"Under all other civilizations and all other religions than ours woman has experienced this fate to the full; her condition has been that of a slave to the male-- sometimes a petted slave, but yet a slave.
In Christian and European society alone has she ever attained the place of a man's social equal, and received the homage and honor due from magnanimity to her sex and her feebleness. And her enviable lot among us has resulted from two causes: the Christian religion and the legislation founded upon it be feudal chivalry.
How insane then is it for her to spurn these two bulwarks of defense, to defy and repudiate the divine authority of that Bible which has been her redemption, and to revolutionize the whole spirit of the English common law touching woman's sphere and rights? She is thus spurning the only protectors her sex has ever found, and provoking a contest in which she must inevitably be overwhelmed.
Casting away that dependence and femininity which are her true strength, the "strong-minded woman" persists in thrusting herself into competition with man as his equal. But for contest she is not his equal; the male is the stronger animal. As man's rival, she is a pitiful inferior, a sorry she-mannikin. It is when she brings her wealth of affection, her self-devotion, her sympathy, her tact, her grace, her subtle intuition, her attractions, her appealing weakness, and places them in the scale with man's rugged strength and plodding endurance, with his steady logic, his hardihood and muscle, and his exemption from the disabling infirmities of her sex, that he delights to admit her full equality and to do glad homage to her as the crown of his kind. All this vantage-ground the "Women's Rights women" madly throw away, and provoke that collision for which nature itself has disqualified them. They insist upon taking precisely a man's chances; well, they will meet precisely the fate of a weak man among strong ones.
A recent incident on a railroad train justly illustrates the result. A solitary female entered a car where every seat was occupied, and the conductor closed the door upon her and departed. She looked in vain for a seat, and at last appealed to an elderly man near her to know if he would not "surrender his seat to a lady." He, it seems, was somewhat a humorist, and answered: "I will surrender it cheerfully, Madam, as I always do, but will beg leave first to ask a civil question. Are you an advocate of the modern theory of women's rights?" Bridling up with an intense energy, she replied, "Yes, sir, emphatically; I let you know that it is my glory to be devoted to that noble cause." "Very well, Madam," said he, "Then the case is altered: You may stand up like the rest of us men, until you can get a seat for yourself."
This was exact poetic justice; and it foreshadows precisely the fate of their unnatural pretensions. Men will treat them as they treat each other, it will be "every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost." There will be of course a Semiramis or a Queen Bee here and there who will hold her own; but the general rule will be that the "weaker vessels" will succumb; and the society which will emerge from this experiment will present a woman in the position which she has always held among savages, that of a domestic drudge to the stronger animal. Instead of being what the Bible makes her, one with her husband, queen of his home, reigning with the gentle scepter of love over her modest, secluded domain, and in its pure and sacred retirement performing the noblest work done on this earth, that of molding infant minds to honor and piety, she will reappear from this ill-starred competition defeated and despised, tolerated only to satiate the passion, to amuse the idleness, to do the drudgery, and to receive the curses and blows of her barbarized masters."
-Robert Lewis Dabney