Exponent II Classics: Woman’s Exponent Revisited: Lost Women

Exponent II, Vol. II, No.2, December 1975

Woman’s Exponent Revisited: Lost Women

(from Woman’s Exponent, 15 September 1876)


Lost Women

We commend the following thoughts to the public– “Has it ever occurred to you what a commentary upon our civilization are those lost women, and the attitude of society towards them? A little child strays away from her home enclosure, and the whole community is on the alert to find the wanderer and restore it to it’s mother’s arms.  What rejoicing when it is found, what tearful sympathy, what heartiness of congratulations!  There are no harsh comments upon tired feet, be they ever so weary.  No reprimand for the soiled and torn garments, no lack of kisses for the tear-stained face.  But let the child be grown into womanhood, let her be led from it by the scourge of want; what happens?  Do Christian men and women go in quest of her?  Do they provide all possible help for her return, or if she returns of her own free will, do they receive her with such kindness and delicacy as to secure her against wandering?  Far from it.  At the first step she was denounced as lost–lost!  Echo, friends and relatives–we disown you; don’t ever come near us to disgrace us.  Lost, says society, indifferently.  How bad the girls are! And lost–irretrievably lost is the prompt verdict of conventional morality, while one and all unite in bolting every door between her and morality.  Ah! Will not those lost one be required at our hands?”

Woman’s Exponent, 15 September 1876

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