The female of the species…
Posted on September 14, 2009
I was rummaging around in my local second-hand bookshop on Saturday when I spotted this intriguing looking paperback hidden among the Mills and Boons:
It’s a book about women, written by a man (a man with a Ph.D no less), and it was only 40p, so naturally I bought it. And I’m so pleased I did: it would have been a bargain at twice the price.
Women (Tagline: The most detailed and explicit sexual autobiography made public in this century) by John Philip Lundin Ph.D (New English Library edition published 1968) was originally published in hardback in 1963 under the title: Women. The Autobiographical Reflections of a Frustrated Male.
Here’s the blurb from the back cover:
‘A milestone in the sexual literature of our time’
Women is a unique publishing event of this century. In it, a man has written fully, in detail and without shame, of his sexual experience.
He has sought pleasure with women regardless of social convention or moral prohibition. He has known women from America, from Europe and from the Orient. Each woman’s sexual behaviour revealed to the author her individuality and personal preferences. Yet each woman’s behaviour also reflected accurately the comparisons and contrasts in sexual attitudes and customs throughout the world.
As R.E.L. Masters writes in his Introduction, ‘Better than most novelists, and better than most authors of psychological case studies, John Philip Lundin has presented a slice of the sexual life of our time.’
Actually, having had a good look through it, I’d say that rather than being a study of sexual behaviour, or a study of “the women of many lands” or indeed of “those women who make a business of sex” as Masters describes it in his introduction, Women is in fact a fascinating study into the mind and thinking of a stone cold misogynist. And a racist one at that.
The book was of course written in the 60’s, so some of the attitudes Lundin expresses have to be taken in that context. Nonetheless it’s still a pretty shocking read, not just because of Lundin’s obvious contempt for the vast majority of women and his lazy stereotyping of various nationalities, but because so much of what he says is the same old same old shite that’s still being spewed out today by Men’s Rights Activists in the blogosphere and beyond. And there I was thinking that Angry Harry, Warren Farrell and the rest had come up with something new (snark). In fact if I wasn’t already aware that the MRAs pretty much regard Robert Bly’s Iron John as their Bible, I’d swear I’d stumbled upon their sacred text with this one.
In the book Lundin describes his sexual encounters (many of them purchased) with 10 different women, with each woman being described and analysed in a chapter of her own. Lundin then uses each encounter as the basis from which he can hold forth about particular types of women. So for example we meet Claudine, a bar girl, who “preys upon the desires of males, holding out to them the promise of satisfaction that is never forthcoming”, and Anne, an American prostitute who specialises in rich, elderly businessmen. Eventually Lundin uses these experiences to expound on women in general; on our natures, our sexual instincts, and on what he sees as both our dependence upon men and our ability to completely control them with our womanly wiles.
Here’s the great man himself:
“Women are said to be the same the world over, but within their similarity they’re as divergent as it’s possible for members of the same species to be. They have only one thing in common: They like to be rewarded for enjoying their pleasure. Who wouldn’t?
Naturally, there are great differences in the currency they use. The girls who await the approach of their patrons in the clubs of Las Vegas, Atlantic City, San Remo, Monte Carlo, Baden-Baden, and Acapulco have price tags attached to them that the poor little slut from the Boulevard de Clichy in Paris or the street-walker from the Bahnhof district of Frankfurt on the Main wouldn’t dream of. The girls who wink at customers in the sidewalk cafés of Rome and Marseilles, or start conversations by bumming cigarettes from customers in the bars of Hamburg and London, will never be promoted into the class of females who nonchalantly ask their acquaintances to rooms in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, the Ritz in London, the George V in Paris, or the Sacher in Vienna.
Certainly our society is stratified largely for men only. Women can cross the boundaries with the slightest effort, having only to permit intimacies to the right class of admirer. If a man uses obscene language in public, he’s expelled, but if a woman with a good figure does it, and especially if her voice carries that certain suggestive intonation, people consider it highly amusing. If a man were to wave aphrodisiacs before young ladies in a hotel lobby, he’d probably be arrested. But a woman isn’t in style unless she wends her way in a cloud of perfume designed to bring out the beast in man – the very beast he mustn’t exhibit on penalty of ostracism or worse. Were a man to slap a well-dressed woman in polite society, champions would arise immediately to spring gallantly to her defense [sic], whereas a woman may hit a man in the face and be considered to have acted within her natural rights. And provided that her bustline is sufficiently large, her hips not too flaccid, and her dress tight enough, a woman could plunk herself down in the middle of a table and hurl smiling insults at everyone in the room. The rules of etiquette don’t apply to women who please the eye and parade their charms without fear. If there is a single currency that all women need it isn’t money but daring. The more audacious they are, the better they are liked. Those who merely ask for a ten-dollar bill will never receive very high wages in either money or the things it will buy. Those who don’t ask for specific sums often receive more in the long run, for they put the man on his honor. The more obstreperous, inconsiderate, and shrewish they are, the better they’re paid, if only they’ll hold out a promise to the right men and curl up under the proper blanket.”
The only woman out of the 10 that Lundin doesn’t end up having sex with is a co-worker of his called Lynn, and from what I could gather from my reading of things that was solely because she had wrinkles (she was in her 30’s by the way, not her 100’s, though you wouldn’t believe it from Lundin’s hateful description):
“Her name was Lynn. She wasn’t at all a bad character. If I had only met her a few years later, I could’ve obliged her and made her happy, but at that stage of the game I wasn’t ready for her. It wouldn’t have been so bad if she hadn’t had such a wrinkled face. She musn’t have taken care of her skin with the oils, salves, mud-packs, and ointments that most girls seem to use to the age of grandmotherhood. She had deep deep wrinkles across her forehead that looked like furrows in a field, crowfeet at the corners of her eyes that would’ve made her tears roll sideways, deep lines from her nostrils to the corners of her mouth, and the little monkey wrinkles between her nose and her eyeslits that make a woman look as if she had been through the mill. I could’ve put up with all of it except those monkey wrinkles which somehow hid her iris. Every once in a while, I’d take a good look at her breasts, which were fairly large and seemed to be firm enough, and at her legs, which were pretty shapely, and I’d take my heart in my hands and try to approach her with some compliments. I just couldn’t ignore those monkey wrinkles however. They wouldn’t let me speak up.”
However, as with any truly great book, Lundin reserves the best bits for his epilogue: On Women
“Homo sapiens isn’t a monogamous animal, and no matter to what institutions or conventions he may pay lip service, he’ll never become anything but polygamous except through extreme domestication. Only if he’s deprived of all the attributes of his primordial beginnings and becomes as tame as a lap dog under the combined conspiratorial influence of priesthood and the matriarchal institutions of our society will he shed his polygamous tendencies; and even then, there’s no certainty. The tamest cats and dogs become rebellious during the rutting season. And man has the advantage over most animals that his rutting season never ends, and the female is always capable, though not always willing, to accommodate him. No other animal can make that statement.”
“Our ethics unfortunately are prescribed by the matriarchy that rules mankind in this century; or more specifically, by the housewives who’ve made up a code of ethics which allows them to be respectable without the possibility of admission to that status of their competitors. And yet, it’s an entirely artificial classification, based upon the theory of the monogamous human who doesn’t exist, and upon a gradation of invidious value judgements that place a premium on dullness and a penalty upon those human sentiments which alone can release man from the prison of his materialistic routine and make him pulsate with the heart-throb of emotion. Our ethics are lamentably based upon something which the housewives describe as ‘common sense,’ but which, far from being rational is nothing but poison to a sensitive human being. The matriarchal division of all females into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ women doesn’t deal with the male perspective at all but merely indicates whether the conduct of a woman is good or bad for the matriarchy. For the matriarchy is a self-perpetuating system and any system perpetuates itself through the manifestations of force and reward: in this case, the penalty of ostracism as opposed to acceptance into the company of ruling matrons.
But I’ve steadfastly refused to capitulate before the value judgements of the matriarchy. I judge my women not by whether they’re good for the matriarchal system but by whether they’re good or bad to me. For I’m a conscious person, and as such I’m the centre of my own moral universe, and therefore, the ethics of the housewife have no relevancy to my existence. What’s considered unfair competition by the housewife is perhaps exactly what I need, and what the matriarchy condemns as designed to lessen the social security of the aging [sic] female may be precisely the right type of behaviour in my book. For I’m not interested in providing financial security and social supports for women who don’t contribute to my happiness. I’m interested exclusively in my own happiness, and it has to do a great deal with women who qualify by their appearance, intelligence, and mode of conduct to occupy a place of importance in my life.”
“Married woman who deny the pleasure of their beds to their doting husbands, husbands who thought that the inequities of marriage would at least procure a steady bed partner for them, are infinitely less ethical than prostitutes who deliver with punctilious promptness the merchandise which one obtains from them…..For let’s face it: marriage is based on the understanding of physical union and mutual enjoyment, and a woman who doesn’t live up to her part in this agreement is worse, from a moral point of view, than a whore, because she refuses to deliver the merchandise which has already been sold, and which is being bought over and over again.”
“There are the numerous girls in show business, in offices, and behind counters who actually don’t have the qualifications for their jobs and wouldn’t hold these positions except for the fact that they permit certain privileges to important gentlemen who determine their status and careers. The number of these females, no doubt, is much larger than at first would meet the eye. It’s the major objection to permitting women to escape from home and garden and letting them take jobs formerly monopolised by men. For the world is full of lonely men – married and single – who’d like a little something on the side, and the world is no less crowded with little girls who wouldn’t mind putting out now and then to get ahead.”
And if all that wasn’t enough to make you want to gauge your own eyeballs out, slowly, while adopting an expression very similar to this one…
…here’s Lundin’s pièce de resistance:
“Many women have told me that they make themselves over into different types merely to keep themselves interesting to men. This statement is an indication of how absolutely dependent women are upon men, how their entire lives are organised with a view towards their relations with men, approaches by men, support by men, attractions for men, appearance to men, impression on men, and benefits from men. Whereas men have their business, their politics, their sports, their card games, their discussions, and their friendships, women essentially exist by and for love only. Love is a woman’s life as well as her living, her instinct as well as her intelligence, her avocation as well as her profession, her purpose as well as her pleasure, her interest as well as her weapon.”
A quick search of the Internet reveals that John Philip Lundin Ph.D not only wrote execrable nonsense like Women and its sequel Mistresses, but he also translated from the original German into English a book called Mothers and Amazons: The first feminine history of culture, by Helen Diner. Here’s Wikipedia
Austrian writer Bertha Diener, also known by her American pseudonym as Helen Diner, wrote Mothers and Amazons (1930) which was the first work to focus on women’s cultural history. She is regarded as a classic of feminist matriarchal study. Her view is that in the past all human societies were matriarchal, then, at some point, most shifted to patriarchal and degenerated.
Research also reveals that John Philip Lundin was actually the pseudonym of Hans Karl Gunther Ph.D, a professor at Bloomsberg State College in the US:
Born in Germany, but his father sent him out of the country before WWII. He made it to the united states by 1941. He got his Bachelor of Arts in history in 1946 and Master’s degree in history in 1947, both from Washington University in St. Louis. He taught German at the University of Missouri between 1947 and 1951. He earned his PhD from Stanford University in 1954. In 1965 he became an associate professor at Bloomsburg State College and became a full professor in 1969. Gunther wrote thirteen major articles that were accepted for publication. He suffered from health problems in the late seventies and early eighties. At the age of sixty he took his own life.