Culture on the Cheap
Could Not Be A Man
In keeping with Women’s History Month I thought it would interesting to see if the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives would have any material of both feminist and Greenpoint interest. Not only did I find just such an article (from the March 29, 1902 edition), but it is a really intense tome at that. Read on and get a glimpse of how one woman felt about her lot in life over 100 years ago.
While disturbing, this article (all the way down to the manner in which it is written) is an excellent indicator of the popular sentiment harbored towards women at the end of the Victorian era. The author of this articles points out twice that Ms. Moshoson ran a profitable dress making business, but gave no thought whatsoever to the possibility that this career did not make her happy. He goes on to glibly state:
the fact that women walking on the streets are not immune from the stares of men was another thing which is said to disturb her
but does not some seem to care whether or not the above behavior is socially unacceptable. This is probably because it wasn’t and (as the popularity of HollabackNYC would attest) still isn’t. It was simply her lot in life to be looked at. Being a woman, she had no say so in the manner.
In closing, I think what drove Ms. Moshoson to suicide was the fact she was all to aware of what the world had to offer and her sex precluded from experiencing much of it. She was, in a manner of speaking, dying from the drudgery and lack of dignity that was a woman’s life in the early 20th century. Hers was a living death. While it makes me happy that women have come a long way in the last 100 years, the fact of the matter is as a society we still have a long, long way to go.