Confusion About Brilliant Women and the Female Genius

A commenter dislikes an earlier post, The Female Genius – Some Examples, but fails to understand it because I speak allegorically and not logically. The Female Genius means not what we think logically, the genius in the body of a female, but allegorically, as a specific type of genius different from something called the Male Genius.

In this vision, both the male and female principles will exist inside all males and females. I also think that genius exists to some extent in all humans, though admittedly, that’s a hard sell. Hence, both the Male Genius and the Female Genius exist in all humans to one degree or the other.

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.

First of all, Caroline Casey is brilliant, whether she’s nuts or not. Maybe people should listen to her more. She’s quite entrancing. And Marianne Faithfull is a true artistic genius, not a ditzy pop singer. Sure, female entertainers make a lot of crap, but I honestly feel that Faithfull rises above all of that.

More importantly, I distinguish here between brilliant women the Female Genius.

I am also using Weininger’s theory that the Male Mind and the Female Mind are two completely different things.

Weininger says that women are incapable of genius. The only women who will be capable of genius are those who, copying Whiteness Studies here for a bit, “abandon femaleness.” In other words, those women who think like men can surely be geniuses of the Male type. I understand why he says this, and I agree with him.

However, I believe that there is a specific Female Genius that he missed. It’s often overlooked in the world, because the world is, well, male-oriented and dominated! It’s also sort of trashed, because it seems silly and ditzy like most women, just as the commenter’s reaction here indicates. Faithfull’s perfect portrayal of the Female Genius, as great artistically as Beethoven or Melville, was attacked by the commenter as “ditzy.”

The Male Genius is logical, one, two, three, four, conclusion, bam. It generally lacks emotion or has controlled emotion. The Male Genius is seen as the life of the mind since the only way we can see the mind alive is in the unemotional and logical encapsulation of a male skull. It’s true that the Male Genius explicates the logical and rational life of the mind well.

But we are human. There is another life of the mind, the Emotional Mind. This is the mind that I speak of when I speak of the Female Genius. The Emotional Mind is irrational, since emotions are irrational at their base. However, they are an essential part of human existence, and women are the best at explaining them to us.

The Female Genius exists to explicate the Life of the Emotional Mind. Sure, it’s trivialized, as I said, emotion is trivialized in male, rational, logical, modern industrial society. But we are not Spocks, at least not yet. And until then, the Female Genius, in all its passivity, pettiness, calculation, unconsciousness and irrationality, will talk to us about the dark side of the moon in our heads, if only we care to listen.

Arundhati Roy, Maya Angelou, Camille Paglia, Toni Morrison, Wangari Maathai, Nadine Gordimer, Meredith Monk, Nina Simone, Sylvia Plath

Of these, I only know Paglia and Roy well. They seem to be two regular women of the Male Genius type (especially Paglia). The rest I can’t really speak to.

Some other good examples of the specific Female Genius would be actresses Bette Davis, Greta Garbo and Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz shows the girl genius or young woman genius. Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane shows us the Female Genius in late life.

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One thought on “Confusion About Brilliant Women and the Female Genius”

  1. I’m sorry, that just seems ridiculous. Gender is not such a stark dichotomy – as you implied, women can be geniuses in the traditional sense (ie, Mensa-type geniuses). Furthermore, a woman that is logical and in control of her emotions is not in any way less feminine.

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