Wilson: Effeminate Slackness and Seduction

“We must come to rethink the relationship between masculinity and being seduced. John Milton uses a striking phrase in Paradise Lost, referring to those men who were seduced by the ‘daughters of men.’ When shown the future seduction of these men, these descendants of his, Adam attempts to blame the women involved – ‘Man’s woe holds on the same, from Woman to begin.’ The angel replies to the contrary: ‘From Man’s effeminate slackness it begins.’

Effeminate slackness. Many men like to flatter themselves, thinking that the ease with which they might be seduced is a somehow a masculine trait. In reality it is quite the reverse. At the heart of masculinity is the possession of authority and taking of initiative; by creation design man is intended by God to be the head, a head willing to sacrifice himself. But part of our word seduction comes from the Latin word duco, which means ‘I lead.’ This original meaning carries over in our use of the word seduction. When a man is seduced (whether by a living woman or a pornographic woman is immaterial) he is relinquishing and abdicating his assigned role. While he may still perform the male role in intercourse, he is no longer masculine in the relationship. He remains biologically male, but he is no longer covenantally masculine.”

– Douglas Wilson, Fidelity


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