Are cuteness and leadership compatible?
“Women are cute. But do we want the major institutions of our civilization being led by cute people?”
Mr. Auster, I was extremely irritated by the photos of the suicide bomber at the Halloween party. But I was equally irritated by your remark about women in general, simply another instance of your misogynistic opinion of the feminine gender.
Sir, take a look at the male leaders of our country who of late have been exposed as corrupt, incompetent and ridiculous. How can you continue to hold women’s intellect and abilities in such contempt? By what standard are you comparing them? How can you discount the incredible but often anonymous contributions of strong and intelligent women throughout our history? Frankly, the males in power all over the world cause me great misgivings and concern.
Can you not admit that women in general have been shortchanged in education and freedom and denied positions of responsibility for centuries and only recently acquired opportunities? They have not yet caught up with their male counterparts, but as terrified as men may be at the prospect of equality, women are making progress.
You should really look into this particular bent you have, sir, of continuing the age old male custom of denigrating women.
Author, former successful small business owner, coach to over 6000 recovered nicotine addicts, home owner with no debt,—all accomplished by an orphan and auto-didact who had no access to university or adequate funds or support to accomplish anything at all. And cute, too!
I’m not denigrating women at all. I am not denigrating the abilities of women. And I am not saying that women should not strive and seek to achieve. And anyone who reads me (I was just called a “Chekist” for my treatment of John Derbyshire), knows that I obviously do not think men are all qualified and good and wise.
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What I am saying is that women and men are different, and that the distinct qualities of women mean that women are not generally suited to be in positions of high leadership. Why? Leadership involves a quality of “impersonality.” The job not about oneself, it’s about the job. But with women, their personhood, feelings, relationships, and physical appearance come first. This is the same reason why women should not be priests, for example, since the priest’s primary function is the enactment of something that transcends the personal, and as soon as women become priests, they change the very essence of what a priest does.
There are of course many exceptions, not on the issue of priests, on which I make no compromise, but on the issue of leadership generally. I am not against a woman being a university president. I am not against a woman being the leader of a country. But in a well-ordered society, women would reach these positions, not because of some notion of sexual equality (as in Western countries that now mandate a certain percentage of seats in the national legislature to women), nor on the basis of some agenda to get back at men (an agenda you obviously share, as shown by your stereotypical anti-male comment, “as terrified as men may be at the prospect of equality”), but because those particular individuals rose to that position through their own strivings and abilities, e.g., Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meir. Such women are rare. The problem is that modern liberal society believes and assumes that women are equally qualified as men for positions of leadership and authority, and therefore women should be equally represented in such jobs as university president or army general and should even be especially sought out for them. This regime of equality inevitably produces a cohort of women who are chosen for positions for which they are not qualified, who are not serious about their responsibilities, and who introduce their distinctively feminine characteristics, including feminine vanity, into positions where these characteristics do not belong. In a well-ordered society, Tsipi Livni would not be the foreign minister of Israel, and Amy Gutmann would not be the president of U of P.
You started by objecting to my statement: “Women are cute. But do we want the major institutions of our civilization being led by cute people?” So I’ll close by asking you this: do you think a cute female should be the head of a major university or a national government? If you do, then in my view you’re not serious about the well being of that university or country. You just want to advance women, whatever the cost.
On a further point, your statement that you were EQUALLY irritated by my comment that cute women should not be in positions of major leadership as you were by the unspeakable barbarism of a woman university president standing smiling next to a person dressed as a suicide bomber, shows an appalling loss of perspective. Yet such statements are very typical of feminist women.
A woman who thinks that “male chauvinism” is equally as objectionable as the non-judgmental acceptance of demonic terrorism and mass murder is not someone whose judgment I would trust on any important public matter, no matter how excellent her abilities may be in the private and professional sphere.
Mark P. writes:
You should tell “Ms. Equally-Offended” Patricia A. that it would be a lot easier for you to convert and live under Islam than it would be for her. Ask her where she thinks the mullahs will tell her to cram her complaints about “male chauvinism.”
My “retort of last resort” to any of these hard-headed liberals is calmly to explain to them how much better I would do under Islam compared to them. When, for example, 51% of the population is effectively unemployable because of all the restrictions put on women, explain how many more job opportunities there will be for the other 49% and how the tightening of that labor supply will raise average wages for men.
It’s like telling a child who refuses to eat food: “Good, more for me.” Or, funnier, watching my friend tease his niece by telling her he’s going to fit her for a burqha.
Vivek G. writes:
I want to make a small clarification. Please refer to the comment:
“Women are cute. But do we want the major institutions of our civilization being led by cute people?” I think what you mean is “Do we want…. led by people MERELY because they are cute?”
And what I think is that the “Ms Equally Offended PA” has understood it as if you DO NOT want CUTE people to be leaders implying that “cuteness” should be a disqualifying parameter.
So may be one could write “Women are cute, and we have nothing against women occupying any position that they deserve, But do we want the major institutions of our civilization being led by people just because they are cute?”
Knowing your writings, this point was clear to me even when I read the original version but I hope you see that there could have been some confusion.
No, I actually meant it the way I wrote it. I did not mean that all women are cute, and therefore no woman can be in a position of major leadership. I meant that cute women should not be in positions of major leadership. Why? Because, at put it as simply as possible, cuteness and authority are mutually incompatible qualities.
I can’t expand on the why’s and wherefore’s of this right now.
As examples, one could say that Golda Meir had an engaging, grandmotherly quality, and that Indira Gandhi had a quality of the eternal feminine, but neither were what is normally meant by cute. Obviously Margaret Thatcher was not cute. Tsipi, Ruth, and Amy are cute (the latter is both cute and repulsive).
Bruce B. writes:
The “women are cute” phrase sounded like a “put “em in their place” phrase, so I think it was bound to get you flack from female readers. I’m not saying you went too far. It certainly shouldn’t be any more controversial than writing “negrification.”
In my opinion, the authentic traditionalist view is that the natural role of women is “Mother” and “Keeper of the Home,” obviously not “Killer,” but also not “Business Executive,” “Engineer,” “Teacher” (except for their own children) at least when they are of child-rearing age. At the very least, the first two roles should take priority over the latter ones. Women should be home nurturing and teaching their children (of course, from a Christian, Occidentalist perspective). Our future, both from a personal and a societal perspective, cannot be entrusted to schools, daycares, nannies, etc. Why even bother bearing children if someone else is going to raise them? I can’t believe the business-suit, platform-shoe wearing women around me find their petty (we all toil in relative obscurity) contribution to this corporation to be more important than raising their children. Lots of the women around me, the ones that even bother having children, are back to work within a couple of weeks of giving birth. There’s something sick about this set of priorities. Just as for the abortionist, children are a burden not a blessing. Women have to have “fulfilling” roles.
If a traditionalist is a person with great regard for traditional ways, and “Mother” and “Keeper of the Home” has been the almost exclusive role of women for thousands of years, in the West and everywhere else, doesn’t it pretty much follow that a traditionalist thinks like me? Feminism, like anti-racism, really is a radical ideology, completely out of touch with human reality as it has always existed.
Patricia A. concludes her letter by listing all of her achievements. Does she think these relatively petty accomplishments will make much difference in the world around her compared to child-rearing? Not one mention of “mother” or “cultivator of good little traditionalists.” Women always had a power that was subtle, but formidable. Implicit, not explicit. But that wasn’t good enough for them. They had to be like men. At my work, they even wear ridiculously high platform shoes so they can be taller and look at many men at eye level.
No feminist can be a traditionalist in any meaningful way, any more than an evolution-con can be conservative in any meaningful way.
By the way, my wife, who stays home and home schools our growing family, routinely gets snide remarks from working women, even though she never brags about her traditional role and, in fact, rarely even brings it up unless asked. In other words, she doesn’t attack or try to force her ways on the feminists, but they routinely attack and try to force their ways on her. But since she loves her children more than she loves herself, she is unfazed and continues on. I’m very proud of her and respect her for this.
Rachel S. writes from southern Oregon:
Traditional female perspective: You aren’t a misogynist, you actually like women as women, not symbols of false progress used to tear down our civilization. I have worked with women “leaders” and haven’t noticed anything remarkable about them. If given the choice I prefer men as managers and leaders. I have even said that if I could get back what we had (our historic traditional culture) I would gladly give up the vote. Maybe women should start “taking one for the team” instead of being yet another whiny victim group.
Howard Sutherland writes:
Just to add to the confusion, cute, cuddly, comfortably casual Ruth Kelly, MP, the very same Labour ministress who promised Moslem complainers she would “look sympathetically” at applying sharia to Moslem family disputes in Great Britain, is regularly reviled in the British press for her own religious bigotry and prejudice. Kelly, you see, is a practicing Catholic and—shudder—a member of Opus Dei.
What to make of that? She doesn’t quite look how I would expect an Opie, even a lady Opie, to look in public. One might hope for more seriousness and, dare one say it, modesty? Kelly isn’t letting it all hang out in your picture of her, to be sure, but I’m surprised her little tummy roll (it’s cute, though) is so easily visible. And, at the risk of piling on, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to her station as a ministress in Her Majesty’s Government (and Opiette) to wear a skirt?
Laura W. writes:
I wholly support Bruce B. on the subject of women, cuteness, power, etc. His remark that women have always had power that was “subtle, yet formidable” is exactly the sort of thing that passes over a feminist’s head. Women are ill-suited for leadership positions not because they don’t bring the right qualities to the job, but because they have more important things to do. Things that only they can do. Unfortunately, these other things don’t come with an impressive paycheck. And feminists—whether they be men or women—are essentially materialists.
Greed and vanity lie behind feminism. And, women are not only to blame. Very, very few men speak against the entry of women into any paying field. Men have experienced the goodies—and they want more. Who cares if their wives or daughters are too busy to have children or to properly raise the ones they have—just keep the money rolling in.
I have to admit though, I’m not exactly qualified to speak with impartiality on this issue. I am hopelessly cute. I’m not at all offended by your comment that cuteness is undesirable in a world leader. Too busy for that sort of thing. (Besides, who wants to go to all those meetings?! Please, God, leave that stuff to men!) But, if I had the misfortune to be appointed a university president, despite or even because of my cuteness, I would devote myself tirelessly to the rewriting of today’s history books. Somewhere those books would mention a few overlooked facts. They might leave the overall impression that for thousands and thousands of years, men have sought not to crush women, but to love them. In my opinion (just ask Shakespeare!), they’ve done a reasonably good job.
I agree with the points about women,—and it truly is a sad state of affairs. But I think it’s an effect, not a cause. I believe women are like that today because Western men want them that way.
Emily B. writes:
I have never, ever thought about a women’s cuteness as having intrinsic effect on her personhood, but as soon as you said it, I knew it was true. Truly illuminating; the best explanation I’ve ever read about women and leadership.
I completely concur with Gintas about the immorality of women: it is an effect and not a cause. Corrupted men lead to corrupted women, not the other way around. Polls and surveys going way back to the early 20th century have always shown a gap between the beliefs about sexual morality between men and women. The difference between now and then (20’s and 30’s) was that back then the gulf was huge; it began to close hard during the sexual revolution.
Women are submissive and have simply submitted to what most Western men have wanted, finally invented, and lastly, legislated. I believe if men desired good, pious, Christian women, they would discover that all those other nasty qualities that can be found in women would mostly dissipate. Godless men want their cake and eat it, too.
Thank you for saying that. I hadn’t had that idea about cuteness and leadership before. As I was writing the blog entry, I said that Amy Gutmann evidently thought that posing with the suicide bomber was “a very cute thing to do.” Then I looked at her photo again, and thought, she IS cute, and what does her cuteness actually mean? That she uses her position as the president of an Ivy League university to normalize monstrous evil, all the while with a cute, vain, self-pleased smile on her face.
Also, what you say about the man-woman dynamic also applies to the white-minority dynamic. Minorities, blacks, Muslims, they all act out and hate whites and demand entitlements because whites have TOLD them to do this. See my article, “Murder on the LIRR.”
Amy Gutmann is not cute. She’s diabolical. Here are two of her gems:
“It’s less obvious what the challenge is when you inherit something that’s very strong,”
“Penn is sizzling, and I’m not talking about the weather,”
Also see Tiberge’s highly critical comment
about modern women.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 05, 2006 07:16 PM | Send