While I get the sense that many in the Androsphere have no love for the political (so-called) left in general (Rob Fedders, http://no-maam.blogspot.com, for instance), there was at least one Marxist who, back in the 1970s, accurately wrote about the psychological damage that was, and still is, caused by female headed households. That man was Lyn Marcuse, AKA, Lyndon Larouche.
In the article 'The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party' he explores, amongst other things, the negative effect of the Latin 'Macho' culture on family life: it produces sons with no creativity (hence they are 'impotent'), daughters with madonna/whore complexes, husbands who suffer from arrested development, and wives who treat their offspring like possessions and husband like a 'pet rapist'.
While I have no idea how accurate his observations of Latin culture are, his descriptions of dysfunctional family life and the reasons behind it are definitely food for thought. He describes the relationships between husband and wife, between parent and child, the madonna-whore complex, males 'whoring around' (this may or may not apply to PUAs), and how the dysfunctional family model perpetuates itself from generation to generation.
I've copy and pasted portions of the text that are relevant to the Androsphere (male-female relations, psychology etc), and put them in a loose structure. If you want to read the entire article, which is rather long (~27,000 words), then you can find it here:
In the comments on 'Machos', Lyn also says that they do not achieve genuine intimacy with the woman they have sex with. This is exactly what X-Splat commented on recently about how PUAs similar failure to 'bond': link.)
Sexual Impotence per se
Motherhood and Impotence
Bourgeois Family/Bourgeois Ideology
Women's Liberation Versus “Feminist” Self-degradation
Night after intervening night, the Macho beds his whore-wife with an inner sense of bloody violence and self-degradation. In the morning, this miserable existentialist arises from the bed of disgust and self- disgust. He looks with disgust at the sleeping figure of the woman with whom he has shared self-degradation, and trudges, bearing an awful load of anomie, back to the house where he lives with his madonna-wife and her children. He needs a drink so desperately, to seem to wash the wretched taste from his mouth, but the drink merely begins the cycle of the new day's recurring nightmare. Tonight, he will sleep beside his madonna-wife, after an evening of being patron to her children, and Friday night the homosexual, he will be back with his whore-wife again.
It is a nightmare of his pathetic Ego-state infantilism, which goes on until psychosomatic physiological impotence frees him from even the possibility of relief with his whore-wife. He sees all this, but finds all his self-conscious wish to end the commedia as impotent as he is.
Tell the Macho his type is often a schizoid, make this clear to him, show him his miserable childhood swarming with sadistic mother and sibling and other surrogate-mothers, and his self-consciousness will acknowledge all this to be the truth of the bloody, tiring matador of an Ego in the bull-ring below. Yet, he whimpers, becoming angered at the person who has afflicted him with such self-knowledge: “I am helpless but to behave so. Don't you see; I can act only on the ‘sincerity of my feelings?'”
He will confess more. His self-consciousness will confess more. He has never had a self-conscious sexual relation with an actual woman. When he is in bed with a woman, his sexual performance is under the control of a fantasy. What he has always demanded most of the woman is that she do nothing to interrupt his fantasy, lest he instantly lose his apparent physiological potency. Indeed, the more women he has bedded, the more acutely painful and real to him is the fact that he has never maintained a sexual relationship in which the woman was the conscious subject of his desire for her as she is.
He will also admit—his self-consciousness will admit—that it is the same with the women with whom he has shared such a bed of alienation. Too often, he has heard a woman's voice in the darkness, asking him, “Are you finished?” in either such plain words or words which mean the same to his self-consciousness.
Probe his unconscious processes more deeply, bringing up for him what he has barely concealed from himself for so long, and his self-consciousness will know that all these women, his madonna-wife and his whore-wives, are surrogates for his possessive, sadistic mother. It is merely necessary to connect his infantile feelings from the ages of between approximately two and five to his adolescent and adult fantasies, and he must shriek with agony of despair that this, too, has always been true.
He will also immediately understand that the preoccupation with the cult of the Virgin Mary is the cult of female sexual impotence, the cult of female sadism, and he will thereby also understand the feelings of bloody violence he has for all sexual acts, and the sense of rape he experiences in sharing the bed with his madonna-wife.
His self-consciousness can be made to know all such things, but it nonetheless sits the helpless spectator around the bull-ring, muttering, “But lam helpless. but to do the same again. I must respect the ‘sincerity of my feelings.'
This terror of truth, this terror of self-consciousness is close to the fundamental experience of male sexual impotence.
More deeply, it becomes a sense of psychological death. More deeply explored, the infantile love of the Macho for a woman is often reified hatred of his infantile, sadistically possessive mother. It is reified because infantile hatred toward the mother is associated with a powerful dependency, such that infantile love and infantile hate become thus mixed, confused. The need to love becomes also the need to destroy, to degrade; one can love only a degraded woman (the whore-wife) and one can love the madonna-wife (the mother of her children) only by sensing this to be an act of degrading the Virgin. His madonna-wife must be chaste (i.e., a certain kind of Virgin), so that she does not deprive him of the feeling of rape in her bed. The woman, especially the madonna-wife, is a pure sadist in bed—she lures and rejects, both as her labile, sadistic mother lured and rejected her, as her mother lured and rejected her father, and taught her thus the way of a madonna with men. The whore-wife artifices the madonna-wife as caricature, as parody; she is sadistic, but is always finally conquered, the payment of price the veiled homosexual's consummate act of degradation of both the man and herself, the payment of the “gift” to the mistress her certification as a whore. For the mistress, to discard the lover's gift is to destroy him totally—he never existed. He is merely an object, without inner life; he is dead.
Self-consciousness can be readily made to see such ugly truth, but it cannot so simply will itself to leap out of the spectator's stands and end the bull-ring farce. “The nightmare must go on. I must act on the ‘sincerity of my feelings.' ”
Sexual Impotence Per Se
Everyday rationalization limits the conception of sexual impotence to impairment of the individual's physiological capacity to perform sexual acts or, inclusively, impairment of the capacity for sexual “arousal.” In the final analysis, most of these acknowledged forms of psychosomatic impotence are to be regarded as consequences of the more fundamental and pervasive psychological impotence to which we refer here. Hence, the point is made most clear if we confine our attention to the cases of extreme sexual impotence in which there is little or no obvious physiological defect in the individual's ability to perform sexually. Indeed, the most revealing form is not given by the case of inability to maintain an erection, or ejaculatio praecox, etc., but rather by the impotent male (for example) who can perform credibly and almost indifferently with women, sheep, large dogs and other men.
The classical case is the sexually athletic Macho who regards himself as a successful performer in bed, the Macho who has much to say and think respecting his capacities for various modes of penetration and frequency and cubic centimeters of ejaculations. The ugly secret of the matter is that he is almost totally sexually impotent.
Firstly, his sexual relations are not relations at all, but are essentially sexual performances before an internalized audience. He is admittedly somewhat ambivalent about inviting a large audience to witness his performance with even a prostitute, which does not inhibit his homosexual impulse to recount his fantasy of the performance in the most painstaking detail (somewhat “improved” in the telling) before the first large audience he deems suitable for this purpose. His relationship to the woman is immediately a relationship of himself, as performer in a fantasy, to an audience for this fantasy.
Secondly, the woman with whom he is psychologically mating is seldom (if ever) the woman in bed with him; he is making love to a woman of pure fantasy. The actual woman's relationship to this fantasy is predominantly negative. She must, of course, suggest the woman of his fantasy to him, either by a resemblance to the fantasy-object or by the law of reaction-formation. Her essential duty to the performer is to play her part in such a way that she re-enforces and does not unmask the fantasy.
Hence, among the Macho's favorite prostitutes and mistresses, the art of playing various fantasy-supporting roles is the quality which the poor, impotent Macho finds most endearing. She, too, is merely giving a performance, and participating in the game in terms of her own fantasies.
Sometimes—often enough—her fantasy is not specifically sexual at all, but rather one of pure female sadism. With the (typically) frigid woman, the gratification of sexual performances originates in the sense of power over the male whom she sees as essentially pathetic.
Hence, the fabled “Latin Lover.” In public, he is of course the familiar Macho, a total fraud. In private, and the more pathetically so the closer the bedroom, the Latin, especially, turns into a whimpering child, begging for a little love. This pathetic (depressive) aspect of the Macho syndrome gives the sadistic woman the greatest pathological joy. Here she has the most suitable of victims, a wretched creature to torment with her “moods.” “Come here, Fido,” she grudgingly offers him in one moment, and in the next, “Sorry, Fido, I'm not in the mood. Let's discuss art, Fido. Down, Fido, don't you respect me at all!” What pure sadistic delight for her it is to be as impotently capricious as she chooses, to play cruelly with this helpless pet. He perhaps strikes her; she resents the blow, but delights in the evidence of the misery she has effected in him! Here is a man in whom she can evoke the most profound suffering. (Ergo, the attractiveness of the dog-like Latin Lover to the frigid Anglo female.)
No wonder, then, that one morning the man sits on the edge of his bed in profound depression. Sex no longer represents a satisfying illusion for him. Sex with this woman leaves him feeling even more empty than when he began the affair with her. In the need to escape such a relationship and yet, perhaps, his greater fear of leaving it, the man thus experiences the awful depressing sense of his essential sexual impotence. The more women he has bedded, the more insistently the truth of it all comes upon him and depresses him; in none of this did he love, nor in any of this was he loved. The physiological excitement of coitus, the anticipatory sensations of fore-play, were a gigantic fraud, a hoax. He is impotent.
As for the woman: one day, she too, tires of the monotony of tormenting her pet pathetic rapist, her husband. She becomes pregnant, and is now free to distance herself from her husband by exercising that form of more gratifying sadism she learned from her mother—the sadistic possession of her children. Through her sadism, her possessiveness, she turns her sons into Macho dogs like her husband before them, and her daughters into frigid pseudo-Virgin Marys, like herself. She and her husband meet as strangers, as hostile ambassadors from their respective worlds. He, from the homosexual world of his cronies and his whore-wives; she, from the world of the household, where she is the Virgin-Mother possessor of her victim- children.
Motherhood and Impotence
Think back to childhood. If you had a father, recall the hope of joy you often experienced when father came home in the evening. The stale, grey monotony of “life with mother” was suddenly relieved, the household became illuminated with color—at least, on the better evenings. “Company's arrived—it's father!” Think, then, of the wretchedness of emotional life in the household, Latin or
black ghetto, in which there is no father to come home and bring light to the household, in which every wretched hour of life at home is only the grey, tasteless monotony of mother-mother- mother. Mother grows more oppressively gigantic as the years of childhood succeed one another. Get away from mother! Or, capitulate to mother. The child hangs between the two awful impulses; to get away from the only identity-giving figure he or she knows into the empty, strange world, or to stay and degrade oneself yet again in this dependency. It is a world of hateful—literally hate-filled, Blah, Blah, Blah and more Blah. It is the awful, terrifying sensation of impotence, the constant inner terror of being suspended half-way between life and looming death below. U.S.
To be the child of only a mother is to be the victim of sadism, no matter how much that mother may wish to love. The individual possessed by a single other person can experience only being fed and petted. He or she, the child, is the object for the mother's affectionate possession, and therefore only an object. The mother, in turn, is an alien for the child. It is slave-object (child) and master-object (mother). There is no mediating human love-relationship through which the child and the mother can share love as shared self-consciousness of the self-consciousness of another person.
“What are you doing, mother?”
“Baking a cake for father.”
“Can I help, mother?”
“Will father like the cake?”
“Father likes this kind of cake very much.”
“Oh, he'll be happy when he finds it, won't he?”
“Yes, love, he will be.”
“We love father, don't we mother?”
“Yes, we love father very much.”
The child experiences thus love for the mother and the mother for the child. They are, in this small but not-unimportant way, sharing self-consciousness of the consciousness of a third person. The child is learning the power to love. This can even be self-consciousness of the father's self-consciousness, if it is implied in such a dialogue that father is often depressed (in an unhappy ego-state) when he returns home. They anticipate his enjoyment of the cake not merely as his sense of infantile sensual gratification, but as his self-consciousness of their self-conscious effort to make him self- conscious of their love. That is the way a child learns to love. He sees the mother and father as loving persons, and delights in its own capacity to share the love between his parents.
What, then, when the mother “distances” the father, implies that the father is a “failure,” that “men are no good,” that men “are always annoying women” as when they wish to sleep, and so forth? What agony for the child.
The possessive mother insists that the daughter is pretty and clever. The father agrees; yes, the daughter is so pretty, so clever. The daughter senses a plunging agony of rejection: father does not love her; he is merely taken in by the “outsidedness” her mother is seeking to impose upon her. It is only where the mother and father can self-consciously love another that their respective relationships to the children become coherent if different expressions of the same universality of loving for the child. Where there is no such love between the parents (especially during the critical first five years of the child's life), the likelihood that the child will ever know love—real love—is enormously diminished.
It is the child's sense of the father's love, especially beginning in the period of late infancy and early childhood, when the image of the father tends to be more clearly distinguished (unconsciously) from that of the mother, which awakens the notion of love in the child. The child, sensing the coherence of both the mother's and father's loving, is compelled to become self-conscious of their loving self-consciousness of him (or her). It takes at least three to communicate the notion of self-conscious love. No two people by themselves can love one another, except in an infantile, almost bestial way. Love begins as the shared self- consciousness of the self-consciousness of others; love is the self-consciousness of those whom we love together. Love between two is a shared loving toward the self-consciousness or hope of self-consciousness among others in the “outside” world.
Hence, a mother-child relationship, maintained against the “interference” of the father, etc., especially against the father, is inherently a sadistic relationship of mother to child, resulting inevitably in sexual impotence and selfishness in the adult outcome of such a childhood.
We can remedy such hideous outcomes of sadistic, possessive “anti-father” “mother-love” only by self-consciously recognizing and destroying the dependency of the adult to an internalized image of the “mother,” This can be accomplished by a general climate of comradely love, within which there is a self-conscious love-relationship to a single individual of the opposite sex who serves as a concrete universal, as the universal, constant reference point of self-conscious social identity in respect to all other human relationships.
Yet, apart from that remedy, which the revolutionary movement must afford first to its own members and through them to the working-class generally, one who has any knowledge of the Latin (or Italian) cult of motherhood, knows that from such monstrously depraved forms of the bourgeois family can emerge only generally such pathetic human wreckage as the Macho.
[T]he unique physiological premise of mentation in the hominid infant (not yet human) is merely the development of the Infant's power of self-development of his powers to exist. It is this integrating principle—this psychosomatic principle—which uniquely empowers him to develop Gestalts; perception, conception, recognition, to determine existent actualities in the form of Gestalts (object-images) from the continuity of experience. Yet, the problem he must solve in order to develop deliberative powers for his existence is the circumstance in which his existence depends upon power over the socialized processes which entirely mediate his individual relationship to nature generally. Consequently, he becomes human (rather than a mere hominid) as his individual powers become entirely social powers. He does not acquire individual (isolated animal) powers over nature per se, but rather powers over the forces of his society.
This process begins for him in this culture (in particular) in terms of the mother-image. It is his mother and her surrogates who ‘mediate his relationship to the world; thus, he must solve the problem of the mother-image, must learn deliberate control of the mother-image, as his initial development of socialized powers. Because he develops the power to recognize himself as the object for the behavior of another (the mother- image), he develops a conception of identity—social identity, not pure individual identity—and thus accomplishes the evolution from hominid to human being. (Theologians may consider the issue of infant baptism settled accordingly; only a bestial (e.g. feudal) society could tolerate infant baptism.)
Accordingly, there develops a cathexis between his primary psychosomatic emotion and the interconnected recognition of the images of his mother and his mother's object, himself. The approach of the mother-image becomes the opportunity to exercise his developing deliberative powers; his sense of identity is thus more strongly awakened. He is elated ... unless ...
“No, it is not the mother-image; it is some creature who does not respond as the mother-image does! It is a hateful image;” the sense of identity recedes, and the capacity for determinate thought (conception) is shrunk, overwhelmed by a Schwaermerei of half-digested images and other sensations.
We elaborated a bit of the process by which this infantile relationship to the mother-image is properly superseded in later infancy—the onset of childhood—by the emergence of actual self-consciousness, usually through relationships to the father, other siblings, grandparents, and so forth. Yet, the location of the sense of identity in the mother-image remains.
Increasingly, it becomes apparent to the systematic observer that the actual woman, the mother, and the child's internalized mother-image are not the same person. The mother-image is the product of the relationship of the mother to the child, and also mixed with the relationship of mother-surrogates to the child, for which relationships the mother-image is “blamed.” In later childhood, the internalized mother-image is modified, but the basic personality of this image remains that formed, with decreasing force of change, throughout the period up to about five years of age.
In later life, it becomes necessary for the individual to be psychologically weaned, to supersede the mother- image with (in the case of the male ex-child) another woman who performs for him as adult the same essential function as the mother-image in childhood. It is the concrete universal he seeks, the person to whom his inner self is entirely opened, the person whose existence is the internalized and externally actualized location of his sense of identity. His impotence, including his sexual impotence, is his inability to establish just such a relationship; yet, that impotence does not end his searching, but only intensifies the empty-feeling agony of his bad-infinity searching. This is both the concentrated essence of everything else he seeks in every aspect of social life and is the point of reference to which he refers every question from other aspects of personal social life. Inevitably so, since this search is a search for affirmation of his inner sense of identity.
What is thought? It is the judgment which is regulated by the increase or decrease of the sense of identity. One acts not merely to attain fixed objects, fixed sensuous acts, but to obtain those objects, actualize those thought-acts which mediate an increased sense of identity. In the pathological state, the force of judgment is regulated by an internalized babble of images, dominated usually by the mother-image. With small effort, one can bring up the mother-image either re-enforcing or reducing the sense of identity as an immediate regulator of “sincerity of feeling” in the adult. It is the same in politics.
In this sense, the neurotic adult must be systematically regarded as a pseudo-adult—either as the victim of individual neurosis or of that collective neurosis recognized as bourgeois ideology. His sense of identity is pathologically determined by childish fantasies, and not by self-consciousness of his positive basis for adult existence. By contrast, the revolutionary is essentially the only true adult by contrast with the pseudo-adult children about him. The neurotic loves his wife as a surrogate for his mother; the adult loves his mother and father not as internalized images, but as actual human beings, and loves his wife as an actual human being in her own right. He has put aside his mother and father, who becomes specially-loved peers on the outside of his identity, and locates his identity in the adult woman who has become the focus of his sense of identity.
The Macho, for example, is not a true adult man, but only an overgrown, neurotic “little man,” “his mother's little man.” The secret of the Macho, or of the kindred petit-bourgeois Italian Left intellectual with his citric Weltschmerz, his pathetic existentialism, is that he, relative to his “Northern” class brothers, is less civilized, less socialized. Latin culture is relatively a culture of uncivilized, barely-socialized children; remove the thin veneer of civilization from the infantile little beast of mother-love, and pure beast emerges—the beast of the bull-fight, the beast we see in the murderous, torturing juntas and the sadistic peasants who perform such hideous, bestial tortures.
To “respect the chastity of women” is to be impotent: sexually and politically. The Macho, who is not capable of being a real man or a revolutionary, does not know love, does not know humanity; he knows only either masochistic submission to the eternal chastity of the Holy Mother or rape[.]
[T]he Macho is in transports of delightful fantasy when he thinks of the glories of coitus; it is when he attempts coitus with an actual woman that he becomes so pathetic, so obviously impotent. He is at liberty only with the loose woman, with the prostitute, with the mistress he secretly knows is “had” by other men. Thus, he conceals his homosexual impulses, his hatred of women, by degrading them in the name of love, and by thus performing the homosexual act of sharing coitus with a woman with another man.
(The prostitute, of course, at least unconsciously knows this secret of her Macho client. She does not object to this? Why should she? The prostitute thereby serves her own lesbian need to share the sexual act with the man's wife. The angered, sadistic woman revenges herself on a man by bedding another, by thus implicitly subjecting the hated lover to a homosexual relationship.)
Bourgeois Family/Bourgeois Ideology
The apotheosized model of
worker-husband trudges directly to and from his job. If he is a “good husband” he returns directly to the house, or to a second job. In the house the “good husband” becomes an appendage of his mother-wife; he reprimands the children at her command—he becomes the stern, reproving father at her command, and ceases this mock-Jehovah role also at the command of the ruling mother. He carries out the garbage, runs the errands, and otherwise certifies the supremacy of the bourgeois household, his pathetic, secondary robe as a mere appendage of wife-mother's house. U.S.
If he lingers at the bar, or returns late in a drunken rage, his delay is merely a pathetic act of rebellion by “mother's little man.” (Often enough, the “good husband” goes out once or twice a week—to spend the allowance wife-mother has given him for this purpose.) His male rage is guilt-rage, and often the image one sees in his contorted features are those of his mother in one of her rages.
In the bar or in the kitchen, he discusses “politics” and the “affairs of the world in general,” all to no consequence. He almost never does anything about “politics” or the “affairs of the world;” he merely has “little manly” opinions which it pleases him to be able to air.
Behind him, wife-mother cynically giggles at men “with their political discussions,” and in due course calls an end to the “little boys' chattering”: “The world will just have to get along without your wisdom for a while,” she asserts, “it's time to get washed up for dinner.” This, to her, is realism. She occasionally giggles at men and their silly political discussions during her chattering with other women: “Talk, talk, talk,” she chatters on about the men's conversations, until she brings the discussion back to housewifely gossip.
The reactionary content of women's ideology is often most directly and succinctly revealed in the family difficulties between the Left-political husband and the apolitical wife. She insists that the ordering of their personal lives be settled without regard for political obligations: “Don't drag politics into this,” she often insists. Is it “politics” whether her children are fed? Is it “politics” whether she and her family are sent into slave labor, or die in a fascist concentration-camp? Is it sane for this pathetic woman to assert that there is such a thing as “personal” matters separate from politics in this period? Is her mental sickness not most clear in just such situations?
No woman has a right to drag her husband—or herself—out of an active socialist political life, for any reason. Any man who permits himself to submit to such “obligations to my wife” is a pathetic, degraded spectacle, a virtual Judas to the human race; any woman who succeeds in such a counterrevolutionary act is not only counterrevolutionary, but a vicious oppressor of her children. If her children go hungry, if her husband, her family are victimized by depression, by slave labor, or die in concentration camps, that woman is responsible for such atrocities to the limit of her influence—to that extent, the woman successfully makes herself less than human.
Any man who permits his wife to drag him down in such a fashion Is also permitting her to degrade herself to something less than human; he is thus degrading her.
What is the essence of the matter? What is it that makes wifely womanhood, motherhood so pervasively a reactionary “molecular” political force in capitalist culture?
Bourgeois life for the worker is essentially a family-centered life. The center of the worker's life is the mother's or wife-mother's home. Father runs errands into the “outer world” to get food and so forth for mother. It is a strange, unreal outer world, governed by mother's magic. “Behave as your mother teaches you,” “Be guided by your mother's fears,” “Respect your mother's fears,” “and you will survive in the outer world.” (“Don't step on a crack; you'll break your mother's back.”) “Mother's magic” is the secret of religion. Organized religion is the super-sensuous essence of the universal form of bourgeois mother's magic—mother's home remedies, mother-wisdom, “old wives' “remedies. Religion is for and by mothers, who conspire at religion with pseudo-men (priests) and impose the Mother-Church upon the household.
For bourgeois mothers, the object of consumption is not a creation of self-consciously acting humanity; for mother's household, the object of consumption is a magical object secured because mother's husband “is a good provider,” because “mother's prayers” are protecting the family from want, etc. The object of consumption is thus a magical object. Only mother's world, the family circle, is real; the outer world is alien, unreal, unpredictable, unsafe without the protection of mother's magic, mother's religion, mother's “law and order.”
Hence, the mother-centered household existence, which denies the objective reality of the world outside the household, is the active principle of bourgeois ideology. The real processes by which the real world is determined, the political-economic processes which determine the material conditions of life, are depicted by mother as somehow unreal, a matter of “little boys' silly talk,” whereas the pathetic, impotent individual household, the impotent isolated family, the infantile self-conception of the family, is defined as the only reality—the only domain for exercise of the individual will.
The reductionist world-view, the formal expression of bourgeois ideology, is essentially symptomatic of such mother-alienation in two interconnected ways.
Since mother portrays father as impotent, and since father is a creature of the outer world, there can be no real emotion in the outer world, but only rituals, poses, masks, mime. Color (emotion of the will) exists only in the family, in mother's world—in personal relations; the real world, i.e., the subjective world, exists only in close personal relations. Outside close personal relations, the world is merely objective, i.e., without real emotion, i.e., merely a black-and-white world of self-evident objects, a world of inexplicable abstracted predicates.
In the outer world, the son or daughter who becomes a professional or wage-earner, does so (except in certain woman's surrogate household professions, such as teaching, secretarial—office-wife, and similar occupations) by utilizing the image of father (or a surrogate father-image) for the persona worn. However, since father is viewed as essentially impotent by the child, the child attempting to act in the outer world models himself or herself on the image of an impotent father, a creature of formality, objectivity—impotence.
Secondly, as we have already emphasized, the outer world itself is seen as magical by the victim of the family tradition, a world of inexplicable objects, of objects controlled by mother's witchcraft, not objects whose existence is willfully determined by a lawful social process. The essential relationship of the bourgeoisified (i.e., mothered) individual to the objects of the outer world is essentially a fetishistic, i.e., propitiatory relationship. One does not attempt to change the outer world, “silly little man!”; one propitiates the outer world by ordering one's life according to mother's prescriptions for a proper son or daughter of her household.
Hence, the important, vicious psychoanalytical flaw in Feuerbach's great Essence of Christianity. Poor genius Feuerbach, afflicted with his mother-image, could see the outer world only in its fixed-object aspect as a given world to be explored, a world of a fixed reality to which self-consciousness could only submit respecting the fundamental order of things. Feuerbach's great flaw, in his Essence of Christianity, is akin to the flaw of the superficial psychoanalyst, who permits himself the consoling delusion that fathers, not mothers, are the underlying secret of neurosis, ideology, religion and the deity. Hence, for Feuerbach, the Object could not be seen in other than its “dirty-judaical” or fetishistic quality, as a fixed sensuous object, an object of mother's magic. (Hence, the “feminine” feeling of Feuerbach, vis-à-vis the “fatherly” Gestalt of Marx.)4
To recapitulate this essential point. The formal essence of bourgeois ideology is the mother's belief in the unreality of the “outer world.” The outer world is unreal precisely because the victim of capitalist ideology denies the fact that the material conditions of life are totally the willful creation of human practice and can be changed according to the willful change of human practice. Bourgeois ideology sees the outer world as essentially given, as something to be propitiated, not to be changed. The recurring origin of this ideology is the bourgeois family, notably the infantilism of sadistic mother-possession of the infant and child, and the degradation of woman, emotionally and intellectually, into the appropriateness to become bourgeois mothers and wives. The most notable dynamic feature of the interconnection between family and ideology is the separation between family life (real) and the outer world (the alien realm for mother's propitiatory magic—religion), such that the individual imagines himself without power over the willful determination of the outer world as a whole.
The most conspicuous single feature of mother's oppression of the son, daughter, and husband is her fears, her fear of rats—her demand that the family—out of respect for her fears—keep the house free of “strangers,” and do nothing to bring down the rage of the outer world upon the house. Thus, “I love and respect my mother” becomes the expression for the very essence of bourgeois ideology—and ultimately even the essence of fascism.
[O]ne notes the young scions of suburbia whose grandparents were workers, but whose mothers and fathers degenerated from workers (potency) into petit-bourgeois professionals, shopkeepers, paper-shufflers, and—morally, the lowest of the low—salesmen (impotence). This dismal phenomenon extends into even the ranks of the children of skilled and semi-skilled workers by the post-war
de-emphasis on productive development, the imposition of Zero-Growth-type “anti-materialism” (petit-bourgeois paper-shufflers' cultural norms) upon the household standards of the working-class family, principally through the influence of the “upward-mobile” working-class wife. The more the emphasis on productive values lessens (less potency) the more impotent, the more “feminine” (in that sense) the culture becomes. U.S.
Women's Liberation Versus “Feminist” Self-degradation
This will undoubtedly produce rage from the so-called “radical feminists.” The woman who is banalized and otherwise degraded by capitalist culture is stripped of every possible power over society except the role of the female sadist. Until she is confronted with her real oppression—her banality—and her real oppressor—her internalized mother image, and unless she is also offered a real alternative, human role in society, she will cling with rage and terror to the one power—female sadism—bourgeois society offers her. Hence, hyper-neurotic petit-bourgeois women, frustrated with their own impotence, frustrated with the collapse of the traditional woman's institution, the family, lacking a real, alternative, potent role in the real world, feel the terror of their meaningless lives, and locate the cause for that terror in the form of whatever hysterical rationalizations their internalized mother-images will permit them.