Must read: Camille Paglia on feminist disrespect for men

I have enjoyed reading Camille Paglia for a long time.  I fervently oppose many of her positions, of course.  BUT… she is tough and honest and clear and, oh boy, can she write. Reading her scary-good prose is an unsettling pleasure.

In light of the catholic feminist uprising against Pope Francis that is building and dividing the catholic Left, and in light of Pope Francis’ firm slamming of the door on women’s ordination or female cardinals (which he called “un battuta… a joke, a wisecrack”), I found this piece by feminist Camille Paglia of great interest.

She is dead on in most of her assessment of most feminists.

Here is a sample, from TIME:

It’s a Man’s World, And It Always Will Be

The modern economy is a male epic, in which women have found a productive role—but women were not its author

By Camille Paglia

If men are obsolete, then women will soon be extinct—unless we rush down that ominous Brave New World path where females will clone themselves by parthenogenesis, as famously do Komodo dragons, hammerhead sharks, and pit vipers.

A peevish, grudging rancor against men has been one of the most unpalatable and unjust features of second- and third-wave feminism. Men’s faults, failings and foibles have been seized on and magnified into gruesome bills of indictment. Ideologue professors at our leading universities indoctrinate impressionable undergraduates with carelessly fact-free theories alleging that gender is an arbitrary, oppressive fiction with no basis in biology.

Is it any wonder that so many high-achieving young women, despite all the happy talk about their academic success, find themselves in the early stages of their careers in chronic uncertainty or anxiety about their prospects for an emotionally fulfilled private life? When an educated culture routinely denigrates masculinity and manhood, then women will be perpetually stuck with boys, who have no incentive to mature or to honor their commitments. And without strong men as models to either embrace or (for dissident lesbians) to resist, women will never attain a centered and profound sense of themselves as women. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

From my long observation, which predates the sexual revolution, this remains a serious problem afflicting Anglo-American society, with its Puritan residue. In France, Italy, Spain, Latin America, and Brazil, in contrast, many ambitious professional women seem to have found a formula for asserting power and authority in the workplace while still projecting sexual allure and even glamor. This is the true feminine mystique, [pace Betty Friedan] which cannot be taught but flows from an instinctive recognition of sexual differences. In today’s punitive atmosphere of sentimental propaganda about gender, the sexual imagination has understandably fled into the alternate world of online pornography, where the rude but exhilarating forces of primitive nature rollick unconstrained by religious or feminist moralism.

It was always the proper mission of feminism to attack and reconstruct the ossified social practices that had led to wide-ranging discrimination against women. But surely it was and is possible for a progressive reform movement to achieve that without stereotyping, belittling, or demonizing men. History must be seen clearly and fairly: obstructive traditions arose not from men’s hatred or enslavement of women but from the natural division of labor that had developed over thousands of years during the agrarian period and that once immensely benefited and protected women, permitting them to remain at the hearth to care for helpless infants and children. Over the past century, it was labor-saving appliances, invented by men and spread by capitalism, that liberated women from daily drudgery.


Read the rest there. I especially enjoyed her description of men, not women, doing the dangerous stuff after “the next inevitable apocalypse”.

Oh how I pray that Paglia will come over the right side of things. She has about 500 MHz more brainspeed than the entire corpus of catholic feminists combined.

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  1. mamajen says:

    I, too, greatly enjoy Camille Paglia without agreeing with many of her views. I respect anyone who actually uses his brain in this day and age, and I hold out hope for her.

  2. wmeyer says:

    To give credit where it is due, those feminists who are sure they do not need men seem almost always also to be of the persuasion that is opposed to technology, roads, and ultimately, to the presence of humans on this planet. Ah, well, without men they will indeed be on the way to achieving all their goals–in extinction.

  3. teomatteo says:

    Who needs to read this Camille something when all I did was watch ‘Abbot and Costello go to Venus’ and I learned the same thing?
    But seriously she does tell it like it is.

  4. SKAY says:

    Camille is always interesting.

  5. Netmilsmom says:

    Bookmarking to share with my teen daughters.

  6. annabanana says:

    Why is popular culture saturated with sylph like boys/men? What girl fancies them after she sails past the age of 15? They’re so androgenous and its not attractive to women. I saw a portrait of Henry the VIII recently: hands on hips meeting the viewer’s gaze directly. Golly Miss Molly, was he was looking rather manly and interesting. That is worrying.

    In general I find men are cowed, and yes, intimidated by women. Everyone is losing because in the longterm women can’t depend on weak guys undergoing protracted adolesence in their 30’s. We have a vicious circle here. I have female friends who basically hold the fort together trying to manage husbands who have done a u turn on decisionmaking and are very boy like and directionless.

    My female peers and I were educated to think rationally, to express our opinions, to pursue education and responsibility. I was taught to debate and make a convincing argument. I was taught to be strong, to survive. I know that women are fed a load of feminist codswallop in college, I know it finds its mark. Now in my 30’s I think something significant is lacking. There’s a gap in my education and it isn’t harpsicord appreciation. What were men taught while this was going on? Why do women feel they’re paddling their own canoe? How can/ do guys “man up” these days? How do women reclaim their femininity without having to pretend to be a flower fairy? Maybe Granny was right “No one wants your opinions, its the quiet ones who always get their man…”

  7. Hans says:

    I was going to say that I found it surprising that she could teach at an American university with such views in public, but then I reviewed her bio and found she hasn’t always been able to do so …

  8. Susan the Short says:

    I’ve often thought that too many priests and bishops are “nun-whipped” and afraid of what the radical feministas will do to them if they show some pastoral backbone.

    Put down your moisturizer, boys. The battle for souls needs real men to lead the way.

  9. stephen c says:

    Camille Paglia had the advantage of a very good education, for sure (I am a fellow 60s 70s 80s SUNY grad = New York state schools..), her prose style, while her own, is closely related to her teacher Harold Bloom’s (grad school at Yale, “comparative literature”):, who is a big fan not only of pretty much every famous Christian writer who probably went to heaven a long time ago (Augustine, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dryden, Pope, Hopkins, Cervantes, Dante, to name a few fans of the Roman Catholic rites of their day) but who also has read the Christian Bible and thought about it for the most part of eight decades. I am thinking here that it might not take much prayer to push these intelligent people, like Bloom and Paglia, who have had the extraordinary luck to understand how close to heavenly words the words of Moses, David, Isaiah, John and Luke were (even when viewed from the reluctant believer’s vantage point) to a compassionate understanding view of what this world really is, to a point of view guided by Jesus instead of guided by the gnostic tricks which they have subscribed to in the past . .

  10. RuariJM says:

    Interesting and stimulating contribution from Ms Paglia. She has been doing that sort of stuff for quite some time!

  11. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    annabanana asks, “Why is popular culture saturated with sylph like boys/men?” Peter Pan suddenly comes to mind – might part of it be some kind of appeal to the maternal (even where those older than Wendy are concerned)?

  12. ray from mn says:

    I also have been a fan of Paglia for a long time. Although I don’t read her much. Salon is a bit much for me.

    Another group to follow occasionally would be the atheist, ex-Marxist, sometimes pro-life, writers for “Spiked” a UK internet magazine to which there are free subscriptions. Often surprising good thinking there. There is always something interesting in their publication. Brendan O’Neill, Mick Hume and Frank Furedi are three of their better columnists.

  13. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Annabanana,

    Interestingly, one of my colleagues in humor studies had her name legally changed to Anna Banana.

    [I know I’m going to get disagreement for the following, but it is something to think about]

    In any case, I have never heard of Paglia, before, living in my own little unsophisticated conclave, so, perhaps I can be unbiased in my analysis. She is so close and yet so far away from reality when she makes the observation:

    “It was always the proper mission of feminism to attack and reconstruct the ossified social practices that had led to wide-ranging discrimination against women. But surely it was and is possible for a progressive reform movement to achieve that without stereotyping, belittling, or demonizing men. History must be seen clearly and fairly: obstructive traditions arose not from men’s hatred or enslavement of women but from the natural division of labor that had developed over thousands of years during the agrarian period and that once immensely benefited and protected women, permitting them to remain at the hearth to care for helpless infants and children. Over the past century, it was labor-saving appliances, invented by men and spread by capitalism, that liberated women from daily drudgery.”

    She gets this close to stating the matter in terms of Natural Law theory, and then skates away from it by implying that technology, somehow, has triumphed over nature. That there are labor-saving appliances for doing the dishes is one thing, but the labor-saving devices for raising a child amount to the depersonalization of the bond between mother and child that we are seeing so much of in modern times. One need only think of professional child-care, mass media, teacher intervention in sexual education, etc., to see that not all labor-saving devices are made of steel. Some save labor but lose the child. The liberation of a woman from going down to the river to wash her clothes is not the same as liberating a mother from giving her son a bath. Indeed, it was this upheaval at the level of personal interaction between men and women, parents and children which has spawned the detachment of men from their natural roles – and this is largely because of the, dare-I-say, trickle-down notions of liberation that came about due to the hatred of religion which started in the Enlightenment and caught on among a small class of rich, entitled, and vocal women in late Nineteenth-century America.

    Make no mistake, the feminization of men has largely occurred because what the modern, “feminist,” preaches is not feminism, really, but the masculinism of women – a subtle, but profound difference. What they hate is not men and not the supposed oppression of men. What they hate is a Nature that makes distinctions and, therefore, it must follow, they hate the Author of that nature. Where modern feminism abounds, there will always be a hatred of proper religion and a distortion of God.

    She comes close to realizing this when she writes:

    “In France, Italy, Spain, Latin America, and Brazil, in contrast, many ambitious professional women seem to have found a formula for asserting power and authority in the workplace while still projecting sexual allure and even glamor.”

    She can’t bring herself to say the one thing she must not: all of these countries have a Catholic heritage and a special love of The Virgin Mary.

    Before someone says, “I’m a feminist, but I love God,” stop and think of exactly what you mean by feminism. Almost, always, behind the feeling of unfairness, of oppression, lives a lack of a true appreciation of the gift of femininity. Modern feminism is nothing more than the hand wishing to be a nose. When someone says that men and women should be equal in the workplace, the first thing to point out is that bearing children is a workplace – growing a child in the womb is the first and ultimate form of work! Nurturing children is a cooperative function of husband and wife, but it is the wife who is the natural manager by right and genetics. Indeed, men go to work to fashion things by hand because they cannot fashion things in their bodies. In this light, clearly, it is women wanting to compete with men, who are the aggressors, robbing men of the practical outlet for their need for creating something beyond themselves. That is not to say that men and women cannot work together in the workplace, just as they work together in the home, but each must understand the limitations of the other.

    We know, incontrovertibly, that there are cognitive differences in how men and women process information about the world. Men process information from front-to-back in the brain, the so-called cortical-thalmic tract, whereas women process information from side-to-side across hemispheres. There are, also, more subtle, anatomical and neurological differences. Women are integrative processors, men are differential processors. Women are peanut butter, men are jam. They can work together to make a nice lunch, but they have some important differences and these distinctions are important.

    Feminism has approached the role of women with a broad axe instead of a scalpel. What they should have been spending their time doing is trying to become better models of The Blessed Virgin and less time trying to become St. Joseph. Cast in these terms, the whole notion of modern, “feminism,” is seen to be the hideous mutilation of man and woman that it really is. Some men are not men because some women are not women. Deal with it, Ms. Paglia. That is the sad realization. Nature has made men and women different sorts of thinkers. Yes, they both have a brain, but they are meant to compliment each other in their thoughts, not replace them. Modern, “feminists,” (as opposed to the true feminine genius) don’t really want equality (something already granted by Nature, if only they were subtle enough to use the equality properly). But hey want identicalness, an interchangeability. They want to replace the two sexes by one-and-a-half sexes, allowing for crossing over at will. That will never work. There will be male and female and if women want to displace their femininity, then their femininity will get displaced to men. Modern, “feminists,” have a form of a truly mental disorder where the natural integrative process in the female approach to thinking about reality has run amok and has tried to integrate things that were never meant to be. Sadly, feminists have made great strides in discovering how to replace or even become men. What they haven’t discovered is how to become women.

    The Chicken

  14. Like many here, I enjoy reading Ms Pagilla without necessarily agreeing with many of her positions.

    The question was posed: ‘why so many sylph-like boys/men’?

    As a man…because there has been a concerted effort over the last 40-something or more years to equate masculinity, strength, fortitude, and sense of honor with archaic and somewhat ‘out of it’ ways of being a man. Face it, sloth is a wonderful excuse for NOT taking charge and letting someone else do it. I have to admit, at one time or another, after being constantly bombarded with ‘you’re an oppressive male preventing me from….’ there was a tendency to say to myself ‘then YOU go do it…’ and go out flying, camping, or fiddling with my car. In other words, who wants to BE what is unappreciated or derided in society? It became a self-fulfilling prophesy…instead of Ward Cleaver we lampooned the typical male with characatures like Archie Bunker and Homer Simpson.

    And people like Pagilla are realizing and, apparently, not afraid to state the obvious. The feminization of any society, the loss of masculine sturdiness, and the masculinization of women invariably leads to the fall of that society. To think that humans are any different today at our core than all the civilizations before us, except on a technological basis, is to not understand the nature of fallen mankind.

  15. NBW says:

    Masked Chicken: you pegged it!

    Although I don’t agree with a lot of Paglia’s writing it looks like she is getting closer to realizing that feminism may not be a it’s cracked up to be.

  16. CatherineTherese says:

    Stephen C makes a good point that some of these very smart people whose lives and livelihoods are built upon appreciation of Western Civilization might not be so far from the last and most important intellectual leap (that leap being God).

    That said, The Chicken also touches on this, even if he claims to know nothing about Ms. Paglia: That she is, indeed, so close, yet so far away.

    I too have had a sympathy for Paglia over the years – she “gets it” and says it very crisply at times. But she persists with the giant plank in her eye by living as an atheist lesbian – effectively living her life as one giant unprincipled exception. She has forged fame and fortune on her keen Western sensibilities, having been raised in a 1st generation Italian American, Catholic home. But she comments on the world as an outside observer, too smart and too articulate for her own good. Too smart to submit in humility to her own (female) nature. Too smart to submit to God.

    So, The Chicken is right: She comes so close, yet remains painfully so far away. I will pray for her conversion.

  17. Sonshine135 says:

    I found this article to be enlightening. I like her point about feminism pushing the “sexual imagination” into the “alternate world of online pornography.” As I have discussed with others before, it is also the reason for virtual worlds and the popularity of online gaming. This should be a wake up call for modern society. The inability for men to be men is leading to a dangerous societal escapism.

  18. Pingback: The Thinking Housewife › Paglia on Feminism

  19. oldCatholigirl says:

    Well said, Chicken!
    I suppose that Ms. Paglia is unlikely even to see this blog, [You would be surprised at who reads this blog.] much less respond to your comment, but I would like to see her take on it. I remember seeing her on talk shows years ago, when I saw more T.V. than I do now; I haven’t read anything she’s done lately, since 1.) I don’t read the publications she writes for, and 2.) I’m busy keeping my head in the sand a lot of the time.:) I remember always having found her interesting, intelligent, and fair-minded. It seems she still is. I also remember grieving that she had a Catholic, Italian-American background (as I do myself–at least on my father’s side) and had uprooted herself. I’m with Catherine Therese. Let’s pray hard for Ms. Paglia’s conversion, and that of other sincere truth-seekers.

  20. Kerry says:

    Chicken, in the ten ring! Nice shootin’ pardner.

  21. ckdexterhaven says:

    Has anyone else noticed that every.single.commercial on TV has a stupid man and a genius woman? That’s bad enough. But he woman belittles the idiot man in some way. And if it’s not the woman, the kids are smarter than the man. I am a woman raising sons, and I am disgusted by these ads.

    BH (Before Homeschooling), my kids went to public school. The school libraries were full of books portraying woman heroes, like Sally Ride, Susan B. Anthony, etc. but it was incredibly difficult to find books portraying men heroes. Yes, there is a war on boys and men.

  22. Pingback: If It’s a Man’s World, Then It’s a Woman’s Masterpiece: A Response to Camille Paglia | Reclaiming the Sacred

  23. annabanana says:

    Interesting points. On reflection I don’t believe that motherhood or the role of wife was ever posed as a future either at college or at my school ( Ursuline Sisters). The good sisters were in fact always pushing for and advocating academic achievements/success, otherwise you were a bit of a dud and mostly passed over. Competition between students was palpable. In college no one ever talked about marraige, ever. It was embarrassing if a girl aspired to marraige, girls never declared it openly, it was tantamount to disclosing that you wanted to be a princess and play with fluffy clouds. This was the mindset at third level mid 1990’s Ireland. Marraige was out there, a bit like Kansas, but you were going to avoid going there as long as you possibly could and the only honourable path was with great reluctance. A few of my friends felt they had to feign a slight disgust with the whole wedding thing because it was so ingrained in us to think it was pathetic. Any bide who got excited was universally panned. I remember the nicest compliment you could give a wedding dress was that it didn’t look like a wedding dress (traditional) ie, “No whipped cream for you!” Note Feminism took approximately 10 years to make its way across the Atlantic to Ireland so we’re at different warp speed.

    Now, in our thirties most of us are single after working hard for years, pursuing our education as far as we could. Many of my friends are realising that after dating a few boyfriends (who cannot commit because of fear/ because they want to date younger women/because they want to have fun and life with you is getting too serious) they’re better off on their own. They are quietly grieving a future without children, without a spouse. They’re lovely women, but they’re super responsible, efficient and independent, ultimately because (steeped in the feminist culture of college) they were trained to be. Trained to form a lone households. The message “Rely on yourself, you can’t rely on anyone else” bit deep. Its true that men feel redundant when women can do everything themselves. For my friends and I, to abdicate responsibility is like telling Thor to put the hammer gently on the ground and to step away. Incidently most of the working class girls I knew at school were married in their early twenties and their eldest children are teenagers now. The middle classes are disappearing in Western Europe, middle class women are simply not having babies. Less girls to indoctrinate with the destructive forms
    of feminism methinks.

  24. RuariJM says:

    rayfrommn – Be very cautious indeed about recommending Frank Furedi. His wife is Ann Furedi, head of BPAS, which is proud to proclaim itself the largest abortion provider in the UK. It is striving like billio to extend its dark reach into Ireland.

    Agree with you about Brendan O’Neill, though.

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