Book Sale

Sunday 2 April 2023

Preach It Brother


Image: Unsplash

John C. Wright is one of the true treasures in fiction and non-fiction today, and his book Transhuman and Subhuman is a treasure trove of insightful analysis of the modern state of fiction, philosophy and more. And in this essay he starts off strong by noting something that is absolutely correct.

Modern critics don’t want strong female characters, they want women to be presented as men. This is the raison d’etre of feminism, it always has been. Equality in the feminist frame has always meant women functioning like men, women taking on the roles, personalities and presentation of men, and transforming into pseudo-men. Many modern people cannot see this, because they cannot objectively evaluate the evil of equality, the scales have not yet been removed from their eyes, but there are those who can see through this sort of nonsense, John C. Wright is one of them.

When you think about it, a woman who denies her feminine qualities to be just like a man has denied an important aspect of who God intended her to be. This is true of a man who does the converse. Wright notes:

“Saving Science Fiction from Strong Female Characters

1 Foes in the Culture War

Anyone reading reviews or discussions of science fiction has no doubt come across the oddity that most discussions of female characters in science fiction center around whether the female character is strong or not.

As far as recollection serves, not a single discussion touches on whether the female character is feminine or not.

These discussions have an ulterior motive. Either by the deliberate intent of the reviewer, or by the deliberate intention of the mentors, trendsetters, gurus, and thought-police to whom the unwitting reviewer has innocently entrusted the formation of his opinions, the reviewer who discusses the strength of female characters is fighting his solitary duel or small sortie in the limited battlefield of science fiction literature in the large and longstanding campaign of the Culture Wars.

He is on the side, by the way, fighting against culture.

Hence, he fights in favor of barbarism, hence against beauty in art and progress in science, and, hence the intersection of these two topics, which means against science fiction.

Different reviewers no doubt mean slightly different things when they speak of the strength of a female character: but the general meaning is that the strong female character is masculine. (Emphasis added).

Masculine in general means direct in speech, confident in action, coolheaded in combat, lethal in war, honorable in tourney or melee, cunning in wit, unerring in deduction, glib in speech, and confident and bold in all things.

Hence, a strong masculine character in a story is one who can pilot a jet plane in a thunderstorm while wrestling a Soviet-trained python in the cockpit. He can appease a mob, lead a rebellion, give orders, follow orders, seduce a countess, fight with a longsword, build a campfire, repair a car engine, write a constitution, comfort the grieving, (usually with a brisk slap in the face and a curt command to snap out of it), receive confession, sway a jury, suture a wound, and escape from a sinking submarine with a knife clutched in his teeth. In a science fiction story, a strong masculine character can also pilot a starship; in a fantasy story, he can resurrect the dead. See the cover of any lurid men’s magazine to see a concise summary of the essential characteristics.

Of the classical virtues, fortitude and justice are essential to masculinity, as is magnanimity: a real man neither complains nor says “I told you so.”

Much more rarely do reviewers speak of strong female characters as having the virtues particular to women.

Feminine in general means being more delicate in speech, either when delivering a coy insult or when buoying up drooping spirits. Femininity requires not the sudden and angry bravery of war and combat, but the slow and loving and patient bravery of rearing children and dealing with childish menfolk: female fortitude is a tenacity that does not yield even after repeated disappointments and defeats. And, believe you me, dear reader, a woman in love has a very clear-eyed view of the faults and flaws of her man, and if her love is true, she does not yield to despair or give up on him. The female spirit is wise rather than cunning, deep in understanding rather than adroit in deductive logic, gentle and supportive rather than boastful and self-aggrandizing. The strong feminine character is solid in faith in all things.”[i]

The removal of femininity from our TV screens and movies is removing one of the more beautiful and brilliants aspects of human nature. The truly strong feminine woman is not the 110 pound soaking wet femi-warrior who can bash up a whole room of special forces trained men. That is a simulacrum of a true woman, one that falls far short of the real deal. It is the imputation of masculine personhood into the body of a woman. Which is not good. 

No, the truly strong woman is the one who can overcome her adversaries and yet remain a humble, dignified and feminine presence. Hollywood and TV directors rarely give us such women because they, like the original feminists, hate womanhood. They see gender boundaries as detestable distinctions that need to be destroyed, and they actively seek to make sure they are. They see femininity as weak and lesser, rather than what it is, unique and beautiful. It is that woman are not men that makes them so alluring. It is that they have a quality all of their own that makes them admirable. To rob women of this is to enact a wicked travesty on all of us.

“The female spirit is wise rather than cunning, deep in understanding rather than adroit in deductive logic, gentle and supportive rather than boastful and self-aggrandizing.” This is far more beautiful and attractive than a woman who can fight toe to toe with a semi-divine alien and cuss with the best of them. 

As Wright notes,

“Hence, a strong feminine character in a story is one who can overcome the prejudice against her family’s humble origins to win the heart of the proud Mr Darcy. She can appease an angry mother-in-law, reconcile a feud, arrange cooperation without seeming to take or give orders and without anyone feeling left out or overruled, lure a Lothario to his destruction, unman a Benedict with her wit, build a family, repair a broken heart, restore loyalty, comfort the grieving, (usually with a sympathetic ear and a soft promise of better days ahead), receive confession, sway a jury, suture a wound, and escape from an arranged marriage to find true love. In a science fiction story, a strong feminine character can also halt a planetary war; in a fantasy story, she can resurrect the dead, and then marry him.”[ii]

Very few (if any?) of the best women I know are interested in the anti-feminine women that Hollywood push on us in their droves today. But the classic ladies of the Austen era are rock stars among these same women. This should tell us something, something important. The feminine want to see more feminine archetypes, because it is a damn sight more admirable than masculinity wrapped in a woman’s frame. 

Love what you are presenting Mr. Right, keep preaching it brother. 


[i] Wright, John C.. Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth (pp. 290-292). Still Waters Books. Kindle Edition.

[ii] Wright, John C.. Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth (p. 292). Still Waters Books. Kindle Edition.

No comments:

Post a Comment