The Devil Is A Handsome Man

Medieval monastics sometimes described the Devil as a beautiful woman. We all nod and say, Ah yes, “misogyny”. But such a knee-jerk modern reaction may be ahistorical. Perhaps we are looking at the wrong term of that equation; perhaps what they distrusted was not women as such but rather beauty. After all, the Cistercians disapproved of beauty in the form of art and decoration as well.

Nietzsche said something about the iron hating the magnet, because the magnet attracted it and yet was not strong enough to draw it to itself. Indeed, hatred is one of the two natural reactions to finding ourselves desiring another without being able to do anything about it. The other is art.

Hatred of what, then? Some people will hate sexuality itself, the rules of the mating game about which they were not consulted before they came into the world; the less enlightened will hate the person who “caused” their predicament and the complete morons will hate the entire sex of that person. When monks are caught saying nasty things about the race of women, therefore, this is easy enough to understand. But of course the same explanation cannot possibly be deployed to explain feminists who say nasty things about the race of men.

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