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.

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

Elizabeth Poole Sandford: Female Power, Influence, and Privileges in 1835

“Female Power, Influences, and Privileges” is Chapter-one from ‘Woman: As She Is, And As She Should Be,’ by Elizabeth Poole Sandford. It was published 1835 by Cochrane & Co., and is reprinted here in searchable text form for the first time. This book, written after the death of Mary Wollstonecraft and before the famed Seneca Falls Convention, is already questioning the idea of women as oppressed and lacking in power.- PW.

O ye men; it is not the great king, nor the multitude of men, neither is it wine that excelleth: who is it then that ruleth them, or hath the lordship over them? – Are they not women? By this also ye must know that women have dominion over you. Do ye not labour, and toil, and give, and bring all to the woman? Yea! many there be that have run out of their wits for women, and become servants for their sakes. Many also have perished, and erred, and sinned, for women. — ESDRAS. ”

§ 1.–The supremacy of the weak over the strong is a very remarkable phenomenon, and it is as mischievous as it is it is remarkable. Whatever nature or law may have denied women, art and secret sway give them all: they are influential to a degree perfectly unguessed, and men are possessed by, not possessors of them.

“Woman was made of the man, and for the man:” this is the language of Scripture. Yet, though “expressly given to man for a comforter, for a companion, not for a counsellor,” Woman has managed to overstep her sphere – she has usurped the dominion of the head, when she should have aimed but at the subjection of the heart; and the hand which ought to be held out to the man, only to sustain and cheer him on his journey, now checks his steps, and points out the way he is to go! From moment to moment his purposes are thwarted and broken in upon by a capricious influence, which he scarcely dares to question, yet makes it his pride to indulge. Of this mighty evil it is that we are desirous to give a plain and unbiased view.

There is, perhaps, no country on earth where women enjoy such, and so great privileges, as in our own. The phenomenon has never passed unobserved by foreigners; and smartly enough it has been said, that were a bridge thrown across our Channel, the whole sex would be seen running to the British shores. In many countries women are slaves; in some they hold the rank of mistresses; in others they are (what they should be everywhere) companions; but in England they are queens!

It was remarked by Steele, even in his time, that “by the gallantry of our nation, the women were the most powerful part of our people;” and assuredly, female influence, far from finding its becoming level, has been on the growth among us ever since. It is now in its “high and palmy state,” and the star of Woman was perhaps never more in the ascendant than at this present writing.1 “The influence of Englishwomen,” as a contemporary observes, “of attractive women” (and a large portion of our countrywomen are attractive) “is vast indeed: be they slaves or companions, sensual toys or reasoning friends, that influence is all but boundless.”

§ 2.–Female influence necessarily exists by sufferance: it can only be by man’s verdict that it exists at all. And herein is the unaccountable part of the whole matter: there is actually something “stronger than strength,” —

And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.”

In the moral philosophy of Paley, there is a remark, so profoundly true, bearing upon our subject, that we cannot consent to hide it in a note. “Could we regard mankind,” says that writer, “with the same sort of observation with which we read the natural history, or remark the manners of any other animal, there is nothing in the human character which would more surprise us, than the almost-universal subjugation of strength to weakness. Among men (in the complete use and exercise of their personal faculties) you see the ninety-and-nine toiling and scraping together a heap of superfluities for one, and this one, too, oftentimes the feeblest and worst of the whole set–a child, a Woman, a madman, or a fool.”

And thus does Man (too often a creature of passion, but never so much or completely so, as when Woman is its object) yield himself an unthinking victim: a most willing bond-slave here, he suffers his head to become the dupe of his passions. How (perhaps many a man asks himself) should he look for harm, where he has garnered up his heart, and where his earliest, latest wishes centre? And yet we may love, like Othello, “not wisely, but too well;” we make unto ourselves idols of the heart, that shall wean us (as they weaned the wisest of old) from sobriety and duty. If the enthusiasm of devotion has sometimes stooped to borrow the language of love, far more often has the madness of love dared to borrow the language of devotion. Like the father in Parnell, our affections may become criminal, and “erring fondness” of this kind, amiable though it be, has to abide its consequences. Providence never fails to avenge any trespass on its own designs.

Led away “by a captive face,” “disturbed by a smile, or undone by a kiss;” a look sufficing to persuade, and a sigh to convince him: this is man’s position!

All they shall need, is to protest and swear,
Breathe a soft sigh, and drop a tender tear.” – Pope

Beauty has but to lecture through her tears, and with Dido of old, “ire iterim in lacrymas, iterum tentare precando,” and resolution is no longer a manly virtue. We resist, and resist, and resist again, –but at length turn suddenly round, and passionately embrace the enchantress.

Few are to be found who do not assume themselves with a toy of some kind during every stage of life, and Woman (though perhaps as little enduring in outward charm as any other, and one that, if critically eyed, would not retain its divinity long), is the most common and most fondled toy of all. How many, calling themselves men, are fooled by those who ought to be their comforters–prayed upon by harpies in the form of angels! The hypocrite affects attachment; the coquette trifles with feeling; the prude strikes at judgment; while the less principled reprobate lays out her traps for heedless passion.

In their most trifling pursuits do women somehow manage to create an almost-universal interest; in all their ordinary doings, in their ‘whereabouts,’–“leurs brouilleries leurs indiscretions, leurs repugnances, leurs penchans, leurs jalousies, leurs piques;” — They have, in fine, continues the author Montesquieu we are quoting, “cet art qu’on les petites ames d’interesser les grandes.” Nor are those mere “women’s fools” –the refuse of the other sex–who are led away blindfold thus: many of its chiefest ornaments are among their “following.” The great and small seem equally content to shape their desires to female foolishness, and with one false tear a pretty woman can undo at a moment what the best and wisest of men have been labouring for years to establish.

What is it Woman cannot do?
She’ll make a statesman quite forget his cunning,
And trust his dearest secrets to her breast,
Where fops have daily entrance.”

Where (apart from outward attractions) this especial fascination which belongs to woman lies, it is difficult to determine; wearing, as it does, the garb of secret and speculative influence, it becomes too vague to submit to a definition–and thus bases itself on a foundation as difficult to examine as to shake. We cannot look into the heart; and where women are concerned, the heart is more especially an enigma.

Thus much, however, may safely be concluded: were women really strong, the contact or the occasional superiority might alarm pride; but, as the truth is, this “mortal omnipotence” is at last but an insect in the breeze; and though a creature which by its will, its wit, or its caprices, is sometimes able to shake us, soul and body, it nevertheless, from instant to instant, is dependent upon ourselves for the minutest succour.

§ 3.–Let us consider female influence under the several aspects in which it presents itself;– and first, as acting upon society at large. The supremacy of women is quite as much general and public, as it is domestic and individual: it spreads along the innumerable lines of social intercourse,–exerting itself, not merely over manners, but, which is often to be regretted, over modes of thinking. We see around the sex an almost-Chinese prostration–of mind as well as body: their approval it is that stamps social reputation–their favour, and their favour alone, that is supposed to confer happiness. Nothing, forsooth, is right, but that which bears their approbation; and theirs alone is the great catholic creed of manners, any deviation from which is heresy. And women have no merit or qualifications then such as they themselves please to dictate,–having been early taught to feel their own consequence, more than what is due to their creature, Man.

§ 4.–But in the connubial state do women exercise the most unlimited power. Female influence, in its action merely over manners and conventionalisms, might seem somewhat on the surface; but such is by no means its narrow bounds: mediately, if not directly, it is an agent in every possible direction. The wife controls her husband, and he acts upon others, and upon the state at large, according to his sphere in life.

Within the whole circle of deception, there is perhaps no creature so completely beguiled as manya modern husband;–we can all, in our private circles, point to a score of instances. Such a being is but an appendage to another–nothing of himself; he is a slave, and a slave of the worst kind–fooled by the bent of another’s will. Free agency is a thing quite gone from him, and, if mere confinement makes not captivity, he suffers a loss of liberty at his own hearth. He is under a charm–loving, as Shakespeare phrases it, with an “enraged affection.” Let the dear enchantress cry for the moon, she should have it from its sphere, were it possible. He would have the world from its axis, to give it her: no one can be richer than she in his promises: she, who but she, the cream of all his care!

Dilige, et dic quicquid voles.”

Women there are affectionate enough–it may be, devoted–in their character as wives; but then, it is at their husbands’ peril to be happy by other means than such as in their wisdom they please to subscribe. Regents of the heart, they take care to govern it most absolutely: and thus it happens (as Phaedrus said long ago) that “men are sure to be losers by the women, as well when they are objects of their love, as when they lie under their displeasure!”

In right of marriage, Englishwomen become endowed with many and great privileges,–privileges that are growing in number and importance every day. Claims, greater than were ever before awarded, are now allowed them in Law and in Equity: over pecuniary matters they have no small control, and are always at full liberty to plunge into wanton expenditure, leaving their husbands the responsible parties.

In short, the ceremony of wedlock, with its present obligations, more than restores any natural inequality between the sexes. No longer are women cyphers beyond the sphere of domestic life: they are parceners of of our power. They are not, it is true, suffered as yet to dispute the prizes of ambition, but they partake largely of its reward; they have the lion’s share–they divide, where they do not monopolise the spoil!

Were it not for difference of dress and person, one might almost mistake the wife for the husband in this country. Her will is not carried in His pocket, as is wisely arranged elsewhere:– “he pays the bills indeed, but my lady gives the treat.” And while she is spending money with both hands, and with a zeal that would lighten the bags of a loan-monger, he has to sell his woods and lands, borrow, or beg!

Slyly and unperceived does the foot of female authority slip itself in: the wedge is easily driven home. This is a species of power that never exists long without favouring itself;–let an ascendancy be once gained (and the collar of command is soon slipped!)–let a system of unsinuation once transfer the authority of wedlock,–and, afterwards, every act, be it of large or small import–what must be done, what is to be said,–becomes not the act of the Man, but of the Woman. It is not planned, it is determined; and where the lady cannot give her reason, she gives her resolution.

Hoc volo, sic jubeo; sit pro ratione voluntas:
Imperat ergo viro!”

This is “Gynocracy” with a vengeance! as Lord Byron was pleased, on some occasion, to denominate petticoat-sway. This very peculiar and distinct species of government (partaking in its nature not so much of mild despotism, as of a pure unmixed tyranny) has now grown so common among us, that (albeit laid down neither in Plato nor Aristotle) it well deserves, as it has obtained, a definite and scientific denomination.

We have all seen the ivy twining around the oak, but behold a novelty–the oak twining itself about the ivy! The man who suffers himself to be led away blindfold thus, can only be likened to the fool “that rejoiceth when he goeth to the correction of the stocks.”–“Give not thy soul to a woman, to set her foot upon thy substance.” To submit thus is contrary to the first law of nature–it is a direct spurning of Revelation:-

Was she thy God, that thou didst obey?
Or was she made they guide,
Superior, or but equal–that to her
Thou didst resign thy manhood?” — MILTON, P.L.

Let us presume to offer one word of advice to the sex that, in truth, most needs it. Men should let their love be at least manly; it is always possible to be affectionate without being over-fond;–to copy the gentleness, without the amorousness, of the dove. It is in itself a folly to allow those we love to perceive the vehemence of our affection; for such is human nature,–and such especially is female nature, that where it can control, it is nearly sure to become indifferent about pleasing, and at last despotic. Persecution may appear in many shapes, at home as well as abroad; it may address us in the voice of mildness as well as of imperious command; and the soft and playful creatures of our idle hours may cause us misery for years: Nothing is to be disregarded, however seemingly powerless! Though the capacities of Woman are comprised within a narrow sphere, these act within the circle of vigour and uniformity. It is often by seeming to despise power, that women secure it to satiety! A love of power would seem almost part and parcel of Woman’s composition;–for to this end they early learn to enlist every art they are mistresses of;–

In men we various ruling passions find.
In women two almost divide the kind;
These only fix’d, they first or last obey–
The love of pleasure, and the love of sway. — POPE

§ 5.–Nor is the political influence belonging to women of contemptible amount. There is an old and true maxim, that though kings may reign, women virtually govern: ’tis they who hold the strings of all intrigues, great or small. “There are perhaps few instances,” says an elegant writer, “in which the sex is not one o the secret springs that regulate the most important movements of private or public transactions.”

Not merely over the fanciful regions of fashion does the female empire extend itself; it dictates to the senate, as well as legislates for the ball-room. Women make no laws, it is true; they abrogate none: in so far Law shakes hands with Divinity; but they have an influence beyond any law: “Ce que femme veut, Dieu le veut?” Nothing resists them! What follows, though it be poetry, is too true a picture.

What trivial influences hold dominion
O’er wise men’s counsels and the fate of empire!
The greatest schemes that human wit can forge,
Or bold ambition dares to put into practice,
Depend upon our husbanding a moment,
And the light lasting of a Woman’s will!” — ROWE

Nor are women without civil and political power of the direct kind. They are vested with many important trusts, and enjoy most of those privileges which accompany property. They vote for many public functionaries, and their sweet voices are made admissible in electing directors for the government for thirty or forty millions of souls of British India.

And where their influence is but indirect, it is little less powerful on that account. In our public elections ’tis they who are the actual constituency,–they, after all, who virtually elect; for which is the vote that they do not influence? The system of female canvassing has of late years become a traffic quite notorious.

The lady in Hudibras, did not exceed the truth when she asserted the vast powers and privileges of her sex:–

We manage things of greatest weight
In all the world’s affairs of state;
We make and execute all laws
can judge the judges and the cause;
We rule in every public meeting
And make men do what we judge fitting;
We are magistrates in all great towns
Where men do nothing but wear gowns!
We are your guardians, that increase,
Or waste, your fortunes as we please;
And, as you humour us, can deal
In all your matters, ill or well.”

 
Notes:

[1] “A low estimate of female pretensions is certainly not the fault of the present day. Women are, perhaps, sometimes in danger of being spoilt, but they cannot complain that they are too little valued. Their powers are too highly rated: their natural defects are overlooked, and the consideration in which they are held, the influence they possess, and the confidence placed in their judgment, are in some instances disproportionate with their real claims.” — Mrs. Sandford

Gynarchy by proxy

 

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

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

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

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

r-OBAMA-WOMEN-VOTERS-large570

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

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

Gynarchy in the home and family:

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

See also:
petticoat cover single

Petticoat government (1702)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ladies,

Your Ever Obedient, and

Most Humble Servant,

Post-Angel

God Save the Queen.

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

Chivalry mentioned (1829)

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The following description of chivalry is from an article ‘The Condition of Women During the Ages of Chivalry’ from the book The Ladies’ Museum, Volume 29 published in 1829.

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