How Do Men and Women Interact in the World State?
Life in the World State is enjoyable—after all, they’re programmed to like it. The women have all the new clothes they could want, careers in which they are genetically predisposed to excel, and nearly unlimited access to soma to conceal any emotion that gets too overwhelming.
It assigns every citizen to a caste and a particular social function before birth, it encourages its citizens to use soma regularly and to seek instant sexual gratification, and it conditions its citizens to have no identity independent of the World State. John compares the dependence of Delta workers on soma to a prolonged childhood. Their reaction to John’s call to revolution resembles a childhood temper tantrum. The lifelong process of conditioning socializes the citizens into infantile dependence on the State through the lures of pleasure, security, and happiness. Like children, they are never allowed to make independent moral choices. Instead, these choices are made for them through conditioned, blind obedience to the World State’s moral laws. All of this occurs in the name of stability. Infantilization is implemented through scientific discoveries in human psychology, such as Pavlovian theory and hypnopaedia. When the Director gives his new students a tour of the Hatchery at the beginning of Brave New World, it is made immediately clear that the students are all boys. This is the first of many hints that women occupy positions of inferior power and status in the World State. Another clue comes soon after, when we learn that in order to retain the State’s control over reproduction, many of the female fetuses are sterilized—but none of the male fetuses are. The Malthusian belt, containing regulation contraceptives, is another example of the burden placed on women to avoid pregnancies. In sexual relations, men and women seem to be equally promiscuous and equally free to initiate contact. Lenina is just as ready as Bernard to capitalize on the fame brought through association with John by spending time with as many partners as possible. But in work situations and in the government men are undeniably in charge. Assuming that Lenina and Fanny are Beta females, there are very few Alpha women in the novel and none about whom we learn anything significant. The people in positions of power—in propaganda (Bernard, Helmholtz), in the Hatchery (the Director, Henry), and in the government (Mustapha Mond)—are all male. In the social realm the relations between the sexes are liberalized, but in the realms of work and politics the power remains squarely in the hands of men. It is an open question whether this state of affairs is part of the satirical target of Brave New World or whether it simply reflects the culture in which the novel was written.
In times of modern technology we easily forget feelings and love. Wake up world, and show some LOVE - not just sex!