(urth) Wolfe: Misogynist or Realist?
bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 18 05:35:00 PDT 2006
I'll chime in by suggesting that there is a continuum here, as for most
human characteristics. I suggest the poles of the continuum are not
misogyny and reality but rather misogyny and chivalry. On one end there are
men who fear and/or loathe women, on the other end are men who feel women
deserve a higher degree of respect, protection and caring than men (yes,
sorry, Dan'l I'm accusing you of being a gentleman). I'm not sure it is
accurate to call the middle "realism". And I'm not sure each person has a
lot of choice on where they fall on the scale.
I notice the discussion has focused solely on Wolfe's treatment of women
rather than an objective comparison of whether he treats his female
characters worse than his male characters. It would seem there are other
chivalrous gentlemen in the room. Are there any thoughts on whether Wolfe
treats his male characters better than women? (and no fair using
quantitative measures, Wolfe makes it clear he identifies strongly with his
protagonists so naturally they will mostly be men).
As for most human continuums (continua) of values, it can be uncomfortable
when one person is placed in close contact with someone else who resides a
great distance away on the continuum. I think we can all agree Wolfe is
writing from his heart and his deeper feelings about women are expressed.
Dan'ls expressed view was also heartfelt and I take his use of the term
"misogynist" to be a recognition of the distance between himself and Wolfe
on this issue, not a flat condemnation.
Daniel D. Jones raises an important question: Is Wolfe's "misogyny"
presented in a way which is meant to inspire outrage in a reader, or a
recognition of how things "really" are? I think people are disagreeing on
Mo's observation that few women seem to become Wolfe fanatics is germaine.
There was an Alice who appeared on this list in its early days and I think I
remember a complaint or two about Wolfe's presentation of women from her.
This suggests to me that Wolfe is not so successful if he is trying to
inspire outrage or empathy in regard to women's issues. I don't think he is
Jack's observation of connection between identification with the Old
Testament and mysogyny was interesting. While the Middle East is generally
known for being "misogynist" on the scale (regardless of faith) the early
days of Christianity and Roman Catholicism show an even stronger vein, in my
estimation. In researching some of Wolfe's saint names I was really struck
by how many of the early female saints were canonized for virtues of
virginity, chastity, fighting off sexual advances, dressing as a man to
avoid sex, etc.
Lastly, I'll note again that it seems to me that Wolfe is writing from his
heart and I suspect few of his devoted readers would sign a petition
requesting he change his attitude.
All-in-one security and maintenance for your PC. Get a free 90-day trial!
More information about the Urth