By Elizabeth Kleen, from the First Edition of the Woman Rebel.
The project can’t find any record of a woman named Elizabeth Kleen living and writing at the time that this was published. Most of the writers of Woman Rebel articles cannot be traced, which may mean that either Sanger or the handful of people confirmed as helping her with the project could have been using pseudonyms. This suspicion has not been confirmed.
The woman rebel’s minor actions in life, her social and marital arrangements are free, flexible, and original; the things that are unchangeable are her principles, her ideals. With the bondswoman the reverse is the case; her ideals and principles change constantly, her thoughts and dress rarely. The woman rebel has strong and rooted conceptions, but as for her dinner she has it sometimes in bed, or on the roof or in a boat. She argues from the same fundamental principles, but she does it anywhere; in bed or in a bath or in a balloon. The present-day prevalence of good habits involves a too great emphasis on those virtues which only Custom can ensure and too little emphasis on those virtues which Custom can never ensure – sudden and splendid virtues of inspiration; of noble achievement; of lofty ambition. A working woman can get used to getting up at five o’clock, but how many can get used to being imprisoned for their convictions or shot at for their ideals? How many could be a Voltairine do Clayre, a Louise Michel, an Emma Goldman, or an Elizabeth Flynn?
Let us all in life pay a little more attention to the possibilities of the heroic and unexpected. It is only the rebel woman, when she gets out of the habits imposed on her by bourgeois convention, who can do some deed of terrible virtue.
Yet there is one emphatic caution to be given to the woman who would defy the conventions. If the working woman does this, let her do it without a rag of excuse, without reason or justification to anyone. Let her be herself and live for her ideal and her convictions not for the approval or the applause of fashionable feminism. if she does it, however, for some secondary reason, from vanity or worldly ambition, she may become a beggar in more senses than one.