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Charlotte Perkins Gilman: “We as women”

 

“We as women”

There’s a cry in the air about us–
We hear it before, behind–
Of the way in which “We, as women,”
Are going to lift mankind!

With our white frocks starched and ruffled,
And our soft hair brushed and curled–
Hats off! for “We, as women,”
Are coming to save the world.

Fair sisters, listen one moment–
And perhaps you’ll pause for ten:
The business of women as women
Is only with men as men!

What we do, “We, as women,”
We have done all through our life;
The work that is ours as women
Is the work of mother and wife.

But to elevate public opinion,
And to lift up erring man,
Is the work of the Human Being;
Let us do it–if we can.

But wait, warm-hearted sisters–
Not quite so fast, so far.
Tell me how we are going to lift a thing
Any higher than we are!

We are going to “purify politics,”
And to “elevate the press.”
We enter the foul paths of the world
To sweeten and cleanse and bless.

To hear the high things we are going to do,
And the horrors of man we tell,
One would think, “We, as women,” were angels,
And our brothers were fiends of hell.

We, that were born of one mother,
And reared in the self-same place,
In the school and the church together,
We of one blood, one race!

Now then, all forward together!
But remember, every one,
That ’tis not by feminine innocence
The work of the world is done.

The world needs strength and courage,
And wisdom to help and feed–
When, “We, as women” bring these to man,
We shall lift the world indeed.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
(1860-1935)
“We as women”
Suffrage Songs and Verses

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