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To Women
by [?]

As stated in the Bible, a law was given to the man and the woman,–to the man, the law of labor; to the woman, the law of bearing children. Although we, with our science, avons change tout ca, the law for the man, as for woman, remains as unalterable as the liver in its place, and departure from it is equally punished with inevitable death. The only difference lies in this, that departure from the law, in the case of the man, is punished so immediately in the future, that it may be designated as present punishment; but departure from the law, in the case of the woman, receives its chastisement in a more distant future.

The general departure of all men from the law exterminates people immediately; the departure from it of all women annihilates it in the succeeding generation. But the evasion by some men and some women does not exterminate the human race, and only deprives those who evade it of the rational nature of man. The departure of men from this law began long ago, among those classes who were in a position to subject others, and, constantly spreading, it has continued down to our own times; and in our own day it has reached folly, the ideal consisting in evasion of the law,–the ideal expressed by Prince Blokhin, and shared in by Renan and by the whole cultivated world: “Machines will work, and people will be bundles of nerves devoted to enjoyment.”

There was hardly any departure from the law in the part of women, it was expressed only in prostitution, and in the refusal to bear children–in private cases. The women belonging to the wealthy classes fulfilled their law, while the men did not comply with theirs; and therefore the women became stronger, and continued to rule, and must rule, over men who have evaded the law, and who have, therefore, lost their senses. It is generally stated that woman (the woman of Paris in particular is childless) has become so bewitching, through making use of all the means of civilization, that she has gained the upper hand over man by this fascination of hers. This is not only unjust, but precisely the reverse of the truth. It is not the childless woman who has conquered man, but the mother, that woman who has fulfilled her law, while the man has not fulfilled his. That woman who deliberately remains childless, and who entrances man with her shoulders and her locks, is not the woman who rules over men, but the one who has been corrupted by man, who has descended to his level,–to the level of the vicious man,–who has evaded the law equally with himself, and who has lost, in company with him, every rational idea of life.

From this error springs that remarkable piece of stupidity which is called the rights of women. The formula of these rights of women is as follows: “Here! you man,” says the woman, “you have departed from your law of real labor, and you want us to bear the burden of our real labor. No, if this is to be so, we understand, as well as you do, how to perform those semblances of labor which you exercise in banks, ministries, universities, and academies; we desire, like yourselves, under the pretext of the division of labor, to make use of the labor of others, and to live for the gratification of our caprices alone.” They say this, and prove by their action that they understand no worse, if not better, than men, how to exercise this semblance of labor.

This so-called woman question has come up, and could only come up, among men who have departed from the law of actual labor. All that is required is, to return to that, and this question cannot exist. Woman, having her own inevitable task, will never demand the right to share the toil of men in the mines and in the fields. She could only demand to share in the fictitious labors of the men of the wealthy classes.