Main  Contacts  
Table of contents
Introduction
The Feminine Mind-1
The War Between the Sexes-2.1
The War Between the Sexes-2.2
The War Between the Sexes-2.3
Marriage-3.1
Marriage-3.2
Marriage-3.3
Marriage-3.4
Woman Suffrage-4.1
Woman Suffrage-4.2
Woman Suffrage-4.3
Woman Suffrage-4.4
The New Age-5.1
The New Age-5.2
The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. INTRODUCTION
THE VATSYAYANA SUTRA-1-2
THE VATSYAYANA SUTRA-3-4-5
OF SEXUAL UNION-1-2
OF SEXUAL UNION-3-4-5
OF SEXUAL UNION-6-7-8
OF SEXUAL UNION-10-11
ABOUT THE ACQUISITION OF A WIFE-1-2
ABOUT THE ACQUISITION OF A WIFE-3-4-5
ABOUT A WIFE-1-2
ABOUT THE WIVES OF OTHER MEN-1-2
ABOUT THE WIVES OF OTHER MEN-3-4
ABOUT THE WIVES OF OTHER MEN-5-6
ABOUT COURTESANS-1-2
ABOUT COURTESANS-3-4
ABOUT COURTESANS-5-6
ABOUT THE MEANS OF ATTRACTING OTHERS TO YOURSELF-1-2
CONCLUDING REMARKS

37. Women as Martyrs 

 

 

I have given three reasons for the prosperity of the notion that man 

is a natural polygamist, bent eternally upon fresh dives into Lake 

of Brimstone No. 7. To these another should be added: the thirst for 

martyrdom which shows itself in so many women, particularly under the 

higher forms of civilization. This unhealthy appetite, in fact, may be 

described as one of civilization's diseases; it is almost unheard of 

in more primitive societies. The savage woman, unprotected by her rude 

culture and forced to heavy and incessant labour, has retained her 

physical strength and with it her honesty and self-respect. The 

civilized woman, gradually degenerated by a greater ease, and helped 

down that hill by the pretensions of civilized man, has turned her 

infirmity into a virtue, and so affects a feebleness that is actually 

far beyond the reality. It is by this route that she can most 

effectively disarm masculine distrust, and get what she wants. Man is 

flattered by any acknowledgment, however insincere, of his superior 

strength and capacity. He likes to be leaned upon, appealed to, followed 

docilely. And this tribute to his might caresses him on the psychic 

plane as well as on the plane of the obviously physical. He not only 

enjoys helping a woman over a gutter; he also enjoys helping her dry her 

tears. The result is the vast pretence that characterizes the relations 

of the sexes under civilization--the double pretence of man's cunning 

and autonomy and of woman's dependence and deference. Man is always 

looking for someone to boast to; woman is always looking for a shoulder 

to put her head on. 

 

This feminine affectation, of course, has gradually taken on the force 

of a fixed habit, and so it has got a certain support, by a familiar 

process of self-delusion, in reality. The civilized woman inherits that 

habit as she inherits her cunning. She is born half convinced that she 

is really as weak and helpless as she later pretends to be, and the 

prevailing folklore offers her endless corroboration. One of the 

resultant phenomena is the delight in martyrdom that one so often finds 

in women, and particularly in the least alert and introspective of them. 

They take a heavy, unhealthy pleasure in suffering; it subtly pleases 

them to be hard put upon; they like to picture themselves as slaughtered 

saints. Thus they always find something to complain of; the very 

conditions of domestic life give them a superabundance of clinical 


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