In several posts and on various other blogger’s comment threads I’ve debated that the social paradigms of chivalry and feminism are cultural engineerings of the feminine imperative. I delved into the history of chivalry in The Feminine Imperative – Circa 1300 and made my best attempt to outline the history of chivalry, the feminine bastardization of it and how it was the cultural parallel and precursor to feminism. Naturally the more romantic leaning of my critics chose to keep their noses in their holy books and epic poems rather than take the time to consider the historical underpinnings of what we now consider chivalry and monogamous romantic love.
A search phrase I was recently using came back with this imbedded in the result:
“Cultural historians believe that romantic love was created sometime in the 14th century”.
The link stated that the idea of “Romantic Love” was created by troubadours in verses by the idea of “Courtly Love” that arose in its beginnings the the end of the 12th century. So I started going back,back,back,back, back (-Chris Berman) and I found this: The Art of Courtly Love
The book is important. The foreword by John Jay Perry was written in 1941. The title of this book is “The Art of Courtly Love” but it is actually a Victorian Era title imposed on the work that has several other different titles as a function of the era when the translation was performed, country where the translator lived, and particular social attitudes prevalent when and where the translator produced the translation. I think the “Romantic Era” was when these ideas of “courtly love” finally percolated up into mainstream thought, well, actually women’s mainstream thought, and defined love as we believe it be today, or at least defined it as women wish that definition to be imposed on men.
The title I generally use is “Treatise on Love”. Andreas Capellenus was the Chaplain of Countess Marie, and the preface goes into all of this history and I don’t want to get it into it. Read it.
It is the seminal work on the subject and there is no earlier work by a European. There is reference to Ibn Hazm, an Islamic writer from Spain, who began to define the idea of “love” in Islamic cultures. It went through a series of other writers in the 13th century and orally communicated through verse and song during the 14th century and made its way into the consciousness of western thought from the 14th century on.
The key thing is that these Troubadours were not some “traveling band” singing for their supper. Maybe later, but at this time, they were major nobles, from both the nobility and the higher noble classes. The first major one referenced was Duke William of Aquitaine, who was Marie’s grandfather. These were important people of the time. This would maybe be like, God forbid, Senator Harry Reid, breaking into a song after dinner about the importance of passing spending bills to ease the particular issues about the “sequester” that are key issues to Democrats or Ben Bernake letting loose about the Quantitative Easing. Ok, maybe not exactly.
The issue at the time, was that, as the historians state, that “Love as we know it did not exist. Marriage was as much as about land and politics as anything else”. It was said you “Married a fiefdom and a wife got thrown in the bargain”. Imagine a time where firelight and sunlight were practically the only light, when people rarely traveled more than 12 miles from their place of birth, when nothing, and I mean nothing, changed. The major cathedral built in Nimes took 38 generations to complete. The skyline never changed, towns remained the same. There were no books. None. All knowledge was conveyed orally and generally died with a person. The only cultural conditioning was what you got by watching the people you saw. And you saw very few people. Even at the peasant level, most marriages were the tossing together of two available young people, and that was that. But particularly at the noble level, all marriages were entirely based on practical considerations and nothing to do with “love” as we know it.
And the major church writers the time, just skewered women. The preface named several, and while I can’t find actual text of the writers specific to women, Bernard de Morlaix, John of Salisbury, I can find overall references to what they said about morality in general. They were a group that very much about self control. And it was thought that due to the “wickedness” of women, it was probably superior to remain a virgin. And thus the idea of the “celibate” priest was born. He could not be “godly”, and should be suspect, if he allowed himself to come under the temptation of women.These guys were definitely the “Red Pill” writers of the time. The general idea was not so much that sex was bad, but women were so bad, and sex was lure, the hook, so they damned sex as a means to keep men from getting ensnared in the traps and wickedness that women lay for men. And the thought has a little bit of merit, I must say.
So, think about this. The men in power at the time, saw some of the stuff we see, and they gave a huge “thumbs down” on women. Huge.
Now, heading into the second 500 years of Christianity, throw a “rubbing elbows” with Moslems in Spain, and this idea of “love” starts to percolate about, sort of this “counter-culture” idea of the time. It did not exist at all before in European culture, this idea of “soul mates” and “intertwined” spirits and “the ennobling qualities of love”, love as the be all and end all, the very reason to live.
And it was made up.
By women. Duh?
So there were moments, during this period 1170-1250 were in certain places the women got control. It the case of this Marie, she got control of this region “Troyes” in southern France when her son was named to be noble over the region and he was 11 years old. So she accompanied him down there and was the defacto “regent” during his “minority”. Her husband became King while she was down there. So this was a woman of major influence. And her sister was married to someone that also became King of someplace else. Their mother had been both Queen of France and then Queen of England after she divorced the King of France. This was a powerful woman who got what she wanted. And two of the chief architects of “love” were her two daughters, who married extremely high status men.
The same thing happened at the same time in about 3 other major places in the area, and these women, began to “flirt: with idea of “Courtly Love”. Flirt maybe is a little weak of word. But the general idea of most writers about the theme is that they “Proposed it as countervailing religion or thought to Christianity.” Christianity had so vilified women during the past 200 years, and this “love” stuff was really one of the first “feminisms”.
And near I am can tell, it was literally the birth of the Feminine Imperative. At least, the birth of the version that we know today.
The general idea was this.
“Women are the love. Women give praise to men and the power of that praise is the driving motivator of men. All good things that men do are only done in the true spirit of love to earn the right to the love that the woman confers to the men. Women define what is good. Women confer status on men by allowing them to receive the love they receive from women as a result of high character and accomplishment”.
So that was why some “Sir Goodguy” white knight would tie the scarf of the woman around his neck during some contest. It was his sign to her that he was doing this brave dead for her love and his recognition that she saw him as good and worthy.
They actually created these things called “The Court of Love”. And these men and women, and you can imagine the men in those courts were the 12th or 13th century equivalents of Manginas, would literally “rule” on love. They would debate questions, actions, and then determine is an act was good or bad and then that further defined “love”. Remember again, this was not idle chit chat after dinner. These were the major movers and shakers of the time. This was the court that would go on to exert cultural and intellectual control over Europe until 1914. And really even later than that. For nearly 1000 years, the French held sway in everything and Paris was the center of the world. Except at this time, this part of France, the south was the big deal.
One example I saw was letter written by a man that said, he and a woman were having heated discussion of two points, (1) Can true love exists in a marriage. (2) Can there be jealousy between the married partners. The Countess, the Queen of Love, at that time wrote back and said “No, love cannot exist in a marriage. Love is freely given and asks for nothing in return. Marriage is a contract of duties. So there is no love in a marriage. And Jealousy is a prerequisite of love and since only lovers could be jealous and since married people were not lovers, then their could be no jealousy in a marriage. ” And that was that. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Love had issued a ruling. And its weight was everything.
And needless to say, it was a mighty convenient development for women that were traded off into marriage as pawns attached to land. So it conferred the key power of social definition and the final say of what is good in men, and good in society, and that women should and will be the definers, and the arbiters, and the judges of all of that.
The translators, and this particular author John Jay Parry, mention that was nothing particularly distinguishing about Andreas Capellanus that would make it seem like he was the person to end up as this great literary figure that wrote a work that is “One of those capital works that explain the thought of a great epoch, which explain the secret of a civilization”. Parry said often, some of the prose was different in style and “meter”, such that it seemed “dictated” to him.
And frankly I am sure the whole book was “dictated” to him. That he was, in fact, as chaplain, the mouthpiece of these women, and his position as Chaplain allowed the viewpoints expressed to be accepted in a way that a work created and made public by women, given what it expresses, would have viewed more critically by readers. Keep in mind that it was written in Latin, and only those who were either Clerics or the nobility could read the thing. What wasn’t literally dictated, was more or less, transcribed thought, and he knew that Marie was final “editor” in the content. And his position, both as Chaplain, and his very livelihood, depending on her being happy with the finished product.
So let me make an analogy, and step just a little bit in time. Things are little muddled today cultural to make a similar one from a very current example.
Consider Hugh Hefner. And consider his show called Playboy After Dark. This was a time of much “friction”, the early 60s. Civil rights and racism are extreme issues. Sexual “freedom” is coming about. The “rights” of just about everyone are much talked about. The setting which was sort of this contrived “salon” from Paris. The set looked like a large living room in a swanky spiffy Playboy bachelor pad. All these “cool”, meaning avante guarde, “open minded”, intellectually superior, artistically superior, liberal people are just hanging out, having a spiffy party. Hef does more for civil rights in a minute than 50 writers do in 10 years by having Sammy Davis Jr on the show. Hef did more for women’s liberation by having a “guest” on the show to talk about it and the camera sees Hef nodding approval, than 50 screeching female professors could ever do.
So then that “cool” boy, that wants to be like Hef, all through the 60s and the 70s, the “cool boy” believes in Equal Rights, Racism, Feminism and this idea of “gender” and “race” being a culturally imposed concept. And that “cool” boy does it exactly because it is “artistically and culturally superior” than the conservative ideas of the time. So then imagine how pervasive both of those viewpoints on Racism and Sexism are today and how “religious” both have become in such a short time, historically. All of us have experienced the reaction of people to our Red Pill beliefs that border on religious arguments. And some of the biggest fighters of what we propose are men. So a philosophy can quickly move from the fringe and become core if the “right” people get behind it and push it.
So then imagine the same thing back in 1200, the “cool” boy, the son of the nobles, that reads latin, has a little bit of education, he thinks the Catholic church is a bunch of sticks in the mud. He is literally built, wired, for sex, to want women. And this idea of “love” makes absolute sense to him, or at least he wants it to make sense, because the top of line, highest status women, those noble women in that area between Barcelona and maybe, Bologna, were all giving approval to those men that bought into it. So by saying “I believe in Love” or “I am in Love’s army”, or “I am a soldier of love”, what he is saying is “I’m cool, man. Please like me.”
And just like today, any guy that goes against Feminism or attacks the behavior of women is shunned. I hurl some attack on women in comments to an article, and some woman comes back with “Oh, I be you just get you tons”. So in 1200, It is “No ‘Love”, then no ‘love’”, you were ostracized by women, at least the cool French Chicks who were the celebs of the day.
And so it takes hold, and as Feminism has co-opted the church, today’s women have imposed their viewpoint on church acceptance of divorce, premarital sex, with the whole idea of the “magic vagina” of women compelling those men into better behavior and better performance, and the woman has the right and the duty to punish him for failure to live up to the love that the woman has given him as a gift that he must continue to earn, the same thing happens with “love”. It co-opts the Catholic church of the day, and throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, “love” creeps into the morality and consciousness of the people at the time. The “love” thing is dominating the “court” and is leaks into the church in the relationship of accomplices that they first and second estate have which each other. It catches on and becomes the dominant aspect of the culture and women are “rehabilited”, seize control, and never let go. They have the “authority” because they have the “morality”, and they drive the course of society by controlling what is “moral” and what is “honorable”. And what constitutes both, from that point forward, are generally what is in the best interest of women, given their situation, given the time.
So why is this important to us?
First, the whole idea of “Courtly Love” was entirely hypergamistic. Entirely. The Capellanus book has as the heart of the second part, 9 dialogues. These dialogues define the Feminine Imperative.
Keep in mind, at this time, there might have been maybe 500 books floating around in total. And this is the only one on this topic available for a 100 years. The only other referenced work before this was Ovid “The Art of Love” and most scholars really see Ovid as more of a satire on the “treatises” written during his day, and not as a REFERENCE MANUAL that people today, including myself (pre-Red Pill) , see it.
I took it as “how to” book. And what it should be titled is “How to be a AFC Beta”. Also keep in mind that books were so rare, that everything thing was relayed as an oral tradition. Even as late at 1513, Luther said he had been a priest for 3 years before he ever even saw a Bible. And that’s the effing bible.
So here you are somewhere in 1200, and this major Noble dude guy, or high status babe, gets up and starts talking or singing about this new “love” thing, and everyone is nodding and agreeing. And if they don’t nod and agree, then they don’t get to be in the group, they’re fired. The High Status women turn on them, and they are ostracized.
So in the 9 dialogues, there are a series of conversations that men of one of three statuses would have with a women of one of the same three statuses. Those statuses being “commoner, noble, high noble”. And these dialogues set the ground work, the rules, of what both men and women of all three classes should, do, feel, and think about “love”. And “love” is only between those classes. Peasants don’t love. They need to stay on the farm and work it. They have no time for “love”. And love is only between people that aren’t married.
And there you go right there, with anachronistic thought. You probably thought, single people. No. Single people weren’t dating and marrying. No way. That was decided by someone else. You were probably going to be part of some arranged marriage. “Love” was between married people, at least married women and a man, but not married to each other. You can already see the way hypergamy is influencing the idea of “love”. Girl gets pawned off as a 14 year old or 15 year old as part of some arrangement between older family members. She probably didn’t like her husband very much, given what we know about women today. And he probably didn’t like her much either. I am sure there were just as many men when they first saw there “betrothed” thought, “Oh fuck, you have got to be shitting me. I have to marry this bitch?”
And in these dialogues, pure hypergamy is enforced and codified. The dialogues enforced class, at least enforced it for men. Men could try and love “up”, but most likely they couldn’t unless they displayed such extreme good character that their character was better than all of the available men in the class of the woman he was “hitting on”. But it also set a nice set of rules for women “move up”. But the women were the ones, in every case, to judge the men, the determine that even though the women were “moving” up, they still were to ones to say “OK, I’ll take you You are worthy of my love”.
And then it also codified acceptance for women to be able to “cheat” on their husbands. “Courtly Love” was only between people that were not married. They got around the 10 commandments, by stipulating that the true lover never asks for sex in return for his love. He loves merely for the purity of his love. And that the whole endeavor was supposed to remain entirely secret. That if it became public, then the “love” was dead. Over. At best he got a kiss, maybe an embrace. Gentlemen in the army of “love” never tell. And Gentlemen never demand sex. Which of course, all of this was bullshit. But since “Courtly Love” was “love” for “love”‘s sake then those husbands couldn’t get jealous, and nobody loves their husband anyway. So it gave a socially acceptable way for this woman that had this beta forced on her by marriage, then get out their and have exposure to the alphas that she truly wanted. And it gave her a social means to circumvent the church. And since everyone, at least everyone who mattered, was married to someone they didn’t like, then it was an early version of “Don’t ask; don’t tell”.
This also forms the basis of monogamy, as we know it, codified by women, in that the definition of it truly benefits women. “The true lover that truly loves only loves the one. He cannot love two. The sight of other women do not affect him because he has true love for his true love.” Notice that there are a lot of “he” and ‘his” words used. The book asserts that those men that would want sex with lots of women and have passion for someone other than “the one” under the guise of love is an an “ass”, mule, dressed up in the finest livery, but still an “ass”.
Schopenhauer said “Love! If you would have thought it up, your fellows would have thought you daft. The mere idea that because a woman allows you her favors, that you should support her for life.”
Well, it was thought up, by these women in the south of France, and it curled around and snaked its way into the current consciousness of people like it was something that people have done since the dawn of men. And it wasn’t.
When you read Capellanus’ statement of what “love” is, it is the seminal definition, the very “jump street”, the Genesis of the codification of “OneItis”. And when you read the dialogues, and then this list of the “Rules of Love” which is the part of the book that is most public, you see the fingerprint of the Feminine Imperative.
I think at some point in my reading, someone had described Capellanus as being very “Copernican”,as in Copernicus, and astrology, threatening the religion and the concept of the world.
I say we use him again in a Copernican manner, as the very argument that the Feminine Imperative is an entirely contrived ideal.
And we reject “love”, as in the definition of it by Capellanus. We see it as the social manipulation that it was to orchestrate the emotions of men, and actions from those emotions, entirely for the benefit of women.
Churchill said “In England, it is permitted unless it is not permitted. In Germany, it is permitted only if it is permitted. In Russia, it is not permitted even if it is permitted. And in France, it is permitted, even when it is not permitted.”
To some degree that combination of all four “permitteds” describes the Feminine Imperative. It is permitted when they want it to be permitted and not permitted when they do not. Even if it is not permitted then it is permitted, if it is in the benefit of women. And especially, it is not permitted even when it is permitted, in the case where it might benefit men at the expense of women.
They only way to put a brunt on the Feminine Imperative is make them pay a cost for their behavior. And the best way for men to do that is the rejection of “love”.
In the words of YaReally, “The manosphere is the new counter-culture”.
We are the new “cool boys”. We are the new “rebels”.
And you need to read Capellanus, and as you read it, to see the manipulation in the pages. Maybe it was adopted because it had social value to blunt the negative behavior or the men of the time and turn it in a constructive direction.
But today it is only something that is used to provide advantage for women. And that advantage is often used at the expense of men, and furthermore, for the punishment of men, the social shaming of men, when women deem the men’s behavior or actions to be at the detriment of women. And they are allowed to be judge, jury, and executioner of their verdict. And no one ever challenges them.
And we begin by rejecting unilaterally, out of hand, “love” for the pack of lies it is.
So I say we use our position as influence peddlers, taste makers, of our day and time, and shame men, Mangina men, and White Knights as fools; toadies for women and their “love”. And make no mistake, that whole White Knight shit comes exactly from this book. We all should read “Treatise on Love”, deconstruct it, and expose it for the bullshit sham it is.
I have ranted this in the past. It is time for men to gain an entirely new consciousness, a new awareness, a entirely new set of constructivism abstracts on which to frame their thinking.
The constant whine, complaint, criticism of the manosphere is that is attacks “love”, it makes “love” impossible, it kills “love”.
And I say, no it doesn’t. It exposes the reality of the impossibility of “love” because “love” is entirely a manufactured ideal. And modern Feminism has brought about the recognition of the impossibility of it and rubbed it in the face of men. If you pine for it, it you whine about it, the end of it, the lack of it, then you deny the truth of it.
Modern life is entirely developed as a means to blunt the natural advantages that men have. This “love” is a further handicap, a weight on your shoulders, that limits your ability to use your advantage, physically, mentally, by women exploiting the emotional advantage that women have over men. She only has this advantage if you allow her to have it.
So discard it. It is religion in you that does not work to your advantage.
So yes, “They have a right to do anything that we can’t stop them from doing”.
But we have the capacity and the ability to make them pay for it.
In the end, and my life right now is living proof of this, they need us more than we need them. We want them; they need us. And the things that most women want, they get from us. And without the handicap of “love”, you can make them pay, and pay, and pay, until they fucking cry uncle.
The Feminine Imperative – Circa 1300
A lot of shit got slung at me last week about making comparisons of chivalry being an antiquated social extension of the Feminine Imperative. I’ve written about the concept of chivalry and its impact on the intergender landscape of today, but as I read through certain select comments in Sanitizing the Imperative and after reading the misconception about chivalry on other blogs I felt the idea of chivalry deserved a bit more attention.
Over the course of my travails in the manosphere one common misperception I read a lot coming from well meaning red pill men, as well as the predictable blue pill white knight is this broken and romanticized notion of what chivalry means to them and should mean for everyone else expected to “play by the rules.” I originally touched upon the convenient use the modern Feminine Imperative has made in making appeals to anachronistic idealisms like chivalry and honor in The Honor System. I then revisited this in a bit more detail after the Concordia shipwreck with the women and children first debate even staunch jezebelers couldn’t resist in Chivalry vs. Altruism:
Chivalry is simply one of many ideologies that was subsumed by westernized romanticism. Chivalry also applied toward things such as not hitting a man while he wasn’t looking or attacking a blatantly undefendable, inferior or even a respected foe. It was originally intended as a code of etheics determined by the Roman Catholic church to control the otherwise lawless and violent natures of soldiers and knights who, understandably, had a tendency for brigandism in the middle ages. What passes for most people’s understanding of chivalry is actually a classic interpretation and bastardization of western romanticisim and the ideologies of ‘courtly love’, which ironically enough was also an effort by the women of the period intended to better control the men of the early and high Renaissance. Essentially it amounted to a taming of the over-dominating masculine influence of the time by laying out a system of prescribed appropriate conditions necessary to satisfy a womans access to her intimacy.
You’ll have to forgive me for indulging in a history lesson for today’s post, but it is necessary. What I find most common in men’s interpretation of chivalry is an almost Disneyesque mental return to knightly virtues of the past that only ever existed in films like Excalibur. My first amazement is that concept of romanticized chivalry have endured as long as they have. This is not due to some provable merit, but rather that the expectations of the more useful aspects of chivalry have benefitted the Feminine Imperative for so long that they’ve become ubiquitous expectations of men – even while coexisting beside a feminism that actively derides them.
So bear with me while we return to the foggy days of medieval Western Europe to search for the true roots of chivalry.
Origins of Chivalry
The year is around 1060 and over the last 100 years or so (i.e. the ‘dark ages’) a feudal system of moneyed landowners and their personal militias have made a mess of things. In spite of the best efforts of containment and control by the Holy Roman Empire, constant violence and sporadic wars amongst these small states have led to a breakdown in the fabric of society. Brigandism and outright barbarism are common amongst these militias – what they lacked was a common enemy, and what the church lacked was resources.
The Holy Roman Empire would provide that common enemy in the form of the Muslim (Moors) infidels to the south and a series of bloody crusades ensued. The Moors of course possessed the resources the church was desirous of, but the church lacked a cohesive social / religious order under which to unite the various militias they needed to process their crusades. Thus was born the code of chivalry.
This code appealed well to the martial pride of the evolving noble class, but further cemented the ideology into the commoners by pairing it with the religious doctrine of the era. The code was thus described as the Ten Commandments of chivalry:
- Believe the Church’s teachings and observe all the Church’s directions.
- Defend the Church.
- Respect and defend all weaknesses.
- Love your country.
- Do not recoil before an enemy.
- Show no mercy to the Infidel. Do not hesitate to make war with them.
- Perform all duties that agree with the laws of God.
- Never lie or go back on one’s word.
- Be generous to everyone.
- Always and everywhere be right and good against evil and injustice.
Not a bad code of ethics under which to unite factions who previously had little better to do than smash each other with maces and steal each other’s resources. It’s a difficult task to get a man to die for another man, but give him an ideology, and that he’ll die for.
The chivalric code worked surprisingly well for over three centuries and was instrumental in consolidating most of the countries that evolved into the Western Europe we know today. However, as with most ‘well intentioned’ social contracts, what originated as a simplistic set of absolute rules was progressively distorted by countervailing influences as time, affluence and imperatives shifted and jockeyed for control.
For all of the influence that the church exerted in using chivalry as a social contract, it was primarily a contract played out amongst men. With the notable exceptions of a few select Queens and Jeanne d’Arc, it was only men who had any true social input either publicly or privately during this time. It wasn’t until the mid-thirteenth century that (noble) women would insert their own imperative into the concept of chivalry.
At the time, chivalry was a mans’ club, and unless she was a widow, women were more or less insignificant in the scope of chivalry. A nobleman might take a wife, but rarely were these marriages romantic in nature. Rather they served as political alliances between states (and often consolidating church control) and a man’s romantic and sexual interests were served by mistresses or the spoils of his conquests. In fidelity was expected in noble marriages.
Enter the French noblewomen Eleanor of Aquitaine and Marie de Champagne. Both of these Ladys were instrumental in attaching the concept of courtly love and romance to the chivalric code that we (somewhat) know today. The wealth and affluence that Western Europe enjoyed from the late medieval to the high renaissance provided the perfect environment into which high-born women were feeling more comfortable inserting their imperative.
Both of these noble women had a love for the traveling troubadours of the time, espousing acts of love and devotion as merits for a new aristocracy. Originally courtly love was a much more pagan ideal, but like the church had done centuries before, when ideologically fused to the chivalric code it gradually proved to be an amazingly effective source of social control over men.
In it’s earliest form, courtly love was much more salacious than the socially controlling device it evolved into:
Properly applied, the phrase l’amour courtois identified an extravagantly artificial and stylized relationship–a forbidden affair that was characterized by five main attributes. In essence, the relationship was
- Aristocratic. As its name implies, courtly love was practiced by noble lords and ladies; its proper milieu was the royal palace or court.
- Ritualistic. Couples engaged in a courtly relationship conventionally exchanged gifts and tokens of their affair. The lady was wooed according to elaborate conventions of etiquette (cf. “courtship” and “courtesy”) and was the constant recipient of songs, poems, bouquets, sweet favors, and ceremonial gestures. For all these gentle and painstaking attentions on the part of her lover, she need only return a short hint of approval, a mere shadow of affection. After all, she was the exalted domina–the commanding “mistress” of the affair; he was but her servus–a lowly but faithful servant.
- Secret. Courtly lovers were pledged to strict secrecy. The foundation for their affair–indeed the source of its special aura and electricity–was that the rest of the world (except for a few confidantes or go-betweens) was excluded. In effect, the lovers composed a universe unto themselves–a special world with its own places (e.g., the secret rendezvous), rules, codes, and commandments.
- Adulterous. ”Fine love”–almost by definition–was extramarital. Indeed one of its principle attractions was that it offered an escape from the dull routines and boring confinements of noble marriage (which was typically little more than a political or economic alliance for the purpose of producing royal offspring). The troubadours themselves scoffed at marriage, regarding it as a glorified religious swindle. In its place they exalted their own ideal of a disciplined and decorous carnal relationship whose ultimate objective was not crude physical satisfaction, but a sublime and sensual intimacy.
- Literary. Before it established itself as a popular real-life activity, courtly love first gained attention as a subject and theme in imaginative literature. Ardent knights, that is to say, and their passionately adored ladies were already popular figures in song and fable before they began spawning a host of real-life imitators in the palace halls and boudoirs of medieval Europe. (Note: Even the word “romance”–from Old French romanz–began life as the name for a narrative poem about chivalric heroes. Only later was the term applied to the distinctive love relationship commonly featured in such poems.)
Last week Dalrock had an outstanding summation of romantic love – Feral Love – that got lost amongst his other posts. This is unfortunate because virtually every thing he brings to light here finds its roots in exactly the romanticized courtly love rituals outlined above. What we consider acts of romance today, what we consider our chivalric duties to uphold in their regard, are all the results of a 13th century feminine imperative’s attempts to better effect women’s innate (and socially repressed) hypergamy. When we think of noble acts of self-sacrifice for women this is where the origins are. One of the more cruel acts of devotion a ‘lover’ may ask of her paramours was to bleed themselves for her; capturing the blood in a vessel after slicing his foram and comparing the amount therein.
In the doldrums of a well provided-for existence, women will actively create the elusive indignation they need to feel alive. The women of the early courts were effectively perfecting the art of maintaining a bullpen of beta orbiters willing to address all of her unmet emotionalism while being fucked raw by their badboy knights to sire royal Alpha children when they returned from campaigns. The courtly love practices of the 13th century served the same purpose for women as Facebook does today –attention – balancing the Alpha seed with the beta need.
As I wrote in last week’s installment, while the Feminine Imperative remains the same, its social extensions for exerting itself change with conditions and environment it finds itself in. There’s been some recent discussion in the manosphere that feminism can only exist in an affluent society that provides sufficient internal social controls to protect the extensions of the Feminine Imperative. For instance, while Slut Walks may be encouraged in Sweden, there are very few in Egypt at the moment. One socioeconomic environment supports the expresion of the imperative, the other does not.
The concept of chivalry, in its original, intent was the result of a social control in an otherwise lawless environment. Later, when affluence accumulated and an upper class evolved, so too do the social extensions of the Feminine Imperative.
Fusing the philosophy and rituals of courtly love with the chivalric code was one such extension of the time – and a more enduring one I’ll add. The major failing most White Knights and moralistically leaning red pill men have today is understanding that the modern concept of chivalry, and all their feel-good Arthurian idealism bastardized for the last millennia, sprang from the want of a more exercisable hypergamy for the women of the era.
It should then come as no shock that the old model of romanticized chivalry would conflict with the more overt social extension of today’s feminism. A want for that old, socially coerced, masculine devotion clashes with the ‘do-it-yourself’ feminism of today.
The birth of chivalric love
Love and war have always been opposed, as we see in our usual phrase ‘make love not war’ or in the rhetoric of pro and anti-war camps. That the two are mutually exclusive is obvious enough. However, in twelfth century Europe something peculiar happened that ushered in a melding of these two contrary principles. Here the military code of chivalry was mated with the fancies of courtly love to produce a bastard child which we will here call chivalric love (today we simply label it ‘chivalry’). Prior to this time chivalry always referred to the military code of behaviour –one that varied from country to country– but one which had absolutely nothing to do with romantic love.
What method did twelfth century society use to bring this about? In a word, shaming.
The medieval aristocracy began to ramp up the practice of shaming by choosing the worst behaviours of the most unruly males and extrapolating those behaviours to the entire gender. Sound familiar? Knights were particularly singled out –much like today’s sporting heroes who display some kind of faux pas– to be used as examples of bad male behaviour requiring the remedy of sweeping cultural reform.
During this time of (supposedly) unruly males, uneducated squires were said to ride mangy horses into mess halls, and rude young men diverted eyes from psalters in the very midst of mass. Among the knights and in the atmosphere of tournaments occasional brawls with grisly incidents occurred – a cracked skull, a gouged eye – as the betting progressed and the dice flew. Male attention to clothing and fashion was said to be appalling, with men happy to go about in sheep and fox skins instead of clothes fashioned of rich and precious stuffs, in colours to better suit them in the company of ladies. And perhaps worst of all were their lack of refinement and manners toward women which was considered offensive.
How and by whom was this unruly gender going to be reformed? One of the first solutions was posed by a French Countess named Marie. According to historian Amy Kelly, with her male reforming ideas;
“Marie organized the rabble of soldiers, fighting-cocks, jousters, springers, riding masters, troubadours, Poitevin nobles and debutantes, young chatelaines, adolescent princes, and infant princesses in the great hall of Poitiers. Of this pandemonium the countess fashioned a seemly and elegant society, the fame of which spread to the world. Here was a woman’s assize to draw men from the excitements of the tilt and the hunt, from dice and games, to feminine society, an assize to outlaw boorishness and compel the tribute of adulation to female majesty.”1
Countess Marie was one among a long line of reformers to help usher in a gynocentrism whose aim was to convince men of their shared flaws –essentially to shame them- and to prescribe romantic love and concomitant worship of females as the remedy. Via this program romantic love was welded onto the military code and introduced as a way to tame men’s rowdiness and brutality, something today’s traditionalists agree with in their call for men to adhere to these same male roles established first in medieval Europe. One of today’s authorities on this period describes the training of knights in her observation, “The rise of courtly love and its intersection with chivalry in the West are both events of the twelfth century. The idea that love is ennobling and necessary for the education of a knight comes out of the lyrics of this period, but also in the romances of knighthood. Here the truest lovers are now the best knights.”2
With romantic love firmly established within the chivalric code we begin to see the romantic behaviours of soldiers so familiar to us today; going to fight and die for his Lady, love letters from the front lines, a crumpled photo of his sweetheart in a uniform pocket. Rather than for man, king and country it is his love for “her” that now drives a man’s military sacrifice. This is also the reason why today’s movies portraying warzones and carnage always include a hero and his Lady/Damsel pausing for a passionate tongue kiss while the bombs explode around them, as if to suggest that all this carnage is for the sake of her and romantic love. Once accepted into the chivalric canon various love “rules” were enforced with military might –by white knights as we call them- and the resulting culture has been unstoppable. To try and stop it brings the wrath of all those white knights who will bury your ass into the ground for breaking this new military “goal” of romantic love.
Prior to the Middle Ages romantic love was usually considered with suspicion and even viewed as a sign of mental instability requiring removal from the source of trouble and perhaps a medical solution. In the context of universally arranged marriages, romantic love, if it was indulged at all, was done so in a discreet and often underground way without the sanction of polite society. This was the situation worldwide until the advent of the European revolution.
The cult of chivalric love took root first among the aristocratic classes and soon after reached the common classes through literature and storytelling. Romance literature in particular. Having germinated initially in Germany and France in the twelfth centuries, the cult spread on the wings of a burgeoning book production industry that would bring the gynocentric revolution to the entire European continent.
When one considers the subjects in these books – Gawain and Guinevere, Tristan and Isolde, heroic male deeds for women, love scandals, courtship, upper-class weddings, adultery, and status – we are reminded immediately of today’s women’s magazines that spill out of the magazine racks of shops and waiting rooms.
Women’s magazines and the omnipresent romance novel –and women’s gluttony for them- can be traced back to this early period in which the term romance was actually coined. According to Jennifer Wollock, a professor of Literature at Texas University, such literature had a substantial female readership along with mothers reading to their daughters. Wollock states that the continuing popularity of chivalric love stories is also confirmed by the provenance of romance manuscripts and contents of women’s libraries of the late Middle Ages.2
The three behaviors of chivalric love-code
Keeping with the male side of the equation, the main behaviors prescribed by the code of chivalric love are the doing of romantic deeds, gallantry and vassalage.
Prior to its redeployment in romantic relationships gallantry referred to any courageous behaviour, especially in battle. The word can still mean that. However, under the rules of chivalric love it became, according to the Google dictionary definition, “Polite attention or respect given by men to women.” Can these two definitions of gallantry be any further apart? Like the contraries of military chivalry vs. chivalric love, these two definitions of gallantry stretch the definition to cover two completely different domains of behaviour. It appears then that women of the time successfully harnessed men’s greatest sacrificial behaviours –chivalry and gallantry- to indulge their narcissistic appetites.
A vassal is defined as a bondman, a slave, a subordinate or dependent, or a person who entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held as a fiefdom. Vassalage was then utilized as a conceit that Maurice Valency called “the shaping principle of the whole design of courtly love.”3 Whether it was a knight, troubadour, or commoner the vassal-to-woman routine was the order of the day then, exactly as it is today.4 Poets adopted the terminology of feudalism, declaring themselves the vassal of the lady and addressing her as midons (my lord), which was taken as standard flattery of a woman. One particularly striking practice showing an adaption from the feudal model involved the man kneeling on one knee before the woman. By kneeling down in this way he assumes the posture of a vassal. He speaks, pledging his faith, promising, like a liege man, not to offer his services to anyone else. He goes even further: in the manner of a serf, he makes her a gift of his entire person.
Citing evidence of vassalism Amy Kelly writes, “As symbolized on shields and other illustrations that place the knight in the ritual attitude of commendation, kneeling before his lady with his hands folded between hers, homage signified male service, not domination or subordination of the lady, and it signified fidelity, constancy in that service.”5
In short it was the lover’s feudal relationship between vassal and overlord which provided the lover with a model for his humble and servile conduct.2
The lead actors – then and now
Imagine twelfth century Europe as a great stage performance enacting the themes of chivalric love, one that would become so popular its actors would continue to serve as role models for the global population 800 years later. The lead actors in this medieval play are as follows, accompanied (in brackets) with the titles we apply to those same actors today as they continue this ancient drama:
Courtly Ladies (= Feminists). Feminists today refer to courtly ladies of the late Middle Ages as the first feminists, or protofeminists, and as with modern feminists these women enjoyed considerable privilege and means. In the 12th – 14th centuries evidence shows that women began to agitate for increased authority over the ‘correct’ way for men and women to conduct relationships, with particular emphasis on what they felt were acceptable roles for males in a dignified and civil society. Not surprisingly this was precisely the time when powerful women were able to establish the female-headed ‘courts of love’ which acted in a comparable way to today’s Family Courts in that both arbitrated love disputes between conflicting couples.
Key literature from the period detailing proper etiquette expected in gender relations was commissioned for writing by powerful women (eg. ‘The Art of Courtly love’) and in some cases was written by women themselves (eg. Christine de Pizan’s writings or those of Marie de France). The emerging discourse acted like a drug that promised the introduction of a one-sided power for females over males, and through the dissemination of romance literature that promise rapidly spread to all social classes in the continent. We have been living with the consequences ever since, a revolution far more significant to the history gender relations than the introduction of the birth control pill and no-fault divorce combined- the latter being mere epiphenomena generated within a larger culture of chivalric love.
The archetypes introduced into society by these high-born ladies are instantly recognizable; the damsel in distress (women as innocent, woman as helpless, women as victim), the princess (women as beautiful, women as narcissistic subject requiring devotion, women as deserving of special privileges), and the high born Ladies (women as morally pure, women as precious, women as superior, women as entitled). These illusions ensured that the attentions of men would be spent attending to women, a program so successful that modern feminists continue to shape today’s cultural landscape with the program of their protofeminists forebears. And just like their forebears, feminists continue to use shaming narratives to facilitate their pedestalizing inheritance.
White Knights (= White Knights). We retain this metaphor for such heroic individuals, men who are gallant in so many ways, but mostly the wrong ways such as showing-off to undeserving women and concomitantly delighting in competing with and hurting other men. More than any other player in this play, white knights specialize in gallant behaviour for the purpose of impressing and ultimately getting their egos stroked by women.
For these first white knights the tournament, the forerunner to modern sporting tournaments, consisted of chivalrous competitions or fights in the Middle Ages. In these fights knights were only too willing to hurt their fellow men to win the praise of female spectators. The competitors were observed doing battle by women who would throw their garments into the arena where the sportsmen would pick them up and wear pieces of women’s clothes -hence the male wearing a particular woman’s scarf would represent her in the tournament.
The men were basically fighting for “her” then, just as they did elsewhere on real battlefields for wife and mother. The gallant man who won his tournament was granted an opportunity to dally with the woman whom he represented in the ring. We retain this gynocentric tradition today as golf tournaments, football tournaments, martial arts tournaments and so on, all designed to show male prowess where the winning competitors get to dally with the best ladies.
Other activities of white knights include impressing women with big gestures of protection. For example, the ‘Enterprise of the Green Shield with the White Lady’ was a chivalric order founded by Jean Le Maingre and twelve knights in 1399 committing themselves to the protection of women. Inspired by the ideal of courtly love, the stated purpose of the order was to guard and defend the honour, estate, goods, reputation, fame and praise of all ladies and damsels, an undertaking that earned the praise of Christine de Pizan. Le Maingre, tired of receiving complaints from ladies, maidens, and widows claiming to be oppressed by powerful men bent on depriving them of the lands and honours, and finding no knight or squire willing to defend their just cause, founded an order of twelve knights sworn to carry “a shield of gold enamelled with green and a white lady inside”.
The twelve knights, after swearing this oath, affirmed a long letter explaining their purpose and disseminated it widely in France and beyond her borders. The letter explained that any lady young or old finding herself the victim of injustice could petition one or more or the knights for redress and that knight would respond promptly and leave whatever other task he was performing to fight the lady’s oppressor personally. The similarities of this Order with contemporary enterprises such as the White Ribbon Campaign in which male “ambassadors” pledge an oath to all of womanhood to never condone, excuse or remain silent about violence against women, and to intervene and take action against any man accused of wrongdoing against a woman. The similarities in these gallant missions make clear that the lineage of white knights has progressed seamlessly into the modern era.
Troubadours I (= PUA and Game promoters). The troubadours’ job was to spread the word about the virtues of chivalric love through music, song, poetry and storytelling. Aristocracy and commoner alike enjoyed hearing tales about bravery, and ladies were swept away with epic love poems as the troubadours practiced the rituals of chivalric love. Just like PUAs or Gamers today who write and speak in praise of pussy, troubadours too were composers and promoters of the ‘arts of love’ aimed at securing sexual fulfilment.
Like those troubadours, Roosh and Roissy (etc.) continue the tradition of prose-writing to illustrate the many ways to flatter women in order to get into their pants. Game is a very apt word for this 800 yr old tradition, with its proscription for rehearsed lines and lack of personal authenticity. It is a scripted game of women-worship aimed at a narrow goal. In essence this Casanova routine amounts to a feigning of chivalric love for the purposes of manipulation, usually to gain sex. When modern women call these men ‘players’ they may be very close to the mark. While Roosh et.al. outwardly claim to reject chivalry, they nevertheless embrace its tenets like consummate thespians.
Troubadours II (= Profeminist Men – sometimes derogatorily named ‘manginas’). Unlike the troubadours mentioned above who advocated for a love aimed at sexual fulfillment, Troubadour II advocated a more idealized love of longing that did not consummate in sexual fulfillment. In essence these men more resembled sycophantic Romeos than horny Casanovas. The guiding concept for them was called “fin’ amors,” which meant pure love. Such men were particularly prevalent in the north of France, whereas in the south we see that troubadours (type I mentioned up above) celebrated a love that was adulterous or carnal in which full sexual encounters were sought.
Another thing that distinguished type II troubadours from the former is authenticity. These men appeared to identify wholly with the role and were not merely players. The desire to serve women as their vassal, or perhaps as their masochistic slave, called upon their innermost character. Think of today’s version being the typical profeminist men who work slavishly to pass on the message of their feminist superiors, much as these troubadours slaved to advocate the narcissistic idiosyncrasies of their Ladies. The vassalage role applies here more than with any other character of the Middle Ages – not as a merely pretentious means-to-an-end routine to gain sex, but rather as a soul-affirming act.
Which brings us to what the MHRM refers to as gynocentrism. It is clear from the foregoing that unless evidence of (broadspread) gynocentric culture can be found prior to the Middle Ages, then gynocentrism is precisely 800 years old. In order to determine if this thesis is valid we need first to define exactly what we mean by “gynocentrism”.
The term gynocentrism has been in circulation since the 1800’s, as far as I can tell, with the general definition being “focused on women; concerned with only women.”6 Adam Kostakis further qualifies gynocentrism as, “male sacrifice for the benefit of women” and “the deference of men to women,” and he concludes; “Gynocentrism, whether it went by the name honor, nobility, chivalry, or feminism, its essence has gone unchanged. It remains a peculiarly male duty to help the women onto the lifeboats, while the men themselves face a certain and icy death.”7
From these definitions we see that gynocentrism could refer to any one female-centered practice in an otherwise androcentric society, or to even a single gynocentric act carried out by one individual. With this broad usage in mind the phrase ‘gynocentric culture’ proves more precise for the purposes of this essay , which phrase I will define here as any culture instituting rules for gender relationships that benefit females at the expense of males across a broad range of measures.
At the base of our current form of gynocentrism lies the practice of enforced male sacrifice for the benefit of women. If we accept this definition we need to look back and ask the accompanying question of whether male sacrifices throughout history were always made for the sake of women, or alternatively for the sake of some other primary goal? For instance, when men went to die in vast numbers in wars, was it for women, or was it rather for Man, King and Country? If the latter we cannot then claim that this was a result of some intentional gynocentric culture, at least not in the way I have defined it here. If the sacrifice isn’t intended for the benefit women, even if women were occasional beneficiaries of male sacrifice, then we are not dealing with gynocentrism.
Male disposability strictly “for the benefit of women” comes in strongly only after the advent of the 12th century gender revolution in Europe – a revolution that delivered us terms like gallantry, chivalry, chivalric love, courtesy, romance and so on. From that period onward gynocentric practices grew exponentially, culminating in the demands of today’s feminism. In sum, gynocentrism was a patchy phenomenon at best before the middle ages, after which it became ubiquitous.
With all this in mind it makes little sense to talk of gynocentric culture starting with the industrial revolution a mere 200 years ago (or 100 or even 30 yrs ago), or of it being two million years old as some would argue. We are not simply fighting two million years of genetic programming; our culturally constructed enemy is much, much simpler to pinpoint and to potentially reverse. The historical evidence is strong. All we need do now is look at the circumstances under which gynocentrism first began to flourish and attempt to reverse those circumstances. Specifically, if gynocentric culture was brought about by the practice of shaming, then that is the enemy to target in order to reverse the entire enterprise. For me that process could begin by rejecting the fake moral purity to which women of the last millennia have pretended and against which the worst examples of men have been measured in order to shame the entire gender.
1. Amy Kelly, ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine and Her Courts of Love’ Source: Speculum, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Published by Medieval Academy of America, 1937)
2. Jennifer G. Wollock, Rethinking Chivalry and Courtly Love, (Published by Praeger, 2011)
3. Maurice Valency, In Praise of Love: An Introduction to the Love Poetry of the Renaissance, (Macmillan, 1961)
4. For an excellent article about vassaldom today see Gordon Wadsworth’s ‘The Western Butler and his Manhood’ which indicates an unbroken line between the romantic vassaldom of the Middle Ages and the “butler” role expected of males today. (Published on AVfM, 2013)
5. Amy Kelly, ‘Did Women Have a Renaissance?’ in Women, History, and Theory (Published by UCP Press, 1984)
6. Dictionary.com – Gynocentric
7. Adam Kostakis, Gynocentrism Theory – (Published online, 2011). Although Kostakis assumes gynocentrism has been around throughout recorded history, he singles out the Middle Ages for comment: “There is an enormous amount of continuity between the chivalric class code which arose in the Middle Ages and modern feminism… One could say that they are the same entity, which now exists in a more mature form – certainly, we are not dealing with two separate creatures.”
*This article first published at A Voice for Men on 25 March, 2013.