The Female Genius – Some Examples

In the previous post we saw Otto Weininger’s startling position that women lack souls, are amoral, and hence lack the capacity for genius. For Weininger, genius must understand the nature of good and evil and choose one or the other. So we have the evil geniuses and the good geniuses.

But the potential for genius is lacking in the usual unproductive sort of unconscious conniving and subservience to baser sorts of quotidian live of the body Id stuff revolving around the body and the family. The male template achieves genius a la Nietzsche when it removes itself somewhat from this base maneuvering for survival and parenthood searches for God within oneself. When one finds that, one finds morality, and hence genius.

I have a feeling that Weininger simply misunderstood the nature of female genius. In the emotional world of sex and motherhood, and emotional world of relationships with lovers and offspring, there is a possibility for the female genius. It’s an important part of our life, so we need geniuses to comment on them.

In an earlier post I described the female genius as a meandering sort of thing. Imagine a great river. That is the Human Mind.

As it spreads into its delta, it explodes into a swamp of never-explored regions, backwaters, byways, channels, islands, bypasses, and bayous. You can barely find your way with a map and without one, you’re just lost. From the air, it’s a maze. If you’re in a boat it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere in any straight line, but it’s a great ride anyway, with lots of truths along with the way if you can slow down enough to take the time to figure them out.

Caroline Casey on KPFA Pacifica Radio is an excellent example of the classic female genius. Men see that and they may just see it as nuttiness, but it’s a real genius. She’s talking about astrology here, but just forget about that, that’s one of her kooky things.


Another one can be found on KPFA’s Stone’s Throw with Jennifer Stone. She seems to be an older Jewish woman. Other than that, I know nothing about her. A lot of meandering, a little bit world-weary, life of the emotion stuff, but you have to admit it’s great stuff.

A lot of people think that girls and young women are completely stupid, as a man who really likes women, and who actually likes them more than men, I think that young female has a sort of brilliance, beauty, charm and even genius that is not given its due. The female genius, in class form, or better yet in the rarely seen, “girl genius” form, can be seen here in Marianne Faithful’s “As Tears Go By.” The video was shot when she was only 17 years old. As you can see, it is much consumed with the emotions, but as we are emotional beings, a genius look at this vast aspect of our being is indeed a form of genius, if a neglected one in male-dominated society where male ways of thinking are elevated and the female genius is somewhat devalued.


She seems like a child in that video, so insecure and frightened, but that is the young girl in a nutshell, the source of her wonder and charm.

Here is another one a year later, when she was only 18, from the great Jean – Luc Godard film Made in the USA. It’s popular to bash these avant-garde Europeans like Godard these days, but think about it, without Godard, there is no David Lynch, no?


She seems like a completely different person. The other actress, the brunette, is Anna Karina (Anna Karenina?). By her distracted and somewhat annoyed typical vain young woman attitude, you can see why Weininger felt that the female nature was not only amoral but also unconscious.

That the female nature is unconscious is why we males call them airheaded. But they aren’t really airheads at all, they are just living in the World of the Woman. It’s looks stupid and solipsistic to males because we can’t imagine it very well. We have that nature in ourselves, but most straight guys had this distracted pettiness (amorality and calculation) beaten out of us as boys and young men as “being a fag” in the forging process whereby the male-female duality in the iron yet imperfect boy is smelted into the perfect and pure maleness of the steel man.

Marianne Faithful again at age 40, doing the incredible bittersweet Broken English, the song of a middle aged woman who has seen and done it all, singing in a whiskey, cigarettes and cocaine voice. Good counterpart to the young girl innocence of the former. She was using a lot of cocaine during all of these performances in 1979.


Interesting that both songs deal with emotional pain and tears, the first literally, the second by implication.

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2 thoughts on “The Female Genius – Some Examples”

  1. Good god, man. Of all the serious examples of female genius and eloquence you have at your disposal on Youtube … Arundhati Roy, Maya Angelou, Camille Paglia, Toni Morrison, Wangari Maathai, Nadine Gordimer, Meredith Monk, Nina Simone, Sylvia Plath …

    You end up choosing a washed-out astrologist and a ditzy pop singer?

    Are you trying to make women look bad, or are these honestly the most representative examples of female genius that first popped into your head?

    I mean damn, I would have even preferred some Starhawk chatter to these two.

  2. An interesting proposition in contrast to Weininger’s theory, but totally unconvincing and groundless based on those examples. I hardly think what you’re referring to constitutes genius. Madame de Lafayette or Murasaki Shikibu come closer to what (I think) you’re trying to describe, but even then I find it hard to equate them to Nietszsche or Dostoyevsky, even when taking into account the possibly differing nature of their alleged genius.

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