BRAINS-MALE AND FEMALE.
BY MRS. WARNER SNOAD
President of International Womens Union.
IT is a fact, not occasionally argued for and
against, but of indubitable correctness, that woman, even as man. has brains, and for many years she has made it evident that she not only possesses mental power, but knows also how to use it, and to use it with success. Place after place in the upward flight bas been hardly won, and woman has well nigh reached the platform of (originally God-given) equality with man, when yet another weapon is aimed against any unusual ntelleetual or mental effott on her part.
"The brains of the average woman are smaller and lighter than those of the average man : she
cannot possibly therefore attain to his intellectual level," These are the words of attack, though, it is reluctantly conceded, a spurt is sometimes well, perhaps, often made with astonishing
"The brain of a woman is less in weight and size than that of a man." So savs. or rather, said Professor Bischoff of Munich, who recently died at St. Petersburg, and doubtless, so far as his experience and knowledge went, the learned man was sincere and correct in his statement ; but it is possible he might have kept a more modest silence or at least, have been less emphatic and
aggressive, had he known what, after his death was proved ; viz that the weight of hit own brain teas below that of the average female. Dr. James Crichton Browne follows Professor Bischoff with the same cuckoj cry, and Or. Hammon I of America, going further, maintained that there were many mirks of difference between male and female br.ins, an opinion proved to be erroneous by the persevering efforts of an America 1 idy, Mrs. Helen Gardner, who ahdc interviewing at least twenty anatomists, succeeded i.i reaching the presence of Dr. Spitzka, the great specialist and authority on the subject; he, interested in the plucky and clever little lady, saw her again and again, finally stating with the utmost dis tinctness, that no mau living could distinguish the mala from the female brain by post mortem examination. He also frankly acknowledged that the question had never been fairly judged siuce me brain oí no prominent woman had ever been submitted to the test, and it was unreason able to weigh the contents nf such a mighty cranium as D. Webster's against the brains of au ignorant female tramp, whose body lay unclaimed in a ward of a chat itv hospital. Prof. Ludwig Büchner says in the " New Review" : " Neither chemical nor physical examination of the brain by means of the microscope has yet shown a>iy real difference between thc two species of brains by which any distinction of functional capacity
can be discovered. Moreover there are some
authorities who claim that, on the score of quality on the fineness and delicacy of her general con stitution, woman may assert a comparative superiority, and it is well-known that Edison prefers woman machinists for the delicate details of his electrical inventions. He says they have more fine sense about machine;y in one minute
than most men in their whole lifetime."
The doctors who argue so glibly against woman's intellectual capacity are apparently oblivious of a few simple facts which thoroughly undermine their position. For instance a mau has a smaller brain than an elephant ; is it therefore proven that he, the man, has less intelligence than the quadruped ? Again, the brain of a bee or ant is infinitely less than that of a sheep or a pig, yet both insects are ranked higher as regards sagacity than either of their four-footed, and, (in com parison with themj colossal brethren.
It is evident therefore from these examples that the size of the brain is, as a rule, in proportion to the siz' of the body it governs ; and, a woman being less th in a man, (in size) has a proportion ately smaller brain ; but no greater mistake can be made tint) to conclude that beciuse of this différence a woman must be necessarily more stupid than a mm or less capable of intellectual effort. Weight and size have, in fact, little or nothing io do .vith the working or.mental power of til J brain, and this opinion has been, and is stiil held by eminent persons, ram as well as women-it ts not a question of quantity, but of quality for hrlli sexes. As an example, it hap pened that, quite recently, at a meeting of the Maryland State Medical Society, two brains were circulated among the physicians there a^sembled, one of a philosopher, the other of a raw Congo negro, when, curiousk enough, the latter was unanimously selected as supposed to contain the niost thinkiny power. It was also heavier, a fact, which speaks fur itself. It is noteworthy, also that, ,f the brain of a boy fall below a certain weight he becomes an idioL, whilst u girl's may he l"ss than his. and she may »till remain
Since therefore »onie scientists maintain that the brain of man is proportionately larger, heavier, and, as it were. " mote mental ly devekpsd" than that of wornm, and others of equal standing in knowledge aud experience, i ring forward a dia metrically opposite opinion, there remains but one fair test of the right or wrong of the question viz. the test of results-to see what each sex can
and will accomplish when under exactly parallel circumstance : and it is patent to the dullest comprehension that this is not what was, or is intended liv those who argue for the superiority in size and consequent ? mental power of a man's brains. Give the average woman equal advantage with the average man and she will quickly prove her equality in brains though she may not always elect to use them in the same manner. Let the world give to woman the freedom and the advan tages she asks, and let her use that freedom and those advantages only, always, for the highest ends, and there will be no talk of "brain weighing" in a vain attempt to prove her inferiority, but she will take her prop ir place on the same level as man, a " helpmeet (fit) for lum."