Forgive me for a weird question, but I’m curious about something I read recently. In her book Sexual Personae, Camille Paglia writes the following in regard to the double standard applied to male and female promiscuity:
Although she wrote this only as an aside, it makes me curious: are women really so viscerally horrified by rapidly-running, creepy-crawly creatures? When confronted by these things, do you find yourself leaping up on some furniture and locking your knees together, as if in an instinctive move to prevent it from running up and invading your nether regions?
No. I mean, I hate them and everything, but I’m not afraid they’re going to run up…er, down there…and rape me. I’m just afraid they’re going to run up and down my body and do the hokey pokey on my stomach, and cause me to pass out from fear…that’s pretty much it. I don’t know WHY I’m so afraid of bugs (especially the dreaded centipede, and the Dreaded Large Bug Who Sometimes Appears In My Basement), but I think Ms. Paglia was reading into this a bit too much.
Admittedly my study of her oeuvre is incomplete, nonetheless I am willing, based on the information I have, to go out on a limb and suggest that Ms Paglia is a total git.
How does she get to be considered a scholar while making up and publishing (even as an aside) concepts like that- apparently off the top of her head?
Not only do I think that idea is very silly (not that it wouldn’t be fun to play around with if she were writing fiction) I think the idea women have an “archtypal horror” of bugs to be pretty dubious too. Why is she asserting it IS an archtypal horror and not a “socialized fear”? On what evidence?
People in general are often creeped out by bugs- I think because they seem so alien. DID women really jump up on tables and such? 'Cause the women I know are no more or less likely to march over a squish a bug- or let him live and not think about it- then the guys.
DAMN but I wanted to say that.
But seriously, when I married him, he installed us in the bug-infested guesthouse of his mother’s place, and, after spending the first month crying and flailing my limbs at every speck, real or imagined, I just didn’t anymore. Now I amaze my friends and family by calmly brushing off whatever offends me. My mother remembers me having hysterics at the sight of a housefly, but my ex desensitized me good and proper.
It took a while for me to divorce him, but I most surely did.
Camille Paglia is a professor of humanities. They don’t need no steenking evidence!
Her stuff is interesting, and I love the way she comes down on the impenetrable jargon of most current feminist writing, but she does tend to let her stream of consciousness run away with her at times.
And, no, I’m not afraid a spider will run up my hoo-hah. Actually, both of the true arachnophobes I know are guys.