Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Alpha Mail: on the feminine virtues

AD wrote and asked me to write about the feminine virtues. But rather than simply listing the virtues described by Paul and Proverbs 31, since AD can look those up for herself, I thought I'd take a different approach and see where that led us.

We can discern the masculine virtues by observing what male behavior causes dismay and disgust in both sexes.

Courage: we detest the male coward.
Duty: we despise the man who shirks it
Sobriety: we detest the male buffoon
Honor: we despise the man who won't keep his word or stick to his principles
Strength: we despise the man who is weak
Fidelity: we distrust the man who cheats on his wife

In this vein, for what sort of women do we naturally tend to harbor contempt:

The slut: therefore, chastity is a feminine virtue
The hag: therefore being open and upright is a feminine virtue
The adulteress: therefore fidelity is a feminine virtue
The gossip: therefore being reticent is a feminine virtue
The mean girl: thereby kindness is a feminine virtue
The flutterbudget: thereby tranquility is a feminine virtue
The bitch: thereby submission is a feminine virtue
The slob: thereby cleanliness is a feminine virtue
The bad mother: thereby maternal caregiving is a feminine virtue
The ungrateful: thereby graciousness is a feminine virtue
The spendthrift: thereby thrift is a feminine virtue
The whore: thereby self-respect is a feminine virtue


cb6f3d30-2f6b-11e3-9035-000bcdca4d7a said...

One quibble: a woman can be non-submissive without being a bitch.

Vox said...

One quibble: a woman can be non-submissive without being a bitch.

Irrelevant. A man can be non-strong without being weak. Being submissive is the virtue. One can fail to have the virtue without possessing the anti-virtue.

Crowhill said...

You've covered it with "the slut," but it got me wondering if people detest your average sleep-around slut more, or the "sleeps her way to the top" schemer.

Also, while people don't detest a woman who can't cook, being able to cook is a feminine virtue.

Peregrine John said...

Interesting. Most male virtues describe things to be done. Most female virtues describe things to be not done.

Stephen Barringer said...

There is a tricky loophole in the list of male virtues, though, in that violating virtually *any* of the others can somehow become justified, respectable, or at least admirable *if it can be plausibly characterized as a courageous act*.

Duty: we despite the man who shirks it -- *unless* he claims to risk those consequences for a "higher purpose" or a "freedom from outdated constrictions".
Sobriety: we detest the male buffoon -- *unless* he appears to be brave by "not giving a fig for convention or what others think".
Honor: we detest the man who won't keep his word -- *unless* he can pass off the promise-breaking as one of those hard moral choices made by hard men, e.g. "getting my hands dirty for the sake of a greater good".
Strength: we detest the man who is weak -- *unless* he can pass off that weakness as courageous endurance rather than passivity, e.g. "turning the other cheek".
Fidelity: we distrust the man who cheats on his wife -- *unless* he can cast the cheating as a search for True Love by a man trapped in a loveless or miserable contract, and willing to run whatever risks are needed to be with that True Love.

C.S. Lewis once pointed out that "courage is not just *one* of the virtues but the form of *every* virtue at its point of highest testing". The tragic inverse of this is that virtually any uncivilized behaviour can be made, on at least one instinctive level, "admirable" if it can be made to appear courageous.

Booch Paradise said...

"Also, while people don't detest a woman who can't cook, being able to cook is a feminine virtue."

I would say that falls under a broader virtue that also covers slob/cleanliness. I'd like to say being a servant vs being served, but that is too broad. Either way, the type of woman who doesn't cook and believes that someone else should provide her with hot meals, or at the very least has no concern about providing her family with food, would be the correlating vice.

buzzardist said...

Being able to cook is a skill. Being willing to cook wholesome meals for a family every day is a virtue, or at least a part of one.

Duke of Earl said...

Peregrine, that's why if you look at traditional honour/shame cultures, the man is expected to earn honour in the public eye, the woman expected to avoid shame in the public eye.

verusconditio said...

Cooking would come under submissive and maternal virtues.

~ Stingray

Weouro said...

I despise a woman who can't or won't cook. Or at least I don't admire her, which amounts to the same thing outwardly since I don't usually go out of my way to treat women I despise poorly.

JCclimber said...

Neither list is filled with things which are easy to accomplish. This is why the virtues must be trained and disciplined into the child, by the parents.

Hence, parenting is the most vital role in the world, and once again we see Satan's hand in the despicable philosophy of feminism, trying to rip apart the family. Because it lies about its origins and ultimate purpose, it is more vile than membership in the Church of Satanism - which is at least up front about who it worships. Also, feminism is more evil in sheer numbers of bloody child sacrifices.

Res Ipsa said...

Vox's pairing of traits is interesting. How about these:

Sloth and enthusiasm
Somber and Cheerful

A women who enthusiastically goes about her activities with a smile, both in the bedroom and taking care of her families other needs, is a much grater prize than one who sullenly makes her rounds with the all the sparkle and pizazz of a garden slug in search of leaf mold.

Matamoros said...

Very interesting juxtapositions. Some of them I had not thought of in that way.

In this regard, you may find this apropos:

"Woman's unhappiest moments are when she is unable to give; her most hellish moments are when she refuses to give."

...To attain to the true vocation of woman is not the same thing as "being oneself." In fact, it is precisely the opposite. The "seven pallbearers of character" –the seven capital sins–must be overcome. The sisters of the seven capital sins must also be overcome, that is, those faults more "natural" to women than men: jealousy, fault-finding, gossiping, sensitivity to the opinions of others. It is worth noting that the faults to which women are often most subject are related to persons, not related to things. This is expected, because women are closer to persons (whereas men are closer to things).

Similarly, the virtues women must cultivate are related to persons: understanding, sensitivity, creativity, acceptance, resignation, submission, intuitiveness, generosity, fidelity, receptiveness, and equity. Pope John Paul II writes that the virtues of women must correspond to the nature of women"...

Royal Tenenbaum said...

Really like how that list is set up.

One addition for the woman list: Masculinity.

PatrickH said...

The loud: therefore softness of voice is a feminine virtue.

The hyper-reactive: therefore poise is a feminine virtue.

The crass, vulgar and crude: therefore refinement is a feminine virtue.

The obvious: therefore mystery is a feminine virtue.

Rigel Kent said...

The gossip: therefore being reticent is a feminine virtue

This reminded me of an article I read years ago. It was a relationship advice article for men written by a woman. One of the points the author made was that your girlfriend/wife/lover was going to tell her best friend everything and men should just learn to deal with it.

What got me wasn't just what she said, it was the attitude with which is was written. She seemed to think men were just being completely unreasonable expecting their significant others to keep the man's private matters private. This memory is why I wanna laugh anytime I hear a woman talk about how important trust is in a relationship.

Natalie said...

@Peregrine John - I see where you're coming from in that feminine virtue seems to be less active, but upon reflection I don't think that's quite accurate. Take thrift for instance. On one hand a thrifty woman doesn't spend money when she shouldn't, but then again a miser doesn't spend money either. Real thrift (a la Chesterton) has an imaginative, active quality. It's also possible to be good at the imaginative part and not the "don't spend money part." I tend to struggle more with the latter part myself. It's easier for me to re-purpose old furniture than it is for me to be strict about groceries and new clothes.

8f6c8012-5d7a-11e3-ad92-000f20980440 said...

@Stephen - I think you are stretching the meaning of Courage a bit. From an Aristotelian perspective Courage is having the proper response or disposition to fear, that is neither giving into it easily (Cowardice), nor being completely unmoved by it (Bravado or Recklessness). I think Integrity is probably a better term for what you are describing, that is having a set of principles and adhering to them regardless of cost. Could be wrong though.

Unknown said...

Don't know if these count as feminine virtues but I miss them in above list:
- Respect for her body, as in not having "body modifications" or tattoos. Hereunder fall things like piercings, silicone tits and other superfluous cosmetic surgery, things which all betray low self esteem apart from being potential hazards to health.
- Cooking or the willingness and ability to cook was mentioned by several people before me. I agree :-)
- A woman must have at least a modicum of education. The functionally analphabet bimbo won't do.
- Fealty to her own people and traditions, at least basic knowledge of the culture and traditions of her ethic group.
- Loyalty: to herself, to _me_, to her family of origin, to her people.

Women are the main depositories and transmitters of culture and cultural values, that is why it is desirable for her to have some affinity to such things, as opposed to being a blank slate. A woman who has no respect for herself, who has no cultural knowledge or skills will in the long run be a drag, and her children will also be barren of culture and thus a drag on society as a whole. Cooking and food is BTW an important part of any culture, and a woman who doesn't know about food will potentially raise unhealthy and weak children.

As for 'flutterbudget', I've just learned a new English word :-)

JS123 said...

This is a fascinating list. I am very interested in virtue ethics. For most of western civilization virtue ethics was the dominant idea, that there were these virtues that should be inculcated in oneself to be a good person. Virtue ethics died off for various reasons, but there has been a revival lately. I never thought about how disgust corresponds to virtue. Can you take it a step further and discuss why we feel disgust towards these types?

JS123 said...

A bit more on virtue ethics. I see much of the manosphere as just the revival of virtue ethics. It is a large discussion of what virtues make a man good. The agreed upon answer is that masculinity is the virtue of men, and all of the things in Vox's list above are components of masculinity. Virtue ethics looks at people the way you would evaluate the goodness or badness of anything, by how well it performs its naturally designed functions. And so virtue ethics is not relativistic because those naturally designed (designed by God, or evolution, or God through evolution) functions are facts about people just as it is a fact that the function of a heart is to pump blood and a good one is the one that can perform this function. Diseased, deformed, or damaged hearts are bad because they can't perform their function of pumping blood. If you don't think it is the function of the heart to pump blood you are just wrong; it is not culturally constructed or any of that nonsense. A bit of an aside, but interesting.

JS123 said...

Looking this list over again I have a problem. Surely, being upright, fidelity, kindness, cleanliness, graciousness, thrift, and self-respect are virtues in men as well.

Durendal Almace said...

@JS123 - they are still virtues for men, but as far as they go they are added-value virtues rather than required ones to be a man. I think our community can haggle between which virtues are required and which are added-value to men and to women, and also if certain virtues express themselves differently in men and in women.

Biggest one that is different between men and women is chastity. Chastity is a virtue and is a virtue of women and men...but they are assessed differently in the sexes.

It should be noted that in the manosphere/game community, virtues due tend to go through a filter they normally don't. A virtue rarely holds water here if it does assist in making a man or woman attractive. As Vox's list shows above, attraction does tell us a great deal of what to intuitively look for but it is not the only qualification of what makes a virtue a virtue - and Vox never made that claim.

Chastity in men seems, in terms of attraction, to only be valued post-marriage aka Fidelity. It can be a virtue pre-marriage if an only if the man - like your average woman who was at some point young and not ugly - was in sexual demand by the opposite sex and resisted. Chastity is rarely valued when imposed and is always honored greatly among those who are beautiful or charismatic. Bl. Teresa (Mother Teresa) is not nearly honored for her chastity as St. Gemma Galgani. Most good Catholics will never admit it but one has to merely note how a saint is honored to see what is still valued the more. Note that male saints are rarely commented on their virginity.

So it is a virtue for men and women, but the context for such virtues that should exist in both sexes significantly affects both how it is expressed and how it is valued.

-Durendal Almace

Durendal Almace said...

To clarify:

Virtues can be
Virtues that make a good person
Virtues that make a good citizen
Virtues that make a good woman/wife/mother.
Virtues that make a good man/husband/father.

You just need to be clear what virtue and what category is being discussed. In this conversation, it is my understanding that Vox is discussing the virtues that make a good man and make a good wife, not virtues that make a good person or citizen.

- Durendal

Durendal Almace said...

@ Vox - does beauty not fit in as a virtue? A woman does not need to be beautiful to be a good woman, but it is honored greatly by men and women alike. I sense a connection with the 3 classic transcendentals - Verum, Bonum, Pulchrum - and that they play a role in virtue ethics, especially for Christians as we accept the claim that we are made in imago Dei.

JS123 said...

Beauty is a virtue of the body, not the character. I guess you could say someone has a beautiful character, but this is metaphorical and just means that they possess the virtues of character.

JS123 said...
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