When Edward Bok

When Edward Bok succeeded Mrs. Curtis, he immediately encountered
another popular misconception of a woman's magazine--the conviction that
if a man is the editor of a periodical with a distinctly feminine
appeal, he must, as the term goes, "understand women." If Bok had
believed this to be true, he would never have assumed the position. How
deeply rooted is this belief was brought home to him on every hand when
his decision to accept the Philadelphia position was announced. His
mother, knowing her son better than did any one else, looked at him with
amazement. She could not believe that he was serious in his decision to
cater to women's needs when he knew so little about them. His friends,
too, were intensely amused, and took no pains to hide their amusement
from him. They knew him to be the very opposite of "a lady's man," and
when they were not convulsed with hilarity they were incredulous and

No man, perhaps, could have been chosen for the position who had a less
intimate knowledge of women. Bok had no sister, no women confidantes: he
had lived with and for his mother. She was the only woman he really knew
or who really knew him. His boyhood days had been too full of poverty
and struggle to permit him to mingle with the opposite sex. And it is a
curious fact that Edward Bok's instinctive attitude toward women was
that of avoidance. He did not dislike women, but it could not be said
that he liked them. They had never interested him. Of women, therefore,
he knew little; of their needs less. Nor had he the slightest desire,
even as an editor, to know them better, or to seek to understand them.
Even at that age, he knew that, as a man, he could not, no matter what
effort he might make, and he let it go at that.

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