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Modernization, Brutalization, Primitivism

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

The feminine soul is a fountainhead of grace, delicacy and sensibility, which enriches the moral and social life of humanity with spiritual values that man does not give it. The equilibrium of mankind demands women with a rich mental structure displaying all the gifts proper to their sex, just as it demands men with profoundly virile souls. It would be absurd to educate a generation of boys in the most effeminate way possible. No less absurd would it be to educate a generation of girls with the intention of making them as masculine as possible.

a tribal masculine girl of the future

Preparing the masculine, tribal girl of the future
A certain pedagogy of our days, however, seems to have completely forgotten this trivial truth. And, instead of forming girls for the role that they will naturally have in society, it forms them precisely as if she were a boy intended in the future to assume the weight and the responsibilities proper to men.

Our picture at right provides an example of this. It shows a playroom for a girl. On the wall facing us, there is something that reminds one of a large long rock with rude and irregular contours. On it are drawn some pseudo-childish figures, which, in reality, are as similar as possible to the art figures of primitive man. One could say that this pre-historic rock cave was set up to create the ambience of the small world in which this girl will form her soul.

To one side of the rock, one finds a diversion of the type that children of the cave era would have sought when they left their rock abode to play: climbing trees. A dried out trunk that hooks from the ceiling to the floor allows the girl to climb up and down it whenever she wants. Next to the trunk there is a plank with large, asymmetric holes that provide some variety to her play: she can climb through them if going up and down the trunk becomes monotonous.

A wild and barefoot child

Barefoot and wild
As a third diversion, the child can fling herself onto the ground, happily replaced in this case (the modern pedagogy is still a little bourgeois) by a mattress. It is another diversion that a pre-historic child would appreciate.

The only thing lacking in this room from the ambience of a primitive forest is the open air, the sun and the stars, which here are substituted by electric lights. After all, an electric sky to form the sensibility of a girl of the atomic era is what one might expect.

Of the things that should never be lacking in an atmosphere destined to form girls – harmony, flowers, birds – we find only a dove on the far upper right corner of the wall. Its lines are stiff, hard and cold, as if it were made of wire.

What kind of world will such a pedagogy prepare for us?

Translated from Catolicismo, n. 27, March 1953
Posted July 14, 2010

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