“The sex organs and the sex cells manifest a polarity and complementariness in morphology and in function. In the act of sexual union the male organ is convex and penetrating and the female organ is concave and receptive; the spermatozoon is torpedo-shaped and ‘attacks,’ and the ovum is a sphere ‘awaiting’ penetration. That this polarity and complementariness should not be confined to the physical but also be reflected in the character of man and woman, is a view as old as history. As a matter of fact, in ancient religions and philosophies, sexual polarity and complementariness did not stop at the psychological. Human duality and human mating expressed an antithesis at the very heart of things, an antithesis striving for synthesis unceasingly, eternally – in an act of anticipation and restitution of unity.”
(From “Flight From Woman”, by Karl Stern, p. 10)
So to be clear: I’m not advocating “attacking” as a central part of masculinity, nor victimization as a central part of femininity. “Attack” is a twisted and abusive version of masculinity. It is evil and wrong.
The book from which this quote is taken argues that our society has devalued and abandoned femininity (hence the title), and we have suffered greatly as a result. Far from advocating the victimization of women, Karl Stern is actually attempting to return femininity to a place of honor in society.
Nevertheless, k’s concern brings up a point that has to be wrestled with: There is a lot of evidence (both physiological and philosophical) to suggest that the essence of masculinity is initiation; the essence of femininity is response. It’s deduction vs. intuition; doing vs. being; action vs. isness. I’m not saying that I 100% agree with these ideas, but our strong emotional responses to them are telling. What do you all think?