Background: Feminists often portray the pre-feminist (pre-1970) era as one in which women were not valued or seen as being fully human. To cite one example of thousands, recently the National Organization for Women wrote on their website: “Are women human? Do women deserve full human rights? The U.S. Senate isn’t sure.”
My belief is that while 1960s/1970s feminists had plenty of legitimate grievances, their insistence that society never valued women is false. In reality, men made enormous sacrifices to provide for and protect their wives and children–a testament to the average man’s respect for women.
While reading one of Bill James’ baseball books recently, I stumbled upon a couple examples of how society viewed women 100 years ago. In one, George Davis, a turn-of-the century star baseball player, and his teammates rushed into a devastating apartment fire to save the lives of its female inhabitants. To learn more, see my blog post From 1900: Another Example of How Our Society Never Valued Women or Saw Them as Human.
From Bill James, describing an incident involving Tommy Corcoran (pictured) and Orville Woodruff, major league baseball players over 100 years ago:
“In St. Louis in 1903 Corcoran was walking around the town sight-seeing with a teammate, Orville Woodruff, when a horse, frightened by an automobile, reared up, creating panic. According to Lee Allen in The Cincinnati Reds, ‘pedestrians scattered in all directions, Corcoran was pinned against a building and badly hurt, but Woodruff emerged from the affair a hero, picking up a woman who was lying right in the path of the horse and carrying her away from the danger in the nick of time.'”