Monday, October 19, 2009

Virginia Woolf in Hell

Nietzsche on women (von Jenseits Gut und Bose (BGAE)):

Woman wants to become self-reliant—and for that reason she is beginning to enlighten men about "women as such": this is one of the worst developments of the general uglification of Europe. For what must these clumsy attempts of women at scientific self-exposure bring to light! Woman has much reason for shame; so much pedantry, superficiality, schoolmarmishness, petty presumption, petty licentiousness and immodesty lies concealed in woman—one only needs to study her behavior with children!—and so far all this was at bottom best repressed and kept under control by fear of man. Woe when "the eternally boring in woman" —she is rich in that!—is permitted to venture forth! When she begins to unlearn thoroughly and on principle her prudence and art—of grace, of play, of chasing away worries, of lightening burdens and taking things lightly—and her subtle aptitude for agreeable desires!

Even now female voices are heard which—holy Aristophanes!—are frightening: they threaten with medical explicitness what woman wants from man, first and last. Is it not in the worst taste when woman sets about becoming scientific that way? So far enlightenment of this sort was fortunately man's affair, man's lot—we remained "among ourselves" in this; and whatever women write about "woman," we may in the end reserve a healthy suspicion whether woman really wants enlightenment about herself—whether she can will it—

One does not have to agree with all of this to appreciate Nietzsche's honesty. Schoolmarmishness--javoll. Even rational feminists (a rarity) might discover something of value in Nietzsche's comments on the fairer sex.

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