Wright, Peter. Gynocentrism As A Narcissistic Pathology
New Male Studies: An International Journal ~ ISSN 1839-7816 ~ Vol 9, Issue 1, 2020, Pp. 24–49© 2020 Australian Institute Of Male Health And Studies
By Greta Aurora
By Vernon Meigs
I want to talk for a brief moment about a song that’s a childhood favorite of mine entitled “He Walks Like a Man” as performed by country music singer Jody Miller. The lyrics, written by Diane Hilderbrand, are what I want to look into in particular. Take a moment and read the lyrics, or better yet, listen to the song if you have access to it, but again pay attention to the lyrics.
These lyrics, which I have heard are written by Hilderbrand for Jody Miller for her husband Monty Brooks (although I have no solid sources on that), are sung from Jody’s perspective about the qualities of her man in the verses, with some descriptions surprisingly flattering and beyond the utilitarian clichés, such as “He schemes like a man and whenever he can, he dreams like a man”. Each of these verses is closed with what can be described as a light chorus: “But it’s the little boy; It’s the little boy in him I love”. A bridge within the song speaks of how there is a little boy in every man, and how the little boy shines through every now and then.
An eloquent and simple song which is to this day a favorite of mine. In recent years however I’ve come to appreciate the fact that lyrically it has a different take on depicting through words a woman’s love for her man. We have had our share of songs from plenty of genres describing a woman’s love for a man one way or another, thematically from how supportive and caring their men are, how lovable they are despite their “flaws”, or even more direct songs about “making love”.
However, I think this 1964 hit has a unique take on it that I can’t quite find offhand on other female-driven songs. Off the top of my head, it is the only song I can think of that is about loving a man for being himself. I’m not talking about the “be yourself” advice given to men that are struggling with social situations which is not nuanced or enough or truly meaningful in itself. What I mean about loving a man for being himself is valuing a man as an individual in himself.
My Introduction to the Puer Concept
One thing I’ve come to realize in recent years is what is intrinsic to an individual, that is, the importance of the inner boy in the man, and likewise the inner girl in the woman. What I mean by inner boy and girl, specifically, is the Jungian concepts of puer and puella. To stay on subject with this article I will place focus on the puer, the inner boy. It should be worth noting that “puer” is, in fact, Latin for “boy”. I want to make an immediate distinction of context here to avoid confusion: the puer concept, at least in the positive context I hope to exposit on, is distinct from what is referred to as the child archetype in human adult relations in which one assumes the role of child, and the other as the adult with hyperagency, resulting in a situation where the adult child parasites off of the one assuming the adult role through vulnerability and victimhood. The puer archetype, usually symbolised as a boy, represents spontaneity; and the child archetype, symbolised as an infant, represents helplessness.
Psychologists directly speaking about the puer also can be rather uncharitable in their exposition of it, especially when they cynically associate it with Peter Pan Syndrome…and dismiss it simply as a “failure to launch”. However, I think there needs to be a focus on puer as a highlight of the inner, unabashed boy that embodies everything that is honest, energetic, pure, innocent and enthusiastic. The childlikeness of earnest joy and uncorrupted excitement, and not the childishness of the petulant brat. The awe-inspiring innocence of wonder, wishes, and curiosity, not the stupid innocence of naiveté and ignorance.
I want to credit Peter Wright of Gynocentrism.com for convincing me of this distinction. Whereas I previously broadly used the “inner child” concept to speak largely of the positive aspects of the child to serve as youthful energy for the kind of grown men that spend time tinkering their automobiles and organizing their various collections, I largely glossed over the destructive aspect of the “inner child” in its manipulative, petulant context. Peter had helped me make more of a contextual distinction between the two and introduced me to the puer and puella concepts.
“He Walks Like a Man”, in my mind, speaks to the puer of Jody Miller’s man. The little boy in him is not an infant that pines for his mother’s care. The little boy in him is not a petulant whiner that goes into a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. If he was in any way these things, the song’s lyrics of how admirable the man is *as* a man will not ring true. Note that in the bridge she mentions that the little boy comes shining through when his man is “happy or blue”. The little boy is the honest, unsacrificed self of a man, encased in the tough exterior that he’s adopted to function as an adult. When the little boy shines through, it should be a joyful encounter of meeting the honest self of a man with his dreams still intact, his wonder unscathed by cynicism, and a lust for life and all the world has to offer. And dare I even say, far from this being the woman’s maternal type of love for this little boy, perhaps it is the inner girl in the woman, the puella, that responds to and loves the little boy in him, the puer.
Cancelling the Inner Boy
I would have spoken about the following subject way earlier but I had been busy scripting up and recording my ICMI20 talk which needed particular attention, and I needed a break afterwards. So although some time has settled since, let’s talk briefly about that silly Tomi Lahren rant about how men are trash.
In her rant she specifically states in a snide voice that feigns wit: “This is a PSA for all the men out there, and all the boys who think they’re men, but they’re actually boys. This is gonna be the summer of canceling boys.” She proceeds to admonish men at large for not living up to what are no doubt asinine expectations for men that she and “her friends” imply to uphold. Everything about her rant exposes the shifting of blame upon all men where in fact there had been no self-reflection in which she can find blame in herself for anything that goes wrong in her relationships with men. It is greatly ironic that we find this brattish quasi-valley-girl woman-child with big sunglasses on her head talking about how men are not real men but are instead boys.
Everything about Lahren, coming across as petulant as any princess, reveals something most may overlook: this is perhaps not so much about her having an ideal man. Ideal men no doubt have come and gone from her life with her being the dismissing agent. It is my understanding she broke off an engagement that came with an obscenely priced diamond ring. No, her real issue is that she hates the inner boy within the man. It is hinted early on that she claims to berate men who are actually boys, and want to cancel said boys. I know what some might think: “Well, wasn’t Tomi just talking about the petulant sort of men who are irresponsible and giving her and her friends a hard time?” Judging by the fact that men who are “responsible” and relatively “real mannish” to a fault have surrounded and have been rejected by Lahren suggests that no, that is not the sort of boy she is in fact talking about. She can only be talking about the alternative, that is, men with youthful energy and won’t break themselves sacrificially to gynocentric society. Why else would she go on a rant? This whole affair comes across as sour grapes from freaking out over “where have the good men gone!” as if she’d just been dumped.
Tomi Lahren paradoxically assumes both the role of a woman who wants a perfect, ideal man that does everything for her, and also the role of an over-controlling mother treating her man like the very “boy” she wants to cancel. She wants a hulk or drone of a man that can make her life as effortless as possible with his puer, that is, his youthful exuberance and positive childlike qualities completely gutted with sheer contempt. At the same time, she treats men like children with a sadistic maternalism that says “if Mommy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. In her rant, Tomi Lahren assumes roles of both self-victimizing woman-child and authoritarian mother. In both capacities, she mongers war upon the puer.
Lahren doesn’t stand out for this uniquely; really, she is just the latest in the line of women embracing “whataboutmeism”, that gynocentric demand of male altruism, to the point that they can’t bear the existence of the independent puer that wants to pursue his own goals instead of giving his valuable time to the beck and call of entitled women like her. But it should be a wake up call for people who latch onto people like Lahren just for saying they aren’t a feminist. The time is long past to recognize that it is not enough. As long as men are valued for only their utility, disposable or otherwise, and not for their own sake as individuals and what they are deep inside manifested in their puer, this gynocentric disdain on the little boy within men will persist.
Discovering Puer and Puella, and the Case for Embracing Them
Here I spoke about two vast contrasts: One – a song in which Jody Miller expresses a true love and appreciation for the puer, the inner boy inside his man, for it is the essence of this man; Two – a rant in which Tomi Lahren admonishes men at large as “boys” as well as expressing hostility to the very idea of a man being in touch with his inner boy, implicitly waging war against the puer.
The enthusiastic context of inner child is something that I’d appreciated for some time, and is not truly new to me. The puer, as distinct from the child archetype, is however certainly new to me. I think that this can serve as a new proper context for me to discern the things in everyday life, be it in interactions with others to things observable in media, to discern what is in embrace of the puer as well as the puella, and what intends to destroy them.
There is certainly more to discover and write about on my part when it comes to these inner children of wonder within us. All this thus far is but an introduction. But if the puer is the childlike source of unfiltered energy of innocence and dreams, maybe embracing that aspect of oneself is the key to bring them back onto their own two feet if ever they are in a situation that they have to.
Any time you see a man excited about immersing themselves in their chosen activity, be it a car, his art and craft, his study, his stage performance, and even with relationships such as among his brothers or his intimate partner, you’re seeing his puer aspect. You’re seeing the little boy shining through. When a man is broken and his life reduced to drudgery, his puer is either dead or dying. Perhaps a case can be made for embracing our puer, resuscitate it if necessary, and discover that within ourselves and in others we encounter in our lives and value.
[Lyrics referenced in this essay:]
Hildebrand, Diane. “He Walks Like a Man” Queen of the House, by Jody Miller. Capitol Music. 1964
I recently mentioned to a friend that feminist verbiage amounts to little more than organized female nagging — the endless attempt to shame & guilt men into serving women. Is it any wonder that feminist street placards emphasise “having a voice,” “women speaking up,” “not being silenced,” and “speaking out”? These phrases are nothing more than euphemisms for the ear piercing, fingernails-on-blackboard nagging that women have never gone without. Sadly, the days of being able to deal with nagging by use the following device are long gone:
So universal is the archetype of the nagging woman that I visited Amazon in the certainty that someone would have written a book titled “The History Of Female Nagging,” but to my surprise found there was none.
I guess its like other universals such as ‘everyone has a buttocks,’ – so blatantly obvious that no book is necessary. That said, I still wanted to dig deeper into the topic and so decided to check an online etymology dictionary, which reads as follows:
1828, intransitive, “find fault constantly;” by 1840, intransitive, “annoy by continued scolding, pester with petty complaints,” originally a dialectal word meaning “to gnaw” (1825, Halliwell), probably ultimately from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse gnaga “to complain,” literally “to bite, gnaw,” dialectal Swedish and Norwegian nagga “to gnaw”), from Proto-Germanic *gnagan, related to Old English gnagan “to gnaw” (see gnaw). As a noun, 1894, “act of nagging;” by 1925, “person who nags.” Related: Nagged; nagger; nagging.1
What struck me here was the association of nagging with acts of biting and gnawing, which is exactly what feels like is happening to your soul when being nagged, as any man or child will confirm. In this respect it reminds of the mythical eagle gnawing at the liver of Prometheus, only to have it happen again the very next day in an endless round of torture.
Considering the longevity and ubiquity of female nagging, and considering also that gynocentrism and feminism are collective nagathons, I think the future looks bleak in terms of a breakthrough for men. Our modern world has successfully institutionalized nagging at the highest levels – from the United Nations to national governments, and all the way down to schools.
This leads to the disturbing definition of feminism as “Institutionalized female nagging.”
Let the naggers chew on that definition for a while.
Perhaps we can put a positive spin on it and say that the drip, drip, drip of female nagging, from bassinet to coffin, has a toughening effect on men, bringing out the best of stoic resistance and emotional control that men are famed for. At least when its not driving men to die early, or to suicide at four times the rate of women.
Having got the gist of what I already knew about nagging, I searched the internet a bit further and noticed the following blog article, which is relegated to Creative Commons. It digs a bit deeper into the topic, so I repost the following excerpts for your interest:
A brief history of nagging
The nagging wife is the universal villain of married life. From the earliest pages of human history there is perhaps no literature and folk tradition where the character of the nagging wife is not found widely. Along with archetypes of the sacrificing mother, forsaken lover, tragic hero and evil lord, the nagging wife will be found in all societies and cultures at all times in history. Even in today’s world, irrespective of the differences of race, wealth, religion, culture, language and social reform, the character of the nagging wife is universal. She keeps popping up in jokes, films, songs, novels and other cultural cultural creations.
Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher, is supposed to have had a nagging wife who drove him to spend his time in the city squares and gymnasia, much to the benefit of philosophy. The figure of the nagging wife finds mention in the Bible, (indirectly) in the Quran, and is a crucial moment in the story of the Ramayana. She is to be found in renassaince Italy, in medieval England, on the expanding border of America’s “wild west”, in the bedrooms of colonial India and in the sit-coms of post-modern Europe.
What is interesting about this figure of the nagging wife is that it is one of those few characters who transcend history. Like the sacrificing mother, the unrequited lover or the tragic hero, the nagging wife can be found in ancient, slave owning agricultural societies, in prosperous trading medieval ones and in post-industrial wastelands of contemporary West. What is it about the nagging wife which makes this character so universal and transcendental?
It is not only the wife who deploys this weapon of the weak. Children use it to excellent effect. In that context (parent – child) it is not generally called nagging but rather ‘pestering’. It too emerges from a similar context of powerlessness of children within the family, where the only way for them to get their point across is to ‘pester’ their parents till they accept defeat. Today, the power of children to pester their parents into taking decisions is an important weapon in the arsenal of advertisers who use “pester-power” to sell everything from groceries to cars.
In the contemporary world, many families have moved out of the context under which nagging by wives exists. Women own property, often they are in positions of power and are effective decision makers. Nagging does not automatically end in these contexts, just like it does not automatically exist in all patriarchal families. Today nagging is not necessarily confined to the patriarchal family and has been, in a sense, freed from the context of the patriarchal family under which it originated and survived. It has become a cultural archetype which women (and men) absorb into their personalities in the process of socialisation. Where it exists outside the immediate context of the patriarchal family, it exists only as a weapon of offence and not as a survival skill of the weak wife and it “forges its own chains” for those who deploy it in inter-personal relations. The question arises, are we courageous enough to surrender this weapon? 2
 Nag, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
 Aniket Alam, A brief history of nagging, Creative Commons(2008)
See Also: The Henpecked Club
[Greta Aurora] During my interactions with men’s rights advocates, I have noticed they often refer to the “truth” with regards to feminism and gender relations. I get uncomfortable whenever I hear someone claim they’re in possession of some kind of absolute truth. I don’t like dogmas. How do you feel about this? Do you think human beings are able to ever uncover the complete truth about anything?
[PW] I can understand your discomfort. I would split truth into two categories, the first is absolute truth such as gravity or light on which everyone can agree, and secondly being what we might call contested truths which often come with conflicting sets of evidence, especially as we see in complex subjects like race or gender politics. When faced with conflicting hypotheses and evidence, “truth” is best applied to an individual who takes one partial position among the many available – it is his or her truth alone. But that partial position becomes dogmatic when pitched as the one and only truth, good for all people. The tendency toward dogma underlines the importance of holding a polycentric approach – ie. the understanding that there are numerous truths involved in any complex field of relationships.
[GA] You trace the origins of chivalry back to the Middle Ages, and the evidence you present is all very clear and convincing. Gynocentrism seems to me as a lot more complicated concept though. Would you not agree that it’s an integral part of not only human, but even mammalian nature? For example, in the vast majority of mammalian species, the males fight each other for dominance and mating opportunities. To what extent do you think humans are capable of consciously overwriting their instincts?
[PW] In mammals, and specifically in human relationships, there exists an interplay of gynocentric and androcentric acts. But the overall relationship between males and females is not necessarily gynocentric as some would insist. The wombs of females are a precious resource for perpetuation of a species, and that reality elicits some measure of protective gynocentrism from males. Conversely, the offspring produced by women’s wombs would be in extremely high danger of perishing without the protective civilization and infrastructure created mostly by men, thus we can conclude that some measure of androcentrism is also necessary. So what we have is not “gynocentric relationships” as necessitated by evolution, but rather a reciprocal relationship between males and females designed to bring the next generation of children to maturity. With that in mind it makes little sense to characterise human relationships as simply gynocentric (meaning woman-centered), and it makes much better sense to characterise them as relationships of reciprocity.
As for male creatures fighting each other to gain access to females, this is the behaviour of dimorphic tournament species, which is contrasted with more monomorphic, pairbonding species. According to biologists like Robert Sapolsky, humans show traits of both dimorphic tournament species and monomorphic pairbonding ones, indicating that we have a more flexible potential to move between these behaviours than other mammals. (Perhaps your readers can watch this short clip by Sapolsky)
A more recent paper by Steve Stuart Williams explores wither humans are highly dimorphic, polygynous animals like peacocks, or are a relatively monomorphic, pairbonding animals like robins, and he concludes that we are closer to the latter than the former. The paper, for anyone interested, is titled Are Humans peacocks or Robins?
With such wide variability in human potential, our cultural customs can be set up to encourage male behaviours into just one side of that potential – say for example the competitive tournament style. If for example we are steeped in the cultural mythology of gynocentrism, a convention that has arisen over recent centuries, we might assume human males are a singularly a tournament species fighting for female access, despite the more complex evidence against this viewpoint. As is often the case, this demonstrates that a cultural myth creates biases in our perspective and limits our potential.
The last part of your question; are humans are capable of consciously overriding reflex instincts, I would say definitely yes – we’ve evolved with large neocortexes for precisely that purpose – rational reflection acts as a survival mechanism in potentially dangerous situations that our instinctual reflexes might lead us into when not checked.
[GA] I’m curious how you interpret one story from Greek mythology in particular: the Trojan War. Is the story of men sacrificing themselves merely to retrieve a beautiful woman a reflection of the human psyche, or merely a form of scripture meant to condition people to see the world a certain way – or anything in between?
[PW] The short answer is yes, myths are correct in stating that beauty is an immensely powerful motivator, so I agree with that truth in the Helen mythology. As an aside Aphrodite, who represents beauty, sensuality, sexuality and love, and to whom Helen prayed for release from her powers, is said more powerful than even the so-called Patriarchal Gods …… able to weaken even the limbs of the mighty Zeus himself.
Mythologies like those contained in the Illiad or Bhagavad Gita contain profound truths about human tendencies, but they can equally be misleading regarding human behaviour. As I stated the elsewhere, fictional material from classical era such as in Helen of Troy (a Greek myth), or Lysistrata (a Greek play) when used as “proof” of gynocentric behaviour or gynocentric culture is too meagre in terms of evidence…… as the old saying goes, “One swallow does not make a summer.” Further, in terms of biological facts about human behaviour, myths can be about as trustworthy as would be the movie Planet of the Apes to future researchers studying the history of primates, or My Little Pony for future researchers studying the real evolution of horses.
[GA] My ultimate question is: to what extent is gynocentrism biologically programmed vs socially constructed?
[PW] I partially answered that above in response to your earlier question, ie. that isolated gynocentric tendencies/acts are part of our biological heritage, as are isolated androcentric acts part of that same heritage. What I don’t buy is the belief that humans are somehow a “gynocentric species” or that overall relationships between men and women are biologically designed to be gyno-centric. This totalising proposition for gynocentrism, that gynocentrism should somehow dictate and swallow all aspects of male-female interaction is both extreme and, unfortunately, popular. This viewpoint is based on mythology arising out of European culture in which gynocentric customs have become amplified through the deployment of what are called supernormal sign stimuli – a term used in ethology circles to show how the behaviour of mammals can be made to overrun their evolutionary purpose via the deployment of sophisticated sign-stimuli and propaganda. I co-wrote an article on this complex topic with Paul Elam entitled ‘Chasing The Dragon’ which is available in print and on YouTube which explains the sign stimuli of chivalry, and romantic love, exaggerates gynocentrism in human populations in a way that overruns gynocentrism’s evolutionary purpose.
[GA] You previously mentioned you don’t agree with looking at masculinity and femininity as the order-chaos duality. Is there another archetypal/symbolic representation of male and female nature, which you feel is more accurate?
[PW] Some archetypal portrayals are distinctly male and female, such as male muscle strength and the various tests of it (think the Labours of Hercules), or pregnancy and childbirth for females (think Demeter, Gaia etc.). Aside from these universal physiology-celebrating archetypes, many portrayals of male or female roles in traditional stories can be best described as stereotypes rather than archetypes in the sense that they are not universally portrayed across different mythological traditions. For example you have a Mother Sky and a father Earth in classical Egyptian mythology, and males are often portrayed as nurturers. Also, many archetypes are portrayed interchangeably among the sexes – think of the Greek Aphrodite or Adonis both as archetype of beauty, or Apollo and Cassandra as representatives of intellect, or warlikeness to Ares or Athene.
To my knowledge the primordial Chaos described in Hesoid’s Theogeny had no gender, and when gender was assigned to Chaos by later writers it was always portrayed as male. There is no reason why we can’t assign genders to chaos and order by which to illustrate some point, but we need to be clear that this rendition is not uniformly backed by archetypal portrayals given in myths – and myths are the primary datum of archetypal images. So broadly speaking the only danger would be if we insist on the female = chaos and male = order as incontrovertible dogma (which, to be clear, I know you are not doing as you rightly oppose such dogma).
There’s a rich history of psychological writings which look at chaos as a state not only of the universe, or societies, but as a potential in all human beings regardless of gender.
[GA] You correctly point out that men and women are more alike than different in temperament, on average – the main disparities are seen at the extremes of the curves, when lined up next to each other. However, there are some significant biological differences, which make me doubt complete equality is possible to achieve. Obvious reproductive and hormonal differences aside, I’d like to ask you to consider physical strength. The average man has approximately double the upper body strength of the average woman. Do you think differences like this can be discounted in a liberal society? Do you not see it as a potential problem with regards to equality under the law and in work environments (e.g. sentencing perpetrators of rape and other types of physical assault; military service; dangerous jobs with a physical component)?
[PW] I agree with everything you mention here. Completely. Those differences between men and women are very real and are not going away. While equality may be possible in the numerous areas in which men and women are alike either psychologically or physically (in the area of overlap underlined by Jordan Peterson who stated that “men and women are more the same than they are different”), a complete equality is a ridiculous thing to want or to attempt to mandate socially. That’s why we hear the popular slogan among men’s advocates that “we support equality of opportunity, but not equality of outcome.”
[GA] Speaking of equality in society more broadly, I wish it was possible to achieve. In theory, I do believe we can be different and equal at the same time. However, it’s just not obvious to me what this would look like in practice. Do you think men and women must become more like each other in order to be fully equal? Or can we have equal opportunities and fair legislation, while also celebrating our differences?
[PW] This is something that each modern individual or couple must decide for themselves. Modern society has graced us with the option of following traditional gender roles, or creative modern roles, or perhaps something in between. In his book Myth Of male Power, Warren Farrell advocates a partial move away from traditional gendered roles that ensured cooperation and survival. He referred to those roles as “Stage 1. survival roles” and proposed a move toward roles which are more shared – such as sharing the child rearing and money earning. This proposition of course infuriates advocates of traditional roles. I wouldn’t personally go so far as advocating the transition to Farrell’s Stage-2 roles, but I think its worth noting that we all do have such options available now.
[GA] In ‘The Dying Femme Fatale’, I mourn the death of femininity in the western world. At the time, I was looking at these issues purely from the female perspective. Do you think there’s a place for traditional masculinity and femininity in today’s culture?
[PW] Yes absolutely, there’s a place for traditional femininity and masculinity – especially for those who are attracted to these ways of being. I look at women in traditional cultures who can be powerfully alluring and simultaneously demure by way of complimenting men’;s strength, agency and sexuality – and to my eyes it is art, a beautiful dance that has stood the test of time. Conversely, I also see the art and beauty of men and women who embrace more of their human potential, and if they can make that work in a relationship I say power to them. Again it all comes back to individual choices rather than who is right or wrong….. at least that’s how I tend to view it.
We often talk about men’s duties and responsibilities, or their failures to man-up and adequately serve women and society. But we rarely talk about men’s needs, nor encourage them to carve out some self-actualized living.
Abraham Maslow’s model of human needs is depicted as a series of hierarchical levels on a pyramid. At the base are what he calls the deficiency needs (D-needs) which must be fulfilled before moving up to enjoy the higher needs. Any absence in deficiency needs, such as social belonging or having enough to eat, creates a sense of deprivation that motivates people to seek satisfaction of those needs.
D-needs are comprised of the lower four of the following levels of need: Physiological, safety, belonging, and self-esteem.
The guiding principle in this model is that each base-need must be satisfied before moving onto the next level of need motivation, culminating finally in the pursuit of personal ‘self-actualization,’ a flowering of human potential inviting more free-time and the luxury of not being preoccupied with constantly servicing base needs for ourselves and others.
Sadly, catering to the deficiency needs of everyone around them is precisely what most men find themselves doing. Men collectively spend most of their waking hours servicing the base needs of others, particularly female others who are freed to pursue the more luxurious need goals related to self-actualization.
Think of the so called ‘housewife’ or ‘home maker,’ or of women who make the sensible choice of working part time so their work-life balance is not deleterious to their aspirations for self-actualisation.
Meanwhile, we often fail to ask who is labouring away at servicing the base needs of society; who is growing the most meat and vegetables to cater to human need; who is transporting the food; who is working longer hours to earn the bigger weekly wage to pay for all the foodstuffs that mostly others will eat? Who is building the houses and infrastructure for people to luxuriate within; Which sex is putting themselves on the line to ensure the safety of others? And which sex is pandering to women’s relationship ideals – including the funding of regular holiday packages, latte and shopping money, and big helpings of benevolent sexism to ensure the ‘esteem needs’ of women are fully met?
You guessed it – they are the base needs servicing army.
Alternatively, and on a more personal level, which sex suffers most homelessness, street violence, workplace injuries, health deprivation, safety deprivation, love/belonging deprivation, depression, suicide or early death? Clearly men are not very good at servicing their own base needs – perhaps because they are so preoccupied serving those of others.
Analysed honestly, a picture emerges of men preoccupied their whole lives with catering to base needs of women and children, and in many cases neglecting those very same needs in themselves. And too often women appear reluctant to fill the breach – perhaps because they are preoccupied with enjoying their own creative pursuits of self-actualization.
Maslow conceptualized his model as a universal path regardless of one’s gender, a human path not requiring sharp distinctions between the big-picture needs of men or women respectively. This however appears far from the reality when we consider that his pyramid today has been carved into distinctly gendered turf, with men relegated to servicing the bottom need-rungs for women (especially physiological and safety needs), or indirectly servicing them via paying taxes to a government who services those same needs, thus allowing women to devote energy to the creative pursuits of romantic love, belonging, self-esteem, and of course the cherry on the top – self-actualization.
Not only do men take care of most physical needs and safety issues, they feel compelled to provide support for whatever higher-need whims their female partners inevitably dream up — “I just do whatever she wants so she can be happy”.
Betty Friedan, champion of the women’s liberation movement and instigator of second-wave feminism called for self-actualization for all women, writing “Only by such a personal commitment to the future can American women break out of the housewife trap and truly find fulfillment… by fulfilling their own unique possibilities as separate human beings.”1
Friedan cited Maslow’s higher-order description of ‘self-actualization’ as essential for women to achieve this aim – and achieve it they have, in spades.
To-date we are still waiting for the cry to go out for male self-actualization.
To a large extent men, being perpetually stuck catering to bottom order needs is a hangover of human survival roles in which men and women divided labours between themselves in order to ensure survival of the family unit and, with it, the species. Having realized that survival, and living now in societies with far less disease, danger, and with greater material abundance, women have collectively seen fit to “liberate” themselves from traditional roles while men, generally speaking, have not. This is what we call the blue-pill conundrum — one sex is living the liberated dream, while the other remains stuck in a traditional service role.
The idea of men reaching for higher order needs is among the hottest of men’s rights questions arising today: i.e. should we remain welded to our traditional roles of protector and provider and hope that “liberated” women will disavow their multi-option lives and come join us in the trenches? Or do we join them and insist that neither sex should be responsible for the base needs of the other while simultaneously neglecting their own safety and higher fulfillment?
I think the question is self-answering.
Men and boys might now pause to consider they have the option to focus on their own base needs as much as anyone else’s. We also have the option to pursue Maslow’s higher-order needs of self-actualization, described as, “the desire for self-fulfilment, namely the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.”2
Self-actualization is further defined by Dictionary.com as “the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.” It entails nothing less than the realization of one’s creative, aesthetic, intellectual, and social potential, but it can only come about by the commitment of the self-determined, red pill man to live a life of freedom. He is the one who opts for being over and above selfless sacrifice and catering to survival needs alone. He is the one builds, dreams, cooks, rides a Harley, has hobbies, visits friends, goes on an adventure.
If we accept that there are no victims in life, only volunteers, that means there is literally nothing standing in the way of a more a fulfilling, self-actualized existence. The choice as always is ours.
Another concept presented by Maslow’s is peak experiences –those moments of intense happiness that stand apart from usual mundane experience, something he suggested was more likely to occur with regularity for the self-actualized person.
According to Maslow, feelings accompanying peak experiences included “wonder, awe, reverence, humility, surrender, and even worship before the greatness of the experience.” And he added that reality is perceived with a sense of “truth, goodness, beauty, wholeness, aliveness, uniqueness, perfection, completion, justice, simplicity, richness, effortlessness, playfulness, self-sufficiency” 3
Those humans lucky enough to enjoy the self-actualized life, punctuated as it is with peak experiences, would seem to live a privileged existence.
The following Wikipedia list offers some typical characteristics of peak experiences — experiences which in many ways are comparable to the freedoms described under red pill living:
- loss of judgment to time and space
- the feeling of being one whole and harmonious self, free of dissociation or inner conflict
- the feeling of using all capacities and capabilities at their highest potential, or being “fully functioning”
- functioning effortlessly and easily without strain or struggle
- feeling completely responsible for perceptions and behavior. Use of self-determination to becoming stronger, more single-minded, and fully volitional
- being without inhibition, fear, doubt, and self-criticism
- spontaneity, expressiveness, and naturally flowing behavior that is not constrained by conformity
- a free mind that is flexible and open to creative thoughts and ideas
- complete mindfulness of the present moment without influence of past or expected future experiences
- a physical feeling of warmth, along with a sensation of pleasant vibrations emanating from the heart area outward into the limbs.
Every detail of that list has been described by men who have swallowed the red pill and decided to live life on their own terms.
When men are no longer preoccupied in servicing the needs of Betty Friedan’s liberated women, no longer preoccupied by honey-do lists, the long work hours and the burden of social guilt that accompanies the role of servicing (and ultimately failing) women’s expectations, they can then begin to pursue their own needs as self-actualized men.
Those men who have swallowed the red pill report a new experience of freedom, one that comes with transcendence of temporal time and space as men become less chained to the clock and its plantation-like schedules. There’s far less ‘dissociation or inner conflict’ as blue-pill cognitive dissonance becomes a thing of the past, and self-actualization becomes second nature.
Feminists since Betty Freidan have succeeded in managing all levels of Maslow’s ladder, from physiological needs upwards, for their own self-benefit. They’ve treated human needs as a gendered turf war, with Maslow’s pyramid divided up like real estate on a Monopoly board where all the good properties are owned by women, while men pay rent on their Mayfair and Park Lane stopovers, or go straight to jail. The time to level the playing field is long overdue.
 Friedan, Betty, The Feminine Mystique (1963)
 Maslow., A. A Theory of Human Motivation, Psychological Review 50, pp. 370-396. (1943)
 Maslow, A.H. (1964). Religions, values, and peak experiences. London: Penguin Books Limited
Eric Anderson is Professor of Sport, Masculinities & Sexualities, University of Winchester.
As scientists and rational human beings we like to think of our ourselves as people swayed by hard evidence. However there is another thread in the human experience, one which can sway us to have “faith” in ideas that go beyond science.
By Paul Elam
Recently, Brad Wilcox of PragerU did a video trying to sell the idea that a man is better off yoked to a woman he has to take care of versus life as a bachelor pursuing his own interests and leisure activities.
The reaction from the group of men who identify as Men Going Their Own Way, or MGTOW, was swift, critical and on point.
Now, you might think that the divide between MGTOW and pro-marriage advocates is a relatively new one, born in the internet by a collection of men who made a choice to rebel against the institution of marriage and opened a real-time, public dialogue about it.
In modern times we can trace the kerfuffle back to the early 2000’s, when a group of Men’s Rights Activists created the first internet forum dedicated to men going their own way. An archived conversation with one of the founders was recorded by Rocking Mr. E.
Part of the problem those men encountered was also, in their minds, the solution. Men of this type were fiercely independent. Or, more bluntly put, MGTOW tend not to play well with others. Rather than cooperate with each other, they often went their own way.
That is not a criticism. Quite the contrary, it was MGTOW steadfastness and out-of-the-box thinking that led them to re-popularize the idea of men checking out and taking care of themselves.
Their ideas were subject to quick evolution. For instance, early in the first known internet version of a MGTOW manifesto, they claim to hold the objective of, and I quote, “instilling masculinity in men,” a clear “man up” mandate that would most likely be scoffed at by contemporary men going their own way.
Thus, as far as we know, is when the modern use of the term emerged. Many have assumed that this is a first for western culture, and have even struggled to claim ownership over what “going your own way” means.
There has been a fair amount of infighting over that, from which I have not been exempt. Yet, if we look at history we find that the bickering is like two fleas arguing over who owns the dog. The idea of men going their own way is bigger and older than anyone talking about it today.
There is a record of men avoiding marriage — the dictates of gynocentrism, and the attempts by those who would shame men from that path that stretches back nearly into antiquity.
One good source to gather more information on this is The Age of the Bachelor: Creating an American Subculture by Howard P. Chudacoff, a 1999 book that chronicles a good bit of the history of misogamy and debunks completely the idea that it is a new phenomenon.
The following excerpt from the volume Medieval Forms of Argument provides more detail about the tradition of men rejecting marriage:
In Germany this aspect of the querelle has been largely ignored (interest has focused on voices which argued in favor of women’s intelligence and reason), although the querelle du mariage played an important role here: the wide-ranging marriage debate during the Reformation, in particular in its sensational and scandalous early phases – public betrothals of monks and nuns, closures of monasteries and convents, an epidemic of marriages in Germany to which even French reformers travelled who wished to marry – must be read as an integral part of the European querelle des sexes and the same goes for the marriage debates of the Counter-Reformation. Martin Luther’s Von chelichen Leben (The Estate of Married Life – 1522) speaks quite in the manner of a querelle text by turning against the traditional misogamist attitude:
“What we would speak most of is the fact that the estate of marriage has universally fallen into such awful disrepute. There are many pagan books which treat of nothing but the depravity of womankind and the unhappiness of the estate of marriage […]. So they [young men listening to the advice of a Roman official] concluded that woman is a necessary evil, and that no household can be without such an evil. […] For this reason young men should be on their guard when they read pagan books and hear the common complaints about marriage, lest they inhale poison . For the estate of marriage does not sell well with the devil, because it is God’s good will and work. This is why the devil has contrived to have so much shouted and written in the world against the institution of marriage […]. The world says of marriage, ‘Brief is the joy, lasting the bitterness.”
Looking back as recently as 1950 we have evidence of the shaming backlash against men who reject marriage and gynocentrism in the form of a book, “Why Are You Single?” a collection of essays compiled by Hilda Holland.
The thrust of the text throws a shadow on the mental and emotional fitness of confirmed bachelors, raising doubt about the quality of their parents, suggesting unresolved Oedipal issues, a lack of maturity and insufficient moral bearing. Such characteristics echo what later came to be referred to as Peter Pan Syndrome.
One of the contributors, Dr. Bernard Glueck, wrote that bachelorhood represented “primitive and infantile thinking.”
He also characterized bachelors as “impulse ridden,” “excessively narcissistic” and even “sadistic.”
It’s the mid-twentieth century version of Brad Wilcox, only with less finesse and undoubtedly less backlash from a population of men more tolerant of being shamed.
Reaching back a bit further in time, to 1896, Ernest Belfort Bax neatly summarized the obvious driving force behind the resistance. In his essay titled “The Matrimonial Privileges of Women,” Bax outlines 12 key areas that put men at unjust, egregious disadvantage, vulnerable to fraud, deception, violence and incarceration at the hands of wives.
Also, in the same year, according to Peter Wright of gynocentrism.com, “Mrs. Charlotte Smith, feminist activist and President of the Women’s Rescue League, spearheaded an anti-bachelor campaign based on her concerns about the increasing numbers of women who could not find husbands — a surprising development considering men outnumbered women in the United States then by 1.5 million. Her solution to the “problem” was to denigrate, malign, and ultimately punish bachelors in order to pressure them into marrying any women unlucky enough to remain unwed.
Part of her remedy was to have bachelors excluded from employment in prominent public sector positions. Her second punishment proposed a universal bachelor tax of $10 per year be applied, amounting to between 1-4 weeks of the average wage, with the proceeds to provide living standards for ‘unmarried maidens’ orphans and the poor.”
It seems Mr. Wilcox is standing on a lot of shoulders, and it does not stop there.
In 1707 a conversation about a bachelor tax between two young women was published. Eliza kicks off her conversation with Mariana with the following:
Amongst all the female grievances we have hitherto debated there still remains one we have not yet touch’d upon. There are an abundance of bachelors who, thro’ a cowardly apprehension of the cares and troubles of the marry’d state, are so fearful of entering into it, that they would rather run the hazard of damning their souls with the repeated sin of fornication, than they will honestly engage in Wedlock to procreate within those reasonable bounds which the united laws of both God and man have both religiously appointed: Therefore methinks it would well become the care of a Parliament to redress this grievance, so very hurtful to the Kingdom in general, as well as to our sex in particular, by some compulsory law that should enforce Marriage upon all single sinners who otherwise will never keep a cow of their own whilst a quart of milk is to be brought for a penny.”
The full conversation goes on to ensure that even celibate men are granted no reprieve. The two women imagine all sorts of evils befalling society from the minority of men who eschew married life as well as sexual relations.
In this we get a glimpse of the true source of hostility toward gay men. The hatred is not a fear of them, but a resent of their freedom and their lack of utility to women.
To Eliza and Mariana, as it is to the Bradford Wilcox’s of today, men must marry, and they must do so within the confines of the law and the church. If they refuse, they are inferior, defective threats to society. They are to be punished and burdened for their refusal to indulge gynocentric culture.
Yet still, men resisted.
In 1898, two years after Charlotte Smith started advocacy to shame and punish men who refused to marry, a group was formed by the name, “Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band.” Their mandate was clear.
As was reported in the New York World, then one of New York City’s two top newspapers, ‘The motto of the club is Solomon’s proverb: “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” The objects of the club are to oppose matrimony, to fight for the liberty of man, to encourage the manufacture of all such devices as bachelor buttons and to check the movement inaugurated by Mrs. Charlotte Smith “and other disgruntled females” to require bachelors to wed.’
In one declaration, it is a statement supportive of both men’s rights and men going their own way.
Eventually, of course, these voices of dissent on behalf of men would be pushed out of the mainstream media and shunned, as the media became more and more feminized. We can see the eventual result of that now plastered across the pages of most mainstream publications and places like PragerU, mocking and demonizing MGTOW and the MHRM, generally speaking.
The point of this is to make clear that misogamy, which covers the lion’s share of MGTOW, isn’t new. And MGTOW itself, has risen and fallen throughout the ages under many different names.
Even literal reference to the subject predates all of us with a feminist writing about and somewhat encouraging men to go their own way in 1897.
The difference now, and actually the only difference, is the internet. With the new technology, silencing men who reject the slavish dictates of legally sanctioned marriage is no longer possible. As an instrument of support and education, the World Wide Web now affords the opportunity to reject marriage, and to reject the inevitable shaming by feminists and gynocentrists like Brad Wilcox.
Marching to your own drum still comes with a price, but the internet has made it affordable. That isn’t good for marriage as it stands. Since white feathers and the empty allegation of being less than manly no longer work, the only solution left will be what has heretofore been unspeakable.
If society wants to encourage young men to marry, it will require an overhaul of the law and an overhaul of the female psyche. Biased laws have to go. The outrageous privilege and entitlement of women have to go.
It is hard to tell which will be harder. The legal change or the social change. Both are daunting. Most MGTOW won’t care to worry about it, though. They will be too busy living their lives. They have already gotten the message, even if most don’t know how old that message is.
We’ve taken it back 900 years to the work of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughter Marie de Champagne, who commissioned many a troubadour to spread propaganda glorifying male sacrifice for the sake of women.
But even then there was a chink in the armor. In their seminal commissioned work, The Art of Courtly Love, by Andreas Capellanus, he makes a surprise conclusion after penning chapters on the noble dictates of romantic chivalry.
He says, and I quote: “Therefore if you will examine carefully all the things that go to make up love, you will see clearly that there are conclusive reasons why a man is bound to avoid it with all his might and to trample under foot all its rules.”
One has to wonder if the courtly Marie ever read the whole work, and Capellanus may count himself lucky if she did not read the above addenda to the work – she might have had him beheaded.
Incidentally, the tendency to claim absolute ownership of the meaning of bachelorhood is also nothing new. Over a hundred years ago, in The Bachelor Book, a magazine dedicated to confirmed bachelors, we read the following:
Bachelorhood is surely one of the fine arts. No man becomes a bachelor other than by selection. A mere failure to connect on the matrimonial timetable does not constitute a bachelor! By no means. As well you might call a man a Frenchman who missed his steamer, thereby finding himself in France.”
Today, many MGTOW will tell you that they had it backwards, that all it takes to be MGTOW, or a “real” bachelor if you will, is to miss that steamer. Perhaps there would even be a war of words between Bachelor Book subscribers and some modern MGTOW.
If there were, though, it would hardly matter. With time, and with embracing an understanding of our shared history, a larger revolution is unavoidable.
What constitutes a real bachelor or a real MGTOW? I am not going to pretend to know. I am just thankful that the age of shame is over for any man who chooses, and that the advocates of male subservience to hypergamy and gynocentrism no longer have the pulpit to themselves.
They can kiss those days goodbye, forever. We know this as we see them on the receiving end of some of the shame they are dishing out.