Feminism in The Masses

                 Feminism had heavy influence on modernist works and this is evident even in magazines that are not specifically targeting this subject. While The Masses mainly tackled worker’s rights and socialist problems, it also has feminism in some of it works. Notably, The Masses vol. 1 no. 12 edited by Horatio Winslow published December 1st, 1911, and The Masses vol. 4 no. 10 edited by Max Eastman published Augus 1st, 1913. In vol. 1 no. 12 of The Masses, Winslow writes his own piece titled The Cheapest Commodity on the Market where he talks about how women are unfairly treated as exchangeable goods. After describing how jewels may be fine but serve no practical uses, Winslow claims how women are “the cheapest commodity on the market. You can buy ten women for the price of a good ruby” (Winslow 5). This argument is justified through logos for it is logical that rubies serve no practical purpose and that women can do more than rubies. Yet rubies are valued higher and held with more respect than women despite the differences. Even in vol. 4 no. 10 of The Masses, there is a poem title Any City written by Louis Untermeyer that similarly shows how women are objectified without trying. He describes a woman casually walking but she is “[l]uring, without a lure; She is man’s hunger and prey – His lust and its hideous cure” (Untermeyer 25). Though she is just walking, she cannot escape the judgements of a patriarchal society and how men see her as an object for desire. This compares similarly to the aforementioned ruby, but the tone here implies the immorality of this mindset. While both pieces of media explain it differently, both of them shun the idea of objectifying women into expendable scrap.