Title: The Awful Fate of Fallen Women
Topics: feminism, women
Date: December 1901
Source: Clothed with the Sun vol. 2 no. 11 https://archive.org/details/clothed-with-the-sun-vol-2-no-11

The Mental Advocate comes to me again this month and with an article under the above heading.

Oh, soul of mine! Is there no way to make Dr. Paul Edwards, Mental Scientist, and all others who recognize the power of mind—is there no way to make them know there are no fallen women in the sense that the world uses that term! There is no sin, no [illegible] for either man or woman in a mutual, loving sex relation because not legally sanctioned, and those who claim that it is, blaspheme the name of love while claiming that it is God.

“Oh, not that kind of love! that is lust.”

And pray, what other kind of love is there except sex love and its branches, paternal love, fraternal love and fillial love? You never call any of these loves impure, and yet they are all rooted in sex. Every one of them prove the sex act. Can the branches be pure and the root impure? What is lust? Nothing more or less than desire. If we are hungry for food, then we desire, lust after food. Dr. Cheyennes, the philosopher of Lexington, Ky. says the sexes seek each other for life, and he is right. There is no life only through the mingling of those two factors of being, the male and female forces. In them we live and move and have our existence.

Another physician, one who, perhaps, has done more to stimulate thought along this line than all the other physicians in the country, Dr. E. B. Foote of New York City, says:

“People of both sexes generally recognize the fact of sexual attraction; few have given the least attention to the subtle element which constitutes it. This element, if investigated, is found not only to be a nutrient, but a stimulant more potent than alcohol, and naturally possessing none of the injurious properties of the latter. It gives vigor, and, in reality, it imparts erectile power to all the tissues of the body, and aids in producing and preserving plumpness of form. It stimulates ambition, imparts elasticity to the muscles and brilliancy to the eye of those who are favored with its influence. Both sexes have an appetite for it, and frequently without knowing it. They long for something, they know not what, and seek to appease an indefinable desire by resorting to narcotics, stimulants and nervines. Herein drunkenness has an incentive, which has, perhaps, never before been thought of; but it is a fact that, with the imperfect social arraingements which characterize our so-called civilization, and which attempt to regulate the social intercourse of the sexes, men and women go up and down the earth famishing for something they cannot, or will not tell you what—and finally, in their blind search for what their systems crave, take to liquor, tobacco or opium.”

Well, what of it! what if the sexes do thus need each other! what does that matter beside the Law! Will the standard morality, the standard religion abate a single claim to save a man from drunkenness or a woman from prostitution? Not a whit. Let God be saved though all men and all women are damned. Harsh, is it? Not half so harsh as it is on that poor girl to be made to feel that she has fallen because she has taken a draught of the fountain of life without the sanction of man’s law, oh, I’ve just found out something—HAVE DISCOVERED WHY—a man is accepted and a woman condemned for the same act. Why is it? What is the reason? I hear from scores of those who have wondered at, and protested against this seeming, would be real, injustice, were it a question of morality, but, as woman is property under the law it is simply a question of business. Property that cannot stand the test demanded is cast aside, and why should woman be an exception? She will not, she cannot be, till she is taken out of the property list, till she really owns herself, and then she will need no exception in her favor. Till then there will be the every day tragedy, as shadowed below.

He sat in honor’s seat,

And rapturous ladies gazed into his eyes.

She stood without, beneath the wintry skies,

In snow and sleet.

He spoke of faith’s decay;

The ladies sighed because he spoke so true.

She hid her face in hands frost-numbed and blue,

And dare not pray.

“Dare not pray!” Oh, the cruelty of it! You say she has fallen. No, you, the so-called pure ones, have knocked her down with your condemnation. You have enveloped her in a cloud that [shuts?] out hope from this life and the next. Cruel! cruel! No, yo do not mean to be cruel; you think it best. And so thought the founders of the inquisition. If there had been, as they believed, a dreadful hell of eternal torture for those who imbibed heresy, then how much better to torture a few to prevent the spread of heresy, and perhaps save the souls of the tortured ones—how much better than that heresy should spread among the people.

Were the doctrine of such a hell true what they did was kindness, but they were wrongly taught; ignorance was the root of that cruelty. Ignorance is at the root of the cruelty to woman. But, as the forces of evolution prevailed against the fires of hell, so will they prevail against this other evil.

Woman is beginning to grow from the soul forces of the life within and the end is sure. All that stands in the way of her full freedom must yield.

Yas, those old inquisitors were wrongly taught, but not more wrongly taught than we have been in regard to this question of sex, that its use is impure unless legally sanctioned, that a woman who tastes the sweets of love without permission is a fallen woman. Such teaching is blasphemy against the Infinite Life Fountain—the idea that human enactments can purify its streams!

“Men are beasts.” Not at all, Mr. Ledger Editor, never once thought of it. Men have been wrongly taught, but they too are growing. Thousands are now so far above the standard of the law that they are our earnest supporters in our demand for freedom. But those men who have not grown beyond the standard—property in woman—are justified in treating her as they do, and will be as long as she consents to be owned.

Yas, there are many men who are above both law and custom, but irresponsible power tends to brutalize the holder, and, as men have so long held such power over woman’s person in the marriage bed, I am led to wonder that they are generally as good as they are.