Categorized | Society

Men and Women, Then and Now

From a biological perspective, there are innate characteristics that differentiate men and women.  Such characteristics are in themselves realities of physical form, and assign to each of them a different role or function in life. This means that men cannot replace women in carrying out these functions, nor can women replace men in other functions.

In the context of high antiquity and the Traditional world, and far removed from any biological determinism, the masculine and feminine are viewed as complementary yet distinct.  Guenon notes that to the Aryans, the puruṣa (पुरुष) is the masculine entity of the impassible spirity, while prakṛti (प्रकृति) is feminine in nature.  This concept re-appears in the Chinese tradition of yin and yang and the system of trigrams and hexagrams which comprise the I-Ching.  The hexagram which is purely yang, the male principle is composed of two trigrams signifying heaven, to produce the hexagram signifying “the creative,” while the hexagram which is purely yin, the female principle is composed of to trigrams signifying the earth, producing the hexagram which means  “the receptive”.

In Revolt, Evola discusses the ideal man as the warrior-ascetic.  The warrior is no mere soldier, but rather a heroic and sacral persona who embodies the principles of virility.  If the warrior-ascetic represents the active side of the heroic nature, then there is a passive sort of heroism to be found within the feminine nature.  This is to be found in the nurturing role of a wife and mother.  As Evola explains:

In the case of women, the actions of the warrior and of the ascetic…correspond to the act of the woman totally giving herslef and being entirely for another being, whether he is the loved one…or the son, finding in this dedication the meaning of her own life, her own joy, her own justification.  This is what bhakti or fides, which constitute the normal and natural way of participation of the traditional woman, really mean.

Motherly love: the classical idea of womanhood

The Traditional idea of man’s relationship with woman recognizes the complementary nature.  However, the Traditional outlook recognizes the self-evident maxim, now somewhat forgotten in modern times, that women are females and men are males.  The outer label of “woman” is the designation for the interior identity of a female, and the outer label of “man” is the designation for the interior identity of a male.  In other words, a woman has a created nature which has assigned to her a natural role different from that of man.  However, at the same time, man himself is vital to the fulfilment of the female and, even in death, acts as a mystical doorway for his counterpart. This key traditional component is vigorously expressed by committed Hindu women who leap into the flames of their late husband’s funeral pyre in order to secure immortality for themselves. The Incas also believed that women should follow their husbands into the afterlife by committing deliberate and well-intentioned acts of suicide.

Such ideas, naturally conflict with the modernist idea that a woman should overtake the role of men in society, and that “rights” would supersede the relationship of the two sexes.  Evola once again describes the rise of feminism:

In a society that no longer understands the figure of the ascetic and the warrior; in which the hands of the latest aristocrats seem better fit to hold tennis rackets or shakers for cocktail mixes than swords or sceptres; in which the archetype of the virile man is represented by a boxer or by a movie star…or the busy and dirty money-making banker and the politician – in such a society in was only a matter of time before women rose up and claimed for themselves a ‘personality’ and a ‘freedom’ according to the anarchist and individualist meaning usually associated with these words.

Here, we may infer that modern feminism is not possible without the degeneration of men in the first place.  Indeed, once the Ghibelline ideal faded from the face of Europe, it was only a matter of time before monarchies degenerated weakling states and aristocracies of the spirit were transformed into aristocracies of wealth.  From here, it was only decades until the notion of democracy, complete with the trappings of the Kali Yuga, would reign supreme.

Once the appex dissapeared, authority descended to the level inmediately below, that is, to the caste of the warriors. The stage was then set for monarchs who were mere military leaders, lords of temporal justice and, in more recent times, politically absolute sovereigns. In other words, regality of blood replaced regality of the spirit. In a few instances it is still posible to find the idea of “divine right,” but only as a formula lacking a real content. We find such rulers in antiquity behind institutions that retained the traits of the ancient sacred regime only in a formal way. In any event in the West, with the dissolution of the medieval ecumene, the passage into the second phase became all-enbracing and definitive. During this stage, the fides cementing the state no longer had a religious character, but only a warrior one; it meant loyalty, faithfulness, honor. This was essentially the age and the cycle of the Great European monarchies.

Individualism run amuck


Then a second collapse ocurred as the aristocracies began to fall into decay and the monarchies to shake at the foundations; through revolutions and constitutions they became useless institutions subject to the “will of the nation,” and sometimes they were even ousted by different regimes.  And what was the result on the relationship between men and women?  In such a society, feminism caused women to lose their personality.  Indeed, rather than exalting the true femininity, it forced women to adopt an imitation of the male personality, while ironically, it became opposed to masculinity.

Yet it was not here that modern feminism stopped, for where Traditional ideas had at least allowed man and woman to be equal, while fulfilling different roles in society, modern, radical feminism posits the superiority of women to men, and in so doing, transgresses all the boundaries of nature.  As Kenneth Minogue notes, “Radical feminism is essentially a humorless rationalism which seeks a single right attitude to be imposed on men and women alike.”

In the end, modern woman, subjected to feminism, will be affected by the neurotic complexes wrought by modernity.  All this cannot but have a dire consequence on the generations to come – not just on women, but on families and men as well.

About William van Nostrand

William van Nostrand is a native of Chicago, Illinois and is currently the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of He holds a B.A. in Economics as well as a minor in cultural anthropology. His interests are highly varied and include late medieval European architecture, German romantic classical music, and travel.
  • http://N/A Mrs. Victoria Jarvis

    Fine article beautifully expressed. I think that this confusion over male and female “identities” has contributed greatly to what I have come to view as almost a ‘mass psychosis’.

    Traditional females must reach out to younger women and other female family members with every loving effort to reign in this confusion and re-establish a sense of real Feminine Wholeness. – Also, we must try to save our sons from the onslaught of homosexual inducements!

    Thank you for this fine article.

  • crow

    Likewise. Good stuff :)

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  • Venth

    Whether true or not, it is not considered PC to say things like this nowadays.