Part Four of Beyond Good and Evil is Epigrams and Interludes. There is some good stuff here, but for me, as a reader, it tends to get overshadowed by the many problematic things Nietzsche has to say about women. Nietzsche could be a radical in many ways, but was also deeply conservative in his misogyny and elitism. Nietzsche’s view of women is more complicated than it sounds in what follows. To take just one example, he is the rare male philosopher who uses imagery of pregnancy and birth to describe philosophical and artistic creation. A recent book makes the case that “Nietzsche’s texts eliminate ‘man’ and ‘woman’ altogether” (ix), creating a space for the overcoming of binary sex and gender difference. I personally wouldn’t go that far, but there’s no question that feminists (like Luce Irigaray who said that her Marine Lover was “not a book on Nietzsche but with Nietzsche, who is for me a partner in a love relationship.” For more click here.) have found in Nietzsche both an ally and an antagonist. If you’re interested, here’s the reference:
Nietzsche on Gender: Beyond Man and Woman. By FRANCES NESBITT OPPEL. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005.
And there’s the classic from a well-regarded Penn State series:
Kelly Oliver, Marilyn Pearsall, Feminist Interpretations of Friedrich Nietzsche, Penn State Press, 1998.
And for fun:
(That’s a photo of Nietzsche and Paul Ree pulling a wagon carrying the whip-wielding Lou Andreas-Salome. More on the complex relationships between the three here.)
Woman learns to hate to the extent to which her charms — decrease.
Women themselves always still have in the background of all personal vanity an impersonal contempt — for “woman”–
The enormous expectation in sexual love and the sense of shame in this expectation spoils all perspective for women from the start.
Where neither love nor hatred is in the game, a woman’s game is mediocre.
The sexes deceive themselves about each other — because at bottom they honor and love only themselves (or their own ideal, to put it more pleasantly). Thus man likes woman peaceful — but woman is essentially unpeaceful, like a cat, however well she may have trained herself to seem peaceable.
In revenge and in love woman is more barbarous than man.
When a woman has scholarly inclinations there is usually something wrong with her sexually. Sterility itself disposes one toward a certain masculinity of taste; for man is, if I may say so, “the sterile animal.”
Comparing man and woman on the whole, one may say: woman would not have the genius for finery if she did not have an instinct for a secondary role.
And a few others:
Whatever is done from love always occurs beyond good and evil.
Poets treat their experiences shamelessly. They exploit them.
Even when the mouth lies, the way it looks still tells the truth.
In men who are hard, intimacy involves shame — and is precious.
“I don’t like him.” — Why?– “I am not equal to him.” — Has any human being ever answered that way?