John C. Wright—the full-time science fiction author and part-time theologian—once noted that heresies often come in pairs. His focus was on church heresies of the first millennium, but it is no less true today. For every foolish idea, there almost always arises an equal and opposite form of foolishness, and despite their apparent opposition they ultimately wind up working together to oppose the truth.
Such is the case with “sex positive” and “sex negative” feminism.
The latter is the more obvious opponent of traditional masculinity; it demonizes the healthy male libido, and its ranks include censorious women such as the anti-porn advocate Gail Dines, and the anti-fun advocate Anita Sarkeesian. They promote a worldview where sex between a man and a woman is seen as inherently negative, all men are viewed as potential rapists, and consent is defined as how a woman feels after the fact, rather than what she did or said prior to the liaison.
Sex positive, on the other hand, is the friendly face of feminism; the smiling fox which seduces the moderate. It teaches young girls that pleasure can be empowering, that experimentation is liberating, and that beauty is something to reveled in. At first blush it seems highly advantageous, even compatible, with the goals of a man who pursues self-improvement, and who seeks out beautiful, feminine women… but make no mistake: both of these feminist schools are ultimately opposed to healthy masculinity, and by coming at a man from both sides, they batter and cajole him into becoming a pathetic, shambling wreck of a human being.
One comes as an enemy, the other comes as a friend, but both sides offer a poisoned chalice.
Porn And Feminism
The most common battleground where the Succubi and the Harridans meet is the world of pornography, as well as its complementary issue, the pornified culture. The pro-sex Succubi point out that porn is consensual, profitable, and that any restriction on porn is tantamount to censorship; the anti-sex Harridans forewarn that pornographic imagery degrades the individual, and turns sex into a commodity.
They are both right, but for all the wrong reasons.
The Harridans are correct that the commodification of sex cheapens the coital act; that consumerism creates a “race to the bottom,” where cheap and addictive pablum out-competes quality. We see this in the Standard American Diet: scientists perform chemical analyses on healthy and wholesome fruit, they determine which 3 of the 30,000 chemicals present are necessary to stimulate the taste buds, and then they refine it, simulate it, and inject it into snack cakes made out of gluten and corn syrup: cherry-flavored cancer, sold in grocery stores nation wide.
Porn is no different. Out of love’s rich tapestry—courtship, romance, trust, vulnerability, compassion, comfort, and joy—they isolate the sex, distill it, enhance it, and package it in brightly-colored plastic for mass consumption by the proletariat. The human is degraded into a product; a surface patina; a replaceable part—and the result is extremely addictive.
The Succubi’s response is to embrace radical freedom and the first amendment. Today they ban porn—what will they ban tomorrow? Prurient it might be, but what form of art isn’t? Shall we demonize sexuality? Put a fig leaf on Michelangelo’s David? Shame and guilt young adults for the very urges that create the next generation? The human form is beautiful; the expression of love is beautiful; the Harridans are nothing more than a bunch of neurotics who want society to protect them from their own debased nature!
Both sides accuse the other of promoting social decay. The Succubi promote hedonism; the Harridans, vicious legalism. The ensuing debate goes in circles. One side might gain a temporary advantage, but it will never reach a conclusion; when the Succubi prevail, it proves the Harridan’s point; and when the Harridans take over, the sexual repression results in a new crop of Succubi.
Neither side can ever win, but through their conflicts they establish a battlefield which serves both sides. A battlefield based upon certain axioms and assumptions about human nature, which both sides hold in common… and which are fundamentally false.
A House Built On Sand
The Harridans critique social decay; but instead of accepting their conclusions at face value, let us examine how they critique it, and through that, the underlying why: we will discover that their motives are debased and foul.
Their objection to the pornified culture is not that it destroys the living institution of holy matrimony; rather, their complaint is that it objectifies women. They claim that porn is a result of the “male gaze”; a supernatural ability granted to men, whereby we exploit and degrade women merely by the act of admiring them for their physical beauty. We are the ones who isolate and distill them; we are the ones who crush their souls and turn them into harlots; we, therefore, are nothing but a gang of spiritual rapists.
The porn starlet is being exploited by her customers, who use her for sexual gratification, and then discard like used tissue. Her humanity is denied, her worth is measured by a sexual metric, and the shekels she receives define her moral worth… just as they define the worth of the stay-at-home-wife.
A sixteen year-old girl puts on a bikini; maybe she does it for the fanboys on Twitch.tv, or maybe she does it to find a boyfriend. No matter what the motivation, she has turned sex into a transaction wherein she sells herself to men. To the Harridan, this proves that she has no agency; she’s just a commodity being sold on the market.
Thus they claim that all women are innately subjugated by the existence of masculinity. That male virility creates female objectification; that because men like beautiful women, women are forced to become decorative objects, and thus the only way to free womankind is to crush expansive masculinity.
Castration and lesbianism; only by this two-pronged approach can women finally be liberated.
The Succubi, meanwhile, love sex; they appreciate men (both aesthetically and functionally) and they enjoy the power of female flirtation. Thus are they opposed to the Harridans—but like the Harridans, they demand women’s sexual autonomy.
The ranks of the Harridans are made up of sexual losers; women who are old, ugly, or so mentally damaged that they can’t help but hate any sort of male authority over them. The ranks of the Succubi are filled with women who were gifted with good looks, a charming disposition, and material security. They take pleasure in the sexual act—as any healthy woman should—but they demand that the act occur on their own terms. They declare their agency over themselves, over their sexuality, and ultimately—over the very men they sleep with.
They enjoy sexual congress, and they enjoy the attention they are able to command. For the Succubus, sex is not only a source of pleasure; it’s also a source of power.
They value the masculine principle – but only so long as it is subservient to them.
Unlimited Sexual Freedom
Feminism is entirely focused on sex, specifically the female sex (it’s right there in the title, after all) and thus all of its arguments eventually reduce to the sexual act itself, the most basic and intimate relationship which differentiates man from woman. All other matters which feminists concern themselves with—income, employment, education, cultural representation, ad nauseum—are simply second order effects.
They focus on sex, but exclusively from their own side; they view it as transactional and combative, a zero-sum game where one side’s profit is the other side’s loss. To the feminist, sex is not seen as collaborative or generative. They fail to realize that, through the mutual sacrifice of primordial instincts to a higher cause, both male and female create a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts—and thus they attempt to claim as much of the transactional capital as they can get away with.
Their ultimate goal is unlimited sexual freedom, without any sort of responsibility.
The traditional form of marriage, which is present in all cultures with only minor variations, assumes male headship and male responsibility. The husband is the executive officer who is nonetheless responsible for the family unit. Feminists, taking a cue from the Marxists who inspired them, ignore the responsibility that comes along with leadership, in the same way that a communists ignores the enormous risk taken on by the capitalist. They demand access to the sexual means of production, while eschewing the duty of using their sexual power responsibly.
The Harridans try and achieve this power by crushing masculinity. They lecture boys on the oppressive nature of their sex, they censure imagery that is pleasing to men, and they twist the legal system so that man is presumed guilty whenever a woman accuses him. As noted earlier, they employ these methods because they cannot compete against the Succubi in an open market; they wish to bring all women down to their level.
But the Succubi are no less totalitarian in their demands for unlimited freedom. They want abortion on demand, they want to eliminate “slut shaming,” they want their depravity to be celebrated and affirmed. Traditionalism demands that men act with honor towards women – that they do not make false promises, that they take responsibility for their offspring, and that they keep their woman in safety and security. Women’s complementary role is that of fidelity; they are to remain faithful to their husband, chaste outside of marriage, and respectful of his headship. These are the duties which the Succubi eschew.
They desire the dominance of the Mistress; a caricature of male headship. Men are to be thankful for whatever sexual scraps these women throw at them. The Succubus thinks of herself as a goddesses, entitled to male devotion and supplication. Men should buy her drinks at the bar, and be gratified with whatever she gives them in return. They are not entitled to her attention, let alone any sort of sexual commitment, not even to basic civility. She, on the other hand, is entitled to their tithe, she has a right to it, with no sorts of responsibility attached; her rights and entitlements are greater than any feudal lord, because her femininity places her above the mortal plane.
Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?
In the world of the Succubus, men should act with virility when ordered to do so – and so even this virility becomes a form of obedience. They are forever to remain boys, obedient to mommy dearest, who will praise them for sending her donations as she tells them about her new bull, who himself is but another slave to her whims.
The Crux Of Heresy
A heresy isn’t a heresy merely because it disagrees with the establishment’s view; at the center of it is an oversimplification, a distillation of life down to a single element, a lusterless metric by which all things are judged. John C. Wright describes it thusly:
There is a pattern to heretical ideas. A heretical idea is always the brainchild of one man, so it is always one simple idea, something that can be repeated on a bumper sticker. Heresy is impatient with quibble, qualification, and precision. It is always a flat idea, something that seems more like a diagram and less like a family portrait. And it is always an unbalanced idea, like a wild cook finding that a little ketchup makes burgers and fries taste better concluding that a lot of ketchup will make everything from eggs to ice cream taste better. This is because the truth is a balancing act, and a heresy is a stumble and a fall.
When considering the Harridans and the Succubi, we have two bumper stickers: Porn Hurts Women! and Sex is Empowering! Both trace their roots to a single idea: women’s agency.
The Harridans claim that women have no agency, so long as men are allowed to exist; ergo they shame men for their virile instincts, and claim that women can never be held accountable. Whenever sex goes bad, it is inevitably the man’s fault. The Succubi embrace absolute agency; they claim that anything a woman does must be celebrated and encouraged, because she chose it out of her own free will. Both sides view women’s freedom as the highest moral calling; the former want freedom from men, while the latter want freedom over men.
The modern conception of rights and freedoms traces its roots back to the rights and entitlements granted to the nobility by the King, who himself was anointed by the Church. A noble would be granted the right and entitlement to a certain tract of land and the peasants who lived thereon, but his claim remained dependent upon him fulfilling his duties and obligations to the King, who was himself charged with providing just rule for all of his citizens in Christ’s name. Over the centuries we have expanded these rights to larger and larger groups, we are presently trying to grant them to all who walk upon the Earth, but somewhere along the way we forgot that rights are dependent upon responsibilities.
The freedom which the feminists celebrate is a good thing; a free market will create more wealth than a controlled economy, free speech allows bad ideas to be challenged so that good ideas win out, and freedom of conscience allows allows each citizen seek out God and develop spiritually, rather than remaining stymied by fiat superstition. But freedom should not be an end in itself; if freedom is not balanced with responsibility, justice, erudition, and loyalty to kin and country, it becomes the enemy of civilization. It becomes a vehicle for moral depravity in the name of self-actualization.
This is the sort of freedom that the Succubi and the Harridans demand. Original sin is put entirely onto the masculine, rather than being shared equally by both sexes. The Harridan defines the man as either a castrato or a beast; the Succubi, as a cuckold or a stud. Do not mistake the latter’s pat on the head, or sexual congress, for masculinity; the roles offered by the feminist psychodrama are roles fit for boys, not men.
The Feminists would make themselves goddesses; beings who are able to create and define reality through words and emotions. In this, they are nothing new; man has always sought to become his own god.
Feminism must be resisted, but not by resorting to an inversion, some sort of “male feminism” where we blame women for all our problems, and claim that all male instincts are beyond reproach. To do so would be to trap ourselves into the exact same dynamic which the Feminists are propagating; mutual animosity and exploitation between the sexes. Rather, it is our calling to rise above such petty vanities; to find our place in the hierarchy of existence, somewhere above animals, but not in the role of gods who declare this true or that beautiful by our own divine fiat. Men are granted the right of dominion over the Earth as its stewards, and a steward is responsible for taking care of that which is entrusted to him.
We must not worship women; but neither should we despise them. We are called to husband them; to love and cherish them, to guide and protect them, as we reject self-serving conceits and empty hedonism. To find women worthy of our love, we must become men worthy of their respect, and by doing so we will come to fulfill our rightful place in God’s creation.
Marriage is more than just a comfortable compromise; it is a Sacrament, and a divine calling.
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