Plato on Womb Envy

When I was young, I was warned about penis envy. “Watch out for that,” I was told. “It’s total bullshit that The Man uses to keep you down.” I translated that to: “The patriarchy is a real drag. Don’t cop to it.” I listened to the warnings and remained wary, always on the lookout for people trying to tag my behavior as some sort of latent desire to be male. I  laughed aloud if anybody ever used the words with a straight face.

Then I grew up and learned the truth. Penis envy is a reality and I have the spam to prove it. It has nothing to do with female neuroses, psychoses, or hatred of our bodies, however. It has everything to do with men and their insane competitive natures. They are all terribly jealous of each others’ thingies. They  must be. If the content of my spam is any indication, the market for penile enhancement is through the roof. Offers for rod extension, boner improvement, and shlong long beat out every other form of spam put together including information on cheap Rolexes, Internet pharmacies, naked nubile Russian girls, and the former top of the spam pile: Viagra. Penis envy is so alive.

More interesting than Freud being proven right about that is the fact that he missed a whole other ailment: womb envy. I had never heard of this when I was growing up and that makes sense because I would not have suffered from it. Womb envy is yet another male affliction. I have proof of it and I can’t believe Freud missed it.

For documentation we return to Plato. In his Symposium, he said that Socrates said that Diotima said that philosophers and other types of creators are pregnant. They’re fat with bright ideas and beautiful thoughts. Their ideas are their children. And their children are superior than those born of women because creativity is divine and human babies are not.

Plato is slick. He says Socrates said Diotima (the female oracle) said this. He’s trying to throw Freud off the womb envy trail. He’s glossing over the fact that men feel inferior because they can’t make babies. A woman said it after all. Well, she sort of said it. Actually she was in some sort of hypnotic virgin-dance or something and had no idea what she was saying as she channeled god and foamed at the mouth. A woman would never be able to channel god properly unless she was in a hypnotic virgin-dance. Men don’t need that sort of thing. They have a direct line. An umbilical cord, I guess, they are pregnant after all. At least the philosophers are.


Sue Lange

The Textile Planet




Plato on Womb Envy — 1 Comment

  1. I think you’ve discovered the true genesis of the penis envy theory — guys are so obsessed with their own and how it compares to those of other guys, they assume women want one too. Not that they look when they’re at the urinal or in the men’s locker room. No indeedy. Real men don’t stare at other men’s cocks. (Maybe they peek out of the corner of their eye.)

    Penis envy. It is to laugh! Who wants genitalia that hangs on the outside of your body and is so fragile that you gotta protect it all the time? I mean, have you ever seen a guy who’s been kicked in the balls? I recall the time a guy in a karate class took an accidental kick in the groin. (I didn’t kick him, honest!) He crawled to the bathroom.

    As for womb envy: it explains the strains between the genders a lot better than penis envy ever did.

    Though I confess I did write a story about people who were both male and female and had complete sets of both reproductive organs (“Walking Contradiction,” which appeared in the anthology Imaginings, and is — amazingly — still in print). They could get pregnant and could also sire a child. And they ended up with full sets of both male and female erogenous zones. (Before everyone rushes out to buy the book for that story I should probably warn you that it isn’t erotica, though I can certainly imagine some good erotica for these characters. No sex onstage in that story. Sorry.)