You’ve heard of the Madonna-Whore complex. It’s supposed to be an actual psychological problem whereby a man seeks a kind of surrogate mother as a wife. The problem, of course, is that he can’t have sex with her. She’s too pure for that. So he can only be aroused by women whom society deems to be “bad.” You know, prostitutes and sluts.
People who aren’t interested in psychoanalysis also use the term “Madonna-whore complex,” as a way of talking about this tendency men have of dividing women into the Good Girls You Respect and the Bad Girls You Don’t. Usually men are in for criticism over this.
This criticism isn’t going to accomplish a thing.
First of all, men apparently respond favorably to sluts. People who produce porn must know this, because a quick survey of porn offerings will turn up phrases like:
- horny sluts
- teen sluts
- mature sluts
- busty sluts
- hot sluts
- nasty sluts
Clearly somebody out there knows that marketing women as sluts makes them appealing to guys.
They have to be sluts, I’m guessing, if they’re going to kept separate in the guy’s mind from the good women – that is, the women he wouldn’t want anybody calling a slut. Women like his mom, his wife, his sister or his daughter.
These are the irreplaceable women. And, as such, they have great value. You’ve only got one mom. Utterly irreplaceable. Your sister is pretty special, even if you don’t always get along with her. You only get so many of them. Can’t be replaced.
Your wife or your girlfriend is special. Not necessarily irreplaceable, but special. You’ve got a lot invested in her, emotionally and otherwise.
And your daughter. A daughter who’s loved might be the most fretted over person on the planet.
These women – and perhaps some special others – are the women other people shall not trespass against.
On the other hand, you have other kinds of women. Women who can be easily replaced, for whatever purpose they might serve, and therefore don’t have a whole lot of value. For such a woman, a guy might not feel any obligation to treat her with much dignity or respect. In fact, not being required to treat a woman with much dignity or respect makes her especially appealing for some purposes.
There are valuable women, and there are merely useful women. A woman that a man couldn’t care less about but finds useful is essentially an object to him, and the rougher he can treat her, the rougher he probably will – as you can plainly see when you study what men do. Some men admit that a lot of women would be shocked at the capacity men have to objectify women, and shocked at the way men sometimes even talk about women.
I don’t think that it’s okay or certainly that it’s good. I’m saying there’s no getting around it. The only dignity women have is the dignity men are willing to accord them – and compel other men to acknowledge. It isn’t a level playing field. That’s why this Madonna-whore, “good girl/bad girl” stuff isn’t going away anytime soon.
That said, a man can choose to accord a woman some dignity – any woman at all, no matter what his business is with her. That’s called being a gentleman.
But that’s his prerogative.