Featured post
Box 2

About gynocentrism

Gynocentrism n. (Greek, γυνή, “female” – Latin centrum, “centred” ) refers to a dominant or exclusive focus on women in theory or practice; or to the advocacy of this.1 Anything can be considered gynocentric (Adj.) when it is concerned exclusively with a female (or specifically a feminist) point of view.2

Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson state that the overriding focus of gynocentric ideology is to prioritize females hierarchically, and as a result may be interpreted as misandry (the hatred and prejudice towards men). Feminist calls for equality or even equity are often, according to them, a subterfuge for gynocentrism.3

Young and Nathanson define gynocentrism as a worldview based on the implicit or explicit belief that the world revolves around women, a cultural theme that they claim has become ‘de rigueur’ behind the scenes in law courts and government bureaucracies, which has resulted in systemic discrimination against men.4 They further state that gynocentrism is a form of essentialism – as distinct from scholarship or political activity on behalf of women- to the extent that it focuses on the innate virtues of women and the innate vices of men.5

Other authors make discriminations between types of gynocentrism, such as individual gynocentric acts or events (e.g. Mother’s Day), and the broader concept of a gynocentric culture which refers to a larger collection of culture traits that have major significance in the way people’s lives were lived.6

History

Elements of gynocentric culture existing today are derived from practices originating in medieval society such as feudalism, chivalry and courtly love that continue to inform contemporary society in subtle ways. Peter Wright refers to such gynocentric patters as constituting a “sexual feudalism,” as attested by female writers like Lucrezia Marinella who in 1600 AD recounted that women of lower socioeconomic classes were treated as superiors by men who acted as servants or beasts born to serve them, or by Modesta Pozzo who in 1590 wrote;

“don’t we see that men’s rightful task is to go out to work and wear themselves out trying to accumulate wealth, as though they were our factors or stewards, so that we can remain at home like the lady of the house directing their work and enjoying the profit of their labors? That, if you like, is the reason why men are naturally stronger and more robust than us — they need to be, so they can put up with the hard labor they must endure in our service.”7

The golden casket above depicting scenes of servile behaviour toward women were typical of courtly love culture of the Middle Ages. Such objects were given to women as gifts by men seeking to impress. Note the woman standing with hands on hips in a position of authority, and the man being led around by a neck halter, his hands clasped in a position of subservience.

It’s clear that much of what we today call gynocentrism was invented in the Middle Ages with the cultural practices of romantic chivalry and courtly love. In 12th century Europe, feudalism served as the basis for a new kind of love in which men were to play the role of vassal to women who played the role of an idealized Lord. C.S. Lewis, back in the middle of the 20th Century, referred to this historical revolution as “the feudalisation of love,” and stated that it has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched. “Compared with this revolution,” states Lewis, “the Renaissance is a mere ripple on the surface of literature.”8 Lewis states;

“Everyone has heard of courtly love, and everyone knows it appeared quite suddenly at the end of the eleventh century at Languedoc. The sentiment, of course, is love, but love of a highly specialized sort, whose characteristics may be enumerated as Humility, Courtesy, and the Religion of Love. The lover is always abject. Obedience to his lady’s lightest wish, however whimsical, and silent acquiescence in her rebukes, however unjust, are the only virtues he dares to claim. Here is a service of love closely modelled on the service which a feudal vassal owes to his lord. The lover is the lady’s ‘man’. He addresses her as midons, which etymologically represents not ‘my lady’ but ‘my lord’. The whole attitude has been rightly described as ‘a feudalisation of love’. This solemn amatory ritual is felt to be part and parcel of the courtly life.” 9

With the advent of (initially courtly) women being elevated to the position of ‘Lord’ in intimate relationships, and with this general sentiment diffusing to the masses and across much of the world today, we are justified in talking of a gynocentric cultural complex that affects, among other things, relationships between men and women. Further, unless evidence of widespread gynocentric culture can be found prior to the Middle Ages, then gynocentrism is precisely 800 years old. In order to determine if this thesis is valid we need to look further at what we mean by “gynocentrism”.

Gynocentrism as a cultural phenomenon

The term gynocentrism has been in circulation since the 1800’s, with the general definition being “focused on women; concerned with only women.” 10 From this definition we see that gynocentrism could refer to any female-centered practice, or to a single gynocentric act carried out by one individual. There is nothing inherently wrong with a gynocentric act (eg. celebrating Mother’s Day) , or for that matter an androcentric act (celebrating Father’s Day). However when a given act becomes instituted in the culture to the exclusion of other acts we are then dealing with a hegemonic custom — i.e. such is the relationship custom of elevating women to the role of Lord in relation to male vassals.

Author of Gynocentrism Theory Adam Kostakis has attempted to expand the definition of gynocentrism to refer to “male sacrifice for the benefit of women” and “the deference of men to women,” and he concludes; “Gynocentrism, whether it went by the name honor, nobility, chivalry, or feminism, its essence has gone unchanged. It remains a peculiarly male duty to help the women onto the lifeboats, while the men themselves face a certain and icy death.” 11 I agree with Kostakis’ descriptions of assumed male duty, however the phrase ‘gynocentric culture’ more accurately carries his intention than gynocentrism alone. Thus when used alone in the context of this website ‘gynocentrism’ refers to part or all of gynocentric culture, which phrase I define here as any culture instituting rules for gender relationships that benefit females at the expense of males across a broad range of measures.

At the base of gynocentric culture lies the practice of enforced male sacrifice for the benefit of women. If we accept this definition we can look back and ask whether male sacrifices throughout history were always made for the sake women, or alternatively for the sake of some other primary goal? For instance, when men went to die in vast numbers in wars, was it for women, or was it rather for Man, King, God and Country? If the latter we cannot then claim that this was a result of some intentional gynocentric culture, at least not in the way I have defined it here. If the sacrifice isn’t intended directly for the benefit women, even if women were occasional beneficiaries of male sacrifice, then we are not dealing with gynocentric culture.

Male utility and disposability strictly “for the benefit of women” comes in strongly only after the advent of the 12th century gender revolution in Europe – a revolution that delivered us terms like gallantry, chivalry, chivalric love, courtesy, damsels, romance and so on. From that period onward gynocentric practices grew exponentially, culminating in the demands of today’s feminism. In sum, gynocentrism (ie. gynocentric culture) was a patchy phenomenon at best before the middle ages, after which it became ubiquitous.

With this in mind it makes little sense to talk of gynocentric culture starting with the industrial revolution a mere 200 years ago (or 100 or even 30 yrs ago), or of it being two million years old as some would argue. We are not simply fighting two million years of genetic programming; our culturally constructed problem of gender inequity is much simpler to pinpoint and to potentially reverse. All we need do is look at the circumstances under which gynocentrism first began to flourish and attempt to reverse those circumstances. Specifically, that means rejecting the illusions of romantic love (feudalised love), along with the practices of misandry, male shaming and servitude that ultimately support it.

La Querelle des Femmes, and advocacy for women

The Querelle des Femmes translates as the “quarrel about women” and amounts to what we might today call a gender-war. The querelle had its beginning in twelfth century Europe and finds its culmination in the feminist-driven ideology of today (though some authors claim, unconvincingly, that the querelle came to an end in the 1700s). The basic theme of the centuries-long quarrel revolved, and continues to revolve, around advocacy for the rights, power and status of women, and thus Querelle des Femmes serves as the originating title for gynocentric discourse.

If we consider the longevity of this revolution we might be inclined to agree with Barbarossaaa’s claim “that feminism is a perpetual advocacy machine for women”.

To place the above events into a coherent timeline, chivalric servitude toward women was elaborated and given patronage first under the reign of Eleanor of Aquitaine (1137-1152) and instituted culturally throughout Europe over the subsequent 200 year period. After becoming thus entrenched on European soil there arose the Querelle des Femmes which refers to the advocacy culture that arose for protecting, perpetuating and increasing female power in relation to men that continues, in an unbroken tradition, in the efforts of contemporary feminism.12

Writings from the Middle Ages forward are full of testaments about men attempting to adapt to the feudalisation of love and the serving of women, along with the emotional agony, shame and sometimes physical violence they suffered in the process. Gynocentric chivalry and the associated querelle have not received much elaboration in men’s studies courses to-date, but with the emergence of new manuscripts and quality English translations it may be profitable to begin blazing this trail.13 For instance a text I was re-reading today, Ulrich von Liechtenstein’s ‘In The Service of Ladies’ (1250) provides a treasure trove of emotions faced by a man trying to adapt to the vassal role; texts like this could be included in syllabus and explored for a deeper understanding of male experience and the cultural expectations that are placed on men.

References

1. Oxford English Dictionary – Vers.4.0 (2009), Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199563838
2. Oxford English Dictionary 2010
3. Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Legalizing Misandry, 2006 p.116
4. Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Legalizing Misandry, 2006 p.309
5. Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Sanctifying Misandry, 2010 p.58
6. Wright, Peter, Gynocentrism: From Feudalism to Modern Disney Princesses, 2014 p.8
7. Wright, Peter, ‘The sexual-relations contract,’ Chapter 7 in Gynocentrism: From Feudalism to Modern Disney Princesses, 2014 p.28
8. C.S. Lewis, Friendship, chapter in The Four Loves, HarperCollins, 1960
9. C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love, Oxford University Press, 1936
10. Dictionary.com – Gynocentric
11. Adam Kostakis, Gynocentrism Theory – (Published online, 2011). Although Kostakis assumes gynocentrism has been around throughout recorded history, he singles out the Middle Ages for comment: “There is an enormous amount of continuity between the chivalric class code which arose in the Middle Ages and modern feminism… One could say that they are the same entity, which now exists in a more mature form – certainly, we are not dealing with two separate creatures.”
12. Joan Kelly, Early Feminist Theory and the Querelle des Femmes (1982), reprinted in Women, History and Theory, UCP (1984)
13. The New Male Studies Journal has published thoughtful articles touching on the history and influence of chivalry in the lives of males.

John Stuart Mill Wiki Commons

John Stuart Mill on chivalry

In 1869 John Stuart Mill published his gynocentric work The Subjection of Women (SOW), stating that while people everywhere were being freed from social roles, women remained tethered to theirs, stating: “Men hold women in subjection by representing to them meekness, submissiveness, and resignation of all individual will into the hands of a man, as an essential part of sexual attractiveness.” (SOW, p. 272). Ironically, Mill sympathizes with women’s subjection while lauding the male chivalry that women both inspired and were recipients of. Mill contends that male chivalry, however, was not always reliable and thus must give way to a more reliable, State-enforced protection and benevolence toward women.

In light of Mill’s gynocentrism, Ernest Belfort Bax published an incisive rejoinder to the book pointing out the greater injustices faced by men.

The following is a quote from Mill’s venerated SOW – PW

___________________

The moral influence of women: chivalry

The Proposal. John Pettie, R.A. (1839-1893). Oil On Canvas, 1869.
The other mode in which the effect of women’s opinion has been conspicuous is by giving a powerful stimulus to those qualities in men which, not being themselves trained in, it was necessary for them that they should find in their protectors. Courage, and the military virtues generally, have at all times been greatly indebted to the desire which men felt of being admired by women: and the stimulus reaches far beyond this one class of eminent qualities, since, by a very natural effect of their position, the best passport to the admiration and favour of women has always been to be thought highly of by men.

From the combination of the two kinds of moral influence thus exercised by women, arose the spirit of chivalry: the peculiarity of which is to aim at combining the highest standard of the warlike qualities with the cultivation of a totally different class of virtues – those of gentleness, generosity, and self-abnegation towards the non-military and defenseless classes generally, and a special submission and worship directed towards women; who were distinguished from the other defenceless classes by the high rewards which they had it in their power voluntarily to bestow on those who endeavoured to earn their favour, instead of extorting their subjection.

Though the practice of chivalry fell even more sadly short of its theoretic standard than practice generally falls below theory, it remains one of the most precious monuments of the moral history of our race; as a remarkable instance of a concerted and organised attempt by a most disorganised and distracted society, to raise up and carry into practice a moral ideal greatly in advance of its social condition and institutions; so much so as to have been completely frustrated in the main object, yet never entirely inefficacious, and which has left a most sensible, and for the most part a highly valuable impress on the ideas and feelings of all subsequent times.

The chivalrous ideal is the acme of the influence of women’s sentiments on the moral cultivation of mankind: and if women are to remain in their subordinate situation, it were greatly to be lamented that the chivalrous standard should have passed away, for it is the only one at all capable of mitigating the demoralising influences of that position. But the changes in the general state of the species rendered inevitable the substitution of a totally different ideal of morality for the chivalrous one.

Chivalry was the attempt to infuse moral elements into a state of society in which everything depended for good or evil on individual prowess, under the softening influences of individual delicacy and generosity. In modern societies, all things, even in the military department of affairs, are decided, not by individual effort, but by the combined operations of numbers; while the main occupation of society has changed from fighting to business, from military to industrial life. The exigencies of the new life are no more exclusive of the virtues of generosity than those of the old, but it no longer entirely depends on them.

The main foundations of the moral life of modern times must be justice and prudence; the respect of each for the rights of every other, and the ability of each to take care of himself. Chivalry left without legal check all those forms of wrong which reigned unpunished throughout society; it only encouraged a few to do right in preference to wrong, by the direction it gave to the instruments of praise and admiration. But the real dependence of morality must always be upon its penal sanctions – its power to deter from evil. The security of society cannot rest on merely rendering honour to right, a motive so comparatively weak in all but a few, and which on very many does not operate at all.

Modern society is able to repress wrong through all departments of life, by a fit exertion of the superior strength which civilisation has given it, and thus to render the existence of the weaker members of society (no longer defenseless but protected by law) tolerable to them, without reliance on the chivalrous feelings of those who are in a position to tyrannise. The beauties and graces of the chivalrous character are still what they were, but the rights of the weak, and the general comfort of human life, now rest on a far surer and steadier support; or rather, they do so in every relation of life except the conjugal.

Evolution

MGTOW: on the origin of cultural gynocentrism

A debate has recently emerged in the MGTOW community about whether runaway gynocentrism is biologically determined or a menace of cultural origin. The following videos outline the debate:

Turd Flinging Monkey: Is Gynocentrism Biological?

RBK: discussing Karen Straughan’s biological determinism model of gynocentrism.

lawshorizon: Gynocentrism: Learned or Biological

Lorenzo: Response to Turd Flinging Monkey’s “Is Gynocentrism Biological?”

Turd Flinging Monkey: Gynocentric Definitions

Colttaine: Runaway Gynocentrism TFM Response
Vid 

Colttaine and Stardusk: Gynocentrism, Biological Determinism, Evo-Psych and RBK

The unfolding discussion on the roots of runaway gynocentrism has serious ramifications for how MGTOW conceptualize and responded to it. If for instance one MGTOW adopts the biological determinist view, he may conclude that abandoning the world is the only viable option. Alternatively, the MGTOW who holds that gynocentrism is an extreme cultural exaggeration of human potential may choose to confront it head-on in the knowledge that it is not an inevitable fate for men to suffer. The debate continues….

Ladies women retro 1800s Wikipedia Commons

Auguste Comte’s cult of woman

The following excerpts are from Engendering the end of European history: Auguste Comte’s Cult of Woman at the Heart of The Western Republic by Professor Mike Gane. Auguste Comte (1798 – 1857) was the founder of the doctrine of positivism, founder of sociology (actually coining the term), and a champion of the idea that women should be placed at the reverential centre of human affairs. Read below to learn more about the Father of Sociology. — PW

__________

August Comte

“After completing the founding study of the law of the three states in 1842, his life and thought were deeply shaken by two events. The first was personal. He separated from his wife, Caroline Massin, in 1842, the very day he completed his first major work. In 1844 he began an intense emotional affair with Clotilde de Vaux, at her insistence platonic, which lasted until her death in 1846 at the age of thirty-two.1 The second event was the marked change in the social composition of French society and the experience of the revolution of 1848-1851, particularly the emergence of the proletariat as a political factor.

Clotilde de Vaux

Clotilde de Vaux

In the 1840s Comte’s method and conceptions went through considerable transformations. He rationalised his emotional life as a salutory purification and spiritualisation, and after her death Clotilde was transfigured into a saintly figure whose image Comte began to worship.2 Reassessing his own project he argued that all attempts to solve the western crisis through reason and science alone only exacerbated it. All reason, for him essentially masculine, could be effective in the human context only if guided by the moral and emotional superiority of love and affection, essentially feminine. Comte took his own experience of the sublimation of physical love as a necessary process for all those trying to resolve the social and cultural transition of the three states. He installed the maxims of Clotilde within the new religion of humanity in imitation of the medieval cult of the virgin mother.3

When he came to work out the logic of the revised strategy, he based the new construction on a subjective method: the law of the three states was to be completed by adding a theory of the emotions to the theory of science and industry. The final, third, state became, in Comte’s last version, a combination of science and fetishistic worship… This fundamental order was to be ruled by a purifying cult of woman, regarded as the centre of love and affection. In order to reach this final state there would be a transition period in which the dictatorship of the proletariat would purify economic life and the commercial spirit.4

comte-208x300“Comte’s thoughts on the new society were far from communistic. Against the revolutionary and communist visions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, Comte argued that the positive doctrine would legitimate a new hierarchical social order: in the economy it would legitimate differences of wealth, and in the family it would legitimate the separation of the sexes and the spiritual ascendency of women based on the realisation of the principle of virgin motherhood. Comte aimed to appeal to all sections of political opinion, radical and conservative, since he wanted to reveal precisely how each element fitted into a broad scheme of social progression.5

“Comte is just as radical in his proposal for a reorganisation of gender relations. Here his aim is to reverse the tendency to the debasement of love in Western culture, and to deal with the new phenomenon of feminism and the demand for equality between the sexes. Comte poses this issue again historically as a problem of the debasement of the ideals of chivalry and courtly love of the medieval period. His aim is to restore some substance to the idealization and purification which the medieval practice seem to inspire.6

He commends the principle of eternal widowhood (with certain limited exceptions which would have applied to Clotilde), and reasserts the value of the segregation of the sexes. The woman should obey the husband, but the latter should adopt the cult of women and guardian angels. Comte’s radical hypothesis, however, is that all sexual relations in society should be replaced by a utopia of the virgin mother. This utopia itself will reverse the decline in the status of women. The utopia would give women complete control over human reproduction. It is not absolutely clear just what Comte had in mind. There could be an organic development which itself would lead to a new hermaphroditic condition, or artificial insemination would become the norm.

The specific details of the cult of woman were developed and practised by Comte: the nature of the image, the prayers, the language, the gestures.7 the objective is purification and hygiene. What women will do is left an open question to be developed and solved by women themselves.8 His view is, however, that the physical act of sex so far as men are concerned is not principally to be understood in terms of reproduction but rather in terms of its sublimating function. Against the demands of feminism, for instance as exemplified by the demands of his wife Caroline Massin, he claimed that they could never form the basis of a set of stable human relationships, but produce only continuous metaphysical strife.

It is through the segregated and hierarchical structures, through idealisation and duty, that a new stability can be attained. In effect therefore, the Comtean programme for the family is intended to end the metaphysical phase within the domestic sphere. Once the final stage is achieved science itself comes to an end in a system of harmonised laws which are all conscious of their place in the totality. It seems at this point that life will be made up of rituals, ceremonials, re-enactments and reproductions of the various aspects of the three-state law. In this sense the law seems to reflect Comte’s own deep longing that the pain of the modern crisis be ended, as it predicts the certainty of a positive state in which everything will find its rightful place. Comte noted in 1852 that it is feeling which is;

the sole existing preservative of Western society from a complete and irreparable dissolution. Since the close of the Middle Ages, the influence of women has been the sole though unacknowledged check on the moral evils attaching to the mental alienation toward which the West more and more tended, especially its centre – France.

He insisted that it is only when men begin to think under ‘the inspiration of women’ can they ‘bring synthesis into constant harmony with sympathy.’9

“The final system of Comte’s sociology, with the modifications introduced from his reconstructed masculinity, suggests that the medieval system already attempted to install a cult of woman in the worship of the virgin. In 1853, Comte returned to the great western transition and again treated it in terms of the contrapuntal movements of its main phases.10 But Comte’s reorganisation of his explanatory forms did not change: he simply added a note at the beginning of the story indicating the fundamental but passive influence of women. –women preserved society from complete dissolution.11 At the other end of the account of the transition he added a note on the effect of the decisive influence of Clotilde to the reconstruction of the positive philosophy.12

Nevertheless the social topography of Comte’s later vision was strikingly different from the earlier one: the western revolution is an interregnum between two social systems in which the feminine principle, the heart, rules the masculine principle, the intellect. More and more the systems at both ends of the historical sequence became structurally identical. the scientific elite would become the priesthood of the new religion of humanity, but a religion without theology. Paris would replace Rome as the sacred heart of Europe, and Clotilde would replace Mary at the heart of a new cult.

 

Notes:

[1] I have discussed Comte’s personal relations and how they related to his intellectual development in M. Gane, Harmless Lovers? Gender, Theory and Personal Relationships (London, 1993), ch 6; and in ‘Unresolved Comte’ in Economy and Society, 24 (1995), 138-49.
[2] In the crisis of the insurrection in Paris in June 1848, Comte wrote a ‘Saint Clotilde,’ an address of commemoration on the anniversary of Clotilde’s death. In the address he referred to the ‘ill-omened detonations… of bloody conflict’ going on around him. He said, ‘I am indebted to thee for finding some pure satisfaction in a dreadful crisis… Though mingled with warlike sounds, I already hear indications that the human metropolis is returning to its normal condition. The carnage on both sides may have ceased, at least until the next conflict, which will be still more terrible, unless the working men now in arms shall have discovered their real camp.’ A. Comte, Confessions and Testament: And his Correspondence with Clotilde de Vaux, edited by A. Crompton (Liverpool, 1910). pp.349-57.
[3] For a typical statement of these relations see the Preface in A. Comte, System (New York, nd) vol 1, pp.ix-xxix.
[4] See Comte, System (New York, nd).
[5] These propositions were worked out in continuous outpourings in the years of positivism after 1847.
[6] All the main details of his ideas are expounded in A. Comte, System, (New York, nd), all four volumes.
[7] Comte might well have been influenced by the revival of Catholicism which emphasised Christian love. See a discussion of this in E. Berenson, ‘A new Religion of the Left: Christianity and Social Radicalism in France, 1815-48′ in The French Revolution and the Creation of Modern Political Culture, edited by E. Furet and M. Ozouf (Oxford, 1989), vol 3, ch 29. For details of Comte’s religious practice see for example the collection of texts in The Religion of Humanity, edited by A. Crompton (Liverpool, 1907).
[8] In effect Comte leaves women little room for choice since his sociology has already allocated women their role, function, and place in the final state.
[9] In Comte, Preface to The Catechism of Positivism, (London 1891).
[10] See A. Comte System, vol 3, pp.452-531.
[11] See Ibib. p.436.
[12] See Ibid. p.530.

Ladies women retro 1800s Wikipedia Commons

A Privileged and Pampered Sex?

The following Letter To The editor of Reynolds Newspaper in 1896 provides a snapshot of inequity before the law. Has anything changed? Well, no, it hasn’t. Each new generation of men assumes they are the very first to witness gynocentric forces, a delusion showing why it’s important for men to break past the historical amnesia and highlight gynocentrism’s longevity so that our sons and their sons don’t continue to get blindsided. – PW

__________________

A Privileged and Pampered Sex

TO THE EDITOR OF REYNOLDS NEWSPAPER

1896- Women a priviledged and Pampered Sex - Reynolds's Newspaper - Sunday 29 November 1896SIR,–A paragraph in your issue of the week before last stated that oakum-picking as a prison task had been abolished for women and the amusement of dressing dolls substituted. This is an interesting illustration of the way we are going at present, and gives cause to some reflection as to the rate at which a sex aristocracy is being established in our midst. While the inhumanity of our English prison system, in so far as it affects men, stands out as a disgrace to the age in the eyes of all Europe, houses of correction for female convicts are being converted into agreeable boudoirs and pleasant lounges.

A case in the police court before Sir John Bridge two or three weeks ago further brings into relief the sort of privilege and pampering accorded to one sex at the expense of the other. A woman of the town forced herself upon a young man going home at night and seized hold of his arm. On his shaking her off, the report says “she fell to the ground” (a well-known dodge). Sir John Bridge, on hearing the evidence, was bound to acquit the defendant, but added a rider to his judgement, advising the unfortunate man who had been first assaulted and then had a false charge brought against him, to compensate the woman with half-a-sovereign! Had some luckless male beggar (the brother, let us suppose, of the prosecutrix in this case), after having seized hold of a gentleman’s arm and been shaken off, “fallen to the ground,” and then prosecuted the said gentleman for assault, what would Sir John Bridge or any other Magistrate have said? Would he have suggested 10s. compensation or would he have given him ten weeks? I leave the reader to judge. But the several remarks with which Sir John accompanied his decision are especially noteworthy. He said in effect that “however badly these women behaved” the man ought not to resist them. In fact, the law of self-defence is to be suspended wherever females are the aggressors. This monstrous opinion is on par with the constant iteration in the present day of the “manly” duty of non-resistance and passive obedience to female domination.

We want, sir, a little of the sturdy, healthy, good sense of our ancestors to revisit the glimpses of the moon and speak out against these maudlin, whining, sentimentalisms, and tell us that there are occasions when women, despite the blithering weakness on which they sometimes presume, deserve as severe punishment in their own and the common interest as any male human being who grossly misbehaves himself. That anything in petticoats may ride roughshod over every requirement of decency, justice, or fair-play with impunity is a new doctrine, being assiduously preached, sauced with whimpering appeals to men’s chivalry, gallantry, and the rest of it. Woman’s “weakness” is now fast becoming as oppressive an engine of tyranny and inequality as exists in this or any other country. For though the rich man can sometimes buy off his tormentor, the poor man is handed over by the law, gagged and bound, to the caprices of any vile shrew whom in an evil moment for him he may have made his wife.

I am personally in favour of the abolition of corporal punishment, as I am of existing prison inhumanities, for both sexes, but the snivelling sentiment which exempts females on the ground of sex from every disagreeable consequence of their actions, only strengthens on the one side every abuse which it touches on the other. Yet we are continuously having the din of the “women’s rights” agitation in our ears. I think it is time we gave a little attention to men’s rights, and equality between the sexes from the male point of view.–Yours, &c.,

A MANLY PROTESTOR

Henpecked Husbands First page

The history of the “Henpecked Club”

“Many a good man of the Henpecked Club has to be on his good behaviour in order to keep on anything like peaceable footing with his better half.” – (1860)1

It may come as a surprise to readers to learn that the Good Men Project is only the most recent incarnation of a longer tradition teaching men how to be dutiful ‘good men’ toward women.

The Good Men Project takes its place within a long-running tradition exemplified by ‘The Henpecked Club’ — a very real organization, global in scope, that has been in continuous operation for at least the last 200 years.

The Henpecked Club, essentially a project for creating Good Men™, consists of an international network of meeting-places where men came for marital support, especially when enduring emotional and physical abuse from wives. In this aspect the club reminds of Al-Anon, the modern support-movement for spouses of alcoholics. However, the club members had a strange way of showing support; they actively encouraged husbands to tolerate their wives’ abuse, and to placate her with any means necessary to moderate her behaviours. Henpecked Club members, moreover, were expected to take their wives breakfast in bed daily, and to do most of the household chores, even after a hard day’s work, with the hope that this would place wives in a more amiable frame of mind or – perhaps more accurately – in a less abusive mood.

Men were also advised to absorb any violence or abuse without complaint, stoically tolerating it so as not to provoke or further upset his wife. This, explained club policy, was how one become a ‘good man.’ If his wife continued with her abuse after these conciliatory gestures, Club officials would ask the man what he may have unwittingly done to provoke her, followed by “How might you better serve her so she doesn’t become upset again?” The answer to that question was typically for the husband to do more housework, but there was also a novel intervention of ‘rocking a wife to sleep,’ of which I will say more shortly.

Henpecked clubs existed in their hundreds from the 1700s through to contemporary times, and in places as diverse as England, Austria, USA, Germany, France, Australia, Yugoslavia, China, and Japan.

Why haven’t we heard of these clubs (many containing several hundred members struggling to find ways to deal with difficult marriages) in an age when we are so hyper-focused on gender relations? Not even a peep from historians, despite the availability of material about Henpecked Clubs. Why?

Because it doesn’t chime with the image of a ‘dominant patriarchal husband’ proffered in modern interpretations of history.

So in a gesture of redressing history, here is small part of an 1810 book entitled, Some Account of that Ancient and Honourable Society, Vulgarly Denominated The Henpecked Club – showing that the project of creating ‘good men’ has been going on for at least 200 years, and probably more:

“[Husbands] submit to the pleasing bondage of their wives, in as great numbers, and with as much good will, as in any enlightened period of ancient or modern times.

Henpecked-Club-cover-page-single“Henpeckicism, which has been graced by ranking as its Members the greater part of the most celebrated men who have appeared since the creation to the present day, whether legislators, philosophers, conquerors, poets of divines, requires no other argument to vindicate and establish its right to the most extensive influence and operation, than the language of every lover, who readily acknowledges himself to be, and swears to continue, the slave of his mistress, before marriage; ergo, he who denies her supremacy, when she becomes his wife, is guilty of the most criminal and unnatural rebellion against womanly authority that God himself have set over him. If other arguments were wanted, however, many might be adduced to prove that the superiority of the female is an ordination of Nature. For example, the noblest or fiercest dog will tamely submit to the snarling and snapping of the most pitiful bitch of the species.”

“For in Henpeckicism there is no distinction: the peerless woman lords it over her vassal even as the peasant: All are equally comprised in the description so happily given by the poet:

“The crouching vassal of the tyrant wife,
“Who has no sixpence but in her possession,
“Who has no will but in her high permission,
“Who must to her his dear friends secrets tell,
“Who dreads a curtain lecture worse than hell”

“The rules observed by the Members of those Meetings were every way adapted to preserve the existence of the institution. Such Members as had the honour of receiving a black eye from their spouses, were entitled to an allowance of 10s. 6d. per week, for so long as the glorious colouring remained: The allowance for two black eyes was £1 1s 0d. In all cases, proof was required that the contusion was received according to the true spirit of genuine Henpeckicism, that is, without resistance or murmuring, according to the example of that inestimable deceased Member, Socrates, who, together with his Lady, is alluded to by the poet in the following lines:

“How oft she scolded in a day he knew,
“How many pisspots at the sage she threw,
“Who took it patiently, and wip’d his head-
Rain follows thunder – that was all he said.”

Such married men as had not the honour to appertain to the Society, were earnestly requested to attend these Meetings, not as Members, but as visitors, in order that they might be induced to unite themselves with it, by witnessing the perfect happiness which it was calculated to confer. For what happiness can be greater than that of belonging to a spouse who takes upon herself the weighty care of regulating not only her own conduct, but that of her husband and the rest of her family; to a spouse who takes the trouble of receiving and paying all money; to a spouse who kindly undertakes the task of judging for her husband (in every occurence) of what is proper for him to do; of what time he should spend in public houses; of how much money he must expend; of what secrets ought to be retained in his or rather her possession, and of what ought to be divulged to the world? In short, she who takes upon herself all anxiety, all trouble, and leaves to her darling husband nothing to do but the delightful task of executing her commands; well remembering that:

“His proper body is not his, but mine,
“For so said Paul, and Paul’s a sound divine.”

The design and ostensible object of the Institution having always been to preserve, and even, if possible, to extend the just and laudable dominion of the fair sex, the several meetings thought it proper, also, to request the attendance of bachelors, not merely with a view that they might be benefited by witnessing such perfect examples of submission, but that those bachelors who had not yet turned their thoughts toward matrimony, or who might have overlooked so great an inducement to enter into the married state as the existence of out Institution, might be induced, as early as possible, to place themselves on a level, in this respect, with most of the greatest men in the world.

“The most common methods by which females attempt the full exercise of that unlimited power which of right belongs to them, is, at a very early period after marriage, to become extremely noisy and abusive, and to make a point of dealing out blame very liberally to their husbands for every action which they commit, whether they are really of the opinion that their conduct has been reprehensible or not. This method is at some times attended by blows. Though a vigorous and persevering course of this treatment may frequently be successful, yet there is considerable danger of resistance from those brutal fellows injudiciously termed men of spirit, a resistance which may be attended with consequences extremely injurious to female countenance. I would strenuously recommend this method be pursued by women, however, with all those effeminate characters who are more afraid of sustaining a drubbing, than eager to vindicate their title to manhood, as would especially advise it to be practiced on the whole tribe of fops or puppies, creatures possessed of no better proofs that they are privileged to rank as men, than that they have two legs and wear breeches.

“Some women pursue a course quite the opposite of this, and with greater success. They at one time load their husbands with caresses, magnify their own affection, and seem to have no other avocation worth their attention but that of convincing them that the sole study of their lives will be to invent fresh blandishments, and to render them in all respects completely happy. At other times, however, they affect a sulkiness of behaviour: a sudden and sullen gloom succeeds their former cheerfulness; they sigh frequently, and burst into floods of tears; nay, they are even seized with swoonings and hysterics.

The wretched husband of such a wife, alarmed at these surprising symptoms, anxiously enquires the cause. She affects to evade the question–he becomes more importunate–she persists in declining to assign a reason–his importunities are redoubled–till he is at last informed, with gentle reproaches and a burst of grief, that he himself is breaking her heart; that the reward of all her love is his neglect, &c. &c. Astonished at a charge which he is wholly unconscious of having merited, he at first endeavours to ridicule what he terms her childish uneasiness. She affects, however, still to doubt–he makes solemn protestations of his innocence; and they are reconciled. In a few days, however, the same farce is played out again, and again, and again, till the unhappy man is at length almost convinced, contrary to the evidence of his own senses, that his conduct has been criminal. Nay, to pacify his afflicted partner, he is even brought to confess his imaginary faults, and to promise amendment in the future. For fear of unintentionally giving offence, he learns to keep a strict watch over his own actions, becomes afraid to take any notice of those of his wife, and is, for the same reason, cautious of contradicting her, lest his cruelty should cause her to swoon; and, in short, becomes a Member of the Henpecked Society.

“Though the great object of our Society is to extend the domination of the female sex, it is far from being its intention to obtain that end by such reprehensible or unhappy means. The only worthy Members of the Society are those who have become so, as much by conviction of its utility, as by entertaining a due sense of the superiority of their wives. All such Members, however, have been treated in a manner very different from the preceding. They have (and let every wife endeavour to follow the same plan) been first brought to acknowledge that their wives, by their care and economy, were better adapted than Themselves to manage their concerns; have been satisfied, by their attentive behaviour, that they were well qualified to govern their families; and have been convinced, by their mildness and moderation, that the authority with which they were invested would never be abused. In such a family, resistance will never be attempted. Commands from the one party will be met by prompt obedience from the other. Perpetual harmony will be established; and correction, when necessary, will be submitted to, according to the fundamental rule of the Society, without murmuring and without resistance.”

The Good Man’s Wife Pacifier

Henpeck’d Club’s Peace Box – Patent Cure for a Cross Wife

Henpeck’d Club’s Peace Box – Patent Cure for a Cross Wife

The good men of the Henpecked Club were responsible for an interesting innovation: an adult-sized rocking cradle, which was used for soothing nagging wives instead of babies. If you look closely you can see curved feet that allowed the cradle to be gently rocked from side-to-side by the dutiful husband.

The ‘Peace Box’ was invented by a club member named Harry Tap in 1862, and several were manufactured for hire by Henpecked Club members suffering under tempestuous behaviour from wives. If a wife was abusing her husband too much, the husband would entreat his wife to recline in the box, which could be rocked like a child’s cot in order to send the wife to sleep. While she was sleeping the husband would perform all the household chores then awaken his wife who would hopefully have calmed down.

With those juicy historical morsels now in the open, we seem to have come full circle, back to the future. Here we remain, with hat in hand, beseeching Dear Woman for forgiveness for having displeased her, hoping that she will notice how hard we are trying to be good men.

You may at this point be feeling nauseous in the knowledge that men have been kowtowing to such abuse for hundreds if not thousands of years, and yet we’re still being asked to to Take It Like A Man™, Man Up™, and be Good Men™. If you are feeling that way you are not alone, and with the growing swell of men and women you can help bring an end to such appalling gynocentric customs.

SOURCES:

[1] Huddersfield Chronicle – Saturday 11 August 1860

“1933 Men’s Association” – London

The following newspaper clippings provide evidence of a men’s advocacy organization formed in 1933. The organization was concerned with the “pampering” of women to the detriment of men, in what the organization considered the increasing gynocentric culture of England.

Western Gazette – Friday 10 November 1933
Western Gazette - Friday 10 November 1933

Edinburgh Evening News – Saturday 11 November 1933
Edinburgh Evening News - Saturday 11 November 1933

Nottingham Evening Post – Thursday 16 November 1933
Nottingham Evening Post - Thursday 16 November 1933

Nottingham Evening Post – Saturday 03 February 1934
Nottingham Evening Post - Saturday 03 February 1934

Killing the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs (1928)

The following article entitled ‘Killing the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs,’ penned by Dorothy Dix appeared in 1929, foreshadowing many of the key issues raised by Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) today. PW

MGTOW

I often wonder that the modern woman does not perceive that she is killing the goose that lays the golden egg by her attitude toward men. By which I mean to say that it is women themselves who are destroying the things that they value most in life. It is women’s hands that are tearing to tatters the chiffons of romance and sentiment and idealism in which men have always clothed them. It is women who are stifling tenderness and slaying chivalry in the hearts of men. It is women who are doing away with all the graces and sweetnesses that made charm in the relationship between men and women and that incidentally lured men into matrimony.

For women are making men afraid of them and what they will do to them and that makes men cold and cautious in dealing with the fair sex. Even Romeo watches his step and counts the calories in his sweet talk when he keeps a date with Juliet nowadays.

Women don’t like this. They complain bitterly that there are no impassioned lovers. They say that young men are so afraid they may compromise themselves by their attentions to a girl that ten minutes alter meeting her they serve notice on her that they have no intention of marrying and that even one’s fiance’s letters read like a communication about the state of the stock market instead of being an outpouring of burning affection.

And women don’t seem to see that they are to blind for this state of affairs und that the reason for it is because they have taken love and lovemaking and even marriage out of the realm of sentiment and pinned a price tag on them and commercialized them. They have made men pay through the nose for romantic dalliance and idle words said on a moonlight night, and that is why Dan Cupid, who is no bill collector, has packed up his arrows and fled the scene.

Thus have many women been cut out of the pleasure and excitement of playing the love game, for no man dares take a hand in that now unless he is ready to pay up if the lady calls his bluff.

In our mother’s time it is doubtful if there was any woman so unattractive that some man at some time didn’t whisper soft nothing in her ear and tell her what beautiful eyes she had and how different she was from all other women and how the first time he ever saw her he felt that she was the only woman who ever really understood him and how sweet life would be if he could have such a woman as the by his side and who didn’t send her gooey songs and slushy poetry.

But now it is a common thing to have an attractive woman in her 30s or 40s tell you that she never had a beau in her life and that the nearest approach to sentiment she has ever heard from any man is when her boss said: “Miss Pothooks, you certainly are a peach of a stenographer and I don’t know how I would get along without you.”

The reason for this is, of course, that men are afraid to make love to a girl unless they are prepared to lead her to the altar. For over their heads dangles the sword of the breach-of-promise suit. They have seen Juliet cashing in too often on Romeo’s unguarded vows to take any chances themselves.

Now, of course, every woman yearns to be deeply and truly loved and to feel that some man is mad about her, but synthetic love is better than no love at all, and every woman would rather have been philandered with than to have been passed over entirely. The flirtations give her a tag end of romance at least to tuck away in her memory and to keep her from feeling that she was wholly lacking in attraction to men.

Also, man, women who have good jobs with fat pay envelopes and who are interested in their business or professions don’t want to marry, but they do enjoy the society of men, which they might have if the predatory women hadn’t made feminine companionship such a hazardous and expensive luxury for men to indulge themselves in.

And there is the matter of love letters. Men used to pour forth their souls to their souls to their lady loves in beautiful poetic letters that were like the beating of a heart in one’s hand. There are love letters that have come crown through the ages to us as gems of literature, and in the old days every woman had packets of love letters, tied with blue ribbon, hidden away among her treasures that she took out and read when she was old and that brought her girlhood flooding back upon her once more. Grandma wore grandpa’s love letters under her laces on her breast.

But the love letter has become as extinct as the Dodo. The modern youth when, away from his sweetie communicates, with her by radio or wireless or telegraph or he dictates it to a stenographer, and if the modern girl should put her steady’s letter above her Heart she would think she had an ice pack on and get a chill.

Why? Because women have made men afraid to write love letters. They have seen too many people snickering as they read some man’s impassioned maunderings in the newspapers and they know none but tae foolhardy put down in black and white on paper the sentiments that seem so sweet and noble when they are written and that sound such idiotic twaddle when they are read aloud in court or appear in print.

Worse still, women are keeping men from marrying by demanding so much alimony that it makes matrimony not only a gamble in happiness but the most risky financial speculation they can engage in.

Under the present laws a man can marry a girl who makes no effort in any way to be a good wife. She can refuse to keep house, refuse to bear children. She can be lazy, extravagant, high-tempered, nagging and make his life a torment to him, yet she can force him to support her as long as he lives. And, such being the case, it is not strange that prudent men are shying of more and more from the altar.

These are facts which I respectfully submit to my sister women. And I would also call their attention to what happened to the greedy woman who killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

DOROTHY DIX.

Source:

“Why Can’t The Modern Woman See That She Is Killing the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs When She Places a Commercial Value on Every Endearment a Man Utters, Cries Dorothy Dix,” syndicated, The Bee (Danville, W. Va.), Dec. 6, 1929, p. 12.