The first thing I thought when I read the headline ‘Women don’t need men anymore’ in a newspaper is:
Who said that statement is a woman. And I was right.
She must be French. And I was right.
She is either old or a mature one. And I was wrong.
Those words came out from a French actress named Ludivine Sagnier. She is 35 years old. She played a role in Cyrano de Bergerac with the always controversial actor Gérard Depardieu.
Ludivine said that because the interviewer was asking her if she believed in love. Her answer was blunt.
Yes, but I’m not a sentimental woman. (…) Women don’t need men anymore. I don’t expect anything from them. Besides, if you ask your companion for something, you’re depriving him of his freedom.
And, my Dedicated Readers, like the old French song goes, ‘L’amour est l’enfant de la liberté.’ We love someone when we give freedom. We receive love when we feel free.
I have to admit it. I love the French woman’s way of being and I learned a lot from them. Perhaps they have it in their genes. I’m thinking of a fighter like Simone de Beauvoir, a French woman known for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women’s oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism.
I totally agree with the actress. A woman has to love a man with freedom, without sentimentalism. Sometimes I get surprised to see a powerful woman, independent and successful, begging crumbs of affection. How come?
On the other hand, if you think some women don’t objectify men, you are wrong. In the era where men are becoming less relevant to both reproduction and parenting, I have heard many women saying those misandrist words ‘I don’t need a man. I just want his sperm’ and they are not French.
So I wonder, how did we get into this mess?
There are two main factors.
1. The remarkably rapid expansion of women’s economic and educational achievements over the past 40 years. In this respect, Liza Mundy, author of The Richer Sex, explains how our society can not longer assume the male as the primary breadwinner.
2. From the production of the first cell (egg) to the development of the fetus and the birth and breast-feeding of the child, fathers can be absent. They can be at work, at home, in prison or at war, living or dead.
I recently read an apocalyptic article, written by Greg Hampikian, professor of biology, who raised a very controversial question: Does ‘mankind’ really need men?
If a woman wants to have a baby without a man, she just needs to secure sperm (fresh or frozen) from a donor (living or dead). The only technology the self-impregnating woman needs is a straw or turkey baster, and the basic technique hasn’t changed much since Talmudic scholars debated the religious implications of insemination without sex in the fifth century. If all the men on earth died tonight, the species could continue on frozen sperm. If the women disappear, it’s extinction.
Ultimately the question is, does “mankind” really need men? With human cloning technology just around the corner and enough frozen sperm in the world to already populate many generations, perhaps we should perform a cost-benefit analysis.
Recently, the geneticist J. Craig Venter showed that the entire genetic material of an organism can be synthesized by a machine and then put into what he called an “artificial cell.” This was actually a bit of press-release hyperbole: Mr. Venter started with a fully functional cell, then swapped out its DNA. In doing so, he unwittingly demonstrated that the female component of sexual reproduction, the egg cell, cannot be manufactured, but the male can.
When I explained this to a female colleague and asked her if she thought that there was yet anything irreplaceable about men, she answered, “They’re entertaining.”
If so, then, let’s have fun. 🙂