A New Psychology for Men

Violent Mind
By Peter Wright (first published in 2015)

Psychology clings to a universal model – that men are incorrigibly flawed and require a dismantling of their identities, habits, and preferences before being reconstructed according to a feminist model of masculinity. All modern therapies have this basic premise in common.

For example, one of the more popular models of men and masculinity to emerge in the last 20 years, promoted as A New Psychology of Men, is described in the following terms by one of its founders:

The new psychology of men has emerged over the past 15 years within the larger fields of men’s studies and gender studies. Informed by the academic breakthroughs of feminist scholarship, the new psychology of men examines masculinity not as a normative referent, but rather as a problematic construct. In so doing, it provides a framework for a psychological approach to men and masculinity that questions traditional norms of the male role and views some male problems as unfortunate byproducts of the male gender role socialization process.1

Since it’s inception this “new” psychology of men has restated traditional gender stereotypes about men; that they are flawed, violent, emotional primitives in need of reconstruction. This supposedly “new” model has also been developed into a training course teaching therapists how to effectively work with men.

The course, designed by former American Psychological Association President Ronald Levant, is based on two principles held almost universally by therapists working with men; a) that patriarchy theory represents the real world, and b) that males are stunted in their emotional processing abilities. Let’s look at these two pillars of therapy.

Patriarchy theory

As with most psychologists and therapists today, Levant is informed by feminist-inspired patriarchy theory which posits that all men have power over all women and that such power is enforced by men’s violence. The theoretical vision, trumpets Levant, provides a “new” way of looking at men:

What scholars in the area of men’s psychology have attempted is nothing less than a reconstruction of masculinity. It starts from the recognition that there is a problem, and locates the roots of that problem in the male gender role… The new psychology of men strives to address the feminist critique of patriarchy while remaining empathetic to men.2

As many readers will know there is nothing “new” in this characterization of men, which we can summarize with the phrase, ‘Women have problems, and men are the problem.’ As Levant stresses, the primary approach to therapy with men is first to problematize them; “It starts from the recognition that there is a problem.”

Jigsaw puzzle pieces forming a human head. Conceptual piece

In this model men are viewed as being problems before they even meet the therapist, who ignores the possibility that men’s problems may lie outside themselves in a world of grief they did nothing to deserve.

In other words, whatever the presenting complaints of the client they are immediately dismissed by the practitioner in order to coerce the client into an ideological mold of manhood. The practitioner, depending on their degree of indoctrination, may actually believe this will address the client’s issues but even a cursory examination of the “masculinity as identified problem” approach reveals numerous, deep flaws. In fact, this approach proves to be abusive in any reasonable interpretation of the word.

As I explain below there are other approaches to working with men that don’t presume they are flawed and need fixing. That approach begins with asking men what they experience in life, and what they might want to achieve in therapy, and actually listening to their answers. Therapists may be interested to hear men speak of a range of experiences and goals wholly unrelated to patriarchal domination of women and children.

Men as emotionally dumb

Referring to men as dumb has the double-meaning of both lacking in intelligence and being mute. This forms the basis of Levant’s theory that men possess little emotional awareness about themselves or others, that they are lacking in emotional intelligence, and that even were they to discover some emotional awareness they would not know how to express it in words, such is the depth of male lacuna. He refers to this problem in men as alexithymia – a Greek term meaning no words for emotions, insisting that most North American males suffer from this syndrome.

Levant states that “it is so very widespread among men that I have called it normative male alexithymia,”3 a syndrome that by definition only men and boys can be labelled with. There even exists a Normative Male Alexithymia Scale used to assess the depth of men’s need for therapeutic correction. Levant states,

One of the most far-reaching consequences of male gender-role socialization is the high incidence among men of… the inability to identify and describe one’s feelings in words… men are often genuinely unaware of their emotions. Lacking this emotional awareness, when asked to identify their feelings, they tend to rely on their cognition to try to logically deduce how they should feel. They cannot do what is automatic for most women -simply sense inwardly, feel the feeling, and let the verbal description come to mind.4

This claim, that men are “unaware of their emotions,” an assumption so typical of psychology’s view of men, has been a cornerstone of the therapeutic world for the last 40 years. And it is demonstrably wrong.

Dementia and aging as memory loss concept for brain cancer decay or an Alzheimer's disease with the medical icon of an old rusting piece of painted metal in the shape of a human head with rust as losing mind function.

According to the vast majority of studies on emotional processing, men and boys are able to identify emotional arousal in themselves and others equally to women, emotions like jealousy, love, anger, sadness, anxiety, etc. But men and boys choose to regulate that emotional arousal not by verbalizing it so much (women’s preferred method) but by taking intelligent action. A woman for example might talk with her melancholic friend about what is worrying her in order to cheer her up; the man may invite the same melancholic friend to the movies; both responses -talking, or acting- serve to intelligently modulate emotions.

What Levant has failed to discriminate are 1. recognizing emotions, and 2. verbalizing them. He, and so many psychologists who came before and after him, assume that by not verbalizing emotion males must also have failed to recognize emotions. Countless studies however show this to be a false conclusion.5 Men, like women, can sense the full range of emotions – but they may choose to respond to that knowledge in a different manner to women.

Breaking with the past – starting afresh

Repackaging patriarchy theory is a move we no longer wish to make – at least not if we wish to genuinely help men. Increasing numbers of men are tired of waiting for the psychotherapeutic industry to drag its collective ass out of gynocentrism-land to develop a genuine new model for tackling male psychology.

To attain that model there has to occur a break with patriarchy theory and assumptions that men and boys are emotional dummies. As in a court of law we begin the new therapy with an assumption that men are not only innocent until proven guilty, but that ‘men are good’ to use Tom Golden’s iconic phrase.

Nor will work with men be savvy until it admits the realities of cultural misandry, gynocentrism and their undeniably crushing effects on modern males. The daily assaults on men and boys from advertizing, mental health services, media, family courts, pharmaceutical companies, education from grade school to grad school, anti-male bigots and ideologically driven governance must be included in the picture.

These are problems which are deleterious to all aspects of men’s lives, including mental health. The mental health industry is a huge part of that problem, not a part of the solution.

A sane alternative to all this must disabuse men, women and society of the following myths:

● men belong to a patriarchy and take that model as their life script;
● men are emotionally inept;
● men are default potential sexual predators;
● men are violent and uncaring;
● men are not necessary as parents;
● men are unable to commit;
● men are emotionally unavailable;
● men are not as human or deserving as women.

The things we do want to include in a new mental health model are:

● enhanced understanding of misandry, gynocentrism and their consequences;
● recognizing and honoring men’s emotional acumen;
● recognizing and combating misandry and gynocentrism in the mental health industry;
● professional understanding of the ways men differ from women in how they cope with life;
● a prohibition on the practice of expecting men to emulate women’s emotional processes;
● an allowance of men’s legitimate anger without infecting them with ideological shame;
● the steadfast belief that men’s issues, pain and needs are as important as anyone else’s.

These points alone are sufficient to create a revolution in the way we work with men. As a truly new approach to men’s welfare and psychological health, An Ear For Men has been launched and the coming Men’s Mental Health Network will be promoting these principles and providing a range of specialized services from professionals who have been thoroughly vetted in their knowledge of men’s issues, and in their compassion for the same.

References:

[1] Ronald F. Levant, ‘The new psychology of men,’ in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Vol 27(3), Jun 1996, 259-265
[2] Ronald F. Levant, Men and Emotions: A psychoeducational approach – course material, Newbridge Publications, p.4, 1997
[3] Ronald F. Levant, Men and Emotions: A psychoeducational approach – course material, Newbridge Publications, p.9, 1997
[4] Ronald F. Levant, William S Pollack, A New Psychology of Men, pp.238-239, 1995
[5] For example, this Finnish study shows that while women were more proficient at verbalizing feelings, men and women were equally proficient at identifying feelings: Salminen, J. K. ‘Prevalence of alexithymia and its association with sociodemographic variables in the general population of Finland,’ Journal of psychosomatic research, vol. 46, no1, pp. 75-82, 1999

See also: Narrative Therapy with Men by Paul Elam and Peter Wright

Feminism

 

FEMINISM

Below is a selection of articles showing the feminist project as a continuation of the longer gynocentric tradition to which it belongs. The underlying thesis of the articles is summarized in this passage by Adam Kostakis:

Feminism is only the modern packaging of Gynocentrism, an ancient product, made possible in its present form by the extensive public welfare arrangements of the post-war period. In spite of its radical rhetoric, the content of feminism, or one could say, its essence, is remarkably traditional; so traditional, in fact, that its core ideas are simply taken for granted, as unquestioned and unquestionable dogma, enjoying uniform assent across the political spectrum. Feminism is distinguishable only because it takes a certain traditional idea – the deference of men to women – to an unsustainable extreme. Political extremism, a product of modernity, shall fittingly put an end to the traditional idea itself; that is, in the aftermath of its astounding, all-singing, all-dancing final act.

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.

Selection of articles:
La Querelle des Femmes
Ernest B. Bax on “Chivalry feminism”
Feminism: the same old gynocentric story
Gynocentrism and its Discontents
Feminism: gynocentric or egalitarian?
Feminism, sex-differences and chivalry
Nathanson and Young on gynocentric feminism
Gynocentrism, humanism and The Patriarchy™
Offering a concise definition of feminism
Gynocentrism 2.0, compassion, and choice
Damseling, chivalry and courtly love in modern feminism

How to tame men – gynocentrism style

Horses, dogs and men have one thing in common; they need training in order to shed their wild ways and become civilized. They need to be taught when to walk, run, sit, shit, play, work and, of course, when to cease fighting and attempting rape.

Women will do this for them.

From the pony club to the dog obedience class, and all the way through to wedding and relationship-advice magazines teaching “How to get him to do xyz,” – women dominate the field of animal training.

Starting in childhood, girls are educated in the Pavlovian school of human interactions, learning sexual manipulation, shaming and relational aggression as powerful techniques that if properly applied will help transform men, and even the baddest of badboys, into proverbial Good Men.™ Is it any wonder then that when a woman sees a badboy she sees a creature with ‘train me’ written across his forehead, a task for which her whole life has been but a preparation….. a lady won’t tolerate a feral animal wandering through the gynosphere, especially a handsome one, when she has the wherewithal to civilize him.

Lets take a little excursion through the history of taming.

Ancient Greece

Marriage is a particularly useful method by which men are tamed, so it’s no surprise that the institution has been around for thousands of years. Hera, the Ancient Greek goddess of marriage was nicknamed ‘The Tamer.’ She tamed horses, men and heroes and in some places was recognized as the tamer of the seasons, of nature, or of the universe itself.

Hera’s goal was to limit wildness and freedom by placing all creatures in service of civilized society. Her main tools-for-taming were the entrapment of men and women in marriage, the use of her own sexuality as an enticement for conformity, shaming, and aggressive punishment of any rebellious behaviours – even for her lordly husband Zeus: “Hera’s cruel rage tamed him.”1

Hera was worshipped as ‘Goddess of the yoke,’ an enslaving device symbolizing her desire to make utilities out of beasts and men. She yoked obedient men to wives, and yoked heroes to an inevitable death through their performance of labours that bring betterment to women and society.

In the Illiad Hera is said to tame heroes through death, not marriage. Death through service to others was considered -and is still considered- something appropriate for males and for their own good. In The Myth of Male Power Warren Farrell recounts a Greek story which illustrates the problem:

The Hero As Slave:

Yoke-commons
Once upon a time, a mother who wanted to see the beautiful statue of Hera had no oxes or horses to carry her there. But she did have two sons. And the sons wanted more than anything to make their mother’s wish come true. They volunteered to yoke themselves to a cart and take her over the mountains in the scorching heat to the faraway village of Argos, the home of the statue of Hera (the wife of Zeus). Upon their arrival in Argos, the sons were cheered and statues (that can be found to this day) were built in their honor. Their mother prayed that Hera give her sons the best gift in her power. Hera did that. The boys died. The traditional interpretation? The best thing that can happen to a man is to die at the height of his glory and power. Yet had this been a myth of two daughters who had substituted themselves for oxen to carry their father somewhere, would we have interpreted the daughters’ deaths as proof that the best thing that can happen to a woman is to die at the height of her glory and power? The statues and cheers can be seen as bribes for the sons to value their lives less than their mother’s request to view a statue. The fact that the statue was of Hera, the queen of the Olympian gods and protector of married women is symbolic. The sons’ sacrifice symbolized the mandate for men to become strong enough to serve the needs of mothers and marriage, and to be willing to call it glory if they died in the process. Which is why the name Hercules means “for the glory of Hera”.2

Yes these are myths, but on this topic life had a way of imitating art. Those who wrote the stories were drawing on experience to some extent, and married couples re-enacted the selfsame rituals of Hera and Zeus. In the marriage month (Gamelion ) the mythical marriage of Hera and Zeus was reenacted and celebrated with public festivities, a time when many couples would get married in imitation of the divine couple. On these occasions prayers and offerings were given to Hera, and the bride would pledge fidelity to extending Hera’s dominion on earth.

Women of Ancient Greece were considered, along with men, to be uncivilized and in need of taming for the greater good of society. Both sexes required a reconstruction in character and a submission to social responsibilities. Such was also the case in the Near East where an emerging Christian culture claimed that men and women were made of flawed stuff; women were born in original sin with Eve, sinful to the core, and were encouraged to aspire to the status of the holy and pure Virgin Mary. Likewise men were born in original sin and invited to improve their condition with an de imitatione Christi, an imitation of Christ in order to bleach the stains from their imperfect souls.

While men and women in ancient times possessed equality in the depravity stakes, this was all to change in the Middle ages.

Middle Ages

Fast forward to medieval times and we see a continuation of the desire to civilize human behaviour, except this time women are exempt from the taming to which the classical age subjected both sexes. By dint of a peculiar intersection of social beliefs, women came to be viewed as perfected from birth – due largely to the fact that worship of the Virgin Mary became amplified in the eleventh century and, by extension, the reverence bestowed upon the Virgin was extended to the female sex in general. As Mary was perfect, so too became women.

No longer like the Biblical Eve striving to imitate the Mother of Christ, woman becomes Mary’s counterpart on earth, and thus the cult of the “lady” is born as a mirror of the cult of the Virgin. Men for their part remain in a thoroughly fallen state like Adam while striving to imitate Jesus – knowing full well they will fall short of the goal. To enjoy the company of a lady a man must now prove himself worthy of her and so advance upward, step by step, toward a culminating union at her level; because everything noble and virtuous, everything that makes life worth living, proceeds from women, who are even described as the source of goodness itself.3

Mediaeval image of a woman leading a man with a leash or halter.

Mediaeval image of a woman leading a man with a leash or halter.

With the advent of women becoming men’s moral superiors, it’s here that men become the servants of women proper. It’s here also that the reciprocal service previously entertained between the sexes begins its gradual decline in favour of gynocentrism. As the faithful owed obeisance to The Virgin, henceforth man must render his obeisance to the Virgin’s earthly counterparts. Over the subsequent 100 years women even came to be viewed through the lens of the feudal contract whereby she became his overlord (midons ), and he the vassal in dutiful service. It would be woman whose role it became to civilize the depraved, fallen creature called man by teaching him the gynocentric virtues of chivalry and courtly love.

Contemporary attitudes

Contemporary perspectives about civilizing males are divided between two superficially opposed camps – traditionalist women, and progressive feminists. I say superficially opposed because when the goals of both groups are compared they amount to exactly the same thing: the belief that morally superior women should enculture men into the arts of chivalry and gentlemanliness for the benefit of women.

Lifelong feminist and former National Organization for Women member, Tammy Bruce, has articulated what she feels is the time-honoured power of women; of being morally superior to men which includes the feminist responsibility to civilizing men’s animalistic tendencies:

Nothing new under the sun, hey?

Another feminist, Christina Hoff-Sommers agrees with this idea that men need to be civilized with chivalric manners, a belief she outlined in an interview with Emily Esfahani Smith, where she said, “Masculinity with morality and civility is a very powerful force for good. But masculinity without these virtues is dangerous—even lethal.” “Chivalry is grounded in a fundamental reality that defines the relationship between the sexes,” explained Sommers, “and given that most men are physically stronger than most women, men can overpower women at any time to get what they want.” “If women give up on chivalry, it will be gone,” continued Sommers. “If boys can get away with being boorish, they will, happily. Women will pay the price.”4

Sommers elaborates her view in a 2009 interview with Ben Domenech:

Christina Hoff-Sommers: Codes of gallantry and civility that developed over the centuries have served women very well. We badly need more of that male gallantry, but I hasten to say it’s a reciprocal system. If males are going to be gallant then women also have a role to play. So today I think both sexes are remiss in nurturing this system.

Ben Domenech: What in this era of post feminism that we live in today relationally would be the possible incentive for any man to be gallant when there doesn’t seem to be any
particular reason that he has to be in order to function within today’s relationship world?

Christina Hoff-Sommers: It’s an interesting question because one of the things you find today is that most young men are gallant, and they are respectful, at least they are struggling to be. When I interview young men I ask them if they think it’s a good thing to be a gentleman and almost all of them say yes- that word gentleman has a positive resonance with young men. Now, do they know how to be gentlemen, do they know what it entails? Many do not. And same with some young women, they are not necessarily behaving like ladies. So there’s a lot of misunderstanding and lack of, perhaps, motivation. But it’s still alive in people. I think still on a typical date a young man would pay for his date – it doesn’t always happen in which case a girl would be resentful, and I can understand that…. These are gestures, I’m talking about certain gestures of respect – they need to be there and I think most women want them and I think men do too.

Ben Domenech: So why is that important – and I don’t just mean that in the sense of continuing a relationship but in the larger sense of the term, and this is a frame that I have to ask you about: if the incentive there is a relationship that is going to lead to something, does it matter that the something is beyond the typical aspirations of today’s men and women which seems to be more along the lines of a sex based relationship as opposed to one that actually has a longer term value beyond that prognosis.

Christina Hoff-Sommers: I think human beings at some point in their lives want something beyond a sex based relation. If you are going to build a relationship with someone it has been the case that women are going to be more likely to want to stay home and take care of the children, or certainly be more focused on that than the men, and I don’t see that changing.

Ben Domenech: As a single dating male in today’s environment there’s a much lower bar that they have to clear, frankly, in order to bounce around the relationship scene with a good deal of happiness, at least in the temporary sense.

Christina Hoff-Sommers: Oh I have to agree, and I think in a way women sort of undid the social contract with men and released them from all the constraints. And we pay the price.5

For the sake of argument, and in order to demonstrate that progressive gynocentrism and traditionalist gynocentrism are both chasing male-only chivalry, here is a recent ‘tradition-advocating’ article by antifeminist Patrice Lewis that appears strikingly similar to the progressive model offered above by Bruce and Hoff-Sommers:

I admire men.

Specifically, I admire men who are controlled, confident and who fulfill their biological destiny as protectors and providers. Men are essential for training boys to tame the testosterone and channel their natural strengths and aggressiveness in appropriate ways. Trained men are, in the words of columnist Dennis Prager, the glory of civilization. (It goes without saying that untrained men are its scourge, but that’s another column.)

Couple role playing with dog leashMen – trained, manly men – are necessary for a balanced society. They take on the tough ugly hard jobs women can’t or won’t do. They mine our coal and fight our fires and protect our shores and fix our engines and rescue our butts when we’re in danger. They truck our goods and clean our pipes and wire our homes. They plow fields and grow food. They butcher livestock so we can buy meat in tidy sanitized packages in the grocery store and pretend it never came from a cow.

I’m not saying women can’t be found in those fields; but let’s be honest: The vast majority of workers in hard, dangerous, dirty and heavy fields are men. They deserve our praise and gratitude.

Which is why I get so ticked off when feminists belittle men. These kinds of women don’t admire manly men who protect and provide. Feminists don’t want warriors; they want servants who will kowtow to their emotions and feeeeeeelings. They prefer emasculated androgynous guys who wouldn’t know one end of a rifle from the other. Guys who watch chick flicks with them. Guys who know what temperature to wash the dainties. Guys who are preoccupied with “social justice” and bringing their carbon footprint down to zero.6

Lewis’s argument above that boys are juicing with testosterone and need “taming” reveals an unbroken, and mythical conception of men stemming from ancient times – and it is wrong. Men are not born as wild animals in a testosterone-fuelled psychosis waiting to tear people limb from limb. We need not buy our sons punching bags nor insert them into football training from 2 years of age to channel some androgen-fuelled chaos (doing it for fun, though, is another reason). The claim that men are unclean, bestial creatures in need of taming is not only false – it is extreme misandry and it needs to be challenged head on with each bigot who perpetuates it.

The above survey of man-taming by women spanning all the way from Ancient Greece, and through progressive feminism to regressive traditionalism, shows what we are up against. Nothing whatsoever has changed; chivalric servitude of men, trained into them by women (yes and by men), remains the order of the day. The one timeless voice echoing through all this is the monomyth of the animal-trainer – womankind and her pussy whip.

With the continuing encouragement of women to be slavemasters, and their enthusiasm to take on the role, is it any surprise that the majority of horse and dog training schools – obedience classes – are peopled by women? That so many little girls desire to possess their own pony is a no-brainer, and it’s time we woke up to what this expensive little pastime symbolizes – the racing of horses may be the sport of Kings, but training of ponies is for the delight of princesses.

In a modern ‘enlightened’ society it’s high time to ditch the idea that males, and only males, need taming. Lets instead rely on men’s natural human empathy, a thing that exists in both sexes before the training begins. If you see a baby boy begin crying after he hears another baby crying nearby, it’s a demonstration of empathy that is there from the start. Like girls, boys develop mirror neurons which predispose them to be caring as they develop – we don’t need to see them as heartless beasts in need of taming, curtailing or genitally maiming. So let’s cease with the gynocentric boot-camp for males; they are already trained from the start by their own good natures – yes, men are good.

Sources:

[1] Joan O’Brien, ‘The Tamer of Heroes and Horses,’ Chapter 6E in The Transformation of Hera, Rowman and Littlefield, (1993)
[2] Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power, Simon and Schuster, (1993)
[3] Irving Singer, Love: Courtly and Romatic, UCP, 1984
[4] Emily Esfahani Smith, ‘Let’s Give Chivalry Another Chance’ The Atlantic, Dec 10 2012
[5] Interview with Christina Hoff-Sommers, “The Acculturated Podcast: Ladies and Gentlemen” 2009
[6] Patrice Lewis, ‘Feminism Has Slain Our Protectors,’ WND, 09/12/2014

Petticoat government (1933)

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

___________

 

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

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

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

***

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

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

~ Wife in Contempt. ~

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

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

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

~ Husbands Have Been Patient. ~

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

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

Concluding his opinion, Justice Bonynge wrote:

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

~ A Morning in Family Court ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that is what I mean by justice.

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

***

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

 

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

Jane Anger: gynocentrism in 1589

The following quotes written by ‘Jane Anger’, sixteenth century female English author on the subject of men’s imperfections – PW.

Untitled“Wee are contrary to men, because they are contrarie to that which is good: because they are spurblind, they cannot see into our natures, and we too well (though we had but halfe an eie) into their conditions, because they are so bad: our behaviours alter daily, because mens vertues decay hourely. If Hesiodus had with equity as well looked into the life of man, as he did presisely search out the qualities of us women, he would have said, that if a woman trust unto a man, it shal fare as well with her, as if she had a waight of a thousand pounds tied about her neck, and then cast into the bottomles seas: for by men are we confounded though they by us are sometimes crossed. Our tongues are light, because earnest in reprooving mens filthy vices, and our good counsel is termed nipping injurie, in that it accordes not with their foolish fancies. Our boldnesse rash, for giving Noddies nipping answeres, our dispositions naughtie, for not agreeing with their vilde mindes, and our furie dangerous, because it will not beare with their knavish behaviours. If our frownes be so terrible, and our anger so deadly, men are too foolish in offering occasions of hatred, which shunned, a terrible death is prevented. There is a continuall deadly hatred betweene the wilde boare and tame hounds, I would there were the like betwixt women and men unles they amend their maners, for so strength should predominate, where now flattery and dissimulation hath the upper hand. The Lion rageth when he is hungrie, but man raileth when he is glutted. The Tyger is robbed of her young ones, when she is ranging abroad, but men rob women of their honour undeservedlye under their noses. The Viper stormeth when his taile is trodden on, & may not we fret when al our bodie is a footstoole to their vild lust: their unreasonable mindes which knowe not what reason is, make them nothing better then bruit beastes.”

“The creation of man and woman at the first, hee being formed In principio of drosse and filthy clay, did so remaine until God saw that in him his workmanship was good, and therfore by the transformation of the dust which was loathsome unto flesh, it became purified. Then lacking a help for him, GOD making woman of mans fleshe, that she might bee purer then he, doth evidently showe, how far we women are more excellent then men. Our bodies are fruitefull, wherby the world encreaseth, and our care wonderful, by which man is preserved. From woman sprang mans salvation. A woman was the first that beleeved, & a woman likewise the first that repented of sin. In women is onely true Fidelity: (except in her) there is constancie, and without her no Huswifery. In the time of their sicknes we cannot be wanted, & when they are in health we for them are most necessary. They are comforted by our means: they nourished by the meats we dresse: their bodies freed from diseases by our cleanlines, which otherwise would surfeit unreasonably through their own noisomnes. Without our care they lie in their beds as dogs in litter, & goe like lowsie Mackarell swimming in the heat of sommer. They love to go hansomly in their apparel, and rejoice in the pride thereof, yet who is the cause of it, but our carefulnes, to see that every thing about them be curious. Our virginitie makes us vertuous, our conditions curteous, & our chastitie maketh our truenesse of love manifest. They confesse we are necessarie, but they would have us likewise evil. That they cannot want us I grant: yet evill I denie: except onely in the respect of man, who (hating all good things, is onely desirous of that which is ill, through whose desire, in estimation of conceit we are made ill. But least some shuld snarle on me, barking out this reason: that none is good but God, and therfore women are ill. I must yeeld that in that respect we are il, & affirm that men are no better, seeing we are so necessarie unto them. It is most certain, that if we be il, they are worse: for Malum malo additum efficit malum peius: & they that use il worse then it shold be, are worse then the il. And therefore if they wil correct Magnificat, they must first learn the signification therof. That we are liberal, they wil not deny sithence that many of them have (ex confessio) received more kindnes in one day at our hands, then they can repay in a whole yeare: & some have so glutted themselves with our liberality as they cry No more. But if they shal avow that women are fooles, we may safely give them the lie: for my selfe have heard some of them confesse that we have more wisdome then need is, & therfore no fooles: & they lesse then they shold have, & therfore fooles. It hath bene affirmed by some of their sex, that to shun a shower of rain, & to know the way to our husbands bed is wisedome sufficient for us women: but in this yeare of 88, men are grown so fantastical, that unles we can make them fooles, we are accounted unwise. And now (seeing I speake to none but to you which are of mine owne Sex,) give me leave like a scoller to proove our wisdome more excellent then theirs, though I never knew what sophistry ment. Ther is no wisdome but it comes by grace, this is a principle, & Contra principium non est disputandum: but grace was first given to a woman, because to our lady: which premises conclude that women are wise. Now Primum est optimum, & therefore women are wiser then men. That we are more witty which comes by nature, it cannot better be prooved, then that by our answers, men are often droven to Non plus, & if their talk be of worldly affaires, with our resolutions they must either rest satisfied, or proove themselves fooles in the end.”

Modesta Pozzo: gynocentrism in 1590

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Modesta Pozzo, a protofeminist living in the 1500s in Venice wrote a gynocentric work entitled The Worth of Women: their Nobility and Superiority to Men. The work purportedly records a conversation among seven Venetian Noblewomen that explores nearly every aspect of women’s experience in both theoretical and practical terms. The following excerpts begin with comments by one of the women, Corinna:
 
Line breakCorinna said: “Helena has not managed to prove anything except that men do have some merits when they are married — which is to say, when they are united with a wife. Now that I don’t deny, but without that help from their wives, men are just like unlit lamps: in themselves, they are no good for anything, but, when lit, they can be handy to have around the house. In other words, if a man has some virtues, it is because he has picked them up from the woman he lives with, whether mother, nurse, sister, or wife — for over time, inevitably, some of her good qualities will rub off on him. Indeed, quite apart from the good examples women provide for them, all men’s finest and most virtuous achievements derive from their love for women, because, feeling themselves unworthy of their lady’s grace, they try by any means they can to make themselves pleasing to her in some way. That men study at all, that they cultivate the virtues, that they groom themselves and become well-bred men of the world –in short, that they finish up equipped with countless pleasing qualities– is all due to women.”

Virginia said: “If it is true what you say, and men are as imperfect as you say they are, then why are they our superiors on every count?”

Corinna replied: “This pre-eminence is something they have unjustly arrogated to themselves. And when it’s said that women must be subject to men, the phrase should be understood in the same sense as we are subject to natural disasters, diseases, and all the other accidents of life: it’s not a case of being subject in the sense of obeying, but rather of suffering an imposition; not a case of serving them, but rather of tolerating them in a spirit of Christian charity, since they have been given to us by God as a spiritual trial. But they take the phrase in the contrary sense and set themselves up as tyrants over us, arrogantly usurping that domination over women that they claim is their right, but which is more properly ours. For don’t we see that men’s rightful task is to go out to work and wear themselves out trying to accumulate wealth, as though they were our factors or stewards, so that we can remain at home like the lady of the house directing their work and enjoying the profit of their labors? That, if you like, is the reason why men are naturally stronger and more robust than us — they need to be, so they can put up with the hard labor they must endure in our service.”

Leonora said: “A woman, when she is segregated from male contact, has something divine about her and can achieve miracles, as long as she retains her natural virginity. That certainly isn’t the case with men, because it is only when a man has taken a wife that he is considered a real man and that he reaches the peak of happiness, honor, and greatness. The Romans in their day did not confer any important responsibilities on any man who did not have a wife; they did not allow him to take up a public office or to perform any serious duties relating to the Republic. Homer used to say that men without wives were scarcely alive. And if you want further proof of women’s superior dignity and authority, just think about the fact that if a man is married to a wise, modest, and virtuous woman, even if he is the most ignorant, shameless, and corrupt creature who has ever lived, he will never, for all his wickedness, be able to tarnish his wife’s reputation in the least. But if, through some mischance, a woman is lured by some persistent and unscrupulous admirer into losing her honor, then her husband is instantly and utterly shamed and dishonored by her act, however good, wise, and respectable he may be himself — as if he depended on her, rather than she on him. And indeed, just as a pain in the head causes the whole body to languish, so when women (who are superior by nature and thus legitimately the head and superior of their husbands) suffer some affront, so their husbands , as appendages and dependents, are also subject to the same misfortune and come to share in the ills of their wives as well as in their good fortune.”

Leonora said: “Do you not really believe that men do not recognize our worth? In fact they are quite aware of it, and, even though envy makes them reluctant to confess this in words, they cannot help revealing in their behavior a part of what they feel in their hearts. For anyone can see that when a man meets a woman in the street, or when he has some cause to talk to a woman, some hidden compulsion immediately urges him to pay homage to her and bow, humbling himself as her inferior. And similarly at church, or at banquets, women are always given the best places, and men behave with deference and respect toward women even of a much lower social status. And where love is concerned, what can I say? Which woman, however low-born, is below men’s notice? Which do they shrink from approaching? Is a man of the highest birth ashamed to consort with a peasant girl or a plebian — with his own servant, even? It is because he senses that these women’s natural superiority compensates for the low status fortune has conferred on them. It’s very different in the case of women: except in some completely exceptional freak cases, you never find a noblewoman falling in love with a man of low estate, and, moreover, it’s rare even to find a woman loving someone (apart from her husband) of the same social status. And that’s why everyone is so amazed when they hear of some transgression on the part of a woman: it’s felt to be a strange and exceptional piece of news (I’m obviously excepting courtesans here), while in the case of men, no one takes any notice, because sin for them is a matter of course and an everyday occurrence that it doesn’t seem remarkable any more. In fact, men’s corruption has reached such a point that when there is a man who is rather better than the others and does not share their bad habits, it is seen as a sign of unmanliness on his part and he is regarded as a fool. Indeed, many men would behave better if it were not for the pressure of custom, but, as things stand, they feel it would be shameful not to be as bad as or worse than their fellows.”

Corinna said: “We’ve already proven that on all counts –ability, dignity, goodness, and a thousand other things– we are their superiors and they our inferiors. So I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t love us, except for the fact that, as I said before, men are by nature so cold and ungrateful that they cannot even be swayed by the influences of the heavens. Though another factor, as we were saying earlier, is their great envy of our merits: they are fully aware of our worth and they know themselves to be full of flaws that are absent in women. For when men have flaws, women have virtues; and if you need proof, it’s quite obvious that in women you find prudence and gentleness where men have anger; temperance where men have greed; humility in place of pride; continence in place of self-indulgence; peace in place of discord; and love in place of hatred. In fact, to sum up , any given virtue of the soul and mind can be found to a greater degree in women than in men.”

Cornelia exclaimed: “What poor wretches men are not to respect us as they should. We look after their households for them, their goods, their children, their lives — they’re hopeless without us and incapable of getting anything right. Take away that small matter of their earning money and what use are they at all? What would they be like without women to look after them? (And with such devotion) I suppose they’d rely on servants to run their households — and steal their money and reduce them to misery, as so often happens.”

 
Source: The Worth of Women: their Nobility and Superiority to Men

Gynotopia

Gynotopia: Love, Peace and Kill All The Men

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Often all-female worlds are imagined as Utopias. The details of the Utopia vary, but the idea that a world without men would be a Utopia recurs again and again in literature throughout the centuries. Neither is the idea entirely fiction, as we see from modern examples where feminists literally call for the extermination of part or all of the male population; a fantasy that does not occur in the reverse.[1][2]

In the decades before World War II, gynotopias tended towards the Utopian. In the 50’s, the “Love-Starved Amazons In Outer Space” genre was created. The 60’s and 70’s spawned two new, closely related gynotopian genres. One was a feminist utopian school, different from the older utopian novels in its bitterness towards men. The other might be termed “backlash fiction”; written by men, these novels featured monstrous Amazons ruthlessly murdering men by the bushel. In many of these stories of both camps, a plague or war lowers the number of males and a handful of highly intelligent, strong-willed women decide to seize power for themselves, and they know they have to make sure there are few or no males if they want to hold on to it.

pizan

The Book of The City of Ladies
by Christine de Pizan.

Aside from classical myths describing tribes of Amazons, the first serious attempt at dreaming up a gynotopic society comes from protofeminist Christine de Pizan in the Middle Ages (c.1405). The storyline proposes that a city be constructed entirely by women – one that will be ruled entirely by women, every one of whom is virtuous, chaste and pure. Christine inserts herself into the story as its most suitable ruler, as she is the wisest, and most chaste and pure of all women. Christine’s city presents and shelters women as goddesses. Like Pygmalion, who was uninterested in real women, she sculpts the perfect female so that men can worship the illusion. In this sense Christine was very much a traditionalist attempting to uphold and entrench all the privileges enjoyed by her gender since chivalric love had been introduced. For a longer essay discussing this author and her book see Christine de Pizan: the first gender warrior.

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►Mizora: a World of Women
by Mary E. Bradley Lane

Mizora, published in 1880 is an all-female Utopian novel full of murderous ideologies hauntingly remniscent of Nazism. In this Utopia a disinterest in sex is maintained, but the women wear beautiful and elaborate clothes. Instead of agrarian subsistence, Mizora is technologically highly advanced; they synthesize most of their food from minerals, have cured most diseases, have flying machines, and their parthenogenesis takes place in a laboratory. Their planned economy, unlike every planned economy in real life, has created great prosperity for all. Everybody is blonde and blue-eyed. The Nazis did not invent their “master race” theory all by themselves; in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, not only did many people take the pseudoscience of eugenics seriously, but there was a widely held theory that blue-eyed blonds were the highest type of human. The theory is discussed in depth in Joanna Pitman’s fascinating book On Blondes.

Bees in Paradise by Marriott Edgar

In this early (1944) and more lighthearted example of this genre Arthur Tucker and a few other men are shipwrecked on an island whose sole visible population is beautiful young women. (Like Wonder Woman’s home, it is called Paradise Island.) Men apparently exist, though we never see any of them; all the important work is done by women, who rule this society completely. However, their birth rate is dangerously low, and to their bafflement they are unable to induce men to marry them – which, since the movie was made in 1944, is the only way they can get pregnant. It does not occur to them that their policy of executing all husbands two months after the wedding might have something to do with it.
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The Day of the Women by Pamela Kettle

The back cover of this British pulp novel really says it better than I possibly could:

A female Prime Minister… human stud farms run by women… mass rallies at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the day of the dominating women… all this and more in a take-over bid of the Seventies that turns to high-heeled fascism, a dictatorship of unbridled power lust. A female elite has taken over England. Led by their ‘mother’, the sleek Diana Druce, they perform an economic miracle – and put the jackboot through the idea that women are the weaker sex. Author Pamela Kettle paints, in mercilessly naked detail, a picture of the near future that is not only possible, but probable…

sexwar
The Sex War by Sam Merwin, Jr.; also available via Kindle as The White Widows

Merlin’s1953 science fiction novel in which a chemist researching hemophilia becomes a pawn for ‘The White Widows, ‘ a group of women who intend to take over the world — and eliminate all men!

This one is about a conspiracy of genetically superior women who want to take over the world and, once they have the technology to reproduce without them, do away with men entirely. Notice the blood on the lower abdomen of the man in the background. I don’t recall any castration in the novel, but the cover’s implication is pretty darn clear.

Elseworlds: Created Equal

World without men
In this graphic novel, all the men in the DC universe die of a plague… except for Superman and Lex Luthor. The author apparently couldn’t figure out whether to be male chauvinist or female chauvinist. This is a sterling example of how many interesting psychological complexes bubble up as soon as people start writing about gynotopias. Futuristic all-female world in which one male is made as an experiment. This falls into the category of satire against radical feminism. Without men, the world becomes a stagnant dictatorship, although in this novel, the dictatorship functions reasonably even if it is dull, unlike in real life, where dictatorships are full of unrest and don’t tend to last long.

“Well, who wants men, anyway?” she said with an attempt at nonchalance that didn’t quite come off. Crinila smiled in the darkness. “Why, nobody, Lycia darling. Not even the men themselves will want men. All they will ever want is women.”

The Holdfast Chronicles by Suzy McKee Charnas

The gynotopian “female planet” has also been shown up as everything from well-meant nonsense to hateful rage, and Miss Charnas’s series is no exception. She claims not to hate men, but when you read her fictional history of how those nasty men destroyed the earth, killed off most of our species in massive wars, and then enslaved all women, even contemplating raising women for food, it’s kind of hard to believe her. (Incidentally, Miss Charnas vehemently opposes the current wars in the Middle East that have unseated dictatorships which treat women almost this badly, and of course similarly opposes Western civilization, in which women have been better treated than in any other society in history.)!B8lD!YwBGk~$(KGrHqF,!hsEzMS6Kl1GBM3bsrfbdw~~0_12

Facing dwindling reproduction, the men devised a procedure by which genetically altered women could be fertilized by horse sperm. Aside from the scientific improbability, I found this rather interesting, since according to Greek legend, horses were extremely important to Amazons – many Amazon names incorporate the Greek word for “horse” – and there were predictable jokes and speculation that their horses took the place of men in, ah, various ways. I don’t know if the parallel is deliberate. In any case, able to reproduce without men (because of technological advances made by men), these women escaped and became roving Amazons. This leads to the most worthwhile book in the series, The Furies, which Miss Charnas says upset many readers who were hoping for a more conventional feminist fantasy about how everything turns into fluffy bunnies without any of those big bad men around. Instead these Riding Women become just as brutal to men as men had been to them. This makes The Furies the most realistic novel out of the series; an hour of reading child abuse case histories will eradicate any notion that women are not capable of being violent or cruel.
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The final novel, The Conqueror’s Child, centers on the daughter of a hero of the Riding Women – a daughter who she abandoned as soon as she was born, following the model of real-life feminists. The story is about how the matriarchy finally wipes out the patriarchy for good, and how some women were magnanimous enough to allow some men to live. Miss Charnas claims to envision a society where the sexes are genuinely equal and both have all human options open to them, but her own story belies this: “The sponsorship of men and boys is a way of providing them with what amounts to a family of sharemothers, who show them how decent people behave and require that they themselves do so,” Miss Charnas burbles happily, describing this as “an alternative to enslaving the men or keeping them permanently on the stick”. We are asked to believe, in defiance of all of human history, that the men submit to this. I do not have the space here to dispute Miss Charnas’s definition of “decent behavior”, but I will point out that apparently killing or enslaving men is not excluded from it. But we can hardly expect the author to have a realistic view of human nature when we see in what denial she is about animals: “Any fool can see what makes a reasonable society by looking at who rules a band of horses or a flock of goats.” Please pause for a moment to digest that sentence. She is asking us to take four-legged grass-eating animals as a model for government. I think “fool” is the right word here. She continues, “Despite noisy male pantomime of mastery, the chief invariably turns out to be the queen doe or the lead mare, not the randy, hysterical buck or the stallion with the arched neck and rolling eyes.” Gracious, she does hate the menfolk, doesn’t she? Well, I have never studied horses, goats or deer, but I have invested considerable time into studying our close relatives the apes, and male dominance is universal among them.stormquest_567

Stormquest is a 1987 sword-and-sandals B movie. The nations of Kimbia, which has no men, and Ishtan, which keeps men as slaves, are at war. Add to the mix Ishtan men who are rebelling to demand equality with women and Kimbian women who were condemned for liking the men they bred with. The treatment of men by Ishtans is quite appalling, though to be fair the Ishtan queen is almost as cruel to her female subjects as her male slaves. In a female-ruled society where men are kept solely for breeding, two women come to believe that their society’s treatment of men is wrong, and lead them in a revolt against the system.

Whoever made this movie seems to have had some pretty big Issues. Not on DVD, but the entire movie can be viewed in segments on a certain free video site.

cityw

In City of Women by David Ireland, men have been banished from Sydney, Australia, but still run amok outside the city.
Dustjacket synopsis:

“The city of women is love, Billie Shockley says.
“But in the city of women that is her world, love takes strange forms.
“The city is Sydney, from its familiar streets and gardens men have been banished. Their existence still threatens its precincts and Old Man Death moves rapaciously and relentlessly among its citizens.
“Billie observes them – their hedonism, rivalry, passions, cruelty, power, fragility. Reflecting her own anguish at the loss of love and youth, they suffer brutality and decay.
“But, she tells her gentle leopard, she will never admit it’s all over.

“City of Women is David Ireland’s most recent novel. It follows his highly acclaimed A Woman of the Future, which in 1979 won for him, for the third time, Australia’s most prestigious literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award, shared the Age Book of the Year Award for 1980, and has become a best-seller.

gendergenocide“Gender Genocide” also published as Who Needs Men? by Edmund Cooper

A masterpiece of sexism. Fascist Lesbian Amazons have wiped out almost all of the men on earth and are working on the few remaining. The Amazons reproduce by cloning. The heroine, Rura Alexandra, is a First-Class Exterminator of men… until she meets one, is raped by him, falls deeply in love with him, gets pregnant and follows her man to the ends of the earth.

“Rura spent her days learning to forget that she had ever been an exterminator, learning to become a woman. It was an exciting process. It was as if she were peeling away a superficial persona and discovering something quite different underneath…. She learned to sing the old songs that Diarmid loved, to do the things that would please him; she learned when to be passive and when to take the initiative, and how to respond to excite him. She began to feel proud of her swollen breasts and swollen belly. These were the outward and visible signs of the true nature of womanhood.”

You know, I’m all in favor of heterosexuality (when it’s practiced by heterosexuals, that is), but the above inspires me to date myself by reviving a phrase of my adolescence: “Gag me with a spoon.”ammonite

Ammonite by Nicola Griffith

“In Ammonite… the attempts to colonize the planet Jeep have uncovered a selective virus that kills all men and all but a few women. The remaining women undergo changes that enable them to communicate with one another and the planet itself, and give to birth to healthy, genetically diverse children.”

Retreat: As It Was by Donna J. Young

This novel is set in the distant past when there were no men, just women who lived in peace and harmony. They all fly around in spaceships being sisterly (and occasionally more) and understanding of each other, mystically in tune with nature and growing spiritually and all that stuff. Then a radiation mutation causes: “You and all the women on the Eulalia suffered a slight change in one chromosome. One tiny leg of an X was chopped off. The effect on Jarre and all their offspring…” well, you get the idea. They mutated into men, and that was when all the trouble began. If you believe that the world would become a paradise if there were no Y chromosomes in it, this book is for you.

Wanderground by Sally Miller Gearheart

You know it’s going to be a bad book when you flip through it and find made-up words like “earthtouch”. These women live in “the Hills”, that is, out in the wilderness, where they talk to trees, live in perfect peace with each other and are far more in touch with their feelings than anybody ought to be. Not far away a normal (that is, with men and women) society lives in a place called “the City”. Naturally the City is a horrible place full of technology and competition where nobody talks to trees. In the very first chapter the author tells us that men are just too full of hate and violence to be fit to live and just need to die out, which these compassionate, in-touch-with-nature kindly and compassionately watch them do. Female man

The Female Man by Joanna Russ

The virulent hatred of men exhibited by feminists who boast endlessly about how compassionate and nurturing they are is the most tiresome thing about feminist-Utopian gynotopias. This badly written and ideologically asinine novel has for some mysterious reason garnered wide acclaim. Among the author’s embittered potshots at the male gender are a scene in which a man (a Marine, of course) consults a book called WHAT TO DO IN EVERY SITUATION when a woman rejects his advances and follows its instructions: insult her and “Girl backs down – cries – manhood vindicated.” Gee, real subtle there.

When It Changed by Joanna Russ

Science fiction story. Centuries ago, a plague killed all the male members of a space colony. Since then, women have carried on, living in Lesbian relationships and reproducing by egg fusion. They’re doing fine until an Earth ship full of males lands. Naturally the nasty males have caused Earth to have nuclear war and all those other bad things that Whileaway doesn’t have, and the patronizing men compulsively assure the women that “sexual equality has been re-established on Earth”. Written by a Lesbian-feminist, it’s male chauvinist in a kind of backhanded way; though the women of Whileaway hunt big game and fight duels and are generally quite capable of looking out for themselves, all the tall, strong, confident men have to do is swagger in and the women of Whileaway instantly feel themselves intimidated and outclassed.104344

The Gate To Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper

This is a space colony that has lost contact with Earth in which men and women live separately. The women have cooperation and harmony and nurturing while the men are mean old Warriors, though there’s not actually anyone else to fight with. Little boys are sent to live with the warriors at the age of five, where the men corrupt them into being horrible violent monsters, which would never happen if they stayed with their mothers. The main characters also spend some time with another society which practices a religion which is an obvious cypher for Christianity. It’s equally obvious that the author hates Christianity; the occupants of Holyland, who worship the All-Father, are ignorant and dirty and constantly beat their women and are terrified of the thought of anybody enjoying sex. Oddly enough, no matter how often the enemies of Christianity promote this image of them, real-life Christians stubbornly refuse to start acting the way they are assured they do.

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Consider Her Ways by John Wyndham, a famous science fiction story. Was made into a Night Gallery episode.

A young woman wakes up in a future three generations after the men have been wiped out by a plague. There are four classes of women: Mothers, who bear children, Servitors who do menial work, Workers for hard labor, and the ruling class, the Doctorate, so called because it is dominated by the doctors, without whom reproduction is impossible. Men have been forgotten except by a few scholars. A historian tells the protagonist, “It was quite a dreadful state of affairs because although there were a great many women, and they had outnumbered the men, in fact, they had only really been important as consumers and spenders of money. So when the crisis came it turned out that scarcely any of them knew how to do any of the important things because they had nearly all been owned by men, and had to lead their lives as pets and parasites.” She continues with standard feminist rhetoric, very prescient for a story written in 1956, despite the protagonist’s desperate attempts to explain the joys of the man-woman relationship. In essence, this story is the feminist fantasy: the intellectual career-oriented women are able to seize power, do away with men, and relegate more traditional women to a subordinate role without its doing men any good because there aren’t any.
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►A late addition to this genre is The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice. The first vampire, Akasha, decides to end war and crime once and for all by eliminating the source: men. After she inspires women and other vampires to kill all the world’s males, except for a few for procreation, she is confident that the world will become Eden. Nor is the genre dead today. In 1982, Sally Miller Gearhart wrote an essay titled “The Future – If There Is One – Is Female” in which she demanded that in future, men be limited to ten percent of the population. In 1999, Mary Daly envisioned a utopian future of parthenogenetically reproducing women and no men in Quintessence. In 2004, Bryan Sykes wrote Adam’s Curse: A Future Without Men, he suggested that in the not too distant future, men may be biologically superfluous, and that this will be just as well given how awful men are. In 2008 A. N. Wilson speculated that we could not only do away with men, but change our species entirely in the next half century: What would the world be like without men?

 
This 1971 novel doesn’t quite belong in this category, but I included it because it’s such an
excellent example of backlash against a disturbingly realistic gynotopian worldview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Editors note: the above content is mirrored with a few minor changes (eg. title and intoductory paragraph, content removed/added) from the website ‘Gynotopias.’ – PW