Why Some Fine Women Are Not Married _________ NEW FEMININE ARISTOCRACY * * * NARROWLY TRAINED MEN
A question of deep human interest has been raised by the “Independent” when it asked: “Why do so many fine women remain unappropriated?”
“To be successful in the cultivation of culture a country must have a leisure class,” says the editor. “We Americans recognise this fact, but we are going about the getting of this leisure class in a new way.
“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.”
Of one contributor the editor says, “She belongs to the self-supporting class as much as the American men with whom she associates, and she has a right to expect them to be her equals in taste and accomplishments. Although in our opinion she attaches too much importance to the conventional stigmata of culture, we must acknowledge the justice of her indictment. In the educated classes the American man is undeniably inferior to the American woman a range of interests, in refinement of taste, in manners, and in conversational ability, and his deficiencies cannot be altogether accounted for by his absorption in business. They are due rather to mental laziness and lack of ambition.
“That the American man prefers to ‘hold his religion in his wife’s name’ is an old joke. He is also content to turn over to his better half his literature, his art, and his music, and she is likely in the future to have a monopoly of his science and political economy. Women are in the majority, not only in the churches but also in the lectures, concerts, operas, theatres, art galleries, libraries and study clubs : that is, in all forms of the collective pursuit of religious, intellectual, and artistic culture. This is partly due to the greater gregariousness of women, but the number of men who privately cultivate the fine arts is insignificant. the qualitative disparity is greater than the quantitative. The better the music or the pictures or the play, the fewer the men. The lowest and worst concerts and operas are attended only by men. As those of mediocre quality the audience is about half and half. And the music that requires the closest attention and the highest intelligence for its appreciation has chiefly women for its auditors.
“The present trend in education increases this difference between the sexes. There are more women being educated than men, and they are receiving a wider culture. They are in overwhelming majority in the graduating classes of the high schools, and wherever they are allowed to they predominate in the department of the liberal arts of the universities. That is, the men are being more narrowly trained for their vocations and the women are gaining a broader outlook and a cultivated aesthetic taste. ”
What is Damseling? Chat GPT provides the following answer:
“Damseling” is a term used to describe a behavior in which someone, typically a woman, portrays themselves as helpless or in need of rescue in order to elicit sympathy or assistance from others. The term is derived from the word “damsel,” which is a term used to describe a young unmarried woman. In some cases, individuals may engage in damseling as a manipulative tactic to gain attention or to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Damseling can take many forms, such as exaggerating or fabricating problems, over-relying on others for help, or using a victim mentality to manipulate others into meeting their needs.
The following excerpt from Mental Disorders of the New Millennium describes how a narcissistic disposition may be ‘acquired’ by individuals on whom society projects special status: elites, doctors, actors, singers and so on. Acquired situational narcissism (as its called), may help to explain some of our cultural fixation with prioritizing women’s status, esteem, wellbeing, and dignity.
* * *
CAN NARCISSISM BE ACQUIRED?
The question remains as to whether narcissism can be culturally conveyed or whether it is inevitably the result of what Heinz Kohut called “repeated empathic failure” or an emotional developmental disability. Psychiatrist Robert B. Millman defined the concept of acquired situational narcissism, a temporary psychological dysfunction that often accompanies fame. Dr. Millman believes that his celebrity patients may act awful because of the situations in which they find themselves. He argues that they acquire their narcissism by being fed their image by the entourage and media around them.
In an interview with New York Times reporter Stephen Sherrill, Millman notes, “They’re not normal. And why would they feel normal when every person in the world who deals with them treats them as if they’re not? We’re all complicit in acquired situational narcissism. . . . We’ve created it. They’re just responding to us.” Millman also notes, as for all narcissists, “Their marriages fall apart, they make lousy parents, they take copious quantities of drugs, they get into trouble with the law. Because they truly don’t believe the world is real, they begin to think they’re invulnerable. Some even risk their lives, since the world can’t hurt them if it’s not real.”
Sam Vaknin, a prolific writer on this subject, disagrees. He argues that because every human being—regardless of the nature of his society and culture—develops healthy narcissism early in life, it becomes pathological only by abuse. For Vaknin, acquired situational narcissism is merely an amplification of earlier narcissistic conduct, traits, style, and tendencies. Not only are narcissists drawn to celebrity, but once powerful, rich, or famous, they gain immunity from social sanctions for expressing the underlying disorder. Whether or not cultures can create narcissism is an interesting question. What is not in doubt is how cultures support narcissism.
Therapists who believe in the process of Acquired Situational Narcissism or cultural narcissism naturally see positive results with major shifts in the environment. Thus, Jennifer, a woman known even among her most competitive colleagues as a “heartless litigator and shameless self-promoter,” found herself in a crisis when a disaster threatened the lives of her parents and siblings. Although it was with great regret and some anger, she “temporarily” returned to the small town in British Columbia to which they had relocated, to “see to their affairs and protect my inheritance.” Out of the San Francisco legal environs, she experienced a “new world” in which she didn’t have to prove herself at all. In the course of her six-month stay, and the deaths of both parents, she found, for the first time, an ease with herself and a relationship with a man who “should have been beneath me.” She decided to remain in British Columbia, transition to a far less aggressive career, and was reportedly happy for the first time in her 45 years. Ironically, that spring, her name appeared on a magazine touting the toughest ten lawyers in California. For the first time in her life, the accolade was unimportant.
The following brief exchange appeared in the comments under an article titled C.S. Lewis: The Feudalisation of Love. In it I give a brief comment about how women’s cultivation of childlikeness contributes to gynocentric attitudes, and how this appears to be a more forceful influence than sexual and reproductive pressures.
“The primary ‘something’ that was biologically there to leverage is the child archetype in women, an innocence and moral purity feigned with cosmetics, clothing, gestures and fragility and held up as a fetish for men to worship and protect. Sexual factors do come in but are secondary in strength.”
The next question is how do we turn it off? They certainly aren’t going to self regulate, so we have to figure out how to turn off the impulse within ourselves (and all men) to render it ineffective. ___________________________________
Peter Wright wrote:
Turning it off can happen by no longer believing that women are children deserving indulgences at men’s expense – ie. seeing it as artificially manufactured and that in reality women are grown adults. It’s the same process as no longer viewing the Santa Claus in the shopping mall as real – he’s doing theatre.
The result of that awakening is that men find themselves saying “No” to every bit of theatrical childishness put before them, realising that it’s a supernormal bait and a grift. Such a man is no longer caught in the gynocentric machinery of his mind.
This is where I part ways with a few honeybadgers and men’s advocates who believe gynocentrism is more ‘natural’ than I do, even as they accept gynocentrism as sometimes extreme and unfair to men. The “gynocentrism is natural” stance is built mostly on belief in the power of women’s sexuality and reproductive functions, while omitting more powerful & more artificial ruses such as feigning childlikeness: i.e. women may have breasts and uteri, but they are not children.
It’s self-defeating ideology to believe sexual politics is totally unfair for men, while simultaneously believing gynocentrism is “natural.” It results in a learned impotence. Most advocates of this theory end up promoting the familiar parental lifestyle for men under the nostalgic euphemism of “honouring masculinity.” That approach pretends to free men while ultimately keeping them trapped – compliments of an unexamined and unchallenged child archetype, combined with a cultural ideology that pedestalizes women as a higher, quasi-noble class.
The importance of Lester F. Ward’s ‘Gynæcocentric Theory,’ presented first as a speech to a group of feminists in the year 1888, and subsequently as an essay in 1903, cannot be overstated. There were numerous writers promoting gynocentric ideology prior to Ward’s effort, however it was he who first used the term and crystalized a complex theory that has generated thousands of subsequent academic and newspaper articles promoting female superiority, and likewise many protests against the incoherence of his theory – including by early men’s human rights activist Ernest B. Bax (see below).
Ward’s gynocentric theory exerted a major influence on feminist thought, while also circulating in popular culture and in universities where, as one account from 1920 reveals:
“While a comparatively small number of people read this theory from the original source, it is still being scattered far and wide in the form of quotations, paraphrases, and interpretations by more popular writers… College reference shelves are still stocked with books on sex sociology which are totally oblivious of present-day biology. For example, Mrs. Gilman (Man-Made World), Mrs. Hartley (Truth About Woman) and the Nearings (Woman and Social Progress) adhere to Ward’s theory in substantially its primitive form, and not even sociologists like Professor Thomas (Sex and Society) have been able to entirely break away from it.”
The following selection of articles directly mention Ward and/or his gynæcocentric theory.
*The following is a Q & A interview by Jewel Eldora – PW
Peter Wright is an Australian researcher and writer who has published research and analysis on the history of Gynocentrism since 2007. Wright has written books, interviews, and academic research articles on chivalry, gynocentrism, human attachment, and cultural mythologies. In addition to being the unofficial historian of the Men’s Rights and MGTOW movements, he’s also a contributor and editor of A Voice For Men.
The criticism and feedback from that community has been invaluable to my writing ever since.
JE: How many years have you been writing about Gynocentrism?
PW: Around 15 years.
JE: How many books and articles have you written, edited, published?
PW: 150 or so articles and ten books.
JE: What was it that gave you the motivation to start writing this work?
PW: Like most men I’ve experienced various forms of anti-male bias. However my interest in gynocentrism resulted more from observations of a cultural over-valuing of all things female, and the devaluing of all things male, which raised the question of which social tropes might be contributing to this mindset.
While feminist derogation of men was an obvious provocateur, the roots of the problem seemed to go much deeper and prior to feminism. After a survey of European history it became apparent that a quixotic version of male chivalry was responsible for the evolving fetishization of women, and not the usually-cited bogeymen such as Marxism or feminism, which only compounded the trend. Having discovered cultural roots for this tendency I thought it might be helpful to document a history of sexual relations starting from the period of romantic chivalry, providing a kind of road-map for how we got here and, in theory, a road-map for how we might walk back some of the more malignant outcomes.
JE: In the nearly 5 years since my first article, you and I have had some lively, private debates.
I think we agree that men have been devalued to the point where it’s beginning to hurt women. I think that we also agree we’re witnessing an incredible mass hysteria. We have some different points of view on how we got here and what might be done about it.
I’d like to see if I can state my argument and steelman your argument. Correct me where I’m wrong.
My General Argument (80% Nature | 20% Nurture):
I’ve posited that 50 years of propaganda, ideological class war and social movements, exploiting biases and human group and valuation has a tendency to increase stress. That stress is exploiting evolutionary biases and rendering the humanity of men invisible behind the enforcement of cross-cultural taboos.
This has been made possible by effective Class War propaganda, State force, and benefits replacing men within the family, combined with increasing stress from social media/technology.
PW: I have found most of your arguments compelling, arguments that you previously published as a series to a large readership who were both bemused by their novelty and genuinely intrigued by their potential explanatory power. With a plethora of one-dimensional explanations on offer for the deteriorating relations between men and women, many people hunger for something more substantial – and your series provided precisely that; depth.
You took findings from evolutionary psychology and biology and repackaged them for a mainstream consumption, and gave them your own twist. For example your work on female ingroup preference, parasite stress, and associated disgust mechanisms has helped to highlight how biological reflexes are exploited by nefarious actors who aim to stir up social panics – of which the final result is, too often, a form of male outgroup derogation.
As you mentioned a moment ago, all of this ends up hurting women too as they find their own lives and intimate interactions with men become paranoid, stifled, and essentially poisoned.
JE: Me Steelmanning Your General Argument (80% Nurture | 20% Nature);
Beginning in roughly the Middle Ages, the concepts of Chivalry and Courtly Love began to shape the moral and legal landscape to advantage women and to disadvantage men. Through a man made process, incremental changes in the cultural, media and legal systems have led us to where we are now.
As evidence you present different cultures that still value masculinity and appreciate men for their inherent strengths, complexity management and boundary maintenance attributes and skills.
Obviously, you have an enormous body of research and work that doesn’t fit comfortably in a paragraph.
Where am I Wrong? And What Am I Missing?
PW: That’s a fair synopsis of my position, with the only quibble being with your characterization of ‘80% Nurture | 20% Nature.’ I appreciate that your percentages here refer to a relative influence I’m ascribing to cultural signifiers (nurture), vs. the influence of unmodulated biological reflexes (nature) in the formation of our moral views about men and women today – a.k.a. the skewed gynocentric worldview of the Anglosphere.
In that scenario the 80/20 description reflects the fact that biological imperatives, as expressed by an individual, will always be subject to customs of the body politic along with being subject to punishments for transgressing social norms – even to the point where an individual can be put to death for taboo expressions of sexuality, hypergamy, unacceptable expressions of disgust and the like. In such cases we see a win for cultural conventions, and a loss for the selfish contrarian-gene impulse expressed by a given individual.
More broadly speaking, I prefer to characterize my position as 100% nature and 100% nurture – you’ll never see a human environment without biology, and you’ll never see biology without a facilitating environment, even if it’s hard to know where the center of gravity lies between the two forces.
JE: What was the most unexpected discovery or set of discoveries you’ve made in your research?
PW: Being somewhat of a reductive biological-determinist in my former outlook, I was surprised to learn just how wildly human cultures and associated human behaviors changed from era to era, and from place to place. In one culture you can see sexual license, in another sexual repression; or in one culture you can witness a parasitic-disgust response toward men’s beards, and in another you witness the exact opposite disgust for the smooth-skinned faces of men who don’t sport beards – beards which are seen as pure and divine features gifted by God. Such flexibility of human behavior forced me to make big adjustments in my thinking.
JE: What is the most disturbing discovery or set of discoveries you’ve made in your research?
PW: I’m in awe of how human societies display a kind of organic flow, possessing inbuilt homeostatic mechanisms that steer us in the correct direction when societies go a little bit wacky.
The disturbing thing I’ve noticed is that owners of mass media such as newspapers, radio, television, and now internet tech, can censor the organic voices calling for homeostasis.
That action takes us into a mechanistic and anti-human direction that I think is soul destroying, both for the individual and for the culture. I think some of your work touches on examples of this in action, particularly in the State of Minnesota.
JE: My target audience are lawyers, Intellectual Dark Web types, and Unwoke Minnesotans. What message would you like to send to them?
PW: I would encourage Minnesotans to read your work and follow you to get up to speed on the tendency of Minnesota to be a generator of global panics. The choice you offer between being woke and awake is critical.
JE: What message would you send to your fellow Australians?
PW: Count your blessings that you live on a massive island with no border crises to suffer.
JE: What gives you hope?
PW: What gives me hope is to remember that culture always changes.
The Dogma of Gender was first delivered as a public lecture in the autumn of 1977 at the Royal Society of Medicine, London, England, under the sponsorship of the Guild of Pastoral Psychology. The article was first published by Spring Publications, in Spring Journal 1982, and later in the volume of compiled essays Echo’s Subtle Body.
Written by one of the founders of Archetypal Psychology, the article has proven itself timeless over the 45 years since it was first penned, becoming even more relevant today for understanding the fantasies that might be at work in the ‘gender debates’ that rage on unchecked.
The essay is republished at gynocentrism.com with permission of the rights holder and author, Patricia Berry.
?VM: Hey Peter, thanks for agreeing to the interview.
?VM: You are well known, as far as I can see, within the MRM for your advocacy against gynocentrism. You point out the aspects of society and the cultures of the world, historically and in the present day, that enable and promote gynocentrism in one way or another, and you run Gynocentrism.com which talks extensively on the subject and is basically the go-to source of content exposing gynocentrism. While you may not be the only one that talks critically of gynocentrism, you are among the very few that I can see that calls out that out on the traditionalist as well as the SJW side with the same vigor, and for the right reasons. Can you reflect on your experiences having confronted gynocentrism on both those fronts, and how have you have been received in the MRM for it?
?PW: In some ways confronting the feminist version of gynocentrism is easier than confronting its traditional counterpart, because feminists are more likely to admit to their plan of increasing the power of women — female empowerment as they like to call it.
Many traditionalists on the other hand tend to disguise their desire to grant women inflated status, but they work toward securing forms of gynocentric power no less than do feminists. In the traditionalist language that power is referred to as men ‘putting her on a pedestal’ – a phrase known by all, and an aim widely aspired to by traditionalists.
Both progressive and traditional gynocentrism aims to privilege women over men. Both are reliant on the damsel-in-distress narrative to harness chivalric supply, and the only thing that separates them is the typical list of privileges they aim to institute – ie. typically a pampered housewife for the traditionalist, or have-it-all lifestyle for the progressive feminist.
These two gynocentrisms are essentially at war with each other over who deserves priority access to male chivalry, that magic ingredient needed for realizing gynocentric power. To that end, traditional and progressive gynocentrists have cultivated different dog-whistles to provoke chivalric behaviour from males: the traditional woman plays the demure, weak damsel in need of saving by a knight in shining armour, while the feminist plays the same victim role but is far more aggressive in her demand for chivalric redress. We could say that the same ‘white knight’ caters to these two variants of damsel – the demure damsel, and the aggressive damsel respectively.
These two gynocentrisms have their taproots in the codified gender roles of medieval Europe, in which, to quote philosopher Julia Kristeva, “Roles were assigned to woman and man: suzerain and vassal, with the lady offering up a ‘distress’ and the man offering a ‘service.’ “
So despite feminism positioning itself as a progressive new movement, its motive is remarkably traditional.
My rejection of gynocentrism as a default path has been met with resentment from both feminists and traditionalists, both of whom have counselled men to embrace more chivalry for the benefit of women. Fortunately, there’s a segment of the men’s movement that reasonably doubts, or outright rejects gynocentrism as a healthy basis for relationships between men and women, and likewise any appeals to chivalry are met with a reasonable scepticism by the same segment of men.
?PW: Paul and I first exchanged in around 2007 while he was working at Men’s News Daily, a popular news site for men, and I was working on expanding International Men’s Day to reach a more global audience. We were discussing collaboration of some kind, but due to our busy schedules we let it slide.
A few years later, I think it was around the beginning of 2010, I joined as a contributor at A Voice for Men and soon after became an editor at the site. During the early years we had many discussions about men’s issues and about the future of the men’s movement, and it was clear then that Paul and I held similar perspectives on many issues – like chivalry, the problem of gynocentrism, and the need to create a new psychology for men. Our first collaborative articles explored those themes and seemed to come effortlessly, so much so that we continued co-writing and proof reading each other’s articles until recent times when we’ve both taken a hiatus from writing generally. This has been a personal highlight in my men’s advocacy work, and I’m pleased to see many of these collaborative pieces now collected in the two volumes you cited, which are proving popular with the red-pill audience.
?VM: You and I are non-feminist, or anti-feminist, because we know feminism for what it is – a female supremacy ideology that is but one symptom of gynocentrism, not the be-all end-all of it. There have been some anti-feminists, however, that argue against it for blatantly gynocentric motives of their own that they aren’t even trying to hide, such as something along the lines of: “Before feminism, we had it all and men provided for us like servants, and now we women have to work like men do, woe is me! Let’s go back to the good old days and make things easy for us women!” What do you make of this variety of antifeminists? Is it traditionalism, or is it something different and possibly worse?
?PW: It is one kind of traditionalism, yes, but not the only kind. More specifically we might call this one ‘gynocentric traditionalism’ – a designation that acknowledges the existence of a non-gynocentric traditionalism.
The gynocentric traditionalist is at war with feminists because she realizes that chivalry is a finite resource, and if men are pouring out their assistance, protection, finances, pampering, and general deference to feminists, then the traditional gynocentric woman is likely to receive a far smaller serving of the available resource. It’s a jealousy with a valid rationale.
Unlike traditionally unemployed and pedestalized “home-maker” wives, who appeared en-masse after the industrial revolution, I think it’s important to acknowledge there were less gynocentric, or non-gynocentric women in pre-industrial societies throughout global history. Such women were more likely to be family-centered than self-centered, and they would labour alongside men as field workers, brewers, butchers, bakers and candle-stick makers, along with sharing a great deal of the care of children with other family members, including fathers, as contrasted to the more modern practice of mothers keeping children all to themselves, like chattel or bargaining chips, as post-industrial society has succeeded in establishing.
This last point of women’s exaggerated control over children is blamed on contemporary feminist policies, whereas it was, in fact, equally the case for traditional families a century ago in both America and Britain, as we read in the writings of Ernest B. Bax… and I’d like to quote him on this point:
“It has always in England been laid down as a fundamental law based on public policy, that the custody of children and their education is a duty incumbent on the father. It is said to be so fundamental that he is not permitted to waive his exercise of the right by pre-nuptial contract.
Nevertheless, fundamental and necessary as the rule may be, the pro-feminist magistrates and judges of England are bent apparently on ignoring it with a light heart. They have not merely retained the old rule that the custody of infants of tender years remains with the mother until the child attains the age of seven. But they go much further than that. As a matter of course, and without considering in the least the interests of the child, or of society at large, they hand over the custody and education of all the children to the litigant wife, whenever she establishes –an easy thing to do– a flimsy and often farcical case of technical “cruelty.”
The victim husband has the privilege of maintaining the children as well as herself out of his property or earnings, and has the added consolation of knowing that they will brought up to detest him.
Even in the extreme case where a deserting wife takes with her the children of the marriage, there is practically no redress for the husband. The police courts will not interfere. The divorce court, as already stated, is expensive to the point of prohibition. In any case the husband has to face a tribunal already prejudiced in favour of the female, and the attendant scandal of a process will probably have no other result than to injure his children and their future prospects in life. [The Legal Subjection of Men – published 1896].
This quote provides an example of what I mean by gynocentric traditionalism, the widespread practice of the privileging of women and disadvantaging men, which was taking place well before the popular rise of feminism. Advocates of traditionalism, of course, remain silent on these ‘traditional’ abuses of men.
?VM: On a similar note, another argument for men’s issues that I see a little too often for my taste is “men’s issues affect women, too!” That’s irked me – as if women and their dear white knights are supposed to respond, “Oh! I haven’t cared about men’s issues before but it affects women?? Now I ought to care!” To me that sounds every bit as gynocentric as anything else out there in the world – do you have any thoughts on that?
?PW: I think you hit the nail on the head, this is nothing more than a He-For-She reflex by people unlikely to ever care about the concept of He-For-He. If helping men is not somehow exploitable for the benefit of women, then these same people generally don’t care.
People are more likely to care about men becoming disabled, getting cancer, losing a job, or getting killed at war because these things will affect women – as Hillary Clinton famously quipped when she said that women were “the primary casualties of war.” But if a single, unmarried man becomes disabled, gets cancer, becomes unemployed or dies – then who gives a damn? No one.
Addressing the gender empathy gap is the big issue of our time and it requires all hands on deck, all genuine advocates of human decency, to bring attention to the problem.
?VM: MGTOW is a varied umbrella with men whom I’d like to think come from various walks of life and different perspectives on why they are going their own way and what it means to them. Among those permutations, is there a precedent for a man going his own way to have an intimate relationship with a woman (or a man, if they are so inclined)? Also, is there a precedent for a woman going her own way as distinct from the feminist idea of the “independent woman who don’t need no man”, and if yes, what might that look like?
?PW: This is a good question, one that gets silenced in some MGTOW communities. I’ve never been good at conformity to orthodoxies however, and prefer to make up my own mind about what MGTOW stands for and to whom it might apply.
In its most basic definition MGTOW means male self-determination, nothing more, and nothing less. I, as a man going his own way, choose what I want to do with my life in preference to having my goals conferred or dictated by others, whether by the State, by women, or anyone else. In this sense MGTOW overlaps with libertarian principles.
Can a man in an intimate relationship with a woman ‘go his own way’? I say yes, he certainly can, and I know many men who have been in relationships with the same woman for decades who’ve consistently done their ‘own thing,’ while being mindful that a relationship is by necessity a dynamic requiring some reasonable compromises on both sides – which these men choose to accept based on their own freewill and on their desire to be in a relationship. These same men would not hesitate to abandon the relationship if their partner’s respect for his self-determination were lacking.
Married and single men can and often do have their self-determination thwarted in a number of ways. For example the married man might have his life upended in divorce court, and the single man might have his life legally upended by a false rape charge. In both cases, self-determination is stolen. So I tend to place some emphasis on the beliefs and convictions of the man in question to determine if he is striving to go his own way, and not only on his relationship status…. though I hasten to add that marriage in the modern age is an extremely risky undertaking.
Can a woman go her own way? Yes of course she can, though it would look different to the phoney “feminist” version you alluded to in your question. Some years ago I researched the phrases “go his own way” and “go her own way” through the last 200 years of literature. There were many instances of men going their own way, and likewise there were many descriptions of women who went their own way without undue reliance on men to make it happen for her. I know some women who fit that picture today, including (for example) Elizabeth Hobson of Justice for Men and Boys, who validly refers to herself as a woman going her own way.
Some MGTOW are possessive of the concept of ‘going your own way,’ claiming that women are trying to usurp a concept created by men. While I completely understand their fear of male initiatives being co-opted, they fail to realize this phrase has been in use for hundreds of years and belongs rather to the English language as a designation referring to anyone displaying self-determined behaviour.
Feminist overtures about women living self-determined lives doesn’t pass the litmus test. Their pretentious displays of independence are too strongly reliant on the support of male labour, male deference and male servitude to provide the agency they crave, whereas true self-determination is more self-reliant in my reading of it.
?VM: You are the one who directly introduced to me with the concept of the Puer archetype in describing my idea of the “inner boy” in a man, that which serves as the core and essence of what makes a man as well as his source of youthful energy and optimism. You’ve helped me distinguish that concept from the “inner child” concept in which one partner assumes the role of the helpless and often petulant child and the other assumes the parent role that becomes self-sacrificial. So, on the Puer – what is your take on the importance of the concept for men (and perhaps the equivalent Puella for women)?
?PW: Your own essay on this topic, titled ‘Attitudes Towards the Puer: From Jody Miller to Tomi Lahren,’ provided an excellent analysis of these archetypes, perhaps the best I’ve seen in the manosphere in terms of teasing apart the many definitions and misunderstandings. As you point out, the child archetype is that part of our nature that represents helplessness, vulnerability, innocence and dependency, whereas the puer archetype represents the part of our nature that is youthful, spontaneous, inquisitive, and playful.
That youthful, spontaneous potential is an essential ingredient of human happiness that we carry from cradle to grave, yes even in old men and old women. So it pains me to see this it disparaged in men as “Peter Pan Syndrome” or as a “failure to launch” just because men might like sport, or to play video games or other fun pastimes instead of being chained to the serious business of “growing up” ie. that path of ordered responsibility and of being in service to women and society. If you are not enslaved to serious responsibilities six-and-a-half days per week, say those critics of fun, with perhaps a half day allotted on Saturdays to watching sports on a TV screen, then you are little more than a “pathetic man baby” who needs to “man up” and start providing a lifestyle for a deserving female partner.
If I had the choice to get rid of just one phrase from the discourse about men, even from the most famous men’s advocates, it would be ‘failure to launch.’ Launch into what, into slavery to others? Loss of self, and misery? No thanks. My advice for men and women is to enjoy some youthful spontaneity and playfulness till your dying day, and don’t let wagging fingers and shaming language throw you off. Even in its more extreme forms, a failure to launch might represent a healthy response to an increasingly toxic world.
There are plenty of women showcasing the puella trait, the female-equivalent for the male puer. These are women, flirtatious and playful, who can laugh at themselves and at others, and who generally walk lightly through life with an air of ‘Don’t fence me in.’
But going back to the other archetype, that of the child – the needy, dependent, vulnerable child – I would say that unlike the puer impulse, it deserves to be constrained within adult relationships because it tends to become a drain on the other partner. Who wants to be in an adult relationship with a needy, petulant child? It’s no secret that in marriages one partner often tends to play the needy child, and the other partner plays the responsible parent. And its women who have traditionally been encouraged to play the vulnerable, pampered child more than men – though I hasten to add some men get caught by this archetype too.
Esther Vilar writes masterfully about women’s gravitation toward enacting the child archetype within marriage, a truth for which she became persecuted after daring to articulate it. Her book is titled ‘The Manipulated Man’ – written I think in 1971, and it remains as relevant today as when it was written.
?VM: Narcissism is a big subject that comes when one critiques gynocentrism, and rightly so because of the vampiric, parasitic behaviour that is enabled and encouraged by any given gynocentric mindset. You are also strong in defense of the individual, celebrating the differences of masculine expression as well as praising the individualism of men and women. Do you have an idea of what are the key differences between individualism and narcissism?
?PW: This is a big subject and I’m no expert on the numerous variations of individualist philosophy. What I have noticed is that critics of the individualist path – whether it’s based for example in libertarian thinking, Objectivism or Nietzschean philosophy – make the charge that individualism is synonymous with narcissism. That’s a false equivalence, but they are correct in the sense that there’s a potential for individualism to degrade into pathological narcissism, or alternatively for pathological narcissism to disguise itself behind an ethic of reasonable individualism.
Gynocentrism is one example pretending to represent individualism. It’s a gendered version of narcissism that lacks respect for the individual sovereignty of others, particularly male others, and sets up its own individualism as exclusive – and it does so by actively excluding the individualism of others.
Narcissism of any kind operates as a social monologue, not a social dialogue. Narcissism lacks empathy for others, its inherently exploitative, and is demonstrated by an unrealistic sense of grandiosity that isn’t based on commensurate achievements or merit. Individualism isn’t necessarily any of those things.
So we can’t claim that individualism and narcissism are equivalent. At best someone might mount an argument that narcissism is a pathological variantof individualism, a claim worthy of exploring. But it will never be correct to represent as ‘narcissists’ the majority of those who follow individualist philosophies.
?VM: To what extent can we see gynocentrism mitigated in our human history to come? What would that look like, and is it something we have to constantly be vigilant about lest gynocentrism comes back around again?
?PW: There’s obviously a biological component to gynocentrism, but I’ve always maintained that the gynocentric impulse has been wildly exaggerated, supersized by cultural forces that have exploited our biological tendencies. The cultural gynocentrism we have today has vastly overrun whatever evolutionary purposes it may once have had – it’s now a runaway freight train leaving human destruction in its path.
On that basis I think there will be a correction. It has already begun. Based on the extreme gynocentrism we currently see at play, I expect to see an increase in bachelor movements such as those of Japan’s Herbivore men, and more recently in the rise of ‘men going their own way.’ But while these movements ensure men’s safety away from toxic human entanglements, which is an absolutely necessary short-term response, such bachelor and celibacy movements solve little in terms how to enjoy relationships that we humans are hardwired to participate in. What we need are some new ‘maps of meaning,’ as Jordan Peterson would phrase it, at least in the area of forming viable, long-term relationships.
Rather than appeals to traditionalism with its goal to pedestalise women, or on the other hand calls to embrace progressive feminism which also pedestalises women, we might in future discover new relationship models (or perhaps much older, pre-industrial revolution ones) that can lead us out of the impasse.
The certainty is that men and women will continue to form relationships, but they might gravitate more toward equitable relationships as contrasted with the faux equality proposed by feminists. This move would involve equality of value between men and women, based on libertarian-style principles. Those principles emphasize individual choice for each person of the relationship, relative autonomy, voluntary association, individual judgement, free will, self-determination, and negotiated labour-sharing arrangements & agreements between partners. In a nutshell; freedom to choose, instead of conferred roles or duties.
This is precisely what Warren Farrell proposed when he talked of moving away from survival roles of the past, which he referred to as ‘Stage 1’ relationships, and moving instead toward what he called ‘Stage 2’ relationships which entail men and women sharing equal responsibility to earn money, clean house, enjoy time with children and so on, instead of being imprisoned in socially prescribed or conferred roles. It goes without saying that such roles are completely voluntary and the details negotiable. I agree with Farrell on this proposition, which offers a way out of the impasse and out of the destructive gender war that has raged on for too long unchecked.
Human societies are like fragile ecosystems where if one animal or plant becomes too dominant it can send the entire system into chaos and disintegration. Imbalances will always appear in human societies and we can only hope that if the current imbalance of extreme gynocentrism is downsized in the near future, perhaps as a result from men’s withdrawal of chivalry, our vigilance will ensure that it takes a long rest. Humans however are great at forgetting prior lessons, which allows any number of past maladies to come back and terrorise us.
[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 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 particular 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. 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.
The following is an informal conflab about whether gynocentric behaviour amounts to an enactment of narcissism by women, which took place over a decade ago between Peter Wright and Adam Kostakis in the comments section under his essay Anatomy of a Victim Ideology Lecture No. 5. (2011). These ‘thought bubbles’ would eventually mature into a two-part study titled ‘Gynocentrism As A Narcissistic Pathology‘ published in New Male Studies in 2020 and 2023 respectively.
* * *
Peter Wright commented to Adam Kostakis:
All the essays in this lecture series are an intellectual treat.
Might I make one small suggestion; as well as elaborating your Gynocentrism theory, might it not be profitable to do an essay on narcissism? Narcissism (actually gender narcissism) is clearly the libidinous force driving gynocentrism…. if its not, then what else?
A look at Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the DSM-4 gives a simply delicious criteria for an elaboration Gynocentrism theory:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements) 2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love 3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) 4. Requires excessive admiration 5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations 6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends 7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others 8. Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her 9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
Without mention of the narcissistic drive, gynocentrism theory comes across as needlessly mysterious regarding it’s psychological basis. Sociological analysis gives only part of the picture.
Gynocentrism is saturated with examples of narcissism; all the princesses, pampering and entitlements you have been mentioning.
Oh my! The DSM-IV’s criteria for NPD fits feminist women to a tee!
Fear not; the psychological basis for Gynocentrism is coming. I’m going to run a good few rings around that old chestnut tree!
Thankyou for bringing to my attention NPD’s glove-like fit to the feminist hand … it’s tagged for inclusion!5/2/11 8:27 AM
Indeed NPD fits the profile of many feminist women.
Most well-known theorists, from many different schools of psychology, agree that individual disorders detailed in the DSM can and often do show as collective pathologies. On the basis of that idea my proposition is that gynocentrism, as you have termed the long history of special treatment of women (and women’s concomitant expectations of this entitlement), is *psychologically* driven by the universal human drive to narcissism, in this instance in extremis. In order for women to accept the socially sanctioned gynocentric role it must dovetail with a matching libidinous drive, and I cannot think of a more perfect match than the narcissistic drive. Can you?
If this is so then we need to name it and remove the mystification surrounding why this myth is so attractive for women to align with. What is the operant pleasure principle? — Narcissistic gratification.
There are numerous forms of narcissism, all the way from supposedly ‘healthy’ infantile narcissism which is supposed to cease in early childhood (lest it become interpersonally ‘pathological’); through to ‘gender narcissism’ which involves a pathological love for one’s own gender; through to Narcissistic Personality Disorder -the extremely pathological variant at detailed in the post above. After surveying each of these forms of narcissism one could conclude that feminists, and all women actively living the gynocentric myth, are displaying psychological traits of all three forms of narcissism, in various mixtures; ie. infantile, gender, and personality disordered versions.
However we wish to break down the various shades of narcissism, the list of traits of NPD from the DSM is broadly useful for getting inside the head of the gynocentric woman’s head.
But what about males? If males are not living the narcissistic urge, then what is their drive? That takes us into other conversation, but a starting point may be to research ‘Inverse Narcissism’ which is described as the drive to live one’s own narcissistic aspirations by cultivating it in another….. males indulge the narcissistic urge by proxy, in the shape of women. 6/2/11 4:07 AM
The following Wikipedia page defining ‘Narcissistic Rage & Narcissistic Injury’ provides insight into the psychological roots of indignation expressed by all those who become angered at the lack of adherence to, or infringements of the gynocentric program: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_rage_and_narcissistic_injury 6/2/11 3:32 PM
From the essay: “I propose that, by opening up space for perfectly satisfying, collective man-hating, feminism offers a form of catharsis eagerly seized upon by those already predisposed to misandry... Feminism provides more than the opportunity for catharsis. The feminist soon realizes that she need not restrict herself to echo chambers, but might try her hand at real change. A thrill rushes through her at the thought of not just disparaging, but actually hurting men.”
Catharsis…. this is good, begins to answer what are the motivational (psychological) principles of feminist behaviours. My question, which you have already answered is why choose this method of catharsis? Why not projecting (unloading) all one’s hatred and violence onto people who pollute the environment, or onto a political party, or something less detrimental to one’s *other* psychological desires- desires like getting a boyfriend or getting married which are high up on the list for many women who play the feminist game (I’d wager the majority of women who subscribe partially to feminist orientation are not unambiguous man-hating lesbians, but women who deeply desire to be coupled with a male for ever after).
So what else psychological, other than blissful catharsis from the scapegoating all ills onto males, might be driving feminist behaviour? How do you explain the haughtiness, arrogance and exclusive female self-reference/self interest inherent to feminism? How do you explain the “Because I’m worth it” phenomenon of feminism? I suggest the narcissistic drive, as I mentioned previously.
Don’t get me wrong here I’m not dismissing the suggestion of catharsis as motivator, which is clearly a correct explanation for the misandric aspect of feminism.
But to return to my above question; to which powerful drive are feminism-oriented women subordinating their desire to couple/marry with males, the later being a very powerful drive in itself if we look at the themes of most women’s magazines (Magazines which bring together in one editorials primarily about marriage/coupling alongside other articles consisting of feminist messages about empowerment, often at the male’s expense). Why are women taking the huge risk of seeking catharsis by man hating when it risks alienating the men they wish to couple with? This is where narcissism comes in as the irresistible drive behind both marriage and feminist aims and behaviours. Self aggrandizement. To place all feminist behaviour at the alter of misandry does not quite get there.
I wonder is it possible that enticement to narcissistic gratification is the bait misandric feminists use to get non-misandric women to take up the feminist push for power? Two different motivations (catharsis-by-misandry, or, narcissistic gratification) for different women. Now that would be a neat alliance.
Actually I just had a new thought, FWIW. Perhaps its possible to place the seemingly different behaviours of misandry and self aggrandizement at the one alter of narcissism?
Here’s how that would work; People in the grip of the narcissistic drive can exist in one of two immediate environments- 1. the environment successfully recognises and feeds my narcissistic hunger and I in turn feel suitably inflated and “worth it”, or 2. the environment is witholding, does not recognise my worth-it-ness nor feed my sense of entitlement, and therefore I take out my aggression on males and acheive catharsis in that act of hating.
In case 1. women can continue the marraige fantasy. in case 2 the withholding male has become an enemy to be destroyed over and over (referred to in the psych industry as “narcissistic injury & narcissistic rage”).
Just to make the case a little further, tell me if you see any likenesses between your average feminist’s behaviour, and the below DSM-IV definition of narcissism:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements) 2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love 3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) 4. Requires excessive admiration 5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations 6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends 7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others 8. Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her 9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes 5/3/11 8:00 PM
Thanks for your comments – they are always appreciated. Let me go through and respond point by point.
“Why not projecting (unloading) all one’s hatred and violence onto people who pollute the environment, or onto a political party, or something less detrimental to one’s *other* psychological desires- desires like getting a boyfreind or getting married which are high up on the list for many women who play the feminist game (Id wager the majority of women who subscribe partially to feminist orientation are not unambiguous man-hating lesbians, but women who deeply desire to be coupled with a male for ever after).”
I agree that this describes the majority of feminists. Those truly indifferent to men (i.e. actual, not ‘political’ lesbians) would have no reason at all to hate men – and while generalizations should never be drawn from personal experience, the small number of non-feminist lesbians I have known have displayed not the slightest hint of hostility towards men.
Also, some feminists do display rage and hostility towards people for other reasons – they do not necessarily just loathe men, but they may well despise those people accused of polluting the environment as well. The hatred of men generally seems to be stronger though, corresponding no doubt to the primacy of the psycho-sexual drive, as you stated.
“So what else psychological, other than blissful cathersis from the scapegoating all ills onto males, might be driving feminist behaviour? How do you explain the haughtiness, arrogance and exclusive female self-reference/self interest inherent to feminism? How do you explain the “Because I’m worth it” phenomenon of feminism?”
Keep in mind I haven’t really got onto the topic yet. I am getting there. I made reference to the psychological motivation for misandry in this post, but a fuller explanation has its place in a few weeks time. Your comments, on this post and on previous, have not gone unacknowledged. It’s just that I like to be systematic about my writing, and usually plan the shape of these lectures weeks if not months in advance. So, I will get there in due time.
For now, this will suffice: I explain the narcissism by the combination of two factors. First, traditional Gynocentrism (which persists even outside of feminist circles), which elevates women as the protected caste and gives them special status. The cultural ‘programming’ women receive is favorable to them because it tells them that they are superior to men. Feminism has exacerbated this ‘programming’ but it did not create the meme. (I dislike the term ‘programming’, because I reject the view that human beings are automatons whose behavior is determined by social and cultural norms, i.e. I reject structuralism.) Gynocentric and now, feminist cultural memes state that women are the sexual gatekeepers and men exist to serve and impress them. It is shocking how many women, even in this age of supposed equality, still believe this.
The second factor is the advanced consumer economy. Free markets do not just fulfil desires, they create desires too. The ideal consumer is one who is materialistic, narcissistic, competitive, obsessed with social status, and so on. This type of consumer is the most manipulable. What we have found over the last century or so is that women more easily become this type of consumer – I would speculate this is because more women than men are devoid of character, owing to their Gynocentrically privileged status.
I do not believe either of these factors are inevitable or natural. That is, I do not believe that women are essentially or inherently (more) narcissistic or manipulable. They have been made so through Gynocentrism, and advanced consumerism exploits these existing characteristics to boost profit margins. Take a look at some adverts marketed to women – which most are nowadays, along with most TV shows, films, newspaper editorials, etc. There is an almost endless hammering of this idea that women collectively are deserving of more than they currently have (whatever this is), and that women individually are deserving of more than they currently have. This meme is so widespread it has become a droning background noise. Nobody questions that women are disadvantaged because it is on a par with subliminal messaging. The favorable outcome, to the consumer economy, is that women demand more be spent on them. Women control something like 80% of spending in the United States, despite men earning higher income.
The real problem is that this narcissistic materialism won’t go away when women do out-earn men. As Paul Elam has wonderfully stated, when we see men paying for high-income women’s dinners from their unemployment checks, we might actually start to see some change here.
In short, I believe these two factors are what produce the princess mentality. One historical, one recent, the latter leaning on the former. Crush Gynocentrism, and there will be nobody prepared to indulge women’s materialism. Then women will have to actually grow up and face the hardships of life, developing character along the way – that will be a wonderful thing to see, and will result in most women outright rejecting feminism.
Feminism, you see, depends upon the perception that women need to be provided for, even as it pays lip service to the opposite idea. The independent woman is anathema to the countless legal and welfare reforms put in place by feminists, which make life easier for women because they are women.
“Don’t get me wrong here I’m not dismissing the suggestion of catharsis as motivator, which is clearly a correct explanation for the misandric aspect of feminism. Its more that feminism may be better viewed as a ‘syndrome’ which means a collection of disparate motivations and behaviours – as differentiated from a ‘disorder’ which typically have more unified drives and behavioral goals. Feminism is a conglomerate of motivations and behaviours.”
Feminism could be viewed as a syndrome, but actually, I see it as an expression, namely, the radical expression of Gynocentrism. It is narcissism which I see as a syndrome, of Gynocentrism. Gynocentrism is the social disorder – although (in its historical, non-radical form) it does sustain societies, this is at enormous cost to the men in those societies, and so is quite deserving of the term ‘disorder’. Feminism is just Gynocentrism gone nuts. It’s a very old idea taken to inconsistent and unsustainable extremes.
“to which powerful drive are feminism-oriented women subordinating thier desire to couple/marry with males, the later being a very powerful drive in itself if we look at the themes of most women’s magazines (Magazines which bring together in one editorials primarily about marraige/coupling alongside other articles consisting of feminist messages about empowerment, often at the male’s expense). Why are women taking the huge risk to get catharsis by man hating when it risks alienating the men they wish to couple with?”
This is a great question, and I think the only answer I can give right now is that human beings are not always rational. Particularly not when they are emotional, and given the primacy of the psycho-sexual drive, an emotional response is unavoidable when the drive is stunted. Rejecting, and hating, the inaccessible object of desire is an unfortunate, and irrational, but ultimately very human reaction.
Also keep in mind that a lot of feminist innovation has consisted in making young women out of bounds for men. Please go to The Anti-Feminist – link in the sidebar on the blog – and spend a few hours reading. Feminism – or at least, one aspect of it – is the sexual trade union of women whose objects of desire are inaccessible (in short, men pursue younger women, leaving the less desirable women without men). Schopenbecq’s theory that the pill in fact liberated men, and forced women to ‘take power back’ through feminism, is not only intriguing – I cannot find fault with it.
“This is where narcissism comes in as the irresitable drive behind both marraige and feminist aims and behaviours. Self aggrandizement. To place all feminist bahaviour at the alter of misandry does not quite get there.”
Sure, narcissism is mixed up in all this, as I’ve mentioned above. I would say that hostility is generated when the woman who believes she deserves an object is denied that object. This hostility easily translates into misandry, i.e. hostility towards the object that rejects her ownership of it.
“I wonder is it possible that enticement to narcissistic gratification is the bait misandric feminists use to get non-misandric women to take up the feminist push for power?”
Interesting idea. However, narcissism is at root of the problem, as a byproduct of Gynocentrism and preliminary to feminism and non-feminist misandry. I think that female narcissism is always going to be a problem, and we are best served by attacking it at root. I mentioned above that I reject structuralism. I don’t believe any woman necessarily has to incorporate into her personality any of the social ills so far mentioned (materialism, narcissism, feminism), but always has a choice in the matter. She can reject them all, and in the absence of men willing to provide for her and bail her out (a problem which is currently systemic) she would be forced into independence, and would develop character as a result of dealing with all of life’s hardships. I identify character as that which is opposite to narcissism, materialism and dependence. Most men have character because nobody is there to bail them out and they know it; they have to make it on their own. Most women do not experience this, and do not develop character. This is the problem, in my view.
There are many examples of women who do reject narcissism, etc. from their personalities. There are those who do develop character. They can be found in the Men’s Rights sphere as well as outside of it. I have known several in real life. They are simply those women who take their responsibilities as seriously as do the majority of men. It is safe to say that no feminist fits this bill.
“Perhaps its possible to place the seemingly different behaviours of misandry and self aggrandizement at the one alter of narcissism?
Here’s how that would work; People in the grip of the narcissistic drive can exist in one of two immediate environments- 1. the environment successfully recognises and feeds my narcissistic hunger and I in turn feel suitably inflated and “worth it”, or 2. the environment is witholding, does not recognise my worth-it-ness nor feed my sense of entitlement, and therefore I take out my aggression on males and acheive catharsis in that act of hating.
In case 1. women can continue the marraige fantasy. in case 2 the withholding male has become an enemy to be destroyed over and over (referred to in the psych industry as “narcissistic injury & narcissistic rage”).”
Yes! This is largely the conclusion I came to, as described above.
I particularly like your description that as the enemy, the man (which soon becomes men, plural) must be destroyed ‘over and over’. The narcissistic rage – a great label for it – is never satiated, as I state in this lecture. It is possible that hate has so warped the psyche that even possessing the object (i.e. attaining her ideal man) will not cause the rage to cease. Feminist women may well be ‘beyond repair’.
“More concise regarding motivating drives of feminism:
Woman 1. Narcissistic drive woman 2. Narcissistic and aggressive drives
Woman #2 are IMO the main constructors of the feminist idiological and political edifice. Thier drive is aggression, which gives the stamina. Woman #1 would not have seen the project through, as they are already sated.”
Clearly, a certain amount of aggression is needed for one to become a feminist – in the case of the women, anyway (how many times per post do they need to resort to profanity? I suppose they think it makes the point sound more forceful, like typing in ALLCAPS; as if how an argument is made is more important than its content). So, I would say this is true. The non-feminist misandric women most likely possess the narcissistic drive without the accompanying aggressive drive – or they are simply non-activated, and could become feminists through ideological recruitment – think sleeper cells (in the case that the narcissistic drive does not achieve its object, but the woman does not identify explicitly as feminist, that is, she may be misandric on an individual basis but is not (yet) engaged in a collective project to harm men).
“man-hating appears tied up with narcissistic gratification, and in particular narcissistic injury, with feminism being constructed by a collective of such injured women.”
Again, very true. What we need to point out is that these women have not actually been injured, apart from in their own minds: they feel injured only because they possess Gynocentric privilege which makes them feel entitled to the object of their desires without actually having to earn it (they feel naturally entitled, on the basis of bio-essentialism, i.e. because they are women, to the fruits of male labor).
“Is the narcissism more primary than the hate/aggression? These two forces are both driving feminism, but I wonder if the hate has been enlisted by an even more primary narcissistic drive?”
I think this is something of a chicken-and-egg question. Since all human beings begin life as utter narcissists, and needs/wants will naturally go unfulfilled as they grow (which is necessary for the development of character), it’s difficult to say which comes first in the Gynocentric/feminist context. It’s safe to say that they go hand in hand. Hatred for men will result in increased demands on them to serve women; while hatred of men results from narcissistic demands (male service) going unfulfilled. It’s a vicious circle. This is why feminists become even crazier as they get older – or, in a minority of cases, they break out from the circle and become anti-feminists, having become conscious that they are harming themselves even as they harm men. (See: Christina Hoff Sommers, Camille Paglia.)
“Just to make the case a little further, tell me if you see any likenesses between your average feminist’s behaviour, and the below DSM-IV definition of narcissism”
I do – absolutely – every point, and what is more, feminists seem proud of possessing these personality traits, as though being anti-social and exploitative are virtues.
Did you not post this list before? Or was that a different Psychological Anon?
Thankyou very much for the interesting points you raised!
Another correction: in Part 5, I misread your statement as advocating that non-feminists could use the narcissistic drives present in non-feminist women to ‘recruit’ them to the fight against feminism.
Looking at it again, I am really not sure how I interpreted it this way …6/3/11 4:05 AM
Thanks for your replies to the rabble above. You further clarified gynocentrism and your thoughts about the role narcissism in that context.
Yes I was the one who mentioned Narcissism on a previous occasion on your list.
“Free markets do not just fulfil desires, they create desires too. The ideal consumer is one who is materialistic, narcissistic, competitive, obsessed with social status, and so on.”
Right on. So could we say that markets have exaggerated the degree of gynocentism in much the same way you say that feminism has exaggerated it- ie. that we have two powerful ‘teasers’ which stimulate an intensification in traditional gynocentric behaviour?
“I do not believe that women are essentially or inherently (more) narcissistic or manipulable.”
Agreed, the exaggerated female narcissism is fed by environmental factors, and could be equally have been males if they were (hypothetically) the targets of similar environmental enticements. As it is today markets are keen to find ways to exploit the largely untapped male buyer markets, and if successful there is a likelihood that they will generate an increase in male narcissism.
“..narcissism is at root of the problem, as a byproduct of Gynocentrism…”
Pairing narcissism and Gynocentrism is sensible, though I’m not sure about the word ‘byproduct’ here…. we are back to chicken and egg – ie, would a Gynocentrism operate without a prior, albeit latent narcissistic drive? I’d personally prefer to think of this with metaphors from behaviourism: A drive arousal stimulus (Gynocentrism), releasing a primary psychological drive (narcissism)- ie. the two working in concert.
“There are many examples of women who do reject narcissism, etc. from their personalities. There are those who do develop character.”
Important to remind ourselves that women can choose to say no to narcissism and choose instead to think for themselves and to develop character. The importance of self discipline and willpower are all but forgotten arts in the consumer age, but they are so necessary to the development of character.
You summed it up perfectly here: “Since all human beings begin life as utter narcissists, and needs/wants will naturally go unfulfilled as they grow (which is necessary for the development of character)”.
I’ll take some time and try reading some of the links you have on your blog, and hopefully get a better appreciation for your work. To date I have been immensely stimulated by your writings on Gynocentrism, and appreciate the intellectual range and attention to detail covered.
This following feminist revisioning of the definition of narcissism is an excellent example of the word-play Adam has been dissecting in his previous essays:
The art of Hannah Wilke: ‘Feminist Narcissism’ and the reclamation of the erotic body. http://jenniferlinton.com/2010/12/31/the-art-of-hannah-wilke-feminist-narcissism-and-the-reclamation-of-the-erotic-body/
The growing problem of female narcissism has been long acknowledged by feminists, who attempt to subvert the usual definitions and place a positive spin on female narcissism- eg. advocating it’s necessity to balance out women’s traditional selflessness toward men and children:
‘Who put the “Me” in feminism?’ The sexual politics of narcissism http://fty.sagepub.com/content/6/1/25
I have the full text of the later somewhere…. let me know if you would like an email copy.
Quote from The art of Hannah Wilke: ‘Feminist Narcissism’ and the reclamation of the erotic body.
“Rather, the narcissism of [feminist artist] Wilke can be viewed as a shrewd feminist tactic of self-objectification aimed at reclaiming the eroticized female body from the exclusive domain of male sexual desire. The ‘self-love’ of narcissism is a necessary component to this reclaiming of the body and the assertion of a female erotic will as being distinct from that of the male artist. Wilke wielded her narcissistic self-love as a powerful tool of critique, defiantly placing her own image into the hallowed halls of the male-dominated art institution.”
“Critics such as Amelia Jones and Joanna Frueh have championed Wilke and proposed, through their respective writings, a new and positive view of narcissism as a legitimately feminist, subversive tactic in the making of art. In her catalogue essay entitled “Intra-Venus and Hannah Wilke’s Feminist Narcissism”, Jones contextualized Wilke’s work within the framework of her “radical narcissism” and argued that the use of her own image throughout her art is far from the conventional or passively ‘feminine’ depiction of women as seen in advertising and other forms of mass media. Joanna Frueh, in her essay that accompanied the 1989 Wilke retrospective in Missouri, equated Wilke’s “positive narcissism” with a form of feminist self-exploration and an assertion of a female erotic will. Both Frueh and Jones cogently argue for a “positive narcissism” that expunges itself of the negative connotations [and] actively and unapologetically engages in self-love. Wilke enacts an aggressive form of narcissistic self-imaging that defiantly solicits the patriarchal gaze…”
The above ideas linking gynocentrism with narcissism had already been percolating in my thoughts for some years before the above exchange, and would take another full decade before I wrote a formal two-part study entitled ‘Gynocentrism As A Narcissistic Pathology.‘ (published in 2020) – PW.