Margaret Sanger, "Another Woman," Aug 1914.
Source: " The Woman Rebel, Aug. 1914, p. 42 Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Collected Documents Series C16:0556."
She is a sociologist. She is efficient. She is business woman. She is of invincible virtue. She is indefatigable and relentless in her "correction" of human nature. She is a brilliant example of that rapidly growing group of respectable folk who have discovered profitable and highly honorable careers in the exploitation of the victims of our social "law and order". This exploitation operates under the name of "charities and correction". You must be fully conscious of your own moral superiority before you can successfully become addicted to the pleasures of "correcting" the faults and the crimes of the poor, the miserable, the ill-fed and the shoddily clothed, who fail to observe the virtues you impersonate.
Your own invincible, well buttressed virtue, your own moral superiority will facilitate this noble work of "correction". Even though you may be a woman, the consciousness of this noble moral integrity and superiority will enable you to find pleasurable expression in the chastisement of those fellow beings who do not conform to your own moral standards.
This suggestion should be sufficient to explain the brilliant success of our energetic and efficient lady, expert, this "sociologist", as the head of that large correctional institution for girls who committed the crime of conducting themselves according to the instincts of most human beings.
It would be unwarranted to assume that experts in "correction" bear any ill-will toward those who are their victims. On the contrary, it is safe to infer that they look down upon them with pity if not sympathy, as long as the victims submit tamely to the punishment inflicted upon them, and continue to contribute to the prosperity of the institutions which furnish employment and pleasure to our "practical sociologists".
Only when the victims rebel, revolt, inaugurate a hunger-strike, or in any way indicate that they are of human flesh and blood, with other purposes in life than to live according to another's ideals, no matter how lofty and noble those ideals may be, is the expert in correction ready to revert to methods of torture, to tortures refined and adapted to our modern psychology, but no less effective and intense than in earlier periods.
These tortures are often indulged in vicariously, being performed out of sight and by some subordinate, but perhaps quite as enjoyable to a refined and virtuous temperament, calling into activity the imagination and eliminating the sight of the victim's resistance.
Successfully to supervise a jail, some such characteristics as these we suggest are requisite. Otherwise prison discipline might collapse, our practical sociologists would be jobless, and even the reasons for sending people to jail might vanish. But if we are to have larger and more efficient jails and asylums, which the experts of correction look upon as the true index of advancing civilization, since such offices will render them of more importance in the community, it is obvious that we must create new crimes and capture fresh victims. Only thus can our experts express their temperament.
It is not really absurd to foresee the time in our glorious American life when most of the population will live in jails, either as commissioners or sub-commissioners of correction or as criminals. This is undoubtedly the aim of our eminent ">correctionists", as well as of that of the constantly increasing group of Americans who advocate jail for every one who thinks or speaks not as they do.
Miss Edelsohn has been directly protesting against this exploitation and the type of mind that has brought it into existence and profits by it, protesting by a hunger-strike at Blackwell's Island, and unless this protest is made general and effective by everyone who wants the right to think for himself and herself, and to express thoughts freely, such people need not be surprised to find themselves in some jail or another. For our "practical sociologists" and "reformers" are gaining power, and are taking as much delight in keeping people in jail as the magistrates are in sending them there.
Women have been too ready to admire other women who, with inflated ideas of self-importance, are willing to degrade themselves and their sex by assuming the barbaric posts that decent men are giving up--in short by becoming detectives, policewomen and commissioners of correction. Let us proclaim such women as traitors and enemies of the working class!
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project