Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Woman as mothers

Whitman's portrayal of woman, although he seems to try and treat them as equals, he seems to only see them as mothers. Mother's of this new nation that he is going to father, and it seems that not just anyone can father these children, but Whitman alone. In his poem "A Woman Waits for Me" Whitman talks of the woman that wait for him to come, that he cannot wait to have sex with and deposit his seed in. "I dare not withdraw till I deposit what has so long accumulated within me". In this part of the poem the act of sex seems to be all about him, "I do not hurt you any more than is necessary for you, I pour the stuff to start sons and daughters fit for these states,"

This description of woman seems almost insignificant, that woman are only a vessel to him, to do with what he wants, whether they enjoy the act or not seems to not matter. However there is also a part of the poem, where despite all that he is saying, he tries to say that men are no better than woman, "They are not one jot less than I am, They are tann'd in the face by shining suns and blowing winds, their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength". This seems to not coincide with other things that Whitman says about woman, for earlier in the poem he states that they are impassive, wait for him and only some woman are worthy of him.

What seems to interest Whitman the most however is that Woman can be mothers, when he describes them he uses nurturing terms, "health, pride, the maternal mystery, the seminal milk". Sex for Whitman is very much centered around the fact that he wants to father children, and woman are the way to get there. Later in the poem he talks about the children that will lead the nation, children that these woman will mother. "In you I wrap a thousand onward years, On you I graft the grafts of the best-beloved of me and America, The drops I distill upon you shall grow fierce and athletic girls, new artists, musicians, and singers"

For Whitman's woman sex is not something that seems to be enjoyable for them, or something they do for fun or for the act of it, as he describes for men. Sex for woman in this world is to mother the nation from the seeds that Whitman and other man plant in them. 

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