Women who turn to other women instead of men, for love and companionship (granting that they are physically normal) usually do so as a substitute for marriage. Either they have been denied marriage because of their unattractiveness, or a physical deformity or handicap; they fear or are unwilling to have children; they have been married unhappily; they have had some sex experience as a child that shocked and horrified them, so that they are repelled by the advances of men. With these conditions in mind, the "mannish" woman can be understood much better.
In the adolescent stage, it is very common for girls to get crushes on one another, or on an older woman, a teacher. Two girls meet in high school or college; one is very feminine, fond of wearing very feminine clothing, emotional and very definitely attractive.
The other is dominant, fond of tailored clothing, with few curves to her figure, and showing in every way a personality that is not feminine. These two girls begin to chum together; they have a definite crush. One sends flowers, candy, acts as an escort, helps the other across the street, holds her coat in the movies. The dominant one rushes the feminine one just as an aggressive man would court a woman.
But one day a man enters the picture. He starts making love to the feminine member of the union. Jealousies start. Finally an engagement is announced. The dominant female is no longer able to continue her love affair with another woman; life seems useless to her and she decides to kill herself. Not a year passes without one or more of these tragedies happening in college life.
In this form of attraction between members of the same sex, there seems to be little doubt but that relations pass beyond the spiritual and mental into the physical. But each woman knows the real sex of the other. There is no attempt to disguise their sex by the wearing of masculine clothing. The next stage of this relation is found in cases where the dominant woman wears man's clothing and makes every effort- to convince others that she is a man instead of a woman.
In one such history, a woman lived as a man in a community for many years! She married and lived with another woman for twenty years. Only after her death was her real sex discovered, by the undertaker. At that time, the widow made the statement that she had always thought her husband a man!
In this case, either the wife was completely ignorant of the true facts of life, or the "husband" was abnormal physically.
Homosexuality is contrary, as we have said, to all biological and civil law, as well as to the customs and morals of our present civilization.
But the true invert of adult years is sick of a mental or perhaps physical condition, for which medicine, as yet, has no cure or aid. As an artificial limb is fitted for the man who has lost an arm, and so enables him to be a happier, more useful member of society, why shouldn't some effort be made to give these unfortunates a place under the sun?
To be a happy, well-thought-of part of any community, a woman who is attracted to other women must conform to the general pattern of life in that community. She should never marry, once she has reached adult years and feels completely divorced from all normal feelings for men; to do so would make her husband's life incomplete and greatly increase her unhappiness.
The mannish woman who discovered herself only after marriage faces a difficult decision, which is made more difficult by the continued normal love of the other partner. Any children in their home must be protected. They must not be permitted to become acquired homosexuals, that is, learn to become one.
Parents should be able to recognize homosexual tendencies in adolescent daughters and know to what it may lead, in order to derail it before it becomes a fixed habit throughout later life. Every girl in her early 'teens wants to spend her time with other girls. It is normal, and harmless in its effect on the girl for that age of life. Every girl has a best friend of her own sex. They visit together, spend nights together, have confidential secrets, and vow eternal faithfulness and loyalty. Their devotion is a manifestation of sex life, but it is not physically such. The normal girl, before puberty, is practically sexless. Parents can safely ignore such friendships unless they have reason to suspect that one of the girls is advanced or developed beyond her years. They can regard it as a natural stage that all girls pass through.
When the girl matures, she ceases to have an overwhelming interest in her former girl friends. She begins to think about boys, and even about marriage. This is as it should be.
But occasionally the friendship of young girls remain unbroken past the normal breakaway. The girls continue to be more- interested in each other than in any boys they meet. If they have dates with boys, they date together, and live a defensive social life. It is hard for any man to see one of them alone. Gradually they compensate for the absence of men in their social life by one's becoming dominant and the other's turning excessively feminine. The peculiar part of all this is that the love remains on a strictly intellectual and spiritual level, never becoming physical except perhaps for some unimportant kissing.
As these girls grow older and become self-supporting, they may leave their families and live together, as Anne and Ruth did, at the beginning of this article. The masculine girl may become the wage-earner; the feminine partner may keep house. Thus they may pass through life, without having any physical relations. But no matter what degree of physical love is shown, if the affair keeps two women from marrying and living as happy wives and contented mothers, it prevents both from fulfilling their biological missions in life. At the same time, many women of the aggressive masculine type would make unhappy wives if they did happen to marry.
The wise parent will recognize the nature of the normal stages through which all young girls pass, and try to break up a friendship, tactfully, if it seems to be progressing beyond the natural limit. Most girls will of their own accord break away and pass over into the heterosexual, man-and-woman stage. Those who do not may be handicapped by some inferiority feeling, physical unattractiveness, or weakness of character, so that they are easily persuaded to remain in the homosexual relationship by other girls or women, who have even more of the normal adolescent desire for the company of their own sex.