This article is in three parts. This is part one.
By Peter Ryan
Moving Beyond A False Gynocentric Understanding Of Biology:
As I have discussed in previous articles, there is a widely held belief in our gynocentric culture and even in the manosphere, that women are more biologically valuable than men because they are the rate limiting factor of reproduction and men are supposedly expendable. I have explained in great detail why this is not the case in the following articles and have covered every common argument that is used to justify this false and factually incorrect claim:
- Gynocentrism and the golden uterus (part one)1
- Gynocentrism and the golden uterus (part two)2
- Gynocentrism and the value of men (part one)3
- Gynocentrism and the value of men (part two)4
- The nature of male value and our gynocentric culture (part one)5
- The nature of male value and our gynocentric culture (part two)6
This claim is pervasive and is the foundation of the core belief in female superiority that drives gynocentrism in our culture. That is why I have written so much about it. Maintaining the lie that men are expendable and only women are valuable in the culture, is critical to maintaining gynocentrism. The claim of greater female biological value, is sometimes used to explain the origins of gynocentrism and even justify gynocentrism in society. Ironically this claim is actually a product of gynocentrism itself. In reality the two sexes have equal biological value, but biological value manifests itself differently in each sex. In women biological value is generally more focused on reproductive output and in men biological value is generally more focused on survival output. Of course there is considerable overlap (the sexes are more alike than different7) between the sexes and exceptions, but that is the general pattern.
There are some people that erroneously suggest that sexual selection is greater than natural selection and therefore reproduction is more important than survival. This is factually incorrect and can be debunked quite easily. If an organism does not survive long enough, it either does not reproduce or does not reproduce at a frequency that preserves its lineage, or its offspring die and the lineage dies with them. There is an equilibrium between sexual selection and natural selection. If the fitness benefits of sexual selection of a particular trait, are outweighed by the fitness costs of that trait arising from reduced survival, then natural selection will override sexual selection.
It is correct that certain traits can arise in a species that may enhance reproduction at the cost of reduced survival, but this can only develop to a certain degree (and the reverse can occur too where survival is enhanced at the cost of reproduction, in circumstances where the net fitness benefit of survival is greater). Positive feedback loops in sexual selection can occur, this is sometimes identified as Fisherian runaway selection8. However eventually such a process terminates when costs to survival become too high and natural selection pressure begins to exceed sexual selection pressure. In a species where this does not occur soon enough, a species will become extinct (like the Irish Elk). Over billions of years, evolution has eliminated species that reproduced at the expense of their own survival in an unsustainable manner. Sexual selection and reproduction are not biological absolutes that exist in a vacuum. Natural selection can override sexual selection and impacts on survival can be more important to evolutionary success than impacts on reproduction.
Each sex has its own optimal life history strategy to propagate the genome. There is overlap between the sexes, but there are also differences. One key difference between males and females, arises from the greater evolutionary success for males in taking on high risk and high effort challenges and hardships, that have a high return or benefit. A man that risks his life to earn social status or acquire resources, may win big and this may greatly increase his mating opportunities and the frequency with which he passes on his genes. Women thanks to their uteri, are limited to reproducing much more slowly and also incur a cost or risk to their primary reproductive function from taking on such risky hardships.
This basic sex difference, is just one of the reasons why men more so than women, are prepared to take on risks and challenges and engage in hardships. It is also one of the key reasons why men are less able to elicit support and protection from society and why women are more capable in doing so. Taking on risks and hardships requires self-reliance and independence from the support and protection from society. Developing traits that elicit support and protection from society, is at least to some degree (but not in an absolute sense) incompatible with male life history strategy. It is not a supposedly greater biological value of women that is behind society providing greater support and protection to women, it is a difference in the manner in which males and females optimise their evolutionary success that has in part led to this difference in societal concern.
We do have a predisposition9 to show greater concern for female well-being in certain contexts. That it is a reality and it has nothing to do with women being biologically more valuable than men. Eliciting support and protection from society is a strength that women possess in greater abundance than men, because it is more aligned with women’s life history strategy. A certain underlying biological bias toward supporting and protecting women over men does exist. It is important to remember though as I cited before, that whilst sex differences exist, the sexes are more similar than they are different. Both sexes for instance have evolved and display neotenous features. Our sexual dimorphism is intermediate and not huge like some other animals. So whilst an underlying bias to support and protect women over men may exist, it is not necessarily a huge chasm like sex differences in many other species. It is also important to recall as I mentioned in the normalisation of gynocentrism10, that human civilisation has arisen from a capacity to make intelligent decisions and control and where necessary inhibit our instinctual impulses. The biases and impulses that drive gynocentric behaviour can be controlled and overcome to a substantial degree.
We can overcome our biases as a society provided that:
- We are aware of them.
- We recognise the need to address them as beneficial and worthwhile to our society.
- We introduce social and legal measures into our culture and society to keep them in check.
- We recognise and counter efforts to undermine those social and legal measures (like addressing attacks on due process and freedom of speech).
Racism has a biological basis to it, as politically incorrect and as troubling as that sounds. Humans are tribalistic by nature and we have in-groups and out-groups. However we have made efforts to address racism in our culture, in our legal system and in our institutions. We are not slaves to innate biological sexism or racism, with no capacity to change our behaviour. We had slavery and legally and socially sanctioned discrimination in the West for hundreds of years based on racist bigotry and we overcame that. What change seems impossible in the present, actually is not so impossible. Slaves thought the same thing centuries ago and look where we are now.
In my previous article6, I mentioned that ironically in some ways feminism has actually demonstrated our capacity to override biology. Feminism has created large numbers of childless women, whose lineage will die with them. Where feminism has taken hold, many societies are pursuing a path that is in contravention to our biological imperative and the populations are failing to replace themselves and continue their lineages. Whilst culture is indeed informed by biology, it is not completely and absolutely restricted by it. Culture also can and does shape biology to some degree (read these articles here11 and here12).
Part of the evolutionary advantage of culture, is to extend behaviour to a certain degree beyond the current evolved biological envelope and allow radical adaptation. Such radical adaptation is not possible if culture is completely unable to go beyond biological predispositions. This is why we can get things like feminism emerging in human society. It is why we can overcome our tribalistic tendencies and overcome racism. It is why we don’t have a society where it is a free-for-all and survival of the fittest. It why we are able invest in activities that are so abstract and distant from the biological activities directly related to genome propagation.
I am not suggesting that there is no biological basis to gynocentrism. What I am suggesting is that the biological basis to gynocentrism does exist and has nothing to do with women being more valuable than men and more to do with the positive and negative effects of our evolved sex differences that arose from each sex having a different strategy in passing on their genes. I am suggesting that whilst certain biases have a partial biological basis to them, like our bias toward female neoteny, we can still manage and overcome these biases. I am not suggesting we can completely eliminate gynocentrism, I am suggesting we can substantially reduce it. Just as we cannot completely eliminate racism, we can and have been able to substantially reduce it. Slavery is no longer a mainstream practice in the West as it was for centuries. Hanging people of a particular skin colour from a tree is not socially or legally acceptable either and racism is not socially or legally sanctioned in society. These are all massive leaps forward that we have taken and positive leaps. Pockets of racism exist, but racism is no longer normalised throughout mainstream society. We can do the same with gynocentrism.
The fatalistic thread of the manosphere, is not achieving anything except keeping men in a perpetual state of learned helplessness. Men are valuable and men do matter. As I mentioned at the start of this article, gynocentrism is based on the core belief women are superior to men. The belief in female superiority ultimately rests on the unquestioned axiom women are biologically valuable and men are biologically expendable, because women have a uterus and give birth and men do not. Propagating this lie is a part of normalising gynocentrism in our culture and is the foundational justification that is relied upon when gynocentric double standards are challenged.
Convincing men that they are expendable with this fictitious lie and using sophistry and twisted interpretations of biology to change men’s perception of themselves from a human being to a human doing, is a core means through which men are controlled in society. When men see themselves as expendable, then they willingly go along with their own exploitation. Even when they do not, men with this perception will not support any organised resistance to the exploitation and marginalisation of men because they perceive it as futile. The gynocentric programming has done its job in such cases- Men become paralysed in a mental prison of learned helplessness.
The notion that females determine all the conditions of the animal kingdom (or Briffault’s Law13), is part of this programming and demonstrably false. Women are not omnipotent. Rape gangs exist, female sex slaves exist, female genital mutilation occurs, the murder and abortion of female infants occurs, arranged marriage exists, millions of Jewish women were exterminated along with men in death camps and the genuine marginisalisation of women exists in parts of Africa and the Middle East (and no I am not talking about Iran). Even in highly traditional theocratic cultures like Iran, where both men and women are restricted, women cannot do as they please. Don’t believe me? Watch this documentary14 on women and divorce in Iran. Women do not call the shots in Iran and neither do men, the theocrats and the family do. Plus one for a restrictive culture and minus one for female omnipotence. Even in the West women do not always get their way. Trump got elected despite feminists and even the democrats don’t entirely follow female interests. These are not just exceptions to the rule, there are too many exceptions to count. These are chasms that cannot be explained with such an absolutist, monolithic and simplistic so-called “law”.
In dating and relationships we can see men that pump and dump women wanting marriage, or men that opt out of relationships entirely and go their own way. I have often heard women are the gatekeepers of sex, but men are far more selective when it comes to getting married and having a relationship than they are with sex. Women might only prefer the top twenty percent of men, but those same men have little incentive or desire to settle down with them. These men have an abundance of women that want them and many men in the top twenty percent can and do simply pump and dump them.
At the same time, whilst women are complaining about where all the good men went and men not earning enough and pretending like feminism has nothing to do with it, less and less men are interested in marriage and relationships. Men are becoming aware of the bias in divorce and family court and steering clear of marriage. They are also steering clear of certain women in the metoo# climate and domestic violence climate and refusing to be alone with female co-workers or mentor them. Then there is the wall, where women over 35 experience a sharp drop in their sexual mating value in contrast to the rising sexual mating value of their male counterparts. So no, women do not control every aspect of dating, relationships and how the sexes interact in the workplace. Ultimately women cannot force men to do anything and men do act at least to some degree on their own self-interest. There are too many exceptions to make the generalisation women control everything. They do not.
There is a big difference in suggesting women influence society and taking the absolutist position women control all the conditions of the animal kingdom and by extension society. Do women control every political and economic decision made by our governments? Did women cause Trump to launch an attack on an Iranian general? Did women tell the US government to bail out the banks? The reason modern evolutionary biology does not cite Briffault’s Law as a “law” or established theory, is because the facts and evidence do not support the absolutist position of female omnipotence it rests on. Evolutionary biology and psychology recognise female mate choice exists, but they also recognise male mate choice exists too and that other factors unrelated to female influence, also influence the conditions of society.
Gynocentrism And The Psychological Manipulation Of Men:
Like the Earth not being the centre of the solar system or universe and the Earth not being flat, modern 21st century science recognises that it is a bit more complicated than women being at the centre of everything. Why does such an outdated and questionable concept like Briffault’s Law gain traction within sizeable communities of the manosphere? Men have been programmed from birth to see female approval as the mark of their worth. Mothers, sisters, female teachers, the wider culture and their female friends and partners, all inform men that their worth is tied to living up to whatever women’s preferred definition of what a man is. That’s why. It is another form of manipulation and control. In my previous article6 I wrote about precarious manhood and the social pressure on men to prove they are a “real man” and cited a video15 on the subject by Tom Golden. What was the “white feather”16 during World War One? What are messages like “The End Of Men”17 in the modern day? All methods to condition male identity around female approval and use precarious manhood to control men.
Naturally men have developed a perception from this programming, where they see women as the centre of the universe. This is the programming they have received their whole lives from every corner of society. That’s where this thinking comes from and the manosphere is not immune to sliding into this fatalistic line of thinking that women are the centre of everything. It is why junk concepts like Briffault’s Law still gain traction even in the manosphere. So when men like myself start writing about the fact that females do not control all the conditions of human society, some men in the manosphere perceive it as a denial of their lived experience and of their twisted and seriously flawed understanding of biological reality (which they almost never scrutinise).
It is your lived experience, it is my lived experience and the experience of every man in this gynocentric culture. I do not deny that. However even a casual observation of society shows Briffault’s law to be false. Women do not control all the conditions of society. It ain’t that simple. The fact men are conditioned from birth to assign their worth to what they do and think of themselves as expendable, does not then make them an expendable human doing any more than conditioning a human being to act like a dog makes them a dog. All it proves is that you can control how people perceive themselves by using social approval and operant conditioning. It just highlights how powerful the effects of social and psychological manipulation can be, especially when done from a young age on the target group (men and boys in this case). People are social learners and we are a social species and are susceptible to manipulation (especially when that is all we are exposed to from birth).
Men need to recognise the extent to which the lies they have been told about themselves influence their perception of themselves and of reality. Female omnipotence and male expendability are illusions our gynocentric culture uses to control men. Whilst the Myth of Male Power18 was an excellent book, an equally important book is The Manipulated Man19 by Esther Vilar. How do you convince the physically stronger sex to subordinate themselves to the physically weaker sex? Manipulation. That is the nature of the mechanism of control over men at work. How do institutions and governments exploit men whilst simultaneously relying on men to operate the system of their own exploitation? Manipulation.