Los Angeles Times, August 30, 1910. So much for that proposed anti-husband-killing society. Well, sauce for goose is sauce for gander.
Yup. It sure is.
Well, an authentic single standard here would have licensed men to kill their wives and girlfriends with the same legal impunity enjoyed at the time by the fairer sex (see ‘Mariticide’).
It was at this time that the world was just beginning to accept the notion that women were human beings and not property.
Well, I’d argue that the timeline is a little bit longer and more complicated than that. It’s not like people woke up on January 1, 1900 and said “Holy shit, women are people too! We should consider giving them the vote.”
For example, by the mid-19th century, divorcing American mothers had become the default winners in custody battles, where fathers had previously held a patriarchal trump card (children were fathers’ property, not mothers’ sacred charges).
And by then, the infamous doctrine of legal “coverture” (whereby married women lost their rights to own property and make contracts) had gone out the window too. Coverture was still on the books, but it was rarely brought up in court except when a bankrupt businesswoman was trying to stiff her creditors by arguing that the contracts she’d made had been null and void all along.
You’re totally right that these contemporary mutations in “the unwritten law” are all tied the advancing status of women, but the process is fraught with ironies and paradoxes. When sisters started doing it for themselves [e.g.: http://mrparallel.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/the-unwritten-law/ ] it definitely represented a leap forward in female agency and autonomy. But it also reinforced the concept that women’s worth was defined by their sexual “purity.” And I promise you these New Orleans clubwomen are not arguing for the sexual liberation of women. The single standard they’re defending is that of Victorian prudery.
*Reads the link.
Ahhh. Yes. Alright. I do see what you mean.
Thank you for the expanded explanation — even though I got scraped by the sarcasm at first!
Sorry, didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. Buy you a coffee at Sals some time?
I find all of this gender stuff fascinating. The Era Club is interesting in that it was really active in suffrage agitation at an early stage in the game. I believe that would have not have been true of most Southern women’s organizations at the time.
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