Monday, November 28, 2011

Rise of Patriarchal Society - VIII

In Part -V of this series, I discussed how the conservative view of male preeminence was borne out of  misunderstanding of the sexual reproduction. In this view, women have no part in creation of life apart from acting as incubators. The life is complete in male 'seed'.

This was the prevalent view in many patriarchal societies, which also led to lower respect for females. I would argue the logical result was that the intercourse itself was an act between two unequals thus a low activity. The most respectful man in  some of the said societies was the one who had taken the vow of celibacy.

What about the opposite end of the spectrum? How do libertines consider females and the sexual activity based on their interpretation of creation?
                                               
I couldn't get much information on the net whether the dynamics of fertilization was known during Marquis de Sade's time or in the 18th century.However, his libertine novel 'Philosophy in the Bedroom' has a character, Madame de Saint-Ange, explaining foetus as a fusion of male and female seeds. But she continues that the foetus owes its existence completely to sperm. The female seed doesn't create but only furthers the creation. Another character Dolmance expands on this and says we owe absolutely nothing to our mothers as we are completely formed of our sire's blood.                                                                                                       
This libertine philosophy shows at the end of the day it has to twist sexual reproduction in such a way that women don't have any respect in the act. Is this really required for a libertine? We need to observe the respect mothers get in conservative societies.
                                   
Many conservative societies are known to respect mothers in a way that mask their womanhood. One cannot ascribe any sexuality to her as that would immediately make her lower. But the founding fathers of these philosophies lived hundreds of years before the advancements of bio sciences. It's interesting to see, libertines of a more enlightened era had to take refuge of the same philosophy to support their sexual libertinism. They had used the same 'male is the true creator' argument to denigrate women in a way that mask their motherhood.
                                                   
This example shows, sexual abstinence and sexual libertinism, even though sound opposite, were, in fact, born out of the same ignorance. Both are attributes of pure patriarchal thought. However, the comparison is not strictly true as the influence of these two interpretations are not the same. While conservatism has been ritualized and legalized (and slowly being corrected in the modern era), libertinism has remained individualistic.

Reference:
1. Philosophy in the Bedroom, by Marquis de Sade

1 comment:

anilkurup said...

True in most societies. Perhaps there were exceptions Kerala being one.
And is it also not true that in Hindu mythology there is much standing for women!