The Sexes in Science and History: An Inquiry into the Dogma of Woman's Inferiority to Manby Eliza Burt Gamble
CHAPTER III - MALE ORGANIC DEFECTS
WE have observed that through the great sexual ardour developed at puberty within the male of the lower species, numberless variations of structure have been acquired, characters which, as they are the result of undeveloped atoms cast off from the varying parts in his progenitors,/b>
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CHAPTER III - MALE ORGANIC DEFECTS
WE have observed that through the great sexual ardour developed at puberty within the male of the lower species, numberless variations of structure have been acquired, characters which, as they are the result of undeveloped atoms cast off from the varying parts in his progenitors, denote low organization. We have seen also that these characters require for their growth an immense amount of vital force, which, had the development of the male been normal, would have been expended in perfecting the organism, or would have been utilized in fitting it to overcome the adverse conditions of his environment. Secondary sexual characters, being so far as males are concerned, wholly the result of eagerness in courtship, cannot appear before the time for reproduction arrives, and as it is a law of heredity that peculiarities of structure which are developed late in life, when transmitted to offspring, appear only in the sex in which they originated, these variations of structure are confined to males.
According to Mr. Darwin's theory little difference exists between the sexes until the age of reproduction arrives. It is at this time, the time when the secondary sexual characters begin to assert themselves, that the preponderating superiority of the male begins to manifest itself.
Although, according to Mr. Darwin, variability denotes low organization and shows that the various organs of the body have not become specialized to perform properly their legitimate functions, it is to characters correlated with and dependent upon these varying parts that the male has ultimately become superior to the female. If these characters, namely, pugnacity, perseverance, and courage have been such important factors in establishing male superiority, too much care may not be exercised in analyzing them and in tracing their origin and subsequent development.
Sexual Selection resembles artificial selection save that the female takes the part of the human breeder. She represents the intelligent factor or cause in the operations involved. If this be true, if it is through her will, or through some agency or tendency latent in her constitution that Sexual Selection comes into play, then she is the primary cause of the very characters through which man's superiority over woman has been gained. As a stream may not rise higher than its source, or as the creature may not surpass its creator in excellence, it is difficult to understand the processes by which man, through Sexual Selection, has become superior to woman.
He who admits the principle of Sexual Selection will be led to the remarkable conclusion that the nervous system not only regulates most of the existing functions of the body, but has indirectly influenced the progressive development of various bodily structures and certain mental qualities. Courage, pugnacity, perseverance, strength and size of body, weapons of all kinds, musical organs, both vocal and instrumental, bright colours, and ornamental appendages have all been indirectly gained by the one sex or the other, through the exertion of choice, the influence of love and jealousy, and the appreciation of the beautiful in sound, colour, or form; and these powers of the mind manifestly depend on the development of the brain.
While the female has been performing the higher functions in the processes of reproduction, through her force of will, or through her power of choice, she has also been the directing and controlling agency in the development of those characters in the male through which, when the human species was reached, he was enabled to attain a limited degree of progress.
Since the origin of secondary sexual characters is so clearly manifest, perhaps it will be well for us at this point to examine also their actual significance...
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