Why is it always about her? Gynocentrism as a narcissistic pathology

narcissism

In this article I set out to show that gynocentrism is a gendered expression of narcissism, and that it operates in the limited context of heterosexual relationships.

To make a case that gynocentrism is narcissism we first have to define what narcissism is, which can be done by recounting the original Greek myth of narcissus, followed by an overview of how the concept was taken up by the field of psychology and elaborated into a diagnostic entity. Finally this article will take the diagnostic entity of narcissism as described by psychologists and compare its criteria with those typically applied to the notion of gynocentrism to discover how closely, and in what ways, the two concepts align.

Narcissus myth

One day the handsome youth Narcissus became thirsty after a day hunting in the mountains with his companions. After discovering a pool of water he leaned upon its edge to drink and saw himself reflected in the water. Narcissus did not realize it was merely his own reflection and fell deeply in love with it, as if it was somebody else. Here is the account of his ordeal as told by Ovid:

While he seeks to slake his thirst another thirst springs up, and while he drinks he is smitten by the sight of the beautiful form he sees. He loves an unsubstantial hope and thinks that has substance which is only shadow. He looks in speechless wonder at himself and hangs there motionless in the same expression, like a statue carved from Parian marble. Prone on the ground, he gazes at his eyes, twin stars, and his locks, worthy of Bacchus, worthy of Apollo; on his smooth cheeks, his ivory neck, the glorious beauty of his face, the blush mingled with snowy white: all things, in short, he admires for which he is himself admired. Unwittingly he desires himself; he praises, and is himself what he praises; and while he seeks, is sought; equally he kindles love and burns with love. How often did he offer vain kisses on the elusive pool. How often did he plunge his arms into the water seeking to clasp the neck he sees there, but did not clasp himself in them!

What he sees he knows not; but that which he sees he burns for, and the same delusion mocks and allures his eyes. O fondly foolish boy, why vainly seek to clasp a fleeting image? What you seek is nowhere; but turn yourself away, and the object of your love will be no more. That which you behold is but the shadow of a reflected form and has no substance of its own. With you it comes, with you it stays, and it will go with you — if you can go.

No thought of food or rest can draw him from the spot; but, stretched on the shaded grass, he gazes on that false image with eyes that cannot look their fill and through his own eyes perishes. Raising himself a little, and stretching his arms to the trees, he cries:

“Did anyone, O ye woods, ever love more cruelly than I? You know, for you have been the convenient haunts of many lovers. Do you in the ages past, for your life is one of centuries, remember anyone who has pined away like this .” I am charmed, and I see; but what I see and what charms me I cannot find — so great a delusion holds my love. And, to make me grieve the more, no mighty ocean separates us, no long road, no mountain ranges, no city walls with close -shut gates; by a thin barrier of water we are kept apart. He himself is eager to be embraced. For, often as I stretch my lips towards the lucent wave, so often with upturned face he strives to lift his lips to mine. You would think he could be touched — so small a thing it is that separates our loving hearts. Whoever you are, come forth hither! Why, O peerless youth, do you elude me? or whither do you go when I strive to reach you? Surely my form and age are not such that you should shun them, and me too the nymphs have loved.

Some ground for hope you offer with your friendly looks, and when I have stretched out my arms to you, you stretch yours too. When I have smiled, you smile back; and I have often seen tears, when I weep, on your cheeks. My becks you answer with your nod; and, as I suspect from the movement of your sweet lips, you answer my words as well, but words which do not reach my ears. — Oh, I am he! I have felt it, I know now my own image, t burn with love of my own self; I both kindle the flames and suffer them. What shall I do. Shall I be wooed or woo. Why woo at all? What I desire, I have; the very abundance of my riches beggars me. Oh, that I might be parted from my own body! and, strange prayer for a lover, I would that what I love were absent from me! And now grief is sapping my strength; but a brief space of life remains to me and I am cut off in my life’s prime. Death is nothing to me, for in death I shall leave my troubles; I would he that is loved might live longer; but as it is, we two shall die together in one breath.”

He spoke and, half distraught, turned again to the same image. His tears ruffled the water, and dimly the image came back from the troubled pool. As he saw it thus depart, he cried: “Oh, whither do you flee? Stay here, and desert not him who loves thee, cruel one! Still may it be mine to gaze on what I may not touch, and by that gaze feed ray unhappy passion.” While he thus grieves, he plucks away his tunic at its upper fold and beats his bare breast with pallid hands. His breast when it is struck takes on a delicate glow; just as apples sometimes, though white in part, flush red in other part, or as grapes hanging in clusters take on a purple hue when not yet ripe. As soon as he sees this, when the water has become clear again, he can bear no more ; but, as the yellow wax melts before a gentle heat, as hoar frost melts before the warm morning sun, so does he, wasted with love, pine away, and is slowly consumed by its hidden fire.1

Unable to leave the allure of his own image, he came to realize that his love could not be reciprocated. Unable to eat, his body slowly wasted away from the fire of passion burning inside him, eventually disappearing entirely and turning into a golden narcissus flower that still grows along the water’s edge today.

Narcissism as a psychological designation

Artist’s impression of Princess Cottongrass

Twentieth century psychiatrists saw in the Narcissus myth a useful metaphor for behaviors they were documenting in some of their patients, and so chose to refer to those behaviors as narcissism. As the figure chosen for representing narcissism was male, it may have helped to birth an assumption that it’s a mostly male pathology, which is misleading as both men and women suffer from narcissism. Those early psychiatrists might just as easily have chosen a female character to symbolize the self-absorbed personality, such as Little Princess Cottongrass of fable who, like Narcissus, became fixated ‘with her own heart’ by a pool of water.2 Little Princess Cottongrass Personality Disorder however doesn’t quite have a clinical ring to it.

The development of narcissism as a psychological concept has a long and complex history, covering ideas like primary narcissism which is viewed as a healthy ingredient of childhood development, through to pathological manifestations that cause personal and interpersonal suffering, such as narcissistic neurosis or narcissistic personality disorder.

For the purpose of this article we will turn to the DSM-5 which includes one of the best descriptions of pathological narcissism, which it describes as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.”3 The DSM’s nine diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder will be given below and compared point-by-point with typical attributions made of gynocentrism by key/relevant writers and scholars.

Acquired Situational Narcissism

Robert B Millman, Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell University, coined the phrase, “acquired situational narcissism” (ASN).4 It is narcissism that is brought about or “triggered” by an experience of celebrity status that manifests the same symptoms as narcissistic personality disorder. Millman suggests that it can also be triggered by an experience of power that comes with any favored or privileged social status or occupational position. In that sense it is the environment that facilitates the exaggeration of narcissistic traits in an individual that may have only existed previously as a mild trait or as latent potential.

Some possible examples of acquired situational narcissism are;

Cultural narcissism (A culture-specific manifestation of narcissism)5,6
Ingroup narcissism (Ingroup-specific manifestations of narcissism)7
Medical narcissism (Narcissism among medical professionals)8
Celebrity narcissism (Narcissism among individuals achieving fame)9
Leadership narcissism (Narcissism among leaders and CEOs)10

And, following these examples, I include gynocentrism as a situational manifestation of narcissism, i.e.;

Gynocentric narcissism (Narcissism displayed by women/girls in intimate relationships with men/boys).11

Gynocentrism

Before going on to compare gynocentric narcissism with the DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder, we will need to isolate a consensual understanding of gynocentrism from historical texts and modern theory. We will start with two key historical texts, the first being from Lester F. Ward who was the first person to propose a general theory of gynocentrism, and the second from Irish author George A. Birmingham;

In 1903 Lester F. Ward defined gynocentrism this way:

“The gynæcocentric theory is the view that the female sex is primary and the male secondary in the organic scheme, that originally and normally all things center, as it were, about the female.”12

In 1914 George A. Birmingham wrote:

“American social life seems to me — the word is one to apologize for — gynocentric. It is arranged with a view to the convenience and delight of women. Men come in where and how they can.”13

In these pithy definitions gynocentrism frames women as superiors in their relation to men who are positioned to support women’s ‘convenience and delight’ where and how they can.

In her 1988 paper feminist Iris M. Young confirms the gynocentric principle of “superiority” of female values over male values, suggesting the superiority continues to rest on a biological basis as it did for Lester F. Ward back in 1903. Young states;

“Gynocentric feminism… argues for the superiority of the values embodied in traditionally female experience and rejects the values it finds in traditionally male dominated institutions… Gynocentric feminism finds in women’s bodies and traditionally feminine activity the source of positive values. Women’s reproductive processes keep us linked with nature and the promotion of life to a greater degree than men’s. Female eroticism is more fluid, diffuse, and loving than violence-prone male sexuality. Our feminine socialization and traditional roles as mothers give us the capacity to nurture and a sense of social cooperation that may be the only salvation of the planet… within traditional femininity lie the values that we should promote for a better society.”14

Note here the biological essentialism appearing from Lester Ward through to Young who states that “Gynocentrism’s most important contribution is its affirmation of difference”14 Young clarifies that the superiority of “women’s bodies” and associated values are central tenets of both gynocentrism and third wave feminism, a biological essentialism that antifeminists appear not to have noticed in their rush to denounce the ‘gender is an arbitrary social construct’ stance of some second-wave feminists.15

Since the 1970s most exploration of gynocentrism has been carried out by feminists from the perspective of what it means to or feels like for women – i.e., they ask how does the practice of gynocentrism serve to strengthen women’s ego-identity and improve their sense of dignity and wellbeing. Notably no equivalent discussion of men and boys has taken place in terms of their experience of gynocentrism, thus the female-biased examination of gynocentrism is imbalanced and requires the inclusion of male, and also neutral, perspectives in order to give a more complete overview of the topic.

Since the turn of the millennium new research into the nature and dynamics of gynocentrism – from male-inclusive, and humanist points of view – has provided a more detailed understanding of gynocentrism. The following presents a synopsis of eight of these contributors: Alison Tieman, Paul Elam, Paul Nathanson & Katherine Young, Adam Kostakis, Peter wright, Dennis Gouws, and Peter Ryan.

Alison Tieman
“In my opinion – and this is just from observing the social systems as they play out – I would say that gynocentrism prioritizes women’s protection and provision.”16

Paul Elam
“For me gynocentrism is simply the ingrained human tendency to prioritize the needs and wants of women over the needs and wants of men. In its development culturally its not near that simple, and its development biologically its not near that simple. But as it manifests itself in the realm of sexual politics I do call it the tendency in human beings to prioritize the needs and wants of women over the needs and wants of men… The reason I like to frame it in terms of needs and wants is because in this gynocentric milieu, the gynocentric landscape in which we live, its not just protection and provision that women have the demand of the culture around them, it is everything. Its protection, its provision, its privilege, its power, its believe the woman, its, ynow, if I say something I don’t want to be questioned; this goes way beyond protection and provision. 16

“How did chivalry go from being a military code to being a codified standard for men to meet in their protective treatment of women? The answer to that is a matter of historical record; it was through manipulation of the gynocentric instinct. In the twelfth century Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughter Marie de Champagne engaged in an intensive campaign to popularize the idea of courtly or romantic love… Eleanor, a woman of serious means and influence, sort of like a supersized Betty Friedan of the high Middle Ages saw an opportunity in this to promote a connection between men and women inspired by passion and infatuation and driven by a model of service – particularly of service to women. She and her daughter commissioned troubadours who borrowed from the ethics of military chivalry to write books and songs that carried this message to all the European courts. Even though the message was meant primarily for the aristocracy it eventually filtered down into the general population and quickly grew in popularity… The advent of romantic chivalrous love took the naturally occurring tendency in men to take care of women and made the first great leap toward a gynocentric society that would tolerate and indeed encourage all manner of insanity in the name of putting women first.”17

Paul Nathanson & Katherine Young
“Gynocentrism is a form of essentialism – as distinct from scholarship or political activity on behalf of women – to the extent that it focuses on the innate virtues of women. But this worldview is explicitly misandric too, because it not only ignores the needs and problems of men but also attacks men. Misandry is a form of dualism that focuses on the innate vices of men. In this moral or even ontological hierarchy , women are at the top and men are at the bottom.”18

Adam Kostakis
“The traditional idea under discussion is male sacrifice for the benefit of women, which we term Gynocentrism. This is the historical norm, and it was the way of the world long before anything called ‘feminism’ made itself known. There is an enormous amount of continuity between the chivalric class code which arose in the Middle Ages and modern feminism, for instance. That the two are distinguishable is clear enough, but the latter is simply a progressive extension of the former over several centuries, having retained its essence over a long period of transition. 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.19

“And what is the logical outcome – say, if tomorrow, feminists got everything they are advocating for today? We would be plunged immediately into a two-tier system of rights and obligations, where men and women form distinct castes of citizen, the former weighed down by the obligations that enable the latter to luxuriate in their total autonomy. Life for women would be a literal lawlessness, while men’s every move would be dictated from above, geared to the purpose of providing for all female needs and wants. It would not be inappropriate to call such a system sexual feudalism, and every time I read a feminist article, this is the impression that I get: that they aim to construct a new aristocracy, comprised only of women, while men stand at the gate, till in the fields, fight in their armies, and grovel at their feet for starvation wages. All feminist innovation and legislation creates new rights for women and new duties for men; thus it tends towards the creation of a male underclass.20

“So, here is the definition I offer up: feminism is the most recent, and presently the most culturally dominant form of Gynocentrism. It is a victim ideology which explicitly advocates female supremacy, at every facet of life in which men and women meet; it does so in accordance with its universalizing tendency, and so it does so in each sphere of life, including but extending beyond the political, social, cultural, personal, emotional, sexual, spiritual, economic, governmental and legal. By female supremacy, I refer to the notion that women should possess superiority of status, power and protection relative to men. It is the dominant cultural paradigm in the Western world and beyond. It is morally indefensible, although its adherents ensure that their hegemony goes unchallenged through the domination of societal institutions and the use of state violence.”21

Peter Wright
“[Gynocentric] chivalry is alluded to by alternative terms such as benevolent sexism, romantic love, gentlemanliness, courtesy, gallantry, heroism, or simply chivalry. The practice has roots in what some scholars have referred to as chivalric ‘love service,’ (Bennett, 2013) a ritualized form of devotion by men toward women popularized by troubadours in the Middle Ages. The earliest conceptualization of love service borrowed from the vocabulary of medieval feudalism, mimicking ties between a liegeman and his overlord; i.e., the male lover is referred to as homo ligius (the woman’s liegeman, or ‘my man’) who pledged honor, and servitium (service) to the lady via a posture of feudal homage. The lady was addressed as midons (literally ‘my lord’), and also by dominus (denoting the feudal Lady) (Alfonsi, 1986). These practices form the ideological taproot of modern romantic chivalry.

The conventions and indeed the lived practices of romantic chivalry celebrated first among the upper classes made their way by degrees eventually to the middle classes and finally to the lower classes – or rather they broke class structure altogether in the sense that all Western peoples became inheritors of the customs regardless of their social station. Today chivalry is a norm observed across the majority of global cultures, an explicitly gynocentric norm aimed to increase the comfort, safety and power of women, while affording men a sense of purpose and occasional heroism in addressing that same task.

C.S. Lewis referred to the growth of romantic chivalry as “the feudalisation of love,” (Lewis, 2013, p. 2) making the observation that it has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched. He observed that European society has moved essentially from a social feudalism, involving a contractual arrangement between a feudal lord and his vassal, to a sexual feudalism involving a comparable contract between men and women as symbolized in the act of a man going down on one knee to propose marriage.22

“The dominant features of gender relations today come from old Europe in the forms of damseling, chivalry and courtly-love. Together they form the customs, in fact the essence, of modern gynocentric culture.23

Dennis Gouws
“This conservative approach to chivalry, one whose paternalism has surely outlived its usefulness in the twenty-first century, offers men little and confines them to a life of gynocentric pleasing and male disposability in the service of gynocentric chivalry. What this approach has in common with gender feminism is the way it suggests gynocentrism is essential and congruent with society—its natural and normal protocol—rather than being one philosophy among many. The second approach placed the onus on changing chivalry on women and their expectations. Ashley suggested that “It is women who need to figure out what roles they would have men perpetuate, and encourage those over the less-preferred actions.” This approach completely objectifies men and empowers women to dictate what they want men to do to please women. It is gynocentric, strategic, and impersonal; it is a gender-feminist approach. As much of this chapter has suggested, it is harmful to men and women who seek gender equity.

“Michael Kimmel (Kalish & Kimmel, 2010) popularized the concept of aggrieved entitlement which can succinctly be defined as “a gendered emotion, a fusion of that humiliating loss of manhood and the moral obligation and entitlement to get it back” (p. 454). Because Kimmel’s sympathies lie with gender feminism, he is uninterested in how this concept might apply to women’s behavior. Women might express aggrieved entitlement when they experience what they perceive to be a humiliating loss of the gynocentric privilege to which gynocentric chivalry, gender feminism, and hegemonic gynarchy have entitled them. Self-righteous, angry expressions of personal offense and even violent acts might result from their perceived moral obligation to regain their sense of gynocentric privilege. A cursory internet search of gender-feminist responses to men’s-issues speakers on campus and to the establishing men’s groups or other male-positive spaces on campus will provide examples of this aggrieved entitlement.”24

Peter Ryan
I define gynocentrism as the following: The set of elements of society and relationships that are directed by the intent to prioritise female well-being over male well-being, based solely or partly on the sex of the intended beneficiary(ies) being female and for which there are no equivalent efforts made to provide corresponding commensurate benefits to males.

I define well-being as the quality of the overall condition of the life of an individual or group, that is based on taking their mental and physical health and life satisfaction into consideration.

The diagnostic criteria that must be met for an element of society or relationships to be considered gynocentric are the following: 1. The element must be driven by the intent to prioritise female well-being over male well-being. 2. This intent must be solely or partly based on the sex of the intended beneficiary(ies) being female. 3. There must be no equivalent efforts made to provide commensurate benefits to males for instances where female well-being is prioritised over male well-being.”25

♦ ♦ ♦

Lastly I will give two online definitions of gynocentrism before summarizing the material above; the first from Encyclopedia.com, and the second from the Oxford Online Dictionary:

Gynocentrism: Is a radical feminist discourse that champions woman-centered beliefs, identities, and social organization.”26

Gynocentric: Centered on or concerned exclusively with women; taking a female (or specifically a feminist) point of view.”27

Summary of descriptions of gynocentrism:

1. By definition males and females in gynocentric relationships are ‘woman-centered’ as per the suffix -centrism. In this respect gynocentrism is contrary to relationships that are centered in reciprocity between partners.
2. A gynocentric relationship requires specific gender roles: men are expected to behave benevolently sexist/chivalric toward women; and women are to assume a biologically and morally superior. (“pedestalized”) posture typical of the romantic love tradition, with an accompanying expectation of entitlement to benefits.
3. Gynocentrism is focused on maximizing the benefits of convenience, comfort, pleasure, needs, wants, protections, provision, power and self-esteem of women.
4. It takes place in heterosexual relationships, or by extension in relationships where stereotypical heterosexual roles can be mimicked. In this sense it is situational (heterosexual relationships) rather than universal and general.
5. It obliterates male humanity, and variety of potential masculinities, and replaces them with the singular masculinity of chivalric servant. Masculine variety of every non-gynocentric kind is viewed as a failure and affront to the gynocentric mandate.

DSM criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The DSM-5 states that narcissistic personality disorder is indicated by the presence of at least 5 of the following 9 criteria. For the purpose of comparing the DSM criteria with traits typical of the gynocentric woman [GW], I will place the latter in red font under each of the DSM points:

• A grandiose sense of self-importance (eg, the individual exaggerates achievements and talents and expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
[GW] Sees self as ‘superior’ to males (eg. physically, morally, creatively, aesthetically, emotionally) based on the fact of being born female.12, 14
• A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
[GW] Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love, especially in the gendered context of the romantic love tradition.28
• A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
[GW] Gynocentric feminists have long celebrated women’s special and unique “ways of knowing,” along with the mystical association women share through these paths.29, 30
• A need for excessive admiration
[GW] Expects pedestalization of women by men. Pedestalization is defined by some authors as a synonym or central defining feature of gynocentrism.31, 32
• A sense of entitlement (ie, unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations)
[GW] Feels entitled to receive gestures of benevolent sexism/chivalry, and deferential behavior from intimate and familial males.33
• Interpersonally exploitive behavior (ie, the individual takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends)
[GW] Seeking, expecting, pressuring, or demanding benevolent sexism from men in order to secure benefits of comfort, pleasure, needs, wants, protections, provision, power and self-esteem, including the use of punishing gestures for failures or non-compliance, is sexually exploitative 22
• A lack of empathy (unwillingness to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others)
[GW] Women and men collude in squelching empathic recognition of men’s issues. This approach is actively promoted by gynocentric feminists who treat dispensation of empathy as a zero-sum activity and scarce resource reserved for women.34, 35
• Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her
[GW] Envy of other women’s beauty (competitive edge for securing male resources),36 and a potential for penis envy (a symbolic generalization representing male potency and provision).37
• A demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes
[GW] Displays an attitude and behavior of superiority over, and concomitant contempt for, men and boys.21, 38, 39

Gynocentrism can further be identified among items in the online narcissism lexicon:

Narcissistic supply is a concept introduced into psychoanalytic theory by Otto Fenichel in 1938 to describe a type of admiration, interpersonal support or sustenance drawn by an individual from his or her environment and essential to their self-esteem. The term is typically used in a negative sense, describing a pathological or excessive need for attention or admiration that does not take into account the feelings, opinions or preferences of other people. Self psychologist Heinz Kohut saw those with narcissistic personality disorder as disintegrating mentally when cut off from a regular source of narcissistic supply. Those providing supply to such figures may be treated as if they are a part of the narcissist, in an eclipse of all personal boundaries.40 These same motivations and behaviors can be readily seen in women’s search for, and expectation of, chivalric supplies from men.33

Narcissistic injury is a psychological wounding of the self through lack of ego-reinforcing supplies (narcissistic supplies). Such a blow typically lowers the narcissist’s self-esteem and produces feelings of humiliation, shame and rage.41 When it comes to narcissistic supplies women are often afforded priority over men, as we witness in common phrases such as “The wedding is her special day,” “Ladies before gentlemen,” “Aint nobody happy if mamma isn’t made happy,” “Women and girls first,” “Whatever she wants, she gets,” “Men must pay the bill for dinner,” etc. When denied the experience of such gynocentric entitlements women tend to experience injury and may express a sense of aggrieved entitlement.24

Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury, which is a perceived threat to a narcissist’s self-esteem or self-worth. It occurs on a continuum, which may range from instances of aloofness and expressions of mild irritation or annoyance to serious outbursts, including violent attacks and murder. For Heinz Kohut, narcissistic rage is related to narcissists’ need for total control of their environment, including “the need for revenge, for righting a wrong, for undoing a hurt by whatever means.”42 It is an attempt by the narcissist to turn from a passive sense of victimization to an active role in giving pain to others, while at the same time attempting to rebuild their own (actually false) sense of self-worth.43 It may also involve self-protection and preservation, with rage serving to restore a sense of safety and power by destroying that which had threatened the narcissist. Viewed in the context of gynocentric relationships, the narcissistic rage, or rather gynocentric rage, is captured in the phrase “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” which indicates that a woman who cannot make someone love her can become extremely angry and vindictive.

In their paper aptly titled The Allure of Sexism, Matthew D. Hammond et.al. studied whether women’s feeling of entitlement to special treatments — which they emphasize is a central facet of narcissism based on feelings of superiority and deservingness — was linked with endorsement of benevolent sexism by women across time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study found that a psychological sense of entitlement in women does mediate endorsement of benevolent sexism. Moreover, the researchers theorized that characteristics of narcissistic entitlement – those which drive resource-attainment and self-enhancement strategies – are the same qualities that promote women’s adoption of benevolent sexism:

“First, benevolent sexism facilitates the capacity to gain material resources and complements feelings of deservingness by promoting a structure of intimate relationships in which men use their access to social power and status to provide for women (Chen et al., 2009). Second, benevolent sexism reinforces beliefs of superiority by expressing praise and reverence of women, emphasizing qualities of purity, morality, and culture which make women the ‘‘fairer sex.’’ Indeed, identifying with these kinds of gender-related beliefs (e.g., women are warm) fosters a more positive self-concept (Rudman, Greenwald, & McGhee, 2001).

Moreover, for women higher in psychological entitlement, benevolent sexism legitimizes a self-centric approach to relationships by emphasizing women’s special status within the intimate domain and men’s responsibilities of providing and caring for women. Such care involves everyday chivalrous behaviors, such as paying on a first date and opening doors for women (Sarlet et al., 2012; Viki et al., 2003), to more overarching prescriptions for men’s behavior toward women, such as being ‘‘willing to sacrifice their own well-being’’ to provide for women and to ensure women’s happiness by placing her ‘‘on a pedestal’’ (Ambivalent Sexism Inventory; Glick & Fiske, 1996). Thus, women higher in psychological entitlement should be particularly enticed by benevolent sexism because it justifies provision and praise from men as expected behavior and does not require women to reciprocate the reverence or material gains, which men provide.’ (Hammond, et.al., 2014, pp. 3-4).”33

Recognition of narcissism among feminist women is also not new. In her paper ‘Who Put The “Me” in Feminism,’ Imogen Tyler admits to the widespread recognition of narcissism in the feminist movement by wider society. Tyler attempts to put a positive spin on the practice, reframing the predilection among feminists as one of downtrodden women’s attempt to develop an independent, healthy narcissistic identity not tied to patriarchal demands. In her paper Tyler advocates what she views as the hidden benefits of female narcissism:

“Feminism exposes and challenges the sexual politics of narcissism both by making prevailing forms of narcissism visible (the homo-social bond) and by encouraging new self-conscious forms of narcissism amongst women to emerge.”

“In this article I have examined what is at stake in the attribution of narcissism to femininity and feminism, and the routes through which arguments about ‘feminist narcissism’ became central to the popular abjection of feminism… Despite the ways in which narcissism has been consistently employed as a rhetorical means of denigrating women and delegitimizing feminist politics, I have also demonstrated the central role of narcissistic theories of identity in enabling feminist theorists to prise open the mechanisms of feminine identity and critique the sexual politics of identity practices.”44

What has been men’s role in promoting gynocentric narcissism?

Firstly we can say that men have played a principle role in aiding and abetting the growth of gynocentrism among women, motivated in large part by a desire to form relationships with them. Secondly, as Paul Elam recently pointed out in an article Daddy’s Little Nightmare, men encourage narcissism in their daughters:

It’s quite ironic, listening to a man complain about how his wife has crazy unreal expectations. He bemoans the fact that she cannot be satisfied, no matter what he does. He claims that he pulls his hair out trying to figure out how to satisfy her endless demands only to be met with more disapproval and, of course, more demands. He wonders aloud how she ever learned to be such a bottomless pit, and such a bitch about it.

Then you go watch him interact with his four-year old daughter, whom he will endlessly coddle and for whom he will go to any measure to make sure she never lacks anything, no matter how trivial.

And it doesn’t stop when she turns five. Or fifteen, or twenty-five. When it comes to turning human females into paragons of pissy entitlement, the western father has few rivals.45

Suffice to say that many men are complicit in maintaining the status quo, creating a culture of exaggerated benevolent sexism in order to gain romantic access to women. The subsequent relationship dynamic is one they may come to find destructive to their emotional and physical wellbeing and thus unsustainable. Some of them adjust to a gynocentric relationship by resigning their dreams and emotional needs and playing the role of what is disparagingly referred to as a cuck or servile partner, perhaps rationalizing that gynocentrism is ‘the way of nature.’ Gynocentrism is likewise upheld at the social level, relying equally on a heterosexual compact between women and male politicians, for example, or women and male court magistrates who are eager to demonstrate their chivalric credentials.

Another group of men, however, are making a conscious decision to avoid gynocentric relationships by searching for a woman who does not subscribe to extreme gynocentrism, or alternatively by adopting the life of a confirmed bachelor or MGTOW and engaging in meaningful activities and relationships that can fill the breach.

Summary

Most academic studies find males as a group score higher on narcissism scales than do females.46 However those findings may be misleading because the instruments used and their factor structures may be more effective at tapping male expressions of narcissism. Women’s narcissism may be less global in its expression because women might not feel entitled, for example, to special treatment by all non-intimate males nor by other women, whereas they may feel highly entitled to special treatment in intimate relationships with men and boys, as detailed above.

This essay demonstrates that the DSM-5 criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder is significantly correlated with behaviors and expectations of gynocentric women, which leads to the conclusion that gynocentrism is a gendered expression of narcissism operating in the limiting context of heterosexual relations.

 

References

[1] Ovid, Metamorphoses, Volume I: Books 1-8 Loeb Classical Library (1946)
[2] The tale of Princess Cottongrass and its utility as a metaphor of the narcissistic personality is elaborated by Nathan Schwartz-Salant in his book Narcissism and Character Transformation (1982)
[3] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.), Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing, pp. 669–72, (2013)
[4] Stephen Sherrill, Acquired Situational Narcissism, interview with Robert B. Millman, New York Times, (Dec 9, 2001)
[5] Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (1979)
[6] Jean Twenge, Generation Me (2006) and The Narcissism Epidemic (2009)
[7] Golec de Zavala, A, Cichocka, A., Eidelson, R., & Jayawickreme, N. Collective narcissism and its social consequences, in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 97.6 (2009)
[8] John Banja, Medical Errors and Medical Narcissism (2005)
[9] Stephen Sherrill, Acquired Situational Narcissism, interview with Robert B. Millman, New York Times, (Dec 9, 2001)
[10] Linda McSweeny, It’s Official: Power Creates A Narcissist, Pursuit, Inside Business, University of Melbourne (May, 2018)
[11] Peter Wright, Bastardized Chivalry: From Concern for Weakness to Sexual Exploitation, New Male Studies, (Dec 2018)
[12] Lester Frank Ward, Pure sociology: A treatise on the origin and spontaneous development of society. (1903).
[13] George A. Birmingham, From Dublin to Chicago: Some Notes on a Tour in America. (1914)
[14] Iris Marion Young, Humanism, gynocentrism and feminist politics. Women’s Studies International Forum. Vol. 8. No. 3. Pergamon, 1985.
[15] Peter Wright, Feminism, sex-differences and chivalry (2016), and Gynocentrism’s love affair with gender differences (2017), published at Gynocentrism and its Cultural Origins (gynocentrism.com).
[16] Paul Elam and Alison Tieman, Discussing Gynocentrism | HBR Debate 7 | Youtube (March 2018)
[17] Paul Elam, Gynocentrism: The Root of Feminism, speech delivered to International Conference on Men’s Issues, London (2016)
[18] Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Sanctifying Misandry, [p. 58] (2010)
[19] Adam Kostakis, Lecture 2: The Same Old Gynocentric Story, Gynocentrism theory Lectures (2011)
[20] Adam Kostakis, Lecture 11. The Eventual Outcome of Feminism, Part II, Gynocentrism theory Lectures (2011)
[21] Adam Kostakis, Lecture 2. Pig Latin, Gynocentrism theory Lectures (2011)
[22] Peter Wright, Bastardized Chivalry: From Concern for Weakness to Sexual Exploitation, New Male Studies Journal, December 2018
[23] Peter Wright, Damseling, chivalry and courtly love (part one), (2016) (Gynocentrism.com)
[24] Dennis Gouws, Not So Romantic For Men: Using Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe to Explore Evolving Notions of Chivalry, in Voicing the Silences of Social and Cognitive Justice, 167–178. (2018)
and Their Impact on Twenty-First-Century Manhood
[25] Peter Ryan, Diagnosing Gynocentrism (2018)(gynocentrism.com).
[26] Staff writer, “Gynocentrism”, in Encyclopedia.com. (2005)
[27] Staff writer, “Gynocentric”, in OED, ed. Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. (2010)
[28] Peter Wright, Gynocentrism: From Feudalism to the Modern Disney Princess, Amazon Books (2014)
[29] Mary Field Belenky, et al. Women’s ways of knowing: The development of self, voice, and mind. (1986)
[30] Carol Gilligan, In a different voice, Harvard University. (1984)
[31] Douglas Galbi, cultural construction of Reddy’s The Making of Romantic Love (2015), and Musa iocosa: vital medieval poetic medicine for pedestalizing women. at PurpleMotes.com (2018)
[32] Stephen Jarosek, Transcending Scientism: Mending Broken Culture’s Broken Science, (2017)
[33] Matthew D. Hammond, et.al. The allure of sexism: Psychological entitlement fosters women’s endorsement of benevolent sexism over time. Social Psychological and Personality Science 5.4 (2014)
[34] William Collins, The Empathy Gap, article published at The Illustrated Empathy Gap. http://empathygap.uk (2016)
[35] Janice Fiamengo, The Empathy Gap – Fiamengo File Episode 4, YouTube. (2015)
[36] Nancy Friday, Chapter on envy in The power of beauty. London: Hutchinson, (1996).
[37] Gerald Schoenewolf, Feminism and ‘gender narcissism,’ published on A Voice for Men website (2017).
[38] Paul Nathanson, and Katherine K. Young. Spreading misandry: The teaching of contempt for men in popular culture. McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP, (2001).
[39] Gerald Schoenewolf, Feminism and ‘gender narcissism,’ published on A Voice for Men website (2017).
[40] Narcissistic supply, entry in Wikipedia (2018)
[41] Arthur S. Reber. Narcissistic injury, definition in The Penguin dictionary of psychology. Penguin Press, 1995.
[42] Elsa Ronningstam. Identifying and understanding the narcissistic personality. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. pp. 86–87. (2005)
[43] Narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury, entry in Wikipedia (2018)
[44] Imogen Tyler, ‘Who put the “Me” in feminism?’: The sexual politics of narcissism. Feminist Theory (2005)
[45] Paul Elam, Daddy’s Little Nightmare, published at A Voice for Men, (2019)
[46] Grijalva, E., Newman, et.al., Gender differences in narcissism: A meta-analytic review. Psychological bulletin, 141(2), 261. (2015).

Image: Edward Burne Jones ‘The Mirror of Venus’ 

A New Aristocracy

When Marxist activist Rudi Dutschke looked at ways to stage a neo-Marxist revolution he hit on the plan of “a long march through the institutions of power to create radical change from within government and society by becoming an integral part of the machinery.” His strategy was to work against the established institutions while working surreptitiously within them. Evidence of the attempt to implement his plan can be seen today through many levels of society – especially in universities.

Marxists however are not the only ones to use this strategy. In fact when we look at the numerous political forces attempting to infiltrate and influence our cultural institutions we see that another, much more influential candidate, has twisted its tendrils through every layer of society – and it existed long before Marx and Marxism was born. That force is political feminism,1 whose culture project has been in play now for several hundred years.

Protofeminists like Lucrezia Marinella, Mary Wollstoncraft, Margaret Cavendish, Modesta Pozzo, or Christine de Pizan were advocating a ‘long march’ through institutions for centuries before Marxism emerged and began its tragic experiment. Pizan’s main book for example titled A City of Ladies sketched an imaginary city whose institutions were controlled completely by women, and each of the protofeminists advanced some theory of female rule or ‘integration’ of women into governing institutions. Later feminists followed suit, such as Charlotte Perkins Gillman wrote the famed book HerLand (1915) envisioning a society run entirely by women who reproduce by parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction), resulting in an ideal (utopic) social order free from war, conflict, and male domination.

A survey of protofeminist writings reveals consistent advocacy for the superior abilities of women as functionaries: women’s greater compassion, virtue, nonviolence, intelligence, patience, superior morality and so on, combined with a concomitant descriptions of male destructiveness, insensitivity and inferiority as we see continued in the rhetoric of modern feminists.

Via that polarizing narrative feminists sought to grab not just a big slice of the governance pie; as contemporary feminists have shown they would stop at nothing but the whole pie. Nothing but complete dominance of the gendered landscape would satisfy their lust for control, and it appears they have succeeded.

We see that dominance in women’s occupation of pivotal bureaucratic positions throughout the world, from the UN and World Bank all the way down through national governments, schools and universities, and HR departments in most medium to large workplaces. Feminists not only govern the world via these roles, but as surveyed in Janet Halley’s recent book Governance Feminism: An Introduction, that governance is far from the utopia early feminist promised.

The long feminist tradition underlines the danger of viewing ‘the march through the institutions’ as a Cultural Marxism project, because it deflects us from the historically longer, more powerful, more dangerous and ultimately more successful project that is political feminism.

Moreover, the protagonists of Marxist and feminist worldviews are not one and the same; the former aims to dismantle social-class oppression, and the latter gender oppression. While there are some individuals working to amalgamate these two contrary theories into a hybrid of Frankenstein proportions, their basic theoretical aims remain distinct.

Like Marxism, feminism too can be imagined as a socio-political ideology, in this case modelling itself on a medieval feudalism which was structured with two social classes: 1. A noble class of aristocrats, priests, princes and princesses, and 2. a peasant class of serfs and slaves overseen by indentured vassals.

Stripped of its medieval context we see the purveyors of political feminism working to institute a new sex-stratified version of feudalism which serves to maximize the power of women. With this move we have seen an increased tendency to emphasize women’s “power,” “dignity,” “honor,” “esteem” and “respect” – descriptors historically reserved for dignitaries.

As in medieval times, the assets and wealth generated by the labour class – predominately men – are taxed and redistributed to the new quasi-aristocratic class via a plethora of social spending programs of governments, or alternatively via asset transfers like alimony, child support, divorce settlements and other court mandated conventions. Children themselves form part of that asset portfolio which men are often forced to relinquish to women in the event of divorce. In the face of such practices men are reminded that women’s “dignity” is very much at stake, and their acquiescence mandatory.

The push to establish a female aristocratic class has long been recognized, as mentioned by the following writer from more than a century ago (1896), who in his ‘Letter To The editor’ observed the granting of unequal social privileges to female prisoners;

“A paragraph in your issue of the week before last stated that oakum-picking as a prison task had been abolished for women and the amusement of dressing dolls substituted. This is an interesting illustration of the way we are going at present, and gives cause to some reflection as to the rate at which a sex aristocracy is being established in our midst. While the inhumanity of our English prison system, in so far as it affects men, stands out as a disgrace to the age in the eyes of all Europe, houses of correction for female convicts are being converted into agreeable boudoirs and pleasant lounges…

I am personally in favour of the abolition of corporal punishment, as I am of existing prison inhumanities, for both sexes, but the snivelling sentiment which exempts females on the ground of sex from every disagreeable consequence of their actions, only strengthens on the one side every abuse which it touches on the other. Yet we are continuously having the din of the “women’s rights” agitation in our ears. I think it is time we gave a little attention to men’s rights, and equality between the sexes from the male point of view.–YoursYours, &c.,, A MANLY PROTESTOR,”2

Another comes from a 1910 Kalgoorlie Miner which reported a push to set up a female aristocracy in America. It was entitled The New Aristocracy:

A question of deep human interest has been raised by The Independent.

“To be successful in the cultivation of culture a country must have a leisure class,” says the editor. “We Americans recognise this fact, but we are going about the getting of this leisure class in a new way.

“In Europe the aristocracy is largely relieved from drudgery in order that they may cultivate the graces of life. In America the attempt is being made to relieve the women of all classes from drudgery, and we are glad to see that some of them at least are making good use of the leisure thus afforded them. It is a project involving unprecedented daring and self-sacrifice on the part of American men, this making an aristocracy of half the race. That it is possible yet remains to be proved. Whether it is desirable depends upon whether this new feminine aristocracy avoids the faults of the aristocracy of the Old World, such as frivolousness and snobbishness.”3

Lastly a comment from Adam Kostakis who gives an eloquent summary of feminism’s preference for a neo-feudal society in his Gynocentrism Theory Lectures:

“It would not be inappropriate to call such a system sexual feudalism, and every time I read a feminist article, this is the impression that I get: that they aim to construct a new aristocracy, comprised only of women, while men stand at the gate, till in the fields, fight in their armies, and grovel at their feet for starvation wages. All feminist innovation and legislation creates new rights for women and new duties for men; thus it tends towards the creation of a male underclass.”4

By many accounts what we’ve achieved today under feminist modelling is the establishment of a neo-feudal society with women representing an aristocratic class and men the labour class of serfs, slaves and peasants who too often spend their lives looking up from the proverbial glass cellar. When men do rule, it is usually not with a life “free of drudgery” as mentioned above, but with hard-work as CEOs, executives and prime ministers in service of the ruling female class who are busy with little more than lifting their lattes.

This gendered enterprise is now several hundred years in the making, enjoying further consolidations with every passing year of feminist governance. That a widespread female aristocracy now exists is undeniable, at least in the Western world, although we remain reluctant to name it as such for fear of offending our moral betters. We can only hope that the recent petition to abolish the House of Lords becomes infectious and begins to tackle the unearned privileges of those new aristocrats who serve nobody but themselves.

Sources:

[1]. Ernest Belfort Bax coined the phrase ‘political feminism’ in his book The Fraud of Feminism. London: Grant Richards Ltd, 1913
[2]. A Privileged and Pampered Sex, Letter to the Editor, Reynolds Newspaper, 1896
[3] New Feminine Aristocracy; Narrowly Trained Men, Kalgoorlie Miner, Wednesday 5 January 1910, page 2 (3)
[4]. Adam Kostakis, Lecture 11: The Eventual Outcome of Feminism –II, Gynocentrism Theory Lectures, 2011

*An earlier version of the above article was published in my book Feminism And The Creation of a Female Aristocracy.

The Virgin Mary, chivalry, gynocentrism & feminism (1897)

Mary commons

In the below article penned in 1897, a Mrs. Marion Reedy held that widespread veneration of Mary encouraged the pedestalization of women, gave birth to the chivalrous gentlemen, and was responsible for the “New Woman” of feminism:

“The church it was that built up the modern ideal of woman. The church it was that cultivated, so to speak, chastity, by its insistence that the creature who had borne a God was worthy of veneration, and was not to be only an utensil in ministration to male passion. Not only was man indoctrinated with a higher idea of woman, but women became possessed of a higher, better sense of their own worthiness.

There is no love poem in the world that equals the Litany of the Virgin, composed by the celibates of the church, and all that is ethereal and spiritual in modem love’s expression is to be found in the beautiful titles whereby the Virgin Mother has been supplicated for centuries. This idealization, not to say idolization, of woman could not but have its effect upon men and women in a time when the church was supreme, and so we see, as woman is more and more recognized for her worth & her value in the scheme of things, coming down the centuries, woman’s ideas gradually changing the heart of the world. As civilization progressed, cruelty was put away. This was the influence of woman.

The gradual growth into life, out of religion, of the reverence for Mary manifested itself in the development of chivalry, and then, when chivalry, its ends accomplished, passed away, in the development of what we now know as the gentleman.
Pedestal
This Mariolatry, as some people call it, led to the modern gynolatry about which there is, now and then, much protest. Yes, the devotion to Mary is responsible for the New Woman, and the New Woman is only a distortion of the real woman as she will be when emancipated completely from the denomination of the ideas against which Mariolatry has been an age-long protest. If the church enslaved woman, it did so, in one way, only to give her greater power in another.

The nunnery up-held chastity in times when universal and continuous war ravaged the world ; for the Middle Ages were anarchy. The church maintained the indissolubility of marriage when every petty tyrant in Italy, Germany & France deemed himself a god, and thought to appropriate other men’s wives and daughters as he would their cattle. Churchmen at times were dissolute enough to convert unbelievers on the theory that an institution which could survive such infamies must be Divine, but the teachings of the church held the great body of men true to purity in woman, and to the sanctity of the marital relation.

The church has upheld Mary consistently as the type of sacred womanhood and, by its influence upon the minds of men, has brought about a general attitude toward all women as if they partake of some of her mystical attributes of worthiness and even of divinity.        Ave Maria!

Source: Mrs. Marion Reedy, published in The Philistine in 1897.

Further reading: ‘Mariolatry and Gyneolatry’

Gynocentrism 1:0, 2:0, and 3:0

The following text comes from a discussion in which poster Snir cites an economics-based motivator for modern gynocentric behavior of women, which is followed by my response suggesting a timeline of the historical evolution of gynocentric behavior. – PW

________________

Snir wrote:

I summarise the situation thus;

Developed economy with service industry –> women can enter labour force –> women gain financial independence from men –> (1) creates demand for more rights vis-a-vis men because there is no longer a trade-off and (2) renders women free to pursue their hypergamy

–> hence a change in social mores (feminism wants to give women the licence to engage in vagarious and capricious behaviour without consequence) and decline in marriage.

That rings true. I’d call that development gynocentrism 3:0 (just for fun).

Gynocentrism 1:0 is the bare bones instinctual behavior of our hominid ancestors, with various cultural accents appearing all the way forward to about the Middle Ages where a confluence of factors came together, for the first time, to create →

Gynocentrism 2:0, arising from an intersection of Arabic practices of female worship, European aristocratic trends, the Marian cult, and the imperial patronage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughter Marie De Champagne who elaborated the military notion of chivalry into a notion of servicing ladies, a practice otherwise known as ‘courtly love.’

Courtly love was enacted by minstrels, playrights and troubadours, and especially via hired romance-writers like Chrétien de Troyes and Andreas Capellanus who laid down a mode of romantic fiction that is still the biggest grossing genre of literature today. That confluence of factors (and others I haven’t mentioned) created a cluster of supernormal stimuli, embedded as cultural conventions which drove gynocentrism to the extremes we have today, which was added to by one significant factor →

Gynocentrism 3:0, which is the economic overlay that you’ve described above Snir… the one which, in combination with the contraceptive pill, made the perfect storm even more perfect from the point of view of giving female hypergamy more motility.

(PS. I don’t really see it all in such simple 1/2/3:0 terms, but it serves for a small post like this).

Male Masochism and Culture (1936)

Do males in the Western world display clinical levels of masochism? Is chivalry a thinly veiled expression of masochism?

According to the following excerpt from his 1936 essay Male Masochism and Culture, psychoanalyst Arnold Herman Kamiat fingers masochism as a very real problem among men. With modern academic researchers unable to get past the traditionalist mythology of women as masochistic and men as sadistic, and reluctant to look at the concept of male masochism, we will take Kamiat’s essay as a first examination of the topic and a prefiguration of contemporary gynocentrism theory. – PW

SOCIAL MASOCHISM

The masochism that has hitherto occupied the attention of psychologists is individual masochism. This is the masochism of particular individuals in their subordinate relation, fancied or real, to particular members of the opposite sex.

But there appears to be a social masochism. This involves the subordinate relation, fancied or real, of a number of individuals of the same sex (taken collectively) to a number of individuals of the opposite sex (taken collectively). Social masochism has, strangely enough, received little or no attention.

This essay is, in part, an attempt to establish the reality of this kind of masochism. The masochistic aspiration often takes the form of a vision of an ideal society — ideal from a masochistic viewpoint of course. This is significant for the interpretation of such myths and religious cults as have already been referred to, and the structure of certain primitive and contemporary societies.

It is an interesting speculation whether any of the gynarchies and goddess-cults were conceived, brought into being, and sustained by masochistic men — or sadistic women. The Egyptian gynocracy is said to have been established by a man — King Sesostris. Was he a masochist?

Frazer attributes the primitive gynarchies to the perception of the importance of woman for the continuance of life. But did not androcratic societies have this same perception? Then why were they not gynarchic? At any rate, whatever may have been the origin of gynocracy, the latter must have operated as a breeder of masochism. If male masochism was not the cause of gynarchy, it may very well have been a consequence thereof.

A gynarchy is probably a large-scale producer of male masochism. Once generated, the latter will in its turn serve to sustain the gynarchy (as female masochism probably bred by androcracy serves to maintain the latter). Certain it is that gynarchies have in fact exhibited phenomena calculated to enter into full accord with the aspirations of male masochists. Some of these phenomena have been recorded by the Vaertings in their book, The Dominant Sex.

This book, like practically all writings on sex conflicts and sex dominance, takes no account whatsoever of the fact and the psychology of sado-masochism — an index of that strange inability so many writers on social topics reveal to give due attention to psychological factors. But the book does contain a store of valuable information, and some of the phenomena it describes certainly lend themselves to interpretation via the masochistic hypothesis.

The marital relation lends itself to masochistic uses under any scheme of social organization, including an androcratic one. No one knows how often a dominant wife is really the creation and the instrument of a masochistic husband — it is not at all unlikely that such is often the case. On the other hand, the wish being ‘father to the thought,’ a masochistic man will often ascribe a dominant position to his or someone else’s wife, lover or mistress, when the true position is really one of equipollence or subordination. Rumor, gossip and report are often species of phantasy.

MASOCHISTIC MYTHS OF TODAY

It has been seen that in the ancient world individual masochistic phantasies became generalized into socially shared ideas. They entered into, and became part of the mythos of a race or nation. The mythologies of the ancient world have in large part gone, but masochism has persisted, and masochism must have its mythos, social as well as individual.

Krafft-Ebing and other writers on the subject stress the individual mythos. It is contended here that masochists also have their socially shared mythology. The world today is not without its stock of socially shared masochistic myths — phantasies held by male masochists everywhere, and by those who come under their influence. Indeed, the mythology in question has become a source of revenue, and with all educational agencies utilized by the myth-peddlers, the myths are becoming the property of both masochists and non-masochists, men and women.

The myths masquerade as philosophy, psychology, sociology, biology, educational theory, and schemes of social reform. Their most common characteristics are an imaginary magnification of feminine power, a correlative imaginary depreciation of masculine power, an imaginative depiction of woman as the savior of mankind (Goethe’s “The Woman-Soul leadeth us upward and on;” see also E. A. Robinson’s Merlin and Auguste Comte’s System of Positive Polity), and an aspiration toward some kind of gynarchic social order or way of life.

At times the phantasies take on a distinctly paranoid character, with women being envisaged as designing, conspiring, invincible Vivians, Circes and Delilahs. All this mythopoesis issues in certain familiar pictures of “reality,” “life,” and “love.” In these pictures an omnipotent womanhood carries on all kinds of transactions with a powerless manhood.

The phraseology is familiar — woman is the seat of power; the source of life; the conserver of life; the keeper of all ideals, all wisdom, all morality, all practicality, all culture; she is the fount and origin of all that is good; she is the one great constructive force; her practically infallible instincts and intuitions facilitate an instant grasp of the greatest truths of life, truths that men laboriously strive to attain, truths some of which are utterly beyond masculine ken; woman’s function is to govern, man’s but to obey; she is anyhow the ruler, androcracy being but a delusion; she is the center of the home and its ruler; outside of the home her power is equally great, men of importance being merely the instruments of their wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, mistresses, private secretaries, office assistants, or wise and inspiring feminine friends; the greatest revolution of all time is at hand: women will soon take matters in hand and transform life in all its departments; and so on, and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

It is not asserted that all this is manufactured solely by male masochists. Plenty of it flows out of feminine minds, and a good deal out of male minds that are either neurotic, or ignorant, or adolescent, or afflicted with a particularly morbid form of gyneolatry. There is a tendency, present in its most virulent form in neurotics of both sexes, toward the imaginative magnification of the power of the opposite sex. The idea of feminine, or masculine power, becomes emotionally charged. It thereupon looms larger and larger in consciousness until all perspective is lost and a rational comparative evaluation of the relative power and influence of the sexes becomes well-nigh impossible.

A reporter who must have been something of a psychoanalyst, while interviewing a male prophet of the “coming” feminine revolution, inquired of him concerning his childhood relation to his mother. In answer, the prophet, who has turned his gynophilia into a source of income, described his mother as exercising an unusual dominance over him as a child.

Masochism may enter into the makeup of a certain type of male, often of mystic temperament, with an adolescent notion of women as in some sense divine, exuding love and possessed of infallible intuitions, revealing “truths” greater and more profound than any mediated by mere science and philosophy, and who can solve all his problems for man, if he will only submit to her rule. This kind of male, for all his babble about the gynarchic future, in reality lives in the past, the gynarchic past. It is the gynarchy he wants to restore, albeit in a refined form.

Gynocracy of one sort or another has had and still has its pseudo – philosophical and pseudo-scientific defenders. Perhaps the best known of these is Auguste Comte, whose brief in the fourth chapter of his System of Positive Polity is one of the most curious and adolescent pieces of writing in the history of philosophy. The names of some living men would be in place here. The reader, if he will keep a sharp lookout on books, newspapers, magazines, and lecture announcements, can supply these names himself.

See also: Male Masochism and Gynocentrism in Victorian women’s literature

See also:
petticoat cover single

Gynocentrism 2.0, compassion, and choice: The underlying root of men’s issues

By Tom Golden

I have long held that compassion and choice are two issues that play a part in nearly every men’s issue. But why? What do compassion and choice have to do with male suicide or male victims of domestic violence or just about any other men’s issue? Quite a bit actually. Let’s take a look at why compassion and choice are limited for men and then see how compassion and choice are essential ingredients to the issues.

firemanThe origins of the lack of compassion and choice for men is gynocentrism. When you start to understand gynocentrism you will start to better understand the plight of men and boys. Gynocentrism at its most basic, is the mandate that women and children be kept safe and provided for at the expense of men. In other words, men are designated to insure the safety and provisions for women and children on an individual level, the family level, community level and on a macro level. This is not a totally bad thing. It has been what has created and maintained many cultures for millennia. As Stefan Molyneux says, “Eggs are scarce and sperm is plentiful.” This means we have needed to sacrifice our sperm in order to insure the safety of our eggs. Without women the culture dies a quick death. Women must be protected. Gynocentrism protects those who carry the eggs and does this at the expense of its men. This has been a very important element to our cultural success but it does come at a price.

One consequence of protecting the women is that the men will need to at times face danger. The women need to be kept safe and the men will protect the boundary and sometimes die in that process. Our human history of gynocentrism is longer and deeper than most assume. We think of the hunter gatherers as serene and bucolic but that was sometimes far from the truth and gynocentrism predominated. Research shows that some South American hunter gatherer groups faced huge numbers of deaths of their men protecting the women and children.1 One group averaged the death of nearly 60% of its males in protecting the women from inter tribal attacks that were among other things, designed to steal the other group’s women! (the average for the groups studied was near 30% male deaths as a result of raids, ambush or larger scale conflicts) He who had the most women wins and these groups made a huge sacrifice of their males to insure they kept their women and children safe.

In its most obvious we can see how gynocentrism plays out when we note that men automatically and without question are the ones facing danger in our culture. Our war dead are nearly 100% male. Our deaths in dangerous occupations are 93% men. Our trashmen and sewage workers are nearly all male. The dirtiest and most dangerous jobs are jobs for men. No one questions this. It just seems right. This is the hidden power of gynocentrism. No one questions and no one notices. Hell, if women actually got equality to the above it would be a huge step down for them.

wheelBut gynocentrism runs much deeper than simply being about protecting the borders and doing the dangerous work. It has its tendrils into just about everything, silently and without fanfare. What happens when a woman has a flat tire? How many people have seen the help she will usually garner from men? Now think about what happens if a man has a flat tire. Does he get a similar treatment? Probably not. This is gynocentrism. When there are problems we jump to help women but expect the men to handle it themselves even in today’s atmosphere of “equality”.

What happens when a woman is upset and falls into a sea of tears? Pretty much the same thing as the flat tire. People hover to offer support and see what might be wrong and what they can do. But what happens when men fall into a similar sea? People ignore him and avoid him. It is almost as if a woman’s pain is a call to action while a man’s pain is taboo. Compassion offered to men is a fraction of the compassion offered to women.

There are a number of youtube videos that employ actors to portray men beating women in public. The women are shown to get immediate support and help from male onlookers who see the violence. They quickly jump to her aid not knowing it is an arranged scene. These same videos then reverse the roles and show the women beating men in a similar manner and no one lifts a finger, in fact, they laugh. This is gynocentrism. We expect to help the women and expect the men to help themselves. Note also that we allow women to be dependent but do not allow the same for men.

On an even simpler level think of a man and a woman at work who need to move some boxes from one location to another. Some are heavy, some are light. Who will be moving the heavy ones? It is a foregone conclusion that the man will most often move the largest boxes and will protect her from having to do hard labor. This is gynocentrism.

And then there is the question of attractiveness. When a woman is attractive she gets special perks simply due to her appearance. No man can come close to having a similar response. This is gynocentrism. The eggs are protected and the attractive eggs get very special treatment.

modelThink of that attractive woman being tied to the railroad tracks. What does that do to the hearts and minds of most people? Most of us have an inborn reaction that says DO SOMETHING to help her. But what about a man tied to the tracks? Is your reaction the same or different? Yes, you likely want to see him helped but is it the same gut wrenching sensation? The plots of many movies and novels are fueled by this gynocentric scenario. We all want the woman tied to the tracks safely released even if it means the death of numerous men in the process. A woman’s needs are a call to action while a man’s needs are often just ignored. He needs to save her!

Just think for a minute what would happen to a man in the military who started complaining that we needed to have more female war deaths in order to make things equal for everyone. How would he be received? All hell would break loose at this questioning of the gynocentric norm and disregard for the safety of women. We see something similar when the opposite happens and men voice their desires for equal opportunities for services for men in things like domestic violence. Those who stand up for the needs of men in our gynocentric culture are seen as misogynistic, that is, they are routinely accused of hating women simply for pointing out the needs of men. Can you see how the fuel for this is gynocentrism?

militaryAnother example of extreme gynocentrism is boot camp in the army. What is done? The recruit is taught that he is nothing. He is now not an individual, he is a part of a fighting group. His personal identity is deleted and he is taught to fight for the group, for a cause. He no longer exists. There is no compassion for his personal feelings and needs. Those are a distant second. He also has zero choice. He does what he is told. That is the extreme gynocentric model that plays out to one degree or another in our everyday life.

Do we care about the feelings of the woman tied to the tracks? Oh yes. Do we care about the feelings of the hero who rescues her? No. We care about his actions. His emotions are not important unless his feelings are about HER. Do we care about the emotions of the boot camp recruit? Nope. We care about his actions and what he does. His feelings need to be kept to himself. In the same way, under the gynocentric default we tend to care about the emotions of women but will be averse to the emotions of men. Our interest moves more towards his actions. Think about the last time you saw a woman cry in public. What was your reaction? Most of us want to help, want to offer support. We are drawn to her neediness. Now think about a man crying under the same circumstances you saw the woman. Are you as open to his tears as the woman? Most of us say no, we are not. We are repulsed by his neediness. The man is not expected to be needy, he is expected to have agency. If he is seen as needy he is judged harshly. This is gynocentrism.

These sorts of advantages for women have been going on for many years. In the 19th century men would strive to do the best job of keeping women safe and provided for. Just read their diaries and the diaries of their wives. These men put women on a pedestal. They thought of them as angelic and would try their best to not have them sully themselves with the grime of daily life outside the home. They worked hard to have them stay away from “dirty”things like the workplace or money. They did this because they saw women as worthy of protection (gynocentrism) and were happy to take on the extra burden in order to keep her safe. Then along comes feminism which makes the incredibly noxious and inaccurate claim that women were not held in high esteem at all, they were being oppressed. They took the protections that women had benefited from for centuries and spun them into being oppression. In my opinion this is the biggest lie of the 20th century and it has left a wake of chaos and vitriol. Women now actually believe themselves to be victims and that they have been shortchanged and oppressed. These are the same women who didn’t have to go to war, didn’t have to do the dirty work of building or maintaining the culture, were held in high esteem and basically worshiped (as American as Mom and Apple Pie) now see this as oppression. Houdini could not have done a more impressive magic trick.

So what do you think happened? It could be easily predicted that gynocentrsim would insure that when women appear to be in danger or need that men will jump and meet those needs as best they can. That’s the way both men and women are programmed. And that is just what happened. The feminists claimed to be tied to the tracks and rode, and continue to ride the gynocentric wave of men keeping women safe. Their unfounded claims that women were oppressed and held back have been taken seriously by well meaning highly gynocentric males, including male legislators. These claims of women being tied to the tracks and needing government intervention were welcomed by our gynocentric legislators who wanted to bend over backwards to help women. Over the years women have been given more and more while simultaneously continuing to enjoy the same gynocentric advantages they have been getting for hundreds of years. Our legislators have backed themselves into a corner and are now afraid to say no. They know that they have been hijacked but don’t have the courage to say no to saving a damsel in distress. Saying no would insure a loss in the next election.

This was the beginning of what I like to call Gynocentrism 2.0. The cultural imperative of caring for women continues and is now amplified by false claims of women having been oppressed. Simultaneously Gynocentrism 2.0 showed not only increased focus on the needs and desires of women, it also made a dramatic switch. Men in gynocentrism 1.0 were held in high esteem when they followed through with their role. They were both respected and admired and this was fuel for the masculine. Both sexes were held in high esteem. Now that fuel for men has run out as the admiration and respect has been gaudily replaced with disdain and blame. Incredibly, now men are seen as the problem and held accountable for social problems as if they were the cause. It is all the men’s fault. Much is said about men not doing very well these days but very few people note this important shift. When you don’t put fuel in the engine it ain’t goin too far.

In Gynocentrism 2.0 entire bureaucracies are built to serve women and cater to their difficulties but there are rarely any such bureaucracies built for men. The women are left with a choice of whether to seek help at a government funded facility (payed for with mostly male tax dollars) built for them while the men are left with no choices.

stopviolenceagainstwomen2One of the best examples of this is the issue of domestic violence where we have known for decades that men are a sizable portion (likely nearing 50%) of the victims of domestic violence but all of the laws and services are built for women. We spend nearly a billion dollars a year for the Violence Against WOMEN Act (VAWA) that marginalizes the 50% of male victims. Recent research exposed the sad fact that when men who are the victims of domestic violence go to these government funded services for help they are treated very poorly. Often when the men are victims of domestic violence and they turn to the government funded services they are told that they are not victims of domestic violence, they are accused of being the perpetrators! They then send him to treatment for perpetrators! Researchers are calling this third party abuse, when the government bureaucracy as a third party, participates in the continued abuse of a victim. This is gynocentrism 2.0 which leaves no compassion for men and far fewer choices in seeking help.

I was involved in lobbying for male victims of domestic violence during the reauthorization of the VAWA in both 2005 and 2012. Our group was well received by then Senator Biden. He and his staff listened to our data and stories about male victims in several meetings at his Senate office. He assured us we would be a part of the hearings. When the hearing came not one of our group was allowed to speak. I couldn’t believe it. Biden was totally aware of the problem of male victims and intentionally sabotaged our efforts to find support for men. It was then that I realized how deeply our system is biased and non-functional. Gynocentrism 2.0.

It’s important to point out that our government has been pushing a gynocentric agenda for some time. In the 1960’s President Johnson set in motion the War on Poverty which proceeded to demand the removal of black fathers from their families in order for mom to get welfare. Now our family courts are doing something similar as they remove fathers from the home through no fault on the fathers part. The woman’s needs come first, father’s a distant second.

My state of Maryland created a Commission for Men’s Health a number of years ago. I was fortunate to serve as the vice chair of that commission and wrote three of the four reports that were to be sent to the governor. The reports I wrote were what I call “male friendly.” That is, they voiced and considered the needs of men without bowing to the prevailing political correctness. The chairman of the commission wrote the other report which was a bit more what the Health Department, our host agency, was anticipating. All four reports were unanimously approved by the full commission. When the commission’s work was done and it came time to file the reports to the governor and a host of other Maryland politicians and get them into the Maryland State Library the Health Department only filed the report that was written by the Chairman. They were confronted with this and said, “ooops, we will file it now.” But they didn’t. It took a year to track down the files and finally get them into the Maryland system. The full story of this event will be told in a chapter in Janice Fiamengo’s upcoming book. It couldn’t be more clear that when the needs of men were given voice, the status quo balked. It seems that our mid level bureaucrcrats are filled with gynocentrism 2.0.

I think you can see now how women’s complaints and our legislators zealous rush to help them have turned things topsy turvy. Rape shield laws have been written to protect the rape victims and this is a good thing. But those same laws failed to protect the accused man. His name can be released to the media prior to any conviction. Her name is permanently protected while his name is plastered all over the media and he has his life ruined simply due to an accusation which may or may not be proven false . Gynocentrism 2.0.

blog-suicideAnother example is the issue of suicide where males are 80% of all completed suicides. Incredibly this 80% fact is rarely mentioned in the media leaving most people unaware that the biggest risk factor in suicide is being male. It is not surprising that females get the majority of attention around suicide both clinically and in research. This even though men are the vast majority of those needing help. In 2009 the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) did some research on suicide. I was shocked to see it was a study on girls! I wrote to then NASW Director Elizabeth Clark and asked why the research focused on girls when it was men and boys who were the vast majority of suicides. She wrote me back and said that the funder for the research had specified to only study girls. Just imagine for a moment someone who funded research for Sickle Cell Disease but stipulated the research had to be on whites. Can you imagine the outrage? Blacks are 60-80% of those with Sickle Cell disease and to study only whites would be seen as totally racist but somehow studying only girls and suicide is okay. That is gynocentrism.

Our gynocentric legislators have outlawed any form of genital mutilation of females but have failed to do the same for our baby boys. Boys routinely undergo a surgical removal of part of their penis without anesthesia. Of course the baby boys scream during and after this mutilation. Some nurses say they have seen baby boys scream for days after. Many are thinking today that this trauma creates PTSD for those males who have been circumcised and presently about four out of every 5 males in the United States has suffered this mutilation. boy PixabayResearch is showing that psychological impact of circumcision on boys is similar to the psychological impact for girls who have undergone genital mutilation. This procedure is damaging our boys while most people think it is simple little snip. Wrong. We care about our little girls but fail in mustering enough compassion for boys to shelter them from such barbaric treatment and we give them no choice. Gynocentrism.

In healthcare we have seen our legislators create seven national commissions for women’s health but none for men. We have official government web sites for womenshealth.gov and girlshealth.gov but just look at what happens when you go to menshealth.gov or boyshealth.gov. Nothing. You find a 404 page not found error. It does not exist. Get the picture? When anyone starts looking critically at our world it becomes clear that gynocentrism is at its core. We constantly hear criticism of men not going to the doctor etc but look at the concern for their health above by not even having a web site. Women in need get the help and men just need to take care of themselves. Just like the flat tire we talked about above. And no one is even aware this is going on.

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Warren Farrell put together a group of clinicians, academics, researchers, authors and other experts on men and boys who wrote a proposal for a White House Council on Boys and Men. I was happy to be included as one of those who put the proposal together. President Obama had created a council for women and girls as soon as he got into office. Now he was being asked to do the same for boys and men. One of our group members, a man named Willie Isles was an executive with the Boy Scouts and had a meeting scheduled with the President. The plan was for Willie to have two Boy Scouts introduce the idea of the White House Council on Boys and Men to the President. Just before that meeting was to take place the discussion of a council for boys and men was struck from the agenda. It was forbidden to even be discussed. Gynocentrism anyone?

There is an anti-male bias in mental health research. One study on teen relationship violence found that boys and girls are suffering from this problem at similar rate. But once the research is translated into news articles it only focuses on the hardships the girls face. Worse yet, once the study is translated by legislators into an action plan to help the teen violence problem the only ones offered assistance are the girls while the boys are blamed. Yes, boys are abused but they simply don’t get compassion. Gynocentrism

research-tableIn one study about childhood rape the researchers found that boys were more often the victims of actual childhood rapes than the girls. Then in writing up their research failed to specifically include this information about boys as victims of rape. Furthermore, when they went to the media they also failed to mention the fact that they have found that boys were raped more often than girls. Gynocentrism.

Title IX — Has been a great help to girls and athletics but has dismantled over 1000 men’s college teams. We focus on helping women but ignore the pain of men.

We have all heard of the racial sentencing bias where blacks tend to get stiffer sentences than whites for the same crime. But the research is telling us that there is a bias that is six times as large as the racial bias that sentences men to longer sentences than women. Yet, we hear nothing of this in the media and no one seems to care. Clearly the judges have less compassion for men and offer them far less choice.

I have seen a number of men in therapy who came to me when their wives wanted an abortion and they (the men) wanted to keep the child. The men were powerless to do anything. Can you see how these men had no choice in the matter? His wife said, “My body, my choice” and he said “My child, your choice, I have none.” He had no choice and if he had said something I feel sure he would have heard some variation of big boys don’t cry. Know what I mean? Can you see how no one really cares or offers them compassion for their plight? Compassion and Choice.

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Look at men’s clubs and men’s spaces that have been traditional places for men to gather. Gone. They have been opened to women and not replaced with anything that would give men a safe place to simply gather with other men. Men gathering became the enemy with the accusation of secret deals that would keep women out of business dealings. At the same time all women’s clubs have soared. Women only gyms, women only parking places, women only subway cars, women only everything….but no comparable opportunities for men. There are even groups that keep track of all of the groups for women. One is The National Association of Commissions for Women which keeps track of the literally hundreds of commissions for women. That is gynocentrism 2.0 on steroids.

Instead of thinking of choice for men, the majority of our gynocentric culture are thinking instead the word “should.” Men should do this, men should do that and if they don’t, they are not really men. Most men are caught in this drama that researchers are calling “precarious manhood” where men are forced to prove their worth repeatedly in order to be called men. Women do not face a similar situation.

Professions are not immune to Gynocentrism. The profession of social work is a prime example. This group is focused on women and ignores the needs and the hardships of men. Their educational system offers classes on just about every possible client to work with including women, gays, handicapped, children but fails to teach their charges even the first thing about men and boys. This even though men and boys make up a good portion of the clientele they will be working with.

meninsw2 6Our focus has been on a larger scale or macro level and it is very easy to see the imbalance in so many spheres. The point here is not that the services that have been created were not a good thing or were undeserved. Many of the services offered have been very helpful to women and girls. The point here is that it has been a very one sided ride with nearly all the services going to women and girls and the men and boys basically ignored. Men and boys have simply not gotten compassion and choice. Gynocentrism 2.0.

But let’s take a quick look at the impact of gynocentrism on a micro level. We have seen so far that the public has very little interest in men’s emotions. While that is surely true on a macro level it is also the case on the micro. What is the tired and hackneyed message that the some women offer her man? Oh, they say “You are not dealing with your feelings.” I hope you can see now that this sort of shaming is really an excuse to NOT deal with his emotions. Much has been written by gynocentric types about men’s not emoting in public, or men not emoting like women, while maintaining the underlying assumption that there must be something wrong with them. But almost nothing has been written about the brick wall men face when they do emote. When men have emotions people disappear. No one wants to hear it.

What I have seen repeatedly is that men have very different ways to process emotions. Ways that are invisible to most. They have likely developed these different ways due to the prevalence of gynocentrism and are happy with their paths to work with their own emotions and gladly take care of things on their own without fanfare and “help.” The saddest part of this is that most women simply do not see his different ways and assume he is “doing it wrong” since it isn’t like what she does.

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Conclusion

Gynocentrism creates a cultural default both on a micro and macro level where women’s distress is a call to action and a man’s distress is seen at best as a distraction and at worst a taboo. This leaves men being offered considerably less compassion and fewer choices. In the past 50 years the original gynocentric defaults have morphed into gynocentrism 2.0 which has seen a huge increase in both the lop-sided services favoring women and the disdain and blame focused on men.

Very few people are conscious of this habitual default, they simply assume it is just the way the world works.

Becoming more and more aware of gynocentrism makes it easier to see why men are 80% of the completed suicides but are basically ignored. It makes sense now that men are nearly 50% of the victims of domestic violence but are routinely disregarded. It makes sense now why boys genital mutilation is the fourth most popular surgical procedure in the U.S. even though it is unnecessary and highly damaging. The world is geared to have compassion for women’s needs but not as much for the needs of men. We could go on and on about each of the many men’s issues and see how the lack of compassion and choice plays a part in their dilemma.

The unconscious nature of gynocentrism may be its most ruinous aspect. People are simply unaware of the great differences in the way men and women are treated. It is in some ways reminiscent of the racism I remember in the mid 20th century. People were simply unaware of their treatment of blacks. There were surely outright bigots at the time but the majority of people were basically asleep to the impact of their attitudes and behaviors and went along with the status quo that treated blacks and whites in significantly different ways. The general public was duped by a media that portrayed blacks as inferior and an educational system and even academic research that did the same. With gynocentrism 2.0 we are seeing something very similar but instead of the blacks it is now our men. Today’s gynocentrism is made up primarily of people who are basically unaware of the impact of their behaviors and are simply going along with the gynocentric status quo.

It’s time to wake up.

Knowing these things and taking the red pill makes it important for us to start offering men and boys greater compassion and choice.

 
And let’s not forget. Men Are Good!