she has wherewith to live. Despite the greatly increased requirements of personal excellence, culture and rank, the social status of the Austrian officer was until then rather indefinite, partly because very prominent gentlemen stuck fast to the Emperor's coat pocket; partly because many poor officers could not make a shift to live without humiliation, and many families of poor officers often played a pitiful role. Until then, the officer who wished to marry had, if the thirty-year line was crossed, to qualify in joint property to the amount of 12,000 guilders, or in a 600-guilder side income, and even at this insignificant income, hardly enough for decency, the magistrates often shut their eyes, and granted relief. The new marriage regulations are savagely severe, though the heart break. The captain under thirty must forthwith deposit 30,000 guilders; over thirty years of age, 20,000 guilders; from staff officers up to colonels, 16,000 guilders. Over and above this, only one-fourth of the officers may marry without special grace, while a spotless record and corresponding rank is demanded of the bride. This all holds good for officers of the line and army surgeons. For other military officials with the rank of officer, the new marriage regulations are milder; but for officers of the general staff still severer. The officer who is detailed to the captain of the general staff may not thereafter marry; the actual captain of the staff, if below thirty, is required to give security in 36,000 guilders, and later 24,000 more." In Germany and elsewhere, there are similar regulations. Also the corps of under-officers is subject to hampering regulations with regard to marriage, and require besides the consent of their superior officers. These are very drastic proofs of the purely materialistic conception that the State has of marriage.

In general, public opinion is agreed that marriage is not advisable for men under twenty-four or twenty-five years of age. Twenty-five is the marriageable age for men fixed by the civil code, with an eye to the civic independence that, as a rule, is not gained before that age. Only with persons who are in the agreeable position of not having to first conquer independence—with people of princely rank—does public opinion consider it proper when occasionally the men marry at the age of eighteen or nineteen, the girls at that of fifteen or sixteen. The Prince is declared of age with his eighteenth year, and considered capable to govern a vast empire and numerous people. Common mortals acquire the right to govern their possible property only at the age of twenty-one.

The difference of opinion as to the age when marriage is desirable shows that public opinion judges by the social standing of the bride and bridegroom. Its reasons have nothing to do with the human being as a natural entity, or with its natural instincts. It happens, however, that Nature's impulses do not yoke themselves to social conditions, nor to the views and prejudices that spring from them. So soon as man has reached maturity, the sexual instincts assert themselves with force; indeed, they are the incarnation of the human being, and they demand satisfaction from the mature being, at the peril of severe physical and mental suffering.

The age of sexual ripeness differs according to individuals, climate and habits of life. In the warm zone it sets in with the female sex, as a rule, at the age of eleven to twelve years, and not infrequently are women met with there, who, already at that age, carry offspring on their arms; but at their twenty-fifth or thirtieth year, these have lost their bloom. In the temperate zone, the rule with the female sex is from the fourteenth to the sixteenth year, in some cases later. Likewise is the age of puberty different between country and city women. With healthy, robust country girls, who move much in the open air and work vigorously, menstruation sets in later, on the average, than with our badly nourished, weak, hypernervous, ethereal city young ladies. Yonder, sexual maturity develops normally, with rare disturbances; here a normal development is the exception: all manner of illnesses set in, often driving the physician to desperation. How often are not physicians compelled to declare that, along with a change of life, the most radical cure is marriage. But how apply such a cure? Insuperable obstacles rise against the proposition.

All this goes to show where the change must be looked for. In the first place, the point is to make possible a totally different education, one that takes into consideration the physical as well as the mental being; in the second place, to establish a wholly different system of life and of work. But both of these are, without exception, possible for all only under wholly different social conditions.

Our social conditions have raised a violent contradiction between man, as a natural and sexual being, on the one hand, and man as a social being on the other. The contradiction has made itself felt at no period as strongly as at this; and it produces a number of diseases into whose nature we will go no further, but that affect mainly the female sex: in the first place, her organism depends, in much higher degree than that of man, upon her sexual mission, and is influenced thereby, as shown by the regular recurrence of her periods; in the second place, most of the obstacles to marriage lie in the way of women, preventing her from satisfying her strongest natural impulse in a natural manner. The contradiction between natural want and social compulsion goes against the grain of Nature; it leads to secret vices and excesses that undermine every organism but the strongest.

Unnatural gratification, especially with the female sex, is often most shamelessly promoted. More or less underhandedly, certain preparations are praised, and they are recommended especially in the advertisements of most of the papers that penetrate into the family circle as especially devoted to its entertainment. These puffs are addressed mainly to the better situated portion of society, seeing the prices of the preparations are so high that a family of small means can hardly come by them. Side by side with these shameless advertisements are found the puffs—meant for the eyes of both sexes—of obscene pictures, especially of whole series of photographs, of poems and prose works of similar stripe, aimed at sexual incitation, and that call for the action of police and District Attorneys. But these gentlemen are too busy with the "civilization, marriage and family-destroying" Socialist movement to be able to devote full attention to such machinations. A part of our works of fiction labors in the same direction. The wonder would be if sexual excesses, artificially incited, besides, failed to manifest themselves in unhealthy and harmful ways, and to assume the proportions of a social disease.

The idle, voluptuous life of many women in the property classes; their refined measures of nervous stimulants; their overfeeding with a certain kind of artificial sensation, cultivated in certain lines on the hothouse plan, and often considered the principal topic of conversation and sign of culture by that portion of the female sex that suffers of hypersensitiveness and nervous excitement;—all this incites still more the sexual senses, and naturally leads to excesses.

Among the poor, it is certain exhausting occupations, especially of a sedentary nature, that promotes congestion of blood in the abdominal organs, and promotes sexual excitation. One of the most dangerous occupations in this direction is connected with the, at present, widely spread sewing machine. This occupation works such havoc that, with ten or twelve hours' daily work, the strongest organism is ruined within a few years. Excessive sexual excitement is also promoted by long hours of work in a steady high temperature, for instance, sugar refineries, bleacheries, cloth-pressing establishments, night work by gaslight in overcrowded rooms, especially when both sexes work together.

A succession of further phenomena has been here unfolded, sharply illustrative of the irrationableness and unhealthiness of modern conditions. These are evils deeply rooted in our social state of things, and removable neither by the moral sermonizings nor the palliatives that religious quacks of the male and female sexes have so readily at hand. The axe must be laid to the root of the evil. The question is to bring about a natural system of education, together with healthy conditions of life and work, and to do this in amplest manner, to the end that the normal gratification of natural and healthy instincts be made possible for all.

As to the male sex, a number of considerations are absent that are present with the female sex. Due to his position as master, and in so far as social barriers do not hinder him, there is on the side of man the free choice of love. On the other hand, the character of marriage as an institution for support, the excess of women, custom;—all these circumstances conspire to prevent woman from manifesting her will; they force her to wait till she is wanted. As a rule, she seizes gladly the opportunity, soon as offered, to reach the hand to the man who redeems her from the social ostracism and neglect, that is the lot of that poor waif, the "old maid." Often she looks down with contempt upon those of her sisters who have yet preserved their self-respect, and have not sold themselves into mental prostitution to the first comer, preferring to tread single the thorny path of life.

On the other hand, social considerations tie down the man, who desires to reach by marriage the gratification of his life's requirements. He must put himself the question: Can you support a wife, and the children that may come, so that pressing cares, the destroyers of your happiness, may be kept away? The better his marital intentions are, the more ideally he conceives them, the more he is resolved to wed only out of love, all the more earnestly must he put the question to himself. To many, the affirmative answer is, under the present economic conditions, a matter of impossibility: they prefer to remain single. With other and less conscientious men, another set of considerations crowd upon the mind. Thousands of men reach an independent position, one in accord with their wants, only comparatively late. But they can keep a wife in a style suitable to their station only if she has large wealth. True enough, many young men have exaggerated notions on the requirements of a so-called life "suitable to one's station." Nevertheless, they can not be blamed—as a result of the false education above described, and of the social habits of a large number of women,—for not guarding against demands from that quarter that are far beyond their powers. Good women, modest in their demands, these men often never come to know. These women are retiring; they are not to be found there where such men have acquired the habit of looking for a wife; while those whom they meet are not infrequently such as seek to win a husband by means of their looks, and are intent, by external means, by show, to deceive him regarding their personal qualities and material conditions. The means of seduction of all sorts are plied all the more diligently in the measure that these ladies come on in years, when marriage becomes a matter of hot haste. Does any of these succeed in conquering a husband, she has become so habituated to show, jewelry, finery and expensive pleasures, that she is not inclined to forego them in marriage. The superficial nature of her being crops up in all directions, and therein an abyss is opened for the husband. Hence many prefer to leave alone the flower that blooms on the edge of the precipice, and that can be plucked only at the risk of breaking their necks. They go their ways alone, and seek company and pleasure under the protection of their freedom. Deception and swindle are practices everywhere in full swing in the business life of capitalist society: no wonder they are applied also in contracting marriage, and that, when they succeed, both parties are drawn into common sorrows.

According to E. Ansell, the age of marriage among the cultured and independent males of England was, between 1840-1871, on an average 29.25 years. Since then the average has risen for many classes, by at least one year. For the different occupations, the average age of marriage, between 1880-1885, was as follows:—

Occupations. Age. Miners 23.56 Textile workers 23.88 Shoemakers and tailors 24.42 Skilled laborers 24.85 Day laborers 25.06 Clerks 25.75 Retailers 26.17 Farmers and their sons 28.73 Men of culture and men of independent means 30.72

These figures give striking proof of how social conditions and standing affect marriage.

The number of men who, for several reasons, are kept from marrying is ever on the increase. It is especially in the so-called upper ranks and occupations that the men often do not marry, partly because the demands upon them are too great, partly because it is just the men of these social strata who seek and find pleasure and company elsewhere. On the other hand, conditions are particularly unfavorable to women in places where many pensionaries and their families, but few young men, have their homes. In such places, the number of women who cannot marry rises to 20 or 30 out of every 100. The deficit of candidates for marriage affects strongest those female strata that, through education and social position, make greater pretensions, and yet, outside of their persons, have nothing to offer the man who is looking for wealth. This concerns especially the female members of those numerous families that live upon fixed salaries, are considered socially "respectable," but are without means. The life of the female being in this stratum of society is, comparatively speaking, the saddest of all those of her fellow-sufferers. It is out of these strata that is mainly recruited the most dangerous competition for the working-women in the embroidering, seamstress, flower-making, millinery, glove and straw hat sewing; in short, all the branches of industry that the employer prefers to have carried on at the homes of the working-women. These ladies work for the lowest wages, seeing that, in many cases, the question with them is not to earn a full livelihood, but only something over and above that, or to earn the outlay for a better wardrobe and for luxury. Employers have a predilection for the competition of these ladies, so as to lower the earnings of the poor working-woman and squeeze the last drop of blood from her veins: it drives her to exert herself to the point of exhaustion. Also not a few wives of government employes, whose husbands are badly paid, and can not afford them a "life suitable to their rank," utilize their leisure moments in this vile competition that presses so heavily upon wide strata of the female working class.

The activity on the part of the bourgeois associations of women for the abolition of female labor and for the admission of women to the higher professions, at present mainly, if not exclusively, appropriated by men, aims principally at procuring a position in life for women from the social circles just sketched. In order to secure for their efforts greater prospects of success, these associations have loved to place themselves under the protectorate of higher and leading ladies. The bourgeois females imitate herein the example of the bourgeois males, who likewise love such protectorates, and exert themselves in directions that can bring only small, never large results. A Sisyphus work is thus done with as much noise as possible, to the end of deceiving oneself and others on the score of the necessity for a radical change. The necessity is also felt to do all that is possible in order to suppress all doubts regarding the wisdom of the foundations of our social and political organization, and to prescribe them as treasonable. The conservative nature of these endeavors prevents bourgeois associations of women from being seized with so-called destructive tendencies. When, accordingly, at the Women's Convention of Berlin, in 1894, the opinion was expressed by a minority that the bourgeois women should go hand and hand with the working-women, i. e., with their Socialist citizens, a storm of indignation went up from the majority. But the bourgeois women will not succeed in pulling themselves out of the quagmire by their own topknots.

How large the number is of women who, by reason of the causes herein cited, must renounce married life, is not accurately ascertainable. In Scotland, the number of unmarried women of the age of twenty years and over was, towards the close of the sixties, 43 per cent. of the female population, and there were 110 women to every 100 men. In England, outside of Wales, there lived at that time 1,407,228 more women than men of the age of 20 to 40, and 359,966 single women of over forty years of age. Of each 100 women 42 were unmarried.

The surplus of women that Germany owns is very unevenly distributed in point of territories and age. According to the census of 1890, it stood:—[98]

To Every 1,000 Males, Females of the Age of Divisions. Under 15. 15-40. 40-60. Over 60. Berlin 1,014 1,056 1,108 1,666 Kingdom of Saxony 1,020 1,032 1,112 1,326 Kingdom of Bavaria, on the right of the Rhine 1,022 1,040 1,081 1,155 On the left of the Rhine 986 1,024 1,065 1,175 Wurtemberg 1,021 1,076 1,135 1,158 Baden 1,006 1,027 1,099 1,175 Hamburg 1,003 967 1,042 1,522 Province of Brandenburg 986 981 1,085 1,261 Province of Pommern 984 1,053 1,126 1,191 Province of Rhineland 984 990 1,010 1,087 ——- ——- ——- ——- German Empire 995 1,027 1,094 1,196

Accordingly, of marriageable age proper, 15-40, the surplus of women in the German Empire amounts to 27 women to every 1,000 men. Seeing that, within these age periods, there are 9,429,720 male to 9,682,454 female inhabitants, there is a total female surplus of 252,734. In the same four age periods, the proportion of the sexes in other countries of Europe and outside of Europe stood as follows:—[99]

To Every 1,000 Males, Females of the Age of 60 and Countries. Under 15. 15-40. 40-60. Over. Belgium (1890) 992 984 1,018 1,117 Bulgaria (1888) 950 1,068 837 947 Denmark (1890) 978 1,080 1,073 1,179 France (1886) 989 1,003 1,006 1,063 England and Wales (1891) 1,006 1,075 1,096 1,227 Scotland (1891) 973 1,073 1,165 1,389 Ireland (1891) 966 1,036 1,109 1,068 Italy (1881) 963 1,021 1,005 980 Luxemburg (1891) 996 997 1,004 1,042 Holland (1889) 990 1,022 1,035 1,154 Austria (1890) 1,005 1,046 1,079 1,130 Hungary (1890) 1,001 1,040 996 1,000 Sweden (1890) 975 1,062 1,140 1,242 Switzerland (1888) 999 1,059 1,103 1,148 Japan (1891) 978 962 951 1,146 Cape of Good Hope (1891) 989 1,008 939 1,019

It is seen that all countries of the same or similar economic structure reveal the identical conditions with regard to the distribution of the sexes according to ages. According thereto, and apart from all other causes already mentioned, a considerable number of women have in such countries no prospect of entering wedded life. The number of unmarried women is even still larger, because a large number of men prefer, for all sorts of reasons, to remain single. What say hereto those superficial folks, who oppose the endeavor of women after a more independent, equal-righted position in life, and who refer them to marriage and domestic life? The blame does not lie with the women that so many of them do not marry; and how matters stand with "conjugal happiness" has been sufficiently depicted.

What becomes of the victims of our social conditions? The resentment of insulted and injured Nature expresses itself in the peculiar facial lines and characteristics whereby so-called old maids, the same as old ascetic bachelors, stamp themselves different from other human beings in all countries and all climates; and it gives testimony of the mighty and harmful effect of suppressed natural love. Nymphomania with women, and numerous kinds of hysteria, have their origin in that source; and also discontent in married life produces attacks of hysteria, and is responsible for barrenness.

Such, in main outlines, is our modern married life and its effects. The conclusion is: Modern marriage is an institution that is closely connected with the existing social condition, and stands or falls with it. But this marriage is in the course of dissolution and decay, exactly as capitalist society itself,—because, as demonstrated under the several heads on the subject of marriage:

1. Relatively, the number of births declines, although population increases on the whole,—showing that the condition of the family deteriorates.

2. Actions for divorce increase in numbers, considerably more than does population, and, in the majority of cases, the plaintiffs are women, although, both economically and socially, they are the greatest sufferers thereunder,—showing that the unfavorable factors, that operate upon marriage, are on the increase, and marriage, accordingly, is dissolving and falling to pieces.

3. Relatively, the number of marriages is on the decline, although population increases,—showing again that marriage, in the eyes of many, no longer answers its social and moral purposes, and is considered worthless, or dangerous.

4. In almost all the countries of civilization there is a disproportion between the number of the sexes, and to the disadvantage of the female sex, and the disproportion is not caused by births—there are, on the average, more boys born than girls,—but is due to unfavorable social and political causes, that lie in the political and economic conditions.

Seeing that all these unnatural conditions, harmful to woman in particular, are grounded in the nature of capitalist society, and grow worse as this social system continues, the same proves itself unable to end the evil and emancipate woman. Another social order is, accordingly, requisite thereto.


[86] Plato requires in his "Republic" that "the women be educated like the men," and he demands careful selection in breeding. He, accordingly, was thoroughly familiar with the effect of a careful selection on the development of man. Aristotle lays it down as a maxim of education that "First the body, then the mind must be built up," Aristotle's "Politics." With us, when thought is at all bestowed upon the matter, the body, the scaffolding for the intellect, is considered last.

[87] "Die Mission unseres Jahrhunderts. Eine Studie zur Frauenfrage," Irma v. Troll-Borostyani; Pressburg and Leipsic.

[88] In "Les Femmes Qui Tuent et les Femmes Qui Votent," Alexander Dumas, son, narrates: "A Catholic clergyman of high standing stated in the course of a conversation that, out of a hundred of his former female pupils, who married, after a month at least eighty came to him and said they were disillusioned and regretted having married." This sounds very probable. The Voltarian French bourgeoisie reconcile it with their conscience to allow their daughters to be educated in the cloisters. They proceed from the premises that an ignorant woman is more easy to lead than one who is posted. Conflicts and disappointment are inevitable. Laboulaye gives the flat-footed advice to keep woman in moderate ignorance, because "notre empire est detruit, si l'homme est reconnu" (our empire is over if man is found out).

[89] According to observations made in the psychiatric clinic at Vienna, paralysis (softening of the brain) is making by far greater progress among women than among men. To 100 patients taken in, there were in the years:

1873-77: 15.7 male and 4.4 female paralytics. 1888-92: 19.7 male and 10.0 female paralytics.

During the sixties there was, on the average, 1 female paralytic to 8 males; now there is 1 female paralytic to 3.49 males in Denmark, to 3.22 in middle and upper Italy, 2.89 in England, 2.77 in Belgium, and 2.40 in France.—"Wiener Arbeiter Zeitung," January 31, 1895.

[90] Dr. F. B. Simon: "Die Gesundheitspflege des Weibes," Stuttgart, 1893, F. J. Dietz.

[91] Dr. F. B. Simon. Simon devotes extensive consideration to this theme, together with that akin thereto,—why so many married women take sick shortly after marriage without knowing why; and he holds up the mirror to the men.

[92] Karl Buecher: "Ueber die Vertheilung der beiden Geschlechter auf der Erde," "Allgemeines Statistisches Archiv," Tuebingen, 1892.

[93] Besides 550,430 children without specification of sex.

[94] "Statistisches Jahrbuch fuer das Deutsche Reich." Jahrgang 1893.

[95] Ibidem.

[96] "Statistik des Deutschen Reiches," 1890.

[97] "Statistisches Jahrbuch fuer das Deutsche Reich," 1889-1894.

[98] "Statistik des Deutschen Reiches."

[99] "Statistik des Deutschen Reiches."



Marriage presents one side of the sexual life of the capitalist or bourgeois world; prostitution presents the other. Marriage is the obverse, prostitution the reverse of the medal. If men find no satisfaction in wedlock, then they usually seek the same in prostitution. Those men, who, for whatever reason, renounce married life, also usually seek satisfaction in prostitution. To those men, accordingly, who, whether out of their free will or out of compulsion, live in celibacy, as well as to those whom marriage does not offer what was expected of it, conditions are more favorable for the gratification of the sexual impulse than to women.

Man ever has looked upon the use of prostitution as a privilege due him of right. All the harder and severer does he keep guard and pass sentence when a woman, who is no prostitute, commits a "slip." That woman is instinct with the same impulses as man, aye, that at given periods of her life (at menstruation) these impulses assert themselves more vehemently than at others,—that does not trouble him. In virtue of his position as master, he compels her to violently suppress her most powerful impulses, and he conditions both her character in society and her marriage upon her chastity. Nothing illustrates more drastically, and also revoltingly, the dependence of woman upon man than this radically different conception regarding the gratification of the identical natural impulse, and the radically different measure by which it is judged.

To man, circumstances are particularly favorable. Nature has devolved upon woman the consequences of the act of generation: outside of the enjoyment, man has neither trouble nor responsibility. This advantageous position over against woman has promoted that unbridled license in sexual indulgence wherein a considerable part of men distinguish themselves. Seeing, however, that, as has been shown, a hundred causes lie in the way of the legitimate gratification of the sexual instinct, or prevent its full satisfaction, the consequence is frequent gratification, like beasts in the woods.

Prostitution thus becomes a social institution in the capitalist world, the same as the police, standing armies, the Church, and wage-mastership.

Nor is this an exaggeration. We shall prove it.

We have told how the ancient world looked upon prostitution, and considered it necessary, aye, had it organized by the State, as well in Greece as in Rome. What views existed on the subject during the Middle Ages has likewise been described. Even St. Augustine, who, next to St. Paul, must be looked upon as the most important prop of Christendom, and who diligently preached asceticism, could not refrain from exclaiming: "Suppress the public girls, and the violence of passion will knock everything of a heap." The provincial Council of Milan, in 1665, expressed itself in similar sense.

Let us hear the moderns:

Dr. F. S. Huegel says:[100] "Advancing civilization will gradually drape prostitution in more pleasing forms, but only with the end of the world will it be wiped off the globe." A bold assertion; yet he who is not able to project himself beyond the capitalist form of society, he who does not realize that society will change so as to arrive at healthy and natural social conditions,—he must agree with Dr. Huegel.

Hence also did Dr. Wichern, the late pious Director of the Rauhen House near Hamburg, Dr. Patton of Lyon, Dr. William Tait of Edinburg, and Dr. Parent-Duchatelet of Paris, celebrated through his investigations of the sexual diseases and prostitution, agree in declaring: "Prostitution is ineradicable because it hangs together with the social institutions," and all of them demanded its regulation by the State. Also Schmoelder writes: "Immorality as a trade has existed at all times and in all places, and, so far as the human eye can see, it will remain a constant companion of the human race."[101] Seeing that the authorities cited stand, without exception, upon the ground of the modern social order, the thought occurs to none that, with the aid of another social order, the causes of prostitution, and, consequently, prostitution itself, might disappear; none of them seeks to fathom the causes. Indeed, upon one and another, engaged in this question, the fact at times dawns that the sorry social conditions, which numerous women suffer under, might be the chief reason why so many women sell their bodies; but the thought does not press itself through to its conclusion, to wit, that, therefore, the necessity arises of bringing about other social conditions. Among those who recognize that the economic conditions are the chief cause of prostitution belong Th. Bade, who declares:[102] "The causes of the bottomless moral depravity, out of which the prostitute girl is born, lie in the existing social conditions.... It is the bourgeois dissolution of the middle classes and of their material existence, particularly of the class of the artisans, only a small fraction of which carries on to-day an independent occupation as a trade." Bade closes his observations, saying: "Want for material existence, that has partly worn out the families of the middle class and will yet wear them out wholly, leads also to the moral ruin of the family, especially of the female sex." In fact, the statistical figures, gathered by the Police Department of Berlin, between 1871-1872, on the extraction of 2,224 enrolled prostitutes, show:

Number. Per Cent. Father's Occupation.

1,015 47.9 Artisans 467 22.0 Millhands 305 14.4 Small office-holders 222 10.4 Merchants and railroad workers 87 4.1 Farmers 26 1.2 Military service

Of 102 the father's occupation was not ascertainable.

Specialists and experts rarely take up investigations of a deeper nature; they accept the facts that lie before them, and judge in the style of the "Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift," that writes in its No. 35, for the year 1863: "What else is there left to the large majority of willing and unwilling celibates, in order to satisfy their natural wants, than the forbidden fruit of the Venus Pandemos?" The paper is, accordingly, of the opinion that, for the sake of these celibates, prostitution is necessary, because what else, forsooth, are they to do in order to satisfy their sexual impulse? And it closes, saying: "Seeing that prostitution is necessary, it has the right to existence, to protection, and to immunity from the State." And Dr. Huegel declares himself in his work, mentioned above, in accord with this view. Man, accordingly, to whom celibacy is a horror and a martyrdom, is the only being considered; that there are also millions of women living in celibacy is well known; but they have to submit. What is right for man, is, accordingly, wrong for women; is in her case immorality and a crime.

The Leipsic Police Doctor, Dr. J. Kuehn, says:[103] "Prostitution is not merely an evil that must be tolerated, it is a necessary evil, because it protects the wives from infidelity, [which only the husbands have the right to be guilty of] and virtue also [female virtue, of course, the husbands have no need of the commodity] from being assailed [sic.] and, therefore, from falling." These few words of Dr. Kuehn typify, in all its nakedness, the crass egoism of male creation. Kuehn takes the correct stand for a Police Doctor, who, by superintending prostitution, sacrifices himself, to the end of saving the men from disagreeable diseases. In the same sense with him did his successor, Dr. Eckstein, utter himself at the twelfth convention of the German Associations of House and City Real Estate Owners, held in Magdeburg in the summer of 1890. The honorable house-owners wished to know how they could prevent the numerous instances of prostitutes occupying their houses, and how to protect themselves against fines in case prostitutes are caught living in them. Dr. Eckstein lectured them on this head to the effect that prostitution was a "necessary evil," never absent from any people or religion. Another interesting gentleman is Dr. Fock, who in a treatise, entitled "Prostitution, in Its Ethical and Sanitary Respects," in the "Deutschen Vierteljahrschrift fuer offentliche Gesundheitspflege," vol. xx, No. 1, considers prostitution "an unenviable corollary of our civilized arrangements." He fears an over-production of people if all were to marry upon reaching the age of puberty; hence he considers important to have prostitution "regulated" by the State. He considers natural that the State supervise and regulate prostitution, and thereby assume the care of providing for the supply of girls that are free from syphilis. He pronounces himself in favor of the most rigid inspection of "all women, proven to lead an abandoned life;"—also when ladies of "an abandoned life" belong to the prominent classes? It is the old story. That in all logic and justice also those men should be held under surveillance who hunt up prostitutes, maintain them and make their existence possible,—of that no one thinks. Dr. Fock also demands the taxing of the prostitutes, and their concentration in given streets. In other words, the Christian State is to procure for itself a revenue out of prostitution, and, at the same time, organize and place prostitution under its protection for the benefit of male creation. What was it that the Emperor Vespasian said at a somewhat similar juncture? "Non olet!"—it smells not.

Did we exaggerate when we said: Prostitution is to-day a necessary social institution just as the police, standing armies, the Church and wage-mastership?

In the German Empire, prostitution is not, like in France, organized and superintended by the State; it is only tolerated. Official public houses are forbidden by law, and procuring is severely punishable. But that does not prevent that in a large number of German cities public houses continue to exist, and are winked at by the police. This establishes an incomprehensible state of things. The defiance of the law implied in such a state of things dawned even upon our statesmen and they bestirred themselves to remove the objection by legislative enactments. The German Criminal Code makes also the lodging of a prostitute a penal offense. On the other hand, however, the police are compelled to tolerate thousands of women as prostitutes, and, in a measure, to privilege them in their trade, provided they enter themselves as prostitutes on the Police Register, and submit to the Police regulations,—for instance, periodically recurring examinations by a physician. It follows, however, that, if the Government licenses the prostitute, and thereby protects the exercise of her trade, she must also have a habitation. Aye, it is even in the interest of public health and order that they have such a place to ply their trade in. What contradictions! On the one hand, the Government officially acknowledges that prostitution is necessary; on the other, it prosecutes and punishes the prostitute and the pimp. But it is out of contradictions that bourgeois society is put together. Moreover, the attitude of the Government is an avowal that prostitution is a Sphinx to modern society, the riddle which society can not solve: it considers necessary to tolerate and superintend prostitution in order to avoid greater evils. In other words, our social system, so boastful of its morality, its religiousness, its civilization and its culture, feels compelled to tolerate that immorality and corruption spread through its body like a stealthy poison. But this state of things betrays something else, besides the admission by the Christian State that marriage is insufficient, and that the husband has the right to demand illegitimate gratification of his sexual instincts. Woman counts with such a State in so far only as she is willing, as a sexual being, to yield to illegitimate male desires, i. e., become a prostitute. In keeping herewith, the supervision and control, exercised by the organs of the State over the registered prostitutes, do not fall upon the men also, those who seek the prostitute. Such a provision would be a matter of course if the sanitary police control was to be of any sense, and even of partial effect,—apart from the circumstance that a sense of justice would demand an even-handed application of the law to both sexes. No; "supervision and control" fall upon woman alone.

This protection by the State of man and not woman, turns upside down the nature of things. It looks as if men were the weaker vessel and women the stronger; as if woman were the seducer, and poor, weak man the seduced. The seduction-myth between Adam and Eve in Paradise continues to operate in our opinions and laws, and it says to Christianity: "You are right; woman is the arch seductress, the vessel of iniquity." Men should be ashamed of such a sorry and unworthy role; but this role of the "weak" and the "seduced" suits them;—the more they are protected, all the more may they sin.

Wherever men assemble in large numbers, they seem unable to amuse themselves without prostitution. This was shown, among other instances of the kind, by the occurrences at the German Schuetzenfest, held in Berlin in the summer of 1890, which caused 2,300 women to express themselves as follows in a petition addressed to the Mayor of the German capital: "May it please your Honor to allow us to bring to your knowledge the matters that have reached the provinces, through the press and other means of communication, upon the German shooting matches, held at Pankow from the 6th to the 13th of July of this year. The reports of the matter, that we have seen with indignation and horror, represent the programme of that festival with the following announcements, among others: 'First German Herald, the Greatest Songstress of the World;' 'A Hundred Ladies and Forty Gentlemen:' Besides these smaller cafes chantants and shooting galleries, in which importunate women forced themselves upon the men. Also a 'free concert,' whose gaily-clad waitresses, seductively smiling, brazenly and shamelessly invited the gymnasium students and the fathers of families, the youths and the grown men alike, to the 'shooting retreats.'... The barely dressed 'lady' who invited people to the booth of 'The Secrets of Hamburg, or a Night in St. Pauli,' should have been enough to justify her removal by the police. And then the shocking announcement, almost incredible of the much boasted about Imperial capital, and hardly to be believed by plain male and female citizens in the provinces, to the effect that the managers of the festival had consented to the employment, without pay, of 'young women' in large numbers, as bar-maids, instead of the waiters who applied for work.... We, German women, have thousands of occasions, as wives, mothers and as sisters, to send our husbands, children, daughters and brothers to Berlin in the service of the fatherland; we, consequently, pray to your Honor in all humbleness and in the confident expectation that, with the aid of the overpowering influence, which, as the chief magistrate of the Imperial capital, lies in your hand, you may institute such investigations of those disgraceful occurrences, or adopt such other measures as to your Honor may seem fit, to the end that a recurrence of those orgies may not have to be apprehended at the pending Sedan festival, for instance...." (!!)

During the session of the Reichstag, from 1892 to 1893, the united Governments made an effort to put an end to the contradiction that governmental practice, on the one hand, and the Criminal Code on the other, find themselves in with regard to prostitution. They introduced a bill that was to empower the police to designate certain habitations to prostitutes. It was admitted that prostitution could not be suppressed, and that, therefore, the most practical thing was to tolerate the thing in certain localities, and to control it. The bill—upon that all minds were agreed—would, if it became a law, have called again to life the brothels that were officially abolished in Prussia about 1845. The bill caused a great uproar, and it evoked a number of protests in which the warning was raised against the State's setting itself up as the protector of prostitution, and thereby favoring the idea that the use of prostitution was not in violation of good morals, or that the trade of the prostitute was such that the State could allow and approve of. The bill, which met with the strongest opposition both on the floor of the Reichstag and in the committee, was pigeon-holed, and dared not again come into daylight. That, nevertheless, such a bill could at all take shape reveals the embarrassment that society is in.

The administrative regulation of prostitution raises in the minds of men not only the belief that the State allows the use of prostitution, but also that such control protects them against disease. Indeed, this belief greatly promotes indulgence and recklessness on the part of men. Brothels do not reduce sexual diseases, they promote the same: the men grow more careless and less cautious.

Experience has taught that neither the establishment of houses of prostitution, controlled by the police, nor the supervision and medical inspection, ordered by the police, afford the slightest guarantee against contagion. The nature of these diseases is frequently such that they are not to be easily or immediately detected. If there is to be any safety, the inspection would have to be held several times a day. That, however, is impossible in view of the number of women concerned, and also of the costs. Where thirty or forty prostitutes must be "done" in an hour, inspection is hardly more than a farce; moreover, one or two inspections a week is wholly inadequate. The success of these measures also suffers shipwreck in the circumstance that the men, who transmit the germs of disease from one woman to another, remain free from all official annoyance. A prostitute, just inspected and found healthy, may be infected that same hour by a diseased man, and she transmits the virus to other patrons, until the next inspection day, or until she has herself become aware of the disease. The control is not only illusory: These inspections, made at command, and conducted by male, instead of female physicians, hurt most deeply the sense of shame; and they contribute to its total ruination. This is a phenomenon confirmed by many physicians. Even the official report of the Berlin Police Department admits the fact by stating: "It may also be granted that registration causes the moral sense of the prostitute to sink still lower."[104] Accordingly, the prostitutes try their utmost to escape this control. A further consequence of these police measures is that they make it extraordinarily difficult, even impossible, for the prostitute ever again to return to a decent trade. A woman, that has fallen under police control, is lost to society; she generally goes down in misery within a few years. Accurately and exhaustively did the fifth Congress at Geneva for Combatting Immorality utter itself against the police regulation of prostitutes, by declaring: "The compulsory medical inspection of prostitutes is an all the more cruel punishment to the woman, seeing that, by destroying the remnants of shame, still possible within even the most abandoned, such inspection drags down completely into depravity the wretched being that is subjected thereto. The State, that means to regulate prostitution with the police, forgets that it owes equal protection to both sexes; it demoralizes and degrades women. Every system for the official regulation of prostitution has police arbitrariness for its consequence, as well as the violation of civic guaranties that are safeguarded to every individual, even to the greatest criminal, against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. Seeing this violation of right is exercised to the injury of woman only, the consequence is an inequality, shocking to nature, between her and man. Woman is degraded to the level of a mere means, and is no longer treated as a person. She is placed outside of the pale of law."

Of how little use police control is, England furnishes a striking illustration. In the year 1866 a law was enacted on the subject for places in which soldiers and marines were garrisoned. Now, then, while from 1860 to 1866, without the law, the lighter cases of syphilis had declined from 32.68 to 24.73 per cent., after a six years' enforcement of the new law, the percentage of diseased in 1872 was still 24.26. In other words, it was not one-half per cent. lower in 1872 than in 1866; but the average for these six years was 1-16 per cent. higher than in 1866. In sight of this, a special Commission, appointed in 1873, to investigate the effect of that law, arrived at the unanimous conclusion that "the periodical inspection of the women who usually have sexual intercourse with the personnel of the army and navy, had, at best, not occasioned the slightest diminution in the number of cases," and it recommended the suspension of periodical inspections.

The effects of the Act of Inspection on the women subjected thereto were, however, quite different from those on the troops. In 1866, there were, to every 1,000 prostitutes, 121 diseases; in 1868, after the law had been in force two years, there were 202. The number then gradually dropped, but, nevertheless, still exceeded in 1874 the figure for 1866 by 16 cases. Under the Act, deaths also increased frightfully among the prostitutes. In 1865 the proportion was 9.8 to every 1,000 prostitutes, whereas, in 1874 it had risen to 23. When, towards the close of the sixties, the English Government made the attempt to extend the Act of Inspection to all English cities, a storm of indignation arose from the women. The law was considered an affront to the whole sex. The Habeas Corpus Act,—that fundamental law, that protects the English citizen against police usurpation—would, such was the sentiment, be suspended for women: any brutal policeman, animated by revenge or any other base motive, would be free to seize any decent woman on the suspicion of her being a prostitute, whereas the licentiousness of the men would remain unmolested, aye, would be protected and fed, by just such a law.

Although this intervention in behalf of the outcasts of their sex readily exposed the English women to misrepresentation and degrading remarks from the quarter of narrow-minded men, the women did not allow themselves to be held back from energetically opposing the introduction of the law that was an insult to their sex. In newspaper articles and pamphlets the "pros" and "cons" were discussed by men and women; in Parliament, the extension of the law was, first, prevented; its repeal followed later. The German police is vested with a similar power, and cases that have forced themselves into publicity from Berlin, Leipsic and other cities, prove that its abuse—or be it "mistakes" in its exercise—is easy; nevertheless, of an energetic opposition to such regulations naught is heard. Even in middle class Norway, brothels were forbidden in 1884; in 1888 the compulsory registration of the prostitutes and the inspection connected therewith were abolished in the capital, Christiania; and in January, 1893, the enactment was made general for the whole country. Very rightly does Mrs. Guillaume-Schack remark upon the "protective" measures adopted by the State in behalf of the men: "To what end do we teach our sons to respect virtue and morality if the State pronounces immorality a necessary evil; and if, before the young man has at all reached mental maturity, the State leads woman to him stamped by the authorities as a merchandise, as a toy for his passion?"

Let a sexually diseased man, in his unbridled career of licentiousness, contaminate ever so many of these poor beings—who, to the honor of woman be it said, are mostly driven by bitter want or through seduction to ply their disgraceful trade,—the scurvy fellow remains unmolested. But woe to the woman who does not forthwith submit to inspection and treatment! The garrison cities, university towns, etc., with their congestion of vigorous, healthy men, are the chief centers of prostitution and of its dangerous diseases, that are carried thence into the remotest corners of the land, and everywhere spread infection. The same holds with the sea towns. What the moral qualifications are with a large number of our students the following utterance in a publication for the promotion of morality may give an idea of: "With by far the larger number of students, the views entertained upon matters of morality are shockingly low, aye, they are downright unclean."[105] And these are the circles—boastful of their "German breed," and "German morals"—from which our administrative officers, our District Attorneys and our Judges are in part recruited.

"Thy sins shall be visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation." This Bible sentence falls upon the dissipated and sexually diseased man in the fullest sense of the word, unhappily also upon the innocent woman. "Attacks of apoplexy with young men and also women, several manifestations of spinal debility and softening of the brains, all manner of nervous diseases, affections of the eyes, cariosity, inflammation of the intestines, sterility and atrophy, frequently proceed from nothing else than chronic and neglected, and, often for special reasons, concealed syphilis.... As things now are, ignorance and lightheadedness also contribute towards turning blooming daughters of the land into anaemic, listless creatures, who, under the burden of a chronic inflammation of the pelvis, have to atone for the excesses committed by their husbands before and after marriage."[106] In the same sense does Dr. Blaschke utter himself:[107] "Epidemics like cholera and smallpox, diphtheria and typhus, whose visible effects are, by reason of their suddenness, realized by all, although hardly equal to syphilis in point of virulence, and, in point of diffusion, not to be compared therewith, yet are they the terror of the population ... while before syphilis society stands, one feels inclined to say, with frightful indifference." The fault lies in the circumstance that it is considered "improper" to talk openly of such things. Did not even the German Reichstag stop short before a resolution to provide by law that sexual diseases, as well as all others, shall be treated by Sick-Benefit Associations?

The syphilitic virus is in its effects the most tenacious and hardest poison to stamp out. Many years after an outbreak has been overcome, and the patient believes every trace to be wiped out, the sequels frequently crop up afresh in the wife or the new-born child;[108] and a swarm of ailments among wives and children trace their causes back, respectively, to marital and parental venereal diseases. With some who are born blind, the misfortune is due to the father's sins, the consequences of which transmitted themselves to the wife, and from her to the child. Weak-minded and idiotic children may frequently ascribe their infirmity to the same cause. Finally, what dire disaster may be achieved through vaccination by an insignificant drop of syphilitic blood, our own days can furnish crass illustrations of.

In the measure that men, willingly or otherwise, renounce marriage, and seek the gratification of natural impulses through illegitimate channels, seductive allurements increase also. The great profits yielded by all undertakings that cater to immorality, attract numerous and unscrupulous business men, who spare no artifice of refinement to draw and keep customers. Account is taken of every demand, according to the rank and position of the custom, also of its means and readiness to bleed. If some of these "public houses" in our large cities were to blab out their secrets, the fact would appear that their female tenants—mostly of low extraction, without either culture or education, often unable to write their own names, but possessed of all the mere physical charms—stand in the most intimate relations with "leaders of society," with men of high intelligence and culture. There would be found among these Cabinet Ministers, high military dignitaries, Councillors, members of Legislatures, Judges, etc., going in and out, and side by side with representatives of the aristocracy of birth, of finance, of commerce and of industry,—all of them, who, by day and in society, strut about with grave and dignified mien as "representatives and guardians of morality, of order, of marriage, and of the family," and who stand at the head of the Christian charity societies and of societies for the "suppression of prostitution." Modern capitalist society resembles a huge carnival festival, at which all seek to deceive and fool one another. Each carries his official disguise with dignity, in order later, unofficially and with all the less restraint, to give a loose to his inclinations and passions. All the while, public life is running over with "Morality," "Religion" and "Propriety." In no age was there greater hypocrisy than in ours. The number of the augurs swells daily.

The supply of women for purposes of lust rises even more rapidly than the demand. Our increasingly precarious social conditions—want, seduction, the love for an externally brilliant and apparently easy life—furnish the female candidates from all social strata. Quite typically does a novel of Hans Wachenhusen[109] depict the state of things in the capital of the German Empire. The author expresses himself on the purpose of his work in these words: "My book deals mainly with the victims of the female sex and its steady depreciation, due to the unnatural plight of our social and civic state, through its own fault, through neglect of education, through the craving of luxury and the increasing light-headed supply in the market of life. It speaks of this sex's increasing surplus, which renders daily more hopeless the new-born ones, more prospectless those that grow up.... I wrote much in the same way as the District Attorney puts together the past life of a criminal, in order to establish therefrom the measure of his guilt. Novels being generally considered works of fiction, permissible opposites of Truth, the following is, in that sense, no novel, but a true picture of life, without coloring." In Berlin, things are no better and no worse than in other large cities. Whether Greek-Orthodox St. Petersburg or Catholic Rome, Germanic-Christian Berlin or heathen Paris, puritanic London or gay Vienna, approach nearer to Babylon of old is hard to decide. "Prostitution possesses its written and its unwritten laws, its resources, its various resorts, from the poorest cottage to the most splendid palace, its numberless grades from the lowest to the most refined and cultivated; it has its special amusements and public places of meeting, its police, its hospitals, its prisons and its literature."[110] "We no longer celebrate the festival of Osiris, the Bacchanalia and the Indian orgies of the spring month; but in Paris and other large cities, under the black cloak of night, behind the walls of 'public' and 'private' houses, people give themselves over to orgies and Bacchanalia that the boldest pen dare not describe."[111]

Under such conditions, the traffic in female flesh has assumed mammoth proportions. It is conducted on a most extensive scale, and is most admirably organized in the very midst of the seats of civilization and culture, rarely attracting the notice of the police. A swarm of brokers, agents, carriers, male and female, ply the trade with the same unconcern as if they dealt in any other merchandise. Birth certificates are forged, and bills of lading are drawn up with accurate descriptions of the qualifications of the several "articles," and are handed over to the carriers as directions for the purchasers. As with all merchandise, the price depends upon the quality, and the several categories are assorted and consigned, according to the taste and the requirements of the customers in different places and countries. The slyest manipulations are resorted to in order to evade the snares and escape the vigilance of the police; not infrequently large sums are used to shut the eyes of the guardians of the law. A number of such cases have been established, especially in Paris.

Germany enjoys the sorry fame of being the woman market for half the world. The innate German migratory disposition seems to animate also a portion of the women. In larger numbers than those of any other people, the Austrian excepted, do they furnish their contingent to the supply of international prostitution. German women populate the harems of the Turks, as well as the public houses of central Siberia, and as far away as Bombay, Singapore, San Francisco and Chicago. In a book of travels,[112] the author, W. Joest, speaks as follows on the German trade in girls: "People so often grow warm in our moral Germany over the slave trade that some African negro Prince may be carrying on, or over conditions in Cuba and Brazil, but they should rather keep in mind the beam in their own eyes: in no country is there such a trade with white female slaves, from no country is the export of this living merchandise as large as it is from Germany and Austria. The road that these girls take can be accurately followed. From Hamburg they are shipped to South America; Bahia and Rio de Janeiro receive their quotas; the largest part is destined for Montevideo and Buenos Ayres, while a small rest goes through the Straits of Magellan as far as Valparaiso. Another stream is steered via England, or direct to North America, where, however, it can hold its own only with difficulty against the domestic product, and, consequently, splits up down the Mississippi as far as New Orleans and Texas, or westward to California. Thence, the coast is supplied as far south as Panama; while Cuba, the West Indies and Mexico draw their supplies from New Orleans. Under the title of "Bohemians," further droves of German girls are exported over the Alps to Italy and thence further south to Alexandria, Suez, Bombay, Calcutta and Singapore, aye, even to Hongkong and as far as Shanghai. The Dutch Indies and Eastern Asia, Japan, especially, are poor markets, seeing that Holland does not allow white girls of this kind in its colonies, while in Japan the daughters of the soil are themselves too pretty and cheap. American competition from San Francisco also tends to spoil the otherwise favorable chances. Russia is provided from East Prussia, Pomerania and Poland. The first station is usually Riga. Here the dealers from St. Petersburg and Moscow supply themselves, and ship their goods in large quantities to Nischni-Novgorod and beyond the Ural Mountains to Irbit and Krestofsky, aye as far as the interior of Siberia. I found, for instance, a German girl in Tschita who had been traded in this way. This wonderful trade is thoroughly organized, it is attended to by agents and commercial travelers. If ever the Foreign Department of the German Empire were to demand of its consuls reports on this matter, quite interesting statistical tables could be put together."

This trade flourishes to this day at its fullest, as proved in the autumn of 1893 by a Social Democratic delegate to the German Reichstag.

The number of prostitutes is hard to estimate; accurately it can not be at all given. The police can state approximately the number of women whose principal occupation is prostitution; but it can not do this with regard to the much larger number of those who resort to it as a side means of income. All the same, the figures approximately known are frightfully high. According to v. Oettingen, the number of prostitutes in London was, as early as the close of the sixties, estimated at 80,000. In Paris the number of registered prostitutes in 1892 was 4,700, but fully one-third escape police control. In all Paris, there were, in 1892, about sixty brothels, with 600 to 700 prostitutes, and the number of brothels is steadily on the decline. On the other hand, based upon an investigation, instituted by the Municipal Council of Paris, in 1889, the number of women who prostitute themselves is placed at the enormous figure of 120,000. In Berlin, the number of prostitutes, registered with the police, was:—

1886 3,006 1887 3,063 1888 3,392 1889 3,703 1890 4,039

In 1890, there were six physicians employed, whose duty it was to devote two hours a day to inspection.[113] Since then the number of physicians has been increased. The prostitutes, registered with the police, constitute, however, in Berlin also, only a very small portion of the total. Expert sources estimate it at not less than 50,000. In the year 1890 alone, there were in 9,024 liquor saloons 2,022 bar-maids, almost all of whom yield to prostitution. Furthermore, the, from year to year, rising number of girls, arrested for disorderly conduct, shows that prostitution in Berlin is steadily on the increase. The numbers of these arrests were:—

1881 10,878 1884 11,157 1887 13,358 1890 16,605

Of the 16,605 girls, arrested in 1890, there were 9,162 carried for sentence before the Judge. There were, accordingly, 30 of these at every session of the court, and 128 of them were placed under the police by judicial decree. Already in 1860, it was calculated in Hamburg that every ninth woman was a prostitute. Since then the proportion has become greatly worse.

In Germany, the number of prostitutes probably runs up to 180,000. Accordingly, we here have to do with a large female army, that considers prostitution as a means of livelihood; and the number of victims, whom disease and death claim, is in proportion.[114]

Tait calculates for Edinburg that the average life of the prostitute is 22 to 25 years. According to him, year in and year out, every fourth aye, every third prostitute seeks to take her own life, and every twelfth actually succeeds in killing herself. A truly shocking state of things. The majority of prostitutes are heartily tired of their way of living; aye, that they are disgusted thereat, is an experience admitted by all experts. But once fallen into prostitution, only to very few is the opportunity ever offered to escape.

And yet the number of prostitutes increases in the same measure that does that of the women engaged as female labor in the various branches of industry and trade, and that are paid off with wages that are too high to die, and too low to live on. Prostitution is, furthermore, promoted by the industrial crises that have become a necessity of the capitalist world, that commence to become chronic, and that carry want and misery into hundreds and thousands of families. According to a letter of the Chief Constable of Bolton, October 31, 1865, to a Factory Inspector, the number of young prostitutes had increased more during the English cotton famine, consequent upon the North American war for the emancipation of the slaves, than during the previous twenty-five years.[115] But it is not only the working-women, who, through want, fall a prey to prostitution. Prostitution also finds its recruiting grounds in the higher walks of life. Lombroso and Ferrero quote Mace,[116] who says of Paris that "a governess certificate, whether of high or low degree, is not so much a draft upon bread, as upon suicide, theft and prostitution."

Parent-Duchatelet made out in his time a statistical table, according to which, out of 5,000 prostitutes there were 1,440 who took to the occupation out of want and misery; 1,250 were orphaned and without support; 80 prostituted themselves in order to feed poor parents; 1,400 were concubines left by their keepers; 400 were girls whom officers and soldiers had seduced and dragged to Paris; 280 had been deserted by their lovers during pregnancy. These figures speak for themselves. They need no further explanation. Mrs. Butler, the zealous champion of the poorest and most wretched of her sex in England, says on the subject of prostitution: "Fortuitous circumstances, the death of a father, of a mother, lack of work, insufficient wages, misery, false promises, snares, have led them to sin." Instructive also is the information given by K. Schneidt[117] on the causes, that lead the Berlin bar-maids so often into the arms of prostitution. Shockingly large is the number of female servants that become barmaids, and that almost always means prostitutes. The answers that Schneidt received on his schedules of questions addressed to bar-maids, ran like this: "Because I got a child from my master and had to earn my living;" or "Because my book was spoiled;" or "Because with sewing shirts and the like too little is made;" or "Because I was discharged from the factory and could get no more work;" or "Because my father died, and there were four other little ones." That, particularly, servant girls, after they fall a prey to seduction by their masters, furnish a large contingent to the prostitutes, is a known fact. On the subject of the shockingly large number of seductions of servant girls by their masters or by the sons of these, Dr. Max Taude expresses himself reproachfully.[118] When, however, the upper classes furnish their quota to prostitution, it is not want but seduction and the inclination for an easy life, for dress and for pleasures. On that subject a certain work[119] utters itself this wise:

"Cold with horror and dismay, many a staid citizen, many a parson, teacher, high official, high military dignitary, etc., learns that his daughter has secretly taken to prostitution. Were it allowable to mention all these daughters by name, either a social revolution would take place on the spot, or the popular ideas concerning honor and virtue would be seriously damaged."

It is especially the finer prostitutes, the haute volee among the prostitutes, that are recruited from these circles. Likewise do a large portion of actresses, whose wardrobe outlays alone stand in crass disproportion to their salaries, depend upon such unclean sources of revenue.[120] The same with numerous girls, engaged as sales-ladies, and in similar capacities. There are employers dishonorable enough to justify the low wages that they pay by referring their female employes to the aid of "friends." For instance: In 1889 the "Sachsische Arbeiter Zeitung" of Dresden published a notice that ran as follows: "A cultured young lady, long time out of work on account of lung troubles, looked, upon her recovery, for work of any sort. She was a governess. Nothing fit offered itself quickly, and she decided to accept the first job that came along, whatever it was. She first applied to Mr. ——. Seeing she spoke readily several languages, she was acceptable; but the 30 marks a month wages seemed to her too small to get along with. She stated to Mr. ——, and his answer was that most of his girls did not get even that much, but from 15 to 20 marks at most, and they all pulled through quite well, each having a 'good friend,' who helped along. Another gentleman, Mr. ——, expressed himself in the same sense. Of course, the lady accepted a place in neither of the two establishments."

Seamstresses, female tailors, milliners, factory girls by the hundreds of thousands find themselves in similar plight. Employers and their subalterns—merchants, mill owners, landlords, etc.,—who keep female hands and employes, frequently consider it a sort of privilege to find these women handy to administer to their lusts. Our pious and conservative folks love to represent the rural districts as truly idyllic in point of morality, compared with the large cities and industrial centers. Everyone acquainted with the actual state of things knows that it is not so; and the fact was evidenced by the address, delivered by a baronial landlord of Saxony in the fall of 1889, reported as follows in the papers of the place:

"GRIMMA.—Baron Dr. v. Waechter of Roecknitz, recently delivered an address, before a diocese meeting that took place here, upon the subject of 'Sexual Immorality in Our Rural Communities.' Local conditions were not presented by him in a rosy color. The speaker admitted with great candor that employers, even married ones, are frequently in very intimate relations with their female domestics, the consequences of which were either cancelled with cash, or were removed from the eyes of the world through a crime. The fact could, unfortunately, not be cloaked over, that immorality was nursed in these communities, not alone by girls, who, as nurses in cities, had taken in the poison, or by fellows, who made its acquaintance in the military service, but that, sad to say, also the cultured classes, through the stewards of manorial estates, and through the officers on the occasions of field manoeuvres, carried lax principles of morality into the country districts. According to Dr. v. Waechter, there are actually here in the country few girls who reach the age of seventeen without having fallen." The open-hearted speaker's love of truth was answered with a social boycott, placed upon him by the officers who felt insulted. The jus primae noctis of the medieval feudal lord continues in another form in these very days of ours.

The majority of prostitutes are thrown into the arms of this occupation at a time when they can hardly be said to have arrived at the age of discretion. Of 2,582 girls, arrested in Paris for the secret practice of prostitution, 1,500 were minors; of 607 others, 487 had been deflowered under the age of twenty. In September, 1894, a scandal of first rank took the stage in Buda-Pest. It appeared that about 400 girls of from twelve to fifteen years fell prey to a band of rich rakes. The sons of our "property and cultured classes" generally consider it an attribute of their rank to seduce the daughters of the people, whom they then leave in the lurch. Only too readily do the trustful daughters of the people, untutored in life and experience, and generally joyless and friendless, fall a prey to the seduction that approaches them in brilliant and seductive guise. Disillusion, then sorrows, finally crime,—such are the sequels. Of 1,846,171 live births in Germany in 1891, 172,456 were illegitimate. Only conjure up the volume of worry and heartaches prepared for a great number of these mothers, by the birth of their illegitimate children, even if allowance is made for the many instances when the children are legitimatized by their fathers! Suicide by women and infanticide are to a large extent traceable to the destitution and wretchedness in which the women are left when deserted. The trials for child murder cast a dark and instructive picture upon the canvas. To cite just one case, in the fall of 1894, a young girl, who, eight days after her delivery, had been turned out of the lying-in institute in Vienna and thrown upon the streets with her child and without means, and who, in her distress and desperation, killed the infant, was sentenced to be hanged by a jury of Krems in Lower Austria. About the scamp of a father nothing was said. And how often do not similar instances occur! The seduced and outrageously deserted woman, cast helpless into the abyss of despair and shame, resorts to extreme measures: she kills the fruit of her womb, is dragged before the tribunals, is sentenced to penitentiary or the gallows. The unconscionable, and actual murderer,—he goes off scott-free; marries, perchance, shortly after, the daughter of a "respectable and honest" family, and becomes a much honored, upright man. There is many a gentleman, floating about in honors and distinctions, who has soiled his honor and his conscience in this manner. Had women a word to say in legislation, much would be otherwise in this direction.

Most cruel of all, as already indicated, is the posture of French legislation, which forbids inquiry after the child's paternity, and, instead, sets up foundling asylums. The resolution on the subject, by the Convention of June 28, 1793, runs thus: "The nation takes charge of the physical and moral education of abandoned children. From that moment they will be designated only by the term of orphans. No other designation shall be allowed." Quite convenient for the men, who, thereby, shifted the obligation of the individual upon the collectivity, to the end of escaping exposure before the public and their wives. In all the provinces of the land, orphan and foundling asylums were set up. The number of orphans and foundlings ran up, in 1893, to 130,945, of which it was estimated that each tenth child was legitimate, but not wanted by its parents. But no particular care was taken of these children, and the mortality among them was, accordingly, great. In that year, fully 59 per cent., i. e., more than one-half died during the first year of their lives; 78 per cent. died twelve years of age and under. Accordingly, of every 100 only 22 reached the age of twelve years and over. It is claimed that matters have in the meantime improved in those establishments.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse