Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex

An Old Psychologist’s Reminiscences

In honour of my eighty-third birthday, I think that I will begin to serialize one of the better papers that I have ever written: Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex or How to Fuck Your Way to the Top. It began with a trip to Toronto on the Wednesday night before the Ontario Psychological Association’s annual convention, probably in 1983. Len Goldsmith, who was president of the Clinical Division of the association asked me if I would like to present a talk at the Clinical Division banquest that Friday evening. I drove back to my office in Brampton and wrote the first draft that night. My secretary typed it up for me and I delivered it at the banquet. You could have heard a pin drop. They didn’t know what to make of it. Perhaps you won’t either.

For popular consumption, the title has been changed to:

Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex

or

Let Your Goddess Be Your Guide

In an article entitled “Who said women are all bad? Almost everybody,” Landsberg (1983) reported the opinions of women expressed by a number of Titans of Western Thought. Socrates is quoted as saying that “Woman is the source of all evil. Her love is to be dreaded more than the hatred of a man.” Plato believed that “Those of the men … who led a life of cowardice and injustice were suitably reborn as women.” Aristotle felt that “We should regard the female as afflicted with natural defectiveness.” Pythagoras believed that “There is a good principle which created order, light and man, and an evil principle which created chaos, darkness and women.” Martin Luther observed that “God created Adam Lord of All Living Creatures, but Eve spoiled it all.” Napoleon Bonaparte avowed that “Nature intended women to be our slaves … they are our property … just as a tree that bears fruit belongs to a gardener. What a mad idea to demand equality for women! Women are nothing but machines for producing children.” Tolstoy said that we should “Regard the society of women as a necessary unpleasantness of social life, and avoid it as much as possible.” And Freud said that “The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is what does a woman want?” But the most telling quotation of all is from Kurt Vonnegut who said “Educating a beautiful woman is like pouring honey into a fine Swiss watch: Everything stops.”

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