What are then the more salient distinctions between the two branches of humanity? Woman bears the human race. Let women, let biologists, physicians, and educators, testify as to what that means. Man, without that function to perform, uses in other ways the energy saved. Where the woman builds, brings forth, and nourishes a human creature, he builds a bridge, a fortress, a cathedral. She bears a poet: he writes the poetry; a musician: e composes the opera; a conqueror: he goes forth to conquer; a daughter: she in her turn will build, bring forth, nourish, rear through childhood a human creature. If she never mates, then, obedient to the spirit of the hive, she will, like the worker-bee, help—in how many ways, God who watches only knows! So much for the functional difference.
What of the morphological—the difference in structure? We need no dissertation here. Physical man is stronger than physical woman. His limbs are better sustaining columns; owing to the position and nature of the organs contained within the pelvis of the woman, erect stature is easier to him; his foot is of stronger make, he has the advantage in lung capacity, there are more red corpuscles in his blood, he has a longer reach of arm and a wider grasp of hand, very much greater muscular force, and all the advantages on the physical and individual side to be gained by the absence of the characteristic functions of the woman. He is, in short, the stronger animal. Man is aware of it, and so is Woman.
What of the brain? In the larger frame, its mass is something greater than in the smaller. Relatively to body-weight, the brain of woman is a little larger than the brain of man. It is as rich in convolutions as is the man’s. Why should it not be? Her mother gave one half, her father gave the other half. Behind those two stand two men and two women; behind those four, four men and four women; behind that eight, eight men and eight women; behind that sixteen, sixteen men and sixteen women; behind that thirty-two—no use to go on with the wondrous House that Jack (and Jill) Built! Is she deficient in mental power? Then her forbears, men and women, were so. Did she inherit only from the women? Then we are again eighteenth-century Ovists, claiming almost the entire credit for the distaff side, and that despite the fact that often a daughter has her father’s eyes!
No: we are not Ovists, though verily there are many who yet linger in the opposite school of the Animalculists! No: the male and female cells, the mother and the father, the man and the woman, two halves of one whole, differentiated elements of one stock, come together; and again, for a moment of time, there is unity. And from that unity again springs differentiation—differentiation of function, and therefore the containing walls of that function; differentiation of bodily structure, and therefore emotional differentiation; and therefore, to some extent, intellectual differentiation. Differentiation is unity multiplied by division, to the end that unity’s work may be better done. The sexes are two halves of one whole, and the material is homogenous. Nor is the whole like a wedding-cake—where the batter is the same, truly, but only one side has the golden ring and the lucky sixpence. Nature abhors violent and unrelated contrasts. Unrelation, indeed, does not exist in her province—nor in any other. Suppose, on the whole, we agree with the very many great men who, from the dawn of Aryan civilization to the present day, have poured oblation to the mind of the mother of the Aryan race.
A Being breathing thoughtful breath,
A Traveller between life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength and skill;
A perfect Woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort and command;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright
With something of angelic light
There are more of such men than you would think until you look into the matter. Suppose we agree with a few ancient and many modern thinkers, that much of the man is due to his mother. Suppose we agree that women are mentally capable. And suppose we stop what the Negroes call “miration”—this wonderful “miration”—over the fact that there has been no woman Homer, no woman Dante, no woman Shakespeare, Molière, Michael Angelo, Rubens, Beethoven, Wagner, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Aristotle, Bacon, Kant, and so on. Very frankly there has not.