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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Colonizing With Chickens

AS PRINTED IN THE SYRACUSE HERALD

APRIL 20, 1924 

 

Farming suggested for Surplus Girls


Paris April 19, 1924

Poultry farming as an alternative to marriage has been recommended to girls in a letter to a Paris newspaper.  There are hundreds of thousands of girls say the writer of the letter, who cannot possibly be provided with husbands and as all cannot wish to be typists, secretaries or shop assistants it is suggested that they should form themselves into groups and rear chickens.

Girls who prefer freedom in the fresh air of the country to a strenuous life in the city might in this way form colonies on the land in some of the beautiful agricultural districts of France and carve out an excellent career for themselves.



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GREAT LINES REPEATED IN BULLET POINT:

  • Poultry farming as an alternative to marriage
  •  Hundreds of thousands of girls ... who cannot possibly be provided with husbands
  •  all cannot wish to be typists, secretaries or shop assistants
  •  it is suggested that they should form themselves into groups and rear chickens.
  •  form colonies on the land ... and carve out an excellent career for themselves.


As hilarious as this is, I'm sure the letter writer meant well.  There was a terrible shortage of men thanks to WWI but for a girl to feel chickens and colonizing were her best alternative really is demoralizing.  And who was this letter writer?  Do we think it was a man or a woman because it is easy to assume it is a man but could just as easily be a meddling Lady Dowager type who thinks she has all the answers to the world's problems?   One thing is for sure, the letter writer doesn't realize the work involved in farming.

That's it chicken farmer or typist?  Seriously?  My grandmother was a school teacher as was her grandmother.  Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale revolutionized nursing.  So yes, opportunities were limited but they were there. Unless you are born to chicken farming or raise a few for your own
food, I don't think that it is a career that could be considered "excellent" much less the alternative to a marital relationship.

The language is superb though presumably it had to have been translated from French.  The question is still begged "who provides husbands" as if they were a commodity and not dependent on chemistry and situation and romance and all that good stuff?  The wording makes it sound like there's a shortage of wheat and not enough loaves of bread for everyone. But I suppose War does make young, healthy men into commodities.