Feminine Magic and the Liberated Woman

Two comments on an ongoing discussion, one from Belriose, one from Jackaroonie:

Belriose  asks: "The link on your logic that I’m missing since the beginning is why a society who doesn’t emphasize the difference between sexes leads to depravation, sexual degeneration and child murdering. You were establishing that correlation, were you not?"

At last, a question I can follow! (Keep in mind that, since I am an intellectual and a philosopher, really basic and obvious questions pass me by. I am not sure what you are asking unless you make it painfully clear. Sorry, but that is the way I’ve wired my brain to work: we call this ‘Socratic Cluelessness’.)

You are actually asking me two questions.

1. Speaking of sexual differentiation and sexual depravity, you ask if I support that the one leads to the next.

My answer is no. I never said that de-emphasizing the sexual differences leads to sexual depravity. I said that de-emphasizing the sexual differences it creates an incentive toward vulgarity due to the loss of a ‘silent vocabulary’ of romance. As far as it goes, it is a statement of fact. I also made the judgment that refinement is both more prudent and more fun than vulgarity in this case. (I do not hold to the modern prejudice which decrees all value judgments to be sacrosanct. People can judge wrongly, and honest debate can incline candid judges to agree or disagree.)

I said, in another context, that the sexual revolution led to depravity and child-murder.  I did not say that unisex dress caused or was caused by the sexual revolution. There may be a correlation, however, if they both spring from one cause.

2. You then ask if I said one is correlated to the next.

My answer is a qualified yes.  I said precisely that and not something else.

To clarify: a correlation is not causation. Robberies correlate to ice cream sales. This does not mean ice cream causes robbery, or that robbery causes ice cream. Statistically, both go up during the summer. The hot weather encourages ice cream sales and cold weather lowers the number of people on the streets at night, crooks and victims both.

The loss of sexual differentiation and femininity in dress and deportment sprang from the same cause as the sexual revolution, and that cause is philosophical. 

(I am not claiming this necessarily must happen; I am not claiming it might not have happened differently in a nearby parallel universe. I am only claiming it did happen. Saying “S caused P” is not the same as saying “S and only S causes P” or “S caused and always causes P”.)

The genteel nihilism of the 1960’s Youth Movement was not the dark and bitter nihilism of Nietzsche: the hippies adopted an inarticulate stance which dismissed all moral values as traps and ‘hang-ups’ and which lauded selfishness and wickedness under a number of deceptively flattering labels, such as ‘self-expressing’ and ‘doing your own thing.’ They resisted defining and identifying their thinking by rejecting all ‘stereotypes’ and refusing to be ‘labeled.’ Anyone engaged in false advertising wants to avoiding honesty in labeling laws, and does not want to tell you what ingredients went into the hotdog.

This genteel nihilism is the default moral assumption of the modern West: it is the idea that each man will write his own moral code from scratch, the way he selects his clothing, perhaps for reasons of utility (a jacket if it is cold) or for reasons of vanity (a pretty bow to adorn his hair). 

By “modern” I do not mean advanced or unprimitive. I mean post-Christian, or, to use the technical term, damned.

A nihilistic code has no real choice but to collapse into hedonism. If tomorrow we die, then eat drink and be merry.

The only crime in that moral code (for there can be no sins, only crimes) is to mar the feasts, orgies, and crapulence of your fellow party-goer. Hence violence against one’s fellow is condemned (for no one can party down on the deck of the Titanic, if the guests steal each other’s food), but also any act of criticism or condemnation is condemned (because it is rude at the Masque of the Red Death to mock someone else’s fancy dress).

Here is one of the paradoxes of the modern age: in nihilism, nothing matters, but in feminism, equality matters, and the feminists have the zeal of crusaders for a holy cause. One would normally suppose the two to be deadly enemies. 

They are not enemies because "live and let live" and "all men are created equal" both spring from a common root: the perfectly fine and valid idea that no man should lord it over another. (Some would call it a Christian ideal, cf. the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard).

The feminist idea of not imposing what are called gender-roles on people, or gender-stereotypes fits nicely with the genteel idea of not imposing on people at all, which, again, first nicely with the nihilist idea that, since ultimately nothing is worth doing, nothing is worth imposing on your fellows: each man lets his neighbor pick her own moral code as each man lets his neighbor pick her own coat.

I call it genteel because the modern nihilist is an easy-going ‘live and let live’ type of fellow, charming in his own way, soft-spoken rather than strident. He does not believe in religion or in much of anything: his analytical powers and moral sense are flabby and out-of-shape, fed on a diet of mental junkfood and predigested gruel. Oddly, he thinks of himself as both smarter and more morally acute than his betters, because (rather than despite) his ignorance on fundamental matters. He regards thinkers as people who "have their heads in the clouds" and — this is the most important part — he assumes any disagreement with the consensus opinion is due to perversity. If you do not accept the received wisdom of the newspapers and opinion-makers, it is because (so our flabby nihilist believes) you are ignorant, obtuse, uninformed,  or immoral.  The idea of an honest disagreement of opinion is impossible to them—because that would require a standard of judgment against which value judgments are held.

(Here, I speak from experience. One science fiction editor (I withhold the name out of courtesy) in the same paragraph where he showered me with compliments on the depth and richness of my imagination, told me that, because I was a conservative, I was ergo unimaginative. I am afraid I forgot my manners and laughed in his face with my mouth open, showing my back teeth.  He assumed I was not in love with the beautiful brave new world promised by Plato’s Republic, Moore’s Utopia or Orwell’s  Oceania because and only because I could not picture it. The idea that I had pondered long and hard and remorselessly about socialism, weighed the arguments and evidence in the cold balance scales of logic, and came to a defensible verdict, did not enter his thinking. Perhaps he could not imagine it?)

Lest we stray too far from the original question, let me tie the trains of thought back together: the sexual revolution was a revolution of hedonism, or, at its dark heart, of nihilism.

Their motto should have been: Since nothing is worth doing, fornicate.

For them, the only moral imperative is that no pleasure have any pain associated with it. If technology, such as contraception, can sever the cause-and-effect link between sexual reproduction (the erotic pleasure) and sexual reproduction (the biological reality), so much the better. If you can make yourself temporarily sterile, or, better yet, create a regime where killing a child in the womb is regarded as morally neutral, or even a positive good (e.g. overpopulation fears, eugenicist concerns about too many Negro babies, or humanitarian bromides that unwanted babies are better off dead) then your rebellion against reality and morality is complete, and nothing but the endless pleasures of the paradise of Mohammed, or the Playboy Mansion, await you.

One might think that a sex-drenched, pornography-affirming society of hedonists would indeed emphasize the sexual differences. Women (one might think)  would have distinct manners, dress, adornment, and so on in order to make the sexual differences sexier: perhaps women would even speak differently than men, saying "watakushi" rather than "boku”, so that even a voice over the phone would be as feminine as a whiff of perfume,  every tiniest gesture would be sexually charged with an invisible voltage, so that a woman could turn on a man merely by turning her head, or lifting her wrist. But hedonism is not really, in the final analysis, about pleasure. In the final analysis, hedonism is nihilism. It is about nothingness.

Nihilism could also be called Chaoticism. It is really about having no rules.

Achieving true pleasure requires rules. It requires self-discipline, in the same way winning  a ball game requires drill, exercise, and discipline . Team uniforms, loyalty, good sportsmanship, heeding the coach, obeying the umpire, playing fair are all part of the long-term pleasure. (Without getting too technical, the philosophy which preaches this rational and long-term approach to pleasure is called Epicureanism, and it is distinct from Hedonism exactly in that Hedonism does not promote subordinating the passions to the reason, as Epicureanism does. Objectivism, for example, is Epicurean but not Hedonist, since it condemns certain types of pleasures as not befitting to reason.) 

So, no. The sex-drenched culture promotes sex-appeal for commercial purposes or mating purposes, but does not promote femininity, which is a more complex concept than mere sex appeal. The modesty and delicacy traditionally associated with the fairer sex is absent. The sex-drenched culture is vulgar and blatant, and, paradoxically, unsatisfying and unsexy in the long run. Glancing-eyed, gay Venus begins to yawn. 

The most erotic experience in life is the copulation between a man and wife when they are trying to get pregnant. You light the candles, you pour the wine, the tear the bridal veil away, you carry her over the threshold like a Sabine woman (it is sexier if she kicks her legs) and you set down to the pragmatic business of baby-making.  The wife’s hormones are fully engaged; the psychological commitment of both partners is absolute; the women is not necessarily worried about the man wandering away or wondering if he will call back because he is fettered by his wedding ring and his sacred honor; the element of selfishness and mutual exploitation is absent; there is nothing perverted or kinky about it, because there is no need to stimulate artificially a limp and jaded sexual impulse; both surrender in a sublime way to love, all-conquering Cupid,  and keep nothing back. That is what sex is all about. That is what is really sexy.

Compare that to waking up the next morning in Tony Stark’s chick-magnet pad, to find him gone, and Pepper Potts calling you a cab or calling you a trashbag. Hm. Not quite the same, issit? Not quite as romantic.

In real sex, the man does not need to wear a balloon on his dick, the women is not fiddling with an IUD, and the couple rejoices, rather than quails, if the lady’s period is late. The couple does not quail in terror that a tiny sperm, with the tenacity of a marine storming Normandy Beach, might somehow perhaps have survived the spermicide.  (And cowering to a sperm  is humiliating).

Sex without fear is different from so-called safe sex, and much better. Fertile women are cuter.

If both partners come to the wedding bed as virgins, as the Church teaches they ought, the fear of venereal disease is remote. If the man has abstained from masturbation and pornography, as the Church teaches he ought, the physical sensations of the sex act will be new to him. From a merely economic point of view this is prudent: the law of diminishing marginal utility says you enjoy your first doughnut more than your twelfth. It is not as if one actually needs practice to do the act: Adam and Eve managed to figure it out after a few dozen tries, I am sure (though certainly she still kidded him, years later, about the attempted insertion into her ear. Eventually he found the right orifice).  Sex that is actually new and wonderful and sexy is actually sexier than sex that is cheap, and trashy, and jaded, and bored.  Real sex is fun, and more than fun. Profound fun is joy.

But the modern West never talks about sex, real sex, sex which is not severed in half, the romantic aspect cut away from the procreative aspect: sex without vulgarity. The sexual revolution was precisely a rebellion against real sex. It was the promotion, quite simply, of sin. Only the criminal, the imprudent, the foolish, and the perversions of sex were applauded, excused, promoted and glorified during the sexual revolution: not real wives but silicon houri were held up as the model of womanhood. 

The sex-drenched culture is not devoted to sex, but to selfishness. Uniformity of dress and manners, even if such uniformity is ultimately beneficial (not to mention more fun) to all members, requires too much self-discipline for a lazy and self-centered generation. So women dress in dungarees because it is easier, and because to dress like a man is a symbol of independence.

If I may, let me draw an analogy to the corruption of manners in dancing.

Couples used to waltz. Waltzing is sexier than rock and roll dancing. In a waltz, then man wears his best suit, he asks the young lady to dance with his best manners. She is adorned in her most elegant dress, silk or satin, with naked arms and sweeping skirts. The music is sublime, powerful, lyrical, and the man embraces his partner in one arm, and the man leads. It is so clear a symbol of copulation that a refined soul would be shocked, or blush rose-red with delight.

Rock and roll music, on the other hand, is something like the banging of trashcan lids together, hooting and shouting of a band of monkeys, so women with tattoos in hotpants can gyrate for their prospective mates of the evening. No one leads. There are no real dance moves: merely hopping up and down in one spot. The dance partners do not even need to touch each other, or, for that matter, be on the same part of the dance floor. The boys (they are not men) ogle their partners, perhaps hoping to see if her hooters will bounce out of her braless tanktop. The music is loud, the lights are dark yet dazzling, and there are no flowers. There is no champagne.

No matter what other comparisons one can draw between a culture where the waltz is the norm, and where rock and roll dance is the norm, one cannot, without giggling, say that the rock-n-rollers are sexier than the waltzers.  The formalities of dress and address in the waltz allow even a plain looking man (I speak from experience) to cut a romantic figure. Women become figures of magic, like a bouquet of flowers brought to life by witchery, bright as autumn leaves spiraling on the wind, if the air itself were transformed into music.

But to dance to rock and roll dancing one need not learn to dance. One need not learn to dress. One need not bring a corsage. It is the form of dance perfectly suited to selfishness and sloth, rather than to romance.

It is not magical. No one uses the word ‘enchanting’ to describe the mosh pit.

As in dance, so in manners and morals in general. Sex without marriage is coupling without courtship. The woman who cohabitates relies on no oath, no sacrament, to bind her lover’s attention. He is devoted only so long as his passions, or a sense of fair play, will bind his will. Sex is still central to the relationship, but each partner holds back. They live together for a while before marrying. If they marry, the current law and current social atmosphere requires no irrevocable commitment: either partner can leave the other at any time, for any reason or no reason. The consensus does not consider divorce to be blameworthy. The consensus does not consider bastardy to be shameful. (The word ‘bastardy’ is not even in the spellcheck dictionary of my computer.)

The modern relation between the sexes is like a mosh pit rather than like a ball. The sex-drenched culture is not devoted to romance, but to unchastity. Chaste sex, as between man and wife, holds no appeal for the sexual revolutionaries.

In closing, let me add that one thing that always amuses me, is when some modern or postmodern yammerhead will read my lascivious, lecherous description of femininity, pore over the aching, throbbing words I use to describe the wild magic and torment of romance, but the moment I say the Christian cutie-pies are sexier than sterile pagan dames (because our women are fertile, their rounded breasts engorged with milk, their nubile & callipygious hips able to bear children, whereas pagan women are mannequins, female in name only, barren) the postmodern yammerhead concludes I am a prude and a killjoy. That is his argument.

The "fun" people like sex and hate babies. They see no link in reality nor morality between sex and babies. Sex is a past-time or even an entitlement and babies are an unpleasant surprise, or else something one acquires (no doubt through a sperm donor) for self-expression or self-fulfillment. Since I both like sex and I like babies, I must be a killjoy; a repressive Puritan with a buckle on my hat and a chastity belt on my wife; a monk in a hairshirt regarding his own erection with the same horror as the serpent  of Eden!

Sure, that’s me. If only. If I were a prude, that would be an improvement.

Anyone who looks with eyes unclouded by an agenda can tell what I really am: a dirty old man. Where is the water that can wash me clean? Whose is the blood that washes me clean?

Other yammerers argue that femininity and fertility are traps used by abstinent yet sinister greybeards to repress female sexuality, or repress females in general, or sexuality in general. This because we are scared of women, or unimaginative.

Not at all. It is because we are stubborn and ambitious. The first Christian saint to enter into paradise is Saint Dismas, the thief who died on the Cross next to Our Lord. The first saint who saw the risen Lord three days later was Saint Mary Magdalene, a harlot. Should he have been content to remain as he was? Should she? We sinister Christian are ambitious for you: we you to become princes and princesses in heaven, yes, even kings and queens, goddesses and gods.

Let me use that as a segue to a different topic, Jackaroonie asks

"Interesting that in your very next post you’re leeringly referring to "love slave", "sex slave", "slave slave", "sexy love slave", "attractive barbarian girl in skimpy leopardskin bikini", "pouty schoolgirl", "lonely lesbian night-nurse", "fugitive schoolgirl", etc. Could it be the man doth protest too much?"

Let me quote Thomas Hobbes, that master of remorseless logic:

"The similitude of the thoughts and passions of one man, to the thoughts and passions of another, whosoever looketh into himself and considereth what he doth when he does think, opine, reason, hope, fear, etc., and upon what grounds; he shall thereby read and know what are the thoughts and passions of all other men upon the like occasions.

"I say the similitude of passions, which are the same in all men,- desire, fear, hope, etc.; not the similitude of the objects of the passions, which are the things desired, feared, hoped, etc.: for these the constitution individual, and particular education, do so vary, and they are so easy to be kept from our knowledge, that the characters of man’s heart, blotted and confounded as they are with dissembling, lying, counterfeiting, and erroneous doctrines, are legible only to him that searcheth hearts. And though by men’s actions we do discover their design sometimes; yet to do it without comparing them with our own, and distinguishing all circumstances by which the case may come to be altered, is to decipher without a key, and be for the most part deceived, by too much trust or by too much diffidence, as he that reads is himself a good or evil man."

Let none think I am complaining of the depravity of my surrounding culture because I behold a paragon of virtue in the looking glass.

I am complaining because I myself am a vomiting drunkard of the wine of vice, and friendly people keep offering me free drinks while I am trying to quit, and they keep telling me that I am sober enough to drive and pushing the car keys into my hand.

They want to help me improve my self-esteem, no doubt. It is very judgmental to tell a drunk he is not fit to drive! They think the traffic laws three thousand years of moral reasoning have evolved to prevent car wrecks on the Boulevards of Love are merely a form of oppression. They think I am okay if I drive drunk, provided I engage in ‘safe crashing’ and rely on an airbag, which works nine times out of ten.