The Egoist’s Charter

It is an almost universal female discourse, whether expressed in deconstructionist jargon, the language of the streets or the huffing of your maiden aunt, that all men are selfish. Even the insecure woman, programmed for dependence on male validation, somehow manages to believe this at the same time as she is making a fool of herself over some selfish man.

That no one ever subjects this discourse to a taste of its own medicine is a sign that women possess considerably more power than it suits them to pretend. That is, no one ever analyses it in terms of spin and tactics, designed to achieve specific goals. Because human beings are wired to respond to total self-confidence with submissive conformity, men often accept the narrative of their own selfishness at face value, as a statement of cosmic fact; in the light of which the only possible course is to vow amendment of manners. That is, we do as we are told, in the hope of being condescendingly informed that we are now somewhat less selfish than other men. Such slightly less reprehensible creatures may aspire to being granted probationary access to invaluable sexual and emotional goods, namely the Love of a Good Woman, whose excellence it is equally impermissible to doubt.

So watertight has this system been, ever since the rise of the earnest Evangelical crusaders of the nineteenth century and their heirs and assigns the superiority-feminists, that it is almost impossible to oppose it – except in the highly unpleasant languages of the Hustler-reading frat boy and the wife-beating redneck, with which we have no sympathy either. In drawing-rooms and lecture-halls and around the water-cooler, on the other hand, the discourse is frankly hegemonic. Modern civilised manners prescribe that hostile and demeaning generalisations may be publicly made about men, but not about women; for the second would be sexism, whereas the first is merely statement of fact.

If we ask the forensic question, Cui bono?, the answer suggests itself: selfish women now enjoy an immunity from criticism, at least from men – and in mixed company, from women as well, due to the principle of gender solidarity – that would not be vouchsafed them in a world in which every individual was (gasp!) judged on his or her actual merits. For how can we ever call a woman selfish when everyone knows that selfishness is male? “Male selfishness” has become a tautology in exactly the same way as “the male penis”. If being selfish is male by definition, then naturally a woman cannot be described in this way. The more selfish she actually is, of course, the more she is in need of this device and the more convenient it is for her.

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 10:32 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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