Damsel in distress

Paolo Uccello‘s depiction of Saint George and the dragon, c. 1470, a classic image of a damsel in distress.

(Wikipedia)

The damsel in distresspersecuted maiden, or princess in jeopardy is a classic theme in world literature, art, film and video games, most notably in the more action-packed. This trope usually involves beautiful, innocent, or helpless young female leads, placed in a dire predicament by a villain, monster or similar antagonist, and who requires a male hero to achieve her rescue. After rescuing her, the hero often obtains her hand in marriage. Though she is usually human, she can also be of any other species, including fictional or folkloric species; and even divine figures such as an angel, spirit, or deity.

The word “damsel” derives from the French demoiselle, meaning “young lady”, and the term “damsel in distress” in turn is a translation of the French demoiselle en détresse. It is an archaic term not used in modern English except for effect or in expressions such as this. It can be traced back to the knight-errant of Medieval songs and tales, who regarded protection of women as an essential part of his chivalric code which includes a notion of honour and nobility.[1] The English term “damsel in distress” itself first seems to have appeared in Richard Ames’ 1692 poem “Sylvia’s Complaint of Her Sexes Unhappiness.”[2]

History

Ancient history

Rembrandt’s Andromeda chained to the rock

The damsel in distress theme featured in the stories of the ancient Greeks. Greek mythology, while featuring a large retinue of competent goddesses, also contains helpless maidens threatened with sacrifice.

For example, Andromeda’s mother offended Poseidon, who sent a beast to ravage the land. To appease him Andromeda’s parents fastened her to a rock in the sea. The hero Perseus slew the beast, saving Andromeda.[3] Andromeda in her plight, chained naked to a rock, became a favorite theme of later painters. This theme of the princess and dragon is also pursued in the myth of St George.

Another early example of a damsel in distress is Sita in the ancient Indian epic Ramayana. In the epic, Sita is kidnapped by the villain Ravana and taken to Lanka. Her husband Rama goes on a quest to rescue her, with the help of the monkey god Hanuman, among others.

Post-classical history

European fairy tales frequently feature damsels in distress. Evil witches trapped Rapunzel in a tower, cursed Snow White to die in Snow White, and put the princess into a magical sleep in Sleeping Beauty. In all of these, a valorous prince comes to the maiden’s aid, saves her, and marries her (though Rapunzel is not directly saved by the prince, but instead saves him from blindness after her exile).

The damsel in distress was an archetypal character of medieval romances, where typically she was rescued from imprisonment in a tower of a castle by a knight-errant. Chaucer’s The Clerk’s Tale of the repeated trials and bizarre torments of patient Griselda was drawn from Petrarch. The Emprise de l’Escu vert à la Dame Blanche (founded 1399) was a chivalric order with the express purpose of protecting oppressed ladies.

The theme also entered the official hagiography of the Catholic Church – most famously in the story of Saint George who saved a princess from being devoured by a dragon. A late addition to the official account of this Saint’s life, not attested in the several first centuries when he was venerated, it is nowadays the main act for which Saint George is remembered.

Obscure outside Norway is Hallvard Vebjørnsson, the Patron Saint of Oslo, recognised as a martyr after being killed while valiantly trying to defend a woman – most likely a slave – from three men accusing her of theft.

Modern history

17th century

In the 17th century English ballad The Spanish Lady (one of several English and Irish songs with that name), a Spanish lady captured by an English captain falls in love with her captor and begs him not to set her free but to take her with him to England, and in this appeal describes herself as “A lady in distress”.[4]

18th century

Frank Bernard Dicksee. Chivalry

The damsel in distress makes her debut in the modern novel as the title character of Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa (1748), where she is menaced by the wicked seducer Lovelace. The phrase “damsel in distress” is found in Richardson’s The History of Sir Charles Grandison (1753):[5]

He is sometimes a mighty Prince … and I am a damsel in distress

Reprising her medieval role, the damsel in distress is a staple character of Gothic literature, where she is typically incarcerated in a castle or monastery and menaced by a sadistic nobleman, or members of the religious orders. Early examples in this genre include Matilda in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, Emily in Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, and Antonia in Matthew Lewis’ The Monk.

The Knight Errant (1870)) saves a damsel in distress and underlines the erotic subtext of the genre.

The perils faced by this Gothic heroine were taken to an extreme by the Marquis de Sade in Justine, who exposed the erotic subtext which lay beneath the damsel-in-distress scenario. John Everett Millais’ The Knight Errant of 1870 saves a damsel in distress and underlines the erotic subtext of the genre.

One exploration of the theme of the persecuted maiden is the fate of Gretchen in Goethe’s Faust. According to the philosopher Schopenhauer:

The great Goethe has given us a distinct and visible description of this denial of the will, brought about by great misfortune and by the despair of all deliverance, in his immortal masterpiece Faust, in the story of the sufferings of Gretchen. I know of no other description in poetry. It is a perfect specimen of the second path, which leads to the denial of the will not, like the first, through the mere knowledge of the suffering of the whole world which one acquires voluntarily, but through the excessive pain felt in one’s own person. It is true that many tragedies bring their violently willing heroes ultimately to this point of complete resignation, and then the will-to-live and its phenomenon usually end at the same time. But no description known to me brings to us the essential point of that conversion so distinctly and so free from everything extraneous as the one mentioned in Faust (The World as Will and Representation, Vol. I, §68)

19th century

The misadventures of the damsel in distress of the Gothic continued in a somewhat caricatured form in Victorian melodrama. According to Michael Booth in his classic study English Melodrama the Victorian stage melodrama featured a limited number of stock characters: the hero, the villain, the heroine, an old man, an old woman, a comic man and a comic woman engaged in a sensational plot featuring themes of love and murder. Often the good but not very clever hero is duped by a scheming villain, who has eyes on the damsel in distress until fate intervenes to ensure the triumph of good over evil.[6]

Such melodrama influenced the fledgling cinema industry and led to damsels in distress being the subject of many early silent films, especially those that were made as multi-episode serials. Early examples include The Adventures of Kathlyn in 1913 and The Hazards of Helen, which ran from 1914 to 1917. The silent movie heroines frequently faced new perils provided by the industrial revolution and catering to the new medium’s need for visual spectacle. Here we find the heroine tied to a railway track, burning buildings, and explosions. Sawmills were another stereotypical danger of the industrial age, as recorded in a popular song from a later era:

… A bad gunslinger called Salty Sam was chasin’ poor Sweet Sue

He trapped her in the old sawmill and said with an evil laugh,
If you don’t give me the deed to your ranch
I’ll saw you all in half!
And then he grabbed her (and then)
He tied her up (and then)

He turned on the bandsaw (and then, and then…!) …— Along Came Jones by The Coasters

20th century

During the First World War, the imagery of a Damsel in Distress was extensively used in Allied propaganda (see illustrations). Particularly, the Imperial German conquest and occupation of Belgium was commonly referred to as The Rape of Belgium – effectively transforming Allied soldiers into knights bent on saving that rape victim. This was expressed explicitly in the lyrics of Keep the Home Fires Burning mentioning the “boys” as having gone to help a “Nation in Distress”.

A form of entertainment in which the damsel-in-distress emerged as a stereotype at this time was stage magic. Restraining attractive female assistants and imperiling them with blades and spikes became a staple of 20th century magicians’ acts. Noted illusion designer and historian Jim Steinmeyer identifies the beginning of this phenomenon as coinciding with the introduction of the “sawing a woman in half” illusion. In 1921 magician P. T. Selbit became the first to present such an act to the public. Steinmeyer observes that: “Before Selbit’s illusion, it was not a cliche that pretty ladies were teased and tortured by magicians. Since the days of Robert-Houdin, both men and women were used as the subjects for magic illusions”. However, changes in fashion and great social upheavals during the first decades of the 20th century made Selbit’s choice of “victim” both practical and popular. The trauma of war had helped to desensitise the public to violence and the emancipation of women had changed attitudes to them. Audiences were tiring of older, more genteel forms of magic. It took something shocking, such as the horrific productions of the Grand Guignol theatre, to cause a sensation in this age. Steinmeyer concludes that: “beyond practical concerns, the image of the woman in peril became a specific fashion in entertainment”.[7]

The damsel-in-distress continued as a mainstay of the comics, film, and television industries throughout the 20th century. Imperiled heroines in need of rescue were a frequent occurrence in black-and-white film serials made by studios such as Columbia Pictures, Mascot Pictures, Republic Pictures, and Universal Studios in the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. These serials sometimes drew inspiration for their characters and plots from adventure novels and comic books. Notable examples include the character Nyoka the Jungle Girl, whom Edgar Rice Burroughs created for comic books and who was later adapted into a serial heroine in the Republic productions Jungle Girl (1941) and its sequel Perils of Nyoka (1942). Additional classic damsels in that mold were Jane Porter, in both the novel and movie versions of Tarzan, and Ann Darrow, as played by Fay Wray in the movie King Kong (1933), in one of the most iconic instances. The notorious hoax documentary Ingagi (1930) also featured this idea, and Wray’s role was repeated by Jessica Lange and Naomi Watts in remakes. As journalist Andrew Erish has noted: “Gorillas plus sexy women in peril equals enormous profits”.[8] Small screen iconic portrayals, this time in children’s cartoons, are Underdog’s girlfriend, Sweet Polly Purebred and Nell Fenwick, who is often rescued by inept Mountie Dudley Do-Right.

Frequently cited examples of a damsel in distress in comics include Lois Lane, who was eternally getting into trouble and needing to be rescued by Superman, and Olive Oyl, who was in a near-constant state of kidnap, requiring her to be saved by Popeye.

In video games

In computer and video games, female characters are often cast in the role of the damsel in distress, with their rescue being the objective of the game.[18][19] Princess Zelda in the early The Legend of Zelda series and who has been described by Gladys L. Knight in her book Female Action Heroes as “perhaps one the most well-known ‘damsel in distress’ princesses in video game history”,[20] the Sultan’s daughter in Prince of Persia, and Princess Peach through much of the Mario series are paradigmatic examples. According to Salzburge Academy on Media and Global Change, in 1981 Nintendo offered game designer Shigeru Miyamoto to create a new video game for the American market. In the game the hero was Mario, and the objective of the game was to rescue a young princess named Peach. Peach was depicted as having a pink dress and blond hair. The princess was kidnapped and trapped in a castle by the villain Bowser, who is depicted as a turtle. Princess Peach appears in 15 of the main Super Mario games and is kidnapped in 13 of them. The only main games in which Peach was not kidnapped were in the North America release of Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D World, where she is instead one of the main heroes. Zelda became playable in some later games of the Legend of Zelda series or had the pattern altered.

In the Dragon’s Lair game series, Princess Daphne is the beautiful daughter of King Aethelred and an unnamed queen. She serves as the series’ damsel in distress.[21][22] Jon M. Gibson of GameSpy called Daphne “the epitome” as an example of the trope.[23]

References

  1. ^ Johan Huizinga remarks in his book The Waning of the Middle Ages, “the source of the chivalrous idea, is pride aspiring to beauty, and formalised pride gives rise to a conception of honour, which is the pole of noble life”. Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (1919) 1924:58.
  2. ^ Ames, Richard (1692). Sylvia’s Complaint of Her Sexes Unhappiness : a Poem, Being the Second Part of Sylvia’s Revenge, Or, a Satyr Against Man. London: Richard Baldwin. p. 12.
  3. ^ Chisholm 1911, p. 975.
  4. ^ “Spanish Lady”.
  5. ^ “The Editor of Pamela and Clarissa” [Samuel Richardson] (1754). The History of Sir Charles Grandisonii. London: S. Richardson. p. 92. hdl:2027/inu.30000115373627.
  6. ^ Booth, Michael (1965). English Melodrama. Herbert Jenkins.
  7. ^ Steinmeyer, Jim (2003). Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible. William Heinemann/Random House. pp. 277–295. ISBN 0-434-01325-0.
  8. ^ Erish, Andrew (8 January 2006). “Illegitimate dad of ‘Kong’; One of the Depression’s highest-grossing films was an outrageous fabrication, a scandalous and suggestive gorilla epic that set box office records across the country”Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ “Damsel in Distress (Part 2) Tropes vs Women”. 28 May 2013.
  10. ^ See, e.g., Alison Lurie, “Fairy Tale Liberation”, The New York Review of Books, v. 15, n. 11 (Dec. 17, 1970) (germinal work in the field); Donald Haase, “Feminist Fairy-Tale Scholarship: A Critical Survey and Bibliography”, Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies v.14, n.1 (2000).
  11. ^ See Jane Yolen, “This Book Is For You”, Marvels & Tales, v. 14, n. 1 (2000) (essay); Yolen, Not One Damsel in Distress: World folktales for Strong Girls (anthology); Jack Zipes, Don’t Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Fairy Tales in North America and England, Routledge: New York, 1986 (anthology).
  12. ^ Singer, Ben (February 1999). Richard Abel (ed.). Female Power in the Serial-Queen Melodrama: The Etiology of An Anomaly in Silent Film. Continuum International Publishing Group – Athlone. pp. 168–177. ISBN 0-485-30076-1.
  13. ^ Visitor Reviews: From Venus With Love. The Avengers Forever. Retrieved 2007-05-11.
  14. ^ Jowett, Lorna (2005). Sex and The Slayer: A Gender Studies Primer for the Buffy Fan. Wesleyan University Press.
  15. ^ Graham, Paula (2002). “Buffy Wars: The Next Generation”Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge. Bowling Green State University (4, Spring).
  16. ^ Gough, Kerry (August 2004). “Active Heroines Study Day – John Moores University, Liverpool (in partnership with The Association for Research in Popular Fiction)”Scope: An Online Journal of Film and Television Studies. Institute of Film & Television Studies, University of Nottingham.
  17. ^ Robert J. HarrisThe Thirty-One KingsPolygon Books, London 2017, p. 147.
  18. ^ Kaitlin Tremblay (1 June 2012). “Intro to Gender Criticism for Gamers: From Princess Peach, to Claire Redfield, to FemSheps”Gamasutra. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  19. ^ Stephen Totilo (2013-06-20). “Shigeru Miyamoto and the Damsel In Distress”Kotaku. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  20. ^ Knight, Gladys L. (2010). Female Action Heroes: A Guide to Women in Comics, Video Games, Film, and Television. ABC-CLIO. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-313-37612-2.
  21. ^ “Amtix Magazine Issue 17”. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  22. ^ “Computer Gamer – Issue 18 (1986-09) (Argus Press) (UK)”. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  23. ^ “GameSpy: Dragon’s Lair 3D: Return to the Lair – Page 1”. Xbox.gamespy.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.


The Near-Irresistible Lure of Damseling

The following is a discussion by Janice Fiamengo of the medieval practice of damseling to garner chivalric responses from males, a practice that is alive and well in the political sphere today.

The Near-Irresistible Lure of Damseling

By Janice Fiamengo

Well over a century ago, our ancestors debated women’s demand for voting and other privileges. Traditionalists argued that women faced a choice: they could either have special treatment on the basis of their alleged vulnerability as a group, or they could have political equality, but they couldn’t have both. Lo and behold, women got both, with peculiar results for our political culture.

In our time, the performance of powerlessness has become a dominant strategy of power, nowhere more evident than in politics. “I’ve been traumatized” is now a more galvanizing cry than “I can handle that”—and trembling weakness often eclipses demonstration of strength and competence.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s accusers have reproduced the standard victim script with word perfect fidelity, claiming that relatively benign, or certainly minor, actions such as kissing on the cheek, suggestive remarks, and too-long hugging left them “confused and shocked and embarrassed” or, as one stated, feeling reduced to being “just a skirt.” One accuser has related how Cuomo put his hand on her back and asked to kiss her at a wedding two years ago. The now formulaic expressions of woundedness reminded me of Atlantic magazine writer Tina Dupuy, who alleged in a 2017 article that Senator Al Franken had once, years before, squeezed her waist during a photo op at a Media Matters party, and that the squeeze had left her feeling “no longer a person.”

Notwithstanding a few notable exceptions like black actor Jussie Smollett, who teared up on cue for Good Morning America while discussing his alleged assault by noose-wielding MAGA men, the performance of quivering hurt is far more likely to be used with success by women, and the past few years have brought a plethora of enactments of feminine fragility: demands for apologies, declarations of fear and shame, and the demand that tales of trauma be believed, all appealing to the in-group empathy of women and the chivalric impulses of men.

What other than in-group empathy and chivalry can explain a phenomenon like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s stubborn insistence on the implausible trauma she suffered during the January 6th storming of the U.S. Capitol building?

AOC has outlined in detail, in a video of one and a half hour’s painfully self-absorbed length, how she was convinced that “Everything—was—over” as she hid in her office waiting for Trump supporters to come for her. It didn’t matter that she was not near the epicentre of unrest, and that the voice she heard that so terrified her was that of a Capitol police officer rather than a rioter.

One might expect her to hesitate to share her fears once it had been revealed that she was never really under any threat at all. But instead, AOC doubled down, linking her Capitol ordeal to her experience years before as an alleged victim of sexual assault.

According to her logic, what actually happened to her in the Capitol complex doesn’t really matter; only what she felt. And anyone who doubts what she felt—or doubts her right to use that feeling for political leverage–is someone with contempt for the recurring trauma of survivors like her.

What is perhaps most striking about AOC’s hour and a half long video is her very deliberate self-infantilization as she plays up the non-rational elements of her response.

Her story is told to the camera as if for the first time—though of course it was filmed weeks after the event and presumably was much-rehearsed. There are long pauses while she seems to search for a word or is overcome by emotion while remembering.

The appearance of spontaneity, of in-the-moment visceral intensity, is almost perfectly mastered, and in that sense it is an Oscar worthy enactment.

AOC’s voice frequently trembles with seemingly irrepressible emotion as tears well up in her eyes. Sometimes within a very short time, she moves from near-tears to smiles and laughter. At moments she appears lost in thought, unconscious of the camera, gazing out of the frame as if consumed by feeling; at other moments her glance is directly to the camera lens, inviting soul-to-soul intimacy.

The performance is about as far as could be imagined from the rationality and self-control—and above all the calm strength, the inner power–that one would traditionally have expected from a politician, someone responsible for conducting the nation’s business. It is a performance of youth, certainly, and even more so of deep feminine vulnerability and emotional volatility—far more appropriate to a 16-year-old high school girl—and even then an immature and narcissistic one–than a 31-year-old congressional representative who proposes and votes on federal legislation.

Such a self-performance, which is certainly not confined to AOC, raises troubling questions about the impact on public life of women, and men to a lesser extent, who define themselves by their experience of trauma and claim authenticity on the basis of powerful feelings beyond their control.

If AOC cannot be counted upon to respond rationally in a moment of minimal or merely imagined danger, how can she be counted upon to do the people’s business at all? Being a member of the House of Representatives requires tough-mindedness and resilience. Accusations and personal attacks—though not physical attacks—are a normal part of the job. Hysteria and over-reaction –as in accusing Ted Cruz publicly of trying to kill her—interfere with the focus and maturity necessary for the work of government.

AOC’s justification of her fear is damning: “When we encounter such a terrifying moment,” she explains, “we respond with the entirety of our life experience.” In other words, AOC admits that the moment was terrifying because she couldn’t separate her previous experience of alleged assault from her current perception.

Note how glibly she speaks of herself not as a rational individual in control of her own responses but as a member of a pre-determined collective, in this case the identity group ‘female survivor.’ She admits that, as a female survivor she cannot help how she responds to an unsettling situation. The embrace of the hysterical feminine—and not as a moment of weakness overcome but as a deliberate strategy of power—should be profoundly alarming to all who care about the future of western democracies.

It is always easy enough for rationality to be lost inadvertently in the midst of heated political argument—but it’s a calamity when it is deliberately rejected. And that’s where we’re at now, at a time when women’s public tears and professions of fragility have been granted unprecedented political power.

There have always been women who understood the equivocal power of feminine weakness and warned against it. Canadian journalist Sara Jeannette Duncan, a skeptical supporter of the women’s movement, wrote in the Toronto Globe newspaper in 1885 about the double-edged sword of a woman’s public tears: they got results, certainly, but they detracted from the intellectual self-discipline necessary for productive political engagement.

“Nothing is more unconsciously dramatic than a woman’s outcry against a suffering which is often hers through no fault of her own,” Duncan wrote, “But if she asks the ballot by virtue of her ability to sorrow eloquently […] it seems to me that she will be sorely puzzled to know what to do with it when it is hers” (Toronto Globe, 15 July 1885, p. 3). If women wished to be treated as political equals, Duncan advised, they would have to overcome their reliance on postures of eloquent sorrow.

Many of Duncan’s feminist contemporaries, however, embraced claims of female emotional superiority, alleging that maleness was responsible for war, cruelty, and inequality.

Widely admired Canadian feminist Nellie McClung addressed the question of what she called “The New Chivalry” in her 1915 book In Times Like These. “People tell us now that chivalry is dead, and women have killed it,” she quipped at the start. She was referring to the idea, quite common at the time she wrote, that women’s entry into public life would destroy their special status as a protected class.

When the British vessel Titanic sank in April 1912 with enormous loss of life, 74% of the women on board were rescued as compared to only 20% of the men. Men deliberately stood back, giving up places on life boats and accepting their own deaths so that women could be saved. They did so in part because they knew that to survive a disaster like the Titanic sinking while leaving women to drown was to be permanently disgraced. Such was the power of chivalry, as a concept and a living reality, in British and North American society.

McClung makes no reference to the Titanic sinking in her discussion of chivalry—though the disaster was very much a recent memory.

She dismissed chivalry as a romantic notion far more honored as an idea than as an actual practice. Yes, beautiful women have always had an easy time of it, she admitted, but the notion that women are protected as a whole is little more than a pretty theory. She asserted this at the very time that young men were being maimed and killed by the hundreds of thousands in the trenches of Europe while some of their female counterparts discussed voting rights. McClung actually had the gall to argue that when women had the right to vote, war itself would become a thing of the past because war was in her words, “a crime committed by men” that would end “when women are allowed to say what they think of war.” Up until now, she alleged with a sarcastic dig at chivalry, “women have had nothing to say about war, except to pay the price of [it]” (15).

According to McClung, what women wanted was justice, not chivalry: not men’s gallantry, not men’s sympathy, but the right to represent their interests and pursue professional careers in the same way men did. This would be, she said, a “fair deal” (42). Significantly, though, she did not reject chivalry altogether, saying that “Chivalry is a poor substitute for justice, if one cannot have both.” In the fair society of McClung’s vision, women should have equal rights but should also have special rights as women when appropriate.

And it turns out that special rights are often deemed appropriate—perhaps more now than ever before. The temptation to act the damsel in distress appears near-irresistible.

When women occupy positions of political power, the media is ablaze with stories about the feminine qualities they allegedly bring to their positions—according to a recent article in the left-wing academic journal The Conversation, their empathy, ability to work collaboratively, communication skills, openness, and inclusivity.

But one quality conspicuously lacking is the ability to resist playing the damsel.

In my home province of British Columbia, the chief health officer is a woman named Bonnie Henry, an unelected official who has exercised extraordinary, often devastating power during the COVID pandemic, deciding whether schools could open, which businesses were essential, how many people could gather, and whether protests were legitimate, all with a soft quavering voice and endless promises of just a few more weeks as the axe fell regularly on citizens’ freedoms and livelihoods. She has generally been very popular, her saintly image memorialized in a public mural and a musical ode.

But at the first sign of criticism, the vulnerable damsel has emerged onto the public scene.

In the middle of the pandemic when most people, on her advice, were isolating in their bubbles, Henry took part in a panel discussion about women in leadership , and made much of her own suffering, singling out the “death threats,” “nasty notes,” “phone calls,” and “harassment” she had allegedly received, and suggesting that “people find that it’s OK to do that for a woman who’s up front more so than some of our male leaders” though she followed that with “But I could be wrong.” Fortunately for Henry, it doesn’t matter whether female leaders are attacked more often or more viciously than male leaders (actually they’re not)—a chorus of chivalric experts are always happy to chime in about women’s special suffering, and Bonnie Henry, suffering to the tune of $360,000 a year while peons lost their businesses, stoked public sympathy even while wasting precious pandemic time appearing on a panel to damsel about how hard it is to be her.

It’s a now standard part of gender politics—endless claims and controversies about sexism, endless rounds of demands for apology, apologies offered, apologies refused, apologies accepted but criticized as inadequate, and so on. Just a few weeks ago, Canadian newspapers ignited with inflammatory headlines such as “Ford owes apology to every woman in Ontario after hurling ‘sexist’ comment, Horwath says.” Readers could be forgiven for assuming that the Conservative leader of Ontario, Doug Ford, must have said—or rather ‘hurled’–something outrageous if it required not only an apology to Horwath, the feminist leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, but to every one of the millions of women in the province. It turned out that during a back and forth in the provincial parliament, Ford had said, “It’s like listening to nails on a chalkboard listening to you.”

An extraordinary number of journalistic words were spent hyperventilating about the alleged misogyny of the outburst, and Horwath couldn’t resist the halo it offered her as a deeply wounded but valiant champion of womankind; later that day, she tweeted out a message to all women advising them: “Don’t let anyone try to tell you you don’t belong at Queen’s Park,” though there had been no suggestion that she didn’t belong (at the provincial legislature). “I’m going to continue making positive proposals to give people the help and hope they need to get through this pandemic.” If she were really so deeply concerned about constituents affected by the pandemic, she might have thought it frivolous to waste an entire day fussing about her alleged hurt feelings.

But that is the nature of the female politician these days, consumed with thoughts of self, narcissistic displays, allegations of harm, and demands that others recognize the uniqueness of female suffering.

The notable confusion in our societies is highlighted every time an allegation of gendered trauma or necessity for gendered apology is raised. Do women require kid gloves treatment in the public sphere, or not? Are their feelings more delicate than men’s when it comes to personal remarks and perception of threat, or not? If the answer to these questions is no, then why do female politicians not say so loud and clear? If the answer is yes—women do require kid gloves treatment—then why do we continue to pretend that women today seek equality of opportunity?

The fact is that women’s ability to demand equality when it suits them and special treatment when that suits them is a ridiculous and corrosive distraction. Women’s claims of victimhood take a great deal of time and energy away from many pressing issues, and create an uneven political playing field in which every man knows he can be wrong-footed, and every woman knows she can power trip if she wants to. The damsel option disinclines some women from whole-heartedly pursuing competence because they know they can deflect criticism or gain advancement by sorrowing eloquently, creating bad faith in many women, suspicion and resentment in many men.

Until it becomes an actual political disability to claim weakness and demand apologies—our public culture will continue to be held hostage by the damsels among us.

Links

Click the video below to hear audio of Janice reading the above transcript:

Masculine Enchantments: Fairy Tales and Men’s Rights

By Diego Morales

The Men’s Rights Movement exists to recognize and ameliorate problems, institutional or social, that predominantly or exclusively harm boys and men. To that end, activists have adopted strategies ranging from filmmaking to legal action. Media analysis has also been done (Allemano, 2012) but with folktales largely ignored. This is unfortunate since folklore in its various forms has practical functions: entertaining, justifying institutions, enforcing cultural norms, educating, and providing escapism (Bascom, 1954). Thus, MRAs could harness the power and versatility of folktales to influence the culture. “The Four Artful Brothers” (Manheim, 1977) is a strong foundation since it complies with pro-male values in several ways.

The story tells of siblings who leave home to find jobs when they’re father is unable to provide for them. Becoming a thief, a hunter, an astronomer, and a tailor, they return home, demonstrate their skills to their approving father. A dragon attacks days later and the boys combine their talents to rescue the princess, resulting in them getting awarded their own principalities.

Folklorists have argued that this tale and its variants have remained popular partly because it focuses on educating sons (Zipes, 2000). This theme is relevant for contemporary advocates because male literacy and academic achievement lags behind that of girls (Autor & Wasserman, 2013) and has since 1870 (Tyack & Hansot, 1988). But this tale doesn’t just dramatize anxieties regarding male education, it alleviates them. “The Fourt Artful Brothers” is a multi-genre narrative that includes action, fantasy, and real-world problems, which are the kinds of texts boys prefer and which they aren’t usually given (Boys Literacy Teacher Inquiry Project, 2008). To wit: the siblings battle a dragon and survive a shipwreck, satisfying the action requirement. The presence of a dragon, an omniscient telescope, and a magical needle-and-thread place the text within fantasy. And the premise of the story – leaving home to find gainful employment – is a realistic goal and concern for many young adults. Altogether, these elements fulfill the multi-genre requirement. 

Combined with that is a nuanced depiction of masculinity. For instance, the story is about young men mastering skills and courageously facing mortal peril. These two traits – mastery and courage – are considered bedrocks of traditional manhood (Donovan, 2012). Yet, the tale is inclusive of men who deviate from norms. Consider the mentors: their role as teachers is people-oriented, which contrasts with men’s general preference for object-oriented work (Rong et al., 2009). The main family also deviates from norms; the boys have no mother, implying that childrearing and housekeeping were done by their father and themselves since the birth of the youngest. The youngest himself does tailoring – a subset of textile work like sewing, knitting, and weaving – which has traditionally been a feminine craft (Barber, 1998). Notably, the king says that each of the brothers have an equal right to marry his daughter, metaphorically saying that all men are worthy of respect and recognition, regardless of their gender expression.

Another point in the tale’s favor is its multilayered subversion of male disposability. While the boys do endanger themselves for a woman they’ve never met, their primary motive is to prove the usefulness of their skills. Their secondary motive is economic, since they came from poverty and are unemployed at the time. Another challenge to the disposability of men comes from the king. Unlike real-world leaders who conscript men to war (Watson, 2014) or citizens who sacrifice men for women’s benefit (FeldmanHall et al., 2016), the king offers an incentive to save the princess and the boys are the only men to go her rescue.

Marina Warner, a prominent mythographer, once declared, “I decided that it was crucial not to leave the territory of the imagination to those history has taught us to recognize as dangerous” (The University of Sheffield, 2017). Hers is an attitude that men’s rights activist should embrace wholeheartedly, especially because those who pose a threat to male wellness already have a head start.

Bibliography

Allemano, P. (2012). “The bold, independent woman of today and ‘good’ men and boys in her life: A sampling of mainstream media representations.” In Miles Groth (Ed.), New male studies journal (pp. 31-51). Retrieved March 3, 2021 from http://newmalestudies.com/OJS/index.php/nms/article/view/6/1

Autor, D. H., & Wasserman, M. (2013). Wayward sons: The emerging gender gap in labor markets and education. Retrieved November 14, 2020 from http://economics.mit.edu/files/8754

Barber, E.W. (1994). Women’s work, the first 20,000 years: Women, cloth and society in early times. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Bascom, W. (1954). “The four functions of folklore.” In Alan Dundes (Ed.), The study of folklore (pp. 279-298). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Boys Literacy Teacher Inquiry Project. (2008). Me read? And how! Ontario teachers report on how to improve boys’ literacy skills. Retrieved November 3, 2020 from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/meread_andhow.pdf

Donovan, J. (2012). The way of men. Milwaukie: Dissonant Hum.

FeldmanHall, O., Dalgleish, T., Evans, D., Navrady, L., Tedeschi, E., Moobs, D. (2016). Moral chivalry: Gender and harm sensitivity predict costly altruism. Social psychological and personality science, 7(6), 542-551.

Manheim, R. (1983). Grimms’ tales for young and old: The complete stories. New York: Anchor Books.

Rong, S., Rounds, J., & Armstrong, P. I. (2009). Men and things, women and people: A meta-analysis of sex differences in interests. Psychological bulletin, 135(6), 859-884.

Tyack, D., & Hansot, E. (1988). Silence and policy talk: Historical puzzles about gender and education. Educational researcher, 17(3), 33-41.

University of Sheffield. (2017, May 8). Marina warner – prokhorov lecture [Video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGZxZzyPUwg

Watson, L. (2014). What a chicken you are: The shameful story of how a boy aged ten was handed a white feather and labelled a coward during the first world war. Daily Mail. Retrieved November 3, 2020 from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2631822/What-chicken-The-shameful-story-boy-aged-TEN-handed-white-feather-labelled-coward-First-World-War.html

Zipes, J. (2000). The great fairy tale tradition: From straparola and basile to the brothers grimm. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Feature image: Public domain illustration by Arthur Rackham (copyrighted 1909 and renewed in 1920). From Snowdrop and Other Tales.

The Child Archetype as Responsible for Woke Dystopia

What we are witnessing is a hacking of the parental brain with the bait of dramatized neoteny. Once our biological operating system is hacked in this way, and the hack is taught as cultural operating practice, nothing can undo it. This iteration of superstimuli is here to stay. The only way around ‘aggressive vulnerability’ is to say NO when faced with its demands, which will be all day & every day in the form of female victimhood, race victimhood, “marginalized” sexuality, and so on — the hegemony of the child archetype. 

Biologists, neurologists, evolutionary psychologists, and ethologists have long recognized parent and child instincts in the form of parents’ urge to caretake and protect juveniles, and conversely of juveniles having an impulse to announce their vulnerability to signal their need to be cared for. This biological fact was independently discovered and understood by archetypal psychologists (parent & child archetypes), object relations psychologists (parent & child objects), and by other schools of psychology dealing with the ‘inner child’ and the need for caretaking. Object relations psychology goes so far as claiming the sexual libido is subservient to the evolutionary imperative of parent~child bonding, making the latter the strongest motivator in human affairs.

As an interesting point of distinction, Jungians differentiate between the child archetype and what they call the puer archetype which can be represented respectively by the images of a toddler (child) and an older child/teen (puer). The puer archetype is perfectly represented by the figure of Peter Pan – youthful, loving of new experiences, playful, spontaneous, optimistic, adventurous. The puer is not a vulnerable child in need of coddling and protecting, he’s an independent child or youth and an archetypal imperative vital to the psychological health of all men and women. This is why I reject admonishments of the puer impulse as “Peter Pan syndrome” and “failure to launch,” which essentially shames men into assuming one-sided adult responsibility. “Failure to launch” applies more properly to an overidentification with the child archetype, which deserves challenging when it reaches the status of personal or cultural dominance.

While the above video provides only half of the full speech given by Hillman on the child archetype, it does impart a good overview of the topic. Hillman touches there on Jung’s description of the child archetype as including vulnerability, a sense of futurity (that life will begin in the future), innocence, and also a feeling of “hermaphroditism.” This sexual orientation is also confirmed in Freud’s idea that toddlers are “polymorphous perverse” and haven’t yet formed what he understood as an appropriate genital identity. Perhaps this all makes sense when you consider the concerns of the ‘marginalized’ wokists today who champion multiple genders, non-binarism, bisexuality, transgenderism etc. and aggressively demand to be taken care of.

“The One True Masculinity”

*This article first published at A Voice for Men. 

Have you noticed everyone attempting to nail down the one true definition of masculinity? Its a bit like arguing which is the One True God. Likewise, with every earnestly researched and precisely crafted definition of masculinity, a broad acceptance of any single definition seems out of reach.

If you have an hour to waste on the internet you can discover hundreds of competing definitions of masculinity, each one vastly different, which raises the question of why we can’t agree on a singular, universal statement. Why the ongoing lack of agreement, even within the men’s movement which sets out to champion that very topic of “men” and “masculinity”?

There’s no doubting that underlying physiological structures are shared among all males, the base unity of masculine potentials: a Y chromosome, androgens, muscles and penises. But this tells us little about how individual men will behave in the real world – and behave individually, and variably, they certainly do.

Defining masculinity appears doomed because we tend to rely on singular expressions of it – and singular definitions likewise follow; “masculinity is to be interested in things, not faces” “masculinity is striving for status,” “masculinity is to be more rational and less emotional” (etc.). Are some men like this? sure. Are all men like that? Hell no – far from it. And, naturally, in response to such monocentric definitions the disagreements come lightening fast, with detractors claiming that masculinity is something far more, or something other, than the reductive definition offered.

When we seek singular stereotypes (whether they be based on some example of a traditional male social role, or on some author’s view such as “the way of men,” on singular evopsyche fantasies, or on singular fixations on testosterone as the whole picture) – in such mono-models we will never feel settled on the question of masculinity because there are too many outliers from whatever singular definition we’ve chosen.

Obviously masculinity is more than one thing – more than testosterone, more than intelligence, more than muscle mass, more than status-seeking, and more than a powerful urge to have sex and reproduce. Its more than the sum total of these things, and individual men’s expression of them will widely vary. On that basis a plural understanding of masculinity appears to be the only way to save the concept, though I don’t for a second subscribe to feminist ideas of ‘masculinities’ with their convoluted and unscientific hierarchies of “good” and “bad” instances of masculinity.

Viewing masculinity as plural can be as simple as returning to ancient Greek culture, or to any other classical culture, or even Bible-based cultures for that matter in which varieties of masculine styles are showcased. The Greeks for example had many gods, each expressing a different archetypal face of masculinity. Those expressions ranged from effeminate Dionysus to macho Ares, from instinctual Pan to the ordered and intellectual God Apollo. There is Zeus and his concerns for leadership and hierarchy, and Hephaestus with his labor consciousness, and so on and so forth.

Instances of masculinity, never all seen together in one character, each god or man tending to specialise in one way or another.

It might be argued that because feminists have seized the term masculinities and subsequently twisted the concept into perverted, misandric typologies, that we should shy away from plurality and stick instead with the traditional idea of a masculine singularity – a kind of Vitruvian man who displays all masculine behaviours at once. That’ll teach those femmos!

But this defensive retreat from feminist dominance over the gender discussion is a needless one that throws out the baby with the bathwater. That retreat avoids forthright celebration of male plurality and leads not to better understanding of various masculine dimensions of behaviour, but rather to singular and often reductive definitions that few men can relate to. Furthermore, insisting (as some have) that many expressions of masculinity can be accounted for within a singular definition of masculinity hasn’t helped to provide an agreed definition thus far, so why would we believe it can do so in future? Fighting over the One True Definition rages on.

Nailing down a singular definition of masculinity that everyone will agree with reminds increasingly of Sisyphus rolling his boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down to the bottom before he starts rolling a new definition up the hill – over and over ad infinitum. Isn’t the definition of insanity that of repeating the same process over and over but expecting a different outcome?

This is why personally I’m an advocate of classical models over modern monocentric ones – people relate to them, and tend to agree with them.

Feminists can never own the concept of masculine variety, even if they have seized on the plural masculinities. Ironically, their attacks on masculinity tend to be one-dimensional caricatures, and when they do get around to exploring plurality of male expression, they tend to make value hierarchies out of the different masculinities, dividing them into good and evil according to arbitrary misandric criteria. For example the more typically effeminate male = good, and the less typically effeminate = bad. This is why their attempt at a plurality of masculinities is junk science and why we men are turned off from celebrating our very real diversity – ie. even though its a fact of life, it has been poisoned with needless ideology.

The word masculinities has been around for at least a few hundred years, referring in the 1800s to any behaviors deemed a departure from the narrowly assigned gender roles of the day, or alternatively to any male behaviors considered inappropriate for polite society. Feminist activists from the gender studies world revived the word during the 1980s and 1990s, basically reaffirming the practice of deeming some masculinities toxic (eg. “hegemonic masculinities” – R. Connell)1 and others as non-toxic.

One academic, Eric Anderson, who was embedded in the scene during that period of “problematizing” masculinity, broke ranks with the obsessive pathologizing narratives and emphasised rather that men of different styles can and are forming what he calls “inclusive masculinities.”2 This approach admits that men are more accepting, or at minimum more tolerant of differences than we were led to believe by the misandric character assassins Robert Connell, Michael Messner or Michael Kimmel et.al who portrayed the vast majority of men as ruthlessly intolerant.

This approach, celebrating masculine variety, is not new to readers here. In fact A Voice for Men has honoured the very plurality I’m describing, and it has done so consistently for over a decade. Men, strong and weak, stoic or sensitive, physical or intellectual, gay, straight or transgender….. we’ve demonstrated inclusive masculinity from the outset. This article serves as a reminder of the importance of those values, while introducing the concept of masculine variety to new readers.

When it comes to terminology, we need not rest only on the loaded term masculinities. Well before Connell and his henchpersons began to discriminate and denigrate so many examples of masculinity, the Jungian and archetypal psychologists already viewed men in terms of masculine variety, and they didn’t apply any of the familiar pathologizing narratives – they simply referred to them as male archetypes. For example, the Archetypal Psychologist Adolf Guggenbuhl-Craig wrote the following statement in the year 1976, which is long before sociology got onboard with its plurality of masculinities:

“It should be clear that there is not only one masculine archetype and one feminine archetype. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of feminine and masculine archetypes. Certainly there are many more of them than we usually imagine. But not all archetypes are dominant at a particular period in the life of an individual. Moreover, every historical epoch has its dominant masculine and feminine archetypes. Women and men are determined in their sexual identities and behavior by only a select number of archetypes.

Behavior is determined only by those patterns that are momentarily dominant in the collective psyche. This leads to a grotesque but understandable error: the archetypes that dominate masculine and feminine behavior in a particular time come to be understood as the masculine and feminine archetypes. And from this limited number of archetypes it is decided what “masculinity” and “femininity” are. This misunderstanding has led, for example, to the assumption in Jungian psychology that masculinity is identical with Logos, and femininity with Eros. It is assumed that the essence of femininity is personal, related to one’s fellow man, passive, masochistic, and that the essence of masculinity is abstract, intellectual, aggressive, sadistic, active, etc. This naïve assertion could have been made only because the masculine and feminine archetypes that were dominant at that time and in that culture were understood as the only valid ones.”3

A contrast between feminist and archetypalist views is that the latter admits that archetypal styles arise from biology even if they are socially manipulated; that they are not socially conferred onto ‘blank slates’ by society, as some sociologists might view it. Our biology-based archetypes may lay dormant if not facilitated by culture, or they may arise at certain stages and phases of life, and of course we are each born with our peculiar masculine predilections, or style, that may not be the lot of the next man. Despite that complexity, biology remains a fundamental factor in the theory of archetypes – and yes, environment remains important too.

While the mythopoetry movement of the 1980-90s emphasised singular masculine archetypes, such as Robert Bly’s Wild Man,4 the movement also tended to follow the Jungian tradition of honouring a variety of male archetypes and expressions. For those who are new to the men’s movement, it might be worth studying this aspect of the mythopoetic tradition to help you avoid the pitfalls of an overly singular view of masculinity.

So to finish this article, let me leave you with a playful overview of male archetypes in Greek Myth, compiled by archetypalist Greta Aurora. While her descriptions of various male archetypes are not the last word on any of the characters mentioned, they do provide an example of seeing males in their individuality.

Ultimately its a personal choice whether to see masculinity as one or many, or as both, but in my experience an overemphasis on ‘the one’ tends always to swallow the many, and in the process we lose too much.

References:

[1] Connell, R., Hegemonic masculinities (Wikipedia)
[2] Anderson, E., Inclusive Masculinities (2009)
[3] Guggenbühl-Craig, A., Marriage Is Dead – Long Live Marriage! (1976)
[4] Bly, R., Iron John: A Book About Men (1990)

Joseph Campbell On Courtly love: “You can’t call it just an aristocratic game”

*The following by Joseph Campbell is a short account of the classic romance tale of Tristan and Iseult

The great tale of Amor is the tale of Tristan and Iseult. Though we know that Chrétien wrote a version of this tale, it has not come down to us, and so the greatest of the existing versions was written by Gottfried von Strassburg in the very early thirteenth century.

Tristan was a young orphan who was born in Brittany, the place from which this whole tradition emerges. An enormously talented youth, he could speak no end of languages, play no end of musical instruments, and he knew how to butcher game— he knew everything. Tristan goes to serve his uncle King Mark in Cornwall.

There is an interesting aspect to these Arthurian stories: it is always the nephew and the uncle, the mother’s brother: the matrilineal line. You’ve got Tristan and Mark, Arthur and Mordred, and so forth.

When Tristan arrives he learns that a warrior has arrived from Ireland to collect tribute from the Cornish people because the Irish king had conquered Cornwall. The tribute consisted of youths and maidens to be brought to Ireland to serve in the Irish court, and the people didn’t want their children to go. Tristan said to his uncle Mark, “Let me take care of this. I’ll go and meet him in single combat, defeat him, and then there will no more tribute.” This is a deliberate echo of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, an intentional restating of ancient Classical motifs.

Morholt, the Irish champion, has a sword that has been anointed with poison by the queen of Ireland, who is named Iseult— and whose daughter is also named Iseult. This is a common trope in courtly love: poison on the sword. The combat takes place and Morholt’s sword comes down on Tristan’s thigh and cuts it, and the poison is introduced. Tristan’s sword comes down on Morholt’s helmet, cuts right through, and smashes Morholt’s skull, killing him, but a little chink of Tristan’s sword is left in Morholt’s head.

The tribute is finished, and Morholt is brought back to Ireland. Now, his little niece Iseult, the daughter of Queen Iseult, loved her uncle and when the chink was extracted from Morholt’s head she kept it as a memorial in her little treasure box.

Back in Cornwall Tristan’s poisoned wound begins to stink and nobody can bear it, and he says to Mark, “Put me in a little boat, and the boat will carry me by magic to the very place where the healing will be attended to”— the healing has to be accomplished by the one who injured him.

In Amor, the love wound— the sickness no doctors can cure— can be cured only by the one who issued the wound: namely, the one you fell in love with. This is a replay of the poison-in-the-sword motif.

So Tristan sails off in the boat and it carries him indeed to Ireland, to the court of the very person whose poison is killing him. He is playing the harp out in the little boat, feeling very sick, as he sails into Dublin Harbor. The people ashore go out and hear this youth play— this is Orpheus. They bring him ashore and lo and behold, they carry him to be cured by the very queen who poisoned him.

For some reason the queen doesn’t know that this man is the one who killed her brother Morholt. Of course, our hero had changed his name and called himself Tantrist (French: “too sad”) instead of Tristan, so how could she know who he was? So she works to cure him, as she is a compassionate woman. When the wound no longer stinks, she invites her daughter, Iseult, in to hear this wonderful harpist, and when the daughter enters, Tristan plays more marvelously than he’s ever played in his life. In other words, he’s fallen in love— only he doesn’t know it yet. This is the mystery of this whole tale: he doesn’t know it.

Finally Tristan is cured, and he goes back to Cornwall. He’s so excited about this wonderful girl that he talks her up to his uncle and says, “You ought to marry her!” Can you beat it? He’s so innocent of his own emotions that he thinks his uncle should marry this girl.

Well, everybody thinks his uncle should get married anyhow because they need a queen, so they send Tristan back— with his name still twisted around— to fetch this girl. Well, he arrives back in Ireland to find that there is a dragon making it tough for people. And the king has said, “Whosoever kills this dragon shall have Iseult in marriage.”

Well, of course, Tristan rides out to kill the dragon. There is also, however, a seneschal, a sort of courtier who isn’t capable of killing dragons, but he wants very much to marry Iseult. So whenever he gets a notion of somebody going out to kill that dragon, he trails along.

When Tristan has slain the dragon, he opens its mouth, cuts out its tongue as proof of his deed, sticks the tongue in his shirt, and walks away.

The seneschal comes afterward and cuts off the dragon’s head, then brings the head to court to claim Iseult.

Poor Tristan. One thing you should never do with a dragon’s tongue is stick it in your shirt— because it’s poisonous. So while he is walking away with the dragon’s tongue in his shirt, Tristan faints and falls into a pool, and the only part of him sticking out is his nose, so he’s breathing all right.

Iseult and her mother happen to be out for a stroll along the pool, and as they stroll along, they look and say, “There’s somebody down there!” So they pull Tristan out— for some reason they don’t even recognize that he is Tantrist, the one who was there before— and take him to court once again to heal him.

They put him in the bathtub to heal him. In the meanwhile, Iseult is fooling around with Tristan’s equipment in his room when she pulls his sword out of its sheath, and lo and behold, “My gosh, there’s a nick in this sword!” So she goes to her little treasure box and there is this missing piece. She sees that it fits, and oh, she loved her uncle! So she takes this heavy sword and goes in to kill Tristan in the bathtub.

He looks up and says, “Hold on. You knock me out and that seneschal dope gets you.”

Iseult has to admit that this is a good point. In the meantime, the sword is getting kind of heavy, so that is the end of that.

Once Tristan has once again been healed, he is brought to court with the big question: Who gets Iseult? The first claim is made by this chap the seneschal, who comes in with the dragon’s head, which looks very conclusive.

Tristan, however, has only to say, “Open its mouth and let’s see what’s missing there.” No tongue. And where is the missing part? “It’s here!” says Tristan, holding out the tongue, and so he got Iseult.

This stupid little boy, he still wants to bring her back to uncle Mark. So her mother, the one who prepared the poison that brought this whole thing about, prepares a love potion for Iseult to deliver to Mark so that the two will have a love marriage.

Now, this is a great problem theologically and in every other way. In any case, the queen puts the potion and her daughter into the keeping of young Iseult’s faithful nursemaid, Brangaene.

Well, Brangaene doesn’t pay very close attention. On the way back, Tristan and Iseult, both about fifteen years old, each take a sip of the love draught, thinking it is wine. Suddenly the couple becomes aware of the love that has been gradually growing in their hearts.

When Brangaene learns what happened, she is appalled. This is a wonderful moment: she goes to Tristan and says, “You have drunk your death!”

And Tristan answers, “I don’t know what you mean. If by death you mean this pain of love, that is my life.”

This is the essential idea of Amor, experiencing the pain. The essence of life is pain, all life is suffering. In Japan in almost the same period Lady Murasaki writes The Tale of Genji, and you have this love play of the cloud gallants and the flower maidens— they’re experiencing in a very sensitive way the Buddha’s wisdom, that all life is suffering, and the suffering of love is the suffering of life and where your pain is, there is your life.

Tristan continues, “If by this love, this agony of love, you mean my death, that is my life. If by my death you mean the punishment that will be ours when discovered in adultery, I accept that.” This is pushing right through the pair of opposites of life and death, and this is where love is: the pain pushed through. And then he finishes, “And if by death you mean eternal death in Hell, eternally I accept that too.”

Now, that’s a big, big statement, and this is the spirit of Amor in the Middle Ages. You can’t call it just an aristocratic game, and it wasn’t just a love affair. It was a mission transcendent of all the values of this world and a pitch into eternity.

Source: Campbell, J., Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine

Vernon Meigs: Interview with Peter Wright on traditional vs. feminist gynocentrisms (and other topics)

◙VM: Hey Peter, thanks for agreeing to the interview.

◙VM: You are well known, as far as I can see, within the MRM for your advocacy against gynocentrism. You point out the aspects of society and the cultures of the world, historically and in the present day, that enable and promote gynocentrism in one way or another, and you run Gynocentrism.com which talks extensively on the subject and is basically the go-to source of content exposing gynocentrism. While you may not be the only one that talks critically of gynocentrism, you are among the very few that I can see that calls out that out on the traditionalist as well as the SJW side with the same vigor, and for the right reasons. Can you reflect on your experiences having confronted gynocentrism on both those fronts, and how have you have been received in the MRM for it?

►PW: In some ways confronting the feminist version of gynocentrism is easier than confronting its traditional counterpart, because feminists are more likely to admit to their plan of increasing the power of women — female empowerment as they like to call it.

Many traditionalists on the other hand tend to disguise their desire to grant women inflated status, but they work toward securing forms of gynocentric power no less than do feminists. In the traditionalist language that power is referred to as men ‘putting her on a pedestal’ – a phrase known by all, and an aim widely aspired to by traditionalists.

Both progressive and traditional gynocentrism aims to privilege women over men. Both are reliant on the damsel-in-distress narrative to harness chivalric supply, and the only thing that separates them is the typical list of privileges they aim to institute – ie. typically a pampered housewife for the traditionalist, or have-it-all lifestyle for the progressive feminist.

These two gynocentrisms are essentially at war with each other over who deserves priority access to male chivalry, that magic ingredient needed for realizing gynocentric power. To that end, traditional and progressive gynocentrists have cultivated different dog-whistles to provoke chivalric behaviour from males: the traditional woman plays the demure, weak damsel in need of saving by a knight in shining armour, while the feminist plays the same victim role but is far more aggressive in her demand for chivalric redress. We could say that the same ‘white knight’ caters to these two variants of damsel – the demure damsel, and the aggressive damsel respectively.

These two gynocentrisms have their taproots in the codified gender roles of medieval Europe, in which, to quote philosopher Julia Kristeva, “Roles were assigned to woman and man: suzerain and vassal, with the lady offering up a ‘distress’ and the man offering a ‘service.’  “

So despite feminism positioning itself as a progressive new movement, its motive is remarkably traditional.

My rejection of gynocentrism as a default path has been met with resentment from both feminists and traditionalists, both of whom have counselled men to embrace more chivalry for the benefit of women. Fortunately, there’s a segment of the men’s movement that reasonably doubts, or outright rejects gynocentrism as a healthy basis for relationships between men and women, and likewise any appeals to chivalry are met with a reasonable scepticism by the same segment of men.

◙VM: You’ve had a few collaborations with Paul Elam – in particular the Chasing the Dragon talk, its follow-up Slaying the Dragon, and you are co-writers of Red Pill Psychology – Psychology for men in a gynocentric world and Chivalry – A Gynocentric Tradition. How did you come to know Paul and what brought about those collaborations?

►PW: Paul and I first exchanged in around 2007 while he was working at Men’s News Daily, a popular news site for men, and I was working on expanding International Men’s Day to reach a more global audience. We were discussing collaboration of some kind, but due to our busy schedules we let it slide.

A few years later, I think it was around the beginning of 2010, I joined as a contributor at A Voice for Men and soon after became an editor at the site. During the early years we had many discussions about men’s issues and about the future of the men’s movement, and it was clear then that Paul and I held similar perspectives on many issues – like chivalry, the problem of gynocentrism, and the need to create a new psychology for men. Our first collaborative articles explored those themes and seemed to come effortlessly, so much so that we continued co-writing and proof reading each other’s articles until recent times when we’ve both taken a hiatus from writing generally. This has been a personal highlight in my men’s advocacy work, and I’m pleased to see many of these collaborative pieces now collected in the two volumes you cited, which are proving popular with the red-pill audience.

◙VM: You and I are non-feminist, or anti-feminist, because we know feminism for what it is – a female supremacy ideology that is but one symptom of gynocentrism, not the be-all end-all of it. There have been some anti-feminists, however, that argue against it for blatantly gynocentric motives of their own that they aren’t even trying to hide, such as something along the lines of: “Before feminism, we had it all and men provided for us like servants, and now we women have to work like men do, woe is me! Let’s go back to the good old days and make things easy for us women!” What do you make of this variety of antifeminists? Is it traditionalism, or is it something different and possibly worse?

►PW: It is one kind of traditionalism, yes, but not the only kind. More specifically we might call this one ‘gynocentric traditionalism’ – a designation that acknowledges the existence of a non-gynocentric traditionalism.

The gynocentric traditionalist is at war with feminists because she realizes that chivalry is a finite resource, and if men are pouring out their assistance, protection, finances, pampering, and general deference to feminists, then the traditional gynocentric woman is likely to receive a far smaller serving of the available resource. It’s a jealousy with a valid rationale.

Unlike traditionally unemployed and pedestalized “home-maker” wives, who appeared en-masse after the industrial revolution, I think it’s important to acknowledge there were less gynocentric, or non-gynocentric women in pre-industrial societies throughout global history. Such women were more likely to be family-centered than self-centered, and they would labour alongside men as field workers, brewers, butchers, bakers and candle-stick makers, along with sharing a great deal of the care of children with other family members, including fathers, as contrasted to the more modern practice of mothers keeping children all to themselves, like chattel or bargaining chips, as post-industrial society has succeeded in establishing.

This last point of women’s exaggerated control over children is blamed on contemporary feminist policies, whereas it was, in fact, equally the case for traditional families a century ago in both America and Britain, as we read in the writings of Ernest B. Bax… and I’d like to quote him on this point:

It has always in England been laid down as a fundamental law based on public policy, that the custody of children and their education is a duty incumbent on the father. It is said to be so fundamental that he is not permitted to waive his exercise of the right by pre-nuptial contract.

Nevertheless, fundamental and necessary as the rule may be, the pro-feminist magistrates and judges of England are bent apparently on ignoring it with a light heart. They have not merely retained the old rule that the custody of infants of tender years remains with the mother until the child attains the age of seven. But they go much further than that. As a matter of course, and without considering in the least the interests of the child, or of society at large, they hand over the custody and education of all the children to the litigant wife, whenever she establishes –an easy thing to do– a flimsy and often farcical case of technical “cruelty.”

The victim husband has the privilege of maintaining the children as well as herself out of his property or earnings, and has the added consolation of knowing that they will brought up to detest him.

Even in the extreme case where a deserting wife takes with her the children of the marriage, there is practically no redress for the husband. The police courts will not interfere. The divorce court, as already stated, is expensive to the point of prohibition. In any case the husband has to face a tribunal already prejudiced in favour of the female, and the attendant scandal of a process will probably have no other result than to injure his children and their future prospects in life. [The Legal Subjection of Men – published 1896].

This quote provides an example of what I mean by gynocentric traditionalism, the widespread practice of the privileging of women and disadvantaging men, which was taking place well before the popular rise of feminism. Advocates of traditionalism, of course, remain silent on these ‘traditional’ abuses of men.

◙VM: On a similar note, another argument for men’s issues that I see a little too often for my taste is “men’s issues affect women, too!” That’s irked me – as if women and their dear white knights are supposed to respond, “Oh! I haven’t cared about men’s issues before but it affects women?? Now I ought to care!” To me that sounds every bit as gynocentric as anything else out there in the world – do you have any thoughts on that?

►PW: I think you hit the nail on the head, this is nothing more than a He-For-She reflex by people unlikely to ever care about the concept of He-For-He. If helping men is not somehow exploitable for the benefit of women, then these same people generally don’t care.

People are more likely to care about men becoming disabled, getting cancer, losing a job, or getting killed at war because these things will affect women – as Hillary Clinton famously quipped when she said that women were “the primary casualties of war.” But if a single, unmarried man becomes disabled, gets cancer, becomes unemployed or dies – then who gives a damn? No one.

Addressing the gender empathy gap is the big issue of our time and it requires all hands on deck, all genuine advocates of human decency, to bring attention to the problem.

◙VM: MGTOW is a varied umbrella with men whom I’d like to think come from various walks of life and different perspectives on why they are going their own way and what it means to them. Among those permutations, is there a precedent for a man going his own way to have an intimate relationship with a woman (or a man, if they are so inclined)? Also, is there a precedent for a woman going her own way as distinct from the feminist idea of the “independent woman who don’t need no man”, and if yes, what might that look like?

►PW: This is a good question, one that gets silenced in some MGTOW communities. I’ve never been good at conformity to orthodoxies however, and prefer to make up my own mind about what MGTOW stands for and to whom it might apply.

In its most basic definition MGTOW means male self-determination, nothing more, and nothing less. I, as a man going his own way, choose what I want to do with my life in preference to having my goals conferred or dictated by others, whether by the State, by women, or anyone else. In this sense MGTOW overlaps with libertarian principles.

Can a man in an intimate relationship with a woman ‘go his own way’? I say yes, he certainly can, and I know many men who have been in relationships with the same woman for decades who’ve consistently done their ‘own thing,’ while being mindful that a relationship is by necessity a dynamic requiring some reasonable compromises on both sides – which these men choose to accept based on their own freewill and on their desire to be in a relationship. These same men would not hesitate to abandon the relationship if their partner’s respect for his self-determination were lacking.

Married and single men can and often do have their self-determination thwarted in a number of ways. For example the married man might have his life upended in divorce court, and the single man might have his life legally upended by a false rape charge. In both cases, self-determination is stolen. So I tend to place some emphasis on the beliefs and convictions of the man in question to determine if he is striving to go his own way, and not only on his relationship status…. though I hasten to add that marriage in the modern age is an extremely risky undertaking.

Can a woman go her own way? Yes of course she can, though it would look different to the phoney “feminist” version you alluded to in your question. Some years ago I researched the phrases “go his own way” and “go her own way” through the last 200 years of literature. There were many instances of men going their own way, and likewise there were many descriptions of women who went their own way without undue reliance on men to make it happen for her. I know some women who fit that picture today, including (for example) Elizabeth Hobson of Justice for Men and Boys, who validly refers to herself as a woman going her own way.

Some MGTOW are possessive of the concept of ‘going your own way,’ claiming that women are trying to usurp a concept created by men. While I completely understand their fear of male initiatives being co-opted, they fail to realize this phrase has been in use for hundreds of years and belongs rather to the English language as a designation referring to anyone displaying self-determined behaviour.

Feminist overtures about women living self-determined lives doesn’t pass the litmus test. Their pretentious displays of independence are too strongly reliant on the support of male labour, male deference and male servitude to provide the agency they crave, whereas true self-determination is more self-reliant in my reading of it.

◙VM: You are the one who directly introduced to me with the concept of the Puer archetype in describing my idea of the “inner boy” in a man, that which serves as the core and essence of what makes a man as well as his source of youthful energy and optimism. You’ve helped me distinguish that concept from the “inner child” concept in which one partner assumes the role of the helpless and often petulant child and the other assumes the parent role that becomes self-sacrificial. So, on the Puer – what is your take on the importance of the concept for men (and perhaps the equivalent Puella for women)?

►PW: Your own essay on this topic, titled Attitudes Towards the Puer: From Jody Miller to Tomi Lahren,’ provided an excellent analysis of these archetypes, perhaps the best I’ve seen in the manosphere in terms of teasing apart the many definitions and misunderstandings. As you point out, the child archetype is that part of our nature that represents helplessness, vulnerability, innocence and dependency, whereas the puer archetype represents the part of our nature that is youthful, spontaneous, inquisitive, and playful.

That youthful, spontaneous potential is an essential ingredient of human happiness that we carry from cradle to grave, yes even in old men and old women. So it pains me to see this it disparaged in men as “Peter Pan Syndrome” or as a “failure to launch” just because men might like sport, or to play video games or other fun pastimes instead of being chained to the serious business of “growing up” ie. that path of ordered responsibility and of being in service to women and society. If you are not enslaved to serious responsibilities six-and-a-half days per week, say those critics of fun, with perhaps a half day allotted on Saturdays to watching sports on a TV screen, then you are little more than a “pathetic man baby” who needs to “man up” and start providing a lifestyle for a deserving female partner.

If I had the choice to get rid of just one phrase from the discourse about men, even from the most famous men’s advocates, it would be ‘failure to launch.’ Launch into what, into slavery to others? Loss of self, and misery? No thanks. My advice for men and women is to enjoy some youthful spontaneity and playfulness till your dying day, and don’t let wagging fingers and shaming language throw you off. Even in its more extreme forms, a failure to launch might represent a healthy response to an increasingly toxic world.

There are plenty of women showcasing the puella trait, the female-equivalent for the male puer. These are women, flirtatious and playful, who can laugh at themselves and at others, and who generally walk lightly through life with an air of ‘Don’t fence me in.’

But going back to the other archetype, that of the child – the needy, dependent, vulnerable child – I would say that unlike the puer impulse, it deserves to be constrained within adult relationships because it tends to become a drain on the other partner. Who wants to be in an adult relationship with a needy, petulant child? It’s no secret that in marriages one partner often tends to play the needy child, and the other partner plays the responsible parent. And its women who have traditionally been encouraged to play the vulnerable, pampered child more than men – though I hasten to add some men get caught by this archetype too.

Esther Vilar writes masterfully about women’s gravitation toward enacting the child archetype within marriage, a truth for which she became persecuted after daring to articulate it. Her book is titled ‘The Manipulated Man’ – written I think in 1971, and it remains as relevant today as when it was written.

◙VM: Narcissism is a big subject that comes when one critiques gynocentrism, and rightly so because of the vampiric, parasitic behaviour that is enabled and encouraged by any given gynocentric mindset. You are also strong in defense of the individual, celebrating the differences of masculine expression as well as praising the individualism of men and women. Do you have an idea of what are the key differences between individualism and narcissism?

►PW: This is a big subject and I’m no expert on the numerous variations of individualist philosophy. What I have noticed is that critics of the individualist path – whether it’s based for example in libertarian thinking, Objectivism or Nietzschean philosophy – make the charge that individualism is synonymous with narcissism. That’s a false equivalence, but they are correct in the sense that there’s a potential for individualism to degrade into pathological narcissism, or alternatively for pathological narcissism to disguise itself behind an ethic of reasonable individualism.

Gynocentrism is one example pretending to represent individualism. It’s a gendered version of narcissism that lacks respect for the individual sovereignty of others, particularly male others, and sets up its own individualism as exclusive – and it does so by actively excluding the individualism of others.

Narcissism of any kind operates as a social monologue, not a social dialogue. Narcissism lacks empathy for others, its inherently exploitative, and is demonstrated by an unrealistic sense of grandiosity that isn’t based on commensurate achievements or merit. Individualism isn’t necessarily any of those things.

So we can’t claim that individualism and narcissism are equivalent. At best someone might mount an argument that narcissism is a pathological variant of individualism, a claim worthy of exploring. But it will never be correct to represent as ‘narcissists’ the majority of those who follow individualist philosophies.

◙VM: To what extent can we see gynocentrism mitigated in our human history to come? What would that look like, and is it something we have to constantly be vigilant about lest gynocentrism comes back around again?

►PW: There’s obviously a biological component to gynocentrism, but I’ve always maintained that the gynocentric impulse has been wildly exaggerated, supersized by cultural forces that have exploited our biological tendencies. The cultural gynocentrism we have today has vastly overrun whatever evolutionary purposes it may once have had – it’s now a runaway freight train leaving human destruction in its path.

On that basis I think there will be a correction. It has already begun. Based on the extreme gynocentrism we currently see at play, I expect to see an increase in bachelor movements such as those of Japan’s Herbivore men, and more recently in the rise of ‘men going their own way.’ But while these movements ensure men’s safety away from toxic human entanglements, which is an absolutely necessary short-term response, such bachelor and celibacy movements solve little in terms how to enjoy relationships that we humans are hardwired to participate in. What we need are some new ‘maps of meaning,’ as Jordan Peterson would phrase it, at least in the area of forming viable, long-term relationships.

Rather than appeals to traditionalism with its goal to pedestalise women, or on the other hand calls to embrace progressive feminism which also pedestalises women, we might in future discover new relationship models (or perhaps much older, pre-industrial revolution ones) that can lead us out of the impasse.

The certainty is that men and women will continue to form relationships, but they might gravitate more toward equitable relationships as contrasted with the faux equality proposed by feminists. This move would involve equality of value between men and women, based on libertarian-style principles. Those principles emphasize individual choice for each person of the relationship, relative autonomy, voluntary association, individual judgement, free will, self-determination, and negotiated labour-sharing arrangements & agreements between partners. In a nutshell; freedom to choose, instead of conferred roles or duties.

This is precisely what Warren Farrell proposed when he talked of moving away from survival roles of the past, which he referred to as ‘Stage 1’ relationships, and moving instead toward what he called ‘Stage 2’ relationships which entail men and women sharing equal responsibility to earn money, clean house, enjoy time with children and so on, instead of being imprisoned in socially prescribed or conferred roles. It goes without saying that such roles are completely voluntary and the details negotiable. I agree with Farrell on this proposition, which offers a way out of the impasse and out of the destructive gender war that has raged on for too long unchecked.

Human societies are like fragile ecosystems where if one animal or plant becomes too dominant it can send the entire system into chaos and disintegration. Imbalances will always appear in human societies and we can only hope that if the current imbalance of extreme gynocentrism is downsized in the near future, perhaps as a result from men’s withdrawal of chivalry, our vigilance will ensure that it takes a long rest. Humans however are great at forgetting prior lessons, which allows any number of past maladies to come back and terrorise us.

The Fallacy Of The Golden Uterus And The True Origins Of Gynocentrism (Part Two)

This is part two of a two part article, please see part one first before reading part two.

Some Further Remarks On Sexual Conflict

I do want to expand on a few points from my ICMI speech. Often people cite the sexual cannibalism of the female spider eating the male spider after mating as being evolutionary advantageous, as the male is described as a source of energy for the female and their offspring. This explanation is often used in the media with a combination of humour and derision directed at men, to set a frame in which sexual conflict can be seen as “natural” or justified when it is directed at the male of a species, with the unspoken implication that such a principle applies as well to human males.

There is an assumption buried within that explanation, that all of what is natural, must have been selected for by evolution in some way and thus be optimal or beneficial or have some evolutionary purpose for a species. Just because a trait or behaviour occurs in nature does not mean that it was selected for under natural selection and is biologically optimal or beneficial to the species or serves some function. Huntington’s disease3 is a classic example of a condition that occurs naturally in humans and is suboptimal under natural selection. Despite this Huntington’s disease remains in the population after numerous generations, because enough people that carry the mutated variant of the huntingtin gene survive to reproduce. Just because sexual cannibalism occurs in nature, does not make it an optimal or beneficial strategy that is favoured by evolution. As Paul Elam and Peter Wright have discussed in Chasing The Dragon4 and Slaying The Dragon5, biology can express itself beyond its own evolutionary purpose and do so in a suboptimal way. Remember that the biology of any organism does not have to be perfect for their genes to be passed on, just good enough.

There are costs to sexual cannibalism such as reduced genetic variation in the population from fewer males and lowered probability of females finding a mate, especially in larger habitats. The males that are eaten, also incur a high cost from the elimination of all future mating prospects. This cost is also indirectly applicable as well to the female parent spiders of the males that are eaten. It does not automatically follow that sexual cannibalism is the optimal strategy in all instances or that eating males provides any net benefit to the species.  In many instances the males and the species as a whole may be better off if males are not eaten from an evolutionary standpoint and natural selection may result in the males of the species developing adaptations to counter sexual cannibalism. In many instances a cooperative mating strategy may dominate, with sexual cannibalism confined to the fringes of the population.

I am not suggesting that the explanation that sexual cannibalism of males in various species of spider is always suboptimal, but conversely I don’t think it follows that we should just automatically assume such phenomenon provide an evolutionary benefit simply because they occur in nature. Think of how much biological dysfunction exists in nature like cancer and how much of it has obviously no evolutionary benefit. Evolution is not intelligent design, biology is not perfect. Sometimes people go down a rabbit hole of looking for evolutionary justifications for why certain traits or aspects of biology exist, where there is no actual evolutionary benefit to find.

Another inconvenient fact often left out when discussing sexual cannibalism through a gynocentric lens, is the fact there are actually examples6 of spiders where the males eat females and also numerous examples in the animal kingdom of sexual conflict where males are the aggressor. Instances of sexual conflict against males is no more of what “nature intended”, than sexual conflict against females.

Like I discussed, it does not even hold that sexual cannibalism in spiders serves any special evolutionary purpose. Sexual cannibalism may actually be a by-product of extreme environmental conditions where female spiders are driven purely out of hunger and scarcity of resources to eat their mates. Even in humans under extreme enough conditions, there have been examples of cannibalism. No one would argue that cannibalism in humans is a specific evolved trait. It is merely an extreme manifestation of the survival instinct!

The existence of cannibalism in humans is incidental to the survival instinct and not something that natural selection has specifically selected for. The same may indeed be the case with female spiders eating their mates and vice versa. Whilst evolutionary explanations may be true, they are also difficult prove and may be wrong. Sexual cannibalism in spiders is hardly a phenomenon where scientists have actually proven beyond doubt, that it exists because of some evolutionary advantage in eating males to provide energy to the female spider and resulting offspring. Multiple explanations have been proposed on why sexual cannibalism takes place in certain species. It still all very much remains speculation at this stage.

Of course the gynocentric narrative on sexual cannibalism in spiders, leaves out the part that there are enormous differences between spiders and humans. The sexual size dimorphism which is at the root of sexual cannibalism in spiders, is reversed in humans where the male is bigger. Such facts are inconvenient to the gynocentric narrative you see, so it is not discussed in that way.

It is notable that we don’t see such explanations like what we see with sexual cannibalism of male spiders being celebrated in our culture, when females are the victims of sexual conflict. Dominant males in an animal community that sexual coerce or rape their female mates, is also a form of sexual conflict. Despite arguments to the contrary, it could be argued using the same logic as the spider analogy, that there is an evolutionary benefit to such sexual coercion. I am not supporting or in any way condoning this, I am just walking people through the gynocentric logic of the spider analogy with the sexes reversed, so people can contrast the gynocentric bias at work when our culture appeals to biology for explanations on things.

So here is the logic in reverse- Dominant males that rise to the top of the male dominance hierarchy from intense male intrasexual competition, are very often the strongest and the fittest males and so have the highest genetic quality. Therefore whilst females may incur some cost from the sexual coercion of dominant males, the genetic benefit of females giving birth to the offspring of dominant males (which share the dominant male’s high genetic quality) exceeds the cost. Perhaps this explains the popularity of 50 Shades Of Grey among women and the reported female sexual interest in male dominance!7

Now if you find that logic questionable and the conclusions drawn offensive (again I am not supporting or condoning the logic), then I would ask you why it is that when this dynamic is reversed and we talk about female sexual antagonism directed at men (like the spider analogy), that there is no scrutiny or offense taken to the armchair evolutionary explanations given? That discrepancy is the gender empathy gap in action, that I was alluding to in the speech. We have one standard of concern for females and a lower standard of concern for males. In fact it has been shown8 even in the relatively objective field of scientific research, that there is a clear bias against men when reporting sex differences that favour men in contrast to those that favour women. Only women it seems are allowed to have any biological advantage, for men it is taboo to report any male advantage no matter how trivial it might be.

Appealing to nature to justify behaviour as good or acceptable is what we call the naturalistic fallacy9. As I mentioned in the speech, murder, rape and genocide are all natural, that does not make them optimal for society or justifiable. Likewise running civilisation in such a way that we treat men as disposable and exploit them for women’s benefit and appealing to nature to justify it, does not make it optimal or acceptable for society. In fact we can see the negative effects10 already of what rampant gynocentrism is doing to our societies and it will only get worse as the consequences continue to accumulate at an ever-increasing rate. These societies are not replacing themselves and are rife with social problems as a result of marginalising men. Gynocentric societies are on a declining trajectory where they are on the track to eventually die out.

Some Further Remarks On Hunter-gatherer Societies And Survival

Another point that I wanted to address are claims suggesting that the survival of children is more contingent on women than on men in hunter-gatherer cultures. Such claims (and related claims) are questionable due to the simple reality we cannot directly observe what occurred in prehistoric times and as previously cited there is a gynocentric bias present unfortunately in the field of scientific research surrounding sex.

We cannot necessarily infer that modern hunter-gatherer communities adequately represent their prehistoric counterparts either, given the fact that one set of communities eventually developed into urbanised civilisation, while modern hunter-gatherer communities clearly did not. I am not making a judgement on any community being superior to another, I am simply pointing out there may be basic differences between prehistoric communities that transitioned into urbanised civilisation and modern-day hunter-gatherer communities that did not and that those differences may undermine making inferences that modern hunter-gatherer communities are a mirror of all past prehistoric communities. It is also worth considering that modern day hunter-gatherer communities undoubtedly have had their own cultural evolution over the last 12,000 years and may not necessarily resemble a mirror image of even their own past. I am not suggesting studies of current hunter-gatherer societies have no merit, I am suggesting caution in assuming what we observe in present hunter-gatherer societies in the modern day, perfectly translate to our prehistoric past.

With all of that said though, let us assume for a moment that the claim the survival of children in hunter-gather communities is more dependent on women is actually true. Is the survival of women not at least in part to some extent dependent on men? It is definitely the case that the survival of any community in prehistoric times is to a significant and substantive degree dependent on men. We know this by examining the evidence acquired from the remains of past human settlements and human bones. Tom Golden in his 2020 ICMI speech11, discussed inter-tribal conflict and the role of men in protecting their communities.

In evolutionary scientist David Geary’s book “Male, Female The Evolution Of Human Sex Differences”12, he describes a mass grave found in South Dakota (A US state) of men, women and children from a tribe that was was wiped out whilst the village fortifications were being reconstructed. The construction of such fortifications would have been a physically demanding task and primarily a male role, along with the actual physical defence of the village from attack.

Once the male defenders of the village were wiped out and the defences were overwhelmed, most of the village was massacred and the few survivors that were spared which were primarily younger women, were taken for spoils. This is not an example of gynocentrism, the women that were spared were taken as captives to do whatever bidding their male captors decided. Women were also found in the mass grave with men and children. Presumably these were women that may have resisted the male attackers, or been unwanted and disposed of by the attackers. The males of the village were eliminated not because they were less valuable, but because they were a threat. As David Geary noted in the book, the capture of women and the murder of male rivals had nothing to do with female mate choice and is simply an example of male competition at its most intense.

The male role in protection is something that has being going on for as long as humans have been around. The remains of this settlement were dated around 1325 AD before Christopher Columbus arrived and there was any contact with civilisation. Some like to argue that hunter-gatherer communities were always peaceful and war came from male patriarchal civilisation, but there is a plethora of evidence suggesting otherwise.

Hunter-gather communities fought each other in our prehistoric past, long before civilisation and there is plenty of evidence to show this and the role men played in protecting their communities. Resources were scarce at times and fighting over access to water, food and territory was a frequent occurrence. We also see the same patterns of territorial aggression in primates and a wide range of animals. War and combat are simply organised human manifestations of the territorial aggression seen in all animals and in both males and females. Aggression of course is not the sole domain of men and Geary does go on in the book to describe female aggression in humans, which is far less physical and much more relational in nature.

There are plenty of other examples in our prehistoric record and from current hunter-gatherer communities, showing how dependent communities are on men to survive. Karen Straughan discussed in one of her videos the Inuit13 and the importance that men have in those communities to hunt on the ice and keep everyone fed and alive. Karen also discussed more generally in the linked video in great detail, the biological evidence pointing to men’s substantive role in community survival and in provision and protection in prehistoric times.

Whilst we cannot perfectly describe past hunter-gatherer societies, we can draw some basic conclusions from the anthropological record of human remains and settlements we have found and also by examining the evolved sexual dimorphism of our species. Men have played a significant and substantive role in the survival of their community and through that they have enhanced the survival of women and by extension have then indirectly contributed to the survival of children. Basic sex differences in size, physical strength and physical fitness and psychological sex differences such as greater male risk-taking behaviour, would have had implications for the survival of prehistoric communities, especially in harsh environments.

The reality is that while women did hunt and did significantly contribute to the food supply in certain environmental contexts, it is predominantly men that are better suited to undertaking tasks that require high levels of physical strength. It is also a fact that men by virtue of not directly caring for infants or becoming pregnant, are more available to undertake physically strenuous tasks like hunting. These are physical realities that become much more apparent in hunter-gatherer communities without the benefits of mechanisation, no matter how hard the social constructionists would wish otherwise. The harsher the environment, the more relevant the physical sexual dimorphism favouring men becomes to the survival of the community.

So whilst it may be apparent to some people in a direct sense that the survival of children may be more dependent on women than on men (and that is a highly questionable claim), if there is any truth to the claim it may only be true to a certain degree in specific environmental settings and only in a direct sense. If we consider all of the environmental settings humans have lived in across the planet and we consider the indirect role men have on the survival of children through their support of their community and the women in that community, the picture becomes a lot more equal than certain gynocentric elements within the field of sex difference research wish to accept.

Even if we ignore all of the evidence and the points that I have made and just automatically assume the survival of children is more dependent on women in a hunter-gatherer setting in all instances and in an overall sense, such claims do not scale to civilisation or the overall health of children in a modern setting. The statistics on the prospects of children without a father in our current modern societies, show just how important fathers are to raising healthy children in our modern social environment. There is a difference between just surviving and offspring surviving to become mentally and physically healthy and capable adults that reach their potential. There is also a big difference between the requirements on offspring to develop in a hunter-gatherer environment in comparison to that of modern society. Such consideration does not fit the gynocentric narrative. Instead we are meant to take seriously the argument by certain feminist ideologues, that having no father has little or no impact on children. We are meant to ignore all of the evidence14 suggesting otherwise, while we watch the effects of fatherlessness play out in the society around us.

I want people to consider this next point very seriously and the implications it has for our Western societies. There has not been one advanced and fully developed civilisation or country on this planet that exists today or in the past, that has lasted centuries with widespread fatherlessness and marginalised men providing little or no contribution to the continuation of their communities. Not one. That should tell people something about how important men are. It has only been through harnessing the value that men provide, that civilisation has even emerged in the first place. It still remains a reality today that if men collectively walked off the job, our modern society would literally fall apart and descend into perpetual darkness (aside from the fires blazing everywhere at night). The statistics15 bare out just how essential men are to keep our modern civilisation running and how dire the situation would be if men left civilisation entirely to women and walked away from it.

In Conclusion

None of what I have written in the speech or in these additional remarks or past writings, is intended to argue that men are superior to women or that all women are evil beings attempting to manipulate men every hour of the day. However we do now live in a gynocentric society that promotes the narrative that men have no value, are naturally inferior and disposable and that women are not capable of doing anything wrong or committing any violence, harm or evil in this world. We are living in a world filled with gynocentric delusions, which will eventually be our own underdoing as a society, because reality can and will eventually assert itself when everything eventually comes crashing down.

There needs to be some balance restored to our culture regarding how we consider men and women. Men do have value, enormous value and a great deal of that value is beyond just men’s role in community survival. Women also have value and a great deal of that value has nothing to do with having a uterus. There is a darker side to men’s nature and also a good side, but there is a darker side to women’s nature as well as their good side. I think society can accept the reality both sexes have value and both sexes are human and are capable of doing bad things, without having a nervous breakdown!

References:

3.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huntington%27s_disease

4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VygKQV-hEpY

5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5WLNMX4COA

6.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_cannibalism

7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJzF_WJ8Gog

8.https://www.psypost.org/2020/12/people-are-more-accepting-of-research-that-uncovers-sex-differences-that-favor-women-58862

9. https://ethics.org.au/ethics-explainer-naturalistic-fallacy/#:~:text=The%20naturalistic%20fallacy%20is%20an,done%20from%20what%20’is‘.

10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w__PJ8ymliw

11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0_-QahLa5Q

12.https://www.booktopia.com.au/male-female-david-c-geary/book/9781433832642.html

13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUMifHT1AwY

14. https://fathers.com/statistics-and-research/the-consequences-of-fatherlessness/

15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JLRTSaI9S8

The Fallacy Of The Golden Uterus And The True Origins Of Gynocentrism (Part One)

This is a two part article. In part one (this part) I will provide the complete speech that I wrote, which was kindly presented by Robert Brockway on my behalf at the International Men’s Conference in 2020. A link to the speech spoken by Robert is here1, the complete speech in writing is a little bit longer than what was presented and is provided below. Part two of this article will elaborate on certain points that I have discussed in the speech, which address particular gynocentric traps I have noted that people fall into when discussing the topics I wrote about in the speech.

For a full reading of my writings addressing the fallacy of the golden uterus and why male disposability based on females being the rate limiting factor in reproduction does not have a leg to stand on, please consult this two part article and the articles numbered 8-11 and 14-20 of my Gynocentrism lecture series on the webpage linked here2 on Gynocentrism.com. This two part article, will conclude my discussion on this particular topic. The extent of my writing on it reflects the extent to which I believe this justification functions as an excuse to normalise gynocentrism in our culture.

Science has in many respects replaced religion as the unquestioned orthodoxy of our time, despite the scientific method being an open source of enquiry. Science is not meant to be treated as an unquestioned orthodoxy, but unfortunately ideology does appear to be to some extent subverting how science is communicated to the public. So naturally using explanations that appear to rely on science has increasingly become the go-to strategy of gynocentric elements of our culture, to justify bigotry toward men and why we should just shrug our shoulders and accept it.

Science is not dogma and does not have all of the answers to every question and as I discuss in the speech and in my writings on Gynocentrism.com, what we do know from science does not support the argument women are more valuable and men are disposable, simply because women have a uterus and give birth. That is an argument of sophistry, not science. I do have a past scientific background researching, working and studying in the molecular life sciences and so this argument has been of particular interest to me to soundly and comprehensively debunk and provide my own unique contribution to knowledge in the manosphere.

Without further delay the full written speech is below:

The Fallacy Of The Golden Uterus And The True Origins Of Gynocentrism

By Peter Ryan

I will begin this speech quoting Mark Twain, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”.

For many years there has been an unquestioned assumption in the manosphere and in our wider gynocentric culture that because women are the rate limiting factor of reproduction, women are more valuable than men and men are disposable. It is perhaps one of the biggest blue pill myths there is and a sacred cow belief of our gynocentric culture. This core assumption underpins so many of the rationalisations given for justifying gynocentric bigotry toward men, that unless it is addressed and exposed for the distorted and factually wrong interpretation of biology that it is, nothing much is going to change for men. The glorification of the female role in reproduction is an old idea and widely held. However like what we have seen with obsolete ideas such as the Earth being flat and the Earth being the center of the universe, just because an idea is old and widely held as the truth, does not then make it right.

Let me get something straightened out right off the bat. Women do not create life, men and women create life. This should be an obvious fact and yet the line “women create life” is mentioned frequently enough in our gynocentric culture to be mindlessly accepted and repeated like it is common knowledge. To put it bluntly, functioning as an incubator does not make a woman a real mother, let alone a more valuable human being or the sole creator of life. The narcissism surrounding the role of women in reproduction, needs to be confronted in our culture and put down a peg, if we are to address the serious matters surrounding the epidemic of fatherlessness in our society. Fatherlessness is not just a legal issue, it is a social and cultural issue now in the West as well. A real mother respects fatherhood.

With that opening statement, I will now embark on dismantling the pseudoscientific dogma surrounding the golden uterus in a number of topics during this talk. The golden uterus is not just used to elevate motherhood undeservedly over fatherhood, it is also used to argue why women are more valuable human beings.

The Tale Of Two Tribes Scenario

You have probably heard the tale of two tribe’s scenario a million times before, a community of 1 man and 999 women is far better off than a community of 999 men and 1 woman. We are told the community with more women will replace itself and the community with a single woman will perish. It is certainly true that in such an extreme example, the community with just one single woman is likely to perish. However it is also likely, although perhaps less likely, for the community with a single man to also perish in such a scenario. Genetic diversity may not be sufficient for the community to recover, or there may not be the manpower available to ensure there is sufficient resources, shelter and protection for the community. The lone male may not even be fertile enough to ensure sufficient numbers of offspring are produced. It could even be that some sort of mixture of all three factors, may result in the community with a single male perishing.

There is a bigger issue though with the tale of two tribes. It is misleading. What may be correct at one population size with certain sex ratios, may not apply at another population size with different sex ratios. For example, what if there were 900 men and 100 women? Or 99000 men and 1000 women? Or 600 men and 400 women? Will they still perish? In such instances the communities may shrink temporarily but not perish and are likely to recover in a few generations. The reproductive fitness outcomes that apply at one scale of population size and sex ratio, may not apply at another. So taking such extreme examples of 1 man and 999 women or 999 men and 1 woman and then formulating a universal law that says women are more valuable than men, is both misleading and factually incorrect.

Having such skewed numbers as 999 men and 1 woman or 999 women and 1 man, represent very extreme scenarios. The likelihood of them arising is very rare in the actual historic or prehistoric past and may not have even happened at all. It is much more likely that for most of human history and prehistory, sex ratios between men and women in communities have been much more even. Indeed we are biologically predisposed to have a roughly 1:1 sex ratio at birth, which is explained by an evolutionary concept called Fisher’s principle. It has hardly been the norm that communities have had prolonged periods where there have been such heavily skewed sex ratios that women make up only 0.1% of the population, such as in the two tribes scenario with 1 woman and 999 men. Although there may have been periods where there were a few more men or more women in communities, such periods have been temporary and the sex ratios whilst a little imbalanced, would rarely if ever have reached the extremes of 1 woman to 999 men or vice versa.

Whilst sex ratios do vary with age cohorts and temporary imbalances can arise in the population as a whole, the overall sex ratio of men and women eventually gravitates back to 1:1.  As explained by Fisher’s principle, if one sex becomes scarce, then there is a selective pressure for there to be greater parental investment in producing the minority sex in future generations until the sex ratios reach 1:1. Thus sex ratio imbalances that do arise are eventually gone in a generation or two and simply cannot be used to explain any protective bias toward women. I will explain this evolutionary principle in further detail later on in this speech.

I point all of this out to drive home the ridiculousness of the tale of two tribe’s scenario in arguing that such scenarios explain why society has evolved a bias to protect women over men. Such an explanation is only plausible if we assume that the two tribe’s scenario represents the demographics of human societies over a prolonged period of time, in which natural selection had the opportunity to select for a psychological bias to protect women over men on this basis. If it was the case that human societies often had only the bare minimum number of women to ensure their continuation for thousands of years, then it would follow humans would have a evolved a trait to protect women over men simply due to women being the rate limiting factor reproduction and being in such consistently short supply.

However human societies for most of human history and prehistory, have likely had a surplus number of women that was significantly beyond the bare minimum required, to ensure the continuation of the community. A community of 150 men and 150 women for example, may only require 10 of the women not to perish. It takes a very extreme scenario indeed for a community to reach a point where the loss of one more woman, leads the community to die out. Even if we go to low numbers of 100 people, with 60 men and 40 women for instance, just a fraction of those women may be the bare minimum required to ensure the community produces enough offspring to continue its existence.

Over just a generation or two, the community population size can eventually recover from extreme shocks if large numbers of the women in a society and the population as a whole are lost, as the young replace those people. Human societies can recover from population bottlenecks with only low numbers of men and women, as long as the numbers of each sex don’t drop below the bare minimum required to produce the minimum level of offspring to perpetuate society.

The Fixation On Reproduction And Life History Theory

A key reason why the tale of two tribe’s scenario gains traction, is because of the simplicity of it. Simple ideas might be appealing, but as we see with the feminist gender wage gap, they are misleading! The two tribe’s scenario masks the very complicated process of ensuring a lineage, a community and a species continues. Reproduction whilst important to the continuation of a lineage and community etc, is not the only factor that is essential. Individuals must survive and develop well enough to live to sexual maturity, attract mates, reproduce at an optimal rate and care for the resulting offspring. Those offspring in turn must also survive and develop to sexual maturity. Reproduction is a dead-end if the offspring die before they reproduce and reproduction cannot even occur if people do not survive long enough to mate. There must also be a certain level of genetic diversity in the population to ensure offspring are healthy enough to reproduce healthy offspring of their own. It is not enough to simply breed offspring. The offspring and their parents have to be healthy, fertile and survive.

In actual biological reality, reproduction is just one component in a chain of activities required to propagate the genome. Life history theory in evolutionary biology, explains the numerous balances and trade-offs that organisms make in their survival, development and reproductive activities across their lifespan to optimise their reproductive success (or evolutionary success). Human beings reproduce at relatively low rates compared to other species and have a very long developmental period, precisely because there is more to evolutionary success than just maximising reproduction. Unlike microbial life, humans are organisms with a slow life history strategy, that places a lower priority on the rate of reproduction. Having high numbers of women in a community to maximise the rate of reproduction of a community, is not the be all and end all to evolutionary success that it is made out to be.

In reality the role of women in reproduction is just one component in a much bigger and far more complex life history equation. The fixation on women being the rate limiting factor of reproduction, blinds people to the bigger picture- The reproductive success of human communities is the result of many factors working together in a complex interdependent system and is not just determined by how many uteri you have. Think of all of the activities that have to occur in a human community aside from reproduction and gestation that are related to survival, to ensure healthy fertile offspring are born and properly develop and the community and their resultant offspring survive. Think of the role of men in ensuring those activities are adequately performed, particularly when women are pregnant or preoccupied with looking after small infants. Think of the extreme survival challenges our ancestors faced in environments across the world before modern civilisation and the role of men in such a context. Even today our societies are utterly dependent on men to keep them running.

Whilst some may argue technology may eventually make men’s role in community survival redundant, the same can be said for women and their role in reproduction with the eventual development of artificial uteri. However it is worth noting such developments for either sex are a long way off and in many respects it will be harder to replace men given the greater multitude of tasks men perform, including repairing the very robots and machines that supposedly will replace them!

With deeper reflection, we can see that simply making the claim that women being the rate limiting factor of reproduction makes them more valuable, assumes that there are not a multitude of other factors that are just as essential to ensuring the future of a community. Let us consider this with some detail in relation to the evolutionary environment humans have lived in for most of their history and prehistory.

1. Any community is going to require a minimum number of men and women to reproduce.

2. Any community will also require a minimum number of men and women to ensure sufficient levels of genetic diversity.

3. A certain minimum amount of investment in survival will also be required to ensure the community has adequate food, water, resources, shelter and protection to keep everyone alive.

4. The surrounding environment must have the carrying capacity or resources available to support the population.

As can be seen with that simple description, we discover that it is not just about having enough women to reproduce. A certain number of men are also going to be required. The exact minimum number of men and women required to ensure a community does not perish, may actually require more men in some instances. It is also the case that a certain minimum amount of resources or habitat carrying capacity, will be required to support the population. Simply focusing on maximising reproduction is almost doomed to fail, because the resulting population growth will eventually collapse the food chain and ecosystem and the community will perish. Reproduction has to be maintained at a level that can be sustained by the carrying capacity of the habitat the community finds itself in.

Not all environments are lush jungles with a high carrying capacity, easy access to food and water, no predators and plenty of available shelter. Many environments on this planet have a low carrying capacity, food and water is hard to collect or grow and shelter is difficult to find or construct. Many habitats like the African savanna have dangerous predators lurking around and the weather and geological conditions are harsh. Think of Siberia and the numerous deserts. Not all habitats are paradise and humans have had to adapt to all of them and survive.

Whilst women may be the rate limiting factor of reproduction, men do play a disproportionate role in undertaking risky and physically demanding work required for community survival. Of course there is overlap between the sexes in these domains, but there is a substantial difference on average when considering the relative contributions of each sex as a whole in these areas.

If women are the rate limiting factor of reproduction, then men are the rate limiting factor of survival. When you consider pregnant women and women raising small infants in a prehistoric context, or even as early as one hundred and fifty years ago and the harsh living conditions that human communities faced across different environments, it does not take a rocket scientist to understand the importance of men in undertaking physically challenging and dangerous tasks related to community survival. The reality is that raising small infants and simply gathering food with relatively little physical effort compared to hunting, is not enough to survive in many environments throughout the world. It is also a fact that in many places throughout the world, the carrying capacity of the environment may not be able to support large population growth and low rates of reproduction may actually be advantageous.

In some environment’s reproduction may be less critical to the future of the community and it may actually be pressures related to survival that matter more. In such contexts a higher minimum amount of men than women may actually be required. In other contexts more women may be advantageous. It does not always follow that more women are needed than men, because golden uterus!

We must also consider that there is a difference between the minimum number of men and women required to perpetuate a community and the optimal number of men and women required for a community to thrive. A community may indeed continue to eke out an existence with only 10 men and 990 women, but that does not mean it will thrive and not suffer great costs. Having more men may allow such communities to thrive to a point where they become resistant to the very shocks that threaten to wipe out the community in the first place. As with the minimum numbers of men and women required to sustain a community, different environments, demographics and living conditions, may mean in some instances greater numbers of men are more important to a community thriving and in other instances women may be more important. Natural selection does not favour just what is required at a minimum, it also preferentially selects what is optimal. A community of 500 men and 500 women that thrives over a community of 10 men and 990 women, will consequently be favoured under selection pressures.

None of any of this detail is considered if we assume the number of uteri in a community, is the sole determinant of reproductive success and biological value. None of the complexity of what it takes for a community to continue its existence is considered. This is what reproductive reductionism omits.

Fisher’s Principle And The Biological System Of Males And Females

The fundamental truth which is consistently ignored by reproductive reductionists despite it being well established within the field of evolutionary biology, is that biology does not value or favour the existence of one sex over the other in our species. This reality is reflected in the equal parental investment in producing males and females. Fisher’s principle is an evolutionary concept that explains why the sex ratio of many sexually reproducing species including humans, is roughly 1:1 and why parental investment in male and female offspring is equal. 

Fisher’s principle can be illustrated as follows:

1. Assume there are less males than females in a given population.

2. The males will have a higher rate of reproduction per individual than individual females, as the total reproductive output of each sex is equal but distributed among fewer numbers of males.

3. Consequently parents that produce males are at an evolutionary advantage, as their offspring will be more reproductively successful per individual than if they had of produced females.

4. As a result, over time parents will produce more male offspring as it is selectively advantageous.

5. Greater parental investment in male offspring will continue until the number of males and females in the population equalises and the reproductive advantage male offspring enjoy reduces to zero.

Fisher’s principle describes a form of equilibrium where parental investment in males and females will be equal. The core reason for this equality is because the total reproductive output of men and women as a whole is exactly equal. Neither sex as a whole can produce a greater number of offspring than the other sex and get a leg up. It is mathematically impossible! For every child that is conceived there has to be one male parent and one female parent. The result is that the male and female sex have the same biological value in evolutionary terms, as total reproductive success for each sex as a whole is equal. There is no long-term evolutionary advantage to producing female offspring over male offspring or vice versa.

Some will no doubt point out that human beings have a sex ratio at birth of roughly 1.05 males to 1 female. This does not invalidate Fisher’s principle, but is actually supported by it. Geneticist Ronald Fisher the author of Fisher’s principle, explained the slight deviation from the 1:1 sex ratio as a compensatory mechanism for the higher rate of male infant mortality. The higher rate of male infant mortality drives larger numbers of males to be born to ensure equal parental expenditure in producing male and female offspring that actually reach sexual maturity. There is no grand gynocentric conspiracy by nature to favour females over males. Nature does not have a favourite!

There is equal biological investment in producing each sex, because each sex has the same overall reproductive success. The distribution of that reproductive success between individuals may differ by sex, but not the total output. Fewer men may reproduce, but each of those men that do reproduce will do so at a higher frequency than any individual woman. That is the part which is left out when people discuss fewer men reproducing than women. There is no argument to be made that women are somehow more important than men, because more women reproduced. Such arguments can simply be countered by pointing to the higher reproductive success of the individual men that do reproduce. Genghis Khan anyone?

We have had half of the population chromosomal XX female and the other half XY male in our lineage for at least 160 million years, since our current sex-determination system came into being. That is 160 million years of natural selection tolerating half the population not directly giving birth to offspring. Supercontinents have broken up and major geological and extinction level events have occurred in that period of time, including the extinction of the dinosaurs. There has been plenty of time for natural selection to alter the reproductive paradigm at some point with our evolutionary predecessors, so that all of the members of our species give birth, if that was all that mattered and it was so crucial. Our evolutionary predecessors could have evolved back to asexual reproduction or become hermaphrodites in that period of time. 160 million years is not a trivial timespan, even when we consider the slow process of evolution. 160 million years is a very long block of time to have stuck with a maladaptive strategy of wasting half the genome, especially when we consider the extinction events that have occurred over that period of time. Species have emerged and then vanished in much smaller time scales than 160 million years!

Despite all of the time that has passed, our lineage settled on an evolutionary track where only half the population internally gestates the offspring for nine months. This reproductive strategy is the result of millions of years of natural selection and not an accident. It is a strategy that does not maximise reproduction and yet it has actually been favoured by natural selection in our evolutionary branch. Why? It is not reproduction alone that determines evolutionary success, but rather the right combination of investment in survival, development and reproduction that determines evolutionary success. There is a selective advantage in having only one sex give birth to offspring and having the other half of the population available and sexually selected to focus their efforts on other activities related to survival. It allows for a broader, more sophisticated and more robust strategy in adapting to the environment to maximise evolutionary success.

The biological roles of each sex support each other in an interdependent system. This allows activities related to survival and reproduction to be enhanced to produce outputs beyond what would otherwise be possible. In systems theory this is called synergy and emergence. The sum becomes greater than the individual parts on their own and new properties emerge when the components work together as a whole. This is what reproductive reductionists miss, when they just focus on women and reproduction. Human civilisation is arguably one emergent property of the foundational sociobiological system that has evolved around the specialised roles of men and women. It is the overall end result of men and women working together that matters, not the golden uterus!

The Fallacy Of Male Biological Disposability

The concept of men being biologically disposable is just as ludicrous, as the concept that women are more valuable because they have a uterus. Our gynocentric culture may indeed treat men as if they are disposable, but that does not then mean that in biological terms they actually are disposable. The mere existence of bigoted beliefs and behaviours that promote a premise that one group of people is “disposable”, does not then translate to such beliefs and behaviours having a justifiable basis in reality. 6 million Jews were considered disposable based on nothing more than outright hatred. All sorts of pseudoscientific justifications were given to assert they were subhuman. The claim men are biologically disposable is a lie embedded within gynocentric elements of our culture to exploit men. It is a lie the manosphere should reject and expose for the rubbish that it is.

Any society that wants to survive and thrive, has the best the chance of doing so when it has large numbers of healthy men to provide the manpower to support it. Losing men costs society. Even in war it makes little sense to lose men in battle if it can be avoided. Those armies that win battles with the least amount of men lost, win the wars. The loss of men, means loss of available manpower and all of the value to society and armies that comes with that manpower. Disposability implies indifference toward the loss of male life and any society that exercises such indifference, jeopardises its own future and eventually is replaced by societies that do not demonstrate such indifference. Natural selection does not favour men that lose their lives in war or from performing dangerous tasks, it favours men that survive such challenges. Men are no more disposable in performing their roles in society, than women are in dying during childbirth. Both are costs that functional societies and natural selection seek to reduce.

The reason men go off to war and are encouraged to do the risky and dangerous tasks for society, is not because society considers them less valuable than women, it is because men are better equipped to undertake those tasks. Men have evolved strengths to perform these tasks more so than women. Just think of how sex differences play out in the special forces of our militaries for example.

There has been considerable loss of male life throughout history, but that is not automatically a reflection of society being indifferent toward the loss of men. We have Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and Memorial Day for a reason, because society does care when men lose their lives and understands the societal cost. If we were completely indifferent toward men’s lives, no such days would exist. That is the dysfunctional society, feminists and the gynocentric traditionalists before them have been driving us toward. A society where men can be exploited with complete societal indifference or even ridiculed for their sacrifice. Misandry in society definitely exists, but we need to delineate the bigotry based on hatred and sophistry, from actual biological reality.

Female Neoteny, Male Competition And The Gender Empathy Gap

Some point to the sex difference in neoteny and the gender empathy gap as proof that females are more valuable than males. I would argue instead that neoteny is at least partly the result of sex differences in reproductive strategies and mating preferences, rather than a difference in biological value. Men sexually select for neoteny in women because that signals youth which is a marker for fertility and women select for less neoteny in men because that signals strength. The male sex gains more from intrasexual competition and a lower degree of neoteny is advantageous in the contexts in which men compete.

The greater intrasexual competition of the male sex is not the result of men having a lower biological value, but is instead an example of male biological value manifesting itself. Competition for men is one way they make use of their talents and men can gain far more reproductively from successful competition than women can, because men can produce many more offspring from the status they acquire. Competition between men has literally built civilisation and has driven enormous levels of innovation and advances. The greater intrasexual competition of men is not proof of male inferiority, but simply a reflection of the greater returns in reproductive fitness that men acquire from investing in such competition and a means of generating survival value which in turn boosts reproductive fitness. It bears repeating that the acts directly related to reproduction like gestation, are not the only form of deriving biological value.

The gender empathy gap is real and I am certainly not denying its existence. I am also fairly certain that there is at the very least some biological predisposition at an emotional level to have a greater concern for female well-being. However this gender empathy gap does not result from women being more biologically valuable than men, because they are the rate limiting factor of reproduction. Over millions of years of evolution, women and their female primate ancestors have developed physical, psychological and social traits to elicit greater social support from their peers. Men have not developed these traits to the same degree that women have. Why is that so? The reason is not because women more valuable than men, it is because women and men have different strategies for maximising reproductive success and different forms of biological value.

As I have discussed earlier, men benefit considerably more from intrasexual competition than women as they can produce far more offspring from doing so. Men also have greater availability to engage in activities that are not directly related to reproduction that enhance the survival of the community and offspring, as they do not have to gestate offspring. This survival value that men generate, allows them to acquire status and influence within a community and access to potential mates. It can also be utilised to improve the health of their offspring and related kin and the wider community they belong to.

Just like the case with intrasexual competition, these activities can all boost men’s reproductive success in ways it cannot for women, because men can father hundreds of offspring from the status they derive from these activities and can also better perform these activities without the added burden of pregnancy. Many of the activity’s men engage in to provide survival value involve risks, competition and are labour intensive. The risk and costs can be high, but the reproductive payoff can be huge. The competitive, risky and demanding activities men engage in to harness their intrinsic value and inherent abilities to generate survival value for the community, related kin and offspring, requires a high level of self-reliance and independence. Being reliant on eliciting social support, is to at least some degree less compatible with the means through which men maximise reproductive success in comparison to what the case is for women.

In contrast women during pregnancy and immediately after childbirth, are less able to provide for themselves. They are also very preoccupied with raising small infants and breastfeeding them after giving birth. This was a physical reality that had be factored into how society was structured for thousands of years, until birth control and modern technological advancements. Before birth control, women may have faced multiple periods of pregnancy during their life under very harsh conditions caring for multiple offspring. In such contexts there would have been unique advantages for women in being able to garner social support from the community to boost female reproductive success. It is predictable they would have evolved strengths to elicit that support.

It is the asymmetry in how each sex maximises their reproductive success, that leads to the sex differences underpinning the empathy gap. Empathy from society is more advantageous to female reproductive success than it is for male reproductive success. This difference may also be the other major factor driving the sex difference that we see in neoteny. It is certainly the case that each sex benefits from eliciting social support from other people and there is certainly overlap. We are not talking about a black and white dichotomy. However there is a greater advantage for women in receiving social support and a greater advantage for men in being self-reliant in terms of reproductive fitness. This leads to sex differences developing where women have greater physical and psychological traits to elicit social support from society than men.

What Are The Biological Origins Of Gynocentrism?

The biological origins of gynocentrism do not lie in a difference in overall biological value between men and women. The root of gynocentrism lies in the difference between male and female reproductive strategies and the conflict that can arise when those two strategies oppose each other. Gynocentrism is an example of what is called sexual conflict in evolutionary biology. Sexual conflict is a phenomenon in which one sex deploys an antagonistic strategy to gain a reproductive fitness advantage at the expense of the other sex. The sexual cannibalism of the male spider being eaten by the female spider, is one example of sexual conflict in the animal kingdom. The sexual coercion or rape of females seen in many species and not just humans, is another example of sexual conflict.

Although it is important to acknowledge that there is a considerable degree of intersexual cooperation in our species, there is also to a certain extent a literal biological battle of the sexes underway in our society. Slogans like, “The Future Is Female” and articles like “Why Can’t We Hate Men?” say it all.

Gynocentrism primarily results from a pathological overexpression of the greater emotional predisposition society has to feel empathy for women relative to men. There are certainly other factors at play, but the overarching force at the core of gynocentrism is the gender empathy gap. Whilst the predisposition to feel greater empathy for women exists, this biological predisposition is not a biological inevitability on its own. Humans can and do have the capacity to control and override their emotional impulses. Impulse control centers in the brain such as the prefrontal cortex, allow people to act on their impulses and emotional drives in an intelligent and strategic way in respect of their social environment. Healthy people are not slaves to their impulses, only addicts are.

With that said, our underlying emotional biases can still make us vulnerable to well-executed social manipulation by others and can be exploited. Gynocentrism is the end result of the weaponisation of female hypoagency by specific and well-organised coalitions of women. Yes it is true, not all women are like that, but there are specific groups of women that have been and continue to be the architects and cheerleaders of gynocentrism. Like men, some women are good people and some women are bad people. The coalitions of women I am talking about, generally come in two flavours- Gynocentric Traditionalists and Feminists. Together with their male lackey’s, they have gradually undermined the relations between the sexes over the centuries and recent decades to the dysfunctional state we see today.

The emotional bias we have to care for women and protect them, has been exploited by these groups of women to manipulate society and specifically men over many centuries, to elevate women over men. Karen Straughan called it, “The Tyranny Of Female Hypoagency”. This antagonistic female sexual conflict strategy has over the course of many centuries, subverted our culture. Traditional gynocentric social narratives like romantic chivalry in past centuries and feminist narratives like patriarchy theory in the modern era, have been developed by these women whilst they have been in positions of authority, wealth and privilege. These women have used their positions of influence in the upper classes of society, in academia, the legal system, journalism and elsewhere, to spread these gynocentric narratives through our governments, courts, institutions, media and wider society.

The narratives promote an exaggerated image of female vulnerability and have been designed to exploit our emotional bias to feel empathy for women to further an agenda. These narratives have been deployed to gradually transform our culture over the decades and centuries, into the gynocentric culture we have today. It has been an ongoing process of cultural subversion from generation to generation, under the camouflage of female vulnerability. Our laws, our institutions, our social norms, our societal attitudes toward men and women and the account of our own history and knowledge of the sexes, have all been gradually warped and rewritten by these powerful gynocentric social narratives. Narratives that exploit our emotional bias to perceive women as helpless and as victims, in need of support and rescue from men and society.

The end goal of the underlying agenda is clear, once the crocodile tears are wiped away and the mask of female vulnerability and hypoagency is removed. Gynocentrism leads to a dysfunctional sexual feudal system, where women hold a privileged position in society in relation to men and eventually the complete dehumanisation of men. Gynocentrism is in essence female supremacy under the disguise of female vulnerability.

Nature abhors a vacuum. As with any imbalance, sooner or later it comes to an end. Gynocentrism or any form of sexual conflict for that matter, that grows to a point where it negatively impacts the overall reproductive fitness of a population, will be selected against. The mismatch between the marginalisation of men in gynocentric societies and female hypergamy, is a major factor causing the fertility rates of many countries to fall below replacement levels. There is no middle ground with gynocentrism and it inevitably grows to a point where it undermines the foundations of society. Gynocentrism is essentially a snake that eventually eats its own tail. It is a long process over many centuries of initial growth and then decline, but eventually gynocentric cultures destroy themselves. It is important to note that while the potential for sexual conflict in our species does exist, so does the potential to adopt a strategy of intersexual cooperation. Eventually functionally adaptive strategies for the species win out and any population that adopts the more optimal cooperative strategy and does not marginalise men, will eventually end up replacing the declining gynocentric societies around them.

There are many other forces at work that play into this gynocentric social manipulation and amplify its effect by orders of magnitude and I cannot address them all in this speech. I will be discussing the origins of gynocentrism further and what is driving it, in further detail in my future articles and also presenting possible solutions. People can learn more about the many flaws of reproductive reductionism and the myth of the golden uterus, by reading my articles on the subject on my website Theantigynocentrist.wordpress.com and in my lecture series on Gynocentrism.com, where I have gone into even greater detail on these topics than in this speech.

Humans are no more a gynocentric species, than we are a murderous species and a tribalistic and genocidal species. All behaviour and I do mean all behaviour, including murder, rape, tribalism and genocide, has a biological component and humans do have a biological predisposition for violence. We don’t make biologically determinist justifications for murder, rape, racism, genocide or violence and we should not do so for gynocentrism either. Whilst we are hardly perfect beings, we do have some capacity to rise above the darker side of human nature and behave as better people.

The line women are more valuable because of their golden uterus and the line men are biologically disposable, are all lies. Lies that have been crafted and promoted in our culture to rationalise the exploitation of men and convince men to see themselves and other men as human doings with zero intrinsic worth, so they will accept their own exploitation. The red pill is subject to so much censorship and attacks by feminists and our gynocentric establishment, because it is the antidote to the gynocentric social narratives that pervade our society. They know the great threat the red pill poses to our gynocentric culture. The red pill disrupts the capacity of gynocentric social narratives to act as effective tools to socially manipulate the behaviour of men and society, by exposing them for what they are- Lies, well-crafted lies. So keep spreading the word and red pilling society!

I will finish this speech with a quote from Esther Vilar the author of The Manipulated Man, “What an advantage a man would have if only he realized the cold, clear thoughts running through a woman’s head while her eyes are brimming with tears!”

Once manipulation is exposed for what it is, like a magic trick exposed, it loses its power. That is the power of the red pill. The power of the truth- Men are human beings, not human doings!

-End Of Speech-

Please move on now to part two of this article.

References:

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR-9U3-iBR4

2. https://gynocentrism.com/2018/12/04/gynocentrism-theory-lectures-peter-ryan/