The Center for Literate Values ~ Defending the Western tradition of responsible individualism, disciplined freedom, tasteful creativity, common sense, and faith in a supreme moral being.
P R A E S I D I U M
A Common-sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis
12.4 (Fall 2012)
courtesy of artrenewal.org
Beautiful Female Face—And Its Feminist Enemies
young, pale, possessed of one of those profound kinds of beauty that, more than
in the face (though that was quite shapely), resides in the perfect coherence of
eyes, mouth, neck, and manner of batting lashes.
It was a beauty, above all, for men, without being in the least
provocative: this is just what women can never understand.
Horacio Quiroga, “La Muerte
de Isolda” in Cuentos de Amor, de Locura y de Muerte
authored a piece for this journal about the female figure in classical painting
(Praesidium (8.4) that has very
generously been deemed fit to occupy part of the website’s “art gallery”,
I have been pleasantly surprised that no hate mail or death threats have come my
way. Apparently the piece in
question was taken as it was intended: an aesthetic commentary treating certain
human features (female features, of course) as symbolic of immaterial moral and
spiritual qualities. I never
suggested that this kind of symbolic association, inevitable to the male mind,
has any objective validity that would or should carry over into how one sex
actually treats the other. I went
out of my way, in fact, to insist that this was not my implication.
There must have been some beautiful sunsets over Auschwitz as the fumes
were rising from its death chambers. The
transcending, sublime loveliness of a mushroom cloud’s column does not move
one infinitessimum toward legitimizing the abominable destruction beneath it.
Beauty is no proof of goodness.
Yet we human
beings have a driving need to think of things in images; and for most men, when
goodness is what they struggle to picture, certain female shapes and traits
often emerge from the mist. The
association is merely subjective. My
presumption in this essay, though, is that there may be a kind of objectivity to
the subjective. Some of these
whimsical shapes may show evidence of considerable overlap.
Perhaps I am
being too coy. I truly doubt that
most younger women who style themselves feminists would be genuinely distressed
to discover that something in their appearance made men connect them with
abstract ideals standing elegantly on pedestals (in usurped flesh).
At worst, such idolatry shows what fools we men are.
A woman can scarcely reproach us for such folly more fairly than a
Victorian missionary could reproach a tribal cultist for chanting a little
prayer at the rise of a sacred star. Feminists
of the old school—the ones who actively tried to look like men, and very
homely men at that, by shearing off their hair, dressing in suits, and donning
horn-rimmed glasses—are another matter. But
I am happy to report that I no longer see many of those around, and I am also
very sure that none of them ever wastes her time browsing organs of the lost and
the damned like this one.
trepidation, therefore, I have undertaken to extend my perverse male musings
from the painted canvas to the pulsing pixel.
In my lifelong admiration of female beauty, I have naturally not been
immune to the silver screen or to the more recent explosion of images on the
Internet. I hasten to add that this
meditation, like the previous one, will proceed strictly within the limits of
good taste. The earlier piece
treated of the female figure: this one, just to be on the safe side, will
confine itself entirely to the female face.
I should also quickly stress that I am not deserting a study of
representative media by abandoning the brush for the camera—very far from it.
If poets are great liars, as the ancients were fond of saying, then the
lens can be used quite poetically. One
of the points that I foresee bringing to the fore in my essay is indeed that
black-and-white representation (which of course was not only popular in the last
century’s first half but often technically requisite) serves beauty better
than does color. The world of color
is too truthful, too down-to-earth. It
is populated by mere mortals. The
black-and-white world, in contrast, is actually a silver-and-gray world, full of
suggestive shadows where a ridge is always fading into a valley and where trees
and forest are always infinitely playing a game of back-and-forth with the
Allow me to open in earnest by juxtaposing two photographs of two lovely female faces:
may notice instantly that the color photograph actually appears, insofar as
dress and hairstyle offer clues, to hearken to the earlier era.
The black-white/color axis, then, should not be taken as simply making a
triage of actresses into those of yesteryear and those of today.
I am unfamiliar with what part Ms. Nelligan may have been playing at the
time… but the bulky divan upon whose armrest Leslie Caron is leaning most
definitely appears to belong to mid-century taste, while Kate’s attire and
coiffure are distinctly fin de siècle.
the reader will have remarked unprompted that neither woman is flashing a smile.
I decided at a very early stage not to shoot fish in a barrel for this
project, so to speak. It would have
been too easy to create an invidious contrast through photos of starlets on
their way to the Oscars, cleavage diving to the navel and make-up more
suggestive of a circus clown than a love-goddess, throwing toothy winces at
a paperazzo’s flashbulb. (I offer
a threesome of such photos later on, though, for a purpose that will become
clear with time.) In the
contemporary parade of online color, one has to sort through dozens of such
eyesores to arrive at a photo that reveals genuine facial features.
The abundance of the former today isn’t irrelevant and deserves further
comment later on; but I want my study to deal primarily with beauty.
Smiles, I find, are rarely beautiful.
They are lascivious, or intended-to-be-lascivious (the tired
prostitute’s forced leer), or self-centered (“Look at me, one and all!
I have arrived!”), or strained (“He wants one for his niece… Smile
# 8, I think”), or just plain obfuscating with regard to the face’s
essential features. Smiles tend to
And on that
score, if I may, I will make just enough of a digression to say how annoying I
have always found feminist Amy Cunningham’s essay, “Why Women Smile”, to
be. I was more or less forced to
teach this essay (first published in Lear’s
Magazine in 1993) for years in Freshman Composition classes, since it had
been selected for all the mainstream anthologies and was at least provocative
enough to stir class discussion. Ms.
Cunningham’s thesis is that women have been bullied into smiling by men
throughout recorded history; and of course at the piece’s end, she resolves
that she will no longer smile gratuitously with the bravado of a protester
setting fire to her bra and throwing away her underarm razor.
I for one have never liked gratuitous smiles, especially in females.
They actually convey just what Ms. Cunningham argues, but declines to say
point-blank: fraudulence. Behind the
fraud one supposes either an intent to manipulate or a weak will inclined to
submit to others. I don’t admire
either of these qualities of character—not in a man, and not in a woman.
Ms. Cunningham seems to think that, as a man, I naturally desire women to
be cute, conniving little hucksters of whatever wares I want them to peddle for
or to me. The proposition is
tantamount to being charged with pimpery, and I resent it.
Ms. Cunningham is insulting.
Back to the
two photos above… I certainly would not maintain that Kate Nelligan is less
beautiful than Leslie Caron. Their
beauty is of a different kind, to be sure, the former’s being more mature and
the latter’s more child-like. Though
I think this is objectively true (insofar as such things can be objective) of
the two women, its truth is much magnified by the difference in medium.
Black-and-white creates the impression that Caron’s already large, dark
eyes are even larger and darker. It
also causes shadow to play about her lips more intrusively.
Nelligan’s lips, unlike Caron’s, are faintly parted, as if she were
about to speak or had just spoken; but the lacuna running between them is so
tautly defined that it appears to float over ironic—or even bitter—words.
Surprisingly, Caron’s lovely sealed lips have more of that limpness
which we associate with childhood’s lack of self-consciousness.
Thanks at least somewhat to shadowing, their apparent freedom from
tension suggests an habitual state of mind, a kind of dreamy awe before a brave
new world that in nowise apprehends the presence of carnal, exploitative beings
in that world.
and Caron (in these photos) have clearly marked eyebrows and prominent
foreheads. It has been my frequent
observation that the female faces marketed as beautiful in recent decades seldom
devote much emphasis to either feature, but rather seem to efface both.
I should say that both are associated symbolically with intelligence.
Can it possibly be that the ideal woman of the twenty-first century, a
beneficiary of three generations of militant feminism, has actually descended to
obscuring her intelligence in favor of a rather low-brow sexual aggression?
(For there is clearly an implicit connection between a reduced cranium
and increased lust, just as the ape is to be more feared than the human for
violent bouts of blind rage: people who think less are always more prone to
servicing their appetites and yielding to their passions.)
black-and-white years, there were naturally starlets whose sexual attraction was
quite provocative, and whose faces were photographed with the intent of
transmitting that provocation. The
custom, however, was not to sacrifice their brow line or their forehead in the
process. On the contrary, the brow
tended to descend a bit more heavily over the eye, as if to signal that the
woman had traded in her child-like naiveté for a sobering worldly wisdom.
In concession to the wild side, the hair was perhaps allowed to trespass
over one half of the forehead in a dramatically sloping tress—but not utterly
to cover up that high throne of a working intelligence.
Being bright, in other words (or looking as though one might be bright),
was considered sexy. What drew men
to these faces was presumably not various clues that their owners were ready and
willing to concede any favor, but rather a projected sense that they knew what
they were getting into—and were probably going to be very careful about just
how far they got into it. The entire
being of the beautiful creature engaged the man’s interest.
He had to win her mind to win her body—or maybe to defend himself from
her formidable dual assault. Intelligence was an essential part of her mystique.
is the difference between the two photos below, which seem to share all of the
qualities I have just discussed and to diverge only in coloration?
Olga Kurylenka is of course more made up, or at any rate seems more so thanks to
color. Her stunningly beautiful face
is by no means unintelligent, probably because (and I speak only as an
aesthetician: I have no information about IQ’s) her brows slant pensively over
her piercing gaze (made dark by enhanced lashes).
Yet note, as well, that every particular attribute mentioned in the above
paragraph is “a little less” than we find it in Gene Tierney: the brow’s
slant is less extreme, the eyes are less overshadowed, the forehead is less
uncovered, and the covered portion is less thickly draped.
We might add that the black-and-white format causes shadow to play more
suggestively around Tierney’s lips (as with Leslie Caron), giving them a
pouting or brooding quality. The
incomparably sultry Tierney appears almost gloomy or “burnt out”, in fact.
She seems to be listening to your story while asking herself, “Okay…
what angle is this guy trying to work?” The
world can’t play any more tricks on her. Olga’s
face puts me in mind of no such narrative. Though
not smiling, it is ready to smile. Very
capable of thought, it is nevertheless not now engaged in much thinking.
And its pose, I would stress, has not even begun to launch into
“seductive” mode. The rather
straight-laced frontal shot is about as tame and “old school” as anything
one can find in the public domain today.
later, I suppose we are bound to wade into the “blonde question”.
A cruel convention has it that blondes bring little ammunition to an
intellectual skirmish. This may be
precisely because a face deep in thought is archetypally represented as having a
prominent upper half—brows and eyes and forehead—while the blonde, by
nature, cannot draw as much attention to that part of her face as a
darker-colored woman. Blondes were
actually not very big in Hollywood as “sex symbols” before Jean
Harlow—whose hair, by the way, was almost always gathered fully off her
forehead. Even after Harlow, the age
of the “blonde bombshell”—Mansfield and Monroe—would have to await
It would be
difficult to imagine two more beautiful women than the blondes below: Veronica
Lake and contemporary Venus of the screen, Melissa George:
often allow her signature sweeping tresses to obscure half her face (after the
manner modeled above by Gene Tierney). The
bare, high forehead was never discarded from the image, though.
George’s hair in this photo is actually typical of a classic Lake shot,
for she, too, has kept clear the forehead above her left eye.
Again, as with Kurylenka, one could by no means say that this angelic
image is somehow “dumbed down”. At
the same time, it seems to me far less introverted than Lake’s.
Indeed, it sends mixed signals, in my opinion.
The brow is raised above the eyes, producing an effect that might be
interpreted either as urbane reason or as child-like naiveté.
(Scroll back up to Nelligan and Caron to appreciate this contrast.
Nelligan’s raised brows say ironically, “Ah, well… do you really
think so?” Caron’s remind me of
a child gazing into a Christmas tree.) The
trouble is that George’s explicitly parted lips belong neither to the assured,
panoramic survey of reason nor to the girlish wonder of surprised innocence.
They are too sensual and seductive.
with Lake is stark. Her lips are
sealed faintly—not tightly at all—and the shadowing that plays about them
(thanks to the black-and-white medium, once again) enhances their fullness; yet
they are sealed. They brood
somewhat, as in Tierney’s photo. The
extreme arch of the long brows (magnified by the shot’s slight low angle)
supplies an even stronger hint that something profound is going on inside this
lovely head. Of course, Lake’s
eyes were a very dark blue (often appearing brown in black-and-white, as they do
here), which darkened the “upper face” effect.
I will repeat
my earlier query, now that I have produced more evidence: if women are supposed
to have struggled steadily upward from the oppressive subservience where men
held them to a liberation of intellect and ability, then why did the intelligent
beauty of the forties, whose thoughtful eyes were underscored by
black-and-white, give way to the “dopey blonde” that we find in Marilyn?
It is indeed almost impossible to find a Monroe photo where she is civil
and collected rather than leering into the camera; but find a relatively tame
pose—in black-and-white, for good measure—and you still confront a bid for
sensuality that makes no appeal to the intellect.
that I have no personal bone to pick with Marilyn Monroe—or with anyone else
(except Amy Cunningham)—in this essay. Speaking
strictly as a connoisseur of female beauty, I find her images tremendously
inferior to Jeanne Crain’s, for instance.
I don’t see how one could possibly study the two photos above and not
find in Crain’s evidence of a much more thoughtful person, possessed of a much
deeper inner life. The visual cues
show one woman casting about outside herself for attention or amusement (eyes
half shut and lips slack, as if about to blow a kiss) and a second woman, primed
with important knowledge, trying to assess how someone in her presence fits into
the picture (stare wide open and straight, lips full but sealed over any
I find is plainly not just technical—not just black-and-white versus color.
As technology changed, manners and morals changed, as well; and at least
as far as beauty goes, the former change did not cause the latter one.
People started thinking differently in the sixties, as we all know—or
began thinking less, as some of us believe. In
my opinion, taste went into a nosedive. I
confess that as a boy surrounded by other boys, I never understood the idolatry
which my peers lavished upon Farrah Fawcett, who was supposed to have been a
kind of Marilyn Liberata. Her pale,
sunken eyes had a sickly look to me, and her endless head of teased hair
reflected the era’s contempt for anything resembling a comb.
Even at that most vulnerable age when boys are obsessed by female images,
I craved eyes that looked deeply and understood.
If the boys in my high school class did not comprehend my craving, then
apparently the boys of my father’s generation most certainly did.
I would have given half my life to share the remaining half with Ann
Blyth (as I knew her from old movies). Farrah
Fawcett… I would have run to the other side of the street if I had seen her
shaggy mop and rough-hewn features coming down the sidewalk.
Nothing makes a man feel quite as old as beholding unmoved the women of his
culture who are held far and wide to be goddesses.
In my case, fortunately, I have tracked the evolution of this feeling
since early adolescence. And it
isn’t exactly that I feel unmoved—not always.
Much of the time, however, I do not even feel the kind of sexual
titillation that is the stock and trade of these rag dolls and their handlers.
I don’t find them beautiful, and I don’t even find them particularly
sexy (not if measured by Jeanne Crain or Gene Tierney).
Below are three young actresses whose images, like those of most
actrresses and divas today, are difficult-to-impossible to find as a mere face
caught in something like a moment of mere living.
They and their ilk always seem to be mugging for the camera—which, I
grant you, Ann Blyth was doing, as well. But
not “mugging”, no. She was
living life, projecting the composite image of coherent character traits.
(Whether they were her own or not, who knows?
Not I.) As for these three…
who are they, and what are they? What
are they even supposed to be in their make-believe world?
Anderson, Elizabeth Banks, and Eva Longoria: technically engineered glitteratae whose faces display plenty of make-up and no character.
It was not at
all easy staying within my self-imposed parameter of avoiding smiles, for this
is a very “smiley” group. In
Banks’ case, I abandoned the stricture, since the photos where she is not
smiling actually look very odd and unflattering, like images of a rookie
shoplifter caught on a security camera. Strange,
isn’t it, that these heirs of Amy Cunningham’s freedom to scowl and grimace
no more want to be parted from their flash of teeth than a baby from his teddy
bear. They obviously belong to the
post-Cunningham generation of sisters, for whom the rules of rebellion have been
suggestion is certainly a large part of the new code.
Longoria, especially, has an abundance of semi-pornographic matter
connected to her name—but she also possesses the most interesting face, at
least from certain angles. So I am
not simply decrying the proliferation of lewdness in post-sixties America any
more than I am proposing that women are categorically more beautiful in
black-and-white. I think what I want
to claim is that these women cannot help but make the phony business of acting
and/or modeling appear phony. They
are always at a double remove from life. Kate
Nelligan, a true actress whose interpretation of Shakespeare’s Isabella is the
most powerful I have ever seen, never appears to act when she acts: that, in a
nutshell, is why she’s a great actress. All
great art is successful deception in this sense: the perceiver does not have the
conscious impression of being deceived.
contemporary American woman’s “beauty”, in contrast, is a complete fraud
that seems to recognize itself as a complete fraud.
(Melissa George, for the record, is Australian.)
Since I cannot suppose that our women actually have fewer physical
attractions than others around the world, I must conclude that our culture has
fed their souls upon something that has dulled their spiritual radiance.
And why, I ask, should that conclusion strike anyone as a surprise?
How were you to be beautiful in the context of paleo-feminism, whose
ambition was that women should become men? Men
are not beautiful to other men: not their faces, and not their souls, either.
Even if one should accept the obnoxious Cunningham-esque thesis that all
men are aggressive creatures who live to satisfy their libido, very few women of
my acquaintance have ever really fulfilled themselves through pushy, shameless
egotism. (I’m not saying that men
have more success at this: I’m momentarily granting the repulsive claim that
they do.) Women’s femininity
frustrates them in this quest to be J.R. Ewing or Charlie Sheen.
A few may find Nirvana, I suppose, in becoming some grotesque lesbo-omnivore
man/woman hybrid, and I congratulate those few on their triumph.
But their kind supplies no more material for the study of beauty than a
Women of the
feminist second wave apparently rejected the call to “man up”, and instead
decided to ramp up their femininity in a way that brought sexuality to the fore.
To this generation we owe the extremely low necklines and high heels that
were nowhere in sight back in the early eighties.
My grandmother would have called these daughters of Eve “oversexed”.
An uncharitable “male chauvinist pig” (if you will pardon an
anachronism: the phrase dates back to the early seventies) would call them
tramps. I rather doubt that very
many women found fulfillment in hyper-sexualizing themselves, either, just as
few found rewards in desexualizing themselves.
Both Old and New Era feminists have failed to produce a happy rank and
file, because both formulas were gross, almost insane exaggerations of the
Now, in the
third generation, a kind of fusion between the previous two seems to be playing
itself out. Very attractive young
women appear to be more interested in other women more than in men.
They seethe with resentment and a sense of victimization at some
level—but it is a very deep level: they seldom scream or kick in doors or do
anything that would upset their hair. I
see the present generation of starlets and poster-girls, too, as trapped
somewhere in the limbo between the swaggering mannish lout and the voluptuous
strumpet—and this limbo is not, by the way, a move toward any golden mean.
It is closer to an incomprehensible mish-mash of traits drawn from both
earlier caricatures. Look at the
three faces above once again. Banks’
smile, while charming, is as painted-on as her lipstick.
Anderson cannot even manage a smile in what is intended to be a sexy
wardrobe. Maybe she is groping after
that characteristic sultry pout that has made her an heir (a very unworthy heir)
to the Gene Tierney legacy; but she appears, instead, to be thoroughly surprised
by the camera and uncomfortable with the setting.
She appears, shall we say, to be miming an actress who’s making a pout.
Longoria could almost be enticing… but her brows are penciled on like
Mr. Spock’s, retaining nothing of the natural, and her hair is similarly done
into some outlandish collision (not compromise) of New Woman streamlining and
the classic Veronica Lake cascade.
In one way or
another, all are as stiff-jointed as Barbie Dolls.
Their faces transmit no sort of real-life drama or coherent inward
intensity or synthesizing personality whatever.
Just as this crew patches together politics to suit the demands of
Hollywood chic, so its photo-shoots are part porn, part Thelma and Louise, and
part Maria Hamm: not equal parts, but all of these and many other parts caught
in a series of lurching gestures very close to drunken improvisation.
I have become
aware that my own pose as pure aesthetician has now become something of a
deception. I had not anticipated its
“degeneration” to this point: I am as surprised as you.
It seems that I simply can’t strain out the influence of character—of
the symbolic association of certain visual clues with certain moral and spiritual
qualities (hence the aesthetics of the exercise)—in finding a woman beautiful.
I cannot admire the outer shell, no matter how well crafted, of a being
who seems to me dead on the inside, or in a terminal chaos.
For the essence of female beauty must remain for me that crucial
correspondence between visual clues and invisible spirituality.
I suppose a sailor must feel the same way when he studies an elegant hull
design that he knows is destined to capsize.
There’s more to it than curves. A
beautiful vessel must function beautifully.
But then, I
warned everyone at the beginning that this mystical connection exists, at least
for men. (Surely women have a
similar set of associations for men; but I am afraid, based on my extensive
conversations with well-disposed ladies, that they seek in male lineaments
something more like evidence of malleability—of responsiveness to
nurturing—than of fully formed virtue. They
prefer James Dean’s bad boy capable of reform to Charlton Heston’s rock of
strength.) I am pleased to say that
I can conclude on a high note if I look beyond our shores (though, come to think
of it, that may also be taken by the patriotic as a source of greater gloom).
More and more, the truly beautiful faces that cross my path seem to
arrive from the East. The two
divinely beautiful women below, for instance, have infinitely more of Jeanne
Crain or Ann Blyth than of Anderson or Longoria.
To drive home the point, consider them beside the incomparable Ingrid
I have not
remarked before upon the tendency of black-and-white subjects to be looking away
from the camera: this clearly enhances the impression that the woman is in deep,
introverted study over some matter rather than simply watching the cameraman.
(Lake and Blyth have plainly turned their attention beyond the camera’s
ken: so has Fawcett, but the gesture can do nothing to redeem her brainless
gape.) These two Eastern beauties,
however (Locsin hails from the Philippines, Priyanka from India), are scarcely
disadvantaged by color and pose. They
somehow manage to look through the camera rather than at it.
You have the feeling that you have invisibly eavesdropped upon their
reverie rather than that you are being greeted by a flight attendant (as frontal
shots of Western girls tend to imply). In
many Eastern cultures, of course, women are still expected to “keep their
powder dry” rather than to live the life of a sexual firecracker.
I think it shows. I think the
faces of these two, in particular, model such virtues as restraint and
deliberation, and I think other virtues that flow from these—such as fidelity,
humor, and compassion—are far more implicit in a steady gaze than in a flash
of chemically whitened teeth.
Yet I have
perhaps been too hard on smiles. I
know of at least one face that truly possesses the gift of smiling: Miriam
know exactly what television serial this rare flower of Brazil was filming when
these shots were taken, but the ambiance perhaps has something to do with the
honest, wholesome quality inspired by her smile.
Even when caught by the camera at one of the industry’s infinite awards
ceremonies, however, Freeland’s smile never seems to me tired or feigned.
Her oval face has extraordinarily wide eyebrows, and her high cheekbones
are delightfully accentuated when they raise the corners of her mouth.
For some reason—perhaps the outer slope of the brows, perhaps the
distinctly frontal set of the eyes—there seems to me to be a kind of lift in
her face’s center at these moments which disarms any fear of fraud and
communicates a completely sincere, good-natured pleasure.
Then there’s that unique dimple in the middle of her lower lip… but
that is another matter.
All in all,
this remains for me the most ravishing face in the universe—and it is never
more so than when it smiles. Some
faces were just made to beam: smiling appears to be the fullest, most genuine
expression of the soul hidden beneath them (and what an angelic soul it must be,
cries the man in foolish rhapsody). By
no means would I have other women smile who are not thus endowed.
Amy Cunningham, for example, should probably never smile.
I should imagine that the truest expression of her inner being would be a
the Penseroso side of my own soul answers the Allegro side that Ms. Freeland
must share her crown with a co-winner. For
part of me—half of me—always retreats to black-and-white, and to that
Heraclitan inner abyss. If I could
look at only two photos for the rest of my life, I would choose the first from
the pair above (probably by flipping a coin)… but the second would be the one
is not the most beautiful actress among the few represented here—but she was
almost certainly the best actress (with the very possible exception of Kate
Nelligan), and I believe that it is precisely her talent to represent which
makes the photo above so haunting. What
may we say of the young woman in this frame?
Spiritual? Most definitely.
Introverted, searching, hungering after a higher truth?
Yes, yes, and yes. The high
and uncovered forehead (with long, rich tresses to indicate that it might have
been covered if the girl had not freed her piercing gaze from them), the
prominent brow, the wide, dark eyes, the lips both full and sealed—utterly
heedless of any prying eye and unresponsive to any listening ear… this, too,
is a goddess: a young Athena, perhaps, with a strong dose of the Christian
martyr’s longing. I love this
photo. What person may have lived
out what kind of life behind its instant of immortality, I have no idea, nor
would I be such a simpleton as to ask. This
face has its own existence. I know
well that Simmons’s must necessarily have been quite different at other times;
and I know that she would have understood my insisting upon a line of
distinction, and have thanked me for it.
I am sorry
if, as Horacio Quiroga asserts in this essay’s opening caption, women cannot
understand the importance of an artistic unity, combining outward appearance
with inward activity, to feminine beauty—if they assume, rather, that we men
desire only physiological turn-ons. It
is small wonder that feminists have such contempt for us, since they, at least,
seem to hold this view. But in
becoming “more like a man” and accentuating thereby the crass in themselves
that they see in us, they have done their sex a far greater disservice than any
gang of men ever did.
Peter Singleton, Ph.D., resides in the North Texas area in a semi-retirement of writing, consulting, and occasional teaching. He is a frequent contributor to this journal.