In an effort to keep my blog woman-focused I will be starting a regular feature titled WWW for Wonderful Women Worldwide. It will look at both our foremothers and wonderful women today. I’m beginning with Emma Goldman, because she wasn’t perfect and I don’t agree with many of the things she wrote, yet I admire and respect her.
A Biography Here
The girl feels herself a complete outcast, with the doors of home and society closed in her face. Her entire training and tradition is such that the girl herself feels depraved and fallen, and therefore has no ground to stand upon, or any hold that will lift her up, instead of dragging her down. Thus society creates the victims that it afterwards vainly attempts to get rid of.
Moralists are ever ready to sacrifice one-half of the human race for the sake of some miserable institution which they can not outgrow. As a matter of fact, prostitution is no more a safeguard for the purity of the home than rigid laws are a safeguard against prostitution. Fully fifty per cent. of married men are patrons of brothels… Yet society has not a word of condemnation for the man, while no law is too monstrous to be set in motion against the helpless victim.
Gentlemen of the jury, we respect your patriotism. We would not, if we could, have you change its meaning for yourself. But may there not be different kinds of patriotism as there are different kinds of liberty? I for one cannot believe that love of one’s country must needs consist in blindness to its social faults, in deafness to its social discords, in inarticulation of its social wrongs. Neither can I believe that the mere accident of birth in a certain country or the mere scrap of a citizen’s paper constitutes the love of country.
I do not know how many of you have read Gorki’s marvellous prose-poem called “The Snake and the Falcon.” The snake cannot understand the falcon. “Why don’t you rest here in the dark, in the good slimy moisture?” the snake demands. “Why soar to the heavens? Don’t you know the dangers lurking there, the stress and storm awaiting you there, and the hunter’s gun which will bring you down and destroy your life?” But the falcon paid no heed. It spread its wings and soared through space, its triumphant song resounding through the heavens. One day the falcon was brought down, blood streaming from its heart, and the snake said: “You fool, I warned you, I told you to stay where I am, in the dark, in the good warm moisture, where no one could find you and harm you.” But with its last breath the falcon replied: “I have soared through space, I have scaled dazzling heights, I have beheld the light, I have lived, I have lived!”
(Thanks to Liberation for Absolutely Everyone for the first link)