(Cartoons magazine, April 1913)
Out in Minot, North Dakota, a little woman is teaching a district school. The teacher is well satisfied with her work, but, when the school day is over and the necessary hours have been given to the task set for her by the district board, this little woman takes up her drawing board and her pencils and sitting alone in her little room looks out across the wide expanse of a snow-covered country and dreams.
The district school house fades away and she is in a newspaper office hard at work on a cartoon that with each stroke of the pen shapes itself into a direct appeal to the women of the new day. Men may not understand it, but the women will, for it is a message from a woman to the women.
It is only a dream now, but Miss Emma M. Gordon, district school teacher in Minot, N. D., is sure that the dream is to come true. School takes up many hours of her day and the planning of future work takes many hours of her evenings, but still she finds time to work at her drawing board training herself for the future.
Already she is a cartoonist, and her drawings are appearing regularly, but she is not satisfied with her work, and so she continues with her school and devotes her spare hours to her cartoons.
Miss Gordon is a socialist, and she believes that when she has had an opportunity to speak to the women through the medium of her cartoons she will have many converts to her cause. She believes that the woman of today is a thinking being, not a stolid household drudge, and she is convinced that women cartoonists alone will be able to appeal to the women.
“Women,” she says, “are today entering fields which for centuries have been occupied mainly by men. In many branches women, yea, children, are taking the places formerly held by men. Look at our factories, our mills!
“Cannot the cartoon show the CAUSE of the social evil? When we do away with the cause, won’t we do away with the social evil? As a socialist, I, of course, believe we can’t do away with the social evil until you first change the system that is the direct cause of it. Why not show it from a socialist standpoint? Why not educate women by cartoons how to use their vote properly when they do finally attain their right to vote? When once women understand Socialism Capitalism is doomed.
“Women are home-lovers. Capitalistic newspapers have given them the impression that Socialism will destroy the home. That’s an old bogey, used by Capitalism to frighten men and women away from Socialism. The way to treat ‘bogeys’ is to walk right up to them and investigate them.
“The pen of the cartoonist is the weapon that should be used in ripping open these shams and a woman cartoonist working for the cause of Socialism could be able to present the woman’s point of view in regards to our industrial, social and political questions.
“Of all the women I have ever talked with about Socialism these four objections—free love, against religion, destroying the home, and “dividing up”—seemed to be the only objections women have to Socialism. Can not some cartoonist—a woman—educate them to a knowledge of Socialism by destroying these bogeys? For they are but bogeys continually brought forward by the enemies of Socialism and bogeys that I could make short work of if space permitted.
“We need these women cartoonists to depict the woman’s point of view as well as the world needs the men cartoonists who look at everything from the man’s point of view.”
Miss Gordon was born in Visnaes, a little town in Norway. When she was still a child her father died and the family removed to Haugesund on the west coast of Norway. There she lived an open air life, learned to love the sea and the mountains and the independent spirit of the natives. She was nine years old when the family left Norway for Minnesota. She lived in Glenville, Minn., until she was eighteen years old, when she accepted a position as teacher in a North Dakota district school.
Her first cartoon to be published appeared in the Minnesota Socialist, the organ of the Minnesota Socialist party, one year ago, and since that time she has contributed many strong picture editorials to that and other papers.