Feminism in the Early Years, 1900-1920
FEMINISM, LIKE BOSTON, IS A STATE OF MIND. IT IS THE STATE OF MIND OF WOMEN WHO REALIZE THAT THEIR WHOLE POSITION IN THE SOCIAL ORDER IS ANTIQUATED, AS A WOMAN COOKING OVER AN OPEN FIRE WITH HEAVY IRON POTS WOULD KNOW THAT HER ENTIRE HOUSEKEEPING WAS OUT OF DATE.
Rheta Childe Dorr, A Woman of Fifty, 1924
IF THE FEMINIST PROGRAM GOES TO PIECES ON THE ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST BABY, IT IS FALSE AND USELESS.
-- Crystal Eastman, 1920
Many young girls growing up in the opening years of this century shared Mrs. Dorr's state of mind; they too felt that feminism was the new, the appropriate, and the meaningful point of view for their lives in this exciting time. They may not have been sure what the precise ingredients of feminism were or what specific or different life experiences were on the horizon, but they knew, they felt, that life was going to be different for them. All the signs, in fact, confirmed the optimism of these young women: more were going to high school and college, more were moving into the growing cities of Chicago and New York, and more believed that the new machinery, the products of industrialization, ordained a freer, fuller life for women. The sewing machine, the type-