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The Artificial Woman
How Traditionalists and Leftists alike have Destroyed the Woman
There is a poem by Pushkin called The Hapless Knight. It is about a knight who finds his nobility against the image of the immaculate woman, the perfect woman. She is worthy enough that the Knight will save the world just for her. This story is not new, nor does it belong just to the Russian Canon of literature. It can also be read in Dante’s The Divine Comedy where Dante, follows Beatrice, the perfect woman and a symbol of faith through the sordid circles of hell finally to heaven, as only she can guide him. Parallels to the worship of the Virgin Mary and to the innocent maiden in chivalric myths are not coincidental.
Somehow the spirit of the perfect woman is crucial for mankind to ennoble itself and pursue noble spiritual ends. Mircea Eliade notes in his book The Sacred and the Profane that the purpose of “the sacred” in the life of man is to provide an orienting anchor from which he can order the hierarchy of his world. Without such a hierarchy, the chaos of infinite relativism would drive a man mad. What would be worth fighting for? What would be the purpose of his power and ambition?
Yet leftists and traditionalists alike have deconstructed the woman to her component parts and in the process missed her soul. For leftists, the woman is a concentration of estrogen in the bloodstream, a set of breasts made of silicon or otherwise, a makeup regime and a pronoun. For traditionalists, the woman is a biological window, a number of eggs in her ovaries, an artificial womb, mammary glands to feed a child, a maid to clean the home and make food. Both movements profane the essence of a woman that has the power to inspire: her humanity.
Woman for Sale
Fantine earned too little. Her debts had increased. The Thenardiers, who were not promptly paid, wrote to her constantly letters whose contents drove her to despair, and whose carriage ruined her. One day they wrote to her that her little Cosette was entirely naked in that cold weather, that she needed a woollen skirt, and that her mother must send at least ten francs for this. She received the letter, and crushed it in her hands all day long. That evening she went into a barber's shop at the corner of the street, and pulled out her comb. Her admirable golden hair fell to her knees.
"What splendid hair!" exclaimed the barber.
"How much will you give me for it?" said she.
"Cut it off.”
- Fantine sells her hair in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables
Both the traditionalists and the leftists have very material ideas about what makes a woman. As such they have both contributed to a culture where every part of a woman can be bought and sold. When we take apart a piece of a woman and put it for sale, we sacrifice any opportunity for her to be a Beatrice like in the Divine Comedy, or an inspiring maiden like in chivalric myths, because these roles require a woman to be whole and her most noble self.
A woman’s breasts can be bought from a surgeon, her hair can be cut and sold, beauty replicated using makeup and fillers, soft skin from estrogen, and her clothes at the department store. A woman’s womb can be rented by anyone who can pay for a surrogate and her eggs can be bought at a premium price. The gay man buys one or a few of these “pieces of a woman” but the trans “woman” attempts to buy all of them, cobble them together in a Frankenstein mixture and then calls itself a woman.
While the ways in which leftists buy and sell the component parts of women as trans women, prostitutes or surrogates for gay men, there are many ways that traditionalists too engage in the same crime. Men and women alike who espouse the online extremism known as “traditionalism” view women as merely wombs and breasts. A woman’s value is reduced to her fertility for those on the “right wing”. She is simply a vehicle to bring children into the world. She is a pair of hands to cook meals and clean the house. She is a pair of breasts to feed the baby. She is a pretty face to delight her husband. While these qualities are not individually egregious, the reduction of a woman to any one or even the whole set of these, is an insult to her humanity in the same way that prostitution or surrogacy is.
This is because none of these qualities have anything to do with her soul and who she is. To value a woman only for this set of functions she performs is not to value her at all, but rather these functions. One pair of breasts can be replaced with another, one womb with another, one set of cleaning hands for another. There can be no possibility of love unless there is a whole and irreplaceable soul involved, and without love, there can be no genuine family, and no genuine inspiration to noble ends. Both leftists and the right wing traditionalists reduce the value of a woman to her transactional capability and as such can never love a woman, or achieve what only love of a woman can inspire a man to do.
Trad and Trans: two sides of the same coin
A noteworthy reaction to the feminist movement has been the “return to traditionalism” meme, which is prominent online under the name “trad.” Women who use this label rightfully reject many of the degeneracies of leftism such as promuscuity, homosexuality, atheism and the aversion to having children. They espouse instead a set of caricature of traditionalism that includes religiosity, favouring family over career, and a prioritization of domesticity and “traditional gender roles”.
Caricatures cater wonderfully to online personas, but translate poorly to the nuanced vicissitudes of real-life. For example, young women who follow the caricature of “traditionalism” are led to believe that engaging in any activities that don’t directly relate to being a mother and home-maker are somehow masculinizing. They neglect their education, hobbies they might like, careers they might want to pursue and overall self-development because they think it is not “feminine”.
The trad movement arises to some extent for the same reasons as the trans movement. In both, the individual is confused about what a woman is. For the trads, to be a woman is to do domestic chores, and for the trans, to be a woman is to wear dresses and skirts. Despite the outward appearance of the wholesomeness of the trad movement, it is as plagued by materialism as leftism is. A woman is not any less of one because she does not have children, is not married, or is not beautiful. This is crucial, because this definition still does not include biological men. The definition of a woman is simply a human being who is born with two X chromosomes. It is much more productive for women to consider what could make her noble, graceful or admirable rather than to focus on the bare minimum of what women have always done.
Men and women do have different desires generally, and women do prefer working with people over machines. Most women are happier when they are married with children and take on more of the childcare and domestic roles in a relationship. These are truths that transcend culture and time, which feminism attempts to ignore. Yet this does not limit women to these activities alone which distinguish them from men.
If a woman starts learning martial arts she does not suddenly transform into a man. The right wing trad movement’s discouragement of women from pursuing education of any hobbies that are “masculine” stems from their belief that these activities will “masculinize” her. The trad woman thinks reading a book will make her a man. The trans person thinks wearing a dress and buying breast implants will turn a man into a woman. Both the trad and the trans movements are confused about what makes a woman because both have reduced her to her utilitarian, consumable parts.
Archetype not Caricature
The maiden, the inspiring woman that is at the centre of the story of the Hapless Knight, and every single hero story, is a whole human being. She is an archetype, not a caricature. An archetype is a fundamental core of a being, from which many different derivatives arise. For example, there is an archetype of a noble woman, who has a certain set of qualities that all noble women have, but all noble women may nevertheless have be noble in their own idiosyncratic way. Snow White and Cinderella are different characters but share a nobility of character that unites them under the archetype of Fairy Tale Princess.
A caricature is a superficial cartoon that exaggerates one or more features in order for ridicule or show. A caricature of a woman is executed by the traditionalist right wing, the leftist woman and the trans woman. Each of these caricatures adopts one feature of a woman, exaggerates it to the point of ridicule and presents the most superficial version of a human being.
They punish themselves by doing this because no matter how much she wears the caricature, she is still a whole human being with multiple dimensions of humanity. As such, life will put her in a position where the caricature can no longer hold her and the illusion cracks. This could look like the trad wife who feels discomfort at being treated like a replaceable domestic chores machine, the prostitute who wants to be loved for more than just her body, the trans “woman” whose dysphoria never seems to go away.
In order for the girl to be the fair maiden who inspires brave knights, she must be more than a caricature made of component utilitarian parts; she must be human.
Once there was a hapless knight,
Pale of visage, in behaviour stern,
Bold in spirit, generous in thought
Lo he had a vision
Fathomless and bold
Branding an impression
Deep into his soul
Round his neck a string of beads
As a talisman he wound,
And behind a steely visor’s grid
His face forever hid.
Brimming with unselfish love,
Faithful to the beatific vision
AMD in blood
One his shield he writ