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About gynocentrism

The golden casket above depicts scenes of servile male behaviour toward women that 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 rope or halter in a position of subservience.

It is 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.”1 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.” 2

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. Furthermore, unless evidence of broadspread 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”.

The term gynocentrism has been in circulation since the 1800′s, with the general definition being “focused on women; concerned with only women.” 3 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.” 4 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 will 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.

Querelle des Femmes and perpetual advocacy for gynocentrism

The Querelle des Femmes translates as the “quarrel about women” and amounts to what we might today call a gender-war. The querelle des Femmes had its beginning in the twelfth century 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. 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.5

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.6 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. C.S. Lewis, Friendship, chapter in The Four Loves, HarperCollins, 1960
2. C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love, Oxford University Press, 1936
3. Dictionary.com – Gynocentric
4. 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.”
5. Joan Kelly, Early Feminist Theory and the Querelle des Femmes (1982), reprinted in Women, History and Theory, UCP (1984)
6. The New Male Studies Journal has published thoughtful articles touching on the history and influence of chivalry in the lives of males.

DOSBO – actual and potential

The following are a few mental notes on the MGTOW topic of Determination of self by other (DOSBO) which may be worked into a longer article when time allows – PW.

Chains commons free

By now many would be familiar with the concept of male self-determination as a basic working definition for MGTOW. Self-determination is the practice whereby a man makes choices and decisions based on his own preferences and interests, monitors and regulates his own actions, and is generally self-directing.

Simple enough.

That leads to a consideration the opposite of male self-determination, i.e., determination of self by other (DOSBO). DOSBO limits the definition of MGTOW and negates the claim that MGTOW can mean anything a person wants it to mean. By applying the DOSBO rule, no person can qualify as MGTOW if he hands over a significant amount of his sovereignty to another.

let’s take a look at some examples of DOSBO.

#Example 1: Profeminist men.

On the face of it we might assume that profeminist men are self-determined for having made a choice to be led by the spirit and letter feminism. But that amounts to a false assumption.

The only self-determined decision such men make is an initial one to give up self-determination altogether in favor of determination of self by other—which is of course the antithesis of self-determination and doesn’t qualify as MGTOW.

#Example 2: Married men.

This example is a bit trickier because it raises the question of whether the DOSBO factor is actual or merely potential for a particular married man. Marriage as an institution carries many cultural and legal values, from the symbolizing of a couple’s love in ritualized form, through to cultural and legal implimentation of a gynocentric contract.

So the question we have to ask about any man entering into marriage is this: is he entering the marriage to wilfully participate in a gynocentric charade? Sadly, the vast majority of men are doing precisely that, which indicates that the DOSBO factor is actual — such a man cannot qualify as MGTOW under this definition.

Alternatively, if a couple undertake to symbolize their love through the ritual of marriage, while imagining they are rejecting the gynocentric aspect imposed by the State, can that man call himself a MGTOW while the DOSBO factor looms in potential due to his wife’s latent legal power? Is this man, rare as he may be, a MGTOW?

This is where I stop short of saying he absolutely cannot be – although I would certainly call him foolhardy if he entered a marriage while knowing the enormous risks involved. He is actually a MGHOW in appearance, but he is potentially a man whose life can be determined by his wife and the government if she so chooses. While I look at what is actual instead of what is potential, I feel forced to conclude that he retains some semblance of a MGHOW.

Couple role playing with dog leash

How to tame men – gynocentrism style

Horses, dogs and men have one thing in common; they need training in order to shed their wild ways and become civilized. They need to be taught when to walk, run, sit, shit, play, work and, of course, when to cease fighting and attempting rape.

Women will do this for them.

From the pony club to the dog obedience class, and all the way through to wedding and relationship-advice magazines teaching “How to get him to do xyz,” – women dominate the field of animal training.

Starting in childhood, girls are educated in the Pavlovian school of human interactions, learning sexual manipulation, shaming and relational aggression as powerful techniques that if properly applied, will help transform men, and even the baddest of badboys, into proverbial Good Men.™ Is it any wonder then that when a woman sees a badboy she sees a creature with ‘train me’ written across his forehead, a task for which her whole life has been but a preparation….. a lady won’t tolerate a feral animal wandering through the gynosphere, especially a handsome one, when she has the wherewithal to civilize him.

Lets take a little excursion through the history of taming.

Ancient Greece

Marriage is a particularly useful method by which men are tamed, so it’s no surprise that the institution has been around for thousands of years. Hera, the Ancient Greek goddess of marriage was nicknamed ‘The Tamer.’ She tamed horses, men and heroes and in some places was recognized as the tamer of the seasons, of nature, or of the universe itself.

Hera’s goal was to limit wildness and freedom by placing all creatures in service of civilized society. Her main tools-for-taming were the entrapment of men and women in marriage, the use of her own sexuality as an enticement for conformity, shaming, and aggressive punishment of any rebellious behaviours – even for her lordly husband Zeus: “Hera’s cruel rage tamed him.”1

Hera was worshipped as ‘Goddess of the yoke,’ an enslaving device symbolizing her desire to make utilities out of beasts and men. She yoked obedient men to wives, and yoked heroes to an inevitable death through their performance of labours that bring betterment to women and society.

In the Illiad Hera is said to tame heroes through death, not marriage. Death through service to others was considered -and is still considered- something appropriate for males and for their own good. In The Myth of Male Power Warren Farrell recounts a Greek story which illustrates the problem:

The Hero As Slave:

Yoke-commons
Once upon a time, a mother who wanted to see the beautiful statue of Hera had no oxes or horses to carry her there. But she did have two sons. And the sons wanted more than anything to make their mother’s wish come true. They volunteered to yoke themselves to a cart and take her over the mountains in the scorching heat to the faraway village of Argos, the home of the statue of Hera (the wife of Zeus). Upon their arrival in Argos, the sons were cheered and statues (that can be found to this day) were built in their honor. Their mother prayed that Hera give her sons the best gift in her power. Hera did that. The boys died. The traditional interpretation? The best thing that can happen to a man is to die at the height of his glory and power. Yet had this been a myth of two daughters who had substituted themselves for oxen to carry their father somewhere, would we have interpreted the daughters’ deaths as proof that the best thing that can happen to a woman is to die at the height of her glory and power? The statues and cheers can be seen as bribes for the sons to value their lives less than their mother’s request to view a statue. The fact that the statue was of Hera, the queen of the Olympian gods and protector of married women is symbolic. The sons’ sacrifice symbolized the mandate for men to become strong enough to serve the needs of mothers and marriage, and to be willing to call it glory if they died in the process. Which is why the name Hercules means “for the glory of Hera”.2

Yes these are myths, but on this topic life had a way of imitating art. Those who wrote the stories were drawing on experience to some extent, and married couples re-enacted the selfsame rituals of Hera and Zeus. In the marriage month (Gamelion ) the mythical marriage of Hera and Zeus was reenacted and celebrated with public festivities, a time when many couples would get married in imitation of the divine couple. On these occasions prayers and offerings were given to Hera, and the bride would pledge fidelity to extending Hera’s dominion on earth.

Women of Ancient Greece were considered, along with men, to be uncivilized and in need of taming for the greater good of society. Both sexes required a reconstruction in character and a submission to social responsibilities. Such was also the case in the Near East where an emerging Christian culture claimed that men and women were made of flawed stuff; women were born in original sin with Eve, sinful to the core, and were encouraged to aspire to the status of the holy and pure Virgin Mary. Likewise men were born in original sin and invited to improve their condition with an de imitatione Christi, an imitation of Christ in order to bleach the stains from their imperfect souls.

While men and women in ancient times possessed equality in the depravity stakes, this was all to change in the Middle ages.

Middle Ages

Fast forward to medieval times and we see a continuation of the desire to civilize human behaviour, except this time women are exempt from the taming to which the classical age subjected both sexes. By dint of a peculiar intersection of social beliefs, women came to be viewed as perfected from birth – due largely to the fact that worship of the Virgin Mary became amplified in the eleventh century and, by extension, the reverence bestowed upon the Virgin was extended to the female sex in general. As Mary was perfect, so too became women.

No longer like the Biblical Eve striving to imitate the Mother of Christ, woman becomes Mary’s counterpart on earth, and thus the cult of the “lady” is born as a mirror of the cult of the Virgin. Men for their part remain in a thoroughly fallen state like Adam while striving to imitate Jesus – knowing full well they will fall short of the goal. To enjoy the company of a lady a man must now prove himself worthy of her and so advance upward, step by step, toward a culminating union at her level; because everything noble and virtuous, everything that makes life worth living, proceeds from women, who are even described as the source of goodness itself.3

Mediaeval image of a woman leading a man with a leash or halter.

Mediaeval image of a woman leading a man with a leash or halter.

Mediaeval image of a woman leading a man with a leash or halter.[/caption]With the advent of women becoming men’s moral superiors, it’s here that men become the servants of women proper. It’s here also that the reciprocal service previously entertained between the sexes begins its gradual decline in favour of gynocentrism. As the faithful owed obeisance to The Virgin, henceforth man must render his obeisance to the Virgin’s earthly counterparts. Over the subsequent 100 years women even came to be viewed through the lens of the feudal contract whereby she became his overlord (midons ), and he the vassal in dutiful service. It would be woman whose role it became to civilize the depraved, fallen creature called man by teaching him the gynocentric virtues of chivalry and courtly love.

Contemporary attitudes

Contemporary perspectives about civilizing males are divided between two superficially opposed camps – traditionalist women, and progressive feminists. I say superficially opposed because when the goals of both groups are compared they amount to exactly the same thing: the belief that morally superior women should enculture men into the arts of chivalry and gentlemanliness for the benefit of women.

Lifelong feminist and former National Organization for Women member, Tammy Bruce, has articulated what she feels is the time-honoured power of women; of being morally superior to men which includes the feminist responsibility to civilizing men’s animalistic tendencies:

Nothing new under the sun, hey?

Another feminist, Christina Hoff-Sommers agrees with this idea that men need to be civilized with chivalric manners, a belief she outlined in an interview with Emily Esfahani Smith, where she said, “Masculinity with morality and civility is a very powerful force for good. But masculinity without these virtues is dangerous—even lethal.” “Chivalry is grounded in a fundamental reality that defines the relationship between the sexes,” explained Sommers, “and given that most men are physically stronger than most women, men can overpower women at any time to get what they want.” “If women give up on chivalry, it will be gone,” continued Sommers. “If boys can get away with being boorish, they will, happily. Women will pay the price.”4

Sommers elaborates her view in a 2009 interview with Ben Domenech:

Christina Hoff-Sommers: Codes of gallantry and civility that developed over the centuries have served women very well. We badly need more of that male gallantry, but I hasten to say it’s a reciprocal system. If males are going to be gallant then women also have a role to play. So today I think both sexes are remiss in nurturing this system.

Ben Domenech: What in this era of post feminism that we live in today relationally would be the possible incentive for any man to be gallant when there doesn’t seem to be any
particular reason that he has to be in order to function within today’s relationship world?

Christina Hoff-Sommers: It’s an interesting question because one of the things you find today is that most young men are gallant, and they are respectful, at least they are struggling to be. When I interview young men I ask them if they think it’s a good thing to be a gentleman and almost all of them say yes- that word gentleman has a positive resonance with young men. Now, do they know how to be gentlemen, do they know what it entails? Many do not. And same with some young women, they are not necessarily behaving like ladies. So there’s a lot of misunderstanding and lack of, perhaps, motivation. But it’s still alive in people. I think still on a typical date a young man would pay for his date – it doesn’t always happen in which case a girl would be resentful, and I can understand that…. These are gestures, I’m talking about certain gestures of respect – they need to be there and I think most women want them and I think men do too.

Ben Domenech: So why is that important – and I don’t just mean that in the sense of continuing a relationship but in the larger sense of the term, and this is a frame that I have to ask you about: if the incentive there is a relationship that is going to lead to something, does it matter that the something is beyond the typical aspirations of today’s men and women which seems to be more along the lines of a sex based relationship as opposed to one that actually has a longer term value beyond that prognosis.

Christina Hoff-Sommers: I think human beings at some point in their lives want something beyond a sex based relation. If you are going to build a relationship with someone it has been the case that women are going to be more likely to want to stay home and take care of the children, or certainly be more focused on that than the men, and I don’t see that changing.

Ben Domenech: As a single dating male in today’s environment there’s a much lower bar that they have to clear, frankly, in order to bounce around the relationship scene with a good deal of happiness, at least in the temporary sense.

Christina Hoff-Sommers: Oh I have to agree, and I think in a way women sort of undid the social contract with men and released them from all the constraints. And we pay the price.5

For the sake of argument, and in order to demonstrate that progressive gynocentrism and traditionalist gynocentrism are both chasing male-only chivalry, here is a recent ‘tradition-advocating’ article by antifeminist Patrice Lewis that appears strikingly similar to the progressive model offered above by Bruce and Hoff-Sommers:

I admire men.

Specifically, I admire men who are controlled, confident and who fulfill their biological destiny as protectors and providers. Men are essential for training boys to tame the testosterone and channel their natural strengths and aggressiveness in appropriate ways. Trained men are, in the words of columnist Dennis Prager, the glory of civilization. (It goes without saying that untrained men are its scourge, but that’s another column.)

Couple role playing with dog leashMen – trained, manly men – are necessary for a balanced society. They take on the tough ugly hard jobs women can’t or won’t do. They mine our coal and fight our fires and protect our shores and fix our engines and rescue our butts when we’re in danger. They truck our goods and clean our pipes and wire our homes. They plow fields and grow food. They butcher livestock so we can buy meat in tidy sanitized packages in the grocery store and pretend it never came from a cow.

I’m not saying women can’t be found in those fields; but let’s be honest: The vast majority of workers in hard, dangerous, dirty and heavy fields are men. They deserve our praise and gratitude.

Which is why I get so ticked off when feminists belittle men. These kinds of women don’t admire manly men who protect and provide. Feminists don’t want warriors; they want servants who will kowtow to their emotions and feeeeeeelings. They prefer emasculated androgynous guys who wouldn’t know one end of a rifle from the other. Guys who watch chick flicks with them. Guys who know what temperature to wash the dainties. Guys who are preoccupied with “social justice” and bringing their carbon footprint down to zero.6

Lewis’s argument above that boys are juicing with testosterone and need “taming” reveals an unbroken, and mythical conception of men stemming from ancient times – and it is wrong. Men are not born as wild animals in a testosterone-fuelled psychosis waiting to tear people from limb to limb. We need not buy our sons punching bags nor insert them into football training from 2 years of age to channel some androgen-fuelled chaos (doing it for fun, though, is another reason). The claim that men are unclean, bestial creatures in need of taming is not only false – it is extreme misandry and it needs to be challenged head on with each bigot who perpetuates it.

The above survey of man-taming by women spanning all the way from Ancient Greece, and through progressive feminism to regressive traditionalism, shows what we are up against. Nothing whatsoever has changed; chivalric servitude of men, trained into them by women (yes and by men), remains the order of the day. The one timeless voice echoing through all this is the monomyth of the animal-trainer – womankind and her pussy whip.

With the continuing encouragement of women to be slavemasters, and their enthusiasm to take on the role, is it any surprise that the majority of horse and dog training schools – obedience classes – are peopled by women? That so many little girls desire to possess their own pony is a no-brainer, and it’s time we woke up to what this expensive little pastime symbolizes – the racing of horses may be the sport of Kings, but training of ponies is for the delight of princesses.

In a modern ‘enlightened’ society it’s high time to ditch the idea that males, and only males, need taming. Lets instead rely on men’s natural human empathy, a thing that exists in both sexes before the training begins. If you see a baby boy begin crying after he hears another baby crying nearby, it’s a demonstration of empathy that is there from the start. Like girls, boys develop mirror neurons which predispose them to be caring as they develop – we don’t need to see them as heartless beasts in need of taming, curtailing or genitally maiming. So let’s cease with the gynocentric boot-camp for males; they are already trained from the start by their own good natures – yes, men are good.

Sources:

[1] Joan O’Brien, ‘The Tamer of Heroes and Horses,’ Chapter 6E in The Transformation of Hera, Rowman and Littlefield, (1993)
[2] Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power, Simon and Schuster, (1993)
[3] Irving Singer, Love: Courtly and Romatic, UCP, 1984
[4] Emily Esfahani Smith, ‘Let’s Give Chivalry Another Chance’ The Atlantic, Dec 10 2012
[5] Interview with Christina Hoff-Sommers, “The Acculturated Podcast: Ladies and Gentlemen” 2009
[6] Patrice Lewis, ‘Feminism Has Slain Our Protectors,’ WND, 09/12/2014

Enterprise of the Green Shield with the White Lady

White Lady on Green Shield
The “Enterprise of the Green Shield with the White Lady” (Emprise de l’Escu vert à la Dame Blanche) was a chivalric order founded by Jean Le Maingre and twelve knights in 1399, committing themselves for the duration of five years. Inspired by the ideal of courtly love, the stated purpose of the order was to guard and defend the honor, estate, goods, reputation, fame and praise of all ladies, including widows. It was an undertaking that earned the praise of protofeminist Christine de Pizan.

Foundation

According to his Livre des faits, in 1399 Jean Le Maingre, tired of receiving complaints from ladies, maidens, and widows oppressed by powerful men bent on depriving them of the lands and honours, and finding no knight of squire willing to defend their just cause, out of compassion and charity founded an order of twelve knights sworn to carry “a shield of gold enamelled with green and a white lady inside” (une targe d’or esmaillé de verd & tout une dame blanche dedans). The twelve knights, after swearing this oath, affirmed a long letter explaining their purpose and disseminated it widely in France and beyond her borders.

The letter explained that any lady young or old finding herself the victim of injustice could petition one or more or the knights of the ‘Enterprise of the Green Shield with the White Lady’ for redress and that knight would respond promptly and leave whatever other task he was performing to fight the lady’s oppressor personally. The twelve knights promised not just this, however. They offered also to release any other knight from a vow requiring him to fight a duel before a judge. The letter was signed 11 April 1399 by Jean le Maingre, Charles d’Albret, Geffroi le Maingre, François d’Aubrecicourt, Jean de Lignères, Chambrillac, Castelbayac, Gaucourt, Chasteaumorant, Betas, Bonnebaut, Colleville, and Torsay.

Symbols

The emblem of the order was the shield of gold enamelled with green and a white lady inside. It seems reasonable to believe that the dame blanche represented the purity of women which the knights of the order were to protect; what the green background signified is not so clear. That white and green were sometimes associated together in connection with the observances of May is shown by an account, in Hall’s Chronicle, of a “maying” of Henry VIII of England, in which the company were clad in green on one occasion and in white on another. In Machyn’s Diary, too, there is mention of a white and green Maypole around which danced a company of men and women wearing “baldrykes” of white and green.

WRLogo_NO_CO.UK_The Order of the Green Shield with the White Lady bears a striking resemblance to the so-called “White Ribbon Campaigns” of today that require men, as was required of the medieval knights above, to pledge oaths to “Never to condone, or remain silent about violence towards women and girls” and especially to intervene when learning of any male behaving badly toward a female. The continuity of chivalry in these two examples is worthy of study in itself.

Sources:

Lalande, Denis (1988). Jean II Le Meingre, dit Boucicaut (1366–1421): étude d’une biographie héroïque.
Marsh, George L. (1906) “Sources and Analogues of ‘The Flower and the Leaf’: Part I.” Modern Philology, pp. 153.
Riquer, Martín de (1967). Caballeros andantes españoles. Madrid: Editorial Espasa-Calpe.

Man kissing a woman's hand at a romantic dinner

[Study] Courtly Love Today: Romance and Socialization in Interpersonal Scripts

Despite attempts to dismiss courtly love as something that has never existed outside of pathological male fantasies and literature, excepts from the following academic study show that indeed it was, and still is, supported by real persons of both sexes. – PW

Abstract:

Summary.-This pilot study measured current acceptance of medieval rules of love operationalized in two scales adapted from an important 12th-century Latin treatise about courtly love. One item about a doctrine in the treatise was added to measure “perfect” love. Subjects were Hispanic and Caucasian students at a south-western Catholic university (45% men, 55% women). Scores on the scales of 11 Male Courtesy Norms did not significantly correlate with those for Rubin’s romantic love scale, but scores for 31 Action Norms did. There was general acceptance that women expect men to follow medieval rules of love concerning Male Courtesy. Some significant sex and ethnic differences were found, especially in regard to Action Norms. Results were interpreted to modify current understanding of courtly love by identifying men’s courtesy as a prerequisite for love. Demographic variables were interpreted as evidence of cultural scripts that program romantic experience to give women social and personal control of men.


Questions: Norms for Male Courtesy and Male-Female Action (Answered with agree/disagree)

1. As you would flee the plague, avoid being a scrooge (a mean-spirited man who amasses wealth); instead, embrace generosity.
2. To intensify the feelings of romantic tenderness, never go all the way.
3. Break up other lovers who follow the rules of love.
4. Be careful not to choose a lover you would be ashamed to marry.
5. Remember that lies spoil everything.
6. Let any number of associates help arrange your trysts (meetings between lovers).
7. To become a skilled lover in the world of romance, strive to obey all the commands of sophisticated women, who have mastered the social graces.
8. Don’t worry about social taboos when you give and receive love’s sweetnesses.
9. Don’t run others down.
10. Encourage others to leak information about love affairs.’
11. Be polite and courteous in all matters.
12. In practising the delightful exchanges of love, do not exceed your lover’s desires
13. Marriage is a good reason not to love someone else.
14. If you are nor madly devoted to someone, you aren’t able to love.
15. No one can really love two persons at the same time.
16. Love can sometimes remain on a plateau, neither increasing nor decreasing.
17. What a lover takes from a reluctant partner is enjoyable.
18. A male cannot love romantically unless he is at least a teenager.
19. After a lover’s death, some people may be able to develop a new close love relation within two years.
20. As long as they don’t do anything rash, no one -married or single- should be deprived of a tender relationship.
21. A person can love even though not valuing romantic love.
22. You can romantically love someone just to get money or prestige.
23. It is not appropriate for a man to love a woman he would be ashamed to marry.
24. A true lover desires to embrace tenderly others besides his (her) lover.
25. When made public, romantic love rarely endures.
26. Easy courtship is viewed as of little value: difficulty makes love prized.
27 As a rule, lover feel butterflies when their eyes meet.
28 A lover’s heart need not beat faster when the love partner shows up unexpectedly.
29. A new love need not put to flight an old one.
30. Good character alone does not make a man worthy of love.
31. If love diminishes, it quickly falters and rarely revives.
32. A real lover is continually solicitous toward his (her) lover.
33. The ability to love stems from ardent devotion to the other lover.
34. The desire to love increases from merely suspecting the partner of cheating.
35. A person tormented by love fantasies, sleeps and eats very little.
36. Every act of one lover need not end up in fantasizing about the other.
37. A true lover imagines nothing to be good except what will please the partner.
38. There’s no vacation from love.
39. A lover can never have enough tender exchanges.
40. The slightest premonition that something has gone wrong causes the lover to imagine the worst.
41. Someone who lives for sexual pleasure rather than romance has not yet learned how to love.
42. A true lover is not constantly, and without intermission, obsessed with fantasies focussed on the other.
43. Nothing forbids one woman from being loved by two men or one man by two women.

Today’s expectations

The current study shows that men and women agreed that women accept the norms for Male Courtesy… As Lafitte-Houssat (1966) and Kelly (1968) wrote, courtly love taught social and personal propriety to medieval men in erotic relationships. The current acceptance of a number of the norms for Male Courtesy indicates that today’s expectations of a potential male lover resemble these norms found in Marie of Champagne’s 1185 CE program as reported by Andreas Capellanus.

Courtly Love as a Vehicle For Feminine Control

By developing ways to handle the excess of men to women (Moller, 1958-59; Guttentag & Secord, 1983), medieval courtly love provided alternative behaviors besides violence to resolve conflict (Brody, 1969; Koenigsberg, 1967). By including norms that also can be related to courtesy, courtly love taught men a way to express tenderness rather than just erotic passion (Kelly, 1968), and legitimated a level of control for women in heterosexual relationships analogous to their increased domestic power in the 12th century (Lafitte-Houssat, 1966).

Although recognizing this new power, Lafitte-Houssat (1966) claimed 12th-century men only fictionalized women “as a feudal sovereign” (p. 22). Similarly, Duby (1983) considered courtly love an escapist male fantasy. Boone (1987) argued that the image of courtly love “maintained a hierarchy of male dominance” (p. 42). However, medieval courtly love also provided women a structure to contest for personal control. This empowerment gave society a way to structure the darker side of passionate love identified by Peele (1988) as addictive love. Without knowing how or in what context the norms developed, most men and women today agree with the courteous love proposed by Andreas Capellanus in 1185 CE.

Nevertheless, as the low acceptance of Item 7 by only 31% of men and 30% of women about obedience to women shows, the overt control of men which was a part of courtly love is generally not identified as part of the modern scenario. According to Koenigsberg (1967), Item 7 (male obedience to women) showed psychological growth in Western culture. Koenigsberg also pointed out that, despite the potential of psychological growth that could come from obedience to women, such courtly obedience was also a parody of submission, for the man’s “deference involves the maintenance of emotional distance” (p. 38). Rejection by modern youth of this obedience may be a refusal to accept either this emotional distancing or the passive role required in such distance.

The instrument needs refinement. For instance, the diction should be simplified and the negatives removed. Furthermore, Andrew’s original second commandment should be restored (as in “Respect for my lover should keep me from sleeping around”). Nevertheless, responses to the 43 items have raised intriguing questions.

Research is necessary to determine the possibility that women determine men’s cultivated behavior by establishing an image of themselves as sovereigns to control male fantasies, rather than being enthroned by male patriarchy. Incorporating the operative Courtesy Norms into current love scales could expand our view of the scripts which direct erotic fantasies and judgements about relationships. Finally, responses of other ethnic and Hispanic groups to selected items, especially about courtesy and obsessiveness, could be analyzed.

 

References:

-BHODY, J. (1969) La princesse de Cleves and the myth of courtly love. University of Toronto Quarterly, 38, 105-135.
-BOONE, J. A. (1987) Tradition counter tradition: love and the form of fiction. Chicago, IL:
Univer. of Chicago Press.
-GUTENTAG, M., & SECORD, P. F. (1983) Too many women? The sex ratio question. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
-KELLY, D. (1968) Courtly love in perspective: the hierarchy of love in Andreas Capellanus. Traditio, 24, 119-147
-KOENIGSBERGR,. A. (1967) Culture and unconscious fantasy observations on courtly love.
Psychoanolytic Review, 54, 36-50.
-LAFITTE-HOUSSAT, J. (1966) Troubadours et cours d’amours. [Troubadours and courts of love.] (3rd ed.) Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
-MOLLER, H. (1958-59) The social causation of the courtly love complex. Comparative Studies in Socieo and History, 1, 137-163.

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STUDY SOURCE : CONTRIBUTIONS TO PSYCHOHISTORY: XIII. COURTLY LOVE TODAY: ROMANCE AND SOCIALIZATION IN INTERPERSONAL SCRIPTS

Gaining Equal Rights for Men: Ratifying the E.R.A.

Ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment has long been discussed in men’s rights circles, but there was perhaps none more passionate about it than David Ault who actively lobbied for its ratification from the 1970s, and established the Equal Rights Amendment Project of Men’s Rights. The following article by David Ault was published in MEN Magazine in 1996, and in honour of his memory and work I’m pleased to republish it here. – PW

Article by David Ault
encourage-passage-equal-rights-amendment-200X200
The notion that men need equal rights with women is almost as politically incorrect today as it was in 1978, when I began actively working in Virginia for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Even today, the ERA is often referred to as the “women’s rights amendment.” This limited interpretation is difficult to understand given its wording: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, I distributed pamphlets that explained why women deserve to have equal rights with men. As Vice Chair of the Virginia Equal Rights Amendment Ratification Council, I often passed out our organization’s pamphlet entitled Women of Virginia, Rights You Are Denied.

We did not have a corresponding pamphlet Men of Virginia, Rights You Are Denied. In fact, men’s rights were so excluded from the ERA ratification process that, despite repeated requests by several knowledgeable men, no men were invited to testify on men’s equal rights issues before the U.S. Congressional hearings on ERA ratification.

Harris and Gallup polls informed us then that nearly 60 percent of all Americans favored ERA ratification. Although men were ignored as potential beneficiaries of a ratified ERA, younger men favored the ERA at nearly the same percentage as women. Many older men also supported it.

Despite this majority of women and men in its favor, the ten-year ratification period expired in June 1982 with only 35 of the required 38 states approving its ratification. I recall that some people blamed the ERA’s defeat on men who wanted to keep women “in their place” by denying women equal rights. Particularly targeted for blame were those male legislators from nonratifying states who voted against it.

Upon reflection, perhaps some men are to “blame” for the ERA’s failure to be ratified, but not for the reasons I heard in 1982. During that period of time, I was one of very few men who donated large amounts of their time and money to support ERA ratification. I also voted for political candidates by giving heavy weight to their stand on the ERA. At ERA meetings and workshops, I was often outnumbered by the women present by 10 or 20 to 1. My level of passion in support of the ERA was typical of many American women.

Although many American men supported ERA ratification, their support was more from their heads. Men often explained to me that they supported the ERA for their wife, sister, daughter, or mother. However, they did not donate significant time or money to support its ratification. Judging from the phone calls that I made polling households for ERA support, many men did not vote for pro-ERA candidates as a top priority.

I submit that it was not the men (and women) who opposed the ERA that defeated it. Instead, those men who are largely to “blame” are the majority of men who favored its ratification and yet failed to give it sufficient importance in their lives to see that it passed.

Winning men’s active support for the ERA may be easier today. During recent years, men’s consciousness about their own issues has been raised substantially and the momentum is upward. Men are growing aware of how the narrow gender-role conditioning they receive during society’s indoctrination of them to become protectors and providers negatively affects both their emotional and physical health. They learn that, on average, men not only live 7 years less than women, but men’s quality of life is reduced in trying to live up to this restrictive gender role.

Men are grieving, publicly and privately, for the loss of their fathers and their distance from their own children. They are learning how welfare rules and our father-negative “family” courts separate caring fathers from their children. They are dismayed by the contribution that fatherless families have tothe increase in homeless and runaway children, and toteenage suicide, academic failure, drug abuse, violence and unwed pregnancy.

At the same time that women have control over their parenthood through abortion or adoption, men’s reproductive rights are either ignored or condescendingly dismissed. Men lack the “right to choose” legal fatherhood, but have the responsibility of financial support. Further, men have no corresponding right to either custody or noncustodial access to their children.

Although outlawing female genital mutilation gets national media and Congressional attention, over 60% of American male babies still undergo medically unnecessary, involuntary, and painful infant circumcision.

Men realize that only they have the responsibility to register for selective service and may subsequently face the military draft. Further, as women gain the option of volunteering for combat positions, men are still assigned to combat.

Men see programs instituted to help women, while men’s similar concerns go unacknowledged and unfunded. Examples of neglected areas include male academic difficulties at all educational levels, lack of support for “men’s programs” in higher education, failure to acknowledge and support male victims of domestic violence, lack of affirmative action for men to enter predominately female professions, low levels of government support to homeless men, unequal privacy provisions in public restrooms and dressing rooms, failure to recognize and combat female modes of sexual harassment of men, and more stringent employee dress codes for men.

Men are hurting from 30 years of being the object of unwarranted blame, male-bashing, and negative sex-role stereotyping. As their consciousness increases, men will be more receptive to understanding both the harm done to them by continued pressure to conform to rigid role models and the legal injustices still visited upon them. Men will see how unjustified blame and their traditional stoic conditioning have combined to repress any remedy to their equality issues.

However, when men understand how gender-inclusive application of the ERA will benefit them, their pain, anger, and desire for justice will propel them into action to support ERA ratification. Together with women supporters, they will work to successfully win ERA passage in the U.S. Congress and by the necessary three-quarters of the states.

To make this happen, men’s equality issues must be included in the debate over ERA ratification. The first step within each state is to continue to research and document the areas where men are discriminated against by local, state and federal law. This includes not only laws written in a gender-biased way, but laws that, although gender-neutral in wording, result in bias against men in practice. Sometimes the remedy will not require changing the law; instead, changing public opinion will result in an equitable application of existing law. In other cases, the law will require modification or elimination.

The second step is to bring men’s equality issues and the ERA remedies to the attention of the public and our legislative bodies. Men might begin by asking each state legislature to memorialize the ERA again, as Washington State did in 1983. Memorialization means that the state legislature passes a resolution asking the U.S. Congress to pass the ERA and to send it out to the states for ratification. However, the reasons expressed this time by each state legislature for memorializing the ERA must include the need for men’s equal rights.

The third step is to secure an invitation for knowledgeable men to testify for the first time before the U.S. Congress when hearings are held again on the ERA. This will have three important benefits. First, it will help to bring the issue of discrimination against men before the entire country. Second, it will increase American men’s identification of ERA ratification with ending this discrimination. Third, it will create an official record of Congress’s intent to include equal rights for men in its justification for the ERA.

This Congressional record will be vital to men after the ERA is ratified, because judges often consider legislative intent in deciding how to apply the law to a specific case. After the Congress records its support for men’s rights, men will find it much easier to use the ERA to right legal injustices against them.

Finally, prepared with our research and buoyed by state and federal recognition of men’s need for the ERA, men must continue to educate the public and join with women in the ERA ratification process. With women and men working together for a gender-inclusive ERA, to quote Susan B. Anthony, “Failure is impossible.”