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Ourselves

The Dawn Volume 3, Number 1. Sydney, May 5, 1890

WITH the present issue The Dawn starts upon its third year. It is now two years since, with many misgivings, we submitted our first issue to a critical public, and none were more surprised than ourselves, at the generous notice we received from our brothers of the press. Since then, we have enjoyed hearty and substantial support from readers of both sexes, and though ostensibly catering for women, we undoubtedly owe much of our success to men. This liberal support we appreciate the more from the fact that similar journals published in England and America own, that after twenty years of hard struggling, their efforts are just beginning to be self-supporting, while many are still compelled to ask extra monetary help from their readers. This, happily has not been our experience; we have had fair play and know that if present support fails we shall have none but ourselves to thank for it. We have had opposition from wealthy and influential people who cannot understand why so unpretentious a publication as The Dawn achieves prosperity, while more elaborate efforts met but untimely deaths. Possibly it may be that the intellect of man, though ranging unlimited fields with masterful comprehension, cannot enter with entire sympathy into the mind of a woman. Possibly the fitness of things ordains that a woman's paper should be “run” by women, but probably the most influential cause of our success has been the view we have taken of women's interests, a view in no way similar to the popular notion of the affinities and tastes of womanhood. The fact is, women are tired of seeing themselves “damned with faint praise” in society journals in which it is not considered correct to record the commonplace virtues of middle class life, and in which the quiet housekeeper is ignored or pushed aside to give place to the frivolous leader of fashion. The mass of women want to have themselves fairly represented, and the mass are made up of those who are not much in evidence, and who do not therefore figure as typical women. Not one woman out of every hundred cares what is going on at the centres of fashionable society, and those who do, are proverbially known to be just those least likely to subscribe to a paper, hence the ignominious failure of every attempt to cater exclusively for them. There is no better test with which to gauge women's taste in literature, despite all said to the contrary, than in that they steadily refuse to support compilations of fashions, block vanities, and racy society scandals. They know full well that the women such journals represent have done much to colour the disparaging paragraphs concerning women with which present day literature abounds, and she who reads them being persistently put forward as representing the general standard of woman-kind does much to rivet the shackles of oppression weighing heavily upon her thinking sisters.

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