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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.

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.

Bachelor Life With Freedom Looks Easier (1931)

The following article entitled ‘Bachelor Life With Freedom Looks Easier,’ penned by Dorothy Dix appeared in 1931, foreshadowing many of the key issues raised by Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) today. PW

mgtow

According to the census report, there has been a very decided slump in marriage, and this is blamed on men by those who have investigated the subject. They say that women are as eager as ever to enter the holy estate, but that men fight shy of it. Doubtless that this is true. Probably women have always been more anxious to marry than men because they have always looked upon matrimony as a career and getting a husband their chief business in life. The favorite game of every girl-child is playing bride, and by the time she gets in her teens she has her wedding all planned out, even to the last detail about the flower girls and the ring-bearers.

Boys Think Of Other Things

But no little boy looks forward as joyously to being a bridegroom as he does to being a quarter-back on a football team. Marriage is never the climax of his ambitions as it is of girl’s. He knows that, like death, marriage will get him sooner or later, but, at least until he falls in love, he cherishes a vague, secret hope that somehow he may escape it.

That men are becoming more bridal-shy and harder to catch every year women will all testify from their personal experience. More and more de women have to do the chasing of husbands if they want one. More arid more alluring baits do they have to use to toll men into the matrimonial fold, and this despite the fact that never were women more desirable, never better-looking, never better fitted to be real helpmates.

Cost Too Great

The reluctance of the modern man to marry can be explained in many ways. First, perhaps, by the high cost of living. Marriage appeals more to the young and reckless, who have not learned how to figure out the cost of things, than it does to the mature and cautious, who look at the price tag first and then at the article. But boys cannot marry because it costs too much to support a family, and by the time a man can afford a wedding-ring only too often he has lost his taste for it.

Then men don’t marry because they are too selfish. They love themselves better than they do any woman and they consider that swapping off their freedom and latchkeys for the privilege of listening to curtain lectures when they come home at 3 A. M. is a poor trade. They prefer sports cars to perambulators and playing golf to doing chores around the house on Saturday half-holidays, and so they stick to single blessedness instead of taking a chance on double wretchedness.

Afraid of Alimony

Still another reason why men do not marry is because of their fear of alimony. Certainly the gold-digging ladles, who make a man pay and pay and pay as long as he lives for the mistake he made in marrying one of them, are doing a lot to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. For they have made marriage a hazardous adventure that causes men to get cold feet even to think about and that causes the prudent to avoid the altar.

For under the present laws it makes no difference whether the man was the one to blame or not; If a marriage goes blooey he has to settle the bill for the wreck. The man may have done his part nobly. The woman may have reneged entirely on her part. She may have been a shrew, a lazy loafer woman impossible to live with, but the poor, unfortunate who has married her as to support her, anyway, and often to contribute to the support a second husband. When you think of the alimony laws the marvel is not that so many men are afraid to marry, but that any man is plunger enough to risk it.

Need Is Less

However, prudence does not always keep men from marriage. The lack of an incentive is likewise a deterrent and two of the principal motives which formerly caused men to marry are now lacking. One of these was the man’s need of someone to take care of him and provide for his physical comfort. Men used to marry for a home and somebody to sew on their buttons and send out their laundry. There came a lime in the life of a young man when he was sick of boarding-house prunes and hash, and when in dressing in a hurry he couldn’t find a clean collar or a pair of socks without holes in them, a home and a wife suddenly seemed the most desirable things on earth and he rushed out and proposed lo the first girl he met.

But now the land is strewn with clubs and bachelor apartments where single men are valeted and cosseted better than any wife could do it, an that makes marrying for a home a superfluity. Also, alas, women have throw away, when they went into business, the rabbit’s-foot with which they conjured men into matrimony. For they are no more domestic, and many man refrains from popping the question to the girl he works at the next desk to because he is well aware that she is a better sales manager than she is a cook and that she would make a more satisfactory business partner than she would a life partner.

Girls’ Company Free

But perhaps the chief reason that men don’t marry is because they don’t have to in order to get feminine companionship. In the olden days a man led a girl to the altar because that was the only way in which he could enjoy her society without mother and father listening in. Then love-making had to lead somewhere and he paid for his petting parties with a marriage certificate.

Now that is all gratis. The society of women is as free to him is that of men. He spends his days in offices with girls. He plays golf with them. He goes off with them on long automobile rides, with never a chaperon in sight. Girls smile upon him. They break their necks trying to please him and keep him amused and entertained, and he doesn’t have to pay their bills or put up with their tempers or abridge his own freedom. He has a cinch. And he knows it. And he means to keep it, and so he doesn’t marry.

— DOROTHY DIX.

Source:

“High Cost of Keeping a Family and Fear of Alimony Keep Men from Altar – Bachelor Life looks Easier – Boys Too Poor, Men Too Wise To Take A Chance,” syndicated, Spokane Daily Chronicle (Wa.), Jul. 10, 1931, p. 5

Tournament_bavarian_engraving Wikipedia

The Dream of Heroism and Love – by Johan Huizinga

The following are excerpts from J. Huizinga’s 1924 book The Waning of The Middle Ages, chapter V: The Dream of Heroism and Love. – PW

The knight and his lady, that is to say, the hero who serves for love, this is the primary and invariable motif from which erotic fantasy will always start. It is sensuality transformed into the craving for self-sacrifice, into the desire of the male to show his courage, to incur danger, to be strong, to suffer and to bleed before his lady-love.

From the moment when the dream of heroism through love has intoxicated the yearning heart, fantasy grows and overflows. The first simple theme is soon left behind, the soul thirsts for new fancies, and passion colours the dream of suffering and of renunciation. The man will not be content merely to suffer, he will want to save from danger, or from suffering, the object of his desire. A more vehement stimulus is added to the primary motif: its chief feature will be that of defending imperilled virginity—in other words, that of ousting the rival. This, then, is the essential theme of chivalrous love poetry : the young hero, delivering the virgin. The sexual motif is always behind it, even when the aggressor is only an artless dragon; a glance at Burne-Jones’s famous picture suffices to prove it.

One is surprised that comparative mythology should have looked so indefatigably to meteorological phenomena for the explanation of such an immediate and perpetual motif as the deliverance of the virgin, which is the oldest of literary motifs, and one which can never grow antiquated. It may from time to time become stale from over-much repetition, and yet it will reappear, adapting itself to all times and surroundings. New romantic types will arise, just as the cowboy has succeeded the corsair.

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Nowhere does the erotic element of the tournament appear more clearly than in the custom of the knight’s wearing the veil or the dress of his lady. In Perceforest we read how the lady spectators of the combat take off their finery, one article after another, to throw them to the knights in the lists. At the end of the fight they are bareheaded and without sleeves. A poem of the thirteenth century, the work of a Picard or a Hainault minstrel, entitled Des trois Chevaliers et del Chainse,1 has worked out this motif in all its force. The wife of a nobleman of great liberality, but not very fond of fighting, sends her shirt to three knights who serve her for love, that one of them at the tournament which her husband is going to give may wear it as a coat-armour, without any mail underneath. The first and the second knights excuse themselves. The third, who is poor, takes the shirt in his arms at night, and kisses it passionately. He appears at the tournament, dressed in the shirt and without a coat of mail; he is grievously wounded, the shirt, stained with his blood, is torn. Then his extraordinary bravery is perceived and he is awarded the prize. The lady gives him her heart. The lover asks something in his turn. He sends back the garment, all blood-stained, to the lady, that she may wear it over her gown at the meal which is to conclude the feast. She embraces it tenderly and shows herself dressed in the shirt as the knight had demanded. The majority of those present blame her, the husband is confounded, and the minstrel winds up by asking the question : Which of the two lovers sacrificed most for the sake of the other?

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The warlike sports of the Middle Ages differ from Greek and modern athletics by being far less simple and natural. Pride, honour, love and art give additional stimulus to the competition itself. Overloaded with pomp and decoration, full of heroic fancy, they serve to express romantic needs too strong for mere literature to satisfy. The realities of court life or a military career offered too little opportunity for the fine make-belief of heroism and love, which rilled the soul. So they had to be acted. The staging of the tournament, therefore, had to be that of romance ; that is to say, the imaginary world of Arthur, where the fancy of a fairy-tale was enhanced by the sentimentality of courtly love.

Note:

[1] Of the three knights and the shirt.

Hotel men only MGTOW Flickr

A MGTOW Yardstick: Determination Of Self By Other (DOSBO)

In this piece I’ll be looking at the opposite of MGTOW, at what MGTOW isn’t, in order to throw MGTOW into relief against impostors. Naturally, this is my own take, one of numerous that abound on the Internet and one that comes with no special authority and no assumption that I speak for others.

By now many are 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 of the opposite of male self-determination, i.e., determination of self by other (DOSBO). Determination of self by other limits the definition of MGTOW and in one stroke negates the claim that MGTOW can mean anything a person wants it to mean. By applying the DOSBO rule, no person can qualify as a MGHOW if he hands over a significant amount of his sovereignty to another entity. Here are some examples illustrating DOSBO in action.

Example 1: Pro-feminist men
On the face of it, we might assume pro-feminist men are self-determined for having made a choice to be led by the spirit and letter of feminism. It hardly needs saying that this 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 thereby disqualifies MGTOW status according to DOSBO.

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 the cultural and legal implementation of a gynocentric contract.

So the question to ask about any man entering into marriage is this: Is he entering the marriage to willfully 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 a MGHOW under this definition.

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

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 behavior because he presently “does his own thing,” 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’m forced to conclude that he retains some semblance of a MGHOW.

Example 3: Traditionalists
Like marriage, traditionalism needs defining because not all traditionalism is the same—it is not all gynocentric. Traditionalism is a big basket of historical practices that may or may not be limiting of male self-determination. To simply say “All tradition is bad for men” is a blunt instrument that begs debunking. A better approach might be to ask, Which aspects of traditionalism are limiting to male freedoms?

This is where a phrase like “traditional gender roles” works better, although it too suffers from lack of discrimination. Is it some traditional gender roles, most traditional gender roles, or all traditional gender roles that are bad? Was it bad for married men and non to have the freedom to enjoy male-only fraternal organizations such as the Elks, Masons, Golden Fleece, and others,1 or was it oppressive for bachelor and married men alike to have male-only drinking saloons? These too were the result of traditional gender divisions.

To use a more controversial example, was it limiting of male self-determination for a woman to stay home during the first two years after giving birth (not beyond!) to breast-feed while the husband worked, or is it limiting for the neotraditionalist couple of today to employ the same traditional “role division” whereby the father stays at home and bottle-feeds a baby while the woman works full-time?

Are not some aspects of traditionalism benign?

While I leave the answer to these questions open, I’m going to suggest that a much more precise term than either “traditionalism” or “traditional gender roles” would be traditional gynocentrism. Gynocentrism is the main perpetrator in limiting male freedom, and for that reason it is more precise to finger the gynocentric thread of traditionalism.

Moving beyond subjectivism
As a limiting principle, DOSBO delivers MGTOW from the meaninglessness of subjectivism, delivers it from the claim that MGTOW has no inherent meaning, or that it can mean whatever the hell a person wants it to mean. It gives a precise meaning with real meta ideological commitments. Whether or not DOSBO proves of wider value is not important, but it will hopefully stimulate discussion about what precisely are the things that all MGTOW hold in common.

Notes
[1] Edward Ward, The Secret History of Clubs, published 1709. [This is one of hundreds of titles detailing traditional male clubs, guilds, and fraternities. The examples given show that the clubs were riotous places of laughter, male bonding, drinking, inventing and collaborating on various projects, and above all were places to enjoy a little self-chosen freedom. Married and bachelor men alike participated, and in the majority of clubs no women were allowed to set foot].

Feature image by James Cridland