The Myth of Woman

By Vox Day

I enjoy science fiction. I especially like the sort of book that allows one to get into the head of an alien being, that allows one to experience something so exotic and fundamentally foreign to the reality of one’s own existence that even the simplest, most everyday thing becomes exciting and new.

This must be why I quite enjoyed “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” Not the movie, you understand, but the novel by Rebecca Wells. While male reviewers have broadly panned both the movie and the book – mostly for legitimate reasons which are well-articulated – I feel that they have generally missed the more significant point. “The Divine Secrets” are not about relationships or gender ghettos – nor, as it might superficially appear, the contentious nature of the mother-daughter bond. No, above all, it is about the central Myth of Woman.

There is a reason that what others have described as the Oprahfication of American culture has found such fruitful soil in the hearts and minds of millions of women. “The Divine Secrets” is a most appropriate title, for it not only presents what is an exemplary example of this mysterious phenomenon, but it also provides a key to understanding it for even the most testosterone-befuddled observer.

At this point, I imagine you might think that I am mocking the book, which is not at all the case. I loved it. In fact, I have now read it three times. The writing is colorful, the characters are absorbing and one even feels a genuine tension as the darkness lurking at the heart of Siddalee’s childhood is slowly, exquisitely revealed. And is there any question so pertinent to the male mind as the truly fundamental one – will she or won’t she? Just as one enjoys a flower all the more for being a flawless specimen of its genus, one cannot but admire what must surely be the archetype of its genre, never to be surpassed.

It is the genre itself with which I take issue, and, even more to the point, the reason the genre holds such marvelous appeal for so many women. It is related, I think, to the strange cult of Diana (the late princess, not the Huntress), to the peculiarly feminine nature of modern neo-paganism and to the doctrine of feminist infallibility. It also answers the lingering question of why women, despite surpassing men in almost every measure of scholastic achievement, still appear to have retained a distinctive distaste for science and mathematics, and why the Academy Awards continue to be considered a genuine form of entertainment.

What “The Divine Secrets” ultimately reveals is that the true Woman, namely, a female possessed of the requisite equipment who favors chick flicks over action movies, Oprah over Aristotle, “Friends” over the “X-Files,” and the local TV news over the Internet, craves nothing more than to be taken Seriously. Which, for the average guy, is best translated as Unquestioning Reverence For All Actions and Utterances.

It was only after finishing the book for the second time that the truth struck me. This story was not one that was new to me, indeed, I had seen it many, many times before. Like many a college girl of my acquaintance, the characters in the book are uniformly paralyzed by the notion of decision-making, because they believe that every choice Matters. Not matters in the sense that every choice has consequences, which is true to the point of tautology, but Matters, in the sense that it is an epic event of cosmic proportions.

I suppose this is where the neo-pagan aspect enters the picture. Because every decision is clearly of cosmic import, a Woman cannot be less than a goddess, despite all evidence to the contrary. And because to be a goddess is to be divine, she cannot be accountable to those of us who are mere mortals. Thus, as is clearly explicated in “The Divine Secrets” it is not only acceptable, but a measure of greatness that an alcoholic mother abandons, assails and otherwise screws up her child, because she does it with style, which, as we know from the Academy Awards, is all that truly Matters.