What is a husband worth? “Brain is a necessity for man, luxury for woman”

by Nixola Greely-Smith

Some women consider that the main duty of a husband is to save his wife from thinking. Some men encourage this idea. It is this type which has led people to believe that marriage for woman means arrested development of the brain.

We have been offered, as the explanation of the fact that school girls are more intelligent and quicker than boys of the same age, the statement that woman’s mind matures earlier than man’s, but that it ceases to grow after marriage and maternity — in other words, that men after thirty expand intellectually, but that women stand still.

Hence a lot of nonsense about the tragedy of the man who has outgrown his wife. The main difference between the intellectual development of men and women is due to the fact that a brain is a necessity to man, but is still a luxury to woman!

Man gets his living by his brain — or brawn. But the majority of women are still females by profession — intellects only by courtesy or luxury. A man requires a brain in order to live. A woman doesn’t!

The most stupid superstition of the human race is that there is a fundamental inequality between the brain power of men and women. No one who knows the laws of heredity can possibly accept this view!

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In the very beginning

Suppose that, in the beginning, our father Adam was a brilliant intellect, our mother Eve a fool. Then Adam’s daughters would have inherited his brain power, while Eve’s foolishness must have been transmitted to her sons.

For the daughter is the intellectual heir of the father, the son the legatee of his mother’s brain.

Thus God sustains his perpetual balance between the sexes. Thus Nature laughs at man’s supposed monopoly of creative intellect.

Man thinks he has created a thought-trust, That is why we feminists insist upon an anti-trust bill, against the monopolists of intellect, the Morgans and Rockefellers of the mind.

That is why we believe that a husband, to be worth anything, must stimulate his wife’s brain. He must not do her thinking. He must insist that she think for herself.

If a man is more brilliant than his wife, then he must set the intellectual pace for her. He must insist that she follow. He must realize that his wife’s brain is merely lazy and that it naturally must be, since her business in life is to induce him to work for her, and that she does not need her intellect to do that.

A husband is worthwhile intellectually in the exact proportion that his wife does her own thinking. It is as stupid for a man to tell his wife that she should discharge the cook or cease from calling on her next-door neighbor as it is for a woman to advise her husband that, in his place, she would tell the boss “exactly what she thinks of him.” But comparatively few women do that.

If there is anything on earth that the average woman holds in abject awe it is her husband’s JOB! She reveres it; she fairly worships it, it has for her mystery and fatality.

Man, on the contrary, by that arbitrary and supreme endowment of wisdom which he believes he has inherited, feels himself competent to advise woman upon everything. It has always been a wonder to me that he hasn’t undertaken to nurse the baby, just to show her how!

Short of that, he does trust himself into his household as the supreme court of wisdom even in such essentially womanly matters as a change of butcher or an overcharge on the grocer’s bill.

“You don’t treat your cook properly. You are far too familiar with her,” a man remarked to me not long ago.

“I suppose not,” I replied meekly. “I couldn’t keep her five minutes if I didn’t treat her properly!”

Every woman hears some such comment from the masculine members of her household. For man still believes that the Salic law, which forbade woman to inherit applies, to the intellect. He does not understand that the only possible answer to the question, “What is a husband worth mentally?’ is this:

A husband is worth as much or little as he stimulates or stultifies his wife’s brain.

When women stop thinking after marriage, it is only because they haven’t room to think. With certain sorts of men, a brain becomes as superfluous as a vermiform appendix! Like the appendix, he views it merely as a source of future trouble and inflammation. So some women remove it altogether. I don’t blame them!


About this story

Source publication: The Day Book (Chicago, Ill.)

Source publication date: July 29, 1914

Filed under: 1910s, Culture & lifestyle, Love & marriage

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