Tag: Alice Duer Miller’

Are Women People?

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Women (With rather insincere apologies to Mr. Rudyard Kipling.)

I went to ask my government
if they would set me free,
They gave a pardoned crook a vote,
but hadn’t one for me;

The men about me laughed and frowned
and said: “Go home, because
We really can’t be bothered
when we’re busy making laws.”

Oh, it’s women this, and women that and women have no sense,
But it’s pay your taxes promptly when it comes to the expense,
It comes to the expense, my dears, it comes to the expense,
It’s pay your taxes promptly when it comes to the expense.

I went into a factory
to earn my daily bread:
Men said: “The home is woman’s sphere.”
“I have no home,” I said.

But when the men all marched to war,
they cried to wife and maid,
“Oh, never mind about the home,
but save the export trade.”

For it’s women this and women that, and home’s the place for you,
But it’s patriotic angels when there’s outside work to do,
There’s outside work to do, my dears, there’s outside work to do,
It’s patriotic angels when there’s outside work to do.

We are not really senseless,
and we are not angels, too,
But very human beings,
human just as much as you.

It’s hard upon occasions
to be forceful and sublime
When you’re treated as incompetents
three-quarters of the time.

But it’s women this and women that, and woman’s like a hen,
But it’s do the country’s work alone, when war takes off the men,

And it’s women this and women that and everything you please,
But woman is observant, and be sure that woman sees.

 

Home and Where It Is (An Indiana judge has recently ruled: As to the right of the husband to decide the location of the home that “home is where the husband is.”)

Home is where the husband is,
Be it near or be it far,
Office, theatre, Pullman car,
Poolroom, polls, or corner bar—
All good wives remember this—
Home is where the husband is.

Woman’s place is home, I wis.
Leave your family bacon frying,
Leave your wash and dishes drying,
Leave your little children crying;
Join your husband, near or far,
At the club or corner bar,
For the court has taught us this:
“Home is where the husband is.”

Representation (“My wife is against suffrage, and that settles me.”—Vice-President Marshall.)

I

My wife dislikes the income tax,
And so I cannot pay it;
She thinks that golf all interest lacks,
So now I never play it;

She is opposed to tolls repeal
(Though why I cannot say),
But woman’s duty is to feel,
And man’s is to obey.

II

I’m in a hard position
for a perfect gentleman,
I want to please the ladies,
but I don’t see how I can,

My present wife’s a suffragist,
and counts on my support,
But my mother is an anti,
of a rather biting sort;

One grandmother is on the fence,
the other much opposed,
And my sister lives in Oregon,
and thinks the question’s closed;

Each one is counting on my vote
to represent her view.
Now what should you think proper
for a gentleman to do?

This is the poetry of the suffragist, Alice Duer Miller, first printed in the New York Tribune and compiled in 1915 in the book Are Women People? In 1917, she published a second collection: Women are People.

Want to Read More

The Hairpin offers you a selection of her poetry, while you can read the original at Project Gutenberg.

These poems kept Katie Barclay entertained on a sunny afternoon. She is a historian at the University of Adelaide.

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