The Woman’s Page – December 15, 1916

December 15, 1916

On December 1st, 1916, the “Woman’s Page” featured an appraisal of the dating scene in Montreal by the American friend, called “M.L.A.” in the article, of Jessie Abrams (re-visit the article here).  The article was quite critical of the dating habits of Jewish men in Montreal and because of this received some biting responses from men and women alike in later articles, such as the response below on December 15th.

The language MLA used — of “duty” and “payment” — prompted many to question whether any such economy, wherein women were expected to provide domestic hostessing and this was to be remunerated with public accompaniment by men, actually existed. What of modesty? Wasn’t the good company of Jewish boys thanks enough? Double that if the guy was from a wealthy family. In the Dec. 15 issue a man signing himself as “P.N.S.” turns the blame on the “snobbish class” of Jewish society and comes to the defence of the reluctant, exploited young men in the equation, arguing that every appearance with a woman in public really was akin to being snagged into marriage like a fish on a hook: “Canst thou blame me, Oh M.L.A. Stauch defender of thine sex–if I seem to forget that damsels needs an escort to danses, when each walz is but another link in the chain of holy wedlock.”

Hidden throughout this argument over the Jewish dating scene in Montreal are issues of changes in levels of appropriateness for young “ladies”, the concern of the community in regards to mixed-religion marriages and also the pressure women felt to marry to secure the perceived happiness of their families, to meet their obligations and to have their own future.

Read the full article in PDF here!

Or click on the images below.

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