SYN and Eman:
I remember a similar lady exclaiming at a male horse's appearance once (5 legs, know what I mean, wink) and I remaarked that it must be awful for a stallion to be gelded.
She responded by saying that it was no different than castrating a man, no big deal at all. She was serious.
Perhaps in technical surgical terms, castration is a fairly simple "no big deal" procedure. However, it appears from what she said, and how she said it, that she also considered it to be "a good thing" (with apologies to Martha Stewart).
Peck also draws on the works of Erich Fromm in his book. Fromm extends
the definition of necrophilia to include the desire of certain people to control others -- to make them controllable, to foster their dependency, to discourage their capacity to think for themselves, to diminish their unpredictability and originality, to keep them in line. Distinguishing it from a "biophilic" person, one who appreciates and fosters the variety of life forms and the uniqueness of the individual, he demonstrated a "necrophilic character type," whose aim it is to avoid the inconvenience of life by transforming others into obedient automatons, robbing them of their humanity.
To this woman, castration (either literal or figurative) was a convenient way for her to impose her will on a man. By verbally and behaviourally emasculating someone, she destroys their self-worth, their sense of purpose, and their drive
or initiative to act of their own accord, and then she promptly imposes her will upon them to do her bidding. SYN you are right in saying that it's the 'worst thing that can happen' to ANYONE.
Don't know if you ever got a chance to meet her husband, Englishman, but I would hazard a guess that he would be one of those simpering, pathetic men with very poor self-esteem, who did what he was told (by her) when he was told. Very sad.
It is not persecution for an informed person to expose a certain religion as being false. - WT 11/15/63