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The Business of Being a Woman

Ida M. Tarbell

Book Overview: 

How were women's roles changing in the 1900's? Ida Tarbell explores this in a well written, witty and insightful series of essays. "The object of this little volume is to call attention to a certain distrust, which the author feels in the modern woman, of the significance and dignity of the work laid upon her by Nature and by society. Its ideas are the result of a long, if somewhat desultory, observation of the professional, political, and domestic activities of women in this country and in France. These observations have led to certain definite opinions as to those phases of the woman question most in need of emphasis to-day." This book contains, as a footnote, a Declaration of Sentiments which begins 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal...' and continues on. A wonderful declaration of the equality of the sexes in many things. This will be a separate section of this project since I think it is excellent in style and sentiment

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Book Excerpt: 
. . ., will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they were accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man towards woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

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Community Reviews

Thought provoking

I choose this book after reading about Ida Tarbell in The Bully Pulpit by Doris Goodwin. The subject intrigued me. Some of it is as relevant today as it was in 1912.

Felt like a book my grandmother would give me with no explanation of why I should read it.

A lot has change through history as well as women’s rights.

I found some thoughtful quotes. Being someone who works in sustainable fashion, I did enjoy the chapter about clothing and “why” women spend money on

Mama liked it more than I did.

I stumbled across this book by chance not knowing what it was about nor anything about the author. At the start I was generally surprised as it felt like a feminist book, with some misguided misogyny, but still earnest in the wish for more women’s rights. The further I got, however, the more the boo

I definitely don't agree with everything mentioned in this book, but it brings up some good points. It gives dignity to wives who become mothers and manage their homes well. We learn how men and women can be equal even though they are different and have very different strengths and weaknesses. It al

At the beginning, I was quite unsure, whether Tarbell identified as a feminist or not. Looking at her biography (never married, very successful journalist), you could think she were. But in this little book of essays, as she calls it herself, she makes some (for me) uncomprehensible statements, that

Great book. Many of the things mentioned in the book still apply to women today. My book is now highlighted and filled with notes. I learned much. :)

I really struggle to say anything intelligent about this book written by Ida Tarbell and originally published in 1912. It’s not (as I had initially expected) an advice book; it tends to be quite politically pointed in places. It is not a feminist book because it tends to be quite dismissive of “mili

Before "her time"

Most excellent writer and one of many excellent writings. Ida Tarbell is STILL brilliant. She would be, justifiably, horrified at our country's state of affairs.

My recommendation is to read this electronically so that when names of individuals you are not familiar with appear, like Mercy Warren, you can look them up. I liked this book, especially knowing that in 1912 women were still eight years away from having voting rights. Ida Tarbell is an individual I