Since the following was written in the 1950’s the context of gender was (and can be still today) that the term ‘man’ refers to both genders equally.

Richard L. Evans wrote:

Fashion is one evidence of the influence people have on other people. Just who sets subtleties of fashion is difficult to say, but, as Benjamin Franklin observed: It seems that there are those “who, perhaps, fear less the being in hell than out of fashion” 62—and there is little reason to suppose that this feeling is strictly confined to the feminine part of the population. We all tend to follow traditional ways. And in part at least, we all tend to follow changing fashion.

There may be some unusually independent people who feel that they aren’t influenced by the example of others, but all of us are influenced more than we think. And often the new things we think we need, we think we need not so much because the old ones are worn out, but because they are out of fashion. As Shakespeare said: “The fashion wears out more apparel than the man.”63

But fashion is just one way we are influenced by others, whether we know it or not. And as we influence them, so we are responsible for the effect of our influence, whether we know it or not. We have an inescapable responsibility for the example we set and for the opinions we express before people, especially before young and impressionable people. The child who hears us make a remark, cannot always distinguish between what we are saying as an unassailable truth and what we are stating purely as a theory or supposition or personal opinion—or even sarcasm, when we say one thing and mean the absolute opposite.

Every person, however inconspicuous, has his weight with others, and is (in this sense, as in others also), his brothers keeper. Every child, every man, every woman, is being made and molded by what he hears, what he sees, what he senses in the acts and utterances and attitudes of others. Every writer, every teacher, every speaker, every friend and companion—indeed every person—is responsible for his effect on others, whether his relationships are professional of personal.

As we touch the lives and minds of other men, we would well remember the words of Paul: “Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.”64—or we might add it become a stumbling block to anyone at all—weak or strong—for the lives of all of us are vitally affected by the attitudes and ideas and actions and utterances of all of us. And we can no more let ideas loose without responsibility than we can let germs loose without responsibility.

~Richard L. Evans, From the Crossroads (New York, N.Y., 1955), 129-30

62 Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, 129,

63. Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, 129

64. 1 Corinthians 1:9

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