"A Vindication of the Rights of Women" by A Line Segment

Alexis Nogelo

After considering our historic records and observing the current deplorable state of affairs I have found myself unable to shake the deep feeling of sorrow that I get when I think of how one of two unformtunate conditions has caused the inequity--either nature has made great differences among shapes, or our civilisation has been very biased. I have taken into account various theories on the subject of education; I have observed parents with their children; I have thought long and hard about our manners and our customs. What has been the result? I am now thoroughly convinced that neglecting the education of my fellow-creatures is the cause of my wreteched unhappiness, for women, in particular, have been stripped of all intellectual and physical strength because of one hasty conclusion. Women's minds are not healthy; that is clear from their behavior. This is not to say that it necessarily has to be this way--in fact, I will argue that it most certainly does not.

One early mistake that was made was when the educators began to view females as Women rather than as human shapes. It has been assumed that Women are "wholly devoid of brain power, and have neither reflection, judgement, nor forethought and hardly any memory" (as spoken by A Square in his dialogue with a visitor from beyond) Education of any real sort was ended completely for members of my sex and it is no wonder that this assumption became a self-fulfilling prophesy.

If you would give me a moment aside, I would like to entreat my own sex to excuse me for addressing them as rational creatures instead of flattering them with the softened emotional language used by Men to ease our slavish dependence upon them. I urge Women to endeavor to acquire bodily and mental strength; I hope to convince Women that virtue is superior to sensibility. Women must realize that they have been duped by mistaken notions of female excellence--although the power it appears to give is indeed intoxicating, Women must come to understand that the language that places them on a pedestal is but a guise to keep Women, who are actually "both regarded and spoken of--by all except the very young--as being little better than 'mindless organisms'" (ibid.) more thoroughly under control. Men fear that someday Women will discover the intellectual world and have therefore set up the system of education so that Women learn only to be wives and mothers. The result is that Women aspire only to be loved, when they ought to strive to be respected for their abilities and virtues.

It is necessary that I mention Women's physical difference from Men. It is true that Women do not gain additional sides as generations progress (although they do contribute genetically to their offsprings' sides), and in this way they are unlike Men. Why must this difference be increased by prejudices? Why must this superficial difference be the sole determinant of how these human shapes are to be educated, when it is the purpose of all human shapes to be rational and strive to reach their highest potential? For genes are not the only thing that Women give to their children. Women are the mothers in our society--how can they be expected to govern a family with judgement or care for their children with consistency if they do not learn to be rational? Men claim that women "have nothing to say, and absolutely no constraint of wit, sense or conscience"; they complain, with reason, that Women behave with "hastiness and unreasoning jealousy"--all a natural result of ignorance! Let Women be educated so they learn to behave rationally rather than by guess-work and we will see an uplifting of all of society.

I have avoided any direct comparison between Men of all shapes, the Triangles, Squares, Hexagons, etc. with Women because the present appearance of things would lead me to place women in the inferior position when I sincerely believe that Men started and then increased that inferiority until Women have almost sunk below the standard of rational creatures. Let their faculties have room to grow, and their virtues gain strength and then make the determination as to where the whole sex stands on the intellectual spectrum.

Alexis Nogelo
Prof. Banchoff's response