I decided to write Woman of Ruinous Face in oder to explore the lasting affects of male domination on female relationships. In researching women's clubs, I found the origin of modern womanhood. Where once women worked beside men in their feilds to support and feed their families, industrialization created a world where men could support their wives and so condemned them to "Ladydom," a place where a woman need never leave her house and know more about the world than a poper stain removal technique or how to prepare a roast. Even as early as the mid 1800s women suffered from depression for their lack of stimulation. Thus women's clubs were created to educate woman about art and music, literature and eventually politics. Women used the clubs to expand their ladydom purview to the community. Today women hold the most positions in the fields of education and healthcare due to the work of women's club women. Below is an essay by one women's club member.
This admirable Association has now nearly reached its twenty-second year of work, and it would be difficult to estimate the influence it has exerted, and the amount of good it has done.
Its object has been exactly what its name expresses; viz. to help women forward in every line of progress moral, intellectual, political, social, and industrial. Its plan of work has been, to hold a congress of women at some central city in the autumn of each year, at which may be discussed any subject affecting women's welfare.
Such meetings have been held at such distant points as St. Paul Minnesota, Memphis Tennessee, Louisville Kentucky, Denver Colorado, as well as in Chicago, Buffalo, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other Eastern cities.
In every city visited, but most notably in the Western and Southern cities, the Congress has left the traces of its presence, and many an important institutions such as the Women's Exchange, and the Woman's Club may be traced to its influence. Everything we have we can trace to the Congress has been said in more than one city, and the Association has often been urged to repeat its visit.
The fee for membership is only two dollars a year, and besides the privileges of attending the Congress and taking part in its private discussions, the members even if not present at the meeting receive the printed reports of all that is done there.
A.A.W. does not exclusively advocate any one reform, but is anxious to present with perfect fairness all sides of important questions. The Woman Sufferage question has not of course been neglected, and among its members may be found ardent advocates for it, and remonstrants against it. They frequently therefore hold a symposium in which all aspects of the case tire presented., often bringing out a lively discussion. It is interesting to see how wide-spread is the interest in this movement. In a city where is was supposed that other topics would be more desirable, the directors found to their surprise that so much disappointment was felt when it was found that this was not included in the programme, that they were obliged to arrange for an extemporaneous symposium which proved to be one of the most brilliant features of the session.
The morning meetings which are confined to members only, are very interesting, as the Vice-Presidents report from each state, and bring out many important facts and much interesting discussion.
As it is a great object to unite all the women of the country, not in an iron-clad organization, but in cordial union of mutual interest and good feeling,the association has desired for some years to extend its work among the Southern states, where there is much new life thought among the women. Their reception at Memphis was very cordial and the meeting most successful. It was delightful to hear the noble "Hymn of the Republic" read by its author and responded to by the whole audience, in the city which had always been associated in our minds with gunboats, and shot and shell between the opposing armies in the civil war.
This year it is proposed to visit Knoxville in Tennessee, and afterwards to extend the journey to Atlanta, Ga., to visit the well known University which is doing so much to provide a higher education for the people of Georgia, and also the admirable industrial school at Tuskegee, Ala.
While the Association does not take up as a special work the defense of any one race or class of people, it does feel very strongly that in just and harmonious relations between all the various races and people who help make up the American nation, rests the only hope of firm and substantial well-being for all, and it is therefore earnest in its desire to promote good feeling between all sections of the country, and all classes of the people.
The welfare of the colored people is not forgotten, and while trying to emphasize distinctions of color as little as possible, they feel that the women who have come out from such deep experience of suffering have important lessons to teach, and that both for them and for all, their education and advancement is of great importance.
One measure which was suggested and urged at the Congress at Louisville, Ky., the training of colored women as nurses, is rapidly spreading through many states, and young women are seeking opportunity for the best training at the North, that they may be fitted to take charge of the classes which are established at Hampton and several other schools in the South. The letters in the ERA by Miss Burgess shows how well these pupils have profited by their opportunities. It would be very interesting to have reports from other schools lately established.
The great object of the Association is to awaken thought among women and lead them to a just appreciation of the duties and meaning of life wherever their lot may be cast, feeling sure that in this way they cannot fail to promote "The Advancement of Women."