What I love about writing the feminist of the day feature is that I learn about all sorts of people who I didn't even know existed. Elsie Parsons, like Sarah Grimke, was born to a life of priviledge, and like Sarah she seemed to know what to do with that life. Elise Parsons was a feminist and a socialist (she get an extra tick mark because she was against WW1 all the way through) and became a very prominent anthropologist. She was the first woman elected to the American Anthropological Association, but died before she could give her opening address - which was going to condemn the use of anthropology for racist ends. A colleague summed up her academic work:
Her society had encroached on her she studied the science of society the better to fight back against society.That wasn't all I found out about her. In a book review someone who knows far more about Elsie Parsons than me wrote:
For example, [the author of the book]lauds Parsons for her feminism and for her support of professional women. Yet nowhere is there recognition of the more complex issue-Parsons's feminism and, by her own admission, her prejudice against her "own sex." This was no small matter for Parsons: she ran up against her prejudice against women frequently and she wrote about it in her articles and her books.I want to read what she wrote about it, but unfortunately it's not that rare. When you live in a misogynist society it's very easy for women to rebel against that by internalising the value system and seeing themselves as the exception, the one subject in a sea of female objects.
Conclusion: I think it's a shame that she didn't like women, her life would have been richer if she had. I kind of admire the fact that she was still a feminist, despite that, but it's still terribly sad.