Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Feminist Existentialism? The Actor of herself!

Lotte Lenya
Musil sounds almost like Simone de Beauvoir in his essay "Woman, Yesterday and Tomorrow" (1929):

"Woman is tired of being the ideal of the man who no longer has sufficient energy to idealize, and she has taken over the task of thinking herself through as her own ideal image, The panting adulation of older men even seems funny to her, and therein lies a great purification of the atmosphere. She no longer wants to be an ideal at all but to create ideals, to contribute to their formation just as men do,even if, at the moment, with no particular success...This sense of reality on the part of a category of human being who for centuries was condemned to play the ideal of another is today perhaps the most important aspect of this question. I am not on the side of those who complain about the matter-of-factness of young women. The human body cannot in the long run experience itself only as the receiver of sense stimuli; it always turns to becoming the portrayer, the actor of itself in all the relationships it enters. Thus, its natural drive always combines with a specific system of ideas and feelings, and through the centuries this ideologizing is like a fountain that rises and falls. Today it is close to its deepest point, almost swallowed up; but it will doubtless rise again in a new combination. Countless and different possibilities are available, and the future really conceals them only like a veil, and not like a city wall fortified with prejudices"(Precision and Soul, 213).

Is this really a man who would belittle the woman artist?

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