Briffault: Rules for the Rational Simp

By Paul Elam & Peter Wright

Hey guys. From time to time I have the pleasure of collaborating on a piece with Peter Wright of Though it is written in first person, this is one of those pieces. My sincere thanks to Peter.

* * *

“The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.”

Or so said Robert Briffault, an English surgeon, anthropologist, and novelist back in the day. And sure enough, if you listen to all corners of the manosphere, there’s no shortage of agreeance with this so-called, “Briffault’s Law.”

“Them there’s the rules,” you’ll hear, with absolute conviction and certitude, “and their ain’t nothin’ you can do about it.”

That outlook is roughly confirmed in a small poll taken by Peter Wright, offering four different interpretations of what Briffault’s Law actually means. One, that it is 100% true as written. Two, that it applies to only nonhuman animals. Three, that the law is accurate, but that it applies equally if the sexes are reversed. And four, you don’t much care about Briffault or his law to begin with.

The results were pretty clear. As you can see, 61, or 91% of those who responded see Briffault’s law, down to the last dotted i and crossed t, as 100% accurate about the female of the human species. By any measure that is an impressive amount of unanimity.

And we certainly see backup for this mentality from the more prominent MGTOW voices out there on the interwebz.

Stardusk titles a remarkably unremarkable talk, linked below, with, “Briffault’s Law – The Most Important Thing You Can Know as a Man”

Sandman opines in more personal fashion in one of his talks, linked, with the following. “I know from my own personal experience that I have two modes of operation with regards to my life,” he says, “Either I’m waiting for a woman to choose me to have a relationship, or I typically don’t care for them – like I do now.”

Finally, we have Colttaine, who expands the definition of Briffault’s Law with the same practiced acumen a feminist employs to expand the definition of rape, linked below “From where I’m sitting,” he asserts,  “the problem with Briffault’s Law is that Robert Briffault didn’t go far enough with his definition. Women don’t just determine all the conditions of the animal family, they determine ‘all the conditions’ –  period!”

Setting aside my desire to shame these public displays of learned helplessness, well, ok, partially setting aside that desire, I still want to focus on what these guys are saying and why I think it’s a learning opportunity for red pill men.

I know the online red pill community pretty well by now. And one thing is for sure, that community is above average in intelligence. Way above, in my opinion, which makes the 91% who subscribe to an obvious fiction with such religious fervour all the more perplexing.

At this point, some qualifying is necessary, though I wish it weren’t. Saying I disagree with a single prevalent MGTOW belief isn’t the same thing as disagreeing with the idea or practice of men going their own way, which I do support wholeheartedly. If you’re too obtuse to see that and appreciate the difference, this is my piss off in advance. Feel free to leave your butthurt in the comments.

That said, let’s start the conversation with a little common sense. I know, they grow ‘em big and dumb in Texas, but we do learn the difference between shit and Shinola early on in life. That predisposition, that stubborn Texas insistence to get 4 when adding 2 and 2 leads me to one inescapable conclusion about the idea of perception of benefit, a perception on which Briffault’s Law is totally reliant.

I don’t blow my nose, or even scratch it for that matter, without a perceived benefit. I don’t take a leak, put on socks, or do, literally anything you can think of, without perceived benefit. That’s true for the smallest, least significant things I do, or that I can even imagine doing. As human beings, acting on perceived benefit is pretty much all we do. By the time we’re talking about intersexual selection and pair bonding, there’s wheelbarrows full of perceived benefit on both sides. Anyone who can’t see it could perceive some benefit from eyeglasses.

And I know what some of you may be thinking. That we are socially conditioned to see the perceived benefit of the woman as what really matters. And that the weight of that social conditioning means that Briffault was right, “The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family.”

And to be fair, just pointing to the obvious fact that human behaviour, generally speaking, is driven by perceived benefit, isn’t a thorough enough rebuttal to Briffault’s widespread acceptance across the manosphere.

Before we dig into precisely the meaning of Briffault’s claims, let’s take a moment to consider Briffault the man. What do we know about him? Well, we know that he was raised by a strict, fundamentalist mother from the age of eleven after his father’s untimely death.

In short, Briffault was the product of an abusive, single-mother home. From accounts of biographers, we know that Briffault resented his mother’s controlling nature, but nevertheless went on to write about mothers at enormous length and extolling their superior status in the human scheme.

That alone is undoubtedly prima facie evidence of learned simpery, but let’s go on.

In his most famous book The Mothers, Briffault argues for the importance of mothers over and against fathers. The editor of the same book introduces him as a man without a loving bond with his mother, but with loving and fond memories of his deceased father. About Briffault from the intro, we read:

“It is not unreasonable, when a man has devoted seven years of strenuous work to arguing the importance of mothers as against fathers, to ask whether he betrayed any marked attitudes towards his own parents. Mrs Herma Briffault informs me that he had little apparent attachment to his mother, but often spoke of his father. (He seems, nevertheless, to have had a picture of his mother in his room in the last decade of his life). His mother was evidently a reserved, ‘canny’ Scots-woman, of strict views, whose capacity for personal warmth seems to have been limited, and perhaps he felt, as an infant, denied the acceptance he desired. He certainly rejected violently his mother’s strong religious beliefs and teaching. Clearly there was strong ambivalence here, and the attacks — which suggest narcoleptic stupors — which assailed him at the time of his mother’s last illness seem consistent with the idea of a powerful love-hate relationship.”

The biographer then goes on to conclude;

“It is not difficult to see how natural such attitudes were to one whose outlook had been conditioned by the experiences just described. I have observed elsewhere that, when a child has one parent who is easy-going and affectionate and another who is severe and apparently unloving, it identifies itself with the former and is preoccupied throughout life with its relationship with the latter… when it is the mother who is unloving, this leads the male child to a preoccupation with women and with incest. This was certainly the case in Briffault’s great contemporary, Havelock Ellis, for instance. It seems to have been equally true of Briffault.”

If we take this as true, the influences that led Briffault to his gynocentric conclusions, as well as his personal weakness with women, come into clear focus. Inadequate, abusive mothers and absent fathers. The results of that toxic combination are now sprawled across the cultural landscape in form of legions of young men who become obsequious lapdogs whenever in the presence of women.

It’s that instilled powerlessness that leads many, even if indirectly, to seek solutions in PUA, MGTOW and other red pill venues. And I argue that we still see the remnants of that same learned victimhood in the widespread acceptance of Briffault’s Law.

Moreover, it appears that many have taken hold of Briffault’s Law and applied it exclusively to human relationships in a way that Briffault didn’t even intend. Briffault applied his Law toward non-human animals, and the chapter in which he announces his Law is titled ‘The Herd and the Family Amongst Animals’ under this subheading ‘The Female in the Animal Group.’

The chapter is five pages long. In it he mentions tigers, elks, lions, zebras, gazelles, buffaloes, deer, monkeys, beavers, lions, birds and other animals, and only references humans briefly in order to contrast human behavioural patterns from those of animals.

Although Briffault appears to have intended his Law for animals, he also presented human sexual relations with the same exaggerated gynocentric framing, demonstrated throughout his book ‘The Mothers The Matriarchal Theory Of Social Origins’ which is chock full of cringeworthy claims of female superiority and male inferiority.

Whatever the merits of his observations, it is only fair to say that he was writing a century ago and his speculations were a product of the thinking of his day, and perhaps the personal pathology of his life. His work is replete with the flattery of and deference toward, women. It’s possible his thinking was even shaped by ideology of first wave feminism, which was running rampant in the culture during the time of Briffault’s writing.

Fast forward to contemporary research and we have a wealth of information to test, and quite frankly dismiss, Briffault’s hypotheses.

Steve Stewart-Williams, PhD in psychology and philosophy, wrote a now famous paper distilling the literature of evolutionary psychology on questions of intersexual human dynamics. Notably, he reiterates findings from the field of Evolutionary Psychology that males are also very choosy in selecting mates, which debunks the view that Briffault’s assumption concludes that only females choose. Williams states, and I quote;

“According to a common understanding of sexual selection theory, females in most species invest more than males in their offspring, and as a result, males compete for as many mates as possible, whereas females choose from among the competing males. The males-compete/females-choose model applies to many species but is misleading when applied to human beings. This is because males in our species commonly contribute to the rearing of the young, which reduces the sex difference in parental investment. Consequently, sex differences in our species are relatively modest. Rather than males competing and females choosing, humans have a system of mutual courtship: Both sexes are choosy about long-term mates, and both sexes compete for desirable mates. We call this the mutual mate choice (MMC) model.” 1

Stewart-Williams goes on to conclude that men, throughout our evolutionary history, have crafted women into the creatures we want – Pygmalion style. In other words, modern woman, in all her inglorious splendour, is, like it or not, the Stepford Wife that men actually chose to build. How’s that for patriarchal choosiness?

Pygmalion creates Galatea

He states, for example, that “human males have a number of well-documented, species-typical mate preferences. These include preferences for physical traits such as a low waist-to-hip ratio, facial and bodily symmetry, neoteny, and youthfulness. They also include preferences for psychological traits such as intelligence, emotional stability, and sexual fidelity.” 1

Imagine that – males throughout evolutionary history having a preference for intelligence and emotional stability. It’s almost as though he’s saying that men are exercising a personal choice, not only about whether to pair bond, but also about the type of woman they choose.

Not only does this bitch slap common manospherian ideas of Briffault as human gospel, it also destroys the cliché that ‘all men want is sex’ and will take anything that moves – providing the female “selects” them. It’s also worth noting that male mate preferences have left their mark on female physical morphology – again quoting Stewart-Williams:

“In some domains, women are more sexually selected than men; one… example can be found in the domain of physical attractiveness. Women are typically rated as better looking than men, by both men and women (Darwin, 1871; Feingold & Mazzella, 1998; Ford & Beach, 1951). The difference is plausibly a consequence of the fact that, although both sexes care about good looks in a mate, on average, men care somewhat more (Buss, 1989; Lippa, 2007).

This means that, since this sex difference first evolved, there has been a somewhat stronger selection pressure on women than men for physical attractiveness—the opposite of what we find in peacocks. To take a more specific example, the fact that adult human females have permanently enlarged breasts is plausibly a consequence of male choice. Contrary to popular opinion, enlarged mammary glands appear not to be necessary for milk delivery. The vast majority of mammals deliver milk without them, and there is little correlation between the size of a woman’s breasts and her capacity to produce milk (Miller, 2000). What, then, are breasts for? A rather obvious clue can be found in the fact that most men find youthful-looking breasts sexually attractive. This has led to the suggestion that the primary evolutionary function of breasts relates to mate choice (Dixson, Grimshaw, Linklater, & Dixson, 2011).

The most widely accepted suggestion is that they are honest signals of good genes, youthfulness, and nutritional status (Jasienska, Ziomkiewicz, Ellison, Lipson, & Thune, 2004; Marlowe, 1998; Singh, 1995; for an alternative hypothesis, see Low, Alexander, & Noonan, 1987). If so, women’s breasts tell us something important about ourselves, namely, that we are not the kind of species in which males only ever pursue sex indiscriminately and females alone exert mate choice. Breasts are evidence of male mate choice operating over many thousands of generations (Cant, 1981). The same is true of other secondary sexual features found in human females, including facial neoteny (e.g., large eyes, small noses and chins); gluteofemoral fat deposits and the hourglass figure; and lighter, smoother, less hairy skin.” 1

“Of course,” Stewart-Williams concludes, “no one is surprised that men have mate preferences; it is such a familiar fact of life that we take it for granted. From a comparative perspective, though, we should be surprised. The existence of these preferences makes our species atypical among mammals and is inconsistent with the idea that we are an MCFC species.” 1

Considering these widely available scientific facts, we must wonder if men upholding Briffault’s Law are simply brainwashed by the prevailing gynocentric narratives, or whether they too suffer from “male mother need” as Briffault himself did? When, for example, Turd-Flinging Monkey dismisses all women as THOTS but then goes on to talk for a decade about said thots stealing men’s authority, is that not akin to Briffault’s obsession with female self-interest?

Who knows? Perhaps an examination of TFMs relationship with his mother would be revealing.

For me, the red pill is, in its purist form, a dedication to living in the truth. It’s red pill 101 that women should not be viewed as an omnipotent power in the lives of men. That, dear listeners, is one of the very first liberating truths of men’s red pill existence. That women largely have only the power we give them, and that we have the power to keep them in check. In the earlier days of red pill, we called it veto power, the ultimate trump card for men. And we still have that power in spades unless we insist on immersing ourselves in the victim narrative.

So how then, do we have red pill commentators proclaiming aloud, and I quote again, “Either I’m waiting for a woman to choose me to have a relationship, or I typically don’t care for them – like I do now”?

Word for word, that could have been uttered by any defeated blue pill simp you’ve ever met in your life. Get mad if you want to, you know it’s true.

And to be clear, I am not saying a thing in contempt of men who look at all the facts and choose to avoid women based on the risk, effort, expense and unfairness that often comes with the so-called fairer sex.

Indeed, I think it’s important to point out that we’re talking largely about two distinct groups of men. There are those who have stared reality directly in the face, weighed all the facts and dispassionately concluded that women are not worth the effort; that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze, as it were, and veto power is at the core of their very identity. If you’re in that group, this talk is for you, but it isn’t really

The other group are men who have looked at the challenges of attracting and pair bonding with women and decided that they are just not up to the job. These are generally men whose spine has never survived contact with a woman. Their frame cracks, splits and ultimately shatters at the hint of female influence. You can hear it in their endless droning about how a man can never win, how women make all the rules and that the rules are unfair. They make sweeping declarations of personal powerlessness. To wit, “Women don’t just determine all the conditions of the animal family, they determine ‘all the conditions’ – period!”

Men like this appear incapable governing their own lives if women are involved. They can’t choose mates, not because women have unbridled personal power, but because those men don’t have the personal strength, values and integrity to remain in control of their lives.

They are just men who can’t hold on to their interests, their friends, their values, or self-respect because women make all the rules and they have no choice but to follow them. Because that’s the way things are, and Briffault’s Law is the so-called truth they wallow in to prove it.

If that’s your idea of red pill, you might want to skip the refills.

Whatever the motivations, I can safely say that a blind belief in Briffault’s Law is relegating many men’s personal progress to the dumpster, because if men have no choice about the conditions of their life, what possible agency can they have?

What form of personal autonomy is it that you can’t practice in the presence of a female? What kind of poorly constructed frame won’t bear the weight of a woman’s whims? Ya know, if you have to hide from anyone to assert your, uh hum, agency in life, you might hear Inigo Montoya, whispering in your ear, “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

Personally, I’d rather try to pull an AR15 out of Kyle Rittenhouse’s hands than surrender to this weak bullshit.

Finally, I’d like to propose a different set of axioms for red pilled men: First, as a human male you are the most magnificent living entity ever known to exist. Men built civilization and conquered all manner of frontiers. If I were to try to list all the accomplishments of men, you’d grow old before I got finished.

Whatever your decisions about allowing women into your life, seeing yourself as a loser who can’t win is a self-fulfilling prophesy, with all the lameness that implies. If you want sex, companionship or even a relationship based on red pill principles, don’t let some youtuber’s mommy issues hold you back. Don’t lock yourself into the black pill prison of learned helplessness and nihilistic defeatism. Well, unless that is what you want to do. If that’s the case, just make sure that when you’re staring into that black, optionless void, you know it’s just a mirror of your own making.

Meanwhile, red pill men will enjoy the byproduct of personal agency, accountability and practiced wisdom; a solid frame that doesn’t crumble when a woman enters the room. A frame that doesn’t crumble for anyone.


Briffault’s Law: The Most Important Thing You Can Know As A Man

Sandman (2:32)
Briffault’s Law: Women choose men. Men can’t choose women.

Colttaine (17:51)
Briffault’s Law doesn’t go far enough.

Robert Briffault
The Mothers: the Matriarchal Theory of Social Origins.

Steve Stewart-Williams
1. The Ape That Thought It Was a Peacock
2. The Ape That Kicked The Hornet’s Nest
3. Are Humans Peacocks Or Robins?

Kanamara Matsuri

The following article was first published at A Voice for Men in September 2012

A giant 8 foot penis is joyfully carried through a crowded Japanese street by a dozen happy teenage girls. No, this is not a scenario from an odd mix of a pervy Macy’s Parade flotilla and the supple nymphs in “Bilitis.” It’s real and the annual event is called the “Kanamara Matsuri.”

The Kanamara Matsuri, which translates to “Big Iron Penis Lord,” is celebrated during the first week of April in Kawasaki, Japan and it has been around since the 1600’s. Interestingly, such phallic processions were once very widespread, but it appears Japan is one of the few remaining places daring to place a penis at the center of a public celebration. Almost everywhere else the penis is today seen as a dreaded object of violence and oppression, a thing in need of castration, sterilization, circumcision and, most importantly, suppression from view.

If we go back to Ancient Greece, Rome, India, Egypt -in fact anywhere at all- we find adoration of the penis (and vagina) a comfortable norm. To give but one example, so welcome was the penis that Ancient Egyptians had no mother earth but instead a ‘father earth’ named Geb, a nurturing god portrayed reclining on his back with a huge erect penis. His was a benevolent phallus that brought fertility to the land, nourished its people, and bestowed prosperity and harmony to the world.  

In Ancient Rome we have examples of phallic charms called fascinum, which were often winged, and were ubiquitous in the culture from jewellery to bells and wind chimes to lamps. The fascinus was thought particularly to ward off evil from children, mainly boys. Pliny notes the custom of hanging a phallic charm on a baby’s neck, and examples have been found of phallus-bearing rings too small to be worn except by children. [1] It’s not important here to delve into the entire history of phallic representations, but what is important is to know that there once was a time when the penis did not equal oppression. Why is it important to know this?

When we stop to remember a time before the scorched earth policy of feminism emolliated our respect for the male form, we thereby ‘re-member’ ourselves and how we once were. Once we remind ourselves of this we are inspired, even angered, to drop our chocolates and flowers and  pick up a blade and hack and thrash our way through a great tangle of confusion and doubt to our way back home- to the penis as symbol of beauty of form and masculine identity.

The penis as symbol of beauty of form has only recently been quashed as a concept and is never really discussed in our gynocentric universe. In fact, it is disparaged. I think it is time to change this, but first we must see through the feminist inspired bad press about the phallus.

Feminists have characterized the penis as an object of violence, oppression and viral dirt. To them it is synonymous with a deadly snake. But not to be satisfied with their maligning of the male body feminists have gone further by claiming that all of society is suffering from a toxic “phallocentrism,” which is defined as, “a doctrine or belief centered on the phallus, especially a belief in the superiority of the male sex.”[2] Phallocentrism is further defined as “any perspective usually considered characteristic of patriarchal systems.”[3]

But does such a dreaded symbol actually exist today, and if so where? It appears feminists have not stopped to notice that the actual phallus of phallocentrism has suffered a universal repression within the very culture claimed to be dominated by the penis. Therefore the hatchet job they continue to do on our penises, both metaphorically and literally, might better be redirected to their deadwood ideology before another generation of boys is alienated from this essential feature of male identity.

The time has come to drop our complicity with anti-male narratives and learn again to love the male form. We need no longer view the penis through the gynocentric lens of (a) only gay men talk about the beauty of the penis, albeit as an emblem of homosexuality, or (b) straight men view the penis as an instrument of action packed machismo- the façade of “tough.” Take for example our usual heterosexual talk about genitalia; prick, balls, nuts, dong, boner, cock, tool, weapon, suck, blow, wank, shoot; and gash, snatch, twat, hole, cunt, bush, clit. James Hillman invites us to compare this kind of language “with the marvelous language of foreign erotica: jade stalk, palace gates, ambrosia… A Chinese plum is to be deliciously enjoyed; our cherries are to be taken, popped, or broken. [4]

Clearly we Western males have internalised feminist characterizations of the male member by continuing with this derogatory language of penis = violent = male.

“Suppose instead we were to call him, as he once was named, Jolly Roger or Little Johnny Jump-up, or Happy Prince, smiling wand, black magic, little brother, or Purusha who is smaller-than-small and bigger-than-big.”[4] There is no need to impose images of violence on the penis.

We might even begin to think of him as man’s best friend- a precious facet of my body and dignified symbol of my masculinity.

Imagine if we transformed our cultural obsession with penis porn into penis art, crafting representations in plastic form to be put on display like those bare breasted, pregnant and vulvad’ female sculptures that dot our landscapes and galleries. By ditching the false dichotomy of beautiful-gay-penis versus machismo-straight-penis we might begin to relate to the penis as a representation of male identity, no longer divided into gay and straight only, but reborn as a complex symbol of men’s multifaceted natures. Imagine, the phallus standing as a dignified symbol of our masculinity, much like the breasts and pregnant bellies benefit women everywhere as symbols of pride and identity.


[1] Martin Henig, Religion in Roman Britain (London: BT Batsford LTD, 1984), pp. 185–186
[2] ‘Phallocentrism’ at
[3] ‘Phallocentrism’ at
[4] Thomas Moore (Ed.) ‘The Essential James Hillman: A Blue Fire’, Routledge 1990.  p. 179

How Thomas Oaster started International Men’s Day – and how feminists tried to stop him

The following is a republished 2016 article from A Voice for Men showing how International Men’s Day was first started by a Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) named Thomas Oaster.

This article is about how one gutsy MRA started International Men’s Day despite attempts to shut him down. His name was Thomas Oaster.

Thomas Oaster was an articulate and passionate men’s rights advocate. He was prolific in his work with men’s groups, men’s issues, and political advocacy both on and off campus where he taught. He had many fine MRAs around him, men and women who helped to improve the lot of males, but what of the man himself?  Who was he really, and what is the unknown story of how he inaugurated the first International Men’s Day?  The following will be about Thomas Oaster and how he put IMD on the map for all who choose to celebrate the event into the distant future.

In the early 1990’s Oaster’s growing interest in advocating for men (and gynocentric resistance to that advocacy) led him to the idea of creating a globally celebrated International Men’s Day. His goal was to create a platform where the stories of men could be told in their own words rather than being interpreted by others.

In a moment of nostalgia about this dream he mused:

“You don’t get points in men’s groups for flexing your ego, but I’d like it to be known that Kansas City has become the hometown of International Men’s Day because a hometown boy got that thing rolling.”[1]

As you will read in what follows Thomas Oaster, and Kansas City, can indeed now take credit for being the epicenter of a global movement.

The first IMD event took place in 1992 when small groups of MRAs scattered through 4 continents simultaneously celebrated with Oaster in the first celebration. Today, thanks to his vision, there are millions of people in more than 60 countries celebrating IMD. This achievement is remarkable when we consider it took place 30 years ago at a time when advocacy for men and boys was considered unthinkable.

Thomas Oaster was the Director of the Missouri Center for Men’s Studies and employed as Associate Professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City where he taught classes on men’s issues. That’s right, classes on real men’s issues. He told of how he first became attracted to the men’s movement by an intellectual interest, but quickly came to feel persecuted for his association with this politically incorrect subject. “I got beat up, slammed” reports Oaster, “People said, ‘What – do you hate women?’ The more I got beat up, the more I got drawn in. My Teutonic background took over.” [1].

During February 1991, Oaster wondered if a global recognition of men and their issues might be framed as a men’s strike day, a kind of protest against misandry, which could be observed under the moniker ‘Men’s Day Off.’ He later softened his approach, re-framing the proposed event as an educational exchange on men’s issues, thus was born the idea of International Men’s Day.

The first IMD event was organized and launched by Oaster on February 7, 1992 for the purpose of what he said was “drawing positive attention to important [men’s] issues.” [2] The event was successful both in 1992 and again in 1993 and 1994.[3] People in four continents celebrated and guests at the various events came along to hear speakers talk on topics ranging from the “silent tragedy of men’s health” to “man bashing” and to share, talk, wine and dine.

It was a miraculous occasion. For the first time in history people gathered at the same time on four continents to actually speak of such things. On that day, February 7, men and women rejoiced in the company of like-minded souls as they shared intimate stories that ears had never before heard. Oaster spoke at his hometown Kansas event, reminding attendees that discussion of men’s health and wellbeing deserved to be heard though the cacophony of misandry;

“We want the bashing to stop. It’s not a request. It’s a statement. We want it to stop! To give you an example, a woman walked through here and saw the material and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding. You’re not seriously going to have a men’s day, are you?’”[4]

Oaster hoped that the day could become a means of education and consciousness raising where the positive cultural accomplishments of men could be celebrated and men might be faced with a better variety of choices about how they wanted to live their lives;

“Women and men should both have options” wrote Oaster, and “International Men’s Day is an opportunity to draw attention to the issue of options.”[5]

Oaster proposed six core objectives for a men’s day, and they were to: celebrate men’s positive traits and contributions, improve gender relations, focus attention on men’s health and wellbeing, remove misandry, increase life options for men and boys, and to develop a humanitarian-style approach to all men’s issues. These six objectives were the foundations that would later be reaffirmed and ratified by a new generation of IMD celebrants, but not before a group of ‘anti-Oaster’ University women had played their final hand.

After the popular success of the first International Men’s Day event in 1992, feminists at his campus became increasingly vindictive.  During his planning for the 1994 and 1995 IMD events, a bomb was suddenly dropped by at least 6 former and current female ‘graduate students’ who collectively complained that Oaster had sexually harassed them and was “hostile” in the classroom. The two most serious allegations put forward by the troupe were that Thomas Oaster had touched the forearm of one student with what she perceived was a “brief stroking motion”, and that he had advised another student to dye her hair blonde in response to her question about what she could do improve her poor grade. To drive the nail deeper another student said he had referred to her as “Blondie” at least twice. The curators at the university entertained these shallow and dubious allegations and were quick to respond by imposing restrictions on Oaster’s movements and work. [6]

Despite these distractions the next two IMD events went extremely well with several hundred individuals in attendance. However the fourth year of IMD heralded a change in the weather when his antagonists decided to double-down in their efforts to shut him down.

In 1995 Oaster had planned to orchestrate his fourth and biggest IMD event when he increasingly became the target of workplace bullying. He decided to sue the Curators of the University for Infringement of his civil rights as a tenured professor, claiming that he was being denied freedom of speech, salary increases, graduate teaching assistants and the use of university facilities.[6] Naturally the court proceedings took up much of his time and energy and this taxed his ability to effectively organize or advertise the upcoming IMD event.

Due to these circumstances the next IMD event was a flop with few people turning up. After this failure, and feeling drained by a complex court case, Oaster decided to defer future IMD plans and take a well-deserved rest.

With precision, Thomas Oaster had been persecuted for his role in the men’s rights movement. [6] Late in 1995 Oaster won his court case against the UMKC and the University was forced to pay him $74,000 plus $15,000 for legal fees. After settlement Oaster resigned from his job as he felt he would no longer have the respect of his students, and he shelved plans to continue celebrating IMD. [6]

General interest in the event waned until 1999 when Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, a History Professor at the University of the West Indies revived the event and shifted the date to November 19 – the date of his father’s birthday.

Jerome Teelucksingh continued Oaster’s emphasis on highlighting positive aspects and accomplishments of men. In a 2009 interview Teelucksingh also gave a nod to the work of Oaster when he stated this;

“I could be considered the founder of this version of IMD on 19 November but we need to also acknowledge the pioneering efforts of persons and groups before 1999… They are the ones to be honoured.” [3]

In 2009 an international IMD committee was formed with Jerome Teelucksingh as chairman. The group came together to increase awareness about the event and to foster its growth into more nations.

Taking note of the foundational IMD objectives introduced by both Oaster and Teelucksingh, the committee encapsulated the objectives of International Men’s Day in six guiding principles that would serve to protect the core values of the day and offer a reliable reference point for future IMD celebrants.[3] The ‘Six Pillars,’ which are suitably loose and open to interpretation, are now used as a guide by IMD celebrants around the world:

  • To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.
  • To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
  • To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
  • To highlight discrimination against males; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
  • To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.
  • To create a safer, better world; where people can live free from harm and grow to reach their full potential

It’s my belief that the spirit of Oaster’s original vision and that of A Voice for Men have much in common.  Both movements aim to create an inclusive international voice for men as free as possible from sectarian distractions. Moreover, both IMD and AVfM reject the notion of a unified men’s movement, encouraging instead a diversity of men’s voices on a variety of humanitarian issues:

Thomas Oaster said this:

[T]here is no such thing as a unified men’s movement, the phenomena involved comprise a variety of sub-movements, even after analogies to other issues concerning which there are far left, far right, and middle-of-the-road orientations, there is yet another more fundamental point which can be made about the value of respect for all men as human beings. A day of respect should go beyond the current social activities referred to as Men’s movements. This is true because the men’s movement itself goes beyond the Men’s movements. The men’s movement, more fundamentally, is a turning of the human psyche and the articulation of this turning through the male voice.[5]

Paul Elam, founder of said:

[C]ontinuing to buy into the false unity of a non-existent entity will only slow us down. I have always taken care, and still do, to point out that AVfM is not synonymous with the men’s movement. And after mulling this over one more time of thousands, I am really glad that I have taken this approach. I don’t know what the men’s movement is, in all honesty. I don’t even know that it exists.[7]

While the similarities in the two movements are obvious, there are some important differences. For instance in Thomas Oaster’s day there was no internet, whereas today it is a vital medium for all activism, including here at AVfM. Another difference is that IMD focuses the year-long work of activists into one big day of publicity, whereas other activists strive to make ‘every day’ a men’s day via regular online publicity.

. . .

International Men’s Day is a grassroots movement with no official management. It does not belong to any government nor is it owned by the United Nations or any of its agencies. We might say that nobody owns the event, or better yet everybody owns it. Any person can self-nominate as an IMD coordinator for a specific region or event and, if desired can form alliances with an international network of individuals working to promote the day. Any current and future coordinators are merely hitch-hikers catching a ride on an international platform that nobody owns.

Nobody needs to gain permission to mark the day. All one need do is be mindful of the spirit of the occasion as laid out in the six pillars which ask us to remain true to the lives of men and boys without allowing that message to be diminished by negative or irrelevant concerns.

In recent years IMD has spread into new regions and attracted some mainstream attention. With this new attention it is perhaps time to remind newcomers that the originators of the event were fighting for liberty and freedom, and that we still have a very long way to go on this front.

With this in mind let us finish with words of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, itself delivered on November 19- the date of International Men’s Day. The words of his address speak equally to the purpose of International Men’s Day today and of the great sacrifices made by Oaster and other men and women who fought on the battlefield of cultural misandry;

‘Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure… The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated [the ground], far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.’ [Lincoln]

Despite the resistance, the tradition of IMD lives on. In Oaster’s name let’s dream it forward.


[1] George Gurley, ‘Finally, men get their day’ (Kansas City Star: Feb 6, 1993)

[2] Fred Wickman, ‘about Town’ (Kansas City Star: Jan 27, 1992)

[3] Jason Thompson, ‘International Men’s Day; the making of a movement’ (Soul Books, 2010)

[4] James Fussell, ‘Men have their say at weekend forum’ (Kansas City Star: Feb 6, 1993)

[5] Thomas Oaster, ‘International Men’s Day: RSVP’ (Cummings and Hathaway, 1992)

[6] Cheryl Thompson, ‘Complaints surface about UMKC professor’ (Kansas City Star: Mar 10, 2003)

[7] Paul Elam, ‘Adios, c-ya, good-bye man-o-sphere’ (A Voice for Men. retrieved October 2012)

International Women’s Day: promoting gender war

Editor’s note: This article is also available in Portuguese and Romanian.

International Men’s and Women’s days involve numerous objectives, with both days highlighting issues considered unique to men or women. The following highlights two central narratives of IWD and IMD respectively; women’s supposed fight against oppression, and men’s attempts to promote positive recognition of men and boys in a misandric society.

Several popular myths concerning the origins of International Women’s Day exist, and after a survey of the literature it seems the variety of accounts have created confusion for commentators. For example, a widely bruited falsehood about IWD which surfaced in French Communist circles claimed women from clothing and textile factories had staged a protest on 8 March 1857 in New York City. This story alleged that garment workers protested against very poor working conditions and low wages and were attacked and dispersed by police. It was claimed that this event led to a rally in commemoration of its fiftieth anniversary (in 1907), with this commemorative gathering constituting the very first IWD. In response to these legendary claims Temma Kaplan explains that “Neither event seems to have taken place, but many Europeans think March 8, 1907 inaugurated International Women’s Day.”1

This fantasy of origins clearly attempts to position International Woman’s Day in a narrative of woman-as-victim, but it goes further. Speculating about the origins of the 1857 legend Liliane Kandel and Françoise Picq suggested it was likely that some felt it opportune to detach International Women’s Day from its true basis in Soviet history and ascribe to it a more ‘international’ origin which could be painted as more ancient than Bolshevism and more spontaneous than a decision of Congress or the initiative of those women affiliated to The Party.2

Whilst numerous apocryphal stories of this nature exist, we can safely say that International Women’s Day was first initiated by German socialist Clara Zetkin in 1910 as a way to promote socialist political objectives and was always referred to by the political name ‘International Working Women’s Day’. Observation of the event was primarily restricted to the Soviet bloc. It wasn’t until the 1970s when women outside of the Soviet bloc looked to celebrating the event that the word ‘working’ was increasingly omitted along with much of it’s socialist meaning.

Beginning in the 1970’s IWD became subject to a feminist revision. Whereas IWWD was previously used to highlight working women’s oppression by a bourgeois and powerful upper class of both men and women, 1970s feminists revisioned the basis of the day by stating that it was now men alone, as a class of “chauvinists,” who wielded all power over all women who had each become victims of men’s domination. It was men’s oppressive rule which IWD must now focus on overthrowing.

A decisive moment of the feminist revision came from the United Nations which officially endorsed and promoted the event from the late 1970s. Along with this endorsement the UN worked very hard to get rid of IWDs socialist traits, a move which was not accepted by many socialist women’s groups. For instance, in 1980 in Sweden, the socialist women’s ‘Grupp 8’ rejected working with other women’s organizations to promote IWD because it wanted to maintain the socialist origins and aims of the event: “We have now conducted a number of discussions within our organization and come to the conclusion that, as representatives of the socialist women’s movement, we cannot take part in a joint-party March 8 demonstration. After all, from the historical perspective, March 8 is the ‘International Socialist Working Women’s Day’ and our organization feels that this should absolutely remain the case. Changing this would be like changing May 1. For this reason we are unable to endorse the UNs appeal.”3 The revisioned event was seen by many as a betrayal of both it’s history and fundamental goals.

A popular slogan circulated on International Women’s Day, appearing
on posters, pin-buttons, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and in print media.

With this new ideological turn women were no longer viewed as part of the privileged upper class, and those former oppressors of women- i.e. capitalism; traditional gender schemas imposed by powerful men and women; various laws, language and so on- were reduced to one all-encompassing enemy: males and their patriarchal belief system. The new ideological basis for IWD was elaborated in the late 1970s-80s under the label “patriarchy theory”4 and it’s arrival correlated with a sharp increase in the numbers of women observing IWD,5 an interest generated by heightened concerns or fears over ‘patriarchal oppression’ of women.

It’s true that women have sought to dismantle restrictive gender stereotypes, but IWD appears more concerned with perpetuating those gender stereotypes rather than dismantling them. In light of the oversimplified explanations proposed by feminist ‘patriarchy theory’6 one hopes that whatever issues remain for women that they be explored in more sophisticated and nuanced ways to give International Women’s Day a more credible platform for promoting gender equality and improving gender relations.

International Men’s Day, as conceived by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh in 1999, has a completely different ideological basis to both the early and later phases of International Women’s Day. Although the objectives of IMD occasionally intersect with those of IWD, such as advocating equality between the sexes, it is primarily concerned with celebrating positive portrayals of men and other issues unique to men’s and boys experiences. This approach is deemed necessary in a social context which is often fascinated with images of males behaving badly, eg. media portrayals of males as stupid, emotionless, greedy, violent, dangerous, power-hungry, selfish, irresponsible and so on. Such negative male stereotypes are frequently promoted in an attempt to shame males into behaving more positively, ignoring the fact that the negative behaviours do not apply to the vast majority of men and boys, or that such negativity may detrimentally impact the self-image and self-esteem of boys, which in turn impacts their willingness to engage in intimate relationships and in communities. In highlighting positive images of men IMD attempts to show that males of all ages respond more energetically to positive portrayals than they do to negative stereotyping.

In summary, International Women’s Day started as a day for women to promote socialist objectives, especially for proletarian women to fight against oppression by the powerful upper classes comprised of men and women both. In the 1970’s it became a new movement claiming that men alone oppressed women, and that IWD will be used as a vehicle to highlight, primarily, the results of an assumed gender war. Said differently the focus of IWD shifted from a class war, to a gender war.

International Men’s Day is not based on the assumption of a gender war. IMD is primarily about celebrating positive images of men as an alternative to negative male stereotyping, the aim being to inspire a new generation of men and boys to develop self-worth and a desire to participate in a society that will (hopefully) one day be free from misandry.


[1] Temma Kaplan, On the Socialist Origins of International Women’s Day, in: Feminist Studies, 11, 1985, S. 163-171.
[2] Liliane Kandel / Françoise Picq, Le Mythe des origines à propos de la journée internationale des femmes, in: La Revue d’en face, 12, 1982, S. 67-80.
[3] Silke Neunsinger, Worlds Of Women; International Material in the Collections of ARAB, p23 – letter by Grupp 8, Stockholm, 1981
[4] Lindsey German, Theories of Patriarchy in International Socialism second series no 12. 1981.
[5] 1900-2010: Increased interest in IWD correlates with the emergence of ‘patriarchy theory’.

[6] Sandra Bloodworth, The Poverty of Patriarchy Theory Originally published in
Socialist Review (Australian), Issue 2, Winter 1990, pp. 5-33. (DOC)

Courtly Love

By Michael Delahoyde


We are so familiar with the love tradition that we mistake it for a natural and universal phenomenon and have no impulse to inquire into its origins. But it is difficult if not impossible to show love to be anything more than an artistic phenomenon or construct — a literary or performative innovation of the Middle Ages.

The term “Courtly Love” (“l’amour courtois”) was coined by Gaston Paris in 1883 (in the journal Romania), so the first problem is that we tend to let the Victorians define it for us. The terms that appear in the actual medieval period are “Amour Honestus” (Honest Love) and “Fin Amor” (Refined Love).

The concept was new in the Middle Ages. The medievals were the first to discover (or invent) it, the first to express this form of romantic passion. There was no literary nor social framework for it in the Christian world before the end of the 11th century; the Western tradition had no room for the expression of love in literature: there’s none in Beowulf or The Song of Roland.

The religious tradition speaks of love, but that’s agape — platonic/christian love of all humankind as your brothers and sisters. In classical literature we witness what’s called love, but, as exemplified well by the case of Dido for Aeneas, the passion is often described in firy terms and always reads like eros — hot lust. (Medea and Phaedra are other cautionary examples, and “love” plunges them into crime and disgrace.) Ovid’s Ars Armitoria and Remedia Amoris (The Art of Love and The Cure for Love) are ironic and didactic treatises generated from a premise that love is a minor peccadillo. Ovid gives rules for illicit conduct.

Rather unlike “Courtly Love,” the literature of the Church is anti-feminist. And the tastemakers in feudal society marry not for love but for real estate and heirs. It’s been said that in the Middle Ages you married a fief and got a wife thrown in with the bargain. Idealized “love” goes against the utilitarian economics of marriage, and passion was forbidden by the Church, so until the courtly version came along, Love was duty and “Luv” was sinful. Thus, “Courtly Love” emerged and remained outside of marriage. (Love and marriage don’t go together like a horse and carriage.) C.S. Lewis decided that its key features were humility, courtesy, and adultery.

Historical Basis?:

Scholars who have believed that Courtly Love was a true historical development rely on the literature to read back a history. They have decided that it all began in southern France, which was sufficiently peaceful and isolated for such a movement to develop. Old Roman war dogs retired here (Avignon; Toulouse; Nimes under the domaine of Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine) and the leisure class, a wealthy and self-sufficient society, found a new fad. (After all, you can’t love if you’re poor — check your Andreas Capellanus.) Intellectuals from all over were attracted to the area’s courts. The south was freer and more tolerant, and was pluralistic (with Arabs, Jews, and Byzantines numbered among the residents). And perhaps the men outnumbered the women (check Rules 3 and 31 in Andreas).


What we find are troubadour poems. The troubadours were not really wandering minstrels but mostly rich young men, using the Provençal langue d’Oc. Circa 1071 is the birth year for the first known troubadour, William IX of Poitiers. [In the north, feudal knights preferred epic poems of chivalry like the Arthurian tales crossing the channel. But trouvères picked up the troubadour tradition, transposed into the langue d’Oil. In Germany they were called minnesingers.]

Consider Arnaut Daniel’s “Chanson do.ill mot son plan e prim” (“A Song with Simple Words and Fine”) and Bernard de Ventadour’s “Can vei la lauzeta mover” (“When I See the Lark Moving”). Guillaume de Machaut comes later, in the fourteenth century, but is a key big name in love songs: “Amours me fait desirer” (“Love Fills Me with Desire”), “Se ma dame m’a guerpy” (“If My Lady Has Left Me”), “Se je souspir” (“If I Sigh”), “Douce dame jolie” (“Fair and Gentle Lady”), etc.

The formes fixes of the poetry included:

Ballade: a a b (or, if a = ab, then ab ab c)

Virelai: A b b a A b b a A

Rondeau: A B a A a b A B

In other words, there were learned combinations of rhymes, stanzas, and concepts. Some of the music survives but we’ve lost the form of the rhythms.

The Courtly Love sung of in the songs represents a new structure, not that of the Church or of feudalism, but an overturning of both. Love is now a cult — a sort of religion but outside of normal religion — and a code — outside of feudalism but similarly hierarchical. The language and the relationships are similar (and the language, sometimes borrowed from religion, ends up borrowed back by religion in certain lyrics). In feudalism the vassal is the “man” of his sovereign lord; in courtly love, the vassal is the “man” of his sovereign mistress. In religion, the sinner is penitent and asks that Mary intercede on his behalf with Christ, who is Love. In courtly love, the sinner (against the laws of love) asks the mother of the love god, Cupid’s mother Venus, to intercede on his behalf with Cupid or Eros, who is the god of love. So this new love religion seems to parody real religion.

The Procedure:

That’s the static phenomenon interpreted. But the process of courtly love, a long-standing relationship with standardized procedures, can be extracted from the literature and tales of love in the medieval period. Here’s the deal. Andreas Capellanus describes the optic physiology of the first moments. In short, he sees her. Perhaps she is walking in a garden. The vision of her, which is made up of light rays, enters into his eyeball (hence the blind cannot fall in love). Through a rather circuitous anatomical miracle, the love-ray makes its way down around his esophagus and sticks in his heart. Now he’s love-struck. She doesn’t know about him at all. She is of high status and “daungerous,” which means not that she knows Tai Kwon Do but rather that she is standoffish. He is abject.

After haunting himself with visions of her limbs (by the way, she’s long gone now), he swoons a lot and follows various of Andreas’ rules (“you can’t eat, you can’t sleep; there’s no doubt you’re in deep”). Eventually all this love has to come out somehow, and remarkably it tends to emerge in well-crafted stanzas with rhyme patterns mentioned above and a zippy little meter. Secretly, the lover writes poems to the lady called “complaints” (“planh” in Provençal) because they are largely constructed of laments about his own suffering. These may be delivered to her by an intermediary. But she remains scornful while he or his friend continues heaving poems in her window tied to rocks.

Before actually getting a poem in the teeth, she, through some quirky event, will come to know who has been sending the poems. Eventually she will smile, which means she has accepted him as her “drut” (“dread” — meaning not “oh, no, there he is again” but rather in the sense of awe: “revered one”). Next comes the performance of tests. The lover gets a token, perhaps a glove or a girdle (not the 18-hour kind — more a scarf or sash). And the woman gets carte blanche — jousting, journeys, deeds, anything she wants. “Sir Eminem has insulted me. Kill him.” He has to. “Bring home some pork chops. Those last ones were awful.” He has to go slay a wild boar. “Fetch me the molars of the Sultan of Baghdad.” He’s got to climb the widest sea and swim the highest mountain and, though he has nothing against them per se, he’s got to hack his way through the Sultan’s guards and face the old boy, saying, “Render hither thine molars, payan swine!” “Nay, that likest me not nor will I nother!” Then he has to decapitate the Sultan, wrench out the back teeth, and get back home (probably switching clothes with a palmer at some point), only to find out that now she wants some Baskin Robbins pistachio swirl. And this goes on endlessly.

Something Fishy:

Supposedly the finer points of courtly love were so complex that Eleanor’s daughter, Marie of Champagne, commissioned her chaplain, Andreas, to write a rulebook. Another religious man, Chretien de Troyes (fl. 1160-1172) was ordered to write “Lancelot,” in which the knight’s hesitation at getting into a cart is crucial. Andreas supplies a Latin prose work, De Arte Honeste Amandi (The Art of Courtly Love, as the title is usually loosely translated), which subsequently has been taken as a textbook on courtly love.

But Andreas is a churchman. Check out some of the chapters in the Table of Contents! And what’s your honest reaction to reading some of this. A textbook on illicit love? 31 rules? Why 31?

Andreas also provides legal cases! Supposedly, the history of love included Courts of Love ruled by the ladies. There’s no historical evidence that this ever took place, and it seems pretty unlikely, but Andreas’ material has been referred to so often that it has come to seem true.

Here’s one case: a woman’s husband has died. Can she accept her servant as her lover? The decision: no, she must marry within her rank. This is not to say that a widow may not marry a lover, but then he would be her husband, not her lover.

Another case: a knight is serving his lady by defending her name. It’s getting embarrassing and she wants it stopped. There is much debate about this case. The decision: no, the woman is wrong; she cannot forbid him from loving her.

A final case: two little kids were playing in their medieval sandbox and noticed all the fine ladies and gentlemen engaged in the new love fad about them. They imitatively also agreed to a contract between them: that they would share a kiss each day. They years have passed and this guy keeps showing up at the door every morning for the kiss. The woman wants to be released from this juvenile contract. Does she have a case? The decision: granted, because the rules specifically state that one cannot be about the business of love until one is around the age of thirteen. Therefore all those kisses given since that age must be returned. (Huh?)

So is this all a joke? Andreas also offers a retraction — an about-face at the end. And he mentions a “duplicem sententiam” (a double lesson). Finally all seems sinful and love a heresy.

Feminist Perspective:

Does Courtly Love heighten the status of women? Yes, compared to their roles merely as “cup-bearers” and “peace-weavers” — that is, in Beowulf for example, servants and political pawn in marriage.

Marxist Perspective:

The “love story” has been one of the most pervasive and effective of all ideological apparatuses: one of the most effective smokescreens available in the politics of cultural production. One need only think of the historical popularity of crime stories purveyed as “love stories”: from the Trojan War — that paradigmatic “linkage” of love and genocide — to Bonnie and Clyde, from the subcultural Sid and Nancy to the hyperreal Ron and Nancy, we see the degree to which the concept of love is used as a “humanizing” factor, a way of appropriating figures whom we have no other defensible reason to want to identify with. It is also a way of containing whatever political or social threat such figures may pose within the more palatable and manipulable (because simultaneously fetishized as universal and individual) motivations of love and sexual desire…. the “love story,” a narrative that frequently disguises itself (qua narrative) or is taken as “natural” as opposed to the contrivances of other generic forms. (Charnes 136-137).

Works Cited

The Art of Courtly Love. The Early Music Consort of London. London, Virgin Classics Ltd., 1996. D 216190.

Campbell, Joseph, with Bill Moyers. “Tales of Love and Marriage.” The Power of Myth. NY: Doubleday, 1988. 186-204.

Charnes, Linda. Notorious Identity: Materializing the Subject in Shakespeare. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Dodd, William George. “The System of Courtly Love.” 1913. Rpt. in Chaucer Criticism, Vol. II. Ed. Richard J. Schoeck and Jerome Taylor. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1961. 1-15. Dodd treats the phenomenon as historical.

Donaldson, E. Talbot. “The Myth of Courtly Love.” Speaking of Chaucer. NY: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1970. Donaldson declares Andreas a clerical joke.

Lewis, C.S. The Allegory of Love. 1936. NY: Oxford University Press, 1958.

Troubadour and Trouvère Songs. Music of the Middle Ages, Vol. 1. Lyrichord Early Music Series. NY: Lyrichord Discs Inc., 1994. LEMS 8001.

*Article republished with permission from the author.

Apollo – God of Incels

There are many characters from Greek mythology who displayed involuntary celibacy, but perhaps none more famous than Apollo, the god of rational thought.

Jungian psychologists view Greek gods and goddesses as archetypes – themes that appear not only in mythology but also psychologically and behaviorally in the lives of men and women. Apollo was the god of many things, including music, education, knowledge, and other intellectual pursuits.

The Apollo archetype personifies the aspect of the personality that wants clear definitions, is drawn to master a skill, values order and harmony. The Apollo archetype as it appears in the behavior of men (or women) favors thinking over feeling, distance over closeness, objective assessment over subjective intuition.

Apollo can be viewed a metaphorical ‘incel‘ figure. The following from psychiatrist Jean Shinoda-Bolen’s book Gods in Everyman describes this aspect of Apollo or the ‘Apollo man’ :

Apollo was the most handsome of gods, as well as responsible and dependable: the sun always came up, rose and set when it was supposed to. He emphasized virtue and had precepts to live by carved on his temple walls. Yet he was unsuccessful in love, rejected by Cassandra, Sybil, Daphne, and Marpessa. The women Apollo the god wanted to have, and was rejected by, were the kind of women who also may reject an Apollo man.

The woman who rejects a handsome, virtuous, dependable Apollo man usually does so because he lacks qualities that are essential for her, such as depth and intensity, or emotional closeness, or sexual spontaneity. Apollo men are rejected by women who want a deeper bond, with more intensity and emotional expressiveness, than he can provide.

The integrity in which an Apollo man may live out his precepts or live up to his agreements draw admiration and respect, rather than love or passion. Women who are aware of these priorities will not choose him to begin with, or, on discovering what is lacking, may reject him as a lover later. 1

She further tells:

Individuals who resemble Apollo have difficulties that are related to emotional distance, such as communication problems, and the inability to be intimate… Rapport with another person is hard for the Apollo man. He prefers to access (or judge) the situation or the person from a distance, not knowing that he must “get close up” – be vulnerable and empathic – in order to truly know someone else…. But if the woman wants a deeper, more personal relationship, then there are difficulties… she may become increasingly irrational or hysterical.1

When considering the idea of using Greek deities as descriptors, I’m reminded of a statement by C.G. Jung who wrote, “To serve a mania [a modern psych label] is detestable and undignified, but to serve a God is full of meaning.”

If we translate Jung’s statement into one that speaks to our present topic it would say this: To be a devotee of Apollo amounts to a life filled with meaning, but to be labelled an incel is detestable and undignified.

Said differently, a focus on the many positives of a man’s life provides a more dignified estimation than focusing only on the negative of how he falls short of a petty, gynocentric value system.

With so much negative and maligning discourse around the topic of incels, perhaps its time we looked at the life of an involuntary celibate as every bit worthy as any other life. If we use Apollo as a model, we might even call parts of that life divine.


[1] Shinoda-Bolen, J., Gods in Everyman: A New Psychology of Men’s Lives and Loves p.130-160 (1989)

Guinevere and Lancelot- by William de Leftwich Dodge (1910)

Painting by artist William de Leftwich Dodge (1910) showing Guinevere looking into Narcissus’ Mirror, with Lancelot sniffing at her hand in recognition of her femdom. This image illustrates the taproot of feminism’s concern with maintaining or increasing the power of women, a process facilitated by men’s adherence to medieval chivalry and deference to women.

Guinevere – by William de Leftwich Dodge. [Flickr. Public Domain.]

To ‘Believe’ in Love – The Religious Significance of the Romantic Love Myth in Western Modernity

The following is from the introduction of religious studies scholar Sarah K. Balstrup’s thesis To ‘Believe’ in Love – The Religious Significance of the Romantic Love Myth in Western Modernity. In it she explores romantic love as the dominant religious belief system in the Western world today. – PW.


In 2011, Simon May made the bold claim that “love has increasingly filled the vacuum left by the retreat of Christianity…so that it is now the West’s undeclared religion – and perhaps its only generally accepted religion.”4 Although May’s research engages with philosophical debates rather than the more sociological concerns of the scholar of religion, his observations provide an excellent starting point for deeper analysis into this seemingly new religious phenomenon. What is the significance, for instance, of the fact that May refers to love as ‘the’ religion of the West, and the simultaneous claim that such a widespread belief system can remain unrecognised by its adherents? Moreover, what is meant by ‘love’? This thesis seeks to answer such questions and, in doing so, provide a comprehensive analysis of the socio-cultural changes that have occurred between the mid-nineteenth century and the present day that have fundamentally altered both the significance of love, and the nature of religion itself. As the subject of study, love is defined as a particular social mythology that has achieved religious status due to important epistemological shifts associated with secularisation.5 Through the consideration of a number of case studies, including Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1856), the HBO series Sex and the City (1998-2004), and romantic comedy films, the religious function of love will be investigated. As a social mythology that effectively replaces the Christian symbolic, love will be appraised as a religious position, on the basis that it acts as an ultimate concern for Western individuals.6 Most importantly this will involve an analysis of the religious epistemological mode in order to demonstrate why the ‘love religion’ does not involve self-identification.

Typically understood as an emotional state, love has become an important topic of philosophical, religious and psychological investigation throughout Western history. While far from exhaustive, such a history might include examples from the Biblical Scriptures, Plato’s Symposium, Dante’s Commedia, the tradition of courtly love that emerged in eleventh century Europe, along with a host of examples from the Romantic poets,7 and humanist philosophers.8 As love has acquired a rich symbolic resonance through the influence of such discourse, it has variously been understood to be an aspect of the Christian symbolic system, a state of being associated with truth, sacredness and beauty,9 or as an ethical force that is human in origin. To consider the implications of each of these examples within their cultural context is an unwieldy task, yet one that has been tackled by numerous academics in the past thirty years, as well as in earlier studies such as C. S. Lewis’s Allegories of Love (1936)10 and Denis de Rougemont’s Passion and Society (1956).11 More recent studies of import include Stephen Kern’s The Culture of Love: Victorians to Moderns (1992)12 and Simon May’s Love: A History (2011),13 as well as a host of philosophical14 and socio-cultural studies.15 While these texts will inform this thesis, in general, their aim has been to extrapolate the culturally specific nature of the Western understanding of love, where ‘religion,’ in its Judeo-Christian form, is understood to be one of many influences upon the myth. In light of Wittgenstein’s assertion that “the meaning of a word is its use in language,”16 it becomes apparent that the survival of ‘religious themes’ does not necessarily prove the continuation of religious significance. Rather, in this thesis, the love myth is deemed to be a coherent symbolic system that functions as a type of secular religion, regardless of the origin of ideas that comprise its current form, which may or may not have been religious in their original cultural context.

Despite the depth and breadth of studies on love, and the frequent claim that love is of sacred or religious significance,17 the definition of love remains vague and the dynamics of this supposed religious connection have yet to be fully explored. Those who have made the strongest claims regarding love’s spiritual significance have done so with disapproval, in the case of de Rougemont,18 May19 and others; or an air of tragedy, as can be found in the reflections of Flaubert,20 Michel de Certeau and Roland Barthes.21 The former find fault with the love myth, claiming that it puts unrealistic expectations upon human relationships,22 that it is an inferior and adulterated version of a purer religious sentiment,23 that it is a corrupting influence in society which involves the human attempt to become God,24 or is otherwise responsible for human cruelty.25 In each case, love and relationships are viewed to be separate from the culturally contingent love myth that is being subjected to critique. As a Religious Studies approach does not involve the evaluation of belief systems based on their putative merit, these arguments will not be explored; however, it is important to note the contested nature of the religiosity of love. As a ‘growing trend,’ the sacralisation of love is then identified as an undesirable development that must be studied in order to create a level of reflexivity necessary to stem the flow of its influence.

Although the majority of scholars mentioned thus far simply use the term ‘love,’ and may mention culturally specific sub-categories such as agape, eros, or parental love, the contemporary form of love that is increasingly idealised can be more accurately defined as ‘romantic love.’ As a cultural construct, romantic love has a history that can be most clearly traced to eleventh century Provence, when the love poetry of the troubadours began to depict a noble and divine love between man and woman that stood in contrast to the dry practicalities of arranged marriage.26 Medieval scholars have problematised this reductive claim, and have revealed aspects of the courtly tradition that do not serve to convey the more modern notion of romance, yet, the concept of the birth of romance has remained a useful periodisation tool nonetheless.27 As courtly love was an adulterous, albeit unconsummated love that stood in contrast to the institution of marriage, romantic love is based upon passionate feelings towards an idealised other, involving a self-sacrificing attitude of devotional awe. Tristan and Isolde provides the most iconic example of courtly love, and due to the tragic culmination of this lovers’ tale, there has remained a strong link between romantic sentiment and the concept of being reunited with the beloved through death. While not always mentioned regarding the origins of romantic love, there is a very close relationship between courtly love poetry and the writings of medieval mystics like Bernard of Clairvaux and Hadewijch of Antwerp.28 Incorporating Biblical material such as the erotically charged “Song of Songs,” Christian mystics have developed strong associations between devotion for the beloved (as lover), and the Beloved (as Christ or the Deity himself).29 This form of romantic worship drew strongly on Platonic philosophy, wherein erotic desire for the beauty that resides within the beloved can lead the lover to purer states of love, and, ultimately, to the contemplation of the Divine. As influential strains of Christian mysticism appropriated this model of sacred relation,30 the concept of ascent via beauty intermingled with Christian concepts of the Divine, and this association has remained salient in Western cultural mythology.

The poetry of the courtly tradition and the writings of Christian mystics are historical antecedents of the idea of romantic love, however, in mid-eighteenth century England, romantic love came to be understood in terms of human relationships. Related to the rise of the middleclass, the birth of the modern novel, and other factors associated with modernisation, romantic love became a driving force of social change as it became increasingly acceptable to marry for love.31 Previously constrained by the class system and the social obligation to enter into practical marriages, in the mid-eighteenth century, the law of love became more deeply associated with virtue than the ability to conform to the dictates of the social institution. In this early period the ideal of true love was applied to the dissolution of class-based distinctions, and this deregulatory function has become characteristic of the love myth, so that in the contemporary context, romantic love is employed in the rejection of all forms of social barriers. In the realm of popular culture, the romantic comedy has offered a running commentary on the love myth since the establishment of the genre in Hollywood’s classical era.32 Depicting strong female leads in the 1930s and ambitious career women in the 1980s, the romantic comedy genre has a history of correlating the overthrow of patriarchal dominance with the negotiation of ‘true’ love.33 Films from the 1990s onward have extended the use of the romantic love myth to dismantle social barriers relating to race, gender, sexuality, age, and cultural extraction. As such, the love myth has been consistently identified as a force of justice that enables the individual to oppose social sanctions.

As the history of the love myth does not in itself define the specific types of beliefs involved in its contemporary form, examples will be provided of what romantic love is considered to be within the bounds of this thesis. First and foremost it is believed that true love can be found between two people, and that the connection that they share involves the total person; physical, spiritual, mental. These two individuals are destined to be together and are led into contact with one another through divine aid or coincidence, so that all life events can be understood in relation to the formation of a relationship that was always ‘meant to be.’34 Romantic love requires one to surrender disbelief,35 and have faith in the power of love in order to experience this sacred relationship, and the individual expects to undergo trials of virtue in order to be worthy of such love.36 Super-empirical elements implicit in the romantic myth include a belief in destiny,37 and the ability to connect with the beloved by means of extra-sensory-perception, and a belief in postmortem reunion in the afterlife,38 or in subsequent lives.39 The universe is believed to contain knowledge of the fated union between the individual and their ‘soul mate,’40 and one can read ‘signs’ in daily life that may lead them to this person, or reveal their identity. The identity of one’s soul mate is as unique as the individual, so that uniqueness is prized over stereotypical conventions of beauty or personality.41

One may come up against innumerable practical obstacles; identifying subsequent mates as ‘the One,’ or failing to establish a connection with a person that one believes is their ‘soul mate,’42 yet the romantic myth can be manipulated successfully to absorb even the most direct contradictions. This is possible due to a belief in layers of meaning, and an ultimate underlying ‘truth’ related to the concept of the ‘true self.’ This truth can only be verified by emotional cues and personal intuition, so that if these initial feelings of confirmation are seriously tested, the individual can concede that they were fooled by the appearance of truth, and so remain unshaken in their belief that their true love is still out there. Drawing upon the value of self-determination embedded in the ideal of freely choosing one’s partner, out of love rather than social obligation, love is heralded as a revolutionary force that can usurp institutionalised authority.43 Ultimately, true love removes the scales from one’s eyes, revealing the goodness inherent in all things, and enables one to experience Heaven on earth.44 As the mode of relation between the individual and God has been so often expressed in the Judeo-Christian tradition in romantic terms, popular culture reveals that God and the beloved have now become almost interchangeable concepts.45



4 May, Love: A History, p. 1.
5 Terms such as ‘myth,’ ‘mythology,’ ‘imaginative,’ and ‘imagination’ are not used in the pejorative sense in this thesis. While Christian polemicists have used these terms to imply a type of belief that is ‘untrue’ and based upon delusory thinking, here they are used to refer to their function. Mythology can be understood analogously to ‘social narrative,’ while imagination involves a type of active mental engagement requiring the suspension of reality.
6 Paul Tillich, ‘Dynamics of Faith,’ in Robert P. Scharlemann (ed.) Paul Tillich: Main Works, Writings on Religion (Walter de Gruyter, 1988) pp. 231–232.
7 John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley and others.
8 For instance, Petrarch and Auguste Comte.
9 Dante Aligheiri, The Paradiso (J. M. Dent and Sons: London, 1941); Charles Williams, Religion and Love in Dante: The Theology of Romantic Love (Kessinger Publishing, 2010); Flaubert, Madame Bovary.
10 C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition (Oxford University Press, 1938).
11 Denis de Rougemont, Passion and Society (Faber and Faber, 1956).
12 Stephen Kern, The Culture of Love: Victorians to Moderns (Harvard University Press, 1992).
13 May, Love: A History.
14 For example Vincent Brümmer, The Model of Love: A Study in Philosophical Theology (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1993); Albert James Smith, The Metaphysics of Love: Studies in Renaissance Love Poetry from Dante to Milton (Cambridge University Press, 1985); Richard John White, Love’s Philosophy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001); Irving Singer, The Pursuit of Love (John Hopkins University Press, 1994).
15 For example Kern, The Culture of Love; May, Love: A History; Ann Swidler, Talk of Love: How Culture Matters (University of Chicago Press, 2001); Aaron Ben-Ze’ev and Ruhama Goussinsky, In the Name of Love: Romantic Ideology and its Victims (Oxford University Press, 2008).
16 Simon Malpas, Jean-François Lyotard (Routledge, 2003) pp. 21–22.
17 All love theorists mentioned in this thesis recognise the classic examples of sacred love enshrined in Biblical, Platonic, mystic, courtly, and Romantic sources. The centrality of love in Western culture is likewise recognised, yet each theorist articulates the ‘sacred’ or ‘religious’ role of love in a different way. Due to limitations of space, May’s claim is singled out for its directness and clarity.

18 de Rougemont, Passion and Society.
19 May, Love: A History.
20 As will be discussed in further detail in the second chapter of this thesis, Flaubert’s views of love are tragic, idealistic, cynical and ironic. Evidence of this can be found in all of his written works, particularly Madame Bovary (1856) and A Sentimental Education (1869) yet also in his extensive collected correspondence. See John Charles Tarver, Gustave Flaubert as seen in his Works and Correspondence (Kessinger Publishing, 2005).
21 Michel de Certeau, The Mystic Fable: Volume One: The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (University of Chicago Press, 1995); Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse. As this thesis merely cites de Certeau and Barthes in order to engage with their personal representations of the love myth, their broader theoretical oeuvres will not be considered. Recognising that French theory has contributed much to the study of love, thinkers like Lacan, Kristeva, De Beauvoir and Foucault have been purposely omitted from this thesis in order to distinguish my methodological position from theirs, and avoid an unintended association with the strong political subtext of their writings.
22 Swidler, Talk of Love; May, Love: A History; Kern, The Culture of Love; Ben-Ze’ev and Goussinsky, In the Name of Love.
23 de Rougemont, Passion and Society.
24 May, Love: A History.
25 Ben-Ze’ev and Goussinsky view the “romantic ideology” of love to be responsible for “wife murders” and violence perpetrated against women in the name of love. Ben-Ze’ev and Goussinsky, In the Name of Love.
26 Swidler, Talk of Love, pp. 112–135.
27 Stephen C. Jaeger, Ennobling Love: In Search of a Lost Sensibility (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999); Lewis, The Allegory of Love.
28 Gordon Rudy, Mystical Language of Sensation in the Later Middle Ages (Routledge, 2002) pp. 68–72.
29 Louise Nelstrop, Kevin Magill, and Bradley B. Onishi, Christian Mysticism: An Introduction to Contemporary Theological Approaches (Ashgate, 2009) pp. 89–90.
30 Nelstrop, Magill, and Onishi, Christian Mysticism, pp. 23–27, 85–91.
31 Colin Campbell, The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism (Blackwell, 1989) p. 27.
32 Claire Mortimer, Romantic Comedy (Taylor & Francis, 2010) p. 10.
33 Chantal Cornut-Gentille, ‘Working Girl: A Case Study of Achievement by Women? New Opportunities, Old Realities’ in Peter William Evans and Celestino Deleyto (eds) Terms of Endearment: Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the 1980s and 1990s (Edinburgh University Press, 1998) pp. 111–128.

34 Before Sunrise (1995) tells the story of Jesse and Celine who meet by chance on a train in Europe. They spend one night together, yet their entire lives are rewritten in relation to this event. Failing to reunite in Vienna the following year, in Before Sunset (2004) the couple eventually meet in Paris to find that the nine years that they had spent apart were filled with dissatisfaction and that their chance at happiness depends upon their being together.
35 In romantic comedies, the initial cynicism of the romantic couple is replaced by absolute faith in the reality of love by the film’s conclusion. For example, When Harry Met Sally (1989), The Proposal (2009), Friends with Benefits (2011).
36 In the romantic comedy Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) this test takes the form of a ‘leap of faith’ where the romantic couple express their commitment to each other and to love by jumping into a volcano. Rather than dying together, this act is rewarded by unseen forces as the volcano spits them out and they survive unscathed. In the ‘real life’ context of the reality television show The Bachelor (16:7) Ben takes Kacie, Nicki and Rachel shark-swimming on their group date. Rachel has a shark phobia, yet Ben convinces her that the shark dive is a suitable metaphor for their (potential) future relationship. Despite the danger that Rachel finds herself in, she is able to utilise the psychological skills learnt from romantic narratives in order to act against her natural instinct of fear. Knowing that when one demonstrates their faith in love, they will be rewarded, Rachel puts her life in danger as she wills herself to believe that Ben’s presence will magically protect her from harm.
37 Serendipity (2001).
38 Chris and Annie reunite in What Dreams May Come (1998), while in Ghost (1990) Sam communicates with his partner Molly after his untimely death. When his spirit is about to ascend to Heaven, the couple say goodbye in the temporary sense by saying “see ya,” implying that they will meet again.
39 The Fountain. Similarly, many romantic films involve lovers meeting while one partner is in a different body, yet the true spiritual bond that they share eventually enables the recognition of the disguised beloved. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) this trope is played out in a range of bodyswapping scenarios, and in the dual nature of Angel/Angelus. Similarly, in Doctor Who (2005-2009) the Doctor’s ‘true self’ is maintained through subsequent ‘regenerations.’
40 In its popular usage, this term refers to a person’s destined true love, yet is derived from Plato’s story of the original humans who were male and female; two joined together with four arms and four legs, until they were separated by Zeus. In popular culture, the term soul mate is employed to emphasise that love between two individuals is so great that no physical or metaphysical force could destroy it. In fictive form, soul mate partnerships are often depicted overcoming space, time, death, the body, or psychic barriers such as spells or Alzheimer’s disease. For example, in The Notebook (2004), The Fountain (2006), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).
41 “For me the other is neither he nor she; the other has only a name of his own, and her own name. The third-person pronoun is a wicked pronoun: it is the pronoun of the non-person, it absents, it annuls. When I realise that common discourse takes possession of my other and restores that other to me in the bloodless form of a universal substitute, applied to all the things which are not here, it is as if I saw my other dead, reduced, shelved in an urn upon the wall of the great mausoleum of language. For me, the other cannot be a referent: you are never anything but you, I do not want the Other to speak of you.” Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse, p. 185.
42 Sliding Doors (1998).
43 In The Adjustment Bureau (2011) the authority to be overcome is that of God himself. In the film, it is revealed that angels monitor human behavior to ensure that all act according to their destiny. David and Elise state their case to the Deity and convince Him that they should be allowed to write their own destinies because they are most truly in love.
44 “In this world we’re just beginning to understand the miracle of living…Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth? Ooh, heaven is a place on earth. They say in heaven love comes first. We’ll make heaven a place on earth.” Belinda Carlisle, “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”
45 For example, songs that are generally understood to be about romantic love can also be read as songs about God, for instance, Florence and the Machine (“When food is gone you are my daily need. When friends are gone I know my Saviour’s love is real…You got the love I need to see me through.”) “You Got the Love,” Markita “Love, Thy Will be Done.” Similarly, in Sister Act (1992) a choir of nuns use the love songs “I Will Follow Him” and “My Guy” to refer to the Christian Deity.

Excerpt source: To Believe in Love – The Religious Significance of the Romantic Love Myth in Western Modernity, by Sarah K. Balstrup

Adam Kostakis – Is gynocentrism a biological essential? (2011)

The following is an informal discussion on whether gynocentrism is a ‘biological predisposition,’ which took place between commenter ‘Julie’ and Adam Kostakis in the comments section under his essay Anatomy of a Victim Ideology Lecture No. 5.

Julie said…


NB: My english is not perfect so I can be hard in what I say, no subtilities, but don’t see bad intention.

I readed all your lectures, very interresting. And also many others blog with great interrest. I can’t agree with misogynistic views, but I agree that you have it very bad now in western world. And that can’t continue no longer.

Gynocentrism, I think, is in good part based on human biological instinct. In other word it’s here to stay. For the good and for the bad. Evolution have gived us superior biological value and status. Nature have created you with a purposes of “serving” us (providing, protection, etc.). You can’t escape this, no more than us. But balance is needed, We are different but in a symbiotic relationship.

You said the feminist project is increasing the power of Women. No problem there for me until this power is on our own life but this is not what they ask for.

I agree that they (the radical feminist) want political Female Supremacy in a way or another. They are not numerous but influent.

This influence is increased by the fact that, we Women collectively “lack care” (a kind of indifference) about you collectively. I mean as a gender. We say notting and let them go. May be because of an instinctive gynocentrism, may be because we beleave that you are strong and don’t need it or we have learned to beleave that. I don’t know.

Nevertheless, I think you have a bigger problem than those radical Women. The much more numerous males advocating and acting for this lunacy. Some of those men are prime minister, governor, president, judge, representative, etc. And they vote laws, policies and rules. Some of those males have kinky fantasm about Female Supremacy. Some have money and career in it. Some are just the kind of male ready to say yes to anything a Woman ask…

The general unvisible climate of misandry. (I discovered his existance with stupefaction after reading about it.) Is in part created by the same males. Like the t-shirt saying to throw rock at boys… Created by males for profit!

Because of my life-style, I know this kind of males, they are excessive, deeply anti-male, they beg me telling me how males are stupid, worthless and blah blah blah… Dreaming of Female led totalitarian regime…8/2/11 10:21 PM

Adam Kostakis said…


I did not believe that Gynocentrism is a biological predisposition. I do not believe that evolution grants women superior biological value and status. I do not believe men are created to “serve” women, or that this situation is inescapable. What you describe is not a symbiotic relationship, but a parasitic one. And it is one I believe is socially constructed. It’s an enduring relationship, for sure! But you know what they say, rules are made to be broken.

I also disagree that women are indifferent to the plight of men and boys – I know, and have talked to, plenty of women who are deeply concerned about misandry.

What you have described is a set of Gynocentric myths. I am sorry to see that you have bought into them. Perhaps you believe that Gynocentrism is an inherent human trait because it helps you feel secure in your privileged position – if it is inherent, it cannot be taken away.

You are correct that there are a number of men advocating for the lunacy of radical feminism. When attacking feminism, I do not attack women. I attack feminists, whether they be men or women.

However, I do believe that the climate of misandry is created – exclusively – by women. Certain powerful men are the enablers, but they did not create the hatred.12/2/11 8:38 AM

Julie said…


«I do not believe that evolution grants women superior biological value and status.»
What I mean by superior biological value is that to perpetuate our species (like every mamals)the bottle neck is the number of Women. This is why every culture are ready to give up males’ lifes to protect us from danger. You will agree on that fact.

«I also disagree that women are indifferent to the plight of men and boys – I know, and have talked to, plenty of women who are deeply concerned about misandry.»
May be the misunderstanding come of my limited english. I agree with you, many Women are concerned, I’m myself concerned by this misandous climate. Otherwise why the hell I was here?

«However, I do believe that the climate of misandry is created – exclusively – by women.»

On that I can only disagree.

Firts,I saw some contradiction here with what you said before «I also disagree that women are indifferent to the plight of men and boys» We can’t be for and against it in same time.

We are in part responsable, because We buy the t-shirt saying to throw rock at boys. But, We don’t made them. And the greatest misandrous things I have seen was from males.

«Certain powerful men are the enablers, but they did not create the hatred.»

The enabler is money, We are controling most of the spending of each household. The proof of that is in the number of store dedicated to us in any mall.

They want the money, they try to seduce us. They do itthe same way the males telling Me how stupid males are. Unfortunately, We are buying in that because We saw this as fun. And they push more of it the next round.

«When attacking feminism, I do not attack women.»
This was clear for Me. It’s unfortunately not every MRA. I sawed, many who are in misogyny and hate.15/2/11 7:49 PM

Adam Kostakis said…

What I mean by superior biological value is that to perpetuate our species (like every mamals)the bottle neck is the number of Women. This is why every culture are ready to give up males’ lifes to protect us from danger. You will agree on that fact.

I will not agree on that point of view. I see this biological essentialism as a gloss on traditional female privilege. For one thing, you’re only talking about a narrow band of women – namely, those who are young and fertile. Am I to believe that those beyond their most fertile years (i.e. older than 25) are recognized as having no greater value than the average man? Of course not: women remain privileged, regardless of their age and fertility. Reproduction really has nothing to do with it.

Moreover, any society with a deficit of men will not survive very long. It is men who design, create, build and maintain the infrastructure of society. Insofar as women give birth to the next generation, men give birth to civilization itself. Remove men from the equation, and we return to some primitivist state of nature.

Now, as a corollary of rooting out Gynocentrism, this latter historical fact will be forced to change as well: women will have to contribute to the building and maintaining of society, or they will be forced out – which is the deal men have always been handed.

So, you see, I’m very set against all notions of biological essentialism – historically it may be the case that women were valued more for reproductive reasons, while the onus was on men to build, maintain and defend society. That does not have to be the future, and if feminists were really honest with themselves, they would admit that such an idea, egalitarian as it is, scares the living daylights out of them.

I agree with you, many Women are concerned, I’m myself concerned by this misandous climate. Otherwise why the hell I was here?

Yeah – my comment wasn’t attacking you personally. You said that women are indifferent to the plight of men and boys, I responded that I know this to not be the case, but I did not mean to suggest that you are indifferent.

Firts,I saw some contradiction here with what you said before «I also disagree that women are indifferent to the plight of men and boys» We can’t be for and against it in same time.

It’s simple. Some women are not indifferent to the plight of men and boys. Other women are indifferent. And still other women are the generators of misandry. I do not view a social entity so heterogeneous and amorphous as ‘women’ to be one solid bloc. Within ‘women’, we find individuals who are inevitably going to fundamentally disagree with each other on basic principles. There is no contradiction to say that misandry is in the first instance generated by (certain) women, and that there are (certain other) women who oppose misandry.

Just like men, really.16/2/11 2:36 AM

Adam Kostakis said…

We are in part responsable, because We buy the t-shirt saying to throw rock at boys. But, We don’t made them. And the greatest misandrous things I have seen was from males.

I won’t dispute that (certain) men are responsible for aiding and enabling misandry. The person who created the T-shirts you refer to is, indeed, a man – I believe his name is Todd Goldman.

But, put it this way: if hatred against men and boys did not already exist, would Todd have been able to sell his T-shirts?

Can you imagine anybody selling T-shirts saying “blacks are stupid … throw rocks at them” today? I can’t. But what if T-shirts were in vogue in the early 20th century Deep South? I’m sure those T-shirts would be sold by the truckload. The hatred needs to already exist for the product to be saleable.

And that’s why I say that (certain) women generate misandry, while (certain) men are its enablers. Todd Goldman and men like him capitalize on female hatred against the male sex. Todd does not create the hatred. If the hatred was not there, nobody would buy the T-shirts; everyone would be repulsed by the very idea.

“The enabler is money, We are controling most of the spending of each household. The proof of that is in the number of store dedicated to us in any mall.”

This is partially true. Money is surely the motivator for Todd Goldman and men like him – as I said above, they capitalize on female hatred of the male sex. Essentially, they sell out their own sex to make a quick buck. I won’t deny that men like this are misandrists, but I think striking at the root is a more effective strategy, and in this day and age, that means attacking feminists.

“This was clear for Me. It’s unfortunately not every MRA. I sawed, many who are in misogyny and hate.”

Yes. I find it unfortunate that many MRAs use inflammatory language which turns off potential supporters. On the other hand, I understand exactly why they do it, and wouldn’t want to take away their rights to express themselves however they please. They are venting, because for years (decades for most), they have had no place to express their dissatisfaction with feminism and Gynocentrism. They now have that place, very suddenly, and having bottled up rage for most of their lives, they are for the first time given the opportunity to blow off some steam. Predictably, the bottle erupts all over the place. There is some serious anger, and it is emanating from good men: a sure indicator that times are going to change.16/2/11 2:36 AM

White Supremacy: A Euphemism For White Women Worship

So why is white male+female supremacy a euphemism for white women worship? Because men’s part in the much touted “supremacy” culture is geared largely to the role of servicing white women, a role otherwise known as chivalry or benevolent sexism.

Whether men traditionally called her ma’am, m’lady, madam or some other highfalutin title, the sexual dynamic was always one that positions woman as dominatrix, and the man as submissive liegemen – i.e., it closely resembles sadomasochism. That same sadomasochism has been the centrepiece of the women’s movement in which, for example, early feminists looked down sneeringly on their ebony lessers, claiming as Susan B. Anthony did, “I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman,” and which we see continued in the spa and nail shops which have exclusively women of color carving the toejam out of pampered and ’empowered’ white women’s nails.

In her blog post Three Cheers for White Menmedievalist Rachel Fulton Brown waxes poetic about men’s having aided and abetted a culture of worshipping white women — a worship that we know has led to the three evils of misandry, racism, and (white) female narcissism. Here is her post:

1. When white women (see Marie de France and Eleanor of Aquitaine) invented chivalry and courtly love, white men agreed that it was better for knights to spend their time protecting women rather than raping them, and even agreed to write songs for them rather than expecting them to want to have sex with them without being forced.

2. When white men who were celibate (see the canon lawyers and theologians of the twelfth century and thereafter) argued that marriage was a sacrament valid only if both the man and the woman consented, white men exerted themselves to become good husbands rather than expecting women to live as their slaves.

3. When white women (see Christine de Pizan, Mary Wollstonecraft, and the suffragettes) invented feminism, white men supported them (see John Stuart Mill) and even went so far as to vote (because only men could vote at the time) to let them vote, not to mention hiring them as workers and supporting their education.

Fulton Brown copped a lot of flack for praising white men’s chivalry and women’s associated pedestalization. But she was right, even if I would radically differ with her in response to this history — ie. my reaction is one of disgust and rejection of the narcissism and sadomasochism embedded in the heart of the same construct.

Alison Phipps, a Professor of Gender Studies at Sussex University, recently published an essay titled White tears, white rage: Victimhood and (as) violence in mainstream feminism, and more recently a book titled Me, Not You: The Trouble With Mainstream Feminism.

There is much detail in her feminism-inspired corpus that I am at odds with, and no doubt much in my work that she too would be at odds with. However, I find her thesis readable in parts where describing the power of white women’s tears (a tradition I refer to as damseling), along with white men’s symbiotic enmeshment with those tears in the form of “chivalric” protection frequently involving warrantless, exaggerated violence, especially in colonial settings. This compact is aptly referred to by Phipps as “a circuit” between white women’s perceived vulnerabilities and white men’s reactivity on their behalf.

Phipps’ essay is the first from a feminist perspective that positions males and females as conspiring together as a circuitous dyad, a position contrasted with that of most other feminist authors who prefer to lump all power and evil with men, and all goodness with women. Phipps describes the sexual relations contract of white European descendants as malignant and exploitative, and while I do agree with her in certain key respects I find her thesis too reductive and totalising in its demonization.

The following are a few excerpts from her essay on White Women’s Tears:

Using #MeToo as a starting point, this paper argues that the cultural power of mainstream white feminism partly derives from the cultural power of white tears. This in turn depends on the dehumanisation of people of colour, who were constructed in colonial ‘race science’ as incapable of complex feeling (Schuller 2018). Colonialism also created a circuit between bourgeois white women’s tears and white men’s rage, often activated by allegations of rape, which operated in the service of economic extraction and exploitation. This circuit endures, abetting the criminal punishment system and the weaponisation of ‘women’s safety’ by the various border regimes of the right. It has especially been utilised by reactionary forms of feminism, which set themselves against sex workers and trans people.

In an article on #MeToo, Jamilah Lemieux (2017) commented: ‘white women know how to be victims. They know just how to bleed and weep in the public square, they fundamentally understand that they are entitled to sympathy’. Lemieux was not claiming the disclosures of #MeToo were not genuine; she was highlighting the power brought to mainstream feminism by the power of white women’s tears. White-lady tears, to use Cooper’s phrase: bourgeois white women’s tears are the ultimate symbol of femininity, evoking the damsel in distress and the mourning, lamenting women of myth (Phipps 2020, p71)… the power of bourgeois white women’s tears was solidified in the modern colonial period, as ‘women’s protection’ became key to the deadly disciplinary power that maintained racialised and classed regimes of extraction and exploitation.

Structurally, bourgeois white women’s tears support what Sharpe (2016, p16) calls ‘reappearances of the slave ship’: ‘protecting (white) women’ fuels the necropolitics of criminal punishment and the border regimes of Fortress Europe, North America and other parts of the world. These tears enter a world in which marginalised people are disposable, whether they are Black people killed by police, migrants left to starve or drown (Sharpe 2016, pp43-44, 54), or trans people and sex workers (many of them people of colour) disproportionately left to survive outside bourgeois families, communities and the law. The circuit between white women’s tears and white men’s rage means that because we cry, marginalised people can die. As some forms of reactionary feminism exploit this circuit in their engagements with the far right, their narratives of victimhood can themselves be understood as violence. The ship, then, stays afloat: captained by white men, but suspended in a pool of white women’s tears.

After reading Phipps’ essay I’m immediately reminded of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being falsely accused of offending a white woman. White men bashed him for offending a white women’s fragile sensibilities (which it turns out was fabricated by the woman) and proceeded to showcase their “chivalry” via the act of torturing and brutally bashing the boy to death. In this one image is captured the scenario painted by Phipps – the compact that would keep white women (and their white male protectors) at the top of the food chain.

While I won’t join Phipps in her general malignment of white men, the question remains have certain men throughout history showcased white supremacy, sometimes brutally? Yes they have – but to what ends? I’m going to finish with an unpopular conclusion: that white male supremacy, if and when it has existed, has been driven partly, and perhaps even largely, by a desire to protect a culture of white female supremacy. Keep in mind that this conclusion is becoming recognized not only in the rarefied writings of feminists and MRAs, but also among the everyday populace which has in recent times immortalized the ‘Karen’ figure as an example of racist, misandrist, and narcissistic entitlement.

In a time when anti-white racism and critical race theory are gaining momentum, something I do not wish to fuel, keep in mind that some white women are not like that, even if many are. It still pays to follow the dictum of Martin Luther King who encouraged us to look at content of character before color of skin, and by that route we avoid the fallacy of exaggerated class guilt.

See also: