The alibi of the fatal female
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Work Sidonia von Borcke, by Edward Burne-Jones.

For thermodynamics, the human being is nothing more than a machine out of thermal equilibrium, which acquires energy to maintain its capacity to reduce entropy, at the cost of heating the environment. But are we just that? Or will we ignore the corners where lovers play to get cold, pouring fluids into their glasses at the rhythm of alternate murmurs? That biology binds us but does not define us is something that should be remembered more often. That biology, without defining us, binds us, should not be forgotten either.

But we must also deal with other stories, that not only the divine feeds the body. There are duties that do not expire. When Hollywood decided to recreate the life of Hypatia of Alexandria, she made her beautiful, played by Rachel Weisz. She couldn’t afford a physically ugly actress. That the scientist thought it was tolerable, even convenient; that she was ugly, no. Those of us who saw her like this, feel identified with that beauty that died skinned, which is not the same as feeling identified with an ugly woman who is being scrapped. Such are the things that have been instilled in us.

But let’s not blame Hollywood for what comes from further back. Has anyone seen an ugly virgin? In women, even today, physical beauty is the most celebrated attribute, the one that should determine her mating, the one that defines her luck.

The cult of feminine beauty is historical testimony of the asymmetrical social relationship of power between both sexes. The modern patriarchal man imposes on society the vision of him, with a biological origin, but already social, of the woman. It wasn’t always like this, as Greek and Roman sculptures celebrating male physical perfection attest. That came later, in Europe hostage to a cult that alienates one’s own beauty.

In the first decades of the 20th century, the image of the femina fatale became common in Europe, the thing had been going on since the mid-19th century. The birth of the century brought new storms for the patriarchs, and women began to claim rights that had been violently hidden for centuries. The bourgeois reaction in the sociological, reflected in the symbolic, was to create the myth of the woman who threatens the man’s virility: the castrating woman.

The symbol of its threatening and ambiguous nature was condensed in the life and myth of Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod, known as Mata Hari. In the art of the period, painters began to reflect that image of a woman exotic to Europe, rabidly independent but sensual, whose unknown arts hid the power of murder, or worse, behind mystery. From Eve to Salome, from Cleopatra to Delilah, from Medusa to Pandora, the woman was artistically rediscovered as a threat. In the paint The sin, by Franz von Stuck, the insinuating body of the woman hides the maleficent face. The Salome, by Jean Benner, is terrifying with the head of John the Baptist brought on a platter. The Madonnaby Edward Munch attracts us as much as it frightens us.

Now, in the 21st century, the idea of ​​the castrating woman is making a comeback as part of the reactionary wave sweeping the Western world, the idea of ​​diabolical global conspiracies to enslave men, or even an existential threat to male existence itself. . New images of alleged stalking, fed behind the anecdotal, hide the fact that, in Western history, women have been the victims of systematic systemic violence. Like all things that now seem like novelty, the trick is actually old, Sidonia von Borcke, tortured to extract a confession, was beheaded in 1620 as a sorceress, and her body burned, but Edward Burne-Jones, reversing the victim roles and victimizer, he brings it back to us in his painting, from the second half of the 19th century, threatening, with a fierce look and without a hint of pity.

At the extreme of historical absurdity, the insulting term feminazi has come into vogue, coined by economist Thomas Hazlett and popularized by far-right commentator Rush Limbaugh. It matters little that the first human genocide directed and executed by women is yet to be seen. The idea that ideologies of genocide may have a gender origin is a caper that is only possible in a world where extremes have been reached where it is possible to successfully sell the hoax that the earth is flat. Flat Earth is absurd, cerebroplanism is a shameful reality.

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