An interesting message about women has been circulating on the web for a long time, attributed to the Nobel Prize laureate William Golding. It is very popular, maybe because the misogynistic content, and the formal manipulation, are subtle and difficult to decipher (thank you mama Tony for your sharp and disenchanted look at everything).
First of all, the title and subtitle disarm our critical thinking with a trick:
“Now, here’s…” is a language that emphasizes a sudden appearance, giving more strength to the sentence and introducing story telling. It shakes us and then makes us sit down, metaphorically speaking, with our ears wide open and our eyes wide open, because we are faced with an apparition: “a man who understands women” (the “finally!”, the “miracle!” is implied – women are a bit difficult to understand and men are a bit stupid, didn’t you know?).
A novelist, a poet. Quiet children, the story begins. The fact that his job has nothing to do with the topic does not interest the authors of the message. It would have been more relevant to write: author who confessed to attempted rape on minors, but it’s not the same, we know.
The content of Golding
“I think women are foolish to think they’re equal to men. They are far superior and they always have been.” That’s the only real quote from Golding. He never said the rest, it is the invention of contemporary comedian and writer Erick S. Gray.
Going back to Golding, he’s saying that equality between men and women is crazy stuff. Here’s a quid pro quo: “equality” does not mean being the same, it means “equality in rights and opportunities”. No woman or man in their right mind and/or with a basic knowledge of biology has ever claimed that the two sexes are equal, the differences are there. And it is precisely (bio)diversity that guarantees wealth, prosperity and sustainability. Be blessed and always safeguarded. Golding, who was a Nobel Prize winner for Literature, knew the English language well, do not give in to the temptation to think that it was an oversight: with one hand he takes away, with the other he gives, or he thinks he is giving. “They are far superior, always have been”: he falls into the rhetoric of the superior “race”, very much in vogue during his formative years.
Let’s be clear: the superiority of one sex does not exist and is a treacherous cage, as well as a lie. You can’t say above without saying below (Hermes Trismegisto) and who says beautiful automatically implies ugly (Lao Tze). In other words, the two poles, the two sexes, are like day and night, not opposites, mind you, but complementary. Like inspiration and exhalation. Without one, the other ceases to exist.
Always be wary of those who tell you that you are superior beings, or you will build high walls around you, and within you an unhealthy habitat, which will leave you empty and exhausted by a distorted need for perfectionism. I claim my right to be imperfect and inadequate, to fail, to learn, to not know, to ask for and receive help and support, to have no more responsibility than I can carry, or more than I can carry today. If we are superior beings, it goes without saying, we do not need anything or anyone, and therefore we can continue to work more and get paid less, for example. Superior beings (if they exist) are alone, and they don’t build bridges, but they drag masses. Is that what we want to be, my fellow women? Old-style patriarchal models?
I close with one last remark about Golding: while he was writing “Lord of the Flies” – a very beautiful and dystopian novel – he was a teacher and experimented dystopia on his unsuspecting pupils (always according to his memoirs): elementary schoolmaster Golding pitted the children against each other on purpose, to study their reactions and use them for his own benefit – to write a novel that would change history. He did it, twice: he wrote it, and he even got away with it because he died before a parent could hold him accountable for his perversion and violence. Today someone claims to be doing women a favor by using the thoughts of this mentally ill artist.
The content of Gray
But let’s move on to the rest of the quote, which is not from Golding, but from Erick S. Gray. Try to reread those lines, with attention and disenchantment, leaving sentimentality aside. Because I admit it, it is easy to get excited in front of the mysterious miracle of the uterus, magic cauldron that creates a human being. I do not want to deny this great mystery of life.
What pisses me off (uh, even women get pissed off, even if it takes days to get rid of the guilt because millennia of history can’t be erased by a few laws and a few decades), yes, what pisses me off is the cage that this guy here, Gray, builds around women.
All expectations are cages (that’s why psychotherapy works, sometimes: you can say what you want, explore and make mistakes, because your therapist has no expectations about you, unlike partners, friends, sisters, etc.).
Suppose I don’t want children, or worse, I don’t want children with you – I’m not multiplying your gift. I am not Jesus in a skirt, so I become, it goes without saying, a non-woman.
You give me a house I’ll make a home out of it. Yeah, maybe, if it’s in my ropes. If I’m capable of it. Gray, I’ll let you in on a secret. The archetype of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, is asexual. You have it like I do. And I’ll tell you more, Vesta was a virgin goddess, that is, unattached, dedicated only to the hearth, not a mother, not a bride. So Yang, more than Yin. Feel free to feel called upon, too. And I’ll tell you a secret: We don’t have the housewife gene, that’s something that comes with education.
What if I have other interests and passions, and home-making was not one of them? I’d be a non-woman, according to Gray’s reasoning. If he gives me four walls (did I say thank you by the way?), but I use them just for sleep and watching TV, what am I, a freak of nature? I skip the grocery list, thank you very much, I have nothing to add and I want to get to the core.
“If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart.” Higher beings don’t need anything, all we need is a smile. We are superior AND humble.
Gray knows women’s history, and he is using it against us: women are hungry for love and attention. Thousands of years of oppression tend to bring these results.
Women sell themselves off because they are not clear about their value, their diversity, their quid. Women die, literally and metaphorically, because they put themselves in the hands of men who think like Gray, or the master Golding (“the girl was a depraved from the age of 14, I’m sure she wanted violent sex”).
My heart for a smile! Like Ylenia Bonavera, who confused the gasoline used to set her on fire for a proof of love, and the idiotic TV presenter Barbara D’Urso who called it a gesture “of too much love”. What a sad, tragic story.
On a side note, I do not think that improving shit means multiplying it in heaps, but rather growing flowers in it. But all in all, that’s the most harmless, witty bullshit in this whole affair.