First and second wave of the men’s rights movement

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A Brief History of The Men’s Rights Movement: From 1856 to the present

Did men pressure women into marriage?

By Anja Eriud and Peter Wright

Brides

One of the favourite myths of feminism is that ALL women were oppressed everywhere by ALL men – and that the mechanism by which men oppressed women was marriage.

Ah yes, in secret patriarchy meetings all over the known world scheming men got together to lay their nefarious plans to trap and enslave these innocent and delicate flowers of womanhood into the bonds, the cruel and tortuous chains of matrimony.

But, of course a few brave souls resisted, they struggled against this demonic plot to entrap and enslave them, then of course they wrote books about their “struggle”

According to received “wisdom” and in the context of anything that emanates from the mouths or pens of feminists one does use the word wisdom with a large dose of irony, this nefarious plot has been going on for centuries, nay millennium.

For the purposes of this essay we shall confine ourselves to a quick but focused examination of some specific periods, because after all, if feminists are correct, then like blindly putting a pin in a map with your eyes closed, wherever we landed in the timeline of human history we would reveal examples of this ongoing and nefarious patriarchal plot to enslave poor helpless damsels in the chains of matrimony. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Let us begin with a gem of historical research that can be found at Gynocentrism and its Cultural Origins, and a campaign to impose a Bachelor Tax on those patriarchal sods who…….well were refusing to do their patriarchal duty and enslave some poor maiden into the chains of matrimony.

One Mrs Charlotte Smith in 1896, was so riled up and so aghast at the numbers of men who were refusing to get married that she started a campaign to force men to marry, and called upon public servants and officials to “do something” about this calumny against women.

“Mr’s Smith’s malignment of bachelors began with attacks on public servants and officials, saying that bachelors have always been failures, and that bachelor politicians, especially, were “narrow minded, selfish, egotistical, and cowardly.” She further claimed that, “It’s about time to organize antibachelor clubs in this state. It should be the purpose of every young woman to look up the record of each and every man who is looking for votes and, should his moral character be such would make him unfit for office, then his shortcoming should be the point of attack by the antibachelor women of Massachusetts.

There are 47,000 girls between the ages of 20 and 29 years in this state who cannot find husbands… [and] the bachelor politicians, they do not dare discuss the social evil question.”3 She states:

“No man can be a good, honorable and upright citizen who has not entered into the holy bonds of wedlock” [Charlotte Smith]4”

Now wait just a minute – that can’t be right – men are roaming the land in hordes, gathering together in secret patriarchy meetings, laying plans on how best to trap and enslave these fair maidens into marriage! Feminists have said so.

In her paper entitled, Sisterhood and Slavery: Transatlantic Antislavery and Women’s Rights, Karen Offen, Institute for Research on Women & Gender, Stanford University, takes a jaunt through history to justify the use of the word or analogy “slavery” as comparable to the status of women, especially married women from circa the 1650’s to 1848:

“In this paper, I extend the timeframe back some two hundred years from 1848 to the 1650s, providing evidence of the slavery-marriage analogy in published literary and political works by women and men (who deploy it in support of what can only be termed, retrospectively, a feminist politics). I will raise questions about exactly how we might interpret the feminist use of the slavery analogy as well as about how scholars and theorists have heretofore approached the separate subjects of women’s rights and slavery. “

Which is indeed what she does, now it must be said that Ms. Offen’s grasp of “history” is somewhat shaky, and she does take the long way around, via of course the usual suspects of “revisionist” and selective feminist history. Olympe De Gouges, John Stuart Mills, Elizabeth Cady Stanton – etc – with some rather unusual choices – Napoleon and Jean Jacques Rousseau, thrown in at odd moments. But, basically what this paper seeks to do, is what all feminists seek to do, is correlate the status of women historically with the status of slaves – black slaves – ergo she concludes with:

“The power of the slavery analogy, for feminists, was its insistence that women, and particularly women who married, were individuals in their own right, that they possessed “human rights” and free will and could not be legally disposed of like chattel or forced, even for family reasons, to do things against their will. The slavery analogy applied to marriage struck at the heart of institutionalized male domination in the family, and it continued to haunt the Western consciousness and to inspire subsequent generations of feminist action, both by women and by men well into the twentieth century, when in most countries the legal institution of marriage was totally (however reluctantly) restructured. It continues to characterize campaigns against sexual slavery into the twenty-first century.”

vintage_bride_03_quaddles_by_quaddles-d2aydvh

This is very odd, because you see men were presumably having secret patriarchy meetings, but not about what feminists seem to believe, and have hoodwinked millions of “womens studies” graduates about – nope, men were having meetings about fighting for the right NOT to be coerced into marriage by harridans like Charlotte Smith demanding that unmarried men be punished for NOT getting married.

In case you haven’t noticed, Ms. Offen’s paper covers the period from the 1650’s to 1848, a period during which women campaigned to have bachelors punished for refusing marriage. It is also a time in which we read of women having the legal liberty to choose for a husband any man who took her fancy, and if that man refused to marry her he was heavily fined according to the value of his possessions.

And less than 50 years later Mrs Charlotte Smith is getting her corsets in a kerfuffle over men not marrying, and how there are “47,000 girls between the ages of 20 and 29 years in this state who cannot find husbands” (the state she is referring to is Massachusetts). But, I believe I may be correct if I assert that Mrs Smith was probably not the only busybody, in the only state in 1896 America squawking about all those lonely and bereft “ladies” pining away for……………slavery – emmmmm – marriage.

Lets fast forward a bit in history and the period just after the first World War – the Great War it is called – though how one can call a war that claimed the lives of an estimated 10 million men great?

What was one of the major issues that exercised the minds of the public after this “War to end all wars”?

“Condemned to be virgins: The two million women robbed by the war:

They dreamt of love, marriage and children. But, as a new book reveals, the Great War robbed two million women of the men they would have married, leading many into relationships which could only be whispered about…”

The book referred to here is Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After The First World War by Virginia Nicholson (Viking, £20).

You will note of course that the emphasis is on the struggle of women to survive without men after the war, rather on the estimated 10 million MEN who didn’t actually SURVIVE the war.

“World War I was an extremely bloody war that engulfed Europe from 1914 to 1919, with huge losses of life and little ground lost or won. Fought mostly by soldiers in trenches, World War I saw an estimated 10 million military deaths and another 20 million wounded. While many hoped that World War I would be “the war to end all wars,” in actuality, the concluding peace treaty set the stage for World War II”

In fact the article cites some piteous and heartbreaking examples of the ”struggles” of these sad and lonely maidens and what they are prepared to do in order to enslave themselves:

“Many placed advertisements in the Press in their hope of finding any man – like the following heartfelt plea published during the war: “Lady, fiancè killed, will gladly marry officer totally blinded or otherwise incapacitated by the War.”

By 1921 publications like the Matrimonial Times were carrying columns of advertisements placed by spinsters and widows.

They included:

MATRIMONY – Spinster, 38, loving disposition, fond of children, entertaining and country life, is anxious to correspond with a wounded officer of cultured tastes, with view to a matrimonial alliance; one with some means.

LADY, aged 49, spinster, cultured, bright temperament, small capital… would like to meet officer or civilian age 45-60… could be very happy with disabled officer needing a cheerful companion and pal.”

Couple of things to note here, while there were an estimated 10 million men killed in WWI, there were a further 20 million men injured, need I say that those 20 million injured men did not have the benefit of the kinds of medical technological marvels available to us today? So, being “injured” carried an extra dimension of horror and anguish for these men.

Now take a closer look at the extracts from the letters cited in the article, “…will gladly marry officer totally blinded or otherwise incapacitated by the War” – “….anxious to correspond with a wounded officer of cultured tastes, with view to a matrimonial alliance; one with some means” – “…..could be very happy with disabled officer needing a cheerful companion and pal”

Even when women were prepared to “settle” in a desperate attempt to “get married” there were conditions – the ladies preferred their men –injured or not, disabled or not, to be of a certain status, to be the “right class” to be “Officers” – Hypergamy anyone? Gynocentrism?

This was such a burning issue that the government stepped in, to ease and attempt to resolve the plight of these “surplus women

“In 1919, the Society for the Oversea Settlement of British Women was established and was provided with an annual grant. The Society’s panels included ones for areas – Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – and for work – for nursing, for training and for agriculture. All of this effort was in spite of the evidence collected by the Dominions Royal Commission of 1912-1917 which found that the casualties of men from the dominions during the war meant that marriage prospects in the Empire had also declined. Additionally, men were emigrating as well as women, perpetuating the imbalance in Britain. So in 1920, 125,000 women emigrated but 115,000 men also did. Between 1923 and 1927, fewer women than men emigrated as a result of the Empire Settlement Act (1922), through which the government provided financial assistance to emigrants.”

As you can see, it kind of backfired – but – hurrah for the attempt, to provide a means to give women what they wanted – enslavement in marriage.

So, here we are in the 21st century and has anything changed?

Well yes, and no – according to feminists men are still patriarchal bastards roaming the land trying to trap innocent virgins into the chains of matrimony – except:

“Among pre-adults, women are the first sex. They graduate from college in greater numbers (among Americans ages 25 to 34, 34% of women now have a bachelor’s degree but just 27% of men), and they have higher GPAs. As most professors tell it, they also have more confidence and drive. These strengths carry women through their 20s, when they are more likely than men to be in grad school and making strides in the workplace. In a number of cities, they are even out-earning their brothers and boyfriends.

Still, for these women, one key question won’t go away: Where have the good men gone?”

Perhaps the attitude toward men in the following might give all those lonely and pining fair maidens, yearning to get shackled up, an insight as to where all the good men have scarpered to?

“Single men have never been civilization’s most responsible actors; they continue to be more troubled and less successful than men who deliberately choose to become husbands and fathers. So we can be disgusted if some of them continue to live in rooms decorated with “Star Wars” posters and crushed beer cans and to treat women like disposable estrogen toys, but we shouldn’t be surprised.”

Because after all, as the redoubtable Mrs Charlotte Smith also claimed so vehemently all those years ago:

“No man can be a good, honorable and upright citizen who has not entered into the holy bonds of wedlock”

Like Ludwig Von Beethoven, Henry David Thoreau, Isaac Newton? Those kinds of dishonorable and presumably irresponsible men who wasted their lives away without the civilising influence of women!

 

MGTOW bachelor-clubs in the early 1900′s

The following article provides further evidence that bachelor movements have existed throughout history in resistance to societal pressure for men to marry. It first appeared in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser on Saturday 21 November 1903. – PW


No marriage

PENALTIES FOR MARRYING

Matrimony is considered a punishable offence in some communities. These circles of society are small, but their edicts are strong. The larger community, if it takes cognisance of a man’s single state, usually imposes a fine for not getting married, as in Argentina where bachelorhood requires the payment of an increasing tax to the government.

But in certain circles marriage is regarded as an offence. At Oxford University, for instance, a fellow of All Souls’ College forfeits his fellowship if he takes to himself a wife while he is supposed to be studying the classics.

He not only must pay a penalty, but he must present his college with a memorial in the shape of a silver cup, on which is inscribed the words, “Descendit in matrimonium” – “He backslid into matrimony.”

The aristocratic Bachelors’ Club of Piccadilly, London, ostracises members who forget themselves so far as to marry. Instant expulsion is the punishment for this offence. The backsliders must leave the company of the bachelors for ever. As an act of grace they pay a fine of 100 dollars and become honorary members of the club, but that is their own salvation.

Not only England has these anti-matrimony clubs. Their formation in Chicago has been treated as a joke, as it has in other American cities. Bachelors in other countries have lent an air of seriousness to their endeavours.

It is serious for a member of a certain Junggesellen Club [Bachelor club] in Germany to lapse into matrimony. As soon as his intention becomes known he is tried in the club court, with the president as judge, where he is allowed to plead in extenuation of his offence. On the skill of his pleading and his excuses depends his fine, from 100 to 250 dollars.

This fine is devoted to a dinner, at which all members appear in mourning garb. At its conclusion the president reads the sentence of expulsion, and the delinquent is led from the premises to an accompaniment of groans and lamentations.

Only last winter a recreant was condemned to swim twice across the Seine at midnight, with the result that a severe attack of rheumatic fever nearly robbed him of the bride he had paid the heavy price to wed.

While the bachelor sometimes has to pay dearly for a wife, in at least one country it scarcely pays to remain celibate. In Argentina the man who prefers single to married bliss has to pay a substantial and progressive tax. If he has not taken a wife by the time he has reached his 25th birthday he must pay a fine of 5 dollars a month to the Exchequer.

Source: Lancashire General Advertiser on Saturday 21 November 1903

 

See also: Bachelor movement of 1898

The “yonic cultus”

The following was written by E. Belfort Bax in the year 1887 under the title No Misogyny But True Equality. In this piece Bax speaks of the ‘yonic cultus’ and ‘yonic superstition,’ referring of course to the ubiquitous cult of vagina. – PW

 
No Misogyny But True Equality

Ernest B. Bax - 1913

Ernest B. Bax – 1913

And now let us come to the main point in dispute [about female privilege]. I have made no “impeachment of women in general.” What I have impeached is the ascendency of women as a privileged caste or class. What I maintained is that whatever may have been the disabilities of women in earlier stages of society, in our modern bourgeois society (Western Europe and its colonies), there is an increasing tendency to erect women into a “sacra-sacred” class, the members of which are to be exempted from all the disagreeable consequences of their own actions, to have the criminal law suspended in their favour, to win in every civil suit, to be treated as martyrs and heroines every time a slight inconvenience befalls them. This is what I term the modern 19th century form of the Yonic cultus.

Mrs. Besant will not take me seriously when I state that men have been given six months for protecting themselves against their wives’ violence. Yet this is literally true. The case I had in my mind occurred, if I remember rightly, about March last. The exact date I forget, but I noticed it in the Commonweal at the time. About a year-and-a-half ago there was a case at Highgate (as far as I recollect), in which a woman actually attacked her husband, who was an invalid and I think a cripple, with a knife, inflicting serious injury, and was let off scot free. If in the higher administration of the law there is gross and egregious favouritism shown to women as women, this is none the less so in the mere setting of the law in motion. A little more than a year ago a boy was sentenced, by Mr. Justice Day, to penal servitude for life, for attempting to extort money by threats of an indecent charge. Now women are allowed (vide Mr. Howard Vincent, Pall Mall Gazette, July 13th last) under the very eyes of the police to exercise as a regular trade, a practice which in the male, on a single offence, is deemed worthy of the penultimate penalty of the law.1

Now I ask has ever greater privilege accrued to any class than this. The mediaeval “benefit of clergy,” pales down before the modern bourgeois “benefit of Sex.” Again, an alderman ventures upon a little feeble civic banter with some flower-girls who are brought up before him for obstructing the pathway. The Yonicists are up in arms. These “poor girls,” are insulted. The newspapers gush with indignation. Mdme. Dronin is arrested on false information; by virtue of her sex the whole delinquent officialdom bows before her, from Home Secretary downward, with apologies and costly gifts. A scream goes forth that women are bullied by the police in the streets. Parliament adjourns. The welkin rings with wrath against police tyranny. Over mere male Socialists, that does’nt matter – but over prostitutes – Oh! The Pall Mall Gazette rubs its eyes and snivels “Brethren shall we harry our sisters”? The same Pall Mall Gazette, bien entendu is very anxious to have its brothers “harried” for so much as looking at a woman in the streets; for the crime of accosting two years hard labour would, we suppose, be “grossly inadequate.”

Talking about the Pall Mall Gazette, by the way, it is difficult to believe its editor was not intentionally “lying” at home “for the benefit of his country” – women, as he conceived, when he declared the other night that only a woman could be arrested on unsupported testimony. A man deserves to be condemned to travel every day for a twelvemonth with single women on the Metropolitan Railway that can make such an impudently false statement. As regards this matter, however, I, for one, am quite willing that no charge should be taken against a woman for annoyance in the street on the unsupported testimony of a man, provided no charge is taken against a man for indecent assault on the unsupported testimony of a woman. How now, what do you say to this, Mr. Stead? Completely destroy the blackmail industry – wouldn’t it? Now take this case – Barbarous cruelty to a young child, through whipping, is charged against the police – the child is a boy, a question is asked in Parliament, an investigation promised, and the matter shelved. Compare this with the case of a female arrested on an unproved charge by a policeman, and locked up for a couple of hours. She whimpers, and the respectable classes are set in a blaze.

Yonic Superstition

Vagina 2I think that the Yonic superstition is in nothing more clearly evinced than in recent criminal legislation. The tender body of a young child may be flayed by a brutal policeman, just because it happens to be of the male sex; if it be of the female, to lay a finger on it is sacrilege, and for precisely the same offence it practically receives no punishment. The British Bourgeois affects horror at Count Schouvaloff’s birching of the court maids of honour at St. Petersburg, whose bodies were presumably better able to bear a castigation than the babes he complacently reads of in his paper as being sentenced to ten strokes of the birch by a police magistrate. Then take the clause in the recent Criminal Law Amendment Act, which provides that in the case of illicit intercourse between a boy and a girl, while the boy may be sent to the penal servitude of a reformatory for five years the girl remains absolutely untouched. Now it is universally admitted that girls develop earlier than boys, so that this is a simple premium for girls with precocious criminal tendencies to entrap youths. If it is prejudicial to the interests of society that intercourse should under any circumstances take place in the case of girls under sixteen, what conceivable rational ground can there be for limiting the penal consequences to one side of the equation. A more abominable infamy it would probably be difficult to find in the whole course of modern legislation.

Such are the outward and visible signs of the worship of the female principle in the modern world. Newspaper gush, one-sided legislation, “purity” meetings.

As it is holiday season, perhaps the editor of To-Day will allow me to be frivolous, and narrate a dream I had the other night:

I had been reading the Pall Mall Gazette, and Mrs. Besant’s article after supper – and on going to sleep me thought I was in an ancient city. Temples, with griffins and other queer stone creatures abounded on all sides. Groups of quaintly robed idlers were standing about an open square (in which I suddenly found myself) talking eagerly together. Presently there issued from one side of the square a procession of white-robed figures that looked ghostly in the twilight as they advanced with measured step to the sound of the lyre and the lute. I asked of one who stood near what it was that I saw. “Knowest thou not, O son of the stranger,” replied he, “that the great goddess (the name I couldn’t quite catch) has vouchsafed to appear to men in mortal form, that she commands new rites, and will unfold to her worshippers the holy mysteries of the militant virgin.”

This was interesting, and I eagerly watched the approaching votaries. While I had been waiting it had been growing rapidly dusk. But now the moon shone forth. By its light, I thought I detected, in spite of their strange garb, foremost among the advancing throng, not as I expected, Orientals of the third century B.C., but the homely figures of Mr. Stead and Mrs. Ormiston Chant, hand in hand, singing as they danced, and dancing as they sang, a joyous hymn of ecstacy. I looked again, and behind them detected, as I fancied, the features of Mrs. Josephine Butler and Mr Waugh, in similar raptures. My historical sense suffered a shock and I essayed to withdraw a little, but ere I had done so my neighbour laid his hand on me, “See,” said he, “the goddess herself approaches.” As I turned, the sharp cut features of a man, evidently a priest, caught my eye. He was clad like the rest in a plain white robe, but on his breast a large triangular silver breastplate glistened in the moonlight, and on his head was a conical crown. Could it be, but no – yet it was very like – the good Mr. Marson! In his hand he bore a standard whence gleamed in massy silver the model of a fish.

Behind the high-priest followed a car drawn by eight milk white mares, and in a kind of palanquin a veiled figure I knew to be the goddess. “Bow, vile stranger,” said my neighbour, “adore that virginity which was, and is, and is to come, before which even the legislators veil their faces.” But I kneeled not, neither adored, but standing looked on. The procession halted before a temple, four priests came out and raised the palanquin. A thrill ran through the assembled multitude as the time arrived, when just for one moment the sacred veil should be raised. At the further end of the square a body of richly-attired old men emerged, with bowed heads, from a massive and imposing building. These, I understood, were the legislators, the fathers of the city.

Now, thought I, for a chance to see one of the great types of ancient female beauty, if not the Trojan Helen, at least a Semiramid, a “Mrs.” Caudaules, or a Cleopatra! The veil was raised, there stood forward in the pale moonshine – “Miss” Cass ! I turned and felt a little sick. I suppose I must have swooned at the sight of the shopocratic vestal, for the next thing I recollect is being aroused by a crowd rushing forth from the temple, headed by him and her, whom I had taken for Mr. Stead and Mrs. Ormiston Chant, shrieking death and destruction to the male principle. “Hail to the eternal virgin-militant womanhood!” They all raised diamond-shaped daggers on high and conjured the moon-goddess that ere her virgin rays paled that night the city should be purged for ever of maleness, and dedicated a holy priestess to her service.

I didn’t know exactly what it all meant, but thought I might as well go and look at something else, and so moved away, clutching a steel J pen and a fragment of the Pall Mall Gazette, which, in the event of the hero of Northumberland street beginning to show “venom,” I intended to use as a charm, crying In hoc signa vinces, (The allusion to the power of the new journalism; I thought would be sure to “fetch” him and make him forget his dreadful vows). However, at that instant I awoke – to reflections on the mutability of human affairs and the difference between the militant Yonicism of two thousand years ago – the group of smooth-faced white-robed fanatics, fish-sign on forehead, triangle on breast and diamond-shaped dagger in hand – and the militant Yonicism of to-day with its black frock coats, Exeter Halls, newspaper articles, London police-courts, lobby wire pulling, and vigilance societies, and I thought that on the whole in spite of certain elements of unpleasantness I preferred the former.

Let me assure Mrs. Besant I am no hater of “women in general.” What I hate is – women in the “particular” position of a privileged class as they are at present. I decline to bow down before a sexual principle, or to admit the justice of granting privileges on the basis of a sex-sentiment. What I contended and still contend is that the bulk of the advocates of woman’s rights are simply working, not for equality, but for female ascendency. It is all very well to say they repudiate chivalry. They are ready enough to invoke it politically when they want to get a law passed in their favour – while socially, to my certain knowledge, many of them claim it as a right every whit as much as ordinary women. Says Mrs. Besant, “Why use the existence of bad women as an impeachment of women in general?” Now I want to know who has done so. I certainly have not. All I say is, don’t allow the worst characteristics of bad women to come into play by giving them free leave to use the tribunals for purposes of spite, revenge or blackmail! Don’t pull out your biggest pocket handkerchief at every tale of wife-beating, before you have heard the other side! Don’t allow women to ruin men by legal process, as a punishment for not marrying them, when they want them to! Don’t allow wives to “sell up” their husbands, or to compel their husbands to maintain them in idleness, while they are allowed to keep all their own property or earnings singly to themselves.

In stating this view of the question plainly, I may say I am only giving articulation to opinions constantly expressed in private by men amongst themselves. A noisy band fills the papers with lying rhodomontades, & c., & c., on the “downtrodden woman,” and their representations are allowed to pass by default. I am styled a misogynist forsooth, because I detest the sex-class ascendency, striven for by a considerable section at least of the bourgeois Women’s Rights advocates, and desire instead a true and human equality between the sexes.

 
Notes:

1. This is not all. It is now proposed by the Saturday Review and Pall Mall Gazette that this promising branch of female industry should be “protected” by the curtailment of cross-examination. A Mrs. Brereton, the other day, brought what the jury by their verdict pronounced a false, or to put it mildly, “doubtful” charge against a man. It is now actually complained by the journals in question that this verdict was obtained or furthered by the too severe cross-examination of the prosecutrix. Hence it is argued that cross-examination must be in future limited to questions not embarrassing to the prosecution. Could sex privilege go much further!