In 1846, the following article, describing American culture as an epicenter of exaggerated gynocentrism & chivalry, was published in The London Sun:
I am convinced that a lady, no matter what her age and attractions might be, could journey through the whole extent of the union, not only without experiencing a single annoyance, but aided in every possible way with unobtrusive civility. Indeed a great number of Saphonisbas and Almiras do travel about, protected only by the chivalry of their countrymen and their own undoubted propriety.
To them the best seats, the best of everything, are always allotted. A friend of mine told me of a little affair at New York Theatre, the other night, illustrative of my assertion. A stiff-necked Englishman had engaged a front place, and of course the best corner: when the curtain rose, he was duly seated, opera-glass in hand, to enjoy the performance. A lady and a gentleman came into the box shortly afterwards; the cavalier in escort, seeing that the place where our friend sat was the best, calling his attention, saying “The lady, sir,” and motioned that the corner should be vacated. The possessor, partly because he disliked the imperative mood, and partly because it bored him to be disturbed, refused. Some words ensued, which attracted the attention of the sovereign people in the pit, who magisterially enquired what was the matter?
The American came to the front of the box and said, “There is an Englishman here who will not give up his place to a lady.” Immediately their majesties swarmed up by dozens over the barriers, seized the offender, very gently though, and carried him to the entrance; he kicked, cursed, and fought all in vain: he excited neither the pity nor the anger of his stern executioners; they placed him carefully on his feet again at the steps, one man handing him his hat, another his opera glass, and a third the price he had paid for his ticket of admission, then quickly shut the door upon him, and returned to their places. The shade of the departed Judge Lynch must have rejoiced at such an angelic administration of his law! – England in the New World.
In 1856, author of Putnam’s Monthly Magazine published the following summary of the relations between men and women in America:
“Long before the cry of woman’s rights was openly raised, the powers and prerogatives of the American husband had been gradually undermined. Usage superseded law, and trampled it under foot. Sentiment put logical consistency at defiance, and the American husband has thus become a legal monster, a logical impossibility, required to fly without wings, and to run without feet.
“While the wife is thus rendered to a great extent independent of her husband, he, by a strange inconsistency is still held, both by law and public opinion, just as responsible for her as before. The old and reasonable maxim that ‘he who dances must pay the piper,’ does not apply to wives—they dance, and the husband pays. To such an extent is this carried, that if the wife beats her husband, and he, having no authority to punish her in kind, applies to the criminal courts for redress, she will be fined for assault and battery, which fine he must pay, even thought she has plenty of money of her own. or, in default of paying, go to jail! Such cases are by no means of unprecedented occurrence in our criminal courts.
In 1887 The Open Court mentions that Continental European view Americans as suffering from gynocentrism rather than male-centeredness:
M. Bois is unstinted in his praise and admiration for the inexhaustible potencies of the fair sex, and reviews their anthropology, or rather, if we may use the word in its literal sense, their gynaecology, less with the eye of the scientist than with the aim of the passionate special pleader [who] hails the advent of the femme-femme. “Woman, before being a wife, a sweetheart, or a mother, is and should be first a woman. Her full freedom must be conserved.”
We Americans have not so much need to take his admonitions to heart as need Continental Europeans, seeing that captious critics are already prone to regard us as suffering rather from gynocentrism than anthropocentrism
In 1903 culture critic Max O’Rell observed the following about gynocentrism in the USA:
“The government of the American people is not a Republic, it is not a monarchy: it is a gynarchy, a government by the women for the women, a sort of occult power behind the scenes that rules the country.”
Price Collier observed in 1909:
In England the establishment is, as a rule, at any rate from a man’s point of view, more comfortable than the American home. Americans staying any time in England, whether men or women, are impressed by the fact that it is the country of men. Likewise the English, both men and women, who visit America are impressed by the fact that America is the country of women.
The Kalgoorlie Newspaper reported the following in 1910:
“In Europe the aristocracy is largely relieved from drudgery in order that they may cultivate the graces of life. In America the attempt is being made to relieve the women of all classes from drudgery, and we are glad to see that some of them at least are making good use of the leisure thus afforded them. It is a project involving unprecedented daring and self-sacrifice on the part of American men, this making an aristocracy of half the race. That it is possible yet remains to be proved. Whether it is desirable depends upon whether this new feminine aristocracy avoids the faults of the aristocracy of the Old World, such as frivolousness and snobbishness.”
Irishman George A. Birmingham wrote in 1914:
“There are people in the world who believe that we are born again and again, rising or sinking in the scale of living things at each successive incarnation according as we behave ourselves well or badly in our present state. If this creed were true, I should try very hard to be good, because I should want, next time I am born, to be an American woman. She seems to me to have a better kind of life than the women of any other nation, or, indeed, than anybody else, man or woman… American social life seems to me — the word is one to apologize for — gynocentric. It is arranged with a view to the convenience and delight of women. Men come in where and how they can…. The American woman is certainly more her own mistress than the Englishwoman, just because America does its best for women and only its second-best for men. The tendency among American humourists is to dwell a little on the greed of the Englishman, who is represented as incapable of earning money for himself. The English jester lays more stress on the American woman’s desire to be called “my lady,” and pokes sly fun at the true Democrat’s fondness for titles. The American man is reverent toward women. It is not the homage of the strong toward the weak, but the obeisance of the inferior in the presence of a superior. This difference of spirit underlies the whole relationship of men to women in England and America. The English feminist is up against chivalry and wants equality. The American woman, though she may claim rights, has no inducement to destroy reverence.
Albert Einstein observed in 1921:
Above all things are the women who as a literal fact, dominate the entire life in America. The men take an interest in absolutely nothing at all. They work and work, the like of which I have never seen anywhere yet. For the rest they are the toy dogs of the women, who spend the money in the most unmeasurable, illimitable way and wrap themselves in a fog of extravagance. They do everything which is in the vogue, and now quite by chance they have thrown themselves on the Einstein fashion.
The following is a journalist’s response to Constance Eaton’s 1929 claim that the sexes have been crafted into social classes – “aristocratic women, and male serfs” :
“THE AMERICAN MALE has always had a tendency to put woman on a pedestal, even if he is not so poetic about it as were the heroes of the age of chivalry. The modern ‘equality of the sexes,’ instead of doing away with this, has only changed its manner of expression. Woman may stand on the same political plane with man, but spiritually he considers her as remote as the stars. Mentally and morally she is supposed to belong to a higher sphere.” At least that it what Constance Eaton, who has been making observations a la Keyserling, Sigfreid, Tolstoi, and others, for readers of The Daily Telegraph of London, believes she has discovered in what she terms America’s sex aristocracy. It makes interesting reading to write that woman is considered mentally superior to man, in America. This may be true of the women, but in my experience I have found few men who held such a view. The burden of Miss Eaton’s thesis is that man earns the money, woman spends it, woman forms the only leisure class, and that woman has spent her life cultivating herself. Man is abject before woman’s superiority.
SEE ALSO: ‘American Man – the Most Successfully Manipulated Male on Earth’ – by Esther Vilar (1970)