The Anti-Suffragists

Fashionable women in luxurious homes,
With men to feed them, clothe them, pay their bills,
Bow, doff the hat, and fetch the handkerchief; 
Hostess or guest; and always so supplied
With graceful deference and courtesy; 
Surrounded by their horses, servants, dogs—
These tell us they have all the rights they want. 

Successful women who have won their way
Alone, with strength of their unaided arm, 
Or helped by friends, or softly climbing up
By the sweet aid of "woman's influence"; 
Successful any way, and caring naught
For any other woman's unsuccess—
These tell us they have all the rights they want. 

Religious women of the feebler sort—
Not the religion of a righteous world, 
A free, enlightened, upward-reaching world, 
But the religion that considers life
As something to back out of !— whose ideal
Is to renounce, submit, and sacrifice. 
Counting on being patted on the head
And given a high chair when they get to heaven—
These tell us they have all the rights they want. 

Ignorant women—college bred sometimes, 
But ignorant of life's realities
And principles of righteous government, 
And how the privileges they enjoy
Were won with blood and tears by those before—
Those they condemn, whose ways they now oppose; 
Saying, "Why not let well enough alone?"
Our world is very pleasant as it is"—
These tell us they have all the rights they want. 

And selfish women—pigs in petticoats—
Rich, poor, wise, unwise, top or bottom round, 
But all sublimely innocent of thought, 
And guiltless of ambition, save the one
Deep, voiceless aspiration—to be fed!
These have no use for rights or duties more. 
Duties today are more than they can meet, 
And law insures their right to clothes and food—
These tell us they have all the rights they want. 

And, more's the pity, some good women too; 
Good, conscientious women with ideas; 
Who think—or think they think—that woman's cause
Is best advanced by letting it alone; 
That she somehow is not a human thing, 
And not to be helped on by human means, 
Just added to humanity—an "L"—
A wing, a branch, an extra, not mankind—
These tell us they have all the rights they want. 

And out of these has come a monstrous thing, 
A strange, down-sucking whirlpool of disgrace, 
Women uniting against womanhood, 
And using that great name to hide their sin!
Vain are their words as that old king's command
Who set his will against the rising tide. 
But who shall measure the historic shame
Of these poor traitors—traitors are they all—
To great Democracy and Womanhood!

More by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

She Walketh Veiled and Sleeping

She walketh veiled and sleeping,
For she knoweth not her power;
She obeyeth but the pleading
Of her heart, and the high leading
Of her soul, unto this hour.
Slow advancing, halting, creeping,
Comes the Woman to the hour!—
She walketh veiled and sleeping,
For she knoweth not her power.

Boys Will Be Boys

“Boys will be boys,” and boys have had their day;
Boy-mischief and boy-carelessness and noise
Extenuated all, allowed, excused and smoothed away,
Each duty missed, each damaging wild act,
By this meek statement of unquestioned fact–
Boys will be boys!

Now, “women will be women.” Mark the change;
Calm motherhood in place of boisterous youth;
No warfare now; to manage and arrange,
To nurture with wise care, is woman’s way,
In peace and fruitful industry her sway,
In love and truth.

For Fear

For fear of prowling beasts at night
  They blocked the cave;
Women and children hid from sight,
   Men scarce more brave.

For fear of warrior's sword and spear
   They barred the gate;
Women and children lived in fear,
   Men lived in hate.

For fear of criminals today
   We lock the door;
Women and children still to stay
   Hid evermore.

Come out! Ye need no longer hide!
   What fear you now?
No wolf or lion waits outside–
   Only a cow.

Come out! The world approaches peace,
   War nears its end;
No warrior watches your release–
   Only a friend.

Come out! The night of crime has fled–
   Day is begun;
Here is no criminal to dread–
   Only your son.

The world, half yours, demands your care,
   Waken and come!
Make it a woman's world; safe, fair,
   Garden and home.