The Ignorance of Conformity
By Sue Schuurman
MARCH 30, 1998:
73 Years Ago This Week
The Roaring '20s weren't as open to the idea of a more liberated woman as commonly assumed. The following syndicated column--by a doctor whose credentials remain a mystery--exhorts women to never know more than their husbands. Otherwise the poor babies may develop inferiority complexes, and we can't have that, now can we?
Uneven Bricks by Dr. Frank Crane.
"It is essential that a road should have a smooth surface.
"A brick standing up or a brick sticking down is equally faulty.
"Bricks that sink below the surface are called 'thank'ee marms.' Bricks that stick up are called 'asses' back'--dos d'an.
"Those whose individuality is pronounced are the bricks that stick up. They cause a good deal of trouble in the world, sometimes unnecessary and sometimes helpful.
"On the contrary, there are people who seem to have no individuality. They are mere depressions. It is as annoying to meet these people as to meet those whose personality is pronounced.
"It was said of McKinley that he was agreeable to everybody and his main capacity was for getting along smoothly with all classes.
"On the contrary, President Wilson was a brick that stuck out. He had too much individuality.
"A girl is popular when she presents a uniform surface. She must not know more than a man, nor be richer than her husband, nor smarter than those around her. If she is, she arouses the inferiority complex. She may be envied, but she will not be liked.
"In one of the recent musical comedies a business woman wanted to succeed in society. She wondered why she was not more popular among the men. She had taught this man to play golf and that man to play chess, and helped people generally. Her grandmother told her that she must not have the air of knowing more than a man. If she confined her remarks to three--'Yes,' 'No,' and 'Aren't You Wonderful!'--she would get along much better. In fact she would have them eating out of her hand before a week was over.
"She adopted her grandmother's advice and the results were satisfactory. Every man thought she was a remarkable girl because she could say 'Yes' so charmingly.
"It behooves most of us to conform in most things. ...
"Most things are not worth quarreling about. It is better to let them go than to raise an issue."
Source: Albuquerque Morning Journal; March 26, 1925
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