Margot’s Post on Rhetorics of Virility

The article was not as clear as it could have been in describing the various interpretations of virility. The one I found most interesting, or probably the one I understood best, was the section on Marinetti. I found a lot of contradictions, or what sounded like contradictions, in his description of marriage versus the power women have over men. For some context, Marinetti was the founder of the futurist movement, which called for a focus on the concepts of the future: speed, technology, youth, and violence.

It seemed like Marinetti was arguing that women and men should remain separate because women “produce a harmful effeminizing of the male.” This stance isn’t a new way of viewing a woman’s role, but this is normally paired with the idea that women should stay in the house and raise their children and serve her husband. Marinetti argues that “Marriage is an enemy of all boldness and all heroism,” and “marriage and the family are threats to virility.”

His reasoning for not wanting young boys to be raised with young girls is because he thinks the young men will “succumb to the charm and the willful seductiveness of the little female…like stupid little slaves.” In my opinion, this gives the impression that men aren’t powerful enough to avoid a woman’s tempting and therefore must be separated from them so that they can grow to be strong, masculine, and “virile.” Marinetti does give a “use” for women, because he argues that men “deserve” to have women in their lives, “since dispensing with women entirely would leave the male without means to prove his masculinity.”

So if we look at the progression of these few paragraphs of the article, we see that Marinetti argues for a total separation between women and men, and that marriage is useless. However, women can’t be disposed of completely because men need them around to “prove their masculinity.”

When reading about Marinetti I found this description of his view on women:

Machine + War  Woman = Futurism:
Marinetti’s Recreation of Creation

In his vision of a car-crash with the actress, Vaughan was obsessed by many wounds and impacts-by the dying chromium and collapsing bulkheads of their two cars meeting head-on in complex collisions endlessly repeated in slow-motion films, by the identical wounds inflicted on their bodies, by the image of windshield glass frosting around her face as she broke its tinted surface like a death-born Aphrodite, by the compound fractures of their thighs impacted against their handbrake mountings, and above all by the wounds to their genitalia, her uterus pierced by the heraldic beak of the manufacturer’s medallion, his semen emptying across the luminescent dials that registered for ever the last temperature and fuel levels of the engine.

J.G. Ballard, Crash[1]

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