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I have quoted, that “back of these fourteen year old vamps are forty year old vamps in many of their homes."
De Tocqueville, the French statesman, being asked, “To what do you ascribe the great success of America ?” replied: "To the superiority of the women.” That was said long ago. Mr. Arnold Bennett is saying something very different of the British and American society women of today as she appears in pleasure resorts of the European Continent. He finds her charming, interesting, but good for nothing. This impersonal and detached attitude in one who like Arnold Bennett has studied woman for years renders his attitude towards her a sign of the times, and that gifted Italian critic, Signor Orestes Rizzini, enters at length upon the theme in the Milan Corriere della Sera.
Obviously, comments the Italian critic, Bennett is not to blame if in the English-speaking world, woman is what he deems her-selfish, fond of pleasure, wedded to habits of luxury. She has beauty, health, a rich husband or a big estate to exploit. She comes of a good family as a rule. Her vagaries fill the newspapers, amaze the continental Europeans. There are superficial aspects of this type of woman which commend her. One of these is chatter. She gabbles of everything: politics, literature, the arts and religion. Arnold Bennett has studied this chatter and he reproduces it with effect in his works. This queer type of woman-luxurious, capricious, out of touch with reality-dresses exquisitely, walks with grace, dances divinely. She is fascinating as a spectacle, although the man who marries her after she has divorced somebody else finds her impossible to live with.
This is not the representative American woman of our small cities and villages, but such women are increasing with our wealth.
The great tragedies of literature in the past have centered around remorse of women for yielding their virtue
out of wedlock. The tragedy of today is that so many American women sin with as little compunction as French woman or an American man.
What Shall We Do to Save Our Girls? To return to our daughters, who are not beyond redemption, what will fathers and "city fathers" and "big brothers” do to save our thoughtless girls from themselves ? For one thing we must have federal regulation of motion pictures, just as we have federal inspection of beef before it kills. Surely vicious and criminal films are far more deadly than bad beef. We must have state censorship, too. And the Mayor has the power to control shows of all kinds in every city, and should be constrained to appoint an advisory committee of strong men and women through whom he can use it. We must also get decent people, whatever they think of the dances of former years, to boycott the new indecencies, whose very names should be considered insulting. * Imagine Martha Washington or Theodore Roosevelt allowing any one to ask them to dance “the shimmy” or “the cheek to cheek” or "the mucilage glide" or "the toddle"? And city governments should be urged to confiscate autos used for adultery. A Recreation Commission is needed in every city—one member named by the Mayor, another by the Chamber of Commerce, others by pastors' association, Y. M. C. A., Y. W. C. A., Y. M. H. A., the Knights of Columbus, the Federation of Women's Clubs, Boy and Girl Scouts, the Juvenile Court, to survey, supplement and supervise all recreations.1
1 The most cyclopedic collection of facts and original document in support of “Federal Regulation of Motion Pictures” is a big pamphlet by Canon Wm. Sheafe Chase. Send 50 cents for this and other literature on motion pictures, dances and divorces, to the International Reform Bureau, 206 Pa. Ave., S. E., Washington, D. C. The dance leaflet that will be sent will be the speech of J. Louis Guyon, a dancing master. Also send 10 cents to Worlds' Purity Federation, LaCrosse, Wis., for full discussion of the dance in “The Light” for July-August, 1922.
Putting Brains Into Courtship We should use substitution to displace evil sports. Fifty young people in my New York Church, not one of them a college graduate or a natural genius, were kept together a whole year in delightful and useful fellowship by "A Tour of the World in Books," a plan so simple it was all outlined on two sides of a card as big as a postcard. For example, we spent four weeks in Italy, the only requirement being that every one should read a book a week about Italy during that month and be ready to report on what he had read at one of our weekly meetings, at the first of which we reviewed Italy's great history; in the second, its politics, from Romulus to Victor Emanuel. On the third, its artists were described in seven minute talks in chronological order—a wonderful evening; and in the fourth, Italy's past and present religions were discussed in a friendly way. The young people got acquainted and got married all the better because heads and not heels were trumps.
A World Peril Demands New Moral Standard for Men
Many men, some of them in other respects upright, have hitherto held sex relations lightly. Young men should not be allowed to get the idea that all men are unvirtuous. Thousands of us can swear before God, “We never held improper relations with a woman.” But probably half the men would not make that high claimindeed, they rather boast of their “conquests.” Howells says that men are "imperfectly monogamous.” Mark Twain says in the same vein, "Be virtuous and you will be lonesome.” It has been regarded in what is called "society" as scarcely a serious fault for young unmarried men to "sow wild oats.” Many have assumed, despite strong signed statements of great doctors to the contrary,
that sex indulgence is necessary for men, though any man who holds this theory would be shocked beyond measure to have his sister or wife or widowed mother express a similar claim for herself. Some of them are taking such a stand that Mrs. Kate Waller Barrett and a police woman both said, independently in 1921, that we are approaching "a single standard of morals” but from an unexpected quarter.
Somebody must be good. If the women will not be good alone any longer, even the men who have been of easy virtue, if they are patriotic or humanitarian must take the good side and lure these women back, lest civilization become rotten to the core, and fall like the Roman Empire through the same cancerous growth of free love. This is also the very heart of Russia's dreaded communism. If we adopt communism in sex, we can not reasonably expect to be spared in property by a race without virtue.
A father who lived promiscuously, with usual efforts to keep his family in ignorance of his vices, was invited by another man of similar loose views to 'revel with him for an evening with two very attractive girls.' He went, and behold, the girls were his own daughters, “chips of the old block.” It was a shock to find they had adopted his own “standard.” SHALL OUR DAUGHTERS FOLLOW US ?
OR SHALL WE ADOPT THE "STANDARD” OF OUR MOTHERS, NOT ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF OUR DAUGHTERS BUT FOR THE SAKE OF CIVILIZATION, WHICH FOR LONG CENTURIES HAS BEEN CLIMBING
SLOWLY AND PAINFULLY FROM SAVAGE POLYGAMY TO THE CHIVALRIC MONOGAMY OF THE AMERICAN HOME, WHICH WE THINK WAS THE FINEST HOME IN THE WORLD IN THE MOST AMERICAN PERIOD OF THE PAST, AND STILL IS IN OUR MOST AMERICAN TOWNS.
In 1922 we were in mortal peril of losing as much of social progress in a decade as we had gained in centuries. The women, formerly leaders both of religion and virtue, had many of them dropped out of church and become paganized.
Pagan civilization, as Tolstoi shows, is a civilization in which personal pleasure and personal advancementselfishness in higher or lower forms—is the accepted "standard” of life. The standard of Christian civilization is service, with self love secondary to service of God and men.
That is the American standard as embodied in Washington and Franklin and Lincoln and Roosevelt. In place of that even our women are increasingly giving themselves to mere self-indulgence. They are no longer willing their men friends of easy virtue shall go with them only half way and then turn to outcast girls. The French girls and the novelists and playwrights and some editors seem to have taught American society girls and others that they should not only arouse “the grand passion" but share it to the full, regardless of moral "conventions." A juvenile court judge said to me that formerly young men used to boast to him that in their amours they “never dragged down nice girls”; “but,” he added, “they make that boast no longer, partly because the nice girls themselves are no longer content to have it so." He also said that in visiting men's clubs of highest standing he could hardly look these leading business men in the face so many of them had been named by the girls that came confidentially to his court as the men with whom they had wandered, often very willingly, from the path of virtue.
DOES NOT THIS CHANGE OF SEX ATTITUDE FOR THE WORSE BY AN INCREASING NUMBER OF GIRLS AND WOMEN MAKE IT ABSO