Male-Female Relations

From Donald S. Wainwright, Existentialist Essays (New York: Philosophical Library, 1965), pp. 1-3:

1. There seems to be an illusion concerning the relationship between male and female.

2. We seem to agree that for sexual satisfaction the male should possess the female.

3. If I were to suggest that this relationship should be reversed, I might be called a pansy or perhaps a queer.

4. So I believe that we all generally accept this relationship, at least on the surface of things.

5. And here is my point: It appears to me that there is a little hypocrisy here.

6. In our society the male must take the initiative. It is he that must make the first move, and perhaps the second, third, etc.

7. It is true that the woman may hint or put herself figuratively in front of the man.

8. But our code of masculinity requires that the man act.

9. The audience is always one up on the performer. They are the passive judges. The performer must please them. The initiative, the responsibility for the success of the occasion rests on the performer.

10. I feel that in our present Western society the woman has too great a passive role.

11. Sit quietly and reflect on this:

A. If ‘A’ must please ‘B’, how can ‘A’ ever be in command?

B. If ‘A’ is the performer and ‘B’ is the audience or judge, how can ‘B’ ever feel dominated or subservient?

[What if the audience were captivated? Wouldn’t some power or control accrue to the performer then? –ed.]

12. On the surface it appears that the male in our society dominates the female.

13. But actually the female is in command.

“The audience is always one up on the performer. They are the passive judges. The performer must please them.”

14. How can the woman ever feel dominated or possessed if she will not let the man be one up on her?

15. How can the woman ever be possessed and dominated if she does not take the initiative?

16. If she must please the man, she is subservient to him, she is his slave.

17. This may arouse anger in you, if you are a woman.

18. You may say that I am a woman-hater, etc.

19. But I think you will have to agree that either we must accept our present sexual relationship between man and woman or reject it.

20. A double standard is hypocrisy.

21. If a woman demands to be one up on the man she can not possibly be possessed.

22. Perhaps this explains why a great many American women are frigid.

23. They seem to have one foot on either side of the fence.

24. They want two things at once. They fail to get either.

25. I suppose that an arrangement could be reached where part of the time we had one standard and part of the time the other.

26. We could examine other cultures.

27. Some primitive tribes have occasions when the women court or chase the men.

28. This seems very exciting. I would be quite pleased if, when I was walking along, one or a group of women jumped me and seduced me. Of course, I would put up some token battle depending on how attractive they were.

29. But what happens if I decide to play cave man and go out and forcefully seduce a woman? I get the gas chamber.

30. I must court the woman and get her permission to overpower her.

31. This is extremely perplexing and frustrating.

32. How can this be done? How can I possibly dominate someone if I have to get her permission to do so?

33. Thinking about it, I see no other way for women to regain their lost feeling of subservience than to be aggressive and court the male some of the time.

Also Of Interest:

The Culture of the Inhuman

“Sealed Away From Others”