Chapter 3: Marriage and the Family
§1. Essentials and forms of the family
The family is by far the most important social group, and it is the common feature of diverse cultures and civilizations. It has many forms which shade into each other by subtle gradations, and each form is variously modified by other social relations. Hence, it is practically impossible to define the family except in an arbitrary way. In one of its characteristic forms, the family consists of a man and a woman, (husband and wife), with their joint children, living together in a common domicile during the period of minority of their children. But we must not forget that this is but one form of family, and that even this form has many and wide variations. There are families without children, or with adopted children; families in which the man does not live in the same domicile with the woman and children; families in which grandfathers and grandmothers, or aunts and uncles, or grandchildren, are actual members; families in which there is more than one wife, or more than one husband, or several of both; and different ones of these forms may be the standard, or the exclusive forms, in different communities.
The only common feature of these various forms of the family is sexual intercourse (coitus) at some time between certain adult members of the group; these adults being designated as the husbands and wives. While coitus normally results in the birth of children, the advent of children is not essential to the institution of a family. The family, moreover, once constituted, persists after coitus between husband and wife has ceased. A widowed mother, with her children, for example, still may constitute a bona fide family. While we might, and sometimes do, extend the definition of a family to include such groups as a single woman who has adopted children, it is more logical, when accuracy is desired, to call such a group a quasi-family.
It is necessary to distinguish between the legal family and the de facto family, because in some cultures both forms exist side by side.
( 55) In most of the United States, for example, a family is not legal unless the husband and wife have complied with certain formalities, usually including the obtaining of a license and the acknowledging of each other as husband and wife before a minister or priest, before an audience (according to the Quaker mode), or before a judicial officer. The family, furthermore, is not legal if either the man or the woman is already a legal husband or wife. Yet many families exist without legal sanction; and the de facto husbands and wives of these are not precluded from forming other families legally.
Marriage is the process by which a man becomes a husband and a woman becomes a wife; and obviously there is both legal marriage and de facto marriage. But marriage does not always constitute a family, since it may occur within a family already constituted. In the patriarchal family, for example, the husband of the oldest generation with his wife or wives, and his children by these wives (and even by secondary wives, classed sometimes as his "concubines"), together with the wives of his sons, and their children, and children's wives and children, constitute the family. One of the sons may marry; but the new wife becomes a member of the family of which the husband is already a member. But although a marriage does not always constitute a new family, every family is constituted by a marriage.
In some cultures, the distinction between legal and de facto families and marriages does not exist. In many so-called primitive cultures, (which are really not primitive at all), this is because there is no legal definition of marriage except through the de facto relation. A man merely takes a wife, with no formality other than her consent or the consent of the family of which she is already a member, (or even without this consent), and by having coitus with her legally consummates the marriage. The present tendency in our civilization is to obliterate the distinction between legal and de facto marriage by legally recognizing, as far as possible, any de facto marriage, even those consummated in defiance of the laws governing the choices of
( 56) husbands and wives. In several European countries the "illegitimate" children of a married man by an unmarried woman are now recognized as members of his family, having rights to support and inheritance; and the legitimizing of "illegitimate" children is being strongly urged in the United States, where it has long been done in one particular state. The children of a married woman by a man other than her husband are recognized by the English common law as being rightful members of the mother's family unless they are "illegitimized" by specific legal procedure, and the statute laws in the United States are rather liberally interpreted in favor of the child's legitimation.
Coitus does not in every case constitute a de facto marriage, but the lines between de facto marriage and mere coitus are exceedingly vague and variable. In general (but not always) marriage involves the continuation of the sex relations over some considerable period of time, and the assumption by a man of private property rights in the woman. In almost all civilizations and in many so-called "primitive" cultures, men are legally permitted to have sex relations outside of marriage; and in the United States, where such relations are not legally permissible, custom nevertheless does very generally permit them. By large classes of the population they are not considered scandalous, and the laws prohibiting them are seldom en-forced against men. Married women, however, are very generally denied such permission, both by law and custom, and women who offend in this respect are severely punished. Coitus by an unmarried man with an unmarried woman who is otherwise chaste, is very generally considered as de facto marriage in the United States if it becomes generally known; and where the woman has been led to believe that marriage will follow, the man can be compelled to marry her legally, or to contribute to her support. In certain parts of the United States and Europe where courtship regularly involves coitus, the relation can, without public condemnation, be broken off if no child has resulted from the union; but in case of pregnancy, public opinion demands that the de facto marriage be made legal.
Women, because they are property, in actual treatment if not in admitted theory, are everywhere at a disadvantage in the sex relation, and their rights in and to the marital relation are very seriously prejudiced by concurrent or previous coitus with other men. The "loose" woman, whether actually a prostitute or not, (and the lines between looseness and prostitution are very vaguely drawn, both legally and in public opinion), establishes no rights by coitus, unless a child results, because she is virtually public property, and private property rights in her and the consequent responsibilities for property, cannot be established except voluntarily through the form of legal marriage. In many societies, a man, by having coitus with a previously chaste woman, and refusing subsequent responsibility for her, at once placed her in the prostitute class. Hence, the laws against seduction which have grown up, but which are laxly enforced. We see then that marriage involves social, if not legal responsibility, and where there is not responsibility, whether enforced or not, there is no marriage. The exact nature of the responsibility varies from place to place and from time to time, and its limits cannot readily be drawn even at a single period of time, and in a single place.
Recognized marriage takes four main forms as to persons involved, and two varying scales of forms as to strictness and duration. It also has varying forms as to premarital conditions. Further discussion of the social conditions and results of marriage is much simplified by a consideration of these forms.
I.Monogamy of various types is by far the most prevalent form of marriage, and has been so for as long as history and tradition afford any evidence. Monogamy is the marriage of one man to one woman, and is the only legal form in most European countries and countries which have been colonized by Europeans. It is, however, not the only actual form even in the countries specified.
II. Polygyny is the marriage of one man to two or more wives. Polygyny is legal in most Asiatic countries, and is socially approved and accepted by many "primitive" societies in Africa, America, and the Pacific Islands . Polygyny is by no means prevalent in any country, however, both on account of the expense of maintaining wives in those communities in which the wives are not economic
( 58) assets, and on account also of the fact that the proportions of the sexes are everywhere very nearly equal. Plurality of wives is the privilege of the small class of wealthy men, or of the ruling aristocracy; and the great majority of men must practice monogamy. Competent observers have declared that de facto polygyny is as prevalent in most European countries as in Turkey or any other country where polygyny is officially recognized. In the form of concubinage, open polygyny is still permitted by public opinion to kings and lords, and in certain countries has been legal, the ruler being allowed a "morganatic" wife or wives, in addition to a queen. It must be remembered that the difference between a kept wife and a kept mistress is purely legal, and frequently the mistress of a king has been de facto more of a wife, both personally and nationally than has his queen.
There is no doubt that inequality of number of the sexes has some effect on the marriage system. Reduction of the number of males by wars, or by the hazards of hunting and fishing, probably predisposes a society to polygyny. It must be remembered that for purely re-productive purposes, the number of available women is alone important, so long as the number of virile males is not too small a fraction of the number of females. If the females were four times the number of the males, and perhaps if they were ten times the number, with free polygyny, the rate of reproduction would be the same per female, as if the numbers of males and females were equal, provided the economic conditions were as favorable. But, if the number of men is not great enough to provide an adequate food supply, and to properly care for and protect the women, then the rate of reproduction will decrease.
In some societies, a man who marries an elder sister may marry all her younger sisters also, even those which are not born until after the marriage of the first. This condition has been confused with the sororate, which is a system in monogamous or polygynous marriage in which a man has the right or even the obligation, in the event of his wife's death, to marry her next younger sister. The actual extent to which the sororate has been in vogue is obscure, and generalizations concerning it in any society are to be viewed with suspicion.
III. Polyandry is the form of marriage in which one woman has several husbands. Polyandry has perhaps existed in the past more widely than at the present day, but is still prevalent in certain parts of
( 59) Thibet and Southern India. Three principal subforms have been distinguished. (1) In Thibet, the elder of a group of brothers takes a wife, but his younger brothers are her husbands jointly with him. This type of marriage has been supposed to be maintained because of the excess of males, and the necessity of most of the males of the family (who are in Thibet principally herdsmen) being away from home a great part of the time. This type of polyandry is called fraternal and Thibetian polyandry, although it exists in places other than Thibet. (2) In some places, the joint husbands are not brothers, but are severally chosen by the wife. (3) In one form of non-fraternal polyandry, the several husbands are chosen for different days of the week. The wife will have one husband for Mondays and Wednesdays: another for Tuesdays and Thursdays: etc.
Polyandry must not be confused with the levirate, which is the system under which, in monogamous or polygynous marriages, the widow of the elder brother may, at his death, become either the legal or the de facto wife of the next younger. If the widow becomes the de facto wife, her children by the new relation are classed as children of her first husband. In some places the man has been obliged to take the deceased elder brother's wife; in other places he merely has the option to do so.
In polyandrous systems, the paternity of the children is variously determined. In the Thibetan system, all children are ascribed to the oldest living brother. This means, of course, nothing more than that he is the head of the family. In the other systems, the paternity of each child is voluntarily assumed by one or the other of the husbands, by going through certain ceremonials, or else a regular method of ascribing children to the fathers in certain order is employed. In these cases there is no family head. In no case is any attention paid to the physiological paternity, which, of course, could not possibly be determined in most cases.
Polygyny and polyandry are both forms of polygamy: a term which is sometimes incorrectly applied to polygyny alone.
IV. Group marriage is the marriage of several men to several women. While this institution has really existed in several parts of the world, and exists today in certain parts of India, it has never been wide spread, and has probably never been the predominant form of marriage in any community.
Most frequently group marriage is merely an extension of the third type of polyandry, so that while each woman has two or more husbands, with specific time allotments, each of the husbands also has several wives with complementary time allotments. In some cases, however, group marriage has apparently existed without any formal temporal arrangement.
Any of the four forms of marriage may be of longer or of shorter duration. The theory of western monogamous marriages is that they are terminated by death only; but divorce has been allowed for various causes, and the movement of progress today is in the direction of greater freedom in divorce. Among oriental peoples in general, divorce is legally much freer, and is actually more openly practiced. It is to be remembered that among western peoples de facto divorce, without legal formalities is frequent. At the other extreme from the life-long unions are the trial marriages, undertaken for a specific term of years, and the mot'u form of marriage common among early Semitic races, in which the union was explicitly temporary; frequently for a few days, and often for a single night.
While the actual duration of marriage does not necessarily alter its form while it endures, the premeditation of separation unquestionably does modify its important psychological factors, since the attitudes of husband and wife towards each other are of especial importance. The conditions surrounding trial, or term marriages, are therefore quite independent of the conditions of divorce, where the assumption is in favor of permanence.
The restrictions laid on divorce are sometimes supposed to be due to the need of protecting women, and women are undoubtedly in need of protection in divorce. The advent of children; the suppression during married life of preparation for an occupation by which a woman might support herself independently; and the rapid decrease in sexual desirability of women with increasing years, so that the chances of remarriage are progressively diminished; all make it necessary that wives should not be discarded without adequate provision for their maintenance and the maintenance of their children. That these considerations have actually had much weight in the formulation of present day restrictions on divorce is, however, rendered quite improbable by the fact that it is everywhere more difficult for a woman to obtain divorce than it is for men, whereas
( 61) the contrary should be true if the restrictions on divorce came about primarily for the protection of women.
Those marriage systems in which marriage is easily terminated are conventionally termed "brittle."The effect of a brittle marriage system on the average duration of marriages is undoubtedly apt to be overestimated. Successful marriages are seldom terminated, how-ever "brittle"the system may be, and the actual proportion of unsuccessful marriages which would be terminated if our system were more brittle is probably not large. Where the system is less brittle, the proportion of de facto divorces is larger, and extra-marital relations more prevalent, and those individuals who are determined to secure divorce will go to greater lengths to do so. In New York State, for example, where divorce is not allowed except for adultery, or other scandalous conditions, those requiring divorce readily secure legal evidence of adultery, even without actually committing it. More severe legal restrictions on divorce among those peoples who permit it freely might produce fewer legal divorces: but that marital conditions would be improved thereby has not been established.
Regardless of the form or brittleness of marriage, its actual conditions vary between extremes of strictness and looseness. In strict monogamy, there is no extra-marital coitus: there is no sexual inter-course before marriage, and intercourse only between husband and wife after marriage. Such marriages do occur, and frequently; but the actual proportion is not large in any so-called monogamous civilized country. Among "primitive"peoples, strict monogamy has been far more common, in some cases even having been the prevailing system.
The most common loose form of monogamy is that in which the woman alone is monogamous, but the man is permitted extra-marital relations before and after marriage. This is the predominant system in both Eastern and Western civilizations, and, of course, necessitates a large class of prostitutes, either of female slaves or else of loose women, apart from wives and future wives. Another loose form, more common among so-called primitive peoples, but not infrequent in civilized communities, is that in which both sexes are permitted freedom of intercourse before marriage, and conditions are strict after marriage. This is, of course, by far the less vicious system, since it does not involve prostitution, and the attendant evils of
( 62) seduction. This system is far from primitive, but is probably the result of a very long course of social progress. Whether the savages who attained to a real monogamy passed through this stage or not cannot be determined.
Among some primitive people, even among tribes where marriages were otherwise strict, a certain degree of extra-marital intercourse was allowed both men and women at stated times during the year, at which times festivals (corroborees) were held. But coitus at these times was not promiscuous, being restricted by the same incest regulations which governed marriage, and sometimes being still further restricted to more limited groups. Among the ancient Romans the Saturnalia were festivals of this sort, although greater freedom of choice of temporary mates was allowed than has been customary among savages. The midwinter and springtime festivals of the Druidical people, from which our Christmas and Easter festivals have come down, are also alleged to have been similar festivals.
The lending of women has not been considered an infraction of marriage by savage and ancient people generally, but rather the highest form of hospitality. This does not include any element of freedom for the female, since she is considered property, and loaned exactly as a domestic animal might be. The woman might be held extremely culpable if she escaped from bonds and indulged her desire extra-maritally; and the man who took possession of another's wife without his consent might also be held gravely culpable; in both cases the husband's "honor" and dignity have been violated. But if the husband voluntarily turns the wife over to the other man, neither is culpable, and the husband's "honor" is not injured. The condition would be precisely the same in regard to the use of his saddle horse by another man.
Extra-marital intercourse has among various peoples been pre-scribed to women under religious auspices, without interference with her status in an otherwise strict (that is, strict for women), marriage system. It is recorded that every woman in Tyre was required once in her life to prostitute herself in the temple of Mylitta, as a religious act. This requirement was undoubtedly in the beginning a provision of hospitality to strangers. Among many ancient civilizations, barren wives had recourse to the aid of the God, as represented by the priest, that she might conceive, and the God's blessing in some
( 63) places was invoked in every marriage in the same manner. Later, the rite was modified as in Rome, so that an image of the god was substituted for the priest in the marriage ritual.
Religious indulgence by men in extra-marital intercourse was characteristic of all the ancient civilizations, and the temples of the great goddess Istar, under her various names of Astarte, Istar, Aphrodite, Venus, and Mylitta were in reality vast houses of prostitution. Some of them contained several thousand "female votaries"(hierodules). Intercourse with sacred prostitutes is a religious rite in certain places in India today.
Polyandrous, polygynous, and group marriage systems vary greatly in strictness, but apparently where polyandry is practiced, marriage is far more strict than it is on the average where monogamy and polygyny are official systems. This condition has been ascribed to the greater power and influence of woman in polyandry, and this ascription may be correct. The influence of woman, where she attains to more than the class of property, seems to be on the side of strictness and regularity in marriage.
§2. Family relationships and lineage
In the Western world we are familiar with the patronymic and patrilineal systems, in which the wife and children take the name of the husband, and all individuals are reckoned as belonging to the families of their male descent. In many of the miscalled "primitive" cultures the opposite plan (matronymic and matrilineal) was pursued, the children taking the name of the mother's family, and belonging to her family, but many of the matronymic systems are not completely matrilineal, male lineage also being reckoned, and being important in determining eligibility for marriage, and in various other ways. So also in our own system, we do not completely ignore relationships in the female line, although they are reckoned as less important than the male relationships.
Consideration of the existence of the matrilineal systems and matronymic systems led to a curious theory of primitive society having been matriarchal in its organization and control. In this theory of the "matriarchate" the women were supposed to have been in control in the early stages of human societies, and to have later lost this dominance to the males. It was assumed that the mother was the
( 64) actual head of the family, as the man is among us, and that for this reason her children took her name and reckoned their lineage through her, disregarding the subordinate father.
This theory has been abandoned, because it has been found that naming and tracing lineage have very little to do with the dominance or control of either sex. In all known forms of family organization, the men control, even in those tribes in which name and lineage are traced through the mother. The head of the family is not the mother, but her brother, or if no brother lives, some other male member of the family. In fact, it is not the name of the mother which is given to the child, but the name of the mother's family, which is quite a different matter.
A more plausible theory of the origin of matronymy is that it is due to loose marriage systems, in which the paternity of the child was uncertain, while the maternity is, of course, always known. This theory is weakened, however, by the fact that even under the patronymic system, the physiological paternity of the child has not always been considered a matter of importance, the child here also being really ascribed to the family to which the father belongs. Further-more, there is sufficient reason for the existence of the patrilinear system where it occurs, and the matrilinear system where it occurs, in the regulations concerning exogamy and incest without resorting to this theory at all.
§3. Exogamy and incest
Among most peoples there are definite restrictions on the choice of mates, either in marriage or in extra-marital relations, quite aside from the restrictions of wealth and social caste. Among Europeans, mating of brother and sister is abhorrent, and usually illegal. Among some peoples, mating of first cousins, even sometimes of cousins once removed, is banned; and the mating of uncle with niece or aunt with nephew is also prohibited. In England, until a few years ago, the marrying of a deceased wife's sister was also illegal. Marriage or coitus within the prohibited degrees of relationship is incest, and incest is everywhere more strongly reprehended than any other form of sexual irregularity.
Among many primitive peoples, incest prohibitions have apparently nothing to do directly with blood relationships, although there are indirect bearings of one on the other. No one can marry a direct descendent (son or daughter), in any case; but aside from this, the prohibitions are so complicated, and vary so from tribe to tribe that they were at first puzzling to the anthropologists. In some cases, first cousins can marry; in other cases, not. Sometimes, crossed cousins can marry, but parallel cousins could not. More extraordinary still, double crossed cousins (e.g., where the woman's father is brother of the man's mother, and her mother a sister of his father) can marry, although the children of two sisters could not marry, whether their fathers were brothers or not. The same confusing variations of regulations existed with regard to uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews. Among some peoples, moreover, the only prohibitions were against individuals of one totem marrying individuals of the same or of certain other totems. Men of the opossum totem could marry women of the kangaroo totem, and vice versa, but neither could marry into the owl totem. None could marry within their own totem. Apparently, (and actually), blood relationship was quite ignored.
The most plausible explanation of all these and other confusing regulations is really quite simple. Incest is intrinsically the marrying of two persons brought up together in childhood, or who are other-wise domiciled together as housemates. Blood relationship is important only because it does determine housemates, but variously under various marriage systems. Since under modern living conditions, cousins are no more intimately associated than are less closely related children, marriage of cousins has ceased to be incest. Since the custom of a younger sister living with a married sister has largely passed into desuetude in England, marrying a deceased wife's sister is no longer incest there. If there are real foundations for traditions which tell of peoples among whom brothers and sisters marry, we maybe sure that among those peoples brothers and sisters were not brought up in the same household. Half brothers and sisters by polygynous marriage cannot mate, where the wives live in a common domicile; but in a country where polygyny were the custom, and each wife had a separate domicile, there would be no such objection to the marriage of half siblings.
Among some primitive peoples, the husband becomes a member of
( 66) the wife's family. This was the case with Jacob, who lived with the people of his wives until he made bold to run away with his wives and their goods by night. Among other peoples, the wife became a member of the husband's family, as Rebecca did of Isaac's. Under either of these systems, mates could not be chosen from the same family (and it must be remembered that the family sometimes includes first cousins and sometimes second cousins also, but sometimes does not extend beyond siblings); and this necessary regulation was the only regulation necessary for the choice of mates. Under either system, if a brother and sister of one family marry a sister and brother of another, the son of the one couple is free to marry the daughter of the other, for they are brought up in different families. But under the first system, if two sisters in one family are married by two brothers from another family, or by two men from two different families, the children of these two sisters may not marry one another, because they are home-mates. The children of two brothers, however, who marry into different families, are free to marry one another. Under the second system, the conditions are reversed. As families increase in size, and break up, but still continue to live in close proximity, forming gentes, clans, or tribes, the regulations applying to the original families will necessarily apply to the tribes or clans descended from them. Individuals may not mate within the tribe (or clan or gentes), for they are still home mates, but must find their mates outside the group. If the families descended from the original families separate and clans are not formed, the family rule may still hold. If the two original systems become mingled, so that within the same families, the wife sometimes joins the husband's family, the husband some-times the wife's, the same incest regulations still hold, only in such cases the results as regards blood relationship will vary, according to the system followed in the particular cases. But the blood relation-ship is not intrinsically a matter of importance.
In the social growth of some peoples, an intricate system of social classification has grown up: the tribe has divided into larger groups (commonly into halves which the anthropologists call "moities") and these groups are divided into smaller groups, variously described as "clans," "gentes," or "totems." In some of the matrilinear systems (that is, where the children belong to the "totem" of the mother) the husbands also, at marriage, join the wife's totem. In other matri-
( 67) linear systems the husband still belongs to the totem of his birth. Similarly there are two forms of the patrilinear system.
In some cases, the tribe is divided into several totems which are named each for some animal or plant, giving a descriptive name, and the child belongs to neither the totem of the father or mother. Sup-pose there are four totems called (1) bat, (2) kangaroo, (3) snake, (4) opossum. A snake can marry only a kangaroo; and a bat can marry only an opossum. But the child of the male bat and female opossum is a kangaroo, the child of the male opossum and the femalebat is a snake; the child of the male kangaroo and the female snake is a bat; and the child of the male snake and the female kangaroo is an opossum. But the same incest regulations hold for the children and hence home mates cannot marry.
It is difficult to explain the development of this (and of other still more complicated systems), but it may have arisen through the change from an original matrilocal and matrilinear system (on which the husband went to live with the mother's people, and children took their mother's totem), to a patrilocal system (in which it is actually found). In a matrilocal system with four totems the marriage of sisters' children would of course be forbidden. A change to a patrilocal and patrilinear system would permit the marriage of sisters' children, if the simple rule of not marrying into the same totem were retained. The more complex rule, however, would prevent violence to the established prejudice, since it would prohibit marriage of children of two brothers, as well as children of two sisters, and permit marriage of crossed cousins as usual. It would, moreover, make the transition to the patrilocal system easier, since it would not so much outrage the dignity of women to have the child take a totem different from both mother's and father's as to have it take the father's totem when it had formerly taken the mother's. Even if there had been, under the matrilocal system, but two totems, and hence marriage of both types of parallel cousins already prohibited, the division of each of the original totems into two, and the institution of the new rule would make the transition to the patrilocal system simple.
But all suggested classification systems are highly conjectural. The important matter is, that practically all of the incest prohibitions work in the same way: they eliminate the marriage of home-mates.
The custom of marrying outside one's family, clan, tribe, or totem,
( 68) is called exogamy. Several theories have been advanced to account for exogamy, but the more widely held theories are obviously inadequate.
One theory is that man early noticed the ill effect of inbreeding, or mating of close blood relatives, and provided against it. This theory falls down on the fact that the commonest incest systems of primitive man, as have been explained above, pay absolutely no attention to blood relationship in mating, and that such prohibitions as apply to blood relations are purely incidental. Furthermore, there is no evidence that primitive man ever noticed, or supposed, any ill effects of inbreeding. In fact, it is by no means certain that the ill effects are not more than set off by the beneficial effects, so far as the direct effects on the progeny are concerned.
The theory that exogamy is the social habit resultant from an earlier general custom of wife capture, is also without effective foundation. Woman-stealing from enemy tribes has always occurred, especially in time of actual war; but there is no reason to suppose that it was ever more prevalent than it is today. Wife stealing within the tribe or family would not lead to exogamy, and besides, like the stealing of foreign women, was never more than incidental. The notion of primitive man customarily obtaining his wife by knocking her down and dragging her to his den belongs only to comic operas and the comic strips. There is no reason to suppose that lovemaking among primitive man was not of the same type that it is today among civilized man, apes, and the lower animals.
The symbolic form of capture occurring in many marriage ceremonies has been pointed out as a survival of actual wife capture at an earlier time; but there are other interpretations of this symbol which are more plausible, and moreover, if it were interpreted as a survival, it would obviously be a symbol of capture within, and not without the group.
A third theory, that there is an "instinctive" tendency to be repelled by a home-mate, or at least not to be sexually attracted by her (or him), and that out of this "instinctive" tendency grew the habit of seeking mates outside the home, is a purely arbitrary assumption, ad hoc, with definite evidence against it. It is a fact that close association of males and females from childhood up, is frequently marked by lack of sexual stimulation, but this is true only of the cases in which the incest prohibition is thoroughly accepted. It is a result
( 69) of the incest regulation, and not a cause. Between brothers and sisters who are thoroughly trained in the convention that siblings do not mate, there is a minimum of sex stimulation; but where this convention is not thoroughly inculcated, sex stimulation and sexual intercourse do occur; and the great number of such cases is well known to social workers. Even with the best of training, the sex stimulation is sometimes too strong to be withstood by convention.
Conversely, there is no more sex attraction between cousins brought up in separate families than when brought up in the same family, if the convention has been well taught them. Among savages also, the force of the incest inhibition does not depend upon the closeness of the actual association, but upon the convention itself. The prohibition against marrying a member of the same group has the same force in large groups as in much more closely associated smaller groups, although in the large group many of the individuals who are prohibited from mating may not be intimately associated. From all these considerations it is evident that the inhibition of the sexual impulses is not the primary factor, and the cause of the convention; but that the convention is primary, and the cause of the inhibition; and that the convention is necessary just because there is no natural inhibition.
This conclusion is strengthened by the many other measures taken by savages and civilized folk which have the object of the prevention of sexual intercourse between the boys and girls. Among some tribes, different territories are assigned to them, within the camp and out-side of it, and trespassing by a boy or unmarried youth on the territory of the maidens, or vice versa, is severely punished, death often being the penalty. Among other tribes, the girls are confined in cages from an early age until married. Among some peoples the infibulation of girls, that is, the fastening of metal rings through the genital labia, is practiced as a mechanical preventative. Superstitious fear of the effects of intercourse by a youth before elaborate rituals of initiation into manhood or womanhood are also widely inculcated. Many other types of deterrent, including the civilized system of chaperonage, and the inculcation of ideals of chastity, and punishment for violations, are also employed.
The incest convention serves as a repressant of the sexual excitability of adult housemates also. The man is less stimulated by his
( 70) niece, or sister-in-law, or other female housemate whom he has been trained to regard as not a potential sexual mate, than by women out-side the particular incest convention which he accepts. The various other devices which savage and barbaric people use to inhibit the ordinary sorts of social intercourse between men and women associated in the same household must be interpreted as means to the same end. For example, where the mother-in-law and son-in-law are prohibited from speaking to or looking directly at each other, we can be reasonably sure that the regulation has arisen from conditions in which the two lived in the same household, and is a method for the lessening of sexual temptation.
It is inevitable that males who are closely associated with intrinsically desirable females should be sexually stimulated by them, and should have their sex desires aroused thereby. The converse is true of the females, with due regard to the differences in the excitability of sex emotions pointed out in Chapter II. The closer the association, the greater the tendency to sexual intercourse, if specific precautions are not taken against it. The incest conventions are such specific precautions, taken by the group against the most dangerous of the sex situations, that of adolescents.
Among the lower animals, sex desires arise in connection with the nearest members of the opposite sex, and sex activities are undertaken whenever sex excitability develops in both. Among domestic animals, the male is excitable at any time, after a certain age, and will attempt intercourse with any female who is excited. But the females of these species are excitable only at specific periods; and the male cannot commit the sexual act without her consent. Among wild animals, the males also are excitable only during certain seasons (rutting seasons), during which they engage in sex activities to the full extent of their opportunities. By these seasonal limitations, animals are in general guarded against danger from excessive sexual activity, and during the youth of the male he is protected by the superior competition of the older males, who keep him from the females. The female is always protected by the shortness of her periods of oestrus (sexual excitability).It is quite possible that the really primitive human beings were protected in the same ways. Human beings, however, have progressed to a stage in which the male is continuously excitable, and the female also is nearly continuously so, although her excitability varies greatly
( 71) during the menstrual cycle. Under these conditions, with boys and girls in close association, and no other restrictions, sexual intercourse would begin early, and would, in general, be dangerously excessive. The effects on the individuals would be such that the race would soon die out, or remain on a low plane of development if the environment were not too unfavorable.
The manner in which the protecting incest conventions grew up is a matter for conjecture. While we can be certain that if they had not arisen, civilization would not have arisen, we cannot be sure as to the details of their rise. Unless man, in passing from the oestrus stage to the present sexual condition, had developed the capacity for the easy control of desire by ideas which now characterizes him, the transition would have been fatal to many stocks, and perhaps only the strains which actually made the two transitions simultaneously have survived. But it is not necessary to suppose that the convention was developed primarily through analytic reasoning and generalization. Perhaps in its earliest form the convention was largely a matter of prejudice based on experience but vaguely analyzed. Certainly, as the conventions have existed in their final forms they have been almost entirely matters of unreasoned prejudices, their real bases quite misunderstood, tenaciously retained because society does not function adequately without them.
Exogamy is sometimes contrasted with endogamy (marriage within the group) but the two terms are really not opposites, but relative terms. A society may be exogamous as regards the sub-divisions, such as totems, or families, but at the same time endogamous as regards the larger group. In some cases a race, such as' the Jewish race today, may be endogamous, not taking mates from other races, although exogamous (in the blood relational sense) otherwise. Among primitive peoples, in some cases endogamy of the larger group is rigidly prescribed, along with the exogamy of the smaller sub-divisions; in other cases, endogamy may be the general rule, but larger exogamy permitted. Some races, like the early Jews, may prescribe endogamy for the women, although allowing exceptions for the men.
Among civilized peoples, and probably also among primitive peoples, certain types of racial exogamy may be forbidden although otherwise racial exogamy is permitted. Thus, among the whites of the United States there is free racial exogamy, although mixture of Semit-
( 72) -ics and Gentiles is not generally approved; but intermarriage with negroes is forbidden in almost all states, and there is strong feeling against mixture with the yellow races, although such intermarriage does occur.
Regarding extra marital relations, the rules of primitive peoples are practically the same as for marriage. The savage cannot form liasons with any person of the opposite sex who is not by class or other relationships eligible as a husband or wife. Among the "superior" races, however, such is not the case. In the United States, although liasons between white women and negro men are generally reprehended, even among prostitutes, the converse relation is very common, and is not strongly condemned. In some parts of the country, in fact, it is assumed as the normal practice for males generally. The extensive practice of this miscegenation is evidenced by the rising flood of mulattoes, quadroons, and lighter mixtures, which constitute the only real "negro" problem.
The tendency of the males of the "superior" races to promiscuity with females of the "inferior" races has been well marked wherever two such races have been in contact, and has been strongly defended as promoting the improvement of the inferior race without weakening the stronger, provided legal marriage between the two races is prohibited, since the superior race is maintained pure, and the fertilizing of the inferior females extra-maritally need not interfere with breeding of children from the wives of the superior males. As a matter of fact, this argument is fallacious, since the mixed blood always eventually flows back, and the two races become amalgamated.
This is beginning to happen between the white and colored races in the United States, because there is now a large and rapidly in-creasing number of persons with negro blood who can not be distinguished from whites, especially the whites of certain of our numerous later immigrant stocks. It is only a question of a short period, if the present relations of white men and negro women continue, until these two races will be completely assimilated.
Aside from the merely genetic effects of extra-marital relations between white men and negro women, (and of promiscuity between superior males and inferior females in general), the psychological
( 73) effects on the families of the superior races is a matter for serious consideration. When wives are merely property, and the personal attitude of the husband towards his wife and towards prostitutes differs only in that the former is his private property, and the latter are not, family life remains on a low and gross plane, and miscegenation matters little. The higher forms of family life, however, cannot develop under such conditions, and with the rise of woman to the position of a person, with full personal rights, the revolution against prostitution as well as against miscegenation has commenced. Her sexual nature, as described in Chapter II is such that she strongly demands the higher type of marriage, and opposes the conditions which prevent its being obtained. Promiscuity of other types, what-ever the objections to it, does not have the destructive effects on the family which miscegenation and prostitution have.
§4. The origin of the family
Concerning the origin of the family there has been much speculation. The theory which has the most extended vogue, although it is now largely discredited, assumes that the most primitive mating system of the human race was promiscuity, in which every male member of the group mated at will with any female member who might be willing, with no restrictions even of incest. Theoretically, every
( 74) nubile female in such a group would be the wife of every potent male, although in large groups every male might not actually mate with every female. The theory further assumes that from this state of "promiscuity" polyandry developed in some cases, and polygyny in others, with incidental monogamy; and that with further development of the polygynous systems, monogamy became more prevalent.
The causes assigned for the development of polygyny from the alleged primitive state of promiscuity have varied somewhat. Two important theories have been advanced, in both of which woman stealing and female infanticide have figured prominently. According to McLennan's theory, female infants were killed, because of the limited food resources as the population grew, the males being pre-served because of their being an asset in fighting strength, and in getting food through hunting. The resulting relative shortage of women, and quarrels over their possession, led to the stealing of women from other tribes. This system had the advantage of relieving the tribe of the care and feeding of the females during infancy.
In the assumed primitive stage of promiscuity, there would be, of course, no private property rights in the women. But with regard to women captured from other tribes, the situation would be different. The man, or the group, which had by force of arms, or by cunning, captured a woman, could claim her for their exclusive possession. Private property is always more highly valued by the individual than
( 75) is community property, in which he has merely an individual share; and since, moreover, the captured women could be completely dominated by their captors, they were valuable also for the work they could be made to do. Hence, the captured women were more valued than the tribal women, and the possessors of them were objects of envy. This situation would both incite other men to capture women for themselves, and also place the tribal women in the inferior position of being less valued. As the institution of private wives grew, it led to the assignment of the tribal women to private owners, a result agreeable not only to the males who were unable to capture wives, but also to the women themselves, since it relieved them from a disagreeable position of inferiority; and the women not assigned, but remaining "common," lost their original rights to tribal support, and became economically dependent on their individual bargains with the men: i.e., they became prostitutes.
The other theory of the rise of marriage from promiscuity held by Lubbock (Lord Avebury) assumes that marriage by capture first arose, and then female infanticide arose because of the surplus of females due to capture, since the two sexes are everywhere born in nearly equal numbers. In other respects, the two theories agree, and may be treated as one.
McLennan's arguments for this theory were drawn from the wide-spread occurrence of dramatic representations of capture in marriage ceremonies which he assumed to be symbols, or survivals in form, of the earlier actual capture habit. But although the capture of women, as has been stated in Section 3, has been indulged in always by conquering warriors, and by stronger tribes or groups who have lived in weak proximity convenient to weaker peoples, and may have forced certain weaker tribes into polyandry, there is no evidence that it has in general preceded monogamous and polygynous practices.
Lubbock's arguments were based on details of marriage ceremonies which were interpreted as symbolizing the relinquishing, by the males of the group, of sexual rights to the bride. He assumed that these
( 76) symbols were survivals of earlier ceremonials by which actual rights were relinquished when women, previously common property of the men, were assigned to the exclusive possession of individual men. Some of these ceremonials have survived to our times in the very much softened forms of the kissing of the bride by the male guests, the functions of the "best" man, the "blessing" of the wedding by the priest, and the "charivareeing" or "rough-housing" of the bridal couple. Additional evidence was drawn by Lubbock from the practice of wife lending, which he supposed to be a survival of primitive promiscuity, and from the polyandrous form of marriage.
It is admitted that the symbols of the marriage ceremony are of great interest, and do point in some cases to earlier (and ruder) conditions of society. But the specific interpretations placed upon these symbols by McLennan, Lubbock, and others, are not convincing. The ritual of capture has been more adequately explained as a symbol of the natural sexual behaviour of man and woman. The consummation of genuine marriage by sexual intercourse can take place only through the mutual desires of the man and woman, and typically, as has been explained earlier, the specific desires of the woman must be aroused through the love making of the male. Metaphorically speaking, the male always must "pursue" the female: hence, the symbol of capture. However, it seems probable that in some cases actual flight and pursuit is a direct sex stimulant to the female, provided she be already predisposed towards the pursuer, or towards sex-relations. If this be
( 77) true, the symbol of courtship in general is itself an actual method of courting.
The symbols of relinquishment alleged by Lubbock are more adequately interpreted not as indications of an earlier period in which all the males of the group had actual marital rights to the woman, but as expressions of a degree of civil organization, over and above the family, which grew up relatively late. Primitively, marriage would be an arrangement between the families to which the bride and groom be-longed; an arrangement which did not concern other families. But as the state, or civil organization began to develop, it became necessary for the community to take cognizance of marriages, and to assert its rights to control them, as the state has more and more done up to the present day. The rituals referred to would, on this interpretation, be the acts by which the men of the community demonstrated that the marriage was an affair of the community.
The lending of wives, and corrobborrees and saturnalias may have grown up in a variety of ways, and are not any more indicative of an earlier sexual promiscuity than is prostitution; and prostitution is a relatively late growth in any society.
More significant than the other possibilities in the way of explaining the rituals and customs, is the fact that no evidence has been found, aside from these symbolic interpretations, that a primitive stage of promiscuity ever existed anywhere; and as before explained, the facts concerning the lower animals are all against such an assumption. We must for the present assume that monogamy, polyandry, and polygyny were the most primitive forms of human marriage, although they may have been quite brittle, and that prostitution, and promiscuity and the looser forms of marriage are a relatively late development. The earliest of these three forms may have been monogamy, or may have been polygyny of the stronger males, with celibacy en-forced upon the weaker males, as among seals and wild cattle, or with polyandry developing among those groups of enforced "bachelors" who, by joining forces, could succeed in obtaining possession of a woman. It is possible, however, that monogamy and polygyny developed simultaneously, as they exist today in so-called "polygamous" countries. While there seems to be some evidence that polyandry in its systematic development as the institution of a whole tribe or a race has been brought about by the scarcity of females, due
( 78) to the persistent capture of their women by stronger tribes or races, the system preceding polyandry in those cases might have been the usual mixture of monogamy and polygyny, or might have included polyandry also.
§5. The diminishing functions of the family
We may distinguish the social functions of the family, which are by no means separable, as (1) genetic, (2) economic and martial, (3) educational, (4) civil, (5) religious, and (6) psychological. The relative importance of these various functions varies from time to time, from people to people, and between individual families. A family can exist without the second, third, fourth and fifth of these functions, provided either the first or the sixth be represented; but it must have either the first or the sixth even if it has no other functions. As a matter of fact, a family could hardly have the first function without having some degree of the sixth, but many modem families are entirely devoid of the first function, and the importance of this function is diminishing generally; while the importance of the psycho-logical function is increasing, and the function itself is becoming more complex.
1. The genetic function of the family. The family has been a mechanism for the generation of children and their protection and nourishment during the period in which they are unable to look out for them-selves. This function of the human family has paralleled a similar function of the family among the lower animals. Among birds and mammals generally, the coöperation of the father and mother in rearing the young is evident. Among insects, and many other orders of life, there is no family; the coöperation of the male and the female ceasing with the fertilization of the eggs, and the activities of the female in behalf of the young ceasing before the eggs are hatched. In the human species, it is reasonable to suppose that the family has been the most primitive means for both generation and rearing of young, and no substitute for it has yet been found. Even such proposals as that of Plato in his Republic, which would entirely supplant the family genetically, have not, so far as we can infer, arisen until a late stage of civilization has been reached. No indications of such proposals, to say nothing of actual attempts to carry such into effect, have been discovered among savages.
If it were not for the problem of nurture, the family might not have had any genetic function, and might easily be supplanted now. There would be little difficulty in the generation of children, if they took care of themselves from the beginning of embryonic development as easily as does the young mosquito. But the dependence of the child, both before and after birth, has made necessary a social organization for his care, and the family, in the past, has been that organization. This dependence makes the needs of the child social from the early stages of conception, and no social organization which might supersede the family in supplanting those needs has yet been developed, in spite of the theories of Plato, Bellamy, and others. The assumption that primitive man had such a social organization, which the highest development of civilization has been unable to attain (an assumption involved in the theories of McLennan and Lubbock), is no less than ridiculous. Yet the prediction that such a mechanism will not some-time be developed is a mere guess without foundation. In such a case, the family would be entirely superseded genetically: that is to say, it might entirely lose its genetic function; but that does not mean that it would disappear, for the family without genetic function might become even more important in other respects than it now is.
2. Economic and martial functions. Economic activities include those which result in, or contribute to, the supplying of food, shelter, and amusement (in so far as the amusement is not of a purely social nature). We assume that among primitive man economic activities were covered by hunting; fishing; a rude agriculture, consisting at least of the gathering of seeds, fruits, roots, etc.; and rude industry, consisting of the elaboration of simple products such as tent coverings, garments, arrows, and knives from the produce of the hunt, stones, and plants. Later, the manufacture of pottery, textiles, and better tools and weapons was introduced. From these points, the economic activities have progressed until we have reached the present complexity of production, including razor blades, saxophones, canned salmon, and face powder. From the very earliest times, dolls, balls, and other implements for games, musical instruments, and pictures, have had their economic place.
Whatever else man does, he must live, and he must reproduce, or the race dies. If the genetic need had not been present, man might have lived individually. But, since for genetic reasons he had to
( 80) live socially, the genetic unit, naturally, was the economic and martial unit. Since the children must be fed, (and in some cases clothed), and protected, the economic needs of the husband and wife could not be separated from those of the children, and as the family grew, from those of the grandchildren. Having these interests in common, warfare, both defensive and aggressive, was naturally a family affair.
Under modern civilization, the martial function of the family has almost entirely ceased, its last remnants appearing in the vendettas and feuds of Corsica, Kentucky, and some other localities. War is now a function of the larger group, and has become differentiated into the functions of warfare proper, and police power, neither of which may be taken over by individuals or by families without conflict with the state, except in those places to which the power of the state does not extend, or in which it has signally lapsed.
The economic functions of the family have also suffered serious reductions, and have changed their forms, but have by no means lapsed. Few families in civilized countries are now economically self sufficient. The days in which a family produced all its own raw materials and manufactured from them its own food supplies, clothing, shelter, and weapons and tools, are long past. With the rise of barter and commerce, families began to specialize on a limited range of production, and to exchange these for the needed products of families elsewhere. With the larger use of money, and the formation of guilds and other industrial communities, extending thus the scope of commerce, specialization became intensified. Some families produced nothing but a certain kind of cloth; others only cheese; others laces, watches, and so on. The rise of the industrial system, which took the principal manufacture almost entirely out of the family, has swept family industry almost entirely away, but has not changed the economic basis of the family except by still further specializing it.
The weavers no longer carry on weaving as individuals (or families), selling the cloth; they now work in weaving mills, but their wages are used for family support, just as before. And so with all other industries which have been put in a factory or shop, instead of on a family basis. The specialization of workers by separating administration, mostly of buying and selling, etc., from technical labor, has not changed in any wise the economic basis of the family.
Agricultural production, in the broad sense, has changed least of all.
( 81) Although the industrialization of farm products, especially as concerns the great staples, beef, wheat, cotton, etc., has commenced, yet farming is still a family occupation and probably will continue to be so for a long time.
Through all these changes, certain minor occupations have remained persistently in families. The making of women's and children's clothes remains there to a large extent, although the making of men's wear is almost completely industrialized. Laundry work, and cleaning of various kinds are predominantly family occupations today, but here also industrialization is rapidly taking place.
The one great occupation which has passed very little out of the family, namely, feeding, including the processes of preparing, cooking,and serving food, and the universally detested consequence, the washing of dishes, is man's work in some parts of the world, woman's in others; but it is everywhere family work, except among certain "primitive" tribes, and among a very small class of civilized people, who live in hotels or patronize community dining rooms. The retention of the feeding on the wasteful and inefficient family plane has not been due to lack of desire to industrialize it, but because no competent industrialization has yet been worked out. The attempts made on a small scale have either been too expensive for people in general, although approved and patronized by the wealthy class; or else have been unsatisfactory in results. The main difficulty seems to be that from a public dining room patrons demand service far superior to that which they accept in their homes; and service is the expensive part of the feeding industry. Furthermore, service must be paid for in a public dining room, but may be the unpaid labor of women at home. That the problem will be solved some day, and the present system of home feeding will be superseded, there is no reason to doubt.
The entire routing of industry from the home, however, makes no change in the real economic basis of the family. And in this direction there has been no large change, except in allowing married men and women to own private property, and in providing for the severing of children from family responsibility at the age of legal maturity. Old age pensions and state aid for mothers are minor steps in the same direction.
Schemes of individual economic independence, of course, have been proposed: schemes by which the state should be the economic unit, and individuals economically responsible to it, and it should be responsible for the individuals. In such schemes the wife is not economically dependent on the husband, and vice versa; and the children are not dependent on either. On small scales, communities have tried such plans; but their failures are without significance, since an industrialized community could not be expected to succeed surrounded by a larger community on a family basis. The truth seems to be that we do not want to abolish the economic aspect of the family, although there is no evidence that abolition would injure any of its other functions.
If we consider the function of the family from the point of view of desires, it is obvious that the satisfaction of the desires for shelter, for food, for excretion, for rest, and for activity, are, under the family system, tied closely up with the satisfaction of sexual desire. Apparently, these desires have been better satisfied when satisfied in conjunction; and this fact is explicitly recognized in a variety of ways by people in general, and the recognition embodied in our literature is manifold. This recognition is so general that there is a widespread indisposition to countenance the separation of these satisfactions, lest they be in some way interfered with. There are many who fear even that public feeding would have that effect, and the fear that the declining of the general economic functions of the family would do so is widespread.
3. The educational functions of the family are, of course, rapidly declining. In primitive society, practically all that a child learned he learned from his father, mother, uncles, aunts, and other male and female relatives. Under civilization, up to a relatively recent date, industrial and technical education was still a family affair, apprentices being regularly taken into the family by the masters, and learning their trade there. The industrial system shifted this instruction to the factory and shops. The greatest blow to family education came, however, from the institution of schools. Schools were at first private, and relieved only the families of the upper, affluent, class of a large part of their educational functions. The advantages of the school system were, however, so obvious that the institution of public schools, open to all classes, came about as a natural consequence.
( 83) At the present time the school system is extending its functions in two directions, not only taking over the vocational functions of preparing for trades and industries, but also taking over more and more the domestic functions. Courses in cooking, sewing, etc., are regular features of our public and private schools. Aside from what is taught in schools, young people today obtain the larger part of their actual training from friends and associates outside of their home.
Theoretically, the family retains as its last educational function, what is vaguely described as "home" influence, which includes training in morals, manners, and matters of taste. But it is becoming evident that except in a very small percentage of families, "home influence" is inferior to good school influence, and not only are the sports and recreations of the young being more and more guided by the schools, but the "all the year round" school is rapidly being developed to keep the children away from "home influences" as much as possible. The time is rapidly approaching when the educational function of the home will be as far as possible reduced to the first few years of childhood, and very greatly assisted and modified even there. This system is very generally employed now by those wealthy enough to afford it, and its extension universally is only a matter of time.
4. Civic functions. The family necessarily exercises full civic functions until a definite community organization comes to replace it. Primarily, not only fixed rules of action, and of individual duties, privileges, and responsibilities, but also public opinion and force to sustain these, are family affairs. Even the duties of hospitality and the rules of warfare with other groups are family rules. With the rise of the state in its various forms, whether formal or by informal agreement, the civic functions of the family have become restricted to a minor point.
According to a commonly stated opinion, the family is the unit of state organization, when the state arises. Undoubtedly, this has been true to a certain extent. Suffrage, taxes, and many other civic functions have been, until recently, the rôles of heads of families. Even in this respect, matters are rapidly changing, and the assertion that the family was ever the exclusive unit of civic organization has been seriously disputed by anthropologists who hold that from the very start the individual as well as the family has been a direct unit in such organization. That the family, as such, will eventually cease to
( 84) figure at all in the organization of the state, although it will continue to be an important parallel organization, may reasonably be predicted.
5. The religious function of the family has suffered a great decline, as every one knows. Religious education in the civilized family is approaching the condition of the snakes in Ireland. So far as the religious rituals and other social religious functions are concerned, the function is rapidly being turned over to the church. Among protestant families, family prayer, and the family pew in the church, the last holds of family religious observance, are decidedly old-fashioned.
In some savage cultures and early forms of civilization, religious activities were primarily family affairs. The father, or the male head of the home, or some designated male in the more complex families, was the priest. Even when the church came, it recognized the family heads as priests, although strictly limiting their functions. That the church should entirely supersede the family in religious functions is as inevitable as that the state should supersede it in civil functions. Both church and state are specialized organizations, grown probably out of the family, to assume these specific functions.
§6. The higher psychology of the family
The psychological characteristics of men and women so far discussed are matters upon which data are available from some scientific studies, from observations and personal reports which are obtained without great difficulty, and from the study of the stage. Normal men and women, even the most refined and modest, can be induced to discuss the sex desires and their sex lives, when these are matters of serious interest, and when there is confidence in the integrity and decency of the one with whom they are discussed. The presentations of the stage for the most part revolve around the various aspects of the sex life, and the audience's understanding and appreciation, or lack of appreciation of the situations and problems which the playwrights have constructed, gives us an index of their own attitudes and their own desires and tendencies. When we depend on these sources, rather than on the data compiled from pathological cases, and interpret cautiously, we are not so much in danger of going astray in our conclusions.
There are, however, many matters of profound importance in the
( 85) psychological interactions of men and women concerning which conclusions are difficult, and indeed dangerous, both because of the difficulty of collecting data, and because of the difficulties in the analysis of such data as can be obtained. The psychologist must depend here on the results of his work in the adjustment of family relations in the cases constantly brought to him: cases in which there is no question of serious personal abnormality of either husband or wife, but in which ignorance has prevented the establishment of the normal psychological relations between them. In these cases, one must be constantly on the watch lest one commit the "pathologist's fallacy" which has been so prevalent in the study of individual sex characteristics. Yet this pitfall may be avoided if one analyzes carefully; for the subsequent course of the family, after adjustments are made, gives an indication as to whether the trouble was really in the maladjustment, or was due to pathological traits in the husband or wife. Mere ignorance, we should not count as pathological in the important sense of the term.
The needs of man for woman in the lower forms of emotional life, (commonly called "carnal" in contrast to "spiritual"), are obvious. The man whose emotional life is not developed by association with women in a variety of social ways is a narrow, frequently a warped, individual, ignorant, not only of half of humanity, but ignorant of him-self. The converse is equally true of woman. Into the complex development of life and character which comes through associating with members of the opposite sex, specific sex relations enter as constructive details when in proper relation to the general association, but are destructive if out of proper relation. Here as in so many phases in psychology, we deal with details whose particular import is modified by the pattern of the whole, and it is in its place in the pattern that each detail receives its maximal importance.
Full emotional development is a progression in which every stage depends upon preceding stages. Sex experience achieved too early undoubtedly checks and distorts the development. So does sex experience achieved at a later age, without the proper emotional foundations of general association, and adaptation of the personality of the individual to the personalities of many individuals of the opposite sex. Just as youthful promiscuity is destructive of character, so also is the upbringing of youth of either sex in social isolation from
( 86) the other sex, unfortunate, and for the same identical reasons. And it is for the same reasons that it is only in marriage that specific sex relations form the capstone of a development of character which has such significance that only those who have experienced it can fully appreciate it.
The structure of a successful married life can be laid only on the foundations of personal interest, personal respect, and actual personal acquaintance. For this reason, hosts of marriages have small chance of success, and marriages between persons who may have been acquainted for a long time, but who have had little real association with members of the opposite sex, frequently fail to reach a high state of development psychologically, although they may be successful genetically.
It is well known that intense and lasting intimate friendship between a man and a woman is practically impossible without specific sex relations. Normally, such a friendship ripens into marriage (legalor illegal) or else recedes, since no such friendship can reach its full development except it eventuate in marital relations, and the tendency towards development cannot be held static after it reaches a certain point. The proper setting for both sexes, therefore, is many friend-ships of moderate intimacy, until one finally ripens fully.
Moreover, an intimacy which has reached the point of specific sex relations in its normal course cannot be immediately interrupted without disaster to both parties. There is even danger in the interruption, if the intimacy has reached the point at which marriage is the next step. The general opinion that intimacies between the sexes must stop short of caressing, unless marriage is intended, is extremely well founded; and the regulation of the social intimacies between the young must be carried out with this in view.
Social separation of the sexes, unchastity before marriage, purchasing of wives, and "arranged" marriages, therefore, tend to a low order of civilization, and fundamental social progress is away from them. Such remnants of savagery defeat the primary psychological function of marriage, which is the development of character and its functions in the most complete satisfaction of the sex desire in a synthesis of itsspecific and general forms. In low forms of marriage, desire fails to reach its full personal development.
From the data so far considered, we should expect to find that
( 87) neither man nor woman would reach his highest state of psychological development except in the closest possible association with one of the opposite sex. The universal conception of "perfection" as involving the sexual union of the male and the female is undoubtedly founded on fact; for in vital respects, the two sexes are complementary psychologically as they are physiologically. The psychological adjustments of man and woman, however, are not made either "instinctively" or even suddenly, except in the occasional case, but require time for learning, either by trial and error, or by observation, analysis, and instruction. Extensive and prolonged social adjustment between the sexes is an indispensable means of learning, as we have already pointed out, but even this may be quite inefficacious if observation is faulty or guidance defective. Promiscuous sex relations are apt to be destructive rather than helpful to the learning process, since they establish habits of superficiality in interest and in emotional development, and habits of checking the normal development which other-wise tends to take place. The finer adjustments to the opposite sex are the most difficult things which man has to learn, and can be learned only through long continued and completely uninhibited devotion to a single member of that sex: that is, through monogamous 'marriage. Once learned in this way, however, the knowledge is capable of extension, and the widespread belief that the widows and the widowers who have been really monogamously married for a term of years make superior husbands and wives upon remarriage, is apparently based on fact. The problem of divorce is, therefore, quite distinct from the problem of promiscuity and "sexual immorality," although the two are often confused by those who have violent prejudices on the divorce question.
On account of the wider range of variability of women, the effects of promiscuity, and the effects of a first marriage are not the same in man and in woman. What a woman learns about one man, is true of all men to a very large extent. What a man learns about one woman, on the other hand, is far less true of all women. For this reason, the widow attains on the average greater success in second marriage than does the widower, and the effects of sexual "immorality" are probably less serious on the woman than on the man, as regards its effects on subsequent marriage relations.
The fact that psychological understanding and adaptation between
(88) man and woman cannot easily be obtained without normal physiological sex relations; that marriage in the spiritual plane cannot be fully attained without physiological marriage; is what we should reason-ably expect from the close interweaving and interdependence of the primary sex desires and feelings, and the more complex sex feelings, and from complementary relation of man and woman; and may hence be accepted. In families in which the essential difference in sex de-sire and sexual sensitivity is not understood, spiritual estrangement of man and wife is the common thing, no matter how complete the devotion may have been in the beginning, nor how much both may yearn for the fuller spiritual married life. On the other hand, the more complex differences between man and woman (which may be in-escapable, or which may, so far as we know now, be largely matters of training), if not practically admitted and made full use of, also destroy or wreck the higher development of marriage.
We must remember that woman, because of her general organization, is on the average more self-centered and more introspective than man. She notices and appreciates her own situation in her surroundings relatively more than she notes the environmental details them-selves. Or, put in other words, it is the environment in its relation to herself and to her child to which she is keenly attentive. Man, on the other hand, is on the average more attentive to the environment; and is attentive to himself in so far as he must attend to himself in order to deal with the environment. And we must not overlook the fact that woman is the most important detail in the masculine environment. The familiar saying to the effect that for woman the world revolves about herself, for man it revolves about woman, is not de-void of practical significance.
The introspective tendency of woman is clearly expressed in the tendency to project herself into dramatic situations; a tendency to which we have earlier referred; and is clearly evident in her desires. Woman is primarily interested in (attentive to) her desires, and in-directly, therefore, to the means of satisfying them. Man is primarily attentive to the means of satisfaction, rather than to the desires. This relative situation, which could hardly be otherwise in the direct sexual life, given the differences in the nature and course of desire and excitability which we have pointed out, seems to extend rather generally over the whole of life.
In the relations of married life generally, therefore, we should expect to find that which we actually do find. In the manifold situations in which emotional sympathy between the man and woman is essential, the man must adapt himself to the emotional moods of the woman. He must be ready to be gay when she is gay, serious when she is serious, tender and comforting when she is sorrowful, aloof and detached when she is aloof. Such adaptation as he wishes her to make to his moods, must be brought about carefully, by an obvious and not too sudden display of his moods, and by such justification of them as will appeal to her general devotion and affection and her other interests. He cannot expect her to respond to his moods if they are subtle, or even when they are sharply displayed, if they are not clearly connected with her other profound interests.
Such adaptation on the part of the husband is not always possible, on account of the demands of life in other respects. Hence, the alter-native of domineering, and forcing the wife to adapt outwardly, if not inwardly, is frequently taken. This alternative is more acceptable to the woman than is the mere lack of adaptation which she does not understand. The failure to adopt either of these courses leads to the familiar fretfulness and nagging which ruins so many marriages. In the highly successful marriages, the proper combination of emotional adaptation in all circumstances where it is possible without neglecting the practical requirements of life, and an arbitrariness of an intelligent sort where adaptation is impossible, is always found. The husband necessarily builds up an emotional control which to some extent conceals his own feelings and moods, and which necessarily circumscribes a private life containing not only much of his finer feelings, but also to a large extent his intellectual interests. Many a husband can speak to the psychologist, or to a close friend, as he could not speak to his wife, concerning the actual situations of his married life; the intellectual and emotional situations as well as the practical ones; and can even express his profound love for and appreciation of his wife as he could not express it to her.
Of course, there are many exceptions. In the most significant cases, the wife learns to adapt herself to her husband's affective life, and be-comes intimately responsive to his subtle expressions thereof. In other cases, the wife has from the beginning the attitudes which on the average are characteristic of the man. Sometimes, of course, the man
( 90) is exceedingly effeminate, self-centered, and unsympathetic. In an appalling number of cases, the husband is crude and ignorant, al-though fundamentally well-meaning, and needs simple instruction in psychology. In many other cases, the husband builds up a protective mechanism of brutality and unfeelingness because he cannot fully adapt to his wife, and knows nothing else to do. Of course, among large sections of the population, the emotional responses of both husband and wife are of a low primitive order, into which these considerations hardly enter.
In the civilized world at present, which is so largely over-populated that the genetic function of the family is negligible, the real field for the development of the family and the reason for its preservation is in the progressive development of its spiritual functions. Man has reached a stage of evolution in which his needs for sympathy are pronounced; and no form of sympathy is so strong or so satisfying as the sympathy between man and wife. For the man, at least, the exquisite relief of sharing his disappointments and sorrows, and the glowing satisfaction of sharing his triumphs and successes, can be reached only when he shares them with the woman to whom he has become spiritually and carnally adapted through a lengthy learning process. There need be no fear that the family will cease to be needed, whatever economic and general social changes may occur; and there is hope that the family will eventually become quite monogamous, if society takes a rational attitude towards the education of women, divorce, and the other "family problems" of today, and does not try to force the out-worn methods of a crude and savage social culture upon us.
§7. Bargain and sale in marriage
In really primitive society, woman was apparently free. She was a member of a family group, amenable to its rules,. and under the control of the family head as were the men also. Her property was really property of the group, and the group was responsible for her children. She was free to choose her husband, as he was to choose his wife, and either could withdraw from the marriage if it was not satisfactory. The husband usually became a member of the wife's family, and acquired certain rights and responsibilities as long as he remained,
( 91) losing them if he was divorced. But the woman might have a husband from a family or tribe of enemies, who might visit her by stealth, at risk to himself, but not to her. Whatever the form or term of marriage, there was no element of purchase or sale of sexual relations involved, nor was the woman's labor purchased.
With the change to patrilocal conditions, a change in woman's freedom and a debasing of the attitude towards sexual relations occurred. Wives began to be the property of husbands, and to be purchased like any other commodity. Perhaps slavery contributed to this change, even among matrilocal peoples, for a captured or purchased female slave would have no choice in regard to sex relations with her master. Along with the purchase of wives, prostitution also grew up both as the sale of her sexual services by a free woman, and the rental of an owned woman by her master.
The subjection of women was materially assisted by the development of the notion of female chastity, which Voltaire has designated as man's greatest invention. Beginning first as a restraint upon married women, it was extended to unmarried, and the value set upon virginity has played an important part in social relations since. The demand of married chastity undoubtedly resulted from several factors, among which was the growing importance of paternity. Where children were family or tribal charges, actual paternity was of no importance. But with the growth of private property, the parents became responsible for their children, and with male ownership and responsibility developed, men were unwilling to be charged with other men's offspring. But exclusiveness of possession, in regard to wives as well as tents, horses, and weapons, began to have value, and contributed to the demand for female chastity in marriage. Sexual jealousy of another sort perhaps also contributed.
The growth in the value set upon virginity was a natural consequence of the convention of female chastity. Exclusive possession is enhanced in value by first hand possession. Moreover, the paternity of the first child of a marriage is in doubt, if the wife has been sexually free before marriage. Quite aside from these considerations, virgins have always been especially valued for simple physiological reasons. It may also be true that the need of retarding the increase in population, keenly felt by primitive and later people, may also have been
( 92) a factor in the development of the value of virginity, but this is uncertain.
In this development, there was no notion of chastity as important for the male. Adultery (coitus with another man's wife) was frowned upon, since adultery is the theft of another man's property. But sex relations with unmarried women were forbidden only when, on ac-count of the market value of the virgin, her seduction became a property offense against her father, or other owner before marriage. Intercourse with "strange women," that is, women who were the property of non-members of the family or tribe, was not adultery, since males were not bound to respect property rights of outsiders, whether they were actually enemies or not. As regards prostitutes, no restrictions were laid on males.
The notion of chastity as a masculine virtue would have seemed utterly ridiculous to ancient peoples. The purchaser may demand certain standards to which the purchased article must conform. But the purchased commodity can make no such demands in regard to the purchaser. The would-be buyer of a horse may reject a lame animal; but the horse may not reject a lame purchaser. The ideal of masculine chastity arose first in the Buddhistic teachings, as a grace to which some men might attain, but not necessary, or even commendable for all. The ideal was embodied in the teachings of Jesus, and emphasized by Paul, but has not been treated with much respect since, until relatively recent times.
Male slavery has passed from the institutions of civilized peoples, but women are regarded as marketable property today, and regard themselves in that light. Although no price is paid for a bride, the common ideal of women is a marriage in which she receives her sup-port, in luxury if possible, without labor, as the price for her sexual relations. Seldom is the ideal achieved, and many women expect to earn their bread in marriage, as most women do. But they do not consider this an ideal situation. In deciding-between suitors, the man who can offer "keep" without labor has the decided advantage over the suitor who is not so well situated economically. Even where there is no consideration of children, the situation is the same, and the childless woman expects to be kept as well as, or better than, if she had children.
Until recently, woman had but two vocations open to her, both
( 93) involving her sale or rental of herself, or her sale or rental by male owners. On account of her rapid decline in value with age, the best bargain for her was sale as a wife. Prostitution, her only other possibility, was a poor business arrangement so far as she was concerned. Her chances of being a wife depending upon her virginity, and the permanence of the bargain upon her chastity, these conditions were enforced upon women with comparative ease. The attitude of virtuous women towards prostitution and unchaste women generally in our society is really the same as that of union labor towards those who work for lower than union wages. The unchaste woman is regarded as a scab; and any increase in her numbers threatens the maintenance of the higher price.
The increasing economic independence of women has initiated a revolution in our marriage system. Women are no longer limited to their sex functions as a means of support, and it is not at all improbable that eventually prostitution will be abolished, and that in marriage women will not select their mates on the basis of economic compensation. Already the single standard of sexual chastity, applying to both males and females alike, is being substituted for the ancient double standard.
§8. Education for monogamy
What we have said earlier concerning the danger of assuming fixed hereditary tendencies which operate in independence of training is illustrated in the various theories concerning the sex tendencies of men and women. It has been assumed that men are "instinctively" polygynous, and that attempted restrictions on this tendency are bound to be unsuccessful as concerns the mass of males, and hurtful to the individuals with whom they succeed. Theories that women are also polyandrous by nature, and opposing theories, that women are unlike men in being instinctively monogamous, have also been promulgated. Such theories require much more proof than they are able to bring.
The form of the sex tendency is determined by the environment, including all the social conditions which educate the individuals. To speak of either monogamous or polygamous instincts, or innate tendencies, is unfortunately confusing. Consideration of the monogamous tendencies of some of the lower animals, and the polyg-
( 94) -amous tendencies of others, gives us little information concerning man, except to show us the powerful effects of the condition regarding food, enemies, and other environmental factors. The conditions of the association of animals together in herds or flocks seem to be the most powerful determinants of these tendencies. These conditions are relatively permanent among wild animals, but are radically changed when they are domesticated, and among the human animals these conditions are changed from age to age among some races, but become static among others.
In our own society, the same individual may have polygamous tendencies under certain social conditions, and strongly monogamous tendencies under other conditions. Among both men and women the cases in which an individual shows one of these tendencies for a long period, and then displays the other, are too frequent and too striking to allow us to believe that either is "inherent." Actually the mating tendency is more fundamental and general than either, and the particular form it takes is determined solely by social conditions.
Among these social conditions, stimuli are important; but expectation, purpose, and conformity are still more important. The individual, especially in youth, is profoundly influenced by considerations of what is done by his leaders, especially when the leaders constitute a large group. The attitude of the boy and the girl in matters of sex is predominantly controlled by the opinions and attitudes of the adults to whom they look for models. The consideration of these attitudes inevitably influence the expectations and purposes of the young. A boy brought up in a social group in which the universal assumption is monogamous, expects to be monogamous himself, and opportunities and stimuli of a contrary sort constitute no temptation. The convention that a certain thing is to be done, and that a certain other thing is not, is the most powerful of controlling forces. Conversely, the knowledge that certain things which are officially prohibited, are nevertheless done by those whom he implicitly considers as leaders, not only removes the force of the prohibition, but raises expectation or consideration of possibilities for his own actions which constitute strong controlling forces.
Many a man reaches adult life with no sexual temptation, and therefore no struggle to be monogamous, because he has never considered the possibility of being promiscuous; and then later consider-
( 95) -ing that he could, and could get away with it, changes his "tendency." And the same thing applies to women.
Habits once established tend to become fixed. But sexual tendencies are no more fixed than any other habits. The monogamous habit may be broken, and so may the polygamous, if the environment is sufficiently favorable. You may bring up a child in the way he should not go, or in the way he should go; and when he is older he may depart from it. But even here, expectation is a powerful factor. Men "sow their wild oats" and then "settle down" because from the beginning they have expected to settle down. Women have more generally refrained from the wild oat business because their training has been such that their expectations have been different. If there is any change in practice among young women today it is because of change in expectation, not of change in innate susceptibility.
Assuming that the most successful marriages are truly monogamous, it is then obvious that both men and woman may attain to it in spite of unsuccessful matings, if they profit by their unfortunate experiences. Admitting the adverse effects of such affairs, they are matters which society should be primarily interested in helping the individual to escape from, not in trying to tie them down to their mistakes. And this consideration applies to divorce also. Although an unfortunate marriage may be the permanent ruin of the individual, it is not necessarily so, and many succeed in escaping from one, having learned enough about themselves, and about the opposite sex, and about marital ideals, to make a second marriage a spiritual success. Here, again, society punishes itself if it condemns individuals to suffer by their mistakes irretrievably, instead of assisting them to profit by their experiences. If we define intelligence as the ability to profit by experience, we must admit that many people today hold the unfortunate belief that there is no scope for intelligence in marriage.
Undoubtedly, many mistakes may be prevented by proper education, and the education of the young in matters of sex should include much more than the merely physiological matters in which "social hygiene" is interested. The trial and error method of learning is unjustifiable, when it can be avoided; but where errors actually occur, their correction is imperatively needed.
The proper attitude towards divorce is therefore clear. Improper marriages should be prevented in so far as society is able to do so.
( 96) But where society has failed in this respect, there is nothing to be gained, and everything to be lost, by insisting on clinging to its failures. The only proper interest of the state in the case of a family failure is to make proper provision for the children. The justifiable judicial function is to determine the conditions of divorce: we cannot officially declare a marriage a success when it actually is not, without making the judicial function ridiculous.
In very many cases of unsuccessful marriage, the interests of the children require that the parents sacrifice their own interests, including their chances of attaining the highest goal of the human species—a successful marriage. Many marriages which are spiritually failures are maintained for these reasons, because husband or wife or both are willing to make the sacrifice. The fact that the state will grant divorce, does not change the determination of such people. On the other hand, where they are unwilling to sacrifice themselves, the state cannot make them do so, and chaining the husband and wife together makes matters worse for the children.
Monogamous marriage, and its continuance maintained on a high psychological
plane, is an ideal towards which men and women actually strive in so far as
their intelligence and their knowledge permit. To this ideal they are willing to
sacrifice every other human good, and towards it they struggle in spite of
failure and disappointment. Nothing else in life has such claim to be considered
as an absolute good, an end and not a means. To subordinate this ideal to lesser
ones; to brand monogamy as a punishment or restraint, rather than a reward, is
to oppose the highest interests of humanity.