- Someone took a youth to a sage and said: "Look, he is
being corrupted by women."
The sage shook his head and smiled. "It is men," said
he, "that corrupt women; and all the failings of women
should be atoned and improved in men. For it is man
who creates for himself the image of woman, and woman
forms herself according to this image."
"You are too kindhearted about women," said one of
those present; "you do not know them."
The sage replied: "Will is the manner of men;
willingness that of women. That is the law of the
sexes - truly, a hard law for women. All of humanity
is innocent of its existence; but women are doubly
innocent. Who could have oil and kindness enough for
"Damn oil! Damn kindness!" Someone else shouted out of
the crowd; "women need to be educated better!"
"Men need to be educated better," said the sage and
beckoned to the youth to follow him.
The youth, however, did not follow him.
- In his book 'Sex and Character', [Otto] Weininger
argues that all people are composed of a mixture of the
male and the female substance, and attempts to support
his view scientifically. The male aspect is active,
productive, conscious and moral/logical, while the
female aspect is passive, unproductive, unconscious
and amoral/alogical. Weininger argues that emancipation
should be reserved for the "masculine woman", e.g. some
lesbians, and that the female life is consumed with the
sexual function: both with the act, as a prostitute,
and the product, as a mother. Woman is a "matchmaker".
By contrast, the duty of the male, or the masculine
aspect of personality, is to strive to become a genius,
and to forego sexuality for an abstract love of the
absolute, God, which he finds within himself.
A significant part of his book is about the nature of
genius. Weininger argues that there is no such thing
as a person who has a genius for, say, mathematics,
or music, but there is only the universal genius, in
whom everything exists and makes sense. And he reasons
that such genius is probably present in all people
to some degree.
In a separate chapter, Weininger, himself a Jew who
had converted to Christianity in 1902, analyzes the
archetypical Jew as feminine, and thus profoundly
irreligious, without true individuality (soul), and
without a sense of good and evil. Christianity is
described as "the highest expression of the highest
faith", while Judaism is called "the extreme of
cowardliness". Weininger decries the decay of modern
times, and attributes much of it to feminine, and
thus Jewish, influences. By Weininger's reckoning
everyone shows some femininity, and what he calls
Weininger shot himself in the house in Vienna where
Beethoven had died, the man he considered one of the
greatest geniuses of all. This made him a cause
célèbre, inspired several imitation suicides, and
turned his book into a success. The book received
glowing reviews by August Strindberg, who wrote
that it had "probably solved the hardest of all
problems", the "woman problem".
"The hatred of woman is always the hatred not yet
overcome of one's own sexuality." [Otto Weininger]
"In many women, especially rich society women, the
capacity for feeling love is completely dried up,
and is replaced by a powerful desire that all men
love them. When a woman of this kind is sure that
a man loves her, she has no further use for him."