Petticoat government (1933)

Historian Robert St. Estephe is dedicated to uncovering the forgotten past of marginalizing men. The following commentary and newspaper articles compiled by Mr. St. Estephe recount the story of a young immigrant man sentenced to life in debtor’s prison – being locked up for failing to meet his young wife’s demands for money for herself and the relatives she brought over from the Old Country to be supported by her bricklayer husband. Of particular interest is the use of the phrase ‘petticoat government’ and ‘petticoat justice’ in two of the newspaper articles below. – PW

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While the above poster advertises a classic movie from the 1940’s, its theme was based on a very real social malady spanning the length of the 20th century. It was the alimony racket that inspired the first organized resistance in the United States to government-sponsored misandry. The first of many anti-alimony organizations was formed in New York City on 1927. (Robert Ecob: Early MHRA). Newspapers regularly recount horror stories of men whose lives were ruined by women who demanded to be supported by ex-husbands and, research has revealed, wives enjoyed the power to demand an ex-husband’s incarceration at will when he could not afford to pay up– even when the former wife had no need for the funds (The Alimony War of 1935). To give one real-life example, in 1933 a young Italian immigrant, a humble bricklayer by the name of Umberto Politano, became the poster boy of the New York anti-alimony activists with his story of a de facto “life sentence” to jail for failing to live up to his briefly-wedded wife’s demand that he support her and the Italian relatives she imported.

Umberto was only a poor laborer who could not even speak the tongue of his new homeland when he was thrown into alimony jail, but he did possess common sense. Logic was the weapon he used to eventually defeat the law ruling and the institutionalized female privilege of the chivalric American culture to at least gain his freedom after two and a half years in jail – his punishment for not paying the alimony which his jailing prevented him from being able to pay.

The words of Justice Bonygne and the commentary on this case and the alimony racket in general as described by famous magazine writer Ruth Seinfel,* dating from 1933, have a familiar ring to them — as if they were written 80 years later by the typical men’s human rights supporter.

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FULL TEXT (Newspaper article 1 of 4): New York, March 2, 1933 – Umberto Politano, a bricklayer, war veteran and, by right of jail seniority, president of the Brooklyn Alimony Club, was freed from confinement with the tart observation of Supreme Court Justice Bonynge, “this carries the supposed rights of women to absurd, not to say unconstitutional lengths.”

For two years and seven months. Politano has been inmate of Brooklyn Alimony Jail, failing to pay $12 a week to his wife, Mary Politano, who sued him for separation in October, 1927 – a suit that never has been tried. Repeated contempt orders have renewed his term and Justice Bonynge’s decision was rendered in the face of a recommendation by a special master which the court set aside.

~ Wife in Contempt. ~

“Even a lowly alimony prisoner has constitutional rights,” said Justice Bonynge, and he quoted the constitutional guarantee: “Cruel and unusual punishment shall not be inflicted.”

Criminal contempt, Justice Bonynge pointed out is more grave than civil contempt, and yet, even in flagrant cases punishment is limited by statute to a jail sentence of 30 days and a fine of $250.

“However, let a waspish woman pluck the sleeves of the judicial gown, or nudge the elbow concealed therein, and this temperate restraint immediately cast aside and the delinquent spouse faces the possibility of unending imprisonment through successive adjudication of contempt.”

~ Husbands Have Been Patient. ~

“Through the ages man has yielded authority in the home to the opposite sex and accepted the consequences with humility. With a bland of humor, resignation and affection, the relationship has come to be known as petticoat government.”

“While the institution has functioned reasonably well, there are those who doubt the expediency of its extension into a form of petticoat justice.”

Concluding his opinion, Justice Bonynge wrote:

“If an evil-doer invades my court room and reviles me or my ancestors or my country, with indecent or blasphemous utterances, a penalty of 30 days in the straight-jacket of my righteous wrath is incurred. Can I truthfully say that through poverty or misfortune this defendant, who shouldered arms when the need was great, who omits to pay alimony to a vindictive and relentless wife has offered my court an affront more than thirtyfold greater?”

“The answer being obvious, the defendant is ordered released from imprisonment forthwith.”

[“Even Patient Husbands Have Rights Says Court – In Jail 31 Months for Not Paying Alimony, Jurist Denounces Waspish Women,” The Reading Eagle (Pa.), Mar. 2, 1933, p. 7; spelling “thirtyfold” in original]

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PetticoatFULL TEXT (Newspaper article 2 of 4): Umberto Politano, the long-suffering martyr to our alimony system is free at last after two years and seven months of languishing in Raymond Street jail, Supreme Court Justice Paul Boynynge set him free the other day, and I am told that the Justice’s decision will set a precedent for future common sense and mercy in dealing with men who are without funds to meet their ex-wives’ demands.

But his Honor did more than set a precedent. He wrote an opinion which not only ex-wives but women who have no thought of Reno might do well to ponder. In pointing out that “even a lowly alimony prisoner has constitutional rights,” Justice Bonygne had some crisp things to say about “petticoat government” and “waspish wives.”

“Let a waspish woman pluck the sleeve of the judicial gown or nudge the elbow concealed therein,” his Honor meditated, “and … restraint is immediately cast aside and the delinquent spouse faces the possibility of unending imprisonment through successive adjudication of contempt. This carries the supposed rights of woman to absurd, not to say unconstitutional, lengths.”

And so he set Mr. Politano, who has been called the “alimony lifer,” free. I should like to be able to say fine words about the triumph of justice, but I am too much humiliated by the outrage that has been perpetrated so long in the name of justice, and by members of my sex.

I suppose it was necessary for the unfortunate Mr. Politano to lie in jail more than two years ago and a half so that bills might at last be brought before the Legislature at Albany to curb the dreadful power of vindictive women. But what I should like to see is an administration of justice which would throttle what Justice Bonynge calls petticoat at its source.

~ A Morning in Family Court ~

I remember with the keenest delight a morning I spent sitting beside Magistrate Jonah B. Goldstein in the Family Court. Domestic disagreements of all sorts were laid before his Honor, some tragic and some that made it hard for your reporter to maintain a dignity befitting a guest of the court. When a young woman stepped up to the bar and began to tell a story of nonpayment of alimony I pricked up my ears. Now, I thought bitterly, I would see a man sent to jail.

Magistrate Goldstein has thick black brows and he can look very stern. He now looked very stern, indeed, as he leaned toward the woman before him.

“Madame,” he asked, “are you in good health?”

The woman said she was in good health, and indeed she was blooming with it.”

“I understand that you have no children?” his Honor asked further.

No, she had no children. his honor leaned back on the bench.

“Madame, you have no children and you are in good health,” he said. “Yet you ask this man to contribute so much per week to your support. Do you keep house for him? Do you cook his dinner? Do you look after his clothes, darn his socks, mend his shirts, do his washing? Do you provide him with companionship? No, you do none of these things.

The young woman opened her mouth to speak and closed it again. A few minutes later she emerged from the court to seek a living for herself. The alimony judgment had been set aside.

And that is what I mean by justice.

[Ruth Seinfel, “’Petticoat Justice’ – Some Sharp Words Emerge from the Supreme Court in the Case of Mr. Politano, Alimony Lifer,” New York Evening Post (N.Y.), Mar. 6, 1933, p. 13; The word “system” has been inserted in the place of a word that is illegible in the photographic digital source from this article has been transcribed.] Ruth Seinfel was a regular contributor to Collier’s magazine, the leading magazine of investigative journalism of its time. Wikipedia notes that “as a result of chief editor Peter Collier’s pioneering investigative journalism, Collier’s Weekly established a reputation as a proponent of social reform.”

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bonygne-judge

FULL TEXT (Newspaper article 3 of 4): The court of appeals today granted authority to Umberto Politano, of Brooklyn, to renew his suit for $50,000 against Sheriff James A. McQuade, of Kings County, who was accused of illegally confining Politano in jail for failure to pay alimony.

Politano was sent to jail on July 29, 1930, for three months for failure to pay alimony. Subsequently he was accused of neglecting to pay during his imprisonment. His sentence was stretched to nine months. Politano contended he should have been released on April 29, 1931, but instead was held until March 1, 1933.

Sheriff McQuade argued that Politano was held because he failed to give security for future alimony payments as ordered in his complaint and that the facts were insufficient to support an action. The Applelate Division ruled that there was cause for action because no time limit had been set for Politano to comply in posting bond. Politano’s wife obtained a separation order and an allowance of $12 a week alimony in 1921 and he was $216 in arrears when he was jailed.

[“’Alimony Lifer’ Gets Right to Sue McQuade,” New York Tribune (N.Y.), Dec. 7, 1933, p. 17]

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FULL TEXT (Newspaper article 4 of 3): New York, Feb. 4 – Umberto Politano, president of the Alimony Club of Brooklyn, who is known as the “alimony lifer” because of the time he has served, moved today to recover damages for excessive imprisonment.

Justice Mitchell May, of the Supreme Court, Brooklyn, gave Mr. Politano permission to sue the Fidelity & Deposit company of Maryland, which provided $60,000 in bonds for the two Sheriffs who held Politano in the Raymond street jail, Brooklyn, for a total of two years and seven months. The Sheriffs were Aaron L. Jacoby, whose term expired December 31, 1931, and Sheriff James A. McQuade, who died May 5, 1935. Mr. Politano originally sought to sue the Sheriffs on the ground that they kept him in jail twenty-two months illegally. Mr. Politano contended that he could be held only three months on each of the three alimony orders served on him.

Justice May told that Mr. Jacoby’s liability extended only until his term expired and that Mr. Politano should have instituted suit within a year of that expiration. He added that Mr. McQuade’s death had absolved him personally of responsibility, but that it did not absolve the bonding company. The bond issued for each Sheriff was for $30,000.

[“Alimony Lifer” Allowed To Sue Surety Firm Here – Brooklyn Man Given Right To Bring Action Against Fidelity And Deposit Company On Bonds Of Sheriffs For Excessive Imprisonment,” The Sun (Baltimore, Md.), Feb. 25, 1937, p. 26]

 

Article source: http://www.avoiceformen.com/series/unknown-history-of-misandry/an-alimony-slaves-bricks-of-logic/

What is gynarchy?

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While ‘gynarchy’ is a relatively unused term, most by now would have heard of gynocentrism, a versatile term applied to literally anything we consider female dominated, from cultural institutions to gender relations – one that has proven a useful addition to the lexicon.

Gynarchy more specifically than gynocentrism refers to government by and for female interests, including any establishment of laws and bureaucracies that benefit women. As you will see below it has also been described in earlier times as “petticoat government” and is synonymous with what is commonly referred to today as “feminist governance.”

Gynarchy has a long literary application and isn’t a neologism requiring introduction into the language. To get a taste of its value let’s look at some of the historical uses of gynarchy (and its variants gunarchy, gunarchie, gynæcocracy, ginæcocratie, gynecocracy, gynocracy) starting in the 16th century:

1577: The gunarchie of Queene Cordeilla. [Holinshed Chron. I. 13/2]
1660: That in Gynarchy the wife is not subject, but superior to her husband [R. Coke Power & Subj.]
1737: Gynæcocracy is feminine rule; petticoat government [Universal English Dictionary]
1755: Gynæcocracy: petticoat government; female power [Dictionary English Language]
1758: I have always some hopes of a change under a Gunarchy; where whim and humour commonly prevail. [Chesterfield Letter. (1792) IV. cccl. 159]
1763: Denotes the government of women, or a state where women are capable of supreme command. Such are Britain and Spain. [Dictionary Of Arts & Sciences]
1816: In the fishing villages on the Firths of Forth and Tay‥the government is gynecocracy. [Scott Antiq. xxvi. Note]
1838: [Under gynocracy] women enjoy a greater influence… Mr. Hoskins says they seem to lord it over their husbands, and all mercantile transactions are confided to their hands. [Gentl. Magazine]
1886: That social gynæcocracy for which France is famous. [Temple Bar LXXVIII. 509]
1890: So will you best help to maintain‥the true gynarchy [Blackw. Mag. CXLVII. 264/2]

 

Note the hierarchy of gender alluded to in the year 1660 which claims that under gynarchy the wife is not subject to, but superior to her husband, or the 1838 mention of wives being superior to husbands, indicating that gynarchy requires servitude and inferiority of men toward women. These examples indicate that males, over the centuries, have been trained to serve the gynarchy with chivalrous servitude that reinforces the superiority of individual women. We see this chivalrous reinforcement of the gynarchy from the Middle Ages through to the time of Ernst B. Bax and continuing forward to today’s “feminist governance”. Evidence of the latter is all around us; in female-serving male politicians (the vast majority), government funding and entitlement programs, education, and in popular woman-elevating culture. It is helpful to have a word standing for the individual and collective female governance that we can unsheath at quick notice – and this word gynarchy serves us well.

Matriarchy (rule by moms) is an inaccurate term for political hegemony enjoyed by the female sex (because not all females are moms), and similarly patriarchy is an inaccurate term when applied to all males (because not all males are dads) – not that accuracy ever worried feminists who continue to refer to patriarchy when andrarchy would be far more descriptive of their imaginary construct. However unlike the mythic patriarchy that lacks evidentiary backing, historical gynarchy is supported by a mountain of empirical evidence. If we define gynarchy as government by or for women’s interests the evidence shows that most of today’s social institutions are thoroughly gynarchic.

Modern dictionaries usually define gynarchy as a political system governed by women or a woman. For a more complete understanding it’s important to recognise that “the political system” women govern may actually be staffed by male servants called prime ministers, presidents, or politicians who work on behalf of the ruling female gender.1 In her book What’s Right With Feminism Cassandra Langer gives a concise definition that accounts for the proxy role of male leaders: “Gynarchy refers to government by women, or women-centered government.”

References:

[1] Gynarchy by proxy; see also Alison Tieman’s YouTube video When Slaves Ruled which explains this dynamic incisively

See also:

Queen in red costume against dark background

Gynarchy today: an example

The dreaded patriarchy, we’ve had the story drilled into our pliable minds for decades, ad nauseam. But what about the gynarchy, is it yet time to consider the unspeakable? To give a recent account of the matter, a self-described “tall blonde psychologist” named Sharon Lawson sends out the following call to consolidate the power of the gynarchy:

Gynarchy-For-The-Masses

How refreshing to see a feminist admission that our perpetual gynarchy has come of age. We might appreciate too the way Sharon uses miniscule font for ‘men’ to emphasise how the gynarchy thinks. Sharon has written other gems of feminine wisdom on her blog including the following astute distillation called 10 Reasons why Women are Superior:

“While women have traditionally been oppressed, this does not make us weaker, in fact, as history progresses forward it makes us – and I realize this is a bit insensitive – but still, it needs to be said: the superior sex. Here’s why:

1. For a man, peeing is a messy and inconvenient affair. Urine splashing outside of the bowl? Eugh! Animals. Women never splash because we have the good sense to sit down on the seat. Uh, hello? They invented toilet seats for a reasons, guys.

2. We get to experience the awesome power of growing life within our own bodies. The beauty, the understanding and appreciation of life this gives us is unparalleled. Moreover, the experience of childbirth makes women more in tune with all of life.

3. Sexual dimorphism is becoming less and less of a thing as humans advance, and this will eventually put the performance of traditionally male tricks of brute force and superficial showmanship at a disadvantage. Evolution is about grace, intelligence, and compassion now.

4. Heteronormative males miss out on the fun and pleasure that is makeup application and dressing up in cute skirts, dresses and heels. Sure, we get to wear jeans and sneakers and cool casual clothes, but we have the option of a whole extra wardrobe section – and we get to cover up our pimples and highlight our cheekbones.

5. Our sexuality is oft considered a beautiful mystery. Everyone expects boys to begin whacking off as soon as their little curly hairs begin to sprout down south, but girls have an allure, a mystique that we can use as a special tool to our advantage pretty much forever.

6. Politicizing academia is the highest calling of education. You go spend your time doing math puzzles or reading Moby Dick, while we change the world.

7. Woman are wanted, craved, lusted after. Men drop dollars just to get a woman to take off her top in front of him. Men, listen up: I’ll pay you to keep that shirt on your bloated chest, you gross beast.

8. Men have too much testosterone and conditioned to be violent by society. That’s perhaps why they are, statistically speaking, more criminally violent than women. Oh, and boobs > balls.

9. While women have historically been opressed, this actually makes us more powerful in the long run because we have a more nuanced and reealsitc understanding of the world, power, and everything.

10. Men are keys. Women are locks. Are you kidding me? Women, at least this woman, is smart enough to know human sexuality can’t be reduced to a simple and stupid metaphor. Or even a silly article like this.”

So there you have a modern example of a woman, feminist and psychologist – smart, insightful, and ready to help men understand how to value themselves should they have any problems like, er, wanting to kill themselves due to cultural misandry. The 10 commandments of gynocracy are sure to provide a boon to the helping profession Ms. Lawson has just spent years at university preparing to enter, and clearly she has been listening closely in class. For those of you who are interested in receiving counselling from Sharon she happens to be a self-employed psychologist working out of Montana; just be sure to practice how to genuflect on arrival to her sessions.

The following piece, also from Sharon’s blog, and is called “New World Order”

9/06/2013

The new world order
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This came from another blog, another post…. borrowed because it contains the truth as I, and others, see it.

In the decades ahead we will see our culture change in ways that will reflect a new balance of power vis a vis gender. Women will cease to fear men and will, instead, begin to rule over them. The current binary concept of gender will break into four groupings.

First, we will see the rise of strong, powerful, confident women who see it as their duty and obligation to rule over the other gender groups.

Second, men who are inadequately feminized by mothers and wives will be viewed as less desirable by most women. Men who are by choice or forced to be feminized will be desirable to most women.

Third, successfully feminized men will become economically and socially extremely valuable to women. They will be called “gendered males”.

The dominant female class will ensure the ongoing submissiveness of these males. Male beauty will be linked to slender physique, lack of body hair, small penis size and demure, sweet mannerisms.

Gendered male fashion will emphasize somewhat restrictive garments made of more delicate materials. Clothing will be designed to enhance feminine traits and movements – walking, sitting, etc. – and to be varied – sweet, casual, comfy and, of course, sexual.

The fourth group will be called super gendered males. They will be cherished by a small percentage of the female population above all feminized men. They will be husbands of wives who serve full time as the keeper of the home, children, pets, and all things domestic.

They will not work. The key trait of super gendered males: they will have had Gender Reassignment Surgery. In the farther distant future, wives will allow their super gendered males to date ONLY Alpha males – those chosen to do what men have done in the past.

dominatrixThe wives will allow this for the opportunity to meet and, if desired, have sex with these Alpha males. The “super gendered male wives” will be happy and support their wives in having sexual pleasure with Alpha males.

Gender differences in this new society will be more fluid. Submissive females and aggressive males will cease to be desirable. Each gendered male group will serve the new dominant females.

Traditional roles will survive but will become a smaller proportion of the population. Alpha males will still exist, have special roles and be a rather small percentage of the population. Most women will not want to have children with Alpha males. These males will serve at the “pleasure of women”.

It will become normal for women to lead, dominate, command and oversee the gendered males’ work. Gendered males will be considered sexy and highly desirable by a significant proportion of the female population. Clothes, style and grooming will reinforce their sexiness and desirability.

They will wear a new kind of makeup that masks non-feminine traits. Men’s sperm will be collected when they are young and stored. The sperm will be available for use when a wife marries her gendered male. It will become routine later in time to perform oriechtomy on males after their sperm has been harvested. Afterward, al gendered males will enter a permanent hormone treatment program.

Finally, society will become much more peaceful, satisfied and happier than today’s society. Less testosterone plus new genders and roles will ensure it.

So, how does the lovely Sharon feel about this “New World Order” she envisions?

Here we go!

“I think this all makes sense to so many people that society will continue to evolve to this. Things will be much nicer with less strife and conflicts.”

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Make no mistake, women all the way from Christine de Pizan and her City of Ladies to feminists like Sharon Lawson have participated to varying degrees in the construction of the current gynarchy. If we can do one thing to raise awareness of this ‘unspeakable’ tradition it will be to point a finger and call “The Gynarchy” by its proper name.

See also:
petticoat cover single

The gentle art of ruling a husband

The following excerpts written in 1900 by Max O’Rell on the subject of wives ruling husbands – PW

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The rule of women over men is the survival of the fittest.

The best thing that can happen to a man is to be ruled by his wife; but she should rule him so discreetly, so diplomatically, that he could almost boast that it is he who rules her. At all events, he should remain very undecided which of the two it is that rules the other. And when a man is not quite sure that it is he who rules his wife, you may take it for granted that it is she who rules him.

How is the art of ruling a husband to be learned? The American and the French girls are at a good school; they have only to study how Mamma does it… In these two privileged nations the women lead the men by the nose; but in America the women boast of it, and I do not think they should. In France the women do not boast of it, but they do it, and with a vengeance. Yet, before the people a Frenchwoman will always say: ‘Oh, I do so and so because it pleases my husband.’ Dear little humbug! does she, though! Butter would not melt in her mouth when she says that.

To rule your husband, my dear lady, do exactly as you please, but always pretend that you do as he pleases. That is where your ability comes in.

Men are ruled, as children are, by the prospect of a reward. The reward of your husband is your amiability, your sweetness, your devotion, and your beauty, of which you should take a constant care. Love has to be fed constantly. And always let him suppose that it is for him only that you wish to remain beautiful.

The woman who believes that she is asserting her independence every time she puts on a hat particularly displeasing to her husband is as intelligent and clever as the Irishman who buys a return ticket at a railway office, and, on entering his compartment, says to his fellow-passengers: ‘I have played a good joke on the company, I have bought a return ticket—but I don’t mean to return.’

 
Source: Her Royal Highness Woman, by Max O’Rell

Petticoat Government (1896)

The following excerpts from Max O’Rell’s 1896 article Petticoat Government treat of women’s domination in home and society in the United States of America. The article shows women’s influence over both culture and government legislation via political activism – PW

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Women’s Political Influence

The women of good society in America are what they are everywhere else, satisfied with their lot which consists in being the adored goddesses of refined households; but there exists in this country, among the middle (or in European parlance, lower-middle) classes restless, bumptious, ever poking-their-noses-everywhere women who are slowly, but surely and safely, transforming this great land of liberty into a land of petty, fussy tyranny, and trying, often with complete success, to impose on the community fads of every shape and form.

If there is one country in the world where the women appear, in the eyes of the foreign visitor, to enjoy all manner of privileges and to have the men in leading strings, that country is America. You would imagine, therefore, that America should be the last country where the “new woman” was to be found airing her grievances. Yet she is flourishing throughout the length and breadth of this huge continent. She is petted by her husband, the most devoted and hard-working of husbands in the world; she is literally covered with precious stones by him. She is allowed to wear hats that would “fetch” Paris in Carnival time, or start a panic at a Corpus-Christi procession in Paris or a Lord-Mayor’s Show in London. She is the superior of her husband in education, and almost in every respect. She is surrounded by the most numerous and delicate attentions. Yet she is not satisfied.

The Anglo-Saxon “new woman” is the most ridiculous production of modern times and destined to be the most ghastly failure of the century. She is par excellence the woman with a grievance, and self-labelled the greatest nuisance of modern society. The new woman wants to retain all the privileges of her sex and secure, besides, all those of man. She wants to be a man and to remain a woman. She will fail to become a man, but she may succeed in ceasing to be a woman.

Teetotaler Politics

I think that of all the grand fads indulged in by some women in America the palm should be given to the compulsory water-drinking work. That is a colossal illustration of what women can do when left entirely to their own resources.

Now, I will lay down as a sort of principle that the “temperance” woman and the teetotaler are not to be found in refined society, and I don’t think that in saying so, I shall run the risk of being contradicted. I have often been a guest at the Union Club, the Union League Club, the Manhattan, the Century, the Players, and many other good clubs, I have dined in the best houses of the great American cities, and nowhere have I met teetotalers in those circles of society. Refined, intelligent people of good society, artists, literary men are not teetotalers; that will be granted by everybody. I don’t mention politicians, even of the best class, who have at times to be teetotalers to catch votes in a democracy.

The smaller towns of America – and that is America proper – are ruled by fussy, interfering faddists, fanatics of all sorts, old women of both sexes, shrieking cockatoos that will by-and-by make life well-nigh intolerable to any man of self-respect and make him wonder whether he lives in a free country or not.

The Mayor’s Wife

Take two lively illustrations. A few months ago I was in the town of E. (Kansas). There was a mayor who was married, and the happy pair had a little boy. That little boy was a wicked little boy. One day he was caught smoking a cigarette. Now what should be done by sensible parents to such a wicked little boy? Why, he should be turned over and given a good hearty – you know! This is not at all what was done. The mayor’s wife called up a meeting of women, made a violent speech on the pernicious habit of cigarette smoking, and it was decided to petition the mayor and ask him to forbid the sale of cigarettes within the precincts of his jurisdiction. For the sake of peace and happiness at home, the worthy mayor published an edict prohibiting the sale of cigarettes in his district. However, cigarettes can be had in the town of E., but you have to walk nearly a mile, just outside the limits of the mayor’s jurisdiction, to find a store where a roaring trade in cigarettes is done. All the same, you must admit that it is a nuisance to be obliged to walk a mile, in a free country, to buy a little article of luxury that you indulge in, without ever abusing it, because there happens to be in the town a wicked little boy that once smoked a cigarette.

Women’s Temperance Society Activism

When I was in the town of T. (Arkansas), only a few weeks ago, I gave a lecture under the auspices of “temperance” ladies of the city. They called on me.

Being of a rather inquisitive turn of mind, I said to them: “Now, ladies, I understand I am in a prohibition State. How do you account for your existence? Do you wish now to advocate the suppression of tea, coffee and icewater, which, I must say, would go a long way toward improving the complexion and the digestive apparatus of your fellow-creatures?”

“No,” they said; “we find that, in spite of the law, there is liquor, wine and beer still sold in this town, and we want to put a stop to it.”

Temperance_MovementI knew that such was the case, for I had, proh pudor! a bottle of lager beer in my pocket which I had bought for my dinner, but which, I am glad to say, was not discovered by the ladies under the auspices of whom I was to lecture in the evening. I can do with ice-water, but in a prohibition State I cannot. The evil spirit prompts me. I must have beer or wine with my meals. I have never been drunk in my life; but if I ever get drunk, it will be in a prohibition State.

“Well,” said the lady president of the temperance society of the town of T., “could you believe that, a few days ago, a poor woman of the town and her children actually died of starvation, while every day her husband got drunk with the wages he received?”

“But,” I mildly suggested, “you should see that that man was punished, not the innocent population of this town. Don’t suppress the wine, which is a gift of God: punish – suppress, even, if you like – the drunkard. It is not wine that makes a man drunk, it is vice. Don’t suppress the wine, suppress the vice, or the vicious. Imprison a drunkard, lynch him, hang, shoot him, quarter him, do what you like with him, but allow hundreds of good, wise, temperate people, who would use wine in moderation, to indulge in a habit that makes men moderate, cheerful and happy.”

My argument was lost on them.

Every year there are men who use knives to stab fellow-creatures; but there are millions who use their knives to eat their meals peacefully with. The law punishes the criminals, but would not think of suppressing the knives.

Any law is bad that punishes, injures, or annoys thousands of good, innocent people in order to stop the mischief done by a few – a very few, after all – blackguards and scoundrels.

These Christian ladies left me certainly unconverted, and took their revenge by not paying me my fee after the lecture, which confirmed me in my firm resolution never to have anything to do with angels – this side of the grave.

The Anglo-Saxon should by all means preach temperance, which means moderation, not total abstinence. What they preach overreaches the mark and does no good. When you say that a country enjoys a temperate climate, that does not mean that it has no climate at all, but enjoys a moderate one, neither too hot nor too cold.

These same Anglo-Saxons should not despise, but admire and envy, those who can enjoy, like men of understanding, like gentlemen, the glorious gifts of God to man without ever making fools of themselves. For these, the law should be made.

If your husband or son, dear lady, would like to have a glass of wine or beer with his dinner, let him have it in your sweet and wholesome presence. Don’t make a hypocrite of him. Don’t compel him to go and hide himself in his club or, worse, in a saloon, or, worse still, don’t allow him to go and lose his manhood’s dignity by crawling on all fours under the counter of a drug-store.

There is no virtue in compulsion. There is virtue only in liberty.

Ah! how I remember admiring, in the hot days of blue-ribbonism in England, that free Briton I once met who had a yellow ribbon in his button hole.

“What’s that you have on?” I said to him.
“That’s a yellow ribbon,” he replied. “I belong to the yellow ribbon army.”
“Ah, and what is it the yellow-ribbon army do?” I inquired.
“What do we do?” he said, “Why, we eat what we likes, we drink what we likes and we don’t care a — for nobody.”

 
There are well-meaning, most highly estimable and talented ladies who go about the world preaching temperance, that is to say, total abstinence, not moderation.

Now, as a rule, these ladies have special reasons for so doing. Very often they have led a life of sorrow and misery with wretched husbands, and they should be pitied. But hundreds of thousands of women have good husbands who have not to be cured of habits which they never in their lives indulged in, and who would be condemned to deny themselves every little luxury that helps make life cheerful when used with moderation and discretion, if the preachings of these often unfortunate ladies were to take the shape of laws.

I have often had to listen to self-confessed, reformed drunkards who preached to me who never was once drunk in my life. The thing is ludicrous.

There exist, among the Anglo-Saxons, people to whom the strains of Wagner and Beethoven’s music say absolutely nothing, to whom the Venus of Milo is indecent. They declare music and the fine arts immoral, and if they had their way, they would close the concert halls and the museums on every day of the week. Because their minds are distorted, foul and even dirty, they would condemn people with lofty and artistic minds to never hear a masterpiece of music or behold a masterpiece of painting or statuary. I have met people who declared they would never again set foot inside the walls of the Louvre and of the British Museum. And if the Anglo-Saxon fanatics, those arch enemies of art, make a little more progress, the future of that great Institution, the British Institution, is not safe.

As everybody knows, there exist, in Great Britain and in America, thousands of people who declare the stage to be a most wicked and immoral institution. I have on the subject a rather pleasant reminiscence which illustrates how the Anglo-Saxons can combine the spirit of morality with the spirit of business. I once gave a lecture, in a town of some twenty thousand inhabitants in the State of Kansas, under the auspices of a society of lady reformers. They had engaged the Opera House for the occasion. I arrived at the theatre a few minutes after eight. The ladies in charge were in the ticket-office pocketing money as fast as they could. To my great gratification there was an immense house, which was due, no doubt, far more to the popularity of the ladies’ philanthropic cause than to my own modest personality. When the crowd was in and seated, I asked to be led to the stage, and I said to the lady president of the society: “I suppose you have your seats reserved.” “No,” she replied, “I have not. I don’t think I will go in, if you will excuse me. I am proud to say that I have never once in my life set foot inside a theatre.” I literally collapsed. There were in that theatre some twelve hundred people whom these good ladies had induced to “sin” to fill the coffers of their society.

All these movements, headed by women, are in the wrong direction. They interfere with the liberties of a great people, and punish thousands and thousands of good, orderly, well-behaved people, to reach a score or two of bad ones, whom they often fail to reach and of tener still fail to cure. I repeat it, there are many hundreds of good people in this world for a very few hundreds of bad ones. The laws should aim at reaching the former and protecting them. This world is considerably better than the fanatics of all denominations and superstitions would make us believe. For eleven years, I have travelled all over the world, and I have never met any but honorable people to deal with. For instance, I have given 1,272 lectures in my life, and only once dil I come across a man who behaved dishonestly toward me. He ran away with the cash while I was speaking.

Yes, the world is good, very good, in spite of the calumnies that are constantly hurled at its face by the Pharisees of Anglo-Saxondom. Yes, full of good men, crammed with good women, and the excellent ladies of the Philanthropic societies of America should take it for granted that there are many, many good and virtuous people besides themselves.

You don’t cut down an apple tree because there are two or three bad apples on it. You cut down the two or three bad apples, and all your efforts tend to see that the hundreds of good ones are made healthy, happy, and comfortable.

Max O’Rell

Gynarchy by proxy

 

“Gynarchy refers to government by women, or women-centered government.”
Cassandra Langer

Obama-signs-order-creating-White-House-Council-on-Women-and-Girls-via-Wikimedia

In his groundbreaking work The Myth of Male Power, Warren Farrell explains how men have traditionally striven to institute women-centered government by acting as women’s proxy agents in the political sphere. This behaviour, explains Farrell, is based on the chivalrous tradition of male servicing of women’s needs. The following are passages from Farrell’s book explaining how gynarchy by proxy works:

“Doesn’t the fact that almost all legislators are men prove that men are in charge and can choose when to and when not to look out for women’s interests? Theoretically, yes. But practically speaking the American legal system cannot be separated from the voter. And in the 1992 Presidential election , 54 percent of the voters were female, 46 percent were male. (Women’s votes outnumber men’s by more than 7 million). Overall, a legislator is to a voter what a chauffeur is to the employer – both look like they’re in charge but both can be fired if they don’t go where they’re told. When legislators do not appear to be protecting women, it is almost always because women differ on what constitutes protection. (For example, women voted almost equally for Republicans and Democrats during the combination of the four presidential elections prior to Clinton).

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“The Government as Substitute Husband did for women what labor unions still have not accomplished for men. And men pay dues for labor unions; the taxpayer pays the dues for feminism. Feminism and government soon become taxpayer-supported women’s unions. The political parties have become like two parents in a custody battle, each vying for their daughter’s love by promising to do the most for her. How destructive to women is this? We have restricted humans from giving “free” food to bears and dolphins because we know that such feeding would make them dependent and lead to their extinction. But when it comes to our own species, we have difficulty seeing the connection between short-term kindness and long-term cruelty: we give women money to have more children, making them more dependent with each child and discouraging them from developing the tools to fend for themselves. The real discrimination against women, then, is “free feeding.”

Ironically, when political parties or parents compete for females’ love by competing to give it, the result is not gratitude but entitlement. And the result should not be gratitude, because the political party, like the needy parent, becomes unconsciously dependent on keeping the female dependent. Which turns the female into “the other” — the person given to, not the equal participant. In the process, it fails to do what is every parent’s and every political party’s job — to raise an adult, not maintain a child.
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But here’s the rub. When the entitled child has the majority of the votes, the issue is no longer whether we have a patriarchy or a matriarchy — we get a victimarchy. And the female-as-child genuinely feels like a victim because she never learns how to obtain for herself everything she learns to expect. Well, she learns how to obtain it for herself by saying “it’s a woman’s right” — but she doesn’t feel the mastery that comes with a lifetime of doing it for herself. And even when a quota includes her in the decision-making process, she still feels angry at the “male dominated government” because she feels both the condescension of being given “equality” and the contradiction of being given equality. She is still “the other.” So, with the majority of the votes, she is both controlling the system and angry at the system.”

Gynarchy in the home and family:

“When we say we lived in a patriarchy, we think of living under a male dominated government or power structure. We forget that the family had at least as much power as the government in people’s everyday life, and that the family was female dominated. We forget that it too was a power structure. As we have seen, though, almost every woman had a primary role in the female-dominated family structure; only a small percentage of men had a primary role in the male-dominated governmental and religious structures. Although a man’s home was more likely to be his mortgage than his castle, it has always been a characteristic of men that they give lip service to their dominance even as another part of them is aware of their subservience… Male dominated house
Source: The Myth of Male Power, by Warren Farrell

See also:
petticoat cover single

Petticoat government (1702)

1702_cover“Examine the nature of Petticoat Government and you’ll find small difference or, if any, the Woman excells the man. For the Woman is justly called ‘The Crown of the Creation,’ for if we look into Genesis we shall find that Woman was the last work in the creation and therefore the most perfect and absolute; as we see when artisans make an excellent piece they keep polishing till the last, as being the perfection and crown of it all. But reader, I have only here given some few glances and shadows of the glory and magesty that attends Pettycoats; to know it better you must view our Gracious Queen in Her person and conduct; Her heart is entirely English; she was made purposely for our crown and scepter; Her very looks and countenance would command our allegiance; the very cast of Her eye would sufficiently persuade us that Her authority is just and deserved, that it is a suitable power that is in the mind and meaning of providence and, in a word, is nothing more than God or Nature intended: that women should govern as well as the men… But virtue and greatness are of the perfection and essence of Pettycoat Government, and complete Her Magisties character.

“I am of the opinion that men can boast of no endowments of the mind which Women possess not in as great, if not greater eminency. There has been no age or nation that has not produced some females renown’d for their wisdom and virtue. Which makes me conclude that the conversation of Women is no less useful than pleasant; and that when they govern the men are extremely happy.

“Now it may be necessary that governors should be of good entertainment, affable, open of countenance, and such as seem to harbour no crooked or dark design; thus no men can be so fit for government as Women are. For besides their natural sweetness and innocency, their talk is commonly directed to such things, as it may be easily inferr’d, that their heads are not troubled about making of wars, enlarging of empires, or founding of tyrannies. How few men-prophets do histories afford us in comparison to prophetesses? And, even at this day, who are such absolute followers of priests as women are? If you wish them merciful, these are the tenderest things on earth; they have tears at command, and if tears be the effect of pity and compassion, ans pity and compassion be the mother of virtue, must we not think that mercy rules most in them, and is the soonest obtain’d from them? If you wish affection to the country, where can you better have it? For have not Women many times cut off their hairs to make ropes for engines, and strings for bows?

Thus, were this noble sex restored to that right which nature hath bestowed on it, we have all quiet and serenity in the commonwealths, and courts would not taken up with factions and underminings, but all flow into pleasure and liberty. Withal, we know how necessary it is in every statesman to be master of all the artifices and sleights that may be, to gain upon them he deals with. Now, if any can be fitter for this than Women, I am much deceiv’d: for what by their importunities, glances, trains, sleights, ambushes, and little infidelities, it is as impossible to escape them as it is to go into the fire and not get burnt. For my own part, were I to marry, a good wife should govern both my person and purse, my time and everything; and for this reason a rich Milanois was wont to say that the strings of his purse were never so hard tied that his Betty had no chance tio loose’ em.

We must therefore conclude that as women bring forth children into the world, as they multiply themselves into these visible and corpereal souls, and after they have brought them forth, and most tender and careful to bring them up; so it is most fitting, having such pre-eminencies and indulgences of Nature, that when they are brought up, they should also have a government of them: For a potter would think it hard measure if, after the pitcher were made, it should fly in his face. And (which is no small honour to Petticoat Government) the Woman excelleth the man in respect of the matter of which she was made, which was not dead and vile clay, as man’s was, but a purified substance enliven’d and endu’d with soul, participating in the Divine Mind.

“Thus have I fairly prov’d there is no creature so perfect, no wonder so to be admired as WOMAN: And Ladies, God hath heaped all these graces on your beautiful sex to the end that every creature might stand amazed at you, love and obey you; as we see by experience that incorporeal spirits doat upon Women with most ardent affections – which is such an approved truth that none, I think, would deny it. And if Women were such angels both in body and mind, and Petticoat Government such a particular and extraordinary blessing, (as all must own that we are govern’d by a Queen whose royal virtues exceeds all I have said in praise of her sex) I wonder at the unnatural fancy of such people as would wish we might procreate like trees, as if they were ashamed of the act, without which they had never been capable of such an extravagant thought. Certainly, he that created us, has riveted the Love of Women in the very center of our natures.

“So that ’tis clear from what I’ve said (of the excellency and pre-eminence of Ruling Women) that government is the rudder which steers the great vessel of the State; and that Petticoat Government is the most dextrous handling of that rudder; and for that reason ’tis only WOMEN that are now pray’d for in our churches and chapels viz. Her Perfect Majesty the Queen Dowager and the Princess Sophia.

But i shan’t only confine my essay to Petticoat Government as in respects of the public; for I design a more general essay upon Petticoat Government however dignify’d or distinguished:

1. Then, by Petticoat Government I mean when good women ascend the throne and rule according to law, as is the case of the perfect Queen.
2. Again by Petticoat Government, I mean the descreet and housewifely Ruling of house and family.
3. And lastly, by Petticoat Government, I mean when bad women usurp all authority over their husbands, as is the case with shrews, and such as command, and (perhaps) Beat their husbands, for which there is often a riding, as I shall shew in a variety of instances

“But now, Ladies (except in your own houses) where shall I find any Women so regular as to follow these rules of government? A She-governor thus accomplish’d is like a star with five rays; devotion, modesty, chastity, siscretion, and charity; such women whose whole composition is made up of these, seem to have moulded upon the celestian globes by the hands of cherubims; so excellent are their virtues and so sweet their deportments. They are in their houses as the sun in its proper sphere. Should I attempt to represent their worth, i might sooner find poverty in the center of all the rich ore and precious-stones of the earth, than want of merit in them; but more especially in that Gracious Princess who now governs: And as in former times the tyranny of the Danes was suppress’d by the wisdom and courage of our English Women, so ’tis not doubted but the matchless conduct of our Gracious Queen, will humble the pride of France.

“But to return again to our Private Governess, it must be confess’d that there are many who every day (instead of discreet and housewifely Ruling of their house and family) must be dres’d up like idols as if they intended to be worshipp’d, or at least to govern (as Maintenon does -the tyrant of France) with a look or nod. Their fill de chambre, have more to do in attending their beauties than some have in fitting and rigging out the Navy! Their glass with studied advantages takes up the whole morning, and the afternoon is spent in visits. It was therefore a true saying of one very applicable to this purpose; I know not what may be reserved for the eyes of the chaste husband, when almost thro’ all the matkets where they go, the secret parts of his wife’s body are expos’d, as if they were ready to be delivered to the best bidder.

Ladies, having treated of Petticoat Government as it relates to women in public capacity; and in a private capacity as it relates to the hosewifely ruling of the house and family: I should next treat of Petticoat Government as it relates to bad women who usurp an authority over their husbands (as is the case of shrews, such as command and (perhaps) Beat ’em) but this is intended for a second Pert of Petticoat Government. Thus (Ladies) have I set Petticoat Government in a true light, that the men might see what reason they have to LOVE and OBEY you. ‘Tis true, I have not us’d any gay or painted language, but plain and simple… I have therefore study’d to treat your sex, without the dressing of any artificial handsomeness or auxiliary beauty. If you like it, smile upon it; if not, draw the curtain of your charity over it, and let it lie till some abler pen-man shall take pencil in hand. Or if (Ladies) you’ll condescend too far, as to inrich my poor performance with your Noble Patronage ’tis the greatest preferment I dare expect; for, Court Ladies are incarnate angels, and move in a sphere above me: Yet when I consider that no present, of what value soever, can be suitable to one of your illustrious character, it gives me encouragement to hope this trifle may not be less acceptable to your matchless goodness. But twere profaneness in me any longer to divert with my rude pen, your divine thoughts and precious moments, that are still employed in imploring blessings for your Royal Mistress, and the whole nation. Then seeing the chief thing in greatness, is the power it gives to oblige, I shall presume so far as to subscribe my self:

 

Ladies,

Your Ever Obedient, and

Most Humble Servant,

Post-Angel

God Save the Queen.

Source: Petticoat-Government in a Letter to the Court Lords by the Author of the Post-Angel (1702)