Though Christine O'Donnell has been a lightning rod in the political world for barely a day, she's long been a controversial figure in another, even nerdier realm — that of J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, the winner of Tuesday's GOP Senate primary in Delaware was also a "winner" in LOTR circles. A 2003 C-SPAN video reveals O'Donnell — then the communications director at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute — leading a "discussion on the depiction of women in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy."
You see Tolkien's wisdom applied to just about everything: Tolkien and communism, Tolkien and industrialization. … I even found a book on Tolkien and sexual fetishes.
I don't doubt her. She then goes on to describe the ties between Middle Earth and second-wave feminism:
It's so surprising, then, especially in today's hyper-sensitive, post-Gloria Steinem world, that there's suck a lack of commentary on Tolkien and women. … [Tolkien] strikes a very good balance between men and women and the extreme attitudes of femininity.
She then calls Arwen of The Lord of the Rings the "epitome of femininity," before continuing:
On one hand, there's the attitude that's normally on the conservative side — as a conservative woman, I feel I can say this — that stifles women. There's almost the stereotypical attitude of: to be a true woman, you have to stay at home.
She then takes gives her analysis a personal touch:
I've actually had people say to me, "Why do you choose a career over marriage?" Honestly, I've had only a few significant relationships and they've broken up with me. And one of the things I've been told is, "If you weren't so strong, you'd be married by now." So there's the one stereotypical attitude and then there's the extreme that says I don't need to be married. … And what Tolkien shows, he strikes a very delicate balance between the two.
You can read Christine O'Donell's Tolkien conference paper, "The Women of Middle Earth," here, watch a video of her Lord of the Rings presentation of the same title here, and masturbate over it anywhere.