Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues

Wall Street Journal    What you're seeing is how a civilization commits suicide," says Camille Paglia. This self-described "notorious Amazon feminist" isn't telling anyone to Lean In or asking Why Women Still Can't Have It All. No, her indictment may be as surprising as it is wide-ranging: The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, and sexiness is dead. And that's just 20 minutes of our three-hour conversation.

When Ms. Paglia, now 66, burst onto the national stage in 1990 with the publishing of "Sexual Personae," she immediately established herself as a feminist who was the scourge of the movement's establishment, a heretic to its orthodoxy. Pick up the 700-page tome, subtitled "Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, " and it's easy to see why. "If civilization had been left in female hands," she wrote, "we would still be living in grass huts." [...]

But no subject gets her going more than when I ask if she really sees a connection between society's attempts to paper over the biological distinction between men and women and the collapse of Western civilization.

She starts by pointing to the diminished status of military service. "The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service—hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster," she says. "These people don't think in military ways, so there's this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we're just nice and benevolent to everyone they'll be nice too. They literally don't have any sense of evil or criminality."

The results, she says, can be seen in everything from the dysfunction in Washington (where politicians "lack practical skills of analysis and construction") to what women wear. "So many women don't realize how vulnerable they are by what they're doing on the street," she says, referring to women who wear sexy clothes. [...]


  1. "If civilization had been left in female hands," she wrote, "we would still be living in grass huts." -

    This is quite true, and its a result of the fundamental differences between masculinity and femininity. Ms. Paglia seems to be one of the few wise feminists.

    For purposes of creating shalom bayis in the Jewish community, we must give great consideration to the fundamental differences between masculinity and femininity.

    Masculinity involves exerting leadership and authority and these provide fulfillment in men's lives. Despite the feminist age we live in, we cannot just dismiss the need for Jewish men to have some authority in their households, even if men do not require the level of authority they attained in prior ages. Of course a man must exert his authority in his household with full respect and sensitivity to his wife and children.

    1. Men need to lead their families. That is how they will earn their respect. RDE has pointed out that RMF used to say a house without work is a house without shalom bayis. If the man is not providing for the woman, she will not respect him and there will be no peace. Demanding respect and authority simply for being a man will never work.

    2. @James - "Demanding respect and authority simply for being a man" -

      I never advocated that men should demand respect simply for being males. I am saying that true masculinity is essential to families and civilization, but it's been greatly denigrated by feminism. The feminist anti-masculine mentality has also taken strong root in the "Orthodox" Jewish community.

      True masculinity involves decent men competently and fairly leading, planning, and directing civilization and their families. Without true masculinity, "civilization commits suicide" or else never advances past the stone age. There's never been an advanced matriarchal society.

  2. There is truth to her comments,as
    tradition goes, men had the leadership role,as a breadwinner and provider . In today's world where the men learn, and the women end up being the providers , one can question if the old style men leadership still is appropriate .
    Although from Torah standpoint , the husband is Mashpia , but in living reality, he is not.
    Perhaps we need to change the Kesuba language to conform with Yeshiva Style living, to make it relevant .

  3. Not just that, but men's contributions to history are not appreciated. Every time I drive through the NJ Meadowlands it hits me, some man in the 1930s hobbled through this swamp and turned it into a road. He didn't do it because it was a wonderful career. He did it to feed his wife and kids.

  4. A prime example of the putdown of men in the Ortho world is this notion that women are on a higher plane than men. There are no sources to support this. It's a myth. In fact, there are sources that say the opposite but we won't get into that.

  5. I guess I will need to be the one to shatter her illusions, then. For someone like her, who doesn't understand sports, the "angry sports talk radio caller" may come off as macho, assertive, definitive - almost like a leader. But to someone who understands sports, when 95% of these callers actually have very little to absolutely no real knowledge of the game, their juvenile whining comes off as the village idiot spouting off at an elderly professor with critically acclaimed work. It's embarrassing and laughable to the point that someone knowledgeable about the game can barely even endure a few minutes of this total nonsense talk. It's the playground of the ignorant. Knowledgeable sports fans confine themselves to thoughtful and useful blogs. For example, SBN blogs (at least some).
    If she knew anything about the complexity of the games, she would be laughing at these beta-men who call up to spout ignorance and pump their own ego's. I'd bet that societal flaws are at work in producing these type of men who need such validation from primal outbursts.


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