Woman and Love by Rudolph Valentino (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by muliebritee

Warning: Long text ahead!

I recently began watching silent films and developed an interest in Rudolph Valentino, one of Hollywood’s first sex symbols. I came across an article he’d written for Photoplay in March 1922 and found it an interesting read with RP nuggets, so I thought I’d share.

(I picked out the most relevant parts. If you would like to read it in its entirety I could link the text here.)

All women are divided into two classes in the mind of a man. Often they are so mixed up that you do not know which is which until you go down very deep. Then it does not matter, for in an affair of amour a counterfeit is often better than the real thing.

In my poor English, let me say that there are what I would call joy-women and duty-women. Now understand, the joy woman may be very good and the duty woman might even be bad. That is just their relation to man. The first kind are the kind that you want to take with you on your joyful carefree wanderings into life’s highways and byways. The other are the women who are possibilities to share the principal things of life - home, family, and children.

For a wife, a man should pick out a woman who is pretty, has a good disposition, and is domestically inclined. They are very rare now, I admit. One is too apt to be deceived by their easy method of comradeship. Let her be your inferior, if possible. Then she will be happy with you. It is much more essential to marriage that a woman be happy in it than a man. I do not mean a butterfly that flits from beauty parlor to beauty parlor. But a good woman who has the old-fashioned virtues.

We Europeans do not expect too much of one woman. The difficulty with love and marriage in this country is that the man has let the game get out of his hand. A woman can never have a happy love affair with a man unless he is her superior. It just can’t be done. The love affair where the woman is the stronger in mind and knowledge is always a tragedy or a farce.

I do not like women who know too much. Remember, it was from the serpent that Eve was given that apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Just so I would make the Tree of Knowledge of Life today - forbidden to women. If they must eat of it, let them do so in secret and burn the core.

Do not misunderstand this that I say. I do not mean this in regards to intelligence, to education, even to position. The more cultured and accomplished a woman is, the more exquisite she is to love, the more like gold that is soft to touch and handle. With her, all is delicate and attractive, all is beautiful and fine, her mind is attuned to beauty - and beauty is of itself a religion.

No, when I speak thus of an inferior - a superior - I mean in experience of life, in power to do, in ways to love. The man may be a digger in the ditch, and the woman a teacher in the school, but he is the master of her if he knows more of the world than she does. It is not becoming that a woman should know the world. It is not proper that a lady should of to places or to things where she acquires this knowledge.

If she knows these things, she must be clever enough to conceal her knowledge, like the girl who can swim a mile, yet with much grace and helplessness she allows me to teach her swimming.

How completely the modern woman in America tries to destroy romance. How ugly and cut-and-dry is has become - love. Either it must be marriage or it must be ugly scandal. The brilliant, absorbing, delightful, dangerous, innocent - sometimes - sport of life, how it goes. She knows too much about life and too little about emotion. She knows all of the bad and none of the good about passion. She has seen everything, felt nothing. She arouses in me disgust.

Sometimes a man may feel that he would rather a woman had done many, many bad things - read bad things - and yet been delicate, and quiet and dignified, than to see her common. If the bloom has been rubbed from the peach, let her paint it back on with an artistic hand.

Should I try again to find me a wife, I say, let me find one who wishes to have children and who when she has had them, wishes to take care of them. That is the proper test for a good woman who is to share the side of your life. No other woman can ever mean to a man what his children’s mother means to him - if she does not lot herself get fat and ugly and old. No man can love a woman who lets herself get fat, and careless and unpleasant. He must constantly make comparisons of her with the beautiful young girls about. A wife’s first duty is to keep her husband from making comparisons.


Of all the women I have known, the Frenchwomen are the most nearly perfect. No matter what their age or class may be, they have that touch of domesticity, that sweet and gentle something that lends a delicacy even to the wildness of the senses. Thy know how to amuse, how to touch the heart, they have the sixth sense of pleasing a man with their perfection. And they are so very well dressed. All of them.

American women are terribly pretty. Even when they are quite ugly, they are pretty. They are always rather well dressed. And they always behave as though they were beautiful. Which gives them great poise. But they lack softness, they lack feminine charm and sweetness. You cannot imagine them doing their bits of sewing, washing, mending, and what not. They dazzle but they do not warm. They are magnificent when they are dressed up, but I never have seen one who was likewise at ease and delicious and feminine in the kitchen or the nursery.

They are so restless, too. Nothing interferes with romance like restlessness. It destroys those subtle shadings that are the very breath of its life.

I do not blame the women for all this. I blame the American man. He cannot hold a woman, dominate and rule her. Naturally things have come to a pretty pass. He is impossible as a lover. He cares nothing for pleasing the woman. He is not master in his own house. He picks and nags about little things, and then falls down in big ones.


I love the dainty, little woman, who plays seriously at being domestic. She fascinates me. Everything womanly, distinctly feminine, in a woman, appeals to me. I adore her bird-like ways, her sweet pretenses, her delicious prettiness. I love her almost as one loves a cunning child, and when to this is added the filipe of sex, she becomes perfect. I do not like in her flippant, cold-blooded little tricks, but those soft, lovable ways of a little woman, those melting, helpless little ways of hers — that bring tears to your eyes and fire to your lips.

Then there is the silent, mysterious woman who fences divinely. Who knows silently and secretly the secrets of the couquette — that last art of woman, in always leaving herself an opportunity to retreat. Who has always at hand that last weapon of woman — surrender.

The greatest asset to a woman is dignity. It is her shield. With it, she may commit indiscretions that a vulgar puritan could never attempt. Dignity in a woman always puzzles a man. He likes it. He admires it. He feels confidence in the woman who displays it. He knows that she will never make a fool of herself or of him.

An interesting piece of writing, and not one I was expecting to read from Valentino. To be honest, I don’t completely understand what he says about women who "know" too much. But I was surprised to hear that even in the 1920’s, people were already talking negatively about modern women, particularly Americans!


Anyone else enjoy silent film? :)

[–]FleetingWishEndorsed Contributor 6 points7 points  (9 children)

I was surprised to hear that even in the 1920’s, people were already talking negatively about modern women, particularly Americans

That's what surprised me most about this. He talks about there are no women who are domestically inclined anymore. But this is in the 1920s, before feminism. What were the women doing, if the majority of them weren't becoming mothers and home makers?

[–]SoloGoya 14 points15 points  (1 child)

We have sort of a squirrelly view of the past due to the Western view of history as linear and progressive; that is history moves in a line that is progressively better or worse than before. Notice how many liberals will say things like "Soandso wants to take us back to the 50's (implying the 50's were automatically worse than today)," while many conservatives talk about the gold ole' days and how each generation of whippersnappers is worse than the last (implying that the past was automatically better than today).

Unfortunately this view is overly simplistic at best and downright confusingly false all too often. Social movements, like artistic movements, react to what has come before and are born, grow, hold court, and dissipate in the same way (and are often eventually reborn in a slightly different form). The 1920's is a good example of this and one that has some striking parallels to today.

By the early 20th century the great industrial powers which arose from the Industrial Revolution had merged with the great financial powers and the US was becoming a manufacturing giant. People, men and women alike, were still flowing in to the cities looking for factory work. The Great War had sent men overseas and women into overtime in industry. Marxist revolutionaries first brought down Russia and then Germany, ending the war. The Emma Goldmans of the world were trying to do here what the Rosa Luxemburgs had done in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Bavaria. Eugene Debs had been imprisoned for sedition against the war not because he was a nobody, but because there was a huge and growing undercurrent of exploited discontent in American Society. The Palmer Raids and the subsequent ACLU are testaments to this.

At the same time, we have the newly established Federal Reserve flooding the market with easy credit, starting the bubble (and to most people the start of a bubble looks like prosperity). Likewise, we have big business looking to change American culture from a needs base to an ego base in order to maintain their profitability (A wonderful documentary that touches on this is Adam Curtis's fantastic Century of the Self, I suggest it to all). Magazines like Cosmo were first formed, melding the New Liberated Woman with the new economy. Eddie Bernay's famous cigarette stunt harnessed the power of the current of women's liberation in order to change the culture and sell cigarettes to women.

So where does this put actual women during this time? Picture the flapper, the good time girl, who publicly smokes, drinks, and curses. She reads the Cosmos of the day, which mold trends and fashions out of the stars of the new risque Hollywood. She cuts her hair short to showcase her independence, and buys miniskirts and stylish heels on credit from Frederick & Nelson to showcase her snowflake individuality. She has many boyfriends but no husband. And, like our Carrie Bradshaw, she sometimes still gets her Mr. Big at the end.

Of course, like all bubbles this one bursts. The Roaring 20's lead into the Great Depression and the end of this particular era. Once the Depression passes all of the these components will rise again in slightly new forms.

In any case, that, I think, is what Valentino meant when he described the women of his day in phrases like "seen everything, felt nothing," and "she dazzles but does not warm."

[–]nietzsche_was_peachy 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is such an accurate and thorough answer. I would have typed the same things but not as well! The mentioning of Bernays is the crown jewel.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Watch films from the 30s, Anglo American women have been trending this way since ww1

[–]muliebritee[S] 1 point2 points  (5 children)

My first thought was flapper culture (bobbed hair, drinking, smoking, shorter hemlines), but I think that was later in the decade, not '22. Maybe someone can correct me.

I know that the "pre-Code" Hollywood movies from the 20s-30s could actually be pretty risqué. Maybe they were more true-to-life than (relatively) sanitized 40s-50s movies.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Have you ever seen dinner at eight or "the women"?

I love movies from that era if you didn't notice Lol

[–]muliebritee[S] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Haha it's cool. I've added these to my list. Up to this point I've been watching a lot of Buster Keaton movies since I find him so entertaining.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Classic " of human bondage" is free on YouTube, I'll link it in a bit

[–]muliebritee[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I read a bit of the synopsis and it sounds wild lol

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So much redpill goodness, very sad

[–]mashakos 7 points8 points  (1 child)

To be honest, I don’t completely understand what he says about women who "know" too much.

By referring to a woman knowing too much, he is speaking of a woman losing her optimism and idealism in the face of all that she has seen in the world. In other words, jaded and passionless.

It goes both ways. You need a bit of idealism and romance from both partners for a relationship to work. Even if you know some promises cannot be realistically kept indefinitely (e.g. "I will always be there for you"), you make them because that is how it feels to you - conversely, it's what your partner will remember fondly about your days together (not them saying it's 50/50 whether you will last together or not). Showing idealism while still being a realist is what he means when he says that "she must be clever enough to conceal her knowledge".

[–]muliebritee[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That makes it much clearer :) Thank you.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

What a beautiful love letter to women :) I'd love to read the whole thing if you'd link it!

[–]muliebritee[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Linked above! :)

[–]Lizzipoos 1 point2 points  (0 children)

"How completely the modern woman in America tries to destroy romance. "

I really love this sentence. I feel like this applies now even more than back then, and not just women in America.

[–]Aine_of_knockaine 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Please link the full text. I would like to read it in it's entirety.

[–]muliebritee[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Have you seen any Clara bow or Louise Brooks films? The 20s-30s we're in many ways more modern than the 40s-50s to me

[–]muliebritee[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

For Clara Bow films, I've seen Wings and It so far. I haven't seen any of Louise Brooks'

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

VERY interesting read. Thanks for posting!

[–][deleted]  (3 children)


[–]muliebritee[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Keep in mind the passage was from 1922!

Re college girls today...there are girls who dress 'comfortably' and never touch makeup. There are also girls who look very good (read: sexy) via trendy clothes and artfully applied makeup. As Valentino would say: "They dazzle but they do not warm."

[–]SorrybutnotCanadian 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I watched a youtube video comparing American vs Korean makeup. Right now "sexy and fierce" is super popular in America. Why would I want a fierce woman? Why would I want a woman who essentially looks angry and willing to cut me and use me?

Such a turn off.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Ooo totally skimmed over that.

That's pretty true. I feel like American girls fall into the all or nothing categoy. They're eother amazing looking or just not at all.