5 Pages

Perplexed by Sex?

Two controversial intellectuals, Robert Bly and Camille Paglia, Want to change the way you think about male and female roles.
WithJames Bowman

Only a woman could have said—publicly—the first, and any man attempting to warm up the leftovers of patriarchy would have to garnish them with reassurances like the second. Throughout its modern history, feminism has left unresolved the nature-vereus-nurture question. But those who started out believing that traditional male and female sexual roles are merely arbitrary products of social conditioning that can he altered so as to produce a unisex world have in recent years tended to adopt either more conservative or more radical views. The chthonian is the female principle of earth and water, of passivity and fecundity, of dark secrets, rituals, and taboos, of sex and death, and of all that ties us to the land on which we sit. The fate of new psychologies in America sometimes seems to resemble that of new religions in India: it is because the people are so receptive, such natural believers, that all are believed and none has any power.