The Public Interest

Girls just wanna have fun

Diana Schaub

Fall 1997

SPEAKING of the burgeoning feminist movement, Henry Jamess tough-minded female doctor in The Bostonians (1886) says:

“Well, what it amounts to is just that women want to have a better time. That’s what it comes to in the end.”

“And don’t you sympathize with such an aspiration?”

“Well, I don’t know as I cultivate the sentimental side,” said Doctor Prance. “There’s plenty of sympathy without mine. If they want to have a better time, I suppose it’s natural; so do men too, I suppose. But I don’t know as it appeals to me—to make sacrifices for it; it ain’t such a wonderful time—the best you can have!”

Download a PDF of the full article.



from the


A weekly newsletter with free essays from past issues of National Affairs and The Public Interest that shed light on the week's pressing issues.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.