MAILER: What I would argue back is that women have become so obsessed with the idea of not being taken for granted that I think they are in danger of losing sight of their real power over men, which they have always had, an extraordinary power women have over men. What it comes down to is males know, no matter what they’ve done to women, no matter how they abuse them, no matter how they’ve tyrannized them, men know that they are not indispensable to human existence. If women ever take over everything, as they well may — now, you’re trying to keep from grinning at the thought —
MADONNA [laughs]: I think it’s inevitable, too. Every dog has his day, you know?
MAILER: But if they do take over, and you get the equivalent of a Stalin or a Hitler among the women (and having had some contact with a few of the early women’s liberationists, I can easily conceive of such a female), I can see a day when a hundred male slaves will be kept alive and milked every day and the stuff will be put in semen banks to keep the race going. No more than a hundred men will have to be maintained alive at any time. Men have a very deep fear of women as a result. It isn’t that men think, “Oh, there’s a breast, I’ll lay my head on it; it’ll cost me nothing.” Rather, what they know is that in that tender breast there are chill zones of feeling, icy areas, zones of detestation, and if they have any sense at all of women, they know that approaching a woman is quite equal to climbing a rock face.
MADONNA: Yes, but you’re an evolved man.
MAILER: Not everyone thinks the same way I think, but men feel it instinctively, I’d argue. You’re talking for all women, after all.
MADONNA: No, I’m not talking for all women. I’ve been accused for years and years, especially at the beginning of my career, of setting the women’s movement back because I was being sexual in a traditional way, with my corsets and push-up bras and garter belts and this and that, and feminists were beating the f### out of me: “What are you doing? You’re sending out all the wrong messages to young girls. They should be using their heads, not their tits and their asses.” My whole thing is you use all you have, all you have, your sexuality, your femininity, your — any testosterone you have inside of you, your intellect — use whatever you have and use bits and pieces wherever it’s good. I’m not saying you have to break down every last thing, but…
MAILER: Very well said. But in the name of what?
MADONNA: In the name of what?
MAILER: Well, you’re a revolutionary. What will this revolution be in the name of?
MADONNA: In the name of human beings relating to human beings. And treating each other with compassion.
MAILER: And for that, you feel that the stereotyped male notions of how to treat women have to be broken down.
MAILER: What about female attitudes about men?
MADONNA: That, too.
MAILER: But the female movement offers almost no compromise with men.
MADONNA: Well, that’s a problem, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
MAILER: I don’t argue with what you’re doing from your point of view, but I am saying you could come to a dead end: The women could win and have nothing.
MADONNA: I hope that doesn’t happen. Once you reach a certain amount of understanding, knowledge doesn’t end. There’s more to learn about everything.
MAILER: Don’t you feel a certain danger in the women’s movement? That the real desire is not for greater compassion and understanding of both sexes but for power over men?
MADONNA: I don’t know about the women’s movement — it’s not my goal, it’s not my intention. This is not about me being a woman but about me being a human being.
MAILER: So you wear pointed cones to remind men …
MADONNA: It’s to wake women up, too — there’s a lot of women oppressing other women; its not just men.
Of course, she had not really answered him. He just gave up on the pointed cones. He saw them as no better than ugly growths, a bad seed or two from the primal trauma of her mother’s death. He could recognize, even as he had earlier, that with her, one had to keep raising the ante.