April 07, 2004

Vamps & Tramps

Posted by shonk at 12:12 AM in Feminism, Words of Wisdom | TrackBack

As is my wont when I can’t think of anything to write about, I’ll let someone else do the talking. As such, some quotes from Camille Paglia’s Vamps & Tramps (for those that don’t know, Paglia is a lesbian, a feminist and a civil libertarian as well as being a harsh critic of the “feminist establishment”):

When the office—by which I mean the whole complex of word-based, smoothly cooperative white-collar work, in business or academe—becomes the primary paradigm of new female achievement, women have cut themselves off from the risk-taking, rough-and-tumble experiences that have always toughened men. Women will never succeed at the level or in the numbers they deserve until they get over their genteel reluctance to take abuse in the attack and counterattack of territorial warfare. The recent trend in feminism, notably in sexual harassment policy, has been to overrely on regulation and legislation rather than to promote personal responsibility. Women must not become wards and suppliants of authority figures. Freedom means rejecting dependency.

—Introduction, pg. xii

Fundamentalist reading of the Bible is far from passé. On the contrary, religious faith, in particular evangelical Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, is spreading around the world. The goals and reputation of progressive politics have been harmed by the juvenile arrogance of the liberal establishment toward institutional religion, which may oppress by rules but which is also a repository of spiritual experience, as well as fold wisdom about life, far more truthful than anything in French poststructuralism.

—pg. 21

There is such a thing as seduction, and it needs encouragement rather than discouragement in our puritanical Anglo-American world. The fantastic fetishism of rape by mainstream and anti-porn feminists has in the end trivialized rape, impugned women’s credibility, and reduce the sympathy we should feel for legitimate victims of violent sexual assault.

What I call Betty Crocker feminism—a naively optimistic Pollyannaish or Panglossian view of reality—is behind much of this. Even the most morbid of the rape ranters have a childlike faith in the perfectibility of the universe, which they see as blighted solely by nasty men. They simplistically project outward onto a mythical “patriarchy” their own inner conflicts and moral ambiguities. In Sexual Personae, I critiqued the sunny Rousseauism running through the last two hundred years of liberal thinking and offered the dark tradition of Sade, Darwin, Nietzsche, and Freud as more truthful about human perversity. It is more accurate to see primitive egotism and animality ever-simmering behind social controls—cruel energies contained and redirected for the greater good—than to predicate purity and innocence ravaged by corrupt society. Nor does the Foucault view of numb, shapeless sensoriums tyrannically impinged on by faceless systems of language-based power make any more sense, in view of daily reports of concretely applied and concretely suffered random beatings, mutilations, murders, arson, massacres, and ethnic extermination around the world.

— pgs. 25-6

I envision two spheres: one is social, the other sexual and emotional. Perhaps one-third of each sphere overlaps the other; this is the area where feminism has correctly said, “The personal is political.” But there is vastly more to the human story. Man has traditionally ruled the social sphere; feminism tells him to move over and share his power. But woman rules the sexual and emotional sphere, and there she has no rival. Victim ideology, a caricature of social history, blocks women from recognition of their dominance in the deepest, most important realm.

—pgs. 30-1

Until recently, most societies had a clear idea of what constitutes “uncivilized” or “ungodly” behavior and punished it accordingly. Today, in contrast, there is a tendency to redefine the victimizer as himself a victim—of a broken home or abusive parents—and then, ironically, to broaden criminality to areas of consensual activities where women are equally responsible for their behavior. When feminist discourse is unable to discriminate the drunken fraternity brother from the homicidal maniac, women are in trouble.

—pg. 33

The dishonesty and speciousness of the feminist rape analysis are demonstrated by its failure to explore, or even mention, man-on-man sex crimes. If rape were really just a process of political intimidation of women by men, why do men rape and kill other males?

—pg. 33


This is interesting stuff. I would definitely like to here more about the author's take on the crazy feminist fear of the "ubiquitous" male rapist. A good (girl) friend of mine is taking some gender class where they watched lots of violent porn. The conclusion was that there is a massive group of men conspiring to rape women at every turn, asserting the patriarchy on an individual, violent basis. I mean it was really crazy, super-paranoid...
Anyway, thanks for the book tip.

Posted by: Elliot at April 8, 2004 06:58 PM

==On the notion that "we're born good and that bad social signals turn us bad":==

bq. And rules _civilize_ us. Society _civilizes_ us. Society is women's protection against rape. It rains men _not_ to rape, all right? And I mean, all throughout history, rape has been condemned. The idea that feminism discovered rape is _absurd_, okay? Ethical men throughout history have been on the record about this--that rape is a form of brutishness that has never been tolerated in any civilized community.

--pg. 271 (transcript of the film "Sex War")

On porn:

bq. Feminist anti-porn discourse virtually always ignores the gigantic gay male porn industry, since any mention of the latter would bring crashing to the ground the absurd argument that pornography is by definition the subordination of women.

--pg. 65

Posted by: shonk at April 8, 2004 09:29 PM