Why I Am Not A ‘Feminist’?

“But what difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women?”

Aristotle, ‘On the Lacedaemonian Constitution (Politics: Book II)’

Feminism is typically defined as a movement advocating ‘equality of the sexes’. Thus, when a person expresses opposition to feminism, they are usually interpreted as opposing ‘equality of the sexes’ and as advocating something along the lines of so-called ‘male privilege’, ‘patriarchy’ or ‘male supremacy’.

The vast majority of feminists, both contemporary and historical, have never advocated genuine ‘equality before the law’ or ‘equality of opportunity’. Certainly, feminists have certainly paid lip-service to these notions for rhetorical purposes. However, in reality as opposed to in rhetoric, the policies they have championed, defended, agitated for and implemented are, in practice, far removed from this.

In explaining why I am not a feminist and, moreover, am opposed to feminism, let me therefore be clear at the outset: I am not opposed to feminism because I am opposed to equal rights or equality of opportunity for men and women.

On the contrary, I am strongly in favour of these things, wherever possible.[1] Indeed, I even am in favour of equal rights even in those spheres where feminists have generally either ignored inequalities or even opposed equal rights (e.g. child custody rights, compulsory military service).

The truth, however, is that ‘equality of the sexes’ is simply not what feminism is or ever has been about. Neither it is concerned with ‘equality of opportunity’, ‘equality before the law’, nor any of the other apparently innocuous sound-bites so often rhetorically invoked by feminists, their fellow-travellers and mainstream media apologists.

On the contrary, the vast majority of feminists, both contemporary and historical, have never advocated genuine equality before the law or equality of opportunity.

Certainly, feminists have certainly paid lip-service to these notions for rhetorical purposes. However, in reality as opposed to in rhetoric, the policies they have championed, defended, agitated for and implemented are, in practice, far removed from this.

Indeed, I shall argue that, if one is truly committed to equal rights for both men and women and genuine equality of the sexes, one can, indeed must, oppose feminism, not merely despite a commitment to equal rights and equality of the sexes, but precisely because of it.

Defining Feminism

In deciding whether to accept or reject the ideology of feminism, we must first define precisely what is meant by the word ‘feminism’. However, defining what is meant by the word ‘feminism’ is a more difficult task than one might first imagine.

The cultural hegemony of feminist ideology is so universal and absolute that feminists have even been able to influence supposedly politically-neutral lexicographers. The result is that, in purporting to define the word ‘feminism’, dictionaries do not provide a neutral and objective definition what feminism actually is and the sort of policies feminists have actually championed, but instead merely parrot feminist propaganda regarding what feminism claims to be.

The problem is not simply that feminism is a ‘broad church’ consisting of many competing schools whose tenets contradict one another and whose partisans are frequently at one another’s throats. The problem is more fundamental.

Indeed, our usual first port of call when seeking to clarify the meaning of a word – namely, a dictionary – is, unfortunately, of little assistance. On the contrary, dictionary definitions merely exacerbate the confusion.

The problem is that the cultural hegemony of feminist ideology is so universal and absolute that feminists have even been able to influence supposedly politically-neutral lexicographers. The result is that, in purporting to define the word ‘feminism’, dictionaries do not provide a neutral and objective definition what feminism actually is and the sort of policies feminists have actually championed, but instead merely parrot feminist propaganda regarding what feminism claims to be.

The result is that dictionary definitions of feminism are not merely inadequate but positively inaccurate.

For example, the Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘feminism’ as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. Similarly, the first definition of ‘feminism’ provided by Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities”. The Cambridge English dictionary defines it as “the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state”; while the Collins English Dictionary defines ‘feminism’ as “a doctrine or movement that advocates equal rights for women”.

Free online dictionaries that have recently emerged as competition to the traditional publishers are echo similar themes. For example, TheFreeDictionary.com defines ‘feminism’ as a “belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” and “the movement organized around this belief”. Similarly, Dictionary.Reference.com define ‘feminism’ as “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men” and “an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women”. The user-edited Wiktionary, meanwhile, defines feminism as “a social theory or political movement arguing that legal and social restrictions on females must be removed in order to bring about equality of both sexes in all aspects of public and private life”.

All these various definitions reiterate a clear common theme. There is apparent universal agreement that ‘feminism’ is to be defined as a movement that advocates ‘equality of the sexes’. Usually this is framed in terms of ‘equal rights’ and ‘equality of opportunity’, although some seem to suggest ‘equality of outcome’ as well (e.g. the reference to “social, political and economic equality” in the definition provided by TheFreeDictionary.com).

There are two reasons for rejecting these sorts of definitions:

(1) They represent a wholly inaccurate description of the sorts of policies and reforms that feminists have actually championed and agitated for; and

(2) The etymological root of the word ‘feminism

The first of these two objections is, by far, the more important. The second is admittedly less important and, indeed, rather pedantic, concerned, as it is, with the word ‘feminism’ itself, its origin and etymology.

However, the choice and coinage of the word ‘feminism’ – a word coined and popularised by the feminists themselves – is illustrative of the nature of the wider problem – namely the one-sided, female-focussed and in-egalitarian nature of feminist agitation. It is therefore with this issue that I begin my discussion.

Is the Word ‘Feminism’ an Example of ‘Sexist Language’?

The word ‘feminism’ is, of course, cognate with ‘feminine’ and it is derived from the Latin word fēminīnus or fēmina meaning woman.

Feminists are notorious, after all, for campaigning, not against serious and substantive sex discrimination of the sort with which Men’s Rights Activists concern themselves (e.g. conscription, child custody etc.), but rather with such devastatingly debilitating forms of so-called oppression as the use of masculine pronouns and of words like ‘mankind’ and ‘chairman’ to refer to people of indeterminate gender. On this view, the word ‘feminism’ is clearly unacceptable in that it includes reference in its name to only one of the two sexes, despite purporting to provide equality for both. Yet the word ‘feminism’ is actually more sexist than words like ‘mankind’, ‘chairman’ and ‘fireman’. After all, “man” has long been understood as having a dual meaning, referring both to an individual adult male and, especially when capitalized, to the human species as a whole. Moreover, it is cognate both with the word ‘human’ – and, indeed, with ‘woman’. In contrast, the Latin words ‘fēminīnus’ and ‘fēmina’ and their English derivative ‘feminine’, from which the word ‘feminism’ is derived, have always been understood to apply exclusively to females.

Yet, if feminism is to be defined as a movement advocating ‘equality of the sexes’ (i.e.both sexes), why then should it be referred to by a name that is derived from the name of only one sex? In other words, why ‘feminism’ as opposed to, say, ‘masculism’ – or, better yet, some more gender-neutral and inclusive alternative, perhaps ‘sexual egalitarianism’, or Warren Farrell’s coinage, a ‘gender transition movement’?

In short, surely the word ‘feminist’ is itself ‘sexist’ according to the very standards and criteria laid down by the feminists themselves.

If this seems a pedantic argument, I certainly acknowledge that it is. However, this, again, reflects the level of argumentation of the feminists themselves.

Feminists are notorious, after all, for campaigning, not against serious and substantive sex discrimination of the sort with which Men’s Rights Activists concern themselves[2], but rather with such devastatingly debilitating forms of so-called oppression as the use of masculine pronouns and of words like ‘mankind’ and ‘chairman’ to refer to people of indeterminate gender.

From this perspective, the word ‘feminism’ is clearly unacceptable. Its crime is that, like other words deemed politically-incorrect, offensive and obsolete by the feminist thought-police (such as ‘mankind’, ‘chairman’ and ‘fireman’), the word appears to include reference in its name to only one of the two sexes, despite purporting to provide equality for both.

In fact, the word ‘feminism’ is more sexist than words such as ‘mankind’, ‘chairman’ and ‘fireman’ of which the feminists complain. After all, the word “man” has long been understood as having a dual meaning, referring both to an individual adult male and, especially when capitalized, to the human species as a whole. (Indeed, the latter meaning appears to be the original one.) Moreover, it is clearly cognate both with the word ‘human’ – and, indeed, with the word ‘woman’.

In contrast, the Latin words ‘fēminīnus’ and ‘fēmina’ and their English derivative ‘feminine’, from which the word ‘feminism’ is derived, have always been understood to apply exclusively to females.

At this point, lest anyone accuse me of ‘attacking a straw man’ – or ‘straw woman’, if they prefer – by exaggerating the feminist fixation with so-called ‘sexist language’, it is worth noting that the feminists themselves have frequently emphasized the importance of language reform to the feminist project. One feminist academic (a professor at Oxford University no less) even declared, reform of sexist language has played a key role in the struggle for gender equity.[3]

In fact, it is hardly surprising that feminists focus on such trivial non-issues as the continued use of masculine pronouns rather than on serious and substantive discrimination against women. Such a strategy is, after all, forced upon them by the fact that (at least in western societies) any serious and substantive discrimination against women of which they might legitimately complain has (to the extent that it ever existed in the first place) already long since been abolished and declared unlawful. The feminists are, in this sense, victims of their own success.

The result is that, as philosopher Michael Levin reports:

“When, at the behest of President Ronald Reagan the State of Georgia reviewed its statutes for possible discrimination it reported that the most serious inequity in the state code was the occurrence of 10,000 ‘he’s’ against 150 ‘she’s’”.[4]

In short, it appears that the most serious and substantial form of so-called discrimination against women that the feminists are capable of uncovering in modern western societies is the use of one word rather than another admittedly synonymous alternative.

Of course, the feminists themselves claim that what they refer to as ‘sexist languageis an important issue. According to feminists, what is at stake is not merely the substitution of one word for another (‘she’ for ‘he’, ‘chairperson’ for ‘chairman’, ‘humankind’ for ‘mankind’), but something far more important. Drawing on the so-called ‘Sapir-Whorf hypothesis’, they contend that language influences and constrains thought and, through this, influences, constrains and directs other forms of behaviour besides the mere choice of one synonym over another. In short, sexist language produces sexist behaviour.

I remain unconvinced by this theory. However, it is nevertheless amusing to observe what happens when we take it seriously and apply it, in the sort of consistent and non-discriminatory way of which the feminists would presumably purport to approve, to all language – including the word ‘feminist’ itself.

On this view, turning feminist theory against itself, it is hardly surprising that feminists discriminate against men, nor that they should invariably ignore, downplay and excuse male suffering, victimization and disadvantage and forms of anti-male discrimination. After all, according to the precepts of the linguistic determinism championed by none other than the feminists themselves, the very name by which they chose to refer to themselves by dictates that they will behave thus!

At any rate, even if, like me, you are sceptical about linguistic determinism, there are still good etymological grounds for rejecting the label feminist for those who champion genuine equality of the sexes. After all, given that (as I will show in what remains of this post) forms of discrimination against men and of male disadvantage are at least as widespread and serious in magnitude as those of which women claim to be the victims, a movement advocating genuine equality for people of both sexes cannot be adequately described by a name which is derived from a word referring to only one.

Feminists Against Sex Equality

The second reason we must reject any definition of ‘feminism’ which defines the movement as one advocating sexual equality is more important and is alluded to in the final two paragraphs of the preceding section – namely, this is a wholly inaccurate description of what the vast majority of self-described feminists have, at any time, argued and agitated for.

Although feminists have long ago loudly laid claim to those rights formerly reserved for men (e.g. voting rights), they have conveniently ignored, downplayed and, on occasion, even jealously defended those special privileges traditionally conferred on women (e.g. exemption from compulsory military service, child custody rights), and occasionally even invented entirely new ones (e.g. paid maternity leave).

True, feminists pay frequent lip-service to the notion of ‘equality of the sexes’. However, once one begins to explore beyond the rhetorical sound-bites to examine the actual policies and reforms they have championed, sponsored and supported (and those policies and reforms they have omitted to sponsor or support), it soon becomes apparent that, in feminist theory as in so much else, invariably some animals are more equal than others.

Thus, while the feminists have indeed long ago loudly laid claim to those rights formerly reserved for men (e.g. voting rights), they have conveniently ignored, downplayed and, on occasion, even jealously defended those special privileges traditionally conferred on women (e.g. exemption from compulsory military service, child custody rights), and occasionally even invented entirely new ones (e.g. paid maternity leave).

Yet, both historically and contemporaneously, the forms of sex discrimination of which males have been the primary victims have been at least as widespread as, and often more serious in nature than, those by which women claim to have been victimized.

In Britain and throughout the world there exist and have existed countless forms of overt sexual discrimination against men – from conscription, car insurance, child custody contests, and sentencing in the criminal courts to pension rights, reproductive rights, the targeting of males during genocides and rescue and relief operations from the Titanic to the Balkans – which mainstream feminists rarely even acknowledge, let alone campaign against.

In Britain and throughout the world there exist and have existed countless forms of overt sexual discrimination against men – from conscription,[5] car insurance premiums[6] and child custody contests,[7] pension rights,[8] sentencing practices in the criminal courts[9] and reproductive rights[10] to the selective targeting of male civilians in genocidal massacres[11] and rescue[12] and relief[13] operations – which mainstream feminists rarely even acknowledge, let alone campaign against.

Neither do feminists consistently advocate ‘equality of outcome’. They never protest and rarely even acknowledge the overrepresentation of males among groups such as the homeless,[14] the victims of violent crime,[15] the casualties of warfare,[16] suicides,[17] the prison population,[18] drug addicts,[19] those injured or killed in the workplace[20] or the victims of pogroms and genocides.[21] Neither do they protest women’s disproportionate wealth and control over consumer spending[22]. They certainly do not advocate affirmative action to remedy these imbalances.

Neither do feminists consistently advocate ‘equality of outcome’. They do not, for example, protest the overrepresentation of males among groups such as the homeless, the victims of violent crime, the casualties of warfare, suicides, the prison population, drug addicts, those injured or killed in the workplace or the victims of pogroms and genocides. Neither do they protest women’s disproportionate wealth and control over consumer spending. They make much of men’s overrepresentation in high-income occupations. However, they fail to acknowledge that women are therefore overrepresented among the spouses of people in high-income occupations, who therefore have access to the same wealth as their husbands, without any of the hard work it took to achieve this wealth, and usually with more time on their hands to spend and enjoy it.

They make much play out of the overrepresentation of men in high-income occupations. However, they rarely acknowledge the corollary that, if men are overrepresented among top earners, then women are overrepresented among the spouses of top-earners, who therefore have access to the same wealth as their husbands, without any of the hard work it took to achieve this wealth, but typically with more leisure time on their hands in which to spend and enjoy it.

It is sometimes suggested that the abandonment of the ideal of equality in favour of special privileges for women is characteristic only of certain rather marginal strains of so-called ‘radical feminism’.

For example, Christina Hoff Sommers claims what she refers to as ‘equity feminism’, namely a belief in genuine equal rights for both sexes is “even now the philosophy of the feminist ‘mainstream’”.[23] Likewise, Roy Baumeister, in his own critique of modern feminism, refers to the “confrontational minority of feminists [who] act as if they represent all feminists (indeed all women)”, implying that these women are, not only a “minority of feminists”, but also that in reality they do not, in fact, represent the views of other feminists.[24]

Similarly, legal scholar Neil Boyd gives his book on feminist subversion of the legal system and civil liberties the subtitle, “How Extreme Feminism Has Betrayed The Fight For Sexual Equality”, thus emphasizing that it is only ‘extreme feminism’ that has betrayed the fight for equality, not feminism itself. This so-called ‘extreme feminism’, which he refers to as “Big Sister”, is, he claims, merely a “powerful voice at the margins of feminism”, though he never quite clarifies how a voice be both ‘powerful’ and ‘at the margins’ at the one and same time.[25]

Similarly, Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young, in their book Legalizing Misandry claim that what they refer to as ‘egalitarian feminism’, as distinguished from ‘ideological feminism’, “is still probably the most popular form of feminism, at least on the conscious level and in theory”.[26] Yet this caveat – “at least on the conscious level and in theory” – seems to be a tacit admission that, although feminists “in theory” advocate genuine sexual equality and certainly pay lip-service to this notion, what they agitate for in practice is far removed from this.

In The Second Sexism, philosopher David Benatar is more explicit about this, acknowledging that “many feminists who profess to be egalitarian slip into a partisan form of feminism” when confronted with evidence of discrimination against and disadvantage suffered by men.[27] Indeed, he fails to identify any feminist who has actually unambiguously qualified herself as an egalitarian feminist by actually, not merely pays lip-service to the notion of equality, but actually campaigning against, or even acknowledging, discrimination and disadvantage of which males are the victims. Instead, he is reduced to defending the self-evident proposition that “egalitarian feminism is a possible view” and “one that many people profess”,[28] impliedly conceding that, of those feminists who ‘profess’ it, very few actually practice it.

At this point, it must be acknowledged that there are a small minority of women who refer to themselves as ‘feminists’ who do indeed concern themselves, not only with female disadvantage and discrimination against women, but also, to some extent, with discrimination against men and male disadvantage. These women could therefore be said to advocate, if not complete equality of the sexes in law, then at least something approaching this.

To distinguish themselves from the feminist mainstream, with whom they are frequently at loggerheads, they are sometimes referred to as equity feminists and include among their number such women as Wendy McElroy, Camille Paglia, Christina Hoff Sommers and, at least in her later incarnations, attorney Karen DeCrow.

However, even if we accept their self-designation as ‘feminists’ uncritically, they remain a tiny minority among those activists and writers who call themselves feminists. Moreover, there is reason to question their self-designated status as ‘feminists’.

This is because one of the key things uniting these self-styled equity or dissident feminists is that they are not regarded as feminists by hardly any other feminists besides themselves and one another. On the contrary, they are more frequently described – and condemned – asanti-feminist.

For example, although Camille Paglia describes herself as a ‘dissident feminist’, ostensible fellow-feminist Gloria Steinem is quoted as saying of her, “her calling herself a feminist is sort of like a Nazi saying they’re not anti-Semitic”.[29]

It is easy to mock this feminist infighting regarding what is ultimately a purely semantic dispute as to how one defines the word ‘feminist’. The word ‘feminist’ is not, after all, a registered trademark over which certain individuals hold exclusive rights and people are, rather like Humpty Dumpty, free to use the words such as ‘feminism’ and ‘feminist’ howsoever they wish.

On the other hand, however, if communication and debate is to be possible at all, one must first define one’s terms – and, if one chooses to adopt a wholly idiosyncratic definition of a term, wholly at odds with the way in which the word is used and interpreted by others, one will inevitably be misunderstood.

I admire the work of women such as Paglia, McElroy, Hoff Sommers and DeCrow. Moreover, in their ongoing dispute with the feminist establishment, I side with them on all issues of substance.

However, on the purely semantic question of the definition of the word ‘feminism’ itself, I find myself for once reluctantly siding with the so-called ‘gender feminists’. The definition of a word must, after all, reflect how that word is actually used by most people.[30] Therefore, on the purely semantic issue of the definition of a term, for once the argumetum ad populum fallacy is no fallacy at all – at least according to the precepts of descriptive linguistics – and we must therefore concede majority rule.

On this view, women like Paglia, McElroy and Hoff Sommers cannot be regarded as feminists for the simple reason that most people do not regard them as such. On the contrary, they are better regarded as anti-feminists – and are, moreover, in my opinion, all the better for it!

Did Feminists Ever Support Sex Equality?

In justifying their own self-identification as ‘feminists’, and in order to buttress their claim that feminism, at its core, has always been concerned with the cause of genuine equality between the sexes, many of these self-described ‘equity feminists’ invoke the legacy of and identify themselves with the so-called first-wave feminists and suffragettes, who campaigned in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century on such issues as the extension of the franchise.

At the same time suffragettes metaphorically ‘fought’ for the right to vote, men literally fought and died in the trenches of Verdun, Ypres, and the Somme. Yet none of the suffragettes proposed that women should be conscripted to the trenches alongside men. On the contrary, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst both explicitly rejected the notion.

According to their account, whereas many (perhaps even most) contemporary feminists have indeed abandoned the goal of equality, this was not true of ‘feminism’ as it was originally conceived, and thus of ‘feminism’ in the true sense of the word.

Indeed, in abandoning the goal of equality, these more recent feminists are, according to this view, not really feminists at all. Rather, they are the bastard offspring of feminism, impostors, pretenders and usurpers who improperly lay claim to the mantle of feminism, and, in so doing, betray the egalitarianism of their noble forbears.

This is the line adopted by, for example, Christina Hoff Sommers. Hoff Sommers even titled one of her books Who Stole Feminism?, suggesting feminism has been hijacked by individuals whose objectives were different from those of the original feminists and, in this work, she associates the so-called equity feminism of which she is a champion with the so-called ‘first-wave feminism of the nineteenth and early twentieth-century, claiming that this form of feminist simply “wants for women what she wants for everyone: fair treatment without discrimination[31] and “that women be able to live as freely as men”.[32]

Roy Baumeister seems to suggest that the feminist abandonment of the ideal of egalitarianism was more recent. In Is There Anything Good About Men?, he writes, “many of us, especially those of us past a certain age, have affectionate memories of the feminist movement” and “associated feminism with promoting equality, challenging entrenched wisdom, touting openness to free thought and ideas and searching in an idealistic spirit towards positive views of both genders”,[33] implying that these traits were characteristic of feminism even within his lifetime.

Of course, in employing this argument, these self-styled ‘equity feminists’ are conceding a key point – namely that, besides themselves, contemporary feminists who can plausibly be portrayed as advocating genuine equality of the sexes are, at best, few and far between.

But there is a more fundamental problem with this appeal to the legacy of the suffragettes – namely it relies on a falsification of history by accepting at face-value the hagiographic and whitewashed picture of the early feminist movement presented to us by self-styled feminist ‘herstorians’.

In reality, the early feminists fell as far short of their rhetoric of sex equality as do their modern ideological descendants. Like them, they agitated against sex discrimination only where it worked to the apparent disadvantage of women, not where it worked to the manifest disadvantage of men.[34]

For example, in the UK, flogging was abolished as a punishment for female offenders under English law by the Whipping of Female Offenders Abolition Act in 1820 – yet was not finally abolished for male offenders until the 1948 Criminal Justice Act and remained a sanctioned penalty for men – and even for boys as young as seven – until well into the twentieth century.

For example, I am not aware of any early twentieth century feminist who advocated equality of the sexes in respect of the obligation to undertake compulsory military service.

Yet the terrorist campaign of the suffragettes[35] for the enfranchisement of women was contemporaneous with the unprecedented slaughter of The First World War, a conflict during which men from almost all of those nations in which agitation for the enfranchisement of women had occurred were conscripted and sent to their deaths in unprecedented numbers.

Thus, while women metaphorically ‘fought’ for the right to vote, men literally fought and died in the trenches of Verdun, Ypres, and the Somme.

Yet none of the self-styled champions of gender equality proposed that women should be sent to the trenches alongside their husbands and brothers. Neither could they claim to be unaware of this issue, if only because it was repeatedly drawn to their attention by their political opponents.[36] Indeed, when pressed on the issue, suffragettes like the Pankhursts explicitly rejected the notion that women ought to be forced to fight alongside men and even appealed to the traditional division of gender roles that they otherwise purported to reject in order to justify this exemption.[37]

Yet conscription was by no means the only form of discrimination against men at this time. On the contrary, as early as 1897, pioneering Marxist-Masculist Ernest Belfort Bax[38] co-authored The Legal Subjection of Men (which I have reviewed here), documenting systematic and institutionalised discrimination against men throughout the British legal system.

For example, in the UK, flogging was abolished as a punishment for female offenders under English law by the Whipping of Female Offenders Abolition Act in 1820 – yet was not finally abolished for male offenders until the 1948 Criminal Justice Act and remained a sanctioned penalty for men – and even for boys as young as seven! – until well into the twentieth century.[39]

Similarly, the Mines and Collieries Act of 1842, although celebrated as a key progressive reform prohibiting the exploitation of child labour, actually prohibited the employment of females of any age from working underground in mines, while sanctioning the employment of boys as young as ten.

Contrary to popular opinion, men were also discriminated against in the marital sphere. Firstly, whereas husbands were legally obliged to provide for and maintain their wife, whereas wives were under no reciprocal obligations towards their husbands.[40] Yet, as Bax observed in 1910, “among all the women’s rights advocates I am not aware of one who, in her zeal for equality between the sexes, has ever suggested abolishing the right of maintenance of the wife by the husband”.[41]

Husbands were also obliged to maintain and provide for their wife’s children, even where the children were in fact fathered by a man other than the husband,[42] while wives themselves were under no such obligation towards their own offspring.[43] Moreover, under the doctrine of coverture, married men were held liable for debts incurred by their wives – and sometimes even punished for crimes which the latter had committed.[44]

Finally, whereas wife-beating was punished severely (including by penalties such as whipping which had already been abolished for female offenders irrespective of the severity of their offence),[45] when men were the victims of domestic abuse, it was perversely they themselves who were subject to punishment and public ridicule.[46]

Yet no feminists of the time campaigned against these inequalities. On the contrary, far from making common cause with Bax in opposing such discriminatory laws, the feminists of his time pilloried him and, according to Bax himself, sought to censor him for drawing attention to them.

Thus it seems that the early feminists, just like their modern intellectual descendants, opposed sexual discrimination only when it suited their purposes – in other words, when discrimination worked to the apparent disadvantage of women. Where, on the other hand, inequality worked manifestly to the advantage of women and the disadvantage of men, they either ignored it or, when pressed, defended inequality and female privileges.

Thus, while Hoff Sommers and her self-styled equity feminist colleagues claim that what they variously term gender feminism, ideological feminism and extreme feminism represent mere recent deviations from and perversions of the original feminist ideal of sex equality, the truth is the opposite – it is their own brand of so-called ‘egalitarian feminism’ that represents the recent deviation from or perversion of feminism, a movement that was from the very beginning, and remains to this day, a female-supremacist hate movement.

Organized Activity on Behalf of Women’s Rights And Interests”?

Not quite all the definitions of ‘feminism’ provided by mainstream dictionaries define the ideology in terms of egalitarianism. For example, whereas I have already quoted the first definition of feminism provided by Merriam-Webster, their second definition is actually more helpful. In this, they describe feminism as “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests”.

It is simply not possible to agitate for the interests of women as a whole because women do not all have the same interests. On the contrary, women’s interests frequently conflict with those of other women, not least because, in reproductive and hence Darwinian terms, women compete primarily with one another.

This is more useful and accurate as a description of feminist agitation for several reasons. Firstly, it acknowledges that feminism is partisan and concerned only with ‘women’s rights and interests’, not those of men, nor of children or humankind as a whole.

Secondly, it contains no reference to ‘equality’, implicitly conceding that feminists agitate for the rights and interests of women even where those ostensible ‘rights’ go beyond far mere equality with men and entail demands for special treatment – and, moreover, even where these rights and interests conflict with the legitimate rights of men and others.

Finally, its reference only to ‘women’s rights and interests’ is consistent with the sexist etymological root of the word ‘feminism’ itself.

However, although an improvement on the definitions cited earlier, which invariably defined feminism as an egalitarian movement, even definitions such as this, which focus on advocacy on behalf of the rights and interests of women, remain unsatisfactory. After all, the interests of women are diverse and those of different women frequently conflict. (Indeed, since women compete reproductively primarily against one another, it can be argued that their interests conflict with those of other women more than they do with those of men.)[47]

In short, it is simply not possible to agitate for the interests of women as a whole because women do not all have the same interests.

Feminists may claim to represent the interests of women as a whole. In practice, however, they will invariably represent the interests only of a subsection of women – typically themselves.

For example, so-called affirmative action in the workplace may benefit some women – in particular single women and women in the workforce who benefit from job offers and promotions offered to them on account of their sex. However, other women suffer as a result of such initiatives – in particular the wives of the men passed over for promotions or denied employment opportunities on account of their sex, especially those wives who are dependent on their husbands for their financial support.

This may explain why some women do not support the feminist movement and deny that the self-appointed spokeswomen for womankind speak for them. It may also explain the many fractious divisions in feminist thought and why rival schools of feminism often seem to agree on very little.

Thus, any attempt to define feminism as a sectionalist movement that promotes the interests of women is destined to failure. A movement to promote the interests of women is simply not possible because the interests of different women are so divergent, heterogeneous and frequently incompatible.

Feminists may claim to represent the interests of women as a whole. In practice, however, they will invariably represent the interests only of a subsection of women – typically themselves.

What is Feminism Then?

I have rejected most conventional definitions of ‘feminism’ provided by mainstream dictionaries, paper and electronic. The problem with these definitions is the same as that of definitions proffered by feminists themselves – namely they reflect what feminists claim to believe in rather than what feminists actually promote and agitate for in practice as opposed to in rhetoric.

TheFreeDictionary.com defines ‘feminism’ as a “belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes”. The truth is the exact opposite of this. Feminism entails not so much a ‘belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes’, as rather ‘a belief in the social, political, and economic inequality of the sexes’. More specifically, feminists believe, not so much in the desirability of the equality of the sexes, as in the existence of inequality of the sexes. The core tenet of feminism is therefore descriptive rather than prescriptive. It entails the belief that women are disadvantaged as compared to men.

How, then, should ‘feminism’ be defined? What definition of ‘feminism’ actually matches the actual behaviour and beliefs of most feminists, contemporary and historical.

In fact, despite what I have written above, I believe the dictionary definitions quoted and critiqued in the preceding paragraphs do provide a useful starting point – albeit only as a point of departure.

Let us take as a starting point the definition of ‘feminism’ provided by TheFreeDictionary.com, which is in many respects typical of the definitions provided by mainstream reference works. As noted above, this website and reference tool defines ‘feminism’ as a “belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” and “the movement organized around this belief”.

My own belief is this definition has it precisely backwards. The truth is the exact opposite of this. Thus, feminism entails not so much a ‘belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes’, as rather ‘a belief in the social, political, and economic inequality of the sexes’.

More specifically, feminists believe, not so much in the desirability of the equality of the sexes, as in the existence of inequality of the sexes. In particular, they believe that women are disadvantaged and oppressed as compared to men.[48]

The core tenet of feminism is therefore descriptive rather than prescriptive. It entails the belief that women are disadvantaged as compared to men.

Although different schools of feminists seem to disagree on many issues, all seem to be in agreement on this one point. This can therefore be regarded as the core defining characteristic of feminists and the core tenet of feminism.

I, however, reject this core tenet of feminism. In short, the reason that I am not a feminist is because I reject the contention that women are, in general, worse-off than men.[49]

Are Women Worse-Off?

Having defined feminism we are now in a position to assess it. If the core tenet of feminism is that women are worse-off than men and represent a disadvantaged or oppressed class, then how well does this claim hold up in view of the evidence?

Contrary to the feminist dogma that it is women who are oppressed and disadvantaged, it is actually men are vastly overrepresented among the homeless, the victims of violent crime, the casualties in warfare, the victims of pogroms and genocides, those injured or killed in the workplace, the prison population, drug addicts and suicides. As George Orwell wrote, “one can almost say that below a certain level society is entirely male”.

Contrary to the feminist dogma that it is women who are oppressed and disadvantaged, it is in fact men are vastly overrepresented among virtually every disadvantaged group, including the homeless,[50] the victims of violent crime,[51] the casualties in warfare,[52] the victims of pogroms and genocides,[53] those injured or killed in the workplace,[54] the prison population,[55] drug addicts[56] and suicides.[57]

As George Orwell wrote almost a century ago, “one can almost say that below a certain level society is entirely male”.[58]

In attempting to buttress their claim that women represent an oppressed group, feminists frequently point to the lower average earnings of women as compared to men. However, this ignores the fact that, although men earn more money than women, a large portion this income is then redistributed to women in the form of divorce settlements, maintenance payments and the more general tendency of men to spend a considerable proportion of their income on their wives or girlfriends – not to mention their daughters.

Indeed, it can be argued that the entire process of human courtship is designed to redistribute wealth from men to women – from the social expectation that the man pay for dinner on the first date to the legal obligation that he continue to support and provide for his ex-wife anything up to several decades after he has belatedly rid himself of her.

The result is that, although men earn more money men earn more money than women, not least by working longer hours, for a greater proportion of their adult lives, in more dangerous and arduous working conditions[59] – it is nonetheless women who overwhelmingly dominate almost every area of consumer spending.[60]

As David Thomas has concluded, “if… one class of person does all the work and another does all the spending, you do not have to be Karl Marx to conclude that the second of these two classes is the more privileged”.[61]

The entire process of human courtship is designed to redistribute wealth from men to women – from the social expectation that the man pay for dinner on the first date to the legal obligation that he continue to support and provide for his ex-wife anything up to several decades after he has belatedly rid himself of her. Therefore, although men earn more money men earn more money than women, not least by working longer hours, for a greater proportion of their adult lives, in more dangerous and arduous working conditions – it is nonetheless women who overwhelmingly dominate almost every area of consumer spending.

[Of course, feminists would interject that this fails to take into account women’s so-called ‘unpaid labour’ in the home. However, as I explained in Unpaid Labour or Overpaid Laziness: Why Housework in Your Own House Isn’t Really Work, housework performed in your own house, as it is done for your own benefit, is best classified as a leisure pursuit rather than as work. In short, one no more deserves a salary for cleaning one’s own home than one does for cleaning behind one’s own ears in the bath.]

Men are also, contrary to both feminist dogma and the conventional wisdom, the primary victims of sex discrimination. Men are discriminated against in almost every area of their day-to-day lives, from conscription,[62] child custody contests,[63] car insurance[64] and sentencing in the criminal courts,[65] to rescues,[66] relief operations,[67] reproductive rights,[68] and pensions.[69]

Wherever the stakes are highest (i.e. life-or-death decisions), it is always men who are the victims of discrimination.

It is men who are conscripted in wartime and men who are, as a result, killed, injured and maimed in overwhelmingly disproportionate numbers.[70] This holds true throughout history, from Ancient Egypt[71] and Sparta to the First and Second World War, and across the world in the present day – in regimes ranging from the ostensibly liberal democratic (e.g. Switzerland) to the oppressive and purportedly ‘patriarchal’ (e.g. Afghanistan under the Taliban or Iran to this day).

Similarly, it is men who are disproportionately targeted in genocides and pogroms,[72] a pattern that has apparently remained constant throughout history, from classical antiquity[73] to biblical times.[74]

Indeed, the pattern is so pervasive that it is even detectable in the DNA of modern mestizo populations.[75]

Yet, despite the overwhelming overrepresentation of men among the victims of wars and genocides, rescue operations focus disproportionately on female victims, from the Balkans[76] to the Titanic.[77]

Men are also more likely to be executed than are women found guilty of equivalent offences.[78] Whereas in the US this discrimination is disguised by a façade of gender-neutrality and judicial sentencing discretion, in other jurisdictions the discrimination is rather refreshingly explicit. Thus, legal scholar Victor Streib reports, “the Indian death penalty statute expressly lists the offender’s sex as an extenuating circumstance” and “the former Soviet and current Russian capital punishment statutes expressly prohibit the death penalty for women”.[79]

In addition, men are more likely to be imprisoned and imprisoned for a greater period of time than are women guilty of the same offences – even after controlling for factors such as previous convictions.[80]

Finally, only women have, by law, control over their own reproduction. Men are legally obligated to pay child maintenance for their offspring while often being denied custody of and sometimes access to these offspring – yet are denied any say in whether they wanted to become a father in the first place. The result is that ‘reproductive rights’, although in theory a human right and hence universal, fundamental, inalienable (and other such empty words) are, in practice, the exclusive preserve of women.

These are just a few of the more serious ways in which men are disadvantaged as compared to women. However, the spheres of male disadvantage and of female privilege as well as the various manifestations of anti-male discrimination are such that it is possible only to skirt the surface here.

A more detailed discussion of the many spheres of male disadvantage and anti-male discrimination will follow and form the focus of two forthcoming posts – “Why Feminism is False” and “Are Women Worse-Off” – to be posted shortly.

Is there Anything Good About Feminism?

Is there then anything good about feminism? Is there anything of value to be salvaged from the whole misguided enterprise that has so dominated popular and academic discourse on the relations between the sexes for the last few decades?

My own view is that most of the widely celebrated reforms enacted at the behest of feminists were, in reality, retrograde and reactionary. For example, there is nothing liberal or progressive about the efforts of feminists to deny to defendants in rape trials their basic right to adduce evidence in their own defence where the evidence in question is relevant to determining their guilt or innocence in relation to the crime of which they stand accused.

Other achievements sometimes claimed in the name of feminism were, in truth, largely independent of feminism.

For example, the so-called ‘sexual revolution’, resulted primarily from the invention of the combined oral contraceptive pill (colloquially, ‘The Pill’). It is therefore a product, not of feminism, but of science. Moreover, the scientists in question were overwhelmingly male and women played little role in the process (save than as its primary beneficiaries).

Indeed, to the extent feminists have played any consistent role in the liberalization of attitudes towards sexuality, it has been in opposing this process. Thus, today feminists represent the primary interest group opposing the liberalization of laws regulating pornography and prostitution. Meanwhile, whilst feminist anti-porn activists sought to censor depictions and references to sex in the media, the feminist campaign against so-called ‘sexual harassment’ sought to censor men’s words and behaviour in real-life.

In short, the ‘sexual revolution’ was achieved despite feminism, not because of it.

Likewise, the increase in the number of women active in the labour force after marriage probably had more to do with economics than feminism. Feminism was, at best, a post-hoc rationalization for underlying economic changes.

Moreover, the increase in women’s economic contribution to the family is vastly exaggerated.

Thus, in UK in the twenty-first century, data released by the Equal Opportunities Commission showed that, whereas 95% of married men worked full-time, only a minority of married women worked at all and this included only 58% of married women without any children.[81] Likewise, sociologist Catherine Hakim reports that, in the US, even those wives who do work earn, on average, only about a quarter of overall household income and, across Europe and North America, the average contribution of married women to overall household income has remained stable during the latter half of the twentieth century, at between a fifth and a third of the couple’s total combined income.[82]

Clearly males still bear the overwhelming burden for supporting their families financially – the only change being that men are increasingly expected to provide for their wife and children even after the wife in question has divorced him and taken his children from him.

The Invention of ‘Sexual Equality’

A large number of victories claimed in the name of Men’s Rights have actually come about, not as a result of campaigning or activism by a vanguard of politically marginal Men’s Rights Activists, but rather as an accidental and unintended side-effect of equality legislation agitated for and enacted at the behest, ironically, of the feminists themselves.

Nevertheless, despite this, there is, I contend, at least one development that is both unambiguously positive and undoubtedly attributable to the rise of the feminist dogma. This is the invention of the concept of ‘equality of the sexes’ itself.

Of course, as we have seen, in feminist hands, the notion of ‘sex equality’ is nothing more than an attractive-sounding rhetorical sound-bite, to be applied only in selective circumstances and when it is to the advantage of women. Nevertheless, in inventing the concept of ‘sex equality’, feminists may find that, like Dr Frankenstein, they have created a monster that they ultimately cannot control.

This is already becoming apparent. Indeed, a large number of victories claimed in the name of Men’s Rights have actually come about, not as a result of campaigning or activism by a vanguard of politically marginal Men’s Rights Activists, but rather as an accidental and unintended side-effect of equality legislation agitated for and enacted at the behest, ironically, of the feminists themselves.

Take two recent examples from the UK and EU.

In the EU only last year, insurance companies were prohibited from discriminating on the grounds of sex in setting their premiums on the basis of a ruling of the European Court of Justice. Formerly, it was reported that “most insurers across all EU member states used gender as a factor in their pricing” and, in the UK, as recently as 2010 insurance provides routinely charged young male drivers double the premiums demanded of young female drivers for motor insurance.[83]

Make no mistake: this development was long overdue and occurred only thirty-five years after other forms of sex discrimination (namely those that disadvantage women) were prohibited in most member-states.[84] Nevertheless, the development is welcome.

However, the ruling was primarily a result, not of campaigning by a vanguard of marginal self-styled Men’s Rights Activists, but rather as of EU equality legislation enacted at the behest of feminists themselves, especially Article 23 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, purporting to guarantee ‘equality between men and women’. It is therefore largely an inadvertent effect of the feminist invention of the concept of ‘equality of the sexes’ and their insistence that this concept be given legislative and constitutional force.

The same is true of recent moves to equalize the ages at which men and women are eligible for state pensions in UK. This process is still not complete and has been repeatedly delayed by successive UK governments of all political persuasions.[85] Although men die earlier than women and pay more into the system by working for a greater proportion of their adult lives, women are still entitled to receive a state pension at an earlier age than men, an example of overt sex discrimination that would never be tolerated if it were women who were the victims.

Nevertheless, the age at which men are women are entitled to state pensions is currently scheduled to be equalized in 2020. This represents a long-delayed but substantial victory for men’s rights. Nevertheless, although the activism of the pressure group Parity (one of the more mainstream men’s rights groups) is commendable, the move is again largely a result of EU law prohibiting sex discrimination enacted at the behest of the feminists themselves.

This does not, of course, mean that there is not still much work to be done. Often the courts and legislatures have managed to evade the clear implication of equality legislation where current inequities work to the disadvantage of men.

For example, when the US Supreme Court decided that automatically granting custody to mothers was an example of sex discrimination, courts and legislatures instead simply switched from automatically granting custody to mothers to granting custody to the child’s primary caregiver instead. It just so happened, of course, that the term primary caregiver was defined in such a way that it meant that mothers were almost invariably granted custody anyway.

Thus, a form of anti-male discrimination that at least had the advantage of being manifest and overt was replaced by a more surreptitious and insidious form of indirect discrimination but the end-result remained almost identical, namely to separation of fathers from their families and offspring and the reduction of fatherhood to a financial obligation.

Similarly, in the case of car insurance premiums, evidence has recently emerged that insurance companies have switched from discriminating overtly on the grounds of sex, to instead using occupation as a proxy for sex.

Meanwhile, in Rostker v Goldberg,[86] the US Supreme Court the courts ruled that it was not unconstitutional for the government to require men alone to register for the draft. In the leading judgement, Justice Rehnquist justified this ruling by reasoning that, since the purpose of registration was to prepare for a draft of combat troops” and “since women are excluded from combat”, there was no purpose in registering women.

This argument was, of course, wholly disingenuous. The Supreme Court failed to consider both the possible value of employing of women in non-combatant support roles and, more importantly, the fact that the exemption of women from combat was itself a blatant violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Soon, however, even this decision may have to be reversed.

The problem is not that the rationale employed was wholly flawed and disingenuous. Employing disingenuous rationales to bend the law in favour of their political prejudices is part of the job description for the senior judiciary. The problem is that the rationale is also now wholly obsolete, as women are no longer barred or exempt from serving in combat roles.

The recent lifting of the female combat exemption means that, when the issue next comes before the courts, it is difficult to envision how, employing the very same argument that the 1981 Court employed to justify restricting conscription to men, a court could avoid declaring male-only registration unconstitutional.

Again, the fault is with the feminists themselves, who campaigned relentlessly for women’s right to serve in combat – despite the fact that the number of women who actually want to serve in combat (let alone are actually capable, qualified and competent to do so) appears to be vanishingly small.[87]

At any rate, the issue is becoming increasingly theoretical. With even the Vietnam War fading into a distant memory for most modern Americans, the actual prospect of even men being drafted and sent overseas to fight a war is becoming increasingly remote and arguably politically unthinkable.

If registering for Selective Service means just that (i.e. registering without any probability that anyone would actually be called up), then it is hard to see how anyone – male or female – could really object.[88]

Interestingly, many of these developments were predicted in the 1970s by American conservative activist Phyllis Sclafly. In her campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which sought to constitutionally guarantee equal treatment for both sexes, she argued that a constitutional guarantee of equal treatment before the law would actually disadvantage women rather than benefiting them. This was, she argued, because it would deprive women of their traditional legal privileges in spheres such as custody rights, matrimonial law and military service.

Although the ERA was defeated (largely thanks, it must be said, to the activism of Schlafly herself), this has been but a minor stumbling block for the feminist-infested judicial system. Ignoring the opposition of the other branches of government and of the electorate, the courts have steamed right on ahead, ignoring the rejection of the ERA by state legislatures and simply interpreted the constitution as if the ERA had been passed.

The result is that, for better or worse, Schlafly’s prediction is gradually becoming a reality.

Men’s Rights and the Future of Feminism

Warren Farrell argues that the Men’s Rights Movement is simply the logical conclusion of feminism, taking the feminist rhetoric of sexual equality to its logical and necessary conclusion. However, given that innate sex differences in personality and sexuality will likely render complete equality of the sexes forever unattainable, perhaps the Men’s Rights Movement would be better described as, not so much ‘the logical conclusion of feminism’, as it is its reductio ad absurdum. 

Warren Farrell, in the introduction to The Myth of Male Power, his seminal masterpiece of masculism and Men’s Rights (which I have reviewed here), argues that we must “cherish feminism’s baby”. In a sense then, he is right.

Indeed, not only is the concept of ‘equality of the sexes’ the baby of feminism, but, in a sense, the Men’s Rights Movement is also feminism’s child. After all, the Men’s Rights Movement was created directly in response and opposition to feminism and sought to take the feminist rhetoric of ‘sexual equality’ literally by applying it in a non-discriminatory way to both sexes. Without feminism there would surely have been no Men’s Rights Movement as we now know it.

Is the Men’s Rights Movement then, as Farrell seems to suggest, simply the logical conclusion of feminism? In a sense perhaps.

However, given that innate sex differences in personality and sexuality will likely render complete equality of the sexes forever unattainable (at least in the absence of a wholesale eugenic reengineering of human nature itself), perhaps the Men’s Rights Movement would be better described as, not so much ‘the logical conclusion of feminism’, as it is its reductio ad absurdum.

In this sense, the Men’s Rights Movement is indeed, as Farrell contends, the offspring of feminism. However, it is the illegitimate bastard offspring of feminism, rejected, abandoned and abused by its infanticidal mother – and, for the sake of its own survival, matricide is its only possible means of survival.

__________________

Endnotes

[1] The biological differences between the sexes are such that complete equality of outcome, or even equality of opportunity, as between the sexes is ultimately probably unattainable – at least in the absence of a eugenic reengineering of human nature itself. Nevertheless, I am wholly in favour of equal rights and equality before the law wherever this is practicable.

[2] E.g. conscription, child custody decisions in the civil courts, sentencing in the criminal courts, pension rights in the UK, car insurance premiums in the US and elsewhere.

[3] Romaine S (2005) Language and Gender. In Sujoldzic, Anita ed. Linguistic Anthropology. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) (Oxford: Eolss Publishers): http://www.eolss.net/Sample-Chapters/C04/E6-20B-09-01.pdf

[4] Feminism and Freedom by Michael Levin: at p4

[5] According to the recent reckoning of David Benatar, as of 2012, over eighty countries continue to practice conscription (The Second Sexism: p27). The vast majority conscript only men and, while a few (e.g. Israel) make a nominal gesture towards egalitarianism by conscripting some women as well, none conscript men and women on equal terms. (With regard to the situation in Israel, see Van Creveld, Men, Women and War: Do Women Belong in the Front Line?, which I have reviewed here.) It was asserted by Bernard T. Rostker, the then Director of the US Selective Service System, in congressional hearings held in 1980, that, at that time, whereas 72 countries employed conscription, only ten registered, let alone actually conscripted, women (quoted in: Hollander RD (2013) The Draft: Men Only? New Male Studies 2:3 32-41: at p34).

[6] Discrimination against men by insurance companies remains legal in most jurisdictions (including the USA). However, sex discrimination in the provision of insurance policies was outlawed throughout the European Union at the end of 2012, due to a ruling of the European Court of Justice – though indirect discrimination continues, using occupation as a marker for gender. This was many years after most other forms of sexual discrimination (i.e. those of which women are perceived to be victims) had been outlawed in most member states. For example, in the UK, although most other comparable forms of sex discrimination were outlawed almost forty years ago under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, Section 45 of the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act explicitly exempted insurance companies from liability for sex discrimination if they could show that the discriminatory practice they employed was based on actuarial data and was “reasonable”. This exemption was preserved by Section 22 of Part 5 of Schedule 3 of the new Equality Act 2010. As a result, as recently as 2010 insurance provides routinely charged young male drivers double the premiums demanded of young female drivers. This situation was not limited to car insurance. On the contrary, the only circumstances in which insurance policy providers were barred from discriminating on the grounds of sex was where the differences result from the costs associated with pregnancy or to a woman’s having given birth under section 22(3)(d) of Schedule 3 – in other words, the only readily apparent circumstance where insurance providers might be expected to discriminate against women rather than men.

[7] For example, in The Second Sexism, David Benatar reports “in the United States, fathers gain sole custody of children in about 10% of cases and women in nearly three-quarters” and “in cases of conflicting requests for physical custody, mothers requests for custody were granted twice as often as fathers”, while “in 90% of cases where there was an uncontested request for maternal physical custody of the children the mother was awarded this custody”, whereas this was granted “in only 75% of cases in which there was an uncontested request for paternal physical custody” (p50). Although the Supreme Court declared in 1979 that discrimination against men in custody disputes was unconstitutional, the courts and legislatures easily evaded this proscription by favouring instead the so-called ‘primary caregiver’ (The Privileged Sex: p177), a clear case of indirect discrimination, given that ‘primary caregivers’ are overwhelmingly female.

[8] In the UK, women are still eligible to receive state pensions at an earlier age than men. This is despite the fact that men work for longer, retire later and die earlier than women – such that a strong case can be made that men ought to be eligible to receive their pensions earlier! While the UK outlawed other forms of sex discrimination in the Sexual discrimination Act 1975, the equalization of state pension eligibility, although demanded by European Union Law, has been repeatedly postponed by successive UK governments. According to the current schedule, after 70 years of overt discrimination, the age at which men and women are entitled to state pensions is not due to be finally equalized in 2020.

[9] Daly K, Bordt, RL (1995) Sex effects and sentencing: An analysis of the statistical literature Justice Quarterly 12(1);Hedderman & Hough (1994) Does the Criminal Justice System Treat Men and Women Differently Home Office, UK; Shapiro, A (2000) Unequal Before the Law: Men, Women and the Death Penalty American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 8(2): 427-470; Spohn, C  and Beichner, D (2000) Is Preferential Treatment of Female Offenders a Thing of the Past? A Multisite Study of Gender, Race, and Imprisonment, Criminal Justice Policy Review, 11(2): 149-184; Mustard DB (2001) Racial, Ethnic and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the US Federal Courts, Social Science Research Network XLIV: 285-314; Streib VL (2001) Sentencing Women to Death Criminal Justice Magazine 16(1); Streib V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary, 63 Ohio State Law Journal 433; Jeffries, S, Fletcher, GJO & Newbol, G (2003) Pathways to Sex-Based Differentiation in Criminal Court Sentencing Criminology 41(2): 329–354; Curry, TR, Lee G and Rodriguez, SF (2004) Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing Outcomes, Crime & Delinquency 50(3): 319-343; Rodriguez, SF, Curry, TR, & Lee G (2006) Gender Differences in Criminal Sentencing: Do Effects Vary Across Violent, Property, and Drug Offenses? Social Science Quarterly 87(2): 318; Streib V (2006) Rare and Inconsistent: The Death Penalty for Women, 33 Fordham Urban Law Journal 609; Blackwell BS, Holleran D & Finn MA (2008) The Impact of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines on Sex Differences in Sentencing Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24(4): 399-418; Embry R & Lyons P (2012) Sex-Based Sentencing: Sentencing Discrepancies Between Male and Female Sex Offenders, Feminist Criminology 7(2):146–162; Starr, SB, Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases. University of Michigan Law and Economics Research Paper, No. 12-018 (August 29, 2012).

[10] It is a woman’s right have the right to decide whether to have an abortion. However, men are denied any say over this decision, yet still obliged to pay maintenance to provide for their offspring for the next eighteen years [see Dubay v. Wells (2004); Danforth v Planned Parenthood 428 U.S. 52 (1976); Planned Parenthood v Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992) Paton v. Trustees of British Pregnancy Advisory Service Trustees (1978) QB 276; C v S (1988) QB 135]. In addition, mothers can absolve themselves of responsibility for their offspring by having the child adopted, an option in practice denied to fathers.

[11] Adam Jones (2000) ‘Gendercide and Genocide’ Journal of Genocide Research 2:2:185-211.

[12] For example, on board the Titanic women and children were famously given priority during the allocation of places on board lifeboats. As a result, 80% of men were killed as compared to only 26% of women. Although much is made of the higher rates of survival of those travelling in better classes of accommodation, even women in the cheapest class of accommodation had a 41% better chance of survival than men travelling first-class (see http://www.anesi.com/titanic.htm). The same policy predated the sinking of the Titanic or even the Birkenhead – and is still employed during rescues to this day, for example during the January 15, 2009 crashing of US Airways Flight 1549 in New York (see this report: Quinn, J and Whitworth, M ‘New York plane crash: Pilot told passengers to ‘brace for heavy landing’’, The (London) Telegraph, 15 Jan 2009).

[13] Carpenter RC  (2003) ‘Women and Children First’: Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian Evacuation in the Balkans: 1991-95 International Organization 57(4): 661-694.

[14] Estimates of the relative proportions of males and females among the homeless diverge considerably. Nevertheless, there appears to be universal agreement that males are overrepresented. For example, the US-based National Coalition for the Homeless reports on its website that 67.5% of the single homeless population is male, and it is this single population that makes up 76% of the homeless populations surveyed. Other sources suggest an even greater level of disparity. For example, Anthony Browne, writing in 2006, reports that, in the UK, men are “nine times as likely to be homeless” as are women (see The Retreat of Reason (reviewed here): p49); while, writing in 1993, Warren Farrell reported in The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here) that, across US cities, males represented, on average, about 85% of the adult homeless population (p208). The overrepresentation of males among the homeless seems to be a recurrent if not cross-culturally universal feature of societies. For example, writing in 1933 and drawing on both official data and his own experience of homelessness during the preceding decade, George Orwell estimated, at the charity level men outnumber women by something like ten to one (see Down and Out in Paris and London); while Ali Mehraspand, in his excellent article, ‘The Myth of Patriarchal Oppression in Iran’, published at A Voice For Men (November 24, 2013), reports that boys represent approximately 95% of street children in Iran. Meanwhile, historian Martin Van Creveld reports in The Privileged Sex that “in early modern towns, male beggars regularly outnumbered female ones by as many as 4 to 1” (p126).

[15] In the US, men are almost twice as likely to report being the victim of violent crime and the more violent the crime, the more likely men are to be the victim (Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren’t Supposed to Know at p11). Likewise, in the UK, men are about three times as likely to be victims of violent crime [see The Retreat of Reason (reviewed here): p49]. In their comprehensive global survey of the correlates of crime, criminologists Anthony Walsh and Lee Ellis report that “except for rape, where essentially all victims are female [sic], males have substantially higher victimization rates than do females” and “even with rapes included in calculating an overall victimization rate, males run a considerably greater risk of being victimized by violent crime than do females” (Criminology: A Global Perspective: p128). Indeed, some evidence even suggests that, at least in the USA, men may even be overrepresented among rape victims – largely due to the epidemic levels of rape in the US’s overwhelmingly male prison population. However, given the high level of underreporting (and false reporting) of violent crime (especially rape), the most reliable data is likely to be for homicide, which is least likely to be either undetected or falsely reported. In the UK in 2010-11, over two thirds (68%) of homicide victims were male, according to government statistics (Osborne, S. (2012) ‘Homicide’ in K. Smith et al (eds), Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2008/09: supplementary volume 2 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11 Home Office Statistical Bulletin 01/10: at p19). ). Similarly, in the USA, between 1980 and 2008, men were three times as likely to be the victim of homicide as were women (Cooper A & Smith EL (2011) Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008 U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2011, NCJ 236018: at p3). Internationally, according to a comprehensive worldwide epidemiological survey in the mid-90s, men represented 78% of violent deaths, excluding those resulting from war (see Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. The global burden of disease: A comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambridge, Harvard University Press; Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996.Global health statistics: a compendium of incidence, prevalence and mortality estimates for over 200 conditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press: as cited by Joshua Goldstein in War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400).

[16] According to data cited by Joshua Goldstein, adult men represent 58% of fatalities from war across the world – despite the fact that, once children are factored in, men represent a small minority of the population as a whole (War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400).

[17] According to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Of those who died by suicide in 2011 [in the USA], 78.5% were male and 21.5% were female (see http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures).

[18] According to the latest weekly updated data from the Ministry of Justice, in the UK, there are currently over twenty times as many men incarcerated as there are women (see https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/prison-population-figures-2014). In the USA, as of 2011, on the other hand, there are over thirteen times as many males as females incarcerated – 1,487,393 versus 111,387 (Carson EA & Sabol WJ (2012) Prisoners in 2011 U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics).

[19] Precise figures on the prevalence of drug addiction are difficult to come by, not least because of the difficulty of drawing the line as to when an recreational drug use crosses the line into addiction. Nevertheless, there appears to be agreement that men outnumber women among both substance-abusers and addicts, especially the latter. For example, Browne reports that men are “four times as likely to be a drug addict [and] three times as likely to be alcoholic” as compared to women (The Retreat of Reason (reviewed here): p49). As part of their encyclopaedic survey of the correlates of criminal behaviour, sociologists Lee Ellis and Anthony Walsh report “a safe conclusion seems to be that, throughout the world, males are more likely to use illegal drugs than are females, unless one includes prescription drugs and/or brief experimentation with ‘light’ experimental drugs such as marijuana” (Criminology: A Global Perspective: p104). Moreover, they report that, “if attention is given to sustained use, especially in adulthood, male use of illegal drugs has always been found to be stronger than female use”, such that in “a US study of deaths due to drug overdosing… three-fourths of victims were male” (Ibid: p105).

[20] In the USA in 2013, men represented 93.1% of the victims of fatal work injuries (see Economic News Release:Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2013, United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).

[21] Adam Jones (2000) ‘Gendercide and Genocide’ Journal of Genocide Research 2:2:185-211.

[22] Marketing researcher Martha Barletta reports that reports that women are responsible for about 80% of household spending (Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach and Increase Your Share of the Largest Market Segment: at p4). Similarly, Bernice Kanner reports that women make approximately 88% of retail purchases in the US (Pocketbook Power: How to Reach the Hearts and Minds of Today’s Most Coveted Consumer – Women: at p5). See also David Thomas’s Not Guilty: The Case in Defence of Modern Men which provides a review of research regarding men’s and women’s consumer spending, albeit focussed on the situation in the UK and now somewhat out-of-date.

[23] Who Stole Feminism: p24.

[24] Is There Anything Good About Men?: p11.

[25] Big Sister: How Extreme Feminism Has Betrayed the Fight for Sexual Equality: p4.

[26] Legalizing Misandry: at xii

[27] Benatar, The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys: p15; Benatar then claims feminists may have “ignored discrimination against males simply because she or he has not been aware of the problem” (Ibid.). However, this ignores the fact that, even if discrimination against males were not obvious from everyday life, works calling attention to it long predate Benatar’s own contribution to the literature – although it is true that they are largely absent from his own bibliography and references.

[28] The Second Sexism: p15.

[29] Paglia, C, Crying Wolf Salon 7 February 2001.

[30] Contrast descriptive linguistics with prescriptive linguistics.

[31] Hoff Sommers, Who Stole Feminism?: p22.

[32] Hoff Sommers, Who Stole Feminism?: p24.

[33] Baumeister, Is There Anything Good About Men?: p8.

[34] As early as 1913, Ernest Belfort Bax observed in The Fraud of Feminism, “modern feminism has two distinct sides to it (1) an articulate political and economic side embracing demands for so-called rights; and (2) a sentimental side which insists in an accentuation of the privileges and immunities [for women] which have grown up” (p12), and that “as a rule… the two sides go together, the cast bulk of the advocates of ‘women’s rights’ being equally keen on the retention and extension of women’s privileges” (p13).

[35] The campaign of the suffragettes went far beyond the peaceful civil disobedience of groups such as Fathers4Justice to encompass bombings, arsons, other acts of vandalism and assaults that clearly qualify as terrorism in the modern sense (see Bearman C ‘An Examination of Suffragette Violence’ English Historical Review 120(486): p265-397; Webb, S (2014) The Suffragette Bombers: Britain’s Forgotten Terrorists).

[36] For example, Almoth Wright, in The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage (1913), perhaps the best known work opposing the extension of suffrage to women, perceptively observed, “if it had not been that man is more prone to discriminate in favour of woman than against her, every military State, when exacting personal military service from men, would have demanded from women some such equivalent personal service as would be represented by a similar period of work in an army clothing establishment, or ordnance factory, or army laundry; or would at any rate have levied upon woman a ransom in lieu of such service.” (p66-7). Similarly, Ernest Belfort Bax observed, “feminists only claim equality with men in so far as it has agreeable consequences for women”, asking rhetorically, “did you ever hear of ‘advanced’ women clamouring for equality in the matter of military service?” (Female Suffrage and its implications, Social Democrat 15 September 1904).  Celebrated suffragette (and part-time terrorist) Emmeline Pankhurst herself acknowledged the frequency with which this issue was raised in opposition to the enfranchisement of women when, during warmongering speeches during World War One she hypocritically exhorted men to: “go and do what you have always said it is your work to do – go and fight”, asking “did they not come to our meetings and say that men ought to have the vote because they fought for their country and that women ought not to have it because they did not fight for the land?” (quoted in Bartley, P ‘Emmeline Pankhurst’ at p196 – punctuation corrected from original). Of course, it goes without saying that, when many men did just that, and many died as a consequence, she did not retract her demand for the enfranchisement of women, and, at the war’s conclusion, Britain’s women were duly enfranchised, ostensibly as a ‘reward’ for their supposed contribution to the war effort, while, ironically, those men whose contribution to the war effort was roughly equivalent, namely conscientious objectors, were actually deprived of the vote for several years as a punishment.

[37] For example, Emmeline Pankhurst, although herself a warmonger who was among the first to call for the introduction of conscription during World War One, nevertheless contended that “it was not necessary for women to go to ‘the trenches’… since it was women who brought children into the world and thus perpetuated the human race” (‘Emmeline Pankhurst: A Biography’ by June Purvis: at p269). Similarly, her daughter Christabel Pankhurst, another warmongering and white feather-wielding suffragette, is quoted by historian Arthur Marwick as observing, “You must remember that if the men fight, the women are the mothers” and pointing to women’s work on the home front, concluding, “if women do not actually take part in the fighting… that argues no diminution of their claim to political equality” (‘Women at War, 1914 – 1918’ (London: Croon Helm, 1977) at p30). Thus, it appears that early feminists, for all the advocacy of gender equality, were quite content to defend traditional sex roles when (and only when) these worked to the advantage of women.
Since these disingenuous arguments cannot be allowed to stand without a response, I quote the late great Ernest Belfort Bax, himself a contemporary of this debate, who, while acknowledging the obvious and rather irrelevant fact that women do indeed bear children, pointed out that, unlike in respect of conscription, “there is no governmental compulsion that they should do so” and that they “do so in the performance of a natural function, not as a public duty”, concluding “the absurdity of comparing the risks of childbirth with those of the battlefield and its horrors, only shows the extremities to which feminists are reduced for weapons to refute a very obvious and straightforward argument” (Women’s Privileges and “Rights”, Social Democrat, 13(9) September 1909, pp.385-391).

[38] Authored in collaboration with a legal scholar who chose to remain anonymous.

[39] See the entry on “Corporal Punishment” from 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica

[40] Ernest Belfort Bax and his co-author, writing in 1898, report how “As against her husband, the law confers upon a woman who has married him the unilateral privilege of maintenance” and “the most violent methods, including imprisonment and sequestration of the property of the husband, are employed to enforce her claim”, whereas, in contrast, “a wife, no matter if rolling in wealth, is not obliged to contribute a penny to her husband’s support, even if he be incapacitated from work through disease or accident” (The Legal Subjection of Men reviewed here: p6-7).

[41] Bax, E.B., (1910) Feminism and Female Suffrage New Age, 30 May 1910, p88-89.

[42] See the ‘Presumption of Legitimacy’.

[43]No matter how flagrant her conduct the wildest dream never suggested that the wife’s ‘earnings’ (as artist, opera singer, or what not) no matter how exorbitant, should ever be touched for the benefit even of her children” (The Legal Subjection of Men reviewed here: p12).

[44] Ernest Belfort Bax 1908 The Legal Subjection of Men: p11; the unfair impact of this law on men was famously critiqued by Charles Dickens in ‘Oliver Twist’, where he coined the famous expression “the law is an ass”.

[45] In Skimminton Revisited (Journal of Men’s Studies 2002 10(2): 111–127), Malcolm George shows that, in the UK, wife beating has been punished since the Anglo-Saxon Age, but that the issue has been periodically and repeatedly ‘rediscovered’ by subsequent generations during successive waves of moral panic. For example, in the Victorian Age, the Aggravated Assaults on Women Act of 1853 and the Wife Beaters Act of 1882 were passed, prescribing harsher sentences of imprisonment for convicted husbands and public floggings (of the sort that had already been abolished for female offenders irrespective of their offence). The situation in the USA was similar. Christina Hoff Sommers reports that “in America there have been laws against wife beating since before the revolution” and “vigilante parties sometimes abducted wife-beaters and whipped them” (Who Stole Feminism?: p204-5).

[46] See George, M. (2002) Skimminton Revisited Journal of Men’s Studies 10 (2): 111–127

[47] Indeed, from an evolutionary psychological perspective, given that, in reproductive terms, women (like men) compete primarily against members of their own sex (i.e. they compete to attract men), women’s interests probably conflict more often with those of other women than they do with those of men.

[48] Of course many feminists go far further than this, asserting that men act as a group to oppress and exploit women. On this view, women are not merely disadvantaged as compared to men but positively ‘oppressed’ by men, who consciously or unconsciously conspire together to achieve this end. However, in accordance with the principle of charity, and to avoid any suggestion that I am merely ‘attacking a straw man /woman, I will take feminism in its weakest form, namely the belief merely that women are merely disadvantaged as compared to men. After all, I can show (as I believe I can) that women are not worse-off than or disadvantaged compared to men, then it naturally follows a fortiori that the more extreme contention, namely that women are systematically oppressed by men, must also be rejected.

[49] On the contrary, I believe a strong case can be made that, on the contrary, men are, on average, worse-off than women and that women represent, as Martin Van Creveld puts it, “The Privileged Sex”. Indeed, in the discussion that follows, this may appear to be logical implication of my arguments. However, this further contention, namely that men are in fact a disadvantaged group, is, for present purposes, unnecessary, as my present intention is not to show that men are worse-off than women or are themselves the victims of oppression, but rather simply to show that the central tenet of feminism – namely that women are disadvantaged as compared to men – is false.

[50] Estimates of the relative proportions of males and females among the homeless diverge considerably. Nevertheless, there appears to be universal agreement that males are overrepresented. For example, the US-based National Coalition for the Homeless reports on its website that 67.5% of the single homeless population is male, and it is this single population that makes up 76% of the homeless populations surveyed. Other sources suggest an even greater level of disparity. For example, Anthony Browne, writing in 2006, reports that, in the UK, men are “nine times as likely to be homeless” as are women (see The Retreat of Reason (reviewed here): p49); while, writing in 1993, Warren Farrell reported in The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here) that, across US cities, males represented, on average, about 85% of the adult homeless population (p208). The overrepresentation of males among the homeless seems to be a recurrent if not cross-culturally universal feature of societies. For example, writing in 1933 and drawing on both official data and his own experience of homelessness during the preceding decade, George Orwell estimated, at the charity level men outnumber women by something like ten to one (see Down and Out in Paris and London); while Ali Mehraspand, in his excellent article, ‘The Myth of Patriarchal Oppression in Iran’, published at A Voice For Men (November 24, 2013), reports that boys represent approximately 95% of street children in Iran. Meanwhile, historian Martin Van Creveld reports in The Privileged Sex that “in early modern towns, male beggars regularly outnumbered female ones by as many as 4 to 1” (p126).

[51] In the US, men are almost twice as likely to report being the victim of violent crime and the more violent the crime, the more likely men are to be the victim (Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren’t Supposed to Know at p11). Likewise, in the UK, men are about three times as likely to be victims of violent crime [see The Retreat of Reason (reviewed here): p49]. In their comprehensive global survey of the correlates of crime, criminologists Anthony Walsh and Lee Ellis report that “except for rape, where essentially all victims are female [sic], males have substantially higher victimization rates than do females” and “even with rapes included in calculating an overall victimization rate, males run a considerably greater risk of being victimized by violent crime than do females” (Criminology: A Global Perspective: p128). Indeed, some evidence even suggests that, at least in the USA, men may even be overrepresented among rape victims – largely due to the epidemic levels of rape in the US’s overwhelmingly male prison population. However, given the high level of underreporting (and false reporting) of violent crime (especially rape), the most reliable data is likely to be for homicide, which is least likely to be either undetected or falsely reported. In the UK in 2010-11, over two thirds (68%) of homicide victims were male, according to government statistics (Osborne, S. (2012) ‘Homicide’ in K. Smith et al (eds), Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2008/09: supplementary volume 2 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11 Home Office Statistical Bulletin 01/10: at p19). ). Similarly, in the USA, between 1980 and 2008, men were three times as likely to be the victim of homicide as were women (Cooper A & Smith EL (2011) Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008 U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2011, NCJ 236018: at p3).  Internationally, according to a comprehensive worldwide epidemiological survey in the mid-90s, men represented 78% of violent deaths, excluding those resulting from war (see Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. The global burden of disease: A comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambridge, Harvard University Press; Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. Global health statistics: a compendium of incidence, prevalence and mortality estimates for over 200 conditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press: as cited by Joshua Goldstein in War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400).

[52] According to data cited by Joshua Goldstein, adult men represent 58% of fatalities from war across the world – despite the fact that, once children are factored in, men represent a small minority of the population as a whole (War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400).

[53] Adam Jones (2000) ‘Gendercide and Genocide’ Journal of Genocide Research 2:2:185-211.

[54] In the USA in 2013, men represented 93.1% of the victims of fatal work injuries (see Economic News Release: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2013, United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).

[55] According to the latest weekly updated data from the Ministry of Justice, in the UK, there are currently over twenty times as many men incarcerated as there are women (see https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/prison-population-figures-2014). In the USA, as of 2011, on the other hand, there are over thirteen times as many males as females incarcerated – 1,487,393 versus 111,387 (Carson EA & Sabol WJ (2012) Prisoners in 2011 U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics).

[56] Precise figures on the prevalence of drug addiction are difficult to come by, not least because of the difficulty of drawing the line as to when an recreational drug use crosses the line into addiction. Nevertheless, there appears to be agreement that men outnumber women among both substance-abusers and addicts, especially the latter. For example, Browne reports that men are “four times as likely to be a drug addict [and] three times as likely to be alcoholic” as compared to women (The Retreat of Reason (reviewed here): p49). As part of their encyclopaedic survey of the correlates of criminal behaviour, sociologists Lee Ellis and Anthony Walsh report “a safe conclusion seems to be that, throughout the world, males are more likely to use illegal drugs than are females, unless one includes prescription drugs and/or brief experimentation with ‘light’ experimental drugs such as marijuana” (Criminology: A Global Perspective: p104). Moreover, they report that, “if attention is given to sustained use, especially in adulthood, male use of illegal drugs has always been found to be stronger than female use”, such that in “a US study of deaths due to drug overdosing… three-fourths of victims were male” (Ibid: p105).

[57] According to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Of those who died by suicide in 2011 [in the USA], 78.5% were male and 21.5% were female (see http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures).

[58] Orwell, G, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933).

[59] These and other factors – what economists refer to as ‘compensating differentials’ – and their role in accounting for the gender pay-gap are ably expounded by writers such as Warren Farrell in Why Men Earn More (which I have reviewed here) and Kingsley Browne in Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality (which I have reviewed here). Together, they probably account for most, if not all, of the pay-gap without any need to invoke discrimination as a factor.

[60] This has been discovered, not by feminist social scientists, but rather by researchers in the marketing industry who, concerned with bottom-line of increasing sales and profits, cannot afford to let ideological concerns dictate their conclusion. For example, Bernice Kanner reports that women make approximately 88% of retail purchases in the USA (Pocketbook Power: How to Reach the Hearts and Minds of Today’s Most Coveted Consumer – Women: p5). Similarly, Marli Barlette reports that women are responsible for about 80% of household spending (Marketing to Women: How to understand, reach and increase your share of the world’s largest market segment: p6). A review of the evidence confirming women’s disproportionate control over consumer spending, albeit one focussing on the situation in the UK and now somewhat out-of-date, is also provided by David Thomas in Not Guilty: The Case in Defense of Men.

[61] Thomas, D, (1993) Not Guilty: The Case in Defence of Men: p80.

[62] According to the recent reckoning of David Benatar, as of 2012, over eighty countries continue to practice conscription (The Second Sexism: p27). The vast majority conscript only men and, while a few (e.g. Israel) make a nominal gesture towards egalitarianism by conscripting some women as well, none conscript men and women on equal terms. (With regard to the situation in Israel, see Van Creveld, Men, Women and War: Do Women Belong in the Front Line?, which I have reviewed here.) It was asserted by Bernard T. Rostker, the then Director of the US Selective Service System, in congressional hearings held in 1980, that, at that time, whereas 72 countries employed conscription, only ten registered, let alone actually conscripted, women (quoted in: Hollander RD (2013) The Draft: Men Only? New Male Studies 2:3 32-41: at p34).

[63] For example, in The Second Sexism, David Benatar reports “in the United States, fathers gain sole custody of children in about 10% of cases and women in nearly three-quarters” and “in cases of conflicting requests for physical custody, mothers requests for custody were granted twice as often as fathers”, while “in 90% of cases where there was an uncontested request for maternal physical custody of the children the mother was awarded this custody”, whereas this was granted “in only 75% of cases in which there was an uncontested request for paternal physical custody” (p50). Although the Supreme Court declared in 1979 that discrimination against men in custody disputes was unconstitutional, the courts and legislatures easily evaded this proscription by favouring instead the so-called ‘primary caregiver’ (The Privileged Sex: p177), a clear case of indirect discrimination, given that ‘primary caregivers’ are overwhelmingly female.

[64] Discrimination against men by insurance companies remains legal in most jurisdictions (including the USA). However, sex discrimination in the provision of insurance policies was outlawed throughout the European Union at the end of last year, due to a ruling of the European Court of Justice. This was many years after most EU other forms of sexual discrimination (i.e. those of which women are perceived to be victims) had been outlawed in most member states. For example, in the UK, although most other comparable forms of sex discrimination were outlawed almost forty years ago under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, Section 45 of the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act explicitly exempted insurance companies from liability for sex discrimination if they could show that the discriminatory practice they employed was based on actuarial data and was “reasonable”. This exemption was preserved by Section 22 of Part 5 of Schedule 3 of the new Equality Act 2010. As a result, as recently as 2010 insurance provides routinely charged young male drivers double the premiums demanded of young female drivers – and insurance companies have continued to indirectly discriminate against males by using occupation as a proxy for gender. This situation was not limited to car insurance. On the contrary, the only circumstances in which insurance policy providers were barred from discriminating on the grounds of sex was where the differences result from the costs associated with pregnancy or to a woman’s having given birth under section 22(3)(d) of Schedule 3 – in other words, the only readily apparent circumstance where insurance providers might be expected to discriminate against women rather than men.

[65] Daly K, Bordt, RL (1995) Sex effects and sentencing: An analysis of the statistical literature Justice Quarterly 12(1); Hedderman & Hough (1994) Does the Criminal Justice System Treat Men and Women Differently Home Office, UK; Shapiro, A (2000) Unequal Before the Law: Men, Women and the Death Penalty American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 8(2): 427-470; Spohn, C  and Beichner, D (2000) Is Preferential Treatment of Female Offenders a Thing of the Past? A Multisite Study of Gender, Race, and Imprisonment, Criminal Justice Policy Review, 11(2): 149-184; Mustard DB (2001) Racial, Ethnic and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the US Federal Courts, Social Science Research Network XLIV: 285-314; Streib VL (2001) Sentencing Women to Death Criminal Justice Magazine 16(1); Streib V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary, 63 Ohio State Law Journal 433; Jeffries, S, Fletcher, GJO & Newbol, G (2003) Pathways to Sex-Based Differentiation in Criminal Court Sentencing Criminology 41(2): 329–354; Curry, TR, Lee G and Rodriguez, SF (2004) Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing Outcomes, Crime & Delinquency 50(3): 319-343; Rodriguez, SF, Curry, TR, & Lee G (2006) Gender Differences in Criminal Sentencing: Do Effects Vary Across Violent, Property, and Drug Offenses? Social Science Quarterly 87(2): 318; Streib V (2006) Rare and Inconsistent: The Death Penalty for Women, 33 Fordham Urban Law Journal 609; Blackwell BS, Holleran D & Finn MA (2008) The Impact of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines on Sex Differences in Sentencing Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24(4): 399-418; Embry R & Lyons P (2012) Sex-Based Sentencing: Sentencing Discrepancies Between Male and Female Sex Offenders, Feminist Criminology 7(2):146–162; Starr, SB, Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases. University of Michigan Law and Economics Research Paper, No. 12-018 (August 29, 2012).

[66] For example, on board the Titanic women and children were famously given priority during the allocation of places on board lifeboats. As a result, 80% of men were killed as compared to only 26% of women. Although much is made of the higher rates of survival of those travelling in better classes of accommodation, even women in the cheapest class of accommodation had a 41% better chance of survival than men travelling first-class (see http://www.anesi.com/titanic.htm). The same policy predated the sinking of the Titanic or even the Birkenhead – and is still employed during rescues to this day, for example during the January 15, 2009 crashing of US Airways Flight 1549 in New York (see this report: Quinn, J and Whitworth, M ‘New York plane crash: Pilot told passengers to ‘brace for heavy landing’’, The (London) Telegraph, 15 Jan 2009).

[67] Carpenter RC  (2003) ‘Women and Children First’: Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian Evacuation in the Balkans: 1991-95 International Organization 57(4): 661-694.

[68] It is a woman’s right have the right to decide whether to have an abortion. However, men are denied any say over this decision, yet still obliged to pay maintenance to provide for their offspring for the next eighteen years (see Dubay v. Wells (2004); Danforth v Planned Parenthood 428 U.S. 52 (1976); Planned Parenthood v Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992); Paton v. Trustees of British Pregnancy Advisory Service Trustees [1978] QB 276; C v S [1988] QB 135). In addition, mothers can absolve themselves of responsibility for their offspring by having the child adopted, an option in practice denied to fathers.

[69] In the UK, women are still eligible to receive state pensions at an earlier age than men. This is despite the fact that men work for longer, retire later and die earlier than women – such that a strong case can be made that men ought to be eligible to receive their pensions earlier! While the UK outlawed other forms of sex discrimination in the Sexual discrimination Act 1975, the equalization of state pension eligibility, although demanded by European Union Law, has been repeatedly postponed by successive UK governments. According to the current schedule, after 70 years of overt discrimination, the age at which men and women are entitledto state pensions is not due to be finally equalized in 2020.

[70] According to data cited by Joshua Goldstein, adult men represent 58% of fatalities from war across the world – despite the fact that, once children are factored in, men represent a small minority of the population as a whole (War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400).

[71] According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on ‘Conscription’, compulsory military service has existed at least from the time of the Egyptian Old Kingdom (27th century bce).

[72] Adam Jones (2000) ‘Gendercide and Genocide’ Journal of Genocide Research 2:2:185-211.

[73] For example, in the ‘Melian Dialogue’, Thucydides reported that, upon conquering Melos, the Athenians put to death all the men of military age whom they took, and sold the women and children as slaves. Military historian Martin Van Creveld, reports that “all over the ancient Mediterranean it was standard practice to kill the men of the cities taken by storm while selling the women and children” (Men, Women and War: Do Women Belong in the Front Line? reviewed here: p30).

[74] Sex-selective massacres of males or ‘gendercides’ are also reported at various times in the Bible (e.g. Genesis 34Exodus 1:22; Matthew 2:16).

[75] In DNA: The Secret of Life, Nobel Prize winning geneticist James Watson reports that, whereas 94% of the Y-chromosomes of contemporary Colombians (which are passed down the male-line) are of European ancestry, their mitrochondrial DNA (passed down the female-line) shows a “range of Amerindian MtDNA types” (p257). He therefore concludes, “the virtual absence of Amerindian Y chromosome types, reveals the tragic story of colonial genocide: indigenous men were eliminated while local women were sexually ‘assimilated’ by the conquistadors” (Ibid.).

[76] Carpenter RC  (2003) ‘Women and Children First’: Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian Evacuation in the Balkans: 1991-95 International Organization 57(4): 661-694.

[77] On board the Titanic, as a result of the discriminatory policy of awarding places on board the lifeboats, 80% of men were killed as compared to only 26% of women. Although much is made of the higher rates of survival of those travelling in better classes of accommodation, even women in the cheapest class of accommodation had a 41% better chance of survival than men travelling first-class (see http://www.anesi.com/titanic.htm). The same policy predated the sinking of the Titanic or even the Birkenhead – and is still employed during rescues to this day, for example during the January 15, 2009 crashing of US Airways Flight 1549 in New York (see this report: Quinn, J and Whitworth, M ‘New York plane crash: Pilot told passengers to ‘brace for heavy landing’’, The (London) Telegraph, 15 Jan 2009).

[78] For latest data for the US, see Victor Streib’s report, “Death Penalty for Female Offenders,” (January 24, 2012). Streib has published a series of papers detailing the issue: Streib VL (2001) ‘Sentencing Women to Death‘ Criminal Justice Magazine 16(1); Streib V (2006) Rare and Inconsistent: The Death Penalty for Women, 33 Fordham Urban Law Journal 609; Streib V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary, 63 Ohio State Law Journal 433; ‘America’s aversion to executing women’, Ohio Northern University Women’s Law Journal, 1997 1:1-8; see also Shapiro, A (2000) Unequal Before the Law: Men, Women and the Death Penalty American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 8(2): 427-470. Streib VL 2001 ‘Sentencing Women to DeathCriminal Justice Magazine 16(1)

[80] Daly K, Bordt, RL (1995) Sex effects and sentencing: An analysis of the statistical literature Justice Quarterly 12(1); Hedderman & Hough (1994) Does the Criminal Justice System Treat Men and Women Differently Home Office, UK; Shapiro, A (2000) Unequal Before the Law: Men, Women and the Death Penalty American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 8(2): 427-470; Spohn, C  and Beichner, D (2000) Is Preferential Treatment of Female Offenders a Thing of the Past? A Multisite Study of Gender, Race, and Imprisonment, Criminal Justice Policy Review, 11(2): 149-184; Mustard DB (2001) Racial, Ethnic and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the US Federal Courts, Social Science Research Network XLIV: 285-314; Jeffries, S, Fletcher, GJO & Newbol, G (2003) Pathways to Sex-Based Differentiation in Criminal Court Sentencing Criminology 41(2): 329–354; Curry, TR, Lee G and Rodriguez, SF (2004) Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing Outcomes, Crime & Delinquency 50(3): 319-343; Rodriguez, SF, Curry, TR, & Lee G (2006) Gender Differences in Criminal Sentencing: Do Effects Vary Across Violent, Property, and Drug Offenses? Social Science Quarterly 87(2): 318; Blackwell BS, Holleran D & Finn MA (2008) The Impact of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines on Sex Differences in Sentencing Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24(4): 399-418; Embry R & Lyons P (2012) Sex-Based Sentencing: Sentencing Discrepancies Between Male and Female Sex Offenders, Feminist Criminology 7(2):146–162; Starr, SB, Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases University of Michigan Law and Economics Research Paper, No. 12-018 (August 29, 2012).

[81] Liddle R (2003) ‘Women Who Won’tSpectator (29 November)

[82] Work-Lifestyle Choices in the 21st Century: at p111.

[83] This is according to data released by the AA, as reported by the BBC (see (see Gompertz, S. Car insurance costs rise by new record, says AA BBC 12 October 2010).

[84] For example, in the UK, The Sexual Discrimination Act, prohibiting discrimination against women in the workplace, was passed in 1975 – yet  Section 45 of this Act explicitly exempted insurance companies from liability for sex discrimination and this his exemption was preserved by Section 22 of Part 5 of Schedule 3 of the new Equality Act 2010. Indeed, the only circumstances in which insurance policy providers were previously barred from discriminating on the grounds of sex (other than where there was no actuarial data to serve as a basis for the decision or where the decision fails to satisfy the ‘reasonableness’ criterion, in which case the insurance company would have no rational reason for discriminating in the first place), was where the differences result from the costs associated with pregnancy or to a woman’s having given birth under section 22(3)(d) of Schedule 3 of the 2010 Equality Act – in other words, the only readily apparent circumstance where this discrimination might disadvantage women rather than men!

[85] Writing back in 1993, Neil Lyndon reported that “the protests of men on this incontestable point of inequality have been ignored in Britain for twenty-five years” (No More Sex War: p5). However, he noted that this situation “will soon be changed… to bring the country into line with its European partners” (Ibid.) In fact, however, a further twenty years after Lyndon wrote these words, the age at which men and women are entitled to state pensions has still yet to be equalized, and is not scheduled to be equalized until 2020. It would therefore now be more accurate to say that men’s protests on this issue have failed to bear fruit for well over half a century in total.

[86] 453 U.S. 57 (1981).

[87] Military historian Martin Van Creveld, in Men, Women and War: Do Women Belong in the Front Line (which I have reviewed here), reports that, even among the small number of highly self-selected women who have sought out a career in the military, whereas “four times as many US enlisted men as women would do anything to get into combat (11 vs 3 per cent)… two and a half times as many enlisted women as men would do anything not to go (42 v. 16 percent)” (p212).

[88] If then, as seems likely, conscription is nominally extended to women only at such a time as conscription itself has become politically unthinkable and the obligation to register wholly nominal, then this would be entirely typical of the course of feminist reform in the past.

Unpaid Labour or Overpaid Laziness: Why Housework in Your Own House Isn’t Really Work

“The reason that men do less housework than women is because, quite simply, they are less easily offended by any given level of mess.”

‘AngryHarry’, ‘Housework

“Stay at home mothers provide services to themselves and to their families, not to a marketplace of customers. Just as you do not ‘deserve’ a salary for cooking your own breakfast, nor does a parent who prepares a meal.”

Wendy McElroy, ‘Mother’s ‘Work’ Doesn’t Warrant Paycheck[1]

“Women make a big point that they do more of the house-cleaning than we do. But they define what’s clean enough. How come you never hear a man complaining that his wife doesn’t do her fair share of polishing the chrome on the Camaro?”

Jack Kammer, ‘If Men Have All the Power How Come Women Make the Rules[2]

“A person performs housework in their own home, not in the expectation of receiving remuneration for doing so, but rather because of the intrinsic benefits that such work confers on they themselves – namely the opportunity to live in a cleaner, tidier, more pleasant environment. In short, a woman no more deserves a salary in return for cleaning her own home than she does for wiping her own ass after she has taken a shit!”

The conventional wisdom, as dictated to us by the feminists and the mainstream media, is that men do not do their fair share of housework. On the contrary, according to the feminist orthodoxy, not only do men not pull their weight in the home, but they also unfairly benefit from the housework performed by their spouses.

Women, on the other hand, are cruelly exploited. This is because, so we are repeatedly told, they perform housework for their husband’s benefit yet, unlike paid work outside the home, they do not receive any salary in recompense for the housework they perform, nor for the care they provide for their children.

Curiously, this conventional wisdom is, in large part, taken at face value even by some of the more incisive critics of the feminist orthodoxy. For example, in Warren Farrell, his contribution to ‘Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men: A Debate’ [which I have reviewed here] writes:

The average woman does work almost seventeen hours more per week inside the home, but the Journal of Economic literature reported that the average man works over twenty hours more per week outside the home. In addition, the average man commutes two hours more per week than the average woman. Counting all aspects of work then, the average man works five hours more per week than the average woman.”[3]

Similarly, Men’s Rights blogger, radio host and newspaper columnist Glenn Sacks, writes:

“A 2002 University of Michigan Institute for Social Research survey found that women do 11 more hours of housework a week than men but men work 14 hours a week more than women. According to the BLS, men’s total time at leisure,sleeping, doing personal care activities, or socializing is a statistically meaningless 1% higher than women’s.”

Moreover, Farrell identifies 54 categories of work around the house that are typically performed by husbands rather than wives but which are largely ignored by both feminists and the ‘housework studies’ they have pioneered, including among other arduous activities, those forms of work around the house that are:

Most likely to break an arm leg or neck or to crack a skull (e.g. climbing ladders)… most likely to trigger heart attacks (e.g. shovelling snow)… [and] most likely to cause lower back problems and hernia operations (e.g. moving furniture, hanging heavy pictures)[4]

As Glenn Sacks observes, “even these [time budget] studies understate men’s contributions because they only count the hours devoted to a task without measuring the physical strain and/or danger associated with it” – and men perform the most dangerous work both inside and outside the home.

These are certainly valid critiques of the phoney statistics (‘data rape’ or ‘Ms.-Information’) routinely trafficked by feminists and uncritically regurgitated by the mainstream media. However, in performing this calculation, Farrell and Sacks implicitly take as given a core feminist assumption – namely, that housework done in one’s own home and childcare for one’s own children is of fundamentally the same type as and hence comparable to the sort of work for which one expects to demand remuneration.

In other words, in adding up the number of additional hours women work in the home and comparing this to the number of additional hours men work outside the home, Farrell  and Sacks implicitly accept that this is to compare like with like.

I shall argue that this assumption is in error.

In fact, I shall go further. I shall show that almost every part of the conventional wisdom regarding women’s so-called ‘unpaid labour’ in the home is mistaken. Housework performed by wives is not, as the feminist wisdom has it, ‘unpaid labour’. On the contrary, far from being unpaid, I argue that it is, in fact, overpaid – and, for housewives married to wealthy men, often prodigiously so.

More importantly, I shall argue that housework, when it is performed in one’s own home, and childcare, when it is performed in respect of one’s own children, are not the sort of activities for which one ought to be entitled to demand remuneration in the first place.

Indeed, a strong case can be made that housework and childcare of this type ought not properly to be considered ‘work’ at all – at least in the ordinary sense in which this word is typically used. On the contrary, it is more analogous to a hobby or leisure pursuit. Certainly, it is no more to be considered as ‘work’ (and no more deserving of a salary) than are activities such as washing behind one’s ears in the shower or making model aeroplanes in one’s spare time.

Thus, I argue that housework performed by married women in their own homes and childcare performed in respect of their own children represents, not so much, as feminists would have it, ‘unpaid labour’, as it does overpaid laziness.

Why Housework in Your Own House Isn’t Work

Let me first make clear that, in arguing that housework performed in your own house is of a fundamentally different type and hence incomparable to paid work outside the home, I am not talking about the nature of the activity that constitutes the work itself. There is nothing about housework that means it cannot be of such a type that it is deserving of remuneration.

Indeed, housework and childcare often are often done in return for a salary – namely, when they are done either outside the home, or, more often, inside someone else’s home, typically by housekeepers, maids, child-minders and babysitters (although even here the salary is relatively low, reflecting the safe, unskilled and undemanding nature of the work involved).

Certainly, compared to many forms of paid work outside the home, housework is easy, safe, agreeable and stress-free. After all, housework generally involves safe, unskilled labour of the sort that, when it is performed outside one’s home, is only modestly remunerated in the job market. It requires neither the skill or expertise of professional occupations, nor does it entail the physical exertion or danger of manual labour occupations, such as coal mining, soldiering or construction work.

Moreover, unlike someone working outside the home, a housewife performs housework in the safety, comfort and security of her own home and there is no employer, supervisor or manager constantly looking over her shoulder, telling her what work to do, how to do it or when it must be done by.[5]

However, these points have already been made by others. Indeed, as early as 1915, the author, poet and essayist G.K. Chesterton wrote in a largely forgotten essay, with characteristic wit and perceptiveness:

“They [the feminists] say eternally… that the ordinary woman is always a drudge. And what, in the name of the Nine Gods, is the ordinary man? These people seem to think that the ordinary man is a Cabinet Minister… Dukes, perhaps, are not drudges; but, then, neither are Duchesses. The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Smart Set are quite free for the higher culture, which consists chiefly of motoring and Bridge. But the ordinary man who typifies and constitutes the millions that make up our civilisation is no more free for the higher culture than his wife is. Indeed, he is not so free.
Of the two sexes the woman is in the more powerful position. For the average woman is at the head of something with which she can do as she likes; the average man has to obey orders and do nothing else. He has to put one dull brick on another dull brick,and do nothing else; he has to add one dull figure to another dull figure, and do nothing else. The woman’s world is a small one, perhaps, but she can alter it. The woman can tell the tradesman with whom she deals some realistic things about himself. The clerk who does this to the manager generally gets the sack,or shall we say (to avoid the vulgarism), finds himself free for higher culture. Above all… the woman does work which is in some small degree creative and individual. She can put the flowers or the furniture in fancy arrangements of her own. I fear the bricklayer cannot put the bricks in fancy arrangements of his own, without disaster to himself and others. If the woman is only putting a patch into a carpet, she can choose the thing with regard to colour.I fear it would not do for the office boy dispatching a parcel to choose his stamps with a view to colour; to prefer the tender mauve of the sixpenny to the crude scarlet of the penny stamp. A woman cooking may not always cook artistically; still she can cook artistically. She can introduce a personal and imperceptible alteration into the composition of a soup. The clerk is not encouraged to introduce a personal and imperceptible alteration into the figures in a ledger.”[6]

Although the points made by Chesterton remain valid, the point I intend to make is different from and more fundamental than those raised by the likes of G.K.Chesterton, Warren Farrell and Glenn Sacks. Not only is housework easy work, I contend, but, when performed in one’s own home, there is reason for questioning whether it ought to be classified as work at all.

To discover the reason why housework of the sort performed by housewives and other women in their own homes is not of the sort for which one is entitled to demand a remuneration one must look, not to the nature of the so-called ‘work’ performed, but rather to where it is performed, in respect of whose property and for whose benefit?

As previously noted, individuals who are employed as housekeepers, maids, child-minders and babysitters and who perform, in someone else’s home, work that is otherwise often identical to that performed by housewives in their own homes are perfectly entitled to demand a salary in return for what they do – albeit typically a rather low salary, reflecting the menial, safe, undemanding and unskilled nature of work involved. And, of course, unless they are themselves relatives of the homeowners[7], they almost invariably do demand and receive a salary in return for performing housework.

However, what is superficially the same activity is often regarded as work in some circumstances, but as a hobby or leisure-pursuit in another. Mark Twain recognised as much at the conclusion of a celebrated sequence from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer when he observed the paradox whereby:

Constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill is work, while rolling ten-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement [and] there are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign”.[8]

I contend that housework done in one’s own home is clearly of a very different nature from the work performed by a housekeeper in someone else’s home. A person performs housework in their own home, not in the expectation of receiving remuneration for doing so, but rather because of the intrinsic benefits that such work confers on themselves – namely the opportunity to live in a cleaner, tidier, more pleasant environment.

An analogy is provided by acts of personal hygiene. Whereas housework involves cleaning your own home, acts of personal hygiene involve cleaning, not your own home, but rather your own body.

All of us perform such acts of personal hygiene on a daily basis – showering, brushing our teeth, combing our hair, cleaning behind our ears etc. (or at last I hope we do!) – but no one has yet been audacious enough to demand a salary in return for brushing their teeth or washing their hair (although feminists have sometimes come close when they have been known to protest the extra time expended by women on such activities as applying make-up.[9]

However, acts of personal hygiene are also, like housework, sometimes performed in return for wages – namely, when they are done in respect of somebody else’s body rather than one’s own. Carers and nurses, therefore, are entitled to demand a salary when they perform acts of personal hygiene in respect of the bodies of other people who have been rendered incapable of performing these acts for themselves by illness or disability.[10]

In the same way that only a person who performs acts of personal hygiene in respect of someone else’s body expects a salary in compensation, only those who do housework in someone else’s house are legitimately entitled to demand payment for having done so.

“A person is only entitled to demand payment for work that he or she performs to improve the condition of an thing where the thing in question (be it a home, a car or a human body) is possessed and enjoyed by someone other than the person performing the work”

In case this distinction remains unclear, I will provide a second analogy – hobbies. As a general rule, people do not expect to be paid for working on their hobbies. They engage in them, not for money, but either because they enjoy the activity itself, or they enjoy the end-result of the activity[11].

For example, a man who owns a classic car may spend hours working on it and doing repairs. The work he does may be identical to that performed in return for a salary by a professional mechanic.

However, the classic car enthusiast does not think to demand a wage in return for this toil. He does it because, even if he does not enjoy the work itself, he enjoys its end-result – in this case the improved condition of prized automobile.

Again, the key distinguishing feature the unpaid classic car enthusiast from the paid mechanic is his ownership and possession of the object on which he is working. In other words, in the same way the housewife lives in and owns an interest in the home where she performs her housework, the classic car enthusiast likewise drives and owns the classic car which he devotes hours to polishing and repairing. Both therefore directly benefit from the work performed and are therefore not deserving of a salary.

Yet, while women frequently complain that their husbands do not do enough housework, few men with a hobby of working on their classic car at weekends have the audacity to claim that their wife does not do her fair share. As Jack Kammer demands in one of the quotations with which I begin this post: “How come you never hear a man complaining that his wife doesn’t do her fair share of polishing the chrome on the Camaro?

This allows us to tentatively formulate a general rule for determining what type of work is deserving of a salary, namely: A person is only entitled to demand payment for work that he or she performs to improve the condition of an thing where the thing in question (be it a home, a car or a human body) is possessed and enjoyed by someone other than the person performing the work!

In short, a woman no more deserves a salary in return for cleaning her own home than she does for wiping her own ass after she has taken a shit![12]

Who Benefits From Housework?

Of course, there is an obvious rejoinder to the foregoing argument. Housework, it can be argued, is done, not solely for the benefit of women themselves, but also for the benefit of their husbands and their children who also occupy their homes. Indeed, feminists have sometimes gone further and implied that husbands are the sole beneficiary of housework performed by wives, as when they describe wives as the mere ‘slaves’ or ‘domestic servants’ of their husbands.

Although the feminist assumption that housework is done solely for the benefit of husbands is surely implausible, the more moderate contention, namely that husbands, wives and offspring all benefit from housework performed by any one of them, seems, at first glance, superficially appealing.

“If women do housework half for themselves and half for their husbands, then only half of it should count as ‘work’ for the purposes of calculating how many hours each sex on average works. To include that portion of housework that they perform for themselves as ‘work’ would make no more sense than including the time they spend similarly brushing their teeth, blowing their noses or taking baths!”

After all, a husband typically lives in the same home as his wife, uses the same bathroom and even shares the same bed. If she makes her bed, therefore, she is obliged, inadvertently or not, to make his at the same time… ditto if she intends to clean her bathroom. Thus, even the most bitter and vindictive of wives would be surely hard-pressed to perform housework in such a way as to benefit only herself, even assuming she had a mind too. Conversely, a wife who, in accordance with feminist doctrine, intends to do housework only for the benefit of her husband would be hard-pressed not to inadvertently benefit herself.

Perhaps, it might then seem, a reasonable assumption is that housework performed by a wife (or a husband) benefits husband and wife approximately equally.

[For the sake of simplicity, I shall ignore for the moment any ostensible benefit to offspring. This issue shall be dealt with later in a later section, Why Childcare for Your Own Children Isn’t Work Either (see below). Let’s just assume, for the moment, that the couple in question are without children.]

Interestingly, even this superficially appealing assumption (namely that housework benefits husband and wife equally) renders the figures quoted earlier by Warren Farrell and Glenn Sacks misleading. After all, if women do housework half for themselves and half for their husbands, then only half of it should count as ‘work’ for the purposes of calculating how many hours each sex on average works. To include that portion of housework that they perform for themselves as ‘work’ would make no more sense than including the time they spend similarly brushing their teeth, blowing their noses or taking baths!

Moreover, we must remember that a large proportion of people are single and, while housework performed by a husband or wife may benefit the whole family, there is surely no question that nobody benefits from housework performed by a single person living alone other than the person themselves. No one can claim that a single man living by himself is not pulling his weight with regard to housework simply because he does not do as much housework as the single woman living by herself in the house or apartment next door!

Yet the figures cited by Farrell in the passages quoted above seem to count housework done by single people as hours spent working in the same way that they treat housework done by married or cohabiting couples!

Yet single women do, indeed, perform more housework than single men. This is perhaps no surprise. Indeed, the untidy and supposedly unhygienic conditions that many single men, especially students, chose to live in is widely remarked upon and is a common topic of popular misandric humour.

According to data cited by Professor of Law, Kingsley Browne, in his excellent Biology at Work: Rethinking Sex Equality [which I have reviewed here], unmarried women do approximately a third more housework than unmarried men.[13] Similarly, Catherine Hakim, citing a different study, reports that, “single women spend 50% more time on domestic work than single men, an average of three hours a day instead of just two”.[14] On the other hand, as recently as the 1960s, single women were found to do as much as three times as many hours of housework as single men.[15]

Yet the greater level of housework performed by single women as compared to single men is also pertinent for another more important reason – namely, it suggests that women, whether married or single, do housework primarily for the benefit, not of their husbands, but rather for themselves.

After all, if single women living alone do more housework than single men living in the same circumstances, they can hardly be doing so for the benefit of their husband or male cohabitant for the simple reason that they have no husband or male cohabitant who could conceivably benefit. Since they are living by themselves, the only people who could conceivably benefit are they themselves.

This suggests that the reason that married women do more housework than married men is not because they are exploited or coerced into doing housework by evil, exploitative, freeloading husbands. Rather, it simply suggests that women, whether single or married, simply value housework as more important than men do or else dislike doing it less.

Perhaps, as Angry Harry proposes in one of the quotations with which I have opened this discussion:

“The reason that men do less housework than women is because, quite simply, they are less easily offended by any given level of mess”.

Indeed, women may even enjoy some forms of housework. For example, Browne reports “on the strong interest inventory, some of the largest sex differences are found on such tasks as cooking, sewing, and ‘home economics’.[16] At any rate, there is certainly no question of exploitation or coercion.

Thus, citing data showing that single women spend fifty percent more time doing housework than do single men, Catherine Hakim concludes that this implies that, “one third or more of the time spent on housework by women consists of optional extras, in effect consumption”.[17] Thus, far from representing work, it is a form of leisure pursuit, analogous to a hobby.

As Kingsley Browne observes:

Much of the literature comparing men’s and women’s contributions to household work starts from the unstated assumptions that men and women equally value the fruits of household labor and that men and women find such labor equally distasteful… [Yet] if men and women cared equally about housework being performed, one would expect that men and women would perform equal amounts of housework before marriage and that when marriage terminates through divorce or spousal death, equality would be restored.”[18]

“Unmarried women do a third more housework than unmarried men. Yet no one can claim that a single man living by himself is not pulling his weight with regard to housework simply because he does not do as much housework as the single woman living in the house next door. Moreover, if unmarried single women living alone do more housework than unmarried single men living in the same circumstances, this suggests that the reason that married women do more housework than married men is not that they are exploited or coerced into doing housework by exploitative, freeloading husbands. Instead, it suggests that women, whether single or married, do more housework than men simply value housework as more important than do men or else dislike doing it less.”

Indeed, if, as feminists often suggest, married women do housework only or at least primarily for the benefit of their husbands, then single women, with no husband to benefit, would presumably do no housework at all. At any rate, they would certainly do far less housework than single men would do, as the latter would presumably be obliged to do for themselves all the housework that they otherwise demand be performed their wives. However, as we have seen, the precise opposite of this is the case.

Therefore, from a husband’s perspective, his wife may already be doing more housework than he regards as strictly necessary, so any extra work he might contribute would be wholly superfluous. As Hakim acknowledges, “one explanation for the reluctance of husbands to help with domestic work is the suspicion that there might be no need for it”.[19]

Indeed, men seem to gain little appreciable benefit from getting married. On the contrary, the data shows that married men end up doing, on average, almost as much housework as they did when they were single. As Browne puts it, “men’s housework hours are relatively constant across various marital statuses and living arrangements”.[20] To be more precise, married men on average do only about one hour less housework than they did when they were single.[21]

Thus, it appears men gain little tangible benefit by getting married – on average just an hour less time spent doing housework. Yet precisely because they now have a family to support, married men often work longer hours outside the home to provide for their wife and children, so it is doubtful this meagre benefit (an hour less housework per week) actually translates into a single minute more free time to themselves. On the contrary, they probably have far less free time overall.

At any rate, this meagre benefit (one hour less time spent doing household chores) is insufficient to compensate for the financial support married men are expected – and legally obligated – to provide for their wives. Moreover, men are legally obliged to continue to provide such financial support, in the form of alimony and maintenance, even after the relationship has dissolved and the couple separated – but, of course, ex-wives are not similarly legally obligated to go around to her ex-husband’s place and help tidy up for him!

As Browne concludes:

The husband [who refuses to do more housework] is not saying, ‘Now that I have a wife, I don’t have to do housework,’ but rather something more like ‘Now that I have a wife, I shouldn’t have to do more housework than I did when I was single’”.[22]

Certainly the feminist contention that married men receive a huge benefit from having a wife to do domestic chores in their place which facilitates their higher level of achievement in the world of work is exposed as a nonsense.

In short, it appears that men and women simply have different priorities and, for men, housework comes lower down on the list. As economist Jennifer Roback candidly admits:

“When I want my husband to do ‘his half’ of household chores, what I really want is for him to do half of everything on my list of important things. But he has his own list. He values some things that I do not. He does not value all the things that I do.”[23]

Similarly, Men’s Rights Activist Jack Kammer, in If Men Have All the Power How Come Women Make All the Rules, observes:

“Women make a big point that they do more of the house-cleaning than we do. But they define what’s clean enough. How come you never hear a man complaining that his wife doesn’t do her fair share of polishing the chrome on the Camaro?”[24]

Although we have all been brainwashed to believe that doing housework is somehow a more selfless and worthwhile activity than is ‘polishing the chrome on one’s sports car’ and other characteristically male chores and hobbies, there is no real non-sexist reason why we must accept this conclusion.

In fact, the observation that women do housework primarily for their own benefit rather than that of their husbands should come as little surprise. Indeed, one has only to look at the typical decoration of a marital home to see that this is the case.

Anecdotally, the décor of the average conjugal home is designed more to appeal to the typical woman’s taste rather than that the typical man. As Esther Vilar observes in The Manipulated Man (which I have reviewed here), “Most men… in fact prefer the plain and functional[25] and have “no need of lace curtains or rubber plants in the living room”.[26]

Yet, Vilar continues:

Men… every day find themselves more deeply entangled in the undergrowth of superfluous ornamentation and all kinds of embellishments. In their living rooms the porcelain cats, barstools, glass-topped tables, candelabra, and silk cushions pile up; in their bedrooms the walls are papered with floral patterns; in their cabinets a dozen different kinds of glasses are lined up; and if they look for a place to put their razors in the bathroom, all the shelves are filled with the thousand creams and cosmetics of their artfully made-up wives.[27]

Men do not prefer living in such an environment. They consider it a cost, not a benefit, of marriage. If men liked this style of decoration, then, when still living alone, they would decorate their bachelor pads in a similar fashion. But they do not. To put the matter bluntly, men have better taste.

Add to this alien and exotic décor the fact that the husband usually spends far less time in the home he and his wife ostensibly share precisely because he is typically out working extra hours to keep up mortgage repayments on that home, and, as often as not, bankroll his wife’s indolent but extravagant lifestyle; and the fact that it is the husband who is far more likely to lose the right to reside in that same home in the event of a separation or divorce, and it becomes all too clear that, as Vilar herself observes, “man is, in fact, a homeless creature, moving constantly between office and house”.[28]

As Warren Farrell writes in The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here), although “from a woman’s perspective, a man’s home is his castle; from a man’s perspective, a woman’s home is his mortgage”.[29]

In a very real sense, then, a married man’s home is not his own!

Why Childcare for Your Own Children Isn’t Work Either

“Women choose to have children. They make this choice voluntarily – presumably because they anticipate enjoying spending time with their children. Deciding to have children is therefore best classed as a leisure pursuit rather than as form of work analogous to paid employment. It is analogous to the decision one makes to buy a pet, or invest in a classic car to renovate.”

If housework in your own house isn’t really work, then what about childcare for your own children? Surely, it cannot be denied that this is properly to be classified as ‘work’ and hence deserving of remuneration?

After all, I have argued that women do housework, not for the benefit of their husbands, but rather primarily for themselves, because they value living in a cleaner and prettier environment more than men do. Surely I cannot make the same case in respect of childcare. After all, almost by definition, childcare is done, not for the benefit of yourself, but rather for the child. It is therefore surely an altruistic act demanded of remuneration and encouragement. Moreover, if women do more childcare than men, surely this is unfair.

There are two main points to be made in response to this argument. Firstly, it is not altogether clear that women do provide more childcare than men – only that the care they provide is of a different type. In general, women provide more direct care – i.e. hands-on time with their children. In contrast, fathers are more often responsible for providing financially for their children – including by providing financially for the child’s mother precisely so as to enable her to provide more direct care (e.g. by giving up work or cutting down on her hours).

“If women did not enjoy the time they spend with their children, then they would presumably choose not to have children in the first place. The wide availability of contraception, abortions and other forms of birth control in western societies makes this choice effectively available to all women. Indeed, even after having given birth, they still retain the option of giving the child up for adoption.”

As Warren Farrell has observed, the male tragedy is that their manner of caring their children (i.e. working enough hours to financially provide for them) actually keeps them away from their children and denies them the opportunity to receive love from their children in return.

Moreover, men’s form of providing for their children is compulsory, whereas women’s is strictly a matter of choice. Women are at liberty to renounce any obligation to care for their children either by deciding not to have children in the first place or by giving the children up for adoption. In contrast, men are legally obliged to financially support their children, and often the child’s mother, through an ongoing obligation to pay maintenance and alimony for so long as the mother maintains custody.

This obligation is ongoing, and continues, not only in the event of separation or divorce, but even if there was never any form of long-term relationship in the beginning – and even if the father had no desire to have children in the first place. After all, it is, so we are told, ‘a woman’s choice’ whether to have an abortion. Yet men, although denied any say over the decision whether to abort a foetus, are nevertheless legally obligated to pay child support for the next eighteen or so years.

This observation leads to the third and most important reason women cannot legitimately complain of the time and effort they expend caring for their children – namely women choose to have children! They make this choice voluntarily – presumably because they anticipate enjoying spending time with their children.

Deciding to have children is therefore best classed as a leisure pursuit rather than a form of work analogous to paid employment. It is analogous, instead, to the decision one makes to buy a pet, or invest in a classic car to renovate. Certainly, one might say that caring for a pet or renovating a classic car in one’s spare time involves ‘work’ in at least some senses of this word. However, such activities are also unambiguously hobbies and not the sort of thing for which one is entitled to demand a salary.

As Kingsley Browne puts it in Biology at Work: Rethinking Sex Equality (which I have reviewed here):

The opportunity to perform this ‘unpaid labor’ [i.e. childcare] is precisely what causes so many women to withdraw, in whole or in part, from the labor force upon the birth of a child, and these activities are widely perceived as part of the joys of parenthood.[30]

If women did not enjoy the time they spend with their children, then they would presumably choose not to have children in the first place. The wide availability of contraception, abortions and other forms of birth control in western societies makes this choice effectively available to all women.

Indeed, even after having given birth, if they then discover that caring for a child was not all they expected it to be, they still retain the option of giving the child up for adoption. If they give the child up for adoption while he or she is still in early infancy, there is a large waiting list of well-to-do middle-class parents, carefully vetted by adoption agencies for suitability as parents, only too willing to provide a loving environment for unwanted infants.

It is therefore clear that, far from representing an arduous travail unwillingly foisted upon them, women choose to have children and then care for them because doing so is something they positively enjoy. On reflection, this is not altogether surprising. After all, in doing have children and then devote time and effort to caring for them, they are performing what is, in Darwinian terms, the primary, if not sole, purpose of their life and existence.

Although women like to portray the care they provide for their offspring as a supremely selfless act, from a Darwinian perspective, caring for one’s children is arguably not ‘altruistic’ at all in the strict biological sense.[31] On the contrary, it reflects the interests of, if not a selfish person, then at least the “selfish genes” within them, concerned to ensure the passage of the genetic material they encode into the next generation.

As Steve Moxon observes in The Woman Racket:

Having children is the natural, but perfectly selfish desire of most women. In important ways this corresponds to the desire in men – equally natural, but perfectly selfish – to have sex with an endless stream of different partners. Societies try to stop the latter, but [through the welfare system] now not only allow the former, but encourage it through payment extracted from others: mainly men [i.e. taxes and child maintenance]… It makes less sense than it would to pay men to visit prostitutes to further their corresponding natural inclinations. Nobody in their right mind would suggest such a thing, of course; but the social implications would be incomparably more benign than subsidising women to have children.[32]

Interestingly, maternal care for offspring is universal throughout mammalian order. Indeed, the very word “mammal” is derived from the name of the mammary glands, which represent the key vehicle of this care in most mammals. In contrast, paternal care is the rare exception rather than the rule even in mammals. Moreover, even in those few cases where it does occur, it is invariably of a lesser magnitude than the care provided by mothers. One reason is probably the inevitable uncertainty regarding the true paternity of any putative offspring. A father can never be sure that he is indeed ensuring the passage of his “selfish genes” into the next generation, or those of another man instead.

Neither is deciding to have children an altruistic act – either in the biological or the ordinary sense. On the contrary, in this modern environmentally aware age, it is surely an act of supreme selfishness.

Rather than sanctimoniously recycling plastic bags and other such largely ineffective and wholly inefficient means of ‘doing their bit to help the environment’, women would do better to simply have more abortions, use more contraception and thereby have fewer children. Better yet, they could do something genuinely altruistic in the true biological sense by getting themselves sterilized.

Strictly speaking, in giving birth, a mother may not increase her own carbon footprint by all that much, but, in bringing a whole new person into the world with a life expectancy of over seventy years, she instead adds an entirely new person complete with a ‘carbon footprint’, and capacity to wreak environmental damage, all of their own.

Indeed, quite apart from the environmental damage wrought by reproduction, the costs to society are immense. As pioneering ecologist and environmentalist Garrett Hardin observed:

A medical abortion, particularly in the early stages, costs only a fraction as much as a medically supported childbirth—not to mention the costs of education and other social services to the child for 18 years. So: when a woman elects to have a child, she is committing the community to something like $100,000 in expenses for the bearing and rearing of that child. Is it wise to extend individual rights that far?[33]

At any rate, the proper response to any woman who complains of the hard work involved in raising a child or who protests that being a mother is a ‘full-time job’, is to ask her why, in that case, she chose to have children in the first place? Why didn’t she have an abortion? And, if raising a child is such hard and unrewarding work, why, in that case, doesn’t she give it up for adoption? Given the variety of options available to them, women have no right whatever to complain of the supposed burdens of motherhood.

What About Childcare by Men?

Interestingly, whereas women choose voluntarily to have children, and thus voluntarily assume whatever childcare this decision entails, the same cannot be said of men. Whereas women have the opportunity to choose not to have children, men are systematically denied this choice.

Firstly, as I have already observed, men are denied any say in the decision whether to abort a foetus – yet they are nevertheless still legally obliged to pay maintenance to financially support the raising of the resulting offspring for the next eighteen years.[34]

One man whose ex-girlfriend had lied to him both about being infertile and about being on the pill but had subsequently become pregnant and intended to carry the baby to term and sue the father for child maintenance even sought to assert his reproductive rights in the US courts. Although the case (Dubay v. Wells) involved the assertion of rights directly analogous to those guaranteed to women by the ruling in Roe v Wade, and involved fundamental reproductive rights of the sort ostensibly guaranteed, and declared ‘universal’ and ‘inalienable’ (and other empty words), not only by the US Constitution, but also by virtually all modern human rights declarations (and other such worthless scraps of paper), the case was predictably unsuccessful.

Conversely in those cases where the respective positions of the prospective mother and father were the opposite of those in Dubay v. Wells, namely where the (presumed) father sought to prevent his wife, girlfriend or other sexual partner from aborting their joint offspring, the courts have also invariably sided with the mother, both in the US[35] and other jurisdictions such as the UK.[36] Indeed, even laws merely requiring the notification of the husband or presumed father that his partner intends to abort his unborn child have been struck down as unconstitutional.[37]

Not only are men denied any say over the decision whether to abort a foetus, their other options are also restricted. There is, for example, still no Male Pill.

Similarly, the decision to put a child out for adoption is, in practice, the preserve of the mother. Although theoretically the father should be notified of a decision by the mother to put the child up for adoption, in practice the mother can withhold information as to the father’s identity and may never even inform the father of the child’s conception and birth. In contrast, a father is virtually never able to put a child up for adoption without the mother’s knowledge.

Thus, although so-called reproductive rights are usually regarded as “human rights”, and hence as fundamental, universal, inalienable in nature (whatever these empty words mean), and are indeed included as such in one form or another in most international human rights treaties and declarations (and other worthless scraps of paper), they appear to be, in practice, the exclusive preserve of only the female half the human population.

[This is true also in respect of various other human rights, such as the right to life, the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of their sex and the right not to be free from forced labour and enslavement.[38]]

Other forms of contraception (e.g. condoms) involve some level of mutual cooperation. However, even here, women’s bargaining power is clearly greater, given both the greater strength of the male sex drive[39] and the fact that a woman can always insist that she is already on the Pill and that further contraception is unnecessary, with any further protests by the male partner taking on the implication that the woman is either lying or is diseased (hardly the sort of suggestion one can politely make to a person with whom one is attempting to initiate relations of a highly intimate nature, especially given that its concomitant implication of promiscuity, which is especially stigmatised among women).

Among married and cohabiting couples, one might hope that the decision to have, or not have, children is a joint one. However, married or unmarried, the woman remains, in law, the ultimate arbitrator[40]. Thus, even where there exists ostensible agreement, one is led to suspect that, given the imbalanced bargaining positions of the parties, the husband’s acquiescence may be often granted only under duress.

This leads to a surprising conclusion: Whereas mothers have no legitimate grounds to complain about or demand remuneration for the effort expended in caring for their own children because the decision to do have children is generally one they have made voluntarily, the same cannot be said of fathers. The latter, lacking basic reproductive rights, are often forced into fatherhood against their wishes and through no fault or decision of their own.

Yet, as we have seen, men often provide as much as, if not more, care for their children than do women. The only difference is the form this care takes.

For men, then, perhaps parental care, whether in the form of direct care, or financial provisioning, is work and deserving of remuneration – at least where they are forced into fatherhood unwillingly. Certainly, the legal obligation that they financially provide for offspring despite being denied the choice whether to have offspring in the first place is unwarranted and unfair.

Is Housework in Your Own House ‘Unpaid’ or ‘Overpaid’?

According to the feminists, housework performed by women in their own homes is deserving of a salary but this salary is unfairly denied to women. We have seen that the first part of this claim – namely that performing housework in your own house is deserving of a salary – is mistaken. However, what about the second part – namely the claim that housework is indeed currently unpaid? Is this claim also mistaken?

If the feminists are right on this second point (namely, that housework is unpaid), then there is nothing for men to complain about. All that is necessary is to oppose any attempt by feminists to rectify this perceived injustice by imposing a salary for homemakers, perhaps provided by the taxpayer as some feminists have demanded.

Unfortunately, however, this is not the case. In reality, housework and childcare performed by wives and mothers is already remunerated. In fact, far from being ‘unpaid’, as the feminists contend, it is already decidedly overpaid.[41]

How, then, is housework and childcare performed by wives and mothers paid? Certainly, wives and mothers do not receive a salary in the ordinary sense. They do, however, receive money which can be conceptualized as payment for any housework or childcare they take it upon themselves to perform. This money comes almost exclusively from men – primarily husbands, ex-husbands and other males – but, in last resort, the taxpayer (also disproportionately male) may also contribute.

Certainly, single women do not generally receive any payment for housework they perform in their own homes[42] – and this is surely rightly so because, living alone, the only person who can conceivably benefit from housework they perform is they themselves. However, the same is not true of married or cohabiting women, who are typically paid prodigiously for any housework they take it upon themselves to undertake.

Most married or cohabiting women receive a portion of their husband’s salary in addition to their own. This can be conceptualized as payment in return for any housework that they perform. As Warren Farrell has observed:

A married man’s income is not for him, it is for the family. If he earns three-quarters of the income, he pays three-quarters of the bills. Sometimes more. ‘His’ income becomes their home and garden, their cars and car insurance and mostly her doctor and therapist bills. Their combined income is about seven times more likely to be spent on her personal items… than his.[43]

This reflects perhaps the fundamental fallacy of feminism – namely the assumption that, because men earn more money than women, this necessarily means that they have more money than women too and are wealthier.

The fallacy is obvious and elementary. It ranks as equal in wealth an unemployed homeless man living on the streets with the indolent wife of a millionaire tycoon. Neither earns any money for themselves – therefore, so the logic goes, each must be equally well-off.

Thus, it is true that, as the feminists often contend, men on average earn more money than women. This is unsurprising given that men work, on average, longer hours, under more dangerous and unpleasant working environments and fora greater proportion of their adult lives among countless other sacrifices which men endure in return for higher pay.[44]

[See Warren Farrell’s Why Men Earn More (which I have reviewed here) and Kingsley Browne’s Biology at Work: Rethinking Sex Equality (which I have reviewed here).]

However, this does not mean men are financially better off or wealthier – because a large proportion of the money earned by men is actually spent by or on their girlfriends, wives and ex-wives.

Thus, market researchers have long recognised that women dominate most areas of consumer spending. Bernice Kanner, in her book Pocketbook Power: How to Reach the Hearts and Minds of Today’s Most Coveted Consumer – Women, cites data that, in contemporary America, women make approximately 88% of retail purchases.[45] Similarly, Marti Barletta reports in another book in the same sub-genre, Marketing to Women: How to understand reach and increase your share of the world’s largest market segment, that women are responsible for about 80% of household spending.[46]

Indeed, it could be said that the entire process of human courtship is predicated on the redistribution of wealth from men to women – from the social obligation for the man to pay for dinner and drinks on the first date to the legal obligation that he continue to financially support his ex-wife and her offspring for anything up to several decades after he has belatedly rid himself of her.

[A review of the evidence confirming women’s similarly disproportionate control of most areas of consumer spending in the UK in the early 1990s is provided by David Thomas in his excellent 1993 anti-feminist polemic, Not Guilty: The Case in Defence of Men.]

Housework is therefore certainly not unpaid. However, having said all this, it must be conceded that there are problems with viewing the money redistributed from husbands and partners to their wives, spouses and significant others as payment for housework performed by the latter (quite apart from the fact that housework in one’s own home is, as we have seen, not deserving of a salary in the first place).

Firstly, the money he pays her is rarely conditional on the fact that she actually perform any housework, let alone on the quality of the housework she does perform. Whereas the expectation that a wife perform housework is, at best, purely a social one (and, in this post-feminist age perhaps not even that), men are legally obligated to financially provide for and support their wives. Moreover, they are legally obligated to do so even if their wife performs no housework at all, and even if her children are taken from her by the social services due to neglect or ill-treatment. Yet there is no legal obligation that a wife actually perform any housework at all

Indeed, one of the many perversities and inequities of divorce law in countries such as the UK is that it is precisely those women who typically perform the least housework who are rewarded most handsomely for their trouble – namely those wives whose husbands are so wealthy enough that they can afford housekeepers, nannies and other domestic servants such that their wives have little if anything left to do for themselves.

Secondly, thanks to alimony and maintenance requirements, ex-husbands are often legally obliged to continue to financially provide for their ex-wives even long after they have separated from one another. However, after separation, any housework she performs in herhome is surely of no benefit to him living as he does in an entirely different place.

In short, after divorce, although he is still legally obligated to financially support her, she is unlikely to come around to his place to help him tidy up.

Indeed, the need to compensate homemakers for the housework they perform is one of the justifications cited by the courts to justify the redistribution of wealth from men to women that typically accompanies divorce. However, I am not aware of a single case where the courts have made even the most cursory enquiry into the quality of the housework a wife has performed – nor even whether she actually performed any in the first place.

Yet the courts have decreed that during divorce proceedings the indolent spouse must be compensated for their lost earnings and possible promotions during the period of their economic inactivity.[47] Yet surely one ought not to be compensated for the luxury of leading a life of leisure.

The assumption underlying this policy is that staying at home, living off the money earned by your spouse, spending time with your children and shopping is somehow less rewarding than continuing to going to the office day after day. If working were really as rewarding as all that then they wouldn’t have to pay people to do it in the first place!

The result is a reversal of the usual societal incentives that reward hard work and penalise indolence and exploitation.[48] In truth, surely it is the spouse who continues going to work to support his family who is making the real sacrifice. In contrast, the indolent wife, far from making a sacrifice, is living a wholly exploitative and parasitic existence analogous to that of a pimp.

Is Caring for Your own Children ‘Unpaid’ or ‘Overpaid’?

While wives and ex-wives typically receive recompense for the housework they perform from their husbands, ex-husbands and partners, mothers also receive payments for the childcare they perform even if they are single and were never married to the child’s father. These payments come in two forms:

1) Child maintenance payments;
2) Welfare payments.

The obligation on the biological father to pay maintenance for his offspring is imposed despite the fact that, as we have seen, the biological father is denied any say over whether he wished to be a father in the first place.

Similarly the obligation on the taxpayer to support single mothers and their offspring is imposed despite the fact that taxpayers and the state are similarly denied any say over the decision whether to abort the child or carry it to term.

In both cases, it is, in practice, overwhelmingly men who end up footing the bill and women who end up benefiting.

In the case of maintenance, the men in question are usual fathers, who are obliged to pay maintenance despite being denied both the decision whether to have children in the first place and, in many cases, access to and custody of their children due to discrimination by the family courts.[49] (In some cases though non-biological fathers – victims of so-called ‘paternity fraud’ – are also obliged to pay maintenance for the rearing of children who are, in truth, no biological relation to them, and are then, in many jurisdictions, denied any legal remedy despite being the victims of theft on a grand scale.)

In the case of welfare payments to single women, it is still mostly men who end up footing the bill. The reason for this is that it is men who pay most of the taxes. The reason men pay most of the taxes is because they earn most of the money and the reason they earn most of the money is because they work longer hours, for a greater proportion of their lives and in more dangerous and arduous occupations than do women.[50]

This latter arrangement (welfare payments to single mothers) is an example of what Warren Farrell describes in The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here) as “Government as a Substitute Husband”.[51] Instead of being financially supported by a husband, single mothers instead look to the government to play the role of husband.

As historian Martin Van Creveld observes:

On the face of it, a husband, a charitable institution and a modern welfare state are entirely different. In fact, although the details differ, the principle is the same. All are designed partly – and some would say primarily – to transfer resources from men… to women.[52]

In short, if a suitable man cannot be found on whom to foist the obligation to financially support an indolent woman and her offspring, or if the man in question is so poverty-stricken that he cannot adequately perform this role by himself, the government inevitably steps in to rescue her like a knight in shining armour (or, in other words, a sucker).

As in the case of child maintenance paid by fathers, it is ultimately mostly men – in this case taxpayers – who end up paying. And again, as in the case of child maintenance payments paid by fathers, the men in question (i.e. taxpayers) are denied any say over whether the child ought to have been born in the first place.

Although it is fine for the government to forcibly expropriate men’s hard-earned income, whether in the form of child maintenance obligations or of taxes, any suggestion that the government could instead force women to have abortions if they lack the means to raise a child on their own or, better yet, compulsorily sterilize them or introduce a “parental licencing scheme” (such as that proposed by behavioural geneticist David Lykken) is dismissed as tantamount to fascism.

However, there is, once again, a problem with viewing child maintenance and welfare payments to single mothers as recompense for the childcare these women perform – namely the payments are not in any way dependent on the quality of childcare performed.

There is no legal obligation that a mother provide even a minimal criterion of satisfactory care for her children. For example, she is not penalized in any way for smoking or drinking when she is pregnant, feeding her offspring nothing but junk food, or failing to help them with reading and homework. Nor is the level of maintenance or welfare which she is entitled to demand reduced for these culpable acts and omissions.

Only where the level of neglect or mistreatment is so severe that it amounts to a criminal offence are children usually removed from their mothers by the social services. In some rare cases, the father may even be given custody instead. However, the courts are reluctant to take this step and this generally occurs only in the most extreme cases of abuse and neglect and women are far more likely to be awarded custody rights than are fathers.[53]

This is despite the fact that, contrary to popular opinion as fostered by the misandric mainstream media, government statistics consistently demonstrate that women are more likely to abuse children than are men,[54] and mothers are more likely to abuse their own offspring than are fathers.[55]

Indeed, although extreme and draconian measures are adopted to ensure that non-resident fathers pay child support (including, under English law, “imprisonment, driving disqualification, removal of travel authorisation… and even a curfew order”[56]) there are essentially no procedures to ensure that the money in question, on being received, is actually spent on the child. On the contrary, according to a leading student textbook on family law in the UK, “the sums can be used by the mother to ‘pay herself’ and the mother is not required to account for how the money is spent”.[57]

In short, although the British courts pay frequent lip service to the best interests of the child as their ostensible guiding principle, this is in truth a mere fig-leaf to disguise the real intention of the courts – namely to serve, not the best interests of children, but rather the interests, or more precisely, the desires, of women.

Children are, in truth, little more tools for women to extract more money from men. In this respect, as Esther Vilar memorably observed, they serve a function analogous to the hostages taken by kidnappers in the expectation of extracting ransom money from the father.[58]

Conclusion

I have entitled this post ‘Unpaid Labour or Overpaid Laziness: Why Housework in Your Own House Isn’t Really Work’.

In fact, whether housework is properly to be considered work is ultimately a mere semantic dispute, turning on the arbitrary definition accorded to the word ‘work’. Certainly, housework in one’s own house can be regarded as qualifying as ‘work’, according to some definitions of this word. However, the effort expended in pursuit of one’s hobby of building model aeroplanes or renovating a classic car you own can also satisfy these definitions. So can ‘working on’ improving your golf game.

Perhaps even washing behind one’s ears in the shower can qualify as ‘work’ according to some meanings of this term. It is, after all, surely an “activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result”, as required by the primary definition provided by the Oxford English dictionary (the “result” in question being cleaner ears) and, although the mental and physical effort is rather minimal, this is also true of many other activities widely regarded as constituting ‘work’, not least housework itself.

The substantive point, however, is that none of these activities is of such a type that it appropriate or legitimate for a person to demand recompense or remuneration in return for their performance. Each is an activity undertaken by a person voluntarily for their own benefit because of the intrinsic rewards of either the activity itself or its end-result.

The only recompense you are entitled to expect in return for cleaning your own home is the opportunity to live in a cleaner home – just as the only recompense you deserve for cleaning behind your ears in the shower is cleaner ears and the only recompense for wiping your ass after taking a shit is a cleaner ass.

Similarly, the only recompense a person deserves for caring for their children is the joy they receive by virtue of spending time with them and perhaps the hope that they will be happier, better-adjusted and more successful as a result.

These are rewards of themselves and are, after all, the reason why people choose to engage in these activities in the first place.

_________________

Endnotes

[1] McElroy, Wendy, (2006) ‘Mother’s ‘Work’ Doesn’t Warrant Paycheck’, Fox News, May 09, 2006

[2] Jack Kammer, 2002 ‘If Men Have All the Power How Come Women Make the Rules: at p79

[3] Farrell, W., Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men: A Debate [which I have reviewed here] at p62; Farrell presents a similar comparison in his seminal The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here) which is also reproduced in Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say, where he treats the subject of housework in greater depth. Corroborating this claim, Catherine Hakim, in Key Issues in Women’s Work (p50), reports:

“Adding together market work, domestic and childcare work, the evidence for the 1970s onwards is that wives and women generally do fewer total hours than husbands and men generally… From the 1970s onward, wives without paid employment had the shortest total work hours… By the start of the 21st century, even in families with a child under five years, spouses in employment contributed roughly equal work hours (paid and unpaid) in most modern societies. On average, full-time mothers had a lower total workload than fathers with full-time jobs.”

More recently, writing in Prospect magazine (an article entitled ‘Who Works Harder’), Hakim has revised this conclusion only slightly, claiming that:

The key finding [of ‘time budget studies’] is that when all forms of work are added together, men and women do exactly the same total hours of productive activity: just under eight hours a day. As expected, men do substantially more hours of paid work, while women’s time is divided fairly evenly between paid and unpaid work.

[4] Farrell, W., Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men: A Debate [which I have reviewed here]: at p66.

[5] A husband hardly qualifies. As we will see, men care little about the décor of their homes. At most, they might expect a half-decent meal to be ready soon after they have returned from a hard day’s work.

[6] G.K. Chesterton (1915) “All Things Considered”.

[7] For example, relatives such as grandmothers may sometimes perform activities such as childminding pro gratis because they are related to the children concerned. This is analogous to the childminding performed by mothers, and therefore, I argue, not necessarily deserving of a salary, as discussed later in my essay.

[8] The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; Twain’s own theory, as expressed in this famous passage, is that, “work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do”. However, this is inadequate because it fails to explain precisely what is meant by “obliged to do”. Strictly speaking, one can argue that even a slave is not obliged to work. It is just that, if they do not, they will be whipped or killed. Similarly, any man can choose not to work, but if he does he is likely to slip into destitution. (A woman, on the other hand, can choose not to work and avoid destitution by the simpler expedient of marrying a man and then living off of his income.)

[9] In reality, the extra time women expend attending to their physical appearance is also already amply remunerated in the form of the greater willingness of men to provide for and financially support women whom they perceive as attractive. This, of course, is the reason why women engage in such activities in the first place.

[10] As in respect of housework, such acts may be done without expectation of payment when they are performed in respect of close relatives.

[11] For example, I expect that most people whose hobby is playing golf do so because they enjoy the activity itself, rather than because they wish to win tournaments. On the other hand, I suspect that a man whose hobby is doing repairs on his classic car does so, not because he enjoys the activity itself, but rather because he enjoys the improved condition of his classic car that results from the repairs. Similarly, I suspect that people of both sexes do housework, not because they actually enjoy doing it, but rather because they prefer to live in the cleaner and more visually appealing environment that results, though, as we will see, the extent to which they prefer such an environment differs by sex.

[12] Those of a puritanical disposition who dislike the deliberate crudeness of my chosen analogy are welcome to substitute “brushing her own teeth” or “washing behind her own ears in the bath” or any number of other acts of personal hygiene which we all perform on a regular basis as a replacement for my chosen analogy. Indeed, the very number and variety of such acts, and the preposterousness of demanding a salary in return for each and every one of them, is the essence of my point.

[13] Biology at Work by Kingsley Browne (which I have reviewed here). Browne relies on data provided by South SJ and Spitze G (1994) Housework in Marital and Nonmarital Households American Sociological Review 59: 327-347.

[14] Hakim, C, 2004 Key Issues in Woman’s Work: Female Diversity and the Polarisation of Women’s Employment: at p48.

[15] Hakim, C, 2004 Key Issues in Women’s Work: at p48.

[16] Browne, K., 2002 Biology at Work (which I have reviewed here): p170.

[17] Hakim, C, 2004 Key Issues in Women’s Work: at p48.

[18] Browne, K., 2002 Biology at Work (which I have reviewed here): p169.

[19] Hakim, C 2004 Key Issues in Women’s Work: at p47.

[20] Browne, K., 2002 Biology at Work (which I have reviewed here): p169.

[21] South SJ and Spitze G (1994) Housework in Marital and Nonmarital Households American Sociological Review 59: 327-347.

[22] Browne, K., 2002 Biology at Work (which I have reviewed here): p169-70.

[23] Roback J. 1993 Beyond Equality Georgetown Law Journal 82: 121-133 (Quoted in Biology at Work (reviewed here): at p170).

[24] Jack Kammer, in If Men Have All the Power How Come Women Make All the Rules: p79.

[25] Vilar, E. The Manipulated Man (which I have reviewed here): p44.

[26] Vilar, E. The Manipulated Man (which I have reviewed here): p55.

[27] Vilar, E. The Manipulated Man (which I have reviewed here): p44.

[28] Vilar, E. The Manipulated Man (which I have reviewed here): p44.

[29] Farrell, W. The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here).

[30] Browne, K., 2002 Biology at Work (which I have reviewed here): p171.

[31] Ultimately this is a purely semantic dispute, depending on the definition one ascribes to the work ‘altruism’. Most biologists define ‘altruism’ as behaviour that enhances the fitness of another organism at a cost to one’s own fitness. On this definition, parental care is indeed altruistic. Adopting the terminology of Richard Alexander in The Biology of Moral Systems (p140-1), we might say that it is ‘genotypically selfish’ but ‘phenotypically altruistic’.

[32] Moxon, S (2008) The Woman Racket Exeter: Imprint Academic: p246-7.

[33] Hardin, G, (1997) Open Letter to American Civil Liberties Union – quoted in Vaclac Smil, Obituary for Garrett Hardin American Scientist (2004) 92(1):8.

[34] To my knowledge, this fundamental inequity was first pointed to by Herb Goldberg in his 1975 men’s rights classic, The Hazards of Being Male: Surviving the Myth of Masculine Privilege, when he observed:

Now, the woman retains the ultimate legal right to decide on all matters of childbirth. If she becomes accidentally or unexpectedly pregnant and wants to have the baby he cannot say ‘no’ and demand an abortion. In spite of this lack of decision, he still retains legal responsibility financially and legally. On the other hand, if the father wants the baby and the mother and the woman wants to have an abortion, he again cannot enforce his will, even if he agrees to assume full responsibility for the child. I propose that any couple intending to have a child sign a contract formalizing this mutual desire. In the absence of such a contract the male must be given the prerogative of demanding an abortion unless he is released from any legal or financial responsibility if the child insists she wants the child despite his request to terminate the pregnancy. Otherwise whenever birth control measures fail, the father becomes a potential victim because he is legally responsible without having made the decision to have a child. It is I believe a form of discrimination for the male to be held responsible for an unplanned child while the woman is permitted to decide whether or not she wishes to have the baby.

More recently, this issue, and Goldberg’s proposed solution, has attracted belated attention from mainstream legal scholars (see, for example, Kapp M. (1982) Father’s (Lack of) Right and Responsibilities in the Abortion Decision: An Examination of Legal-Ethical Implications. Ohio Northern University Law Review, 9,369-383; McCulley MG (1988). The male abortion: the putative father’s right to terminate his interests in and obligations to the unborn child Journal of Law and Policy 7 (1): 1-55), albeit to little avail.

[35] Danforth v Planned Parenthood 428 U.S. 52 (1976); Planned Parenthood v Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992)

[36] E.g. in the UK: Paton v. Trustees of British Pregnancy Advisory Service Trustees [1978] QB 276; C v S [1988] QB 135)

[37] Planned Parenthood v Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992)

[38] See for example the decision is Rostker v Goldberg, where the US Supreme Court remarkably managed to violate or endanger every single one of these ostensibly universal human rights with just one ruling.

[39] Baumeister, RF, Catanese, KR, and Vohs, KD (2001) Is There a Gender Difference in Strength of Sex Drive? Theoretical Views, Conceptual Distinctions, and a Review of Relevant Evidence Personality and Social Psychology Review 5(3): 242–273.

[40] In Danforth v Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood v Casey, the US Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional state laws under which a husband’s consent was required before an abortion could be carried out. Indeed, as noted above, in Casey even a requirement that a husband be merely notified that his wife was undergoing the procedure was struck down.

[41] Indeed, given that, as we have seen, no payment whatsoever is warranted or deserved, any level of payment would represent overpayment. However, in the case of the housework and childcare performed by wives, the level of overpayment is often inordinate and extortionate.

[42] However, as we will see, single mothers do usually receive a salary, from either the child’s absent father and/or the state.

[43] Farrell, W., Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say

[44] See Farrell, W. Why Men Earn More (which I have reviewed here) and Browne K Biology at Work: Rethinking Sex Equality(which I have reviewed here).

[45] Kanner, B., Pocketbook Power: How to Reach the Hearts and Minds of Today’s Most Coveted Consumer – Women: p5.

[46] Barletta, M., Marketing to Women: How to understand reach and increase your share of the world’s largest market segment: p6.

[47] For example, in the UK, in the leading case of Miller v Miller, Baroness Hale referred to the need to compensate the non-economically active spouse for what she referred to as “relationship-generated disadvantage”, on the basis that the wife in this case had “given up what would very probably have been a lucrative and successful career”.

[48] A report by the Cheltenham Group observes, “the usual rules in our society, that if you study hard work hard and so on, you will be financially rewarded, are entirely reversed by divorce” and “the man who has applied himself and contributed to our society will be penalised for his endeavours, while the woman who has done little will be rewarded” with the result that “those men who have supported their wives and families during married life are the very men asked to make the greatest contribution after” (‘Marriage and Fatherhood: Important Information for Young Men’ 1998).

[49] In The Second Sexism, David Benatar reports “in the United States, fathers gain sole custody of children in about 10% of cases and women in nearly three-quarters” and “in cases of conflicting requests for physical custody, mothers requests for custody were granted twice as often as fathers”, while “in 90% of cases where there was an uncontested request for maternal physical custody of the children the mother was awarded this custody”, whereas this was granted “in only 75% of cases in which there was an uncontested request for paternal physical custody” (p50). Although the Supreme Court declared in 1979 that discrimination against men in custody disputes was unconstitutional, the courts and legislatures easily evaded this proscription by favouring instead the so-called ‘primary caregiver’ (The Privileged Sex: p177), a clear case of indirect discrimination, given that ‘primary caregivers’ are overwhelmingly female.

[50] See Farrell, W. Why Men Earn More (which I have reviewed here) and Browne K Biology at Work: Rethinking Sex Equality(which I have reviewed here).

[51] This forms the title of Part 3 of Farrell’s Men’s Rights classic, The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here)

[52] Van Creveld, M. (2013) The Privileged Sex: p137.

[53] In The Second Sexism, David Benatar reports “in the United States, fathers gain sole custody of children in about 10% of cases and women in nearly three-quarters” and “in cases of conflicting requests for physical custody, mothers requests for custody were granted twice as often as fathers”, while “in 90% of cases where there was an uncontested request for maternal physical custody of the children the mother was awarded this custody”, whereas this was granted “in only 75% of cases in which there was an uncontested request for paternal physical custody” (p50). Although the Supreme Court declared in 1979 that discrimination against men in custody disputes was unconstitutional, the courts and legislatures easily evaded this proscription by favouring instead the so-called ‘primary caregiver’ (The Privileged Sex: p177), a clear case of indirect discrimination, given that ‘primary caregivers’ are overwhelmingly female.

[54] According to data provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s factsheet “Child Maltreatment: Facts at a Glance – 2014”, 54% of the perpetrators of child maltreatment are women and only 45% are men. This may be somewhat misleading, however, in so far as it simply reflects the fact that women, on average, spend more time with children than do men.

[55] The report “Child Maltreatment – 2012” issued by the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that nearly two-fifths Child Maltreatment 2012 (36.6%) of victims were maltreated by their mother acting alone. One-fifth (18.7%) of victims were maltreated by their father acting alone (p21-22). As for those forms of abuse so severe as to result in death (and therefore least likely to go undetected), the same report continues, a child’s mother acting alone perpetrated 27.1 percent, both parents were responsible for one-fifth (21.2%), and a father acting alone perpetrated 17.1 percent of child fatalities(p53). Again, these statistics may simply reflect the fact that mothers generally spend more time with their children than do men (not least due to discriminatory child custody awards: see above).

[56] Family Law: Fourth Edition (Pearson: Longman 2009) by Jonathan Herring: at p201.

[57] Family Law: Fourth Edition (Pearson: Longman 2009) by Jonathan Herring: at p204.

[58] Chapter 17 of Vilar’s The Manipulated Man (which I have reviewed here) is entitled ‘Children as Hostages’ and introduces this analogy and theme.

The Feminist Dogma

The New Orthodoxy

In the last half century, feminist thought has become the received wisdom. Whereas the original feminists saw themselves as radicals and freethinkers, today their views have reached a level of such universal assent that feminism can be regarded as a new orthodoxy and contemporary dogma.[1]

Whereas social theorists, public intellectuals and assorted professional damned fools routinely subject other ideologies, philosophies and political movements to sustained analytical critique, male thinkers generally let feminists off with little more than a patronising and approving pat on the head – thus ironically demonstrating precisely the kind of patronising chivalry that feminists, when they are not benefiting from it, usually purport to oppose!

Neither has there been any significant popular opposition by ordinary men (marches, demonstrations etc.). Instead, as Esther Vilar observed in ‘The Manipulated Man’ [which I have reviewed here]:

From The New York Times to the Christian Science Monitor, from Playboy to Newsweek, from Kissinger to McGovern, everyone was for Women’s Liberation. No marches of men were organized against them; a senator McCarthy oppressing Women’s Liberation was missing, the FBI did not lift a finger against them.”[2]

The battle of the sexes thus became, as Ronald K Henry characterised it, “a war in which only one side showed up”.[3]

Incidentally, this lack of any significant opposition to feminism is, of itself, evidence against the central feminist claim – namely that there exists a conspiracy of men united together to oppress women (i.e. the fabled patriarchy). For if, as feminists contend, such a conspiracy does exist, then surely more men would use their alleged patriarchal power to defend their purported patriarchal privileges by opposing feminism. Yet the backlash widely anticipated by feminists regrettably never seems to materialize.

Thus, as Murray Rothbard observed:

“The lack of published opposition negates one of the major charges of the women’s lib forces: that the society and economy are groaning under a monolithic male ‘sexist’ tyranny. If the men are running the show, how is it that they do not even presume to print or present anyone from the other side? Yet the ‘oppressors’remain strangely silent, which leads one to suspect… that perhaps the‘oppression’ is on the other side.”[4]

Chivalry and the Rise of Feminism

How then did this transformation occur? How did feminism go from an iconoclastic cult on the outer-fringes of left-wing radicalism[5] to the modern orthodoxy regarding the nature of gender relations? And why, in the process, did it inspire so little opposition, especially among those whom it sought to cast in the role of oppressor (i.e. men).

One intriguing explanation for the rise of feminism draws, rather ironically, on Marxist theory. This suggests that, for all its ostensible radicalism, feminism actually promoted the interests of the dominant political and economic elite. On this view, not only did feminism draw attention away from other radical movements that posed more authentic threats to the status quo[6], it also encouraged more married women to enter the labour market, which benefited capitalist employers, by increasing the supply of labour and driving down wages.[7]

Thus, according to Neil Lyndon:

The changes which were taken to be victories of emancipatory spirit among women were all conductive to the development of capitalism… [and] the long march of the left towards the identification of the class which would be the dissolution of all classes had simply resulted in the creation of a larger class of wage slaves required by national and international markets.[8]

On this view, it is significant that the rise of feminism coincided with an economic shift in western economies. Whereas during the early part of the twentieth century western economies were dominated by manufacturing and heavy industry, the latter half of the century witnessed a shift to a post-industrial service economy, with the service sector, for which women workers are arguably better suited, increasingly predominating.

Thus, in accordance with the economic determinism championed by Marxists, a shift in the economic base of society is viewed as precipitating a concomitant change in the dominant ideology of the ruling class.[9]

On this view, the leftist infatuation for feminism notwithstanding, feminists were little more than useful idiots and pawns of their capitalist oppressors.

In turning leftist theory against itself, this explanation is certainly amusing. Moreover, the fact that it is certain to infuriate countless feminists, Marxists, ‘Marxist feminists’, ‘feminist Marxists’ and other assorted professional damned fools is surely a further factor in its favour.

Personally, however, I have little appetite for Marxist conspiracy theories. Moreover, I contend that we have no need to resort them in explaining either the lack of opposition to feminism or its consequential rise to the status of a largely unquestioned dogma.

A far simpler explanation is readily available – namely male chivalry.

Boys learn from an early age that fighting with girls is a no-win situation. If they win, they are bullies who beat up girls; if they lose, they are wimps who are beaten up by girls. Moreover, they are punished much more severely than for equivalent altercations with boys.[10]

Then, with the arrival of puberty, they discover a further reason not to antagonise their female peers – namely, that it might hinder their chances of persuading the latter to have sex with them. Thus, by the time they reach adulthood, men have long ago learnt to avoid conflict with women by deferring to them if at all possible.

Psychological studies confirm that men refrain from behaving aggressively towards women in circumstances where they show no compunctions about doing so towards males.[11] This explains why, notwithstanding the feminist focus on the perceived issue of ‘violence against women’, it is men themselves who represent the vast majority of victims of ‘male violence’ – from violent crime[12], to warfare[13], to pogroms and genocides[14].

The failure of men challenge or oppose feminism can therefore be seen as a reflection of the general male tendency to avoid conflict with women where at all possible. The vast majority of feminists were, after all, women. Opposition to feminism on the part of men thus came to be viewed as the rough moral equivalent of wife beating!

This explains the apparent paradox whereby a substantial proportion of those few individuals who have dared to oppose aspects of the feminist orthodoxy have been, not men, but rather women themselves. Women are, after all, at last partially exempt from the strict cultural taboo that prohibits men from behaving aggressively towards women. Thus, female writers and activists such as Esther Vilar, Christina Hoff Sommers, Camille Paglia, Phillis Schlafly, Catherine HakimErin Pizzey, Cathy Young and Wendy McElroy are able to challenge aspects of the feminist orthodoxy without attracting quite the same level of opprobrium, outrage and censure that would attach to men who embarked on a similar project.

Chivalry also explains why many men, far from merely failing to oppose feminism, actually actively supported the feminist movement. After all, chivalry goes far further than merely prohibiting men from behaving aggressively towards women – it also demands that they be positively protective towards women.

This is why men are more likely to stop and help strangers when the latter are female[15], why, on board the titanic, women and children were allowed aboard the lifeboats first while male passengers went willingly[16] to their deaths[17]; why female offenders are sentenced more leniently than men convicted of the same crimes[18] and why offenders of both sexes are sentenced more severely when they commit offences against women rather than against men[19].

It also explains why discriminatory legislation providing special protections for women long predates the enfranchisement of women[20].

Moreover, the male tendency to behave protectively towards women is never more strongly provoked than when the women in question are perceived as being victimised by males. This is why both sexes perceive domestic abuse as more serious when it involves men abusing women than when it involves women abusing men[21] and why, of all offender-victim dyads, it is men who commit violent offences against women are sentenced most severely of all[22].

It also explains why, despite the overwhelming overrepresentation of men among the victims of actual violence[23] (and their at least equal representation among the victims of domestic violence[24]), it is perceived issue of ‘violence against women’ (and the plight of so-called ‘innocent women and children’ during wartime) that attracts media attention[25], legislative intervention[26] and discriminatory humanitarian relief efforts[27].

Men’s especial propensity to behave protectively towards women when the latter are perceived as being victimised by men therefore explains the peculiar attraction of feminism to many men. Feminism, after all, cast women in the role of victims, downtrodden, oppressed and exploited by male oppressors.

In other words, to the chivalrous male mind, it cast women in the their traditional role as ‘damsels in distress. What then was required if not a contemporary ‘knight in shining armour’ or, in contemporary internet parlance, ‘white knight’ (i.e. male feminist or ‘mangina’) to rescue these latter-day feminist ‘damsels in distress from their evil patriarchal oppressors in a modernized and demented version of the chivalric romances long-ago ridiculed by Cervantes?

Male feminists were, of course, all too eager to play the starring role.

Male feminism is thus a form of what has become known in the internet age as ‘white knighting‘.

Yet the sordid reality, namely, that they represented, not so much heroic knights errant as cowardly collaborators in their own oppression – the modern male equivalent of Uncle Toms and self-hating Jews – was as far removed from their own heroic self-image as chivalric romances were from the brutal reality of medieval warfare.

Moreover, underlying this male chivalry is, of course, a decidedly sexist assumption – namely that feminists themselves (i.e. the female ones), being of ‘the weaker sex’, are therefore incapable of defending themselves and hence require male protection and support – and never more so than when confronted with the mean-spirited verbal assaults of the analytically-superior male minds of Men’s Rights Activists such as Glenn Sacks, Warren Farrell, and Angry Harry.

A case in point is provided by the treatment of Warren Farrell, the formidable father of the modern Men’s Rights Movement. Although Farrell reports that leading feminists, including Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Susan Faludi and Catherine MacKinnon, have refused to debate him[28], one of the few feminists who has deigned to do so is, ironically, a man – namely the feminist-friendly philosopher James Sterba. This so-called ‘debate’ took the form of a book (Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men? A Debate: which I have reviewed here) co-authored by himself and Farrell[29].

Therefore, far from ‘oppressing’ women and discriminating against women, men are much more inclined to discriminate in their favour, by both inhibiting aggression and, moreover, acting protectively and chivalrously towards them. The central assumption of feminism – namely that men oppress and discriminate against women – could not be more wrong.

Of course, Chivalric codes dictate that men must behave chivalrously towards all women, irrespective of their sexual attractiveness or physical repulsiveness. After all, men are expected to hold open doors for wrinkled old ladies just as much as for nubile pert-breasted eighteen-year-olds – perhaps more so.

Nevertheless, as a confirmed cynic, I suspect that, at some level, the ultimate rationale underlying male support for feminism and other forms of misguided male chivalry and ‘white knighting‘ is the male desire for sex. If we do not give women what they want, the misguided male mind reasons, then perhaps they will not give us what we want.

Male feminism is thus, as Jim Goad memorably put it, ‘a beta-male mating strategy’.

After all, even the knight in shining armour presumably expects – and surely deserves – some reward for his gallant if misguided heroism. However, whether he actually receives his due reward is, of course, entirely at the discretion of the damsel in distress in respect of whom he has been foolish enough to perform his service. Such are the one-sided privileges women insist upon.

“The Modern McCarthyism in our Midst”

However, besides misguided male chivalry, another more obvious reason for the lack of opposition to feminism should not be discounted – namely, the lengths to which feminists have gone to silence it.

After all, at about the same age boys learn not to fight with girls, they also learn that the latter do not fight fair. Lying outside the jurisdiction of the code duello[30] governing duels of honour between men, they compensate for their physical weakness by a greater willingness to kick below the belt, both literally and metaphorically – and they exercise this prerogative as readily in the intellectual sphere as readily as in any other.

In other words, the feminist orthodoxy, like the religious orthodoxies of earlier ages, has readily resorted to the persecution of heretics.

Admittedly, feminists have not yet been permitted to burn heretics at the stake. Indeed, sociologist Steven Goldberg, himself a prominent dissident from the feminist orthodoxy, has been quoted as observing that:

“[These days] all one has to lose by unpopular arguments is contact with people one would not be terribly attracted to anyway”.[31]

However, Goldberg underestimates, not only the psychological trauma of ostracism, but also the methods of persecution to which feminists have been willing and able to resort. Ad hominems, whispering campaigns, and book burnings are all within their armoury as weapons of first resort and, when this fails, physical threats and attacks are not unknown.

For example, Erin Pizzey discovered that not even her impeccable credentials as the founder of the first refuge for so-called ‘battered women’ were enough to protect her from a campaign of intimidation when she observed that the majority of the women who entered her shelter were as “Prone to Violence” as the men from whom they were ostensibly escaping. Instead, she reports how “abusive telephone calls to my home, death threats and bomb scares, became a way of living for me and for my family”, a campaign that culminated with the shooting of her pet dog on Christmas day[32].

A few years later, academic Suzanne Steinmetz also received anonymous phone calls threatening herself and her children and even bomb threat[33] as payback for publishing one of the first papers providing rigorous scientific data to confirm Pizzey’s experience and intuition[34] – namely that acts of domestic violence by women against male partners occur about as frequently as, or even slightly more frequently than, those of men against female partners. Meanwhile, male researchers publishing similar conclusions (the body of research replicating this finding is now so extensive that it has been described as “one of the most emphatic in all of social science[35]) have been the victims of defamatory smear campaigns[36]

These are not isolated examples. Neil Lyndon reports that he was driven from his occupation as a journalist, the subject of personal attacks and even a physical assault, and describes how a “Cambridge history don told her pupils that she would like to see me shot… [and] the president of the Cambridge Union urged her members to burn my writings”[37] – all for publishing some articles and a book (No More Sex War) critical of feminism. Similarly,Esther Vilar, writing a preface to the 1998 edition of The Manipulated Man [which I have reviewed here] reports that, since the first publication of her book in 1971, “violent threats have not ceased to this day”[38].

Other victims of feminist witch-hunts include Camille Paglia, who “receives so many death threats, her answering machine announces that she doesn’t personally open packages sent to her”[39] and leading liberal economist Lawrence Summers, who was famously forced to resign from his position of President of Harvard University for suggesting innate differences in the distribution of cognitive abilities (as well as family commitments) may play some part in explaining the under-representation of women in the mathematically-intensive hard sciences, an eminently reasonable view for which there is strong scientific evidence[40].

Thus, while media pundits, commentators, documentary filmmakers, social theorists, public intellectuals and other assorted professional damned fools loudly decry without fear of reprisals a form of McCarthyism (namely, anti-communism) that ran out of steam over half a century ago, they turn a convenient blind eye to this “Modern McCarthyism in our Midst” for the simple reason that to draw attention to it is in itself to risk incurring its wrath[41].

Apologetics and Appeasement

Another indicator of the power of the feminist lobby to persecute its perceived political opponents is the great pains taken by those who perceive themselves as at risk of such victimisation to evade it. The tried and tested methods seem to be apologetics and appeasement.

For example, popular science writer Steven Pinker is perhaps the best known contemporary champion of the view that sex differences in behaviour and psychology have an innate evolved biological basis. However, aware that this view runs contrary to the prevailing feminist orthodoxy, he takes pains to protect himself from feminist ire by repeatedly insisting, in each successive book that deals with the issue, that this view is in no way incompatible with feminism.

Thus, in How the Mind Works (1998), he insists that “what evolutionary psychology challenges is not the goals of feminism, but parts of the modern orthodoxy about the mind that have been taken up by the intellectual establishment of feminism”[42], ideas which “feminism would lose nothing by giving up[43]; while in The Blank Slate, he emphasises that “to attack a particular feminist proposal is not to attack feminism in general”, claims that his views “don’t in the least” “go against feminism in general[44], and even declares “the ongoing liberation of women after millennia of oppression is one of the great moral achievements of our species[45].

Indeed, a curious yet recurrent feature of works ostensibly attacking feminism – or, at least, those works that are themselves attacked by feminists for having allegedly attacked feminism – is that the works themselves almost invariably disclaim any pretensions to doing any such thing[46]. On the contrary, the authors often do their best, often with faintly embarrassing unctuousness, to loudly and proudly proclaim their own feminist credentials.

For example, legal scholar Neil Boyd, in the preface to Big Sister: How Extreme Feminism Has Betrayed The Fight For Sexual Equality, insists “for the past twenty-five years I have been an advocate of causes I think of as feminist[47]. Similarly, leading family violence researcher Murray Straus, like Steinmetz hounded by the feminist lobby[48] for publishing research confirming that men are as often the victims of domestic violence by female partners as the converse, insists, “I consider myself a feminist”[49].

Similarly,, Christina Hoff Sommers identifies as an ‘equity feminist’[50], Wendy McElroy as an ‘individualist feminist’, while Camille Paglia calls herself a ‘dissident feminist’.

Even Men’s Rights Activists are not above appeasing feminist sensibilities with hollow disclaimers. On the contrary, they – or at least those few among their number who have been granted even a modicum of access to the mainstream media – frequently pay obedient hen-pecked homage to the same inviolable taboo.

For example, Warren Farrell, author of the seminal men’s rights classic, The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here) begins this very work by talking of “cherishing feminism’s baby[51] and continues to make play out of his background as a leading early male supporter of feminism[52]. Even formerly prominent men’s rights activist, blogger, media commentator and columnist Glenn Sacks concedes, feminism, buried underneath its man-hating and lies, still has a lot of positive things to offer both men and women[53].

When even the best known ostensible opponents of feminism loudly and proudly protest their emphatic support for feminism and feminist ideals, this is surely a measure of the pervasive influence of feminism on contemporary thought.

Yet if the intention behind issuing these disclaimers is to appease the feminist lobby, then it must be concluded they are singularly ineffective.

For example, Murray Straus’s self-declared feminism did nothing to protect him from a feminist-orchestrated smear campaign, accusing him of being guilty of the very crime the incidence of which he played such a prominent role in uncovering[54]; and nor has Warren Farrell’s much-touted background as a prominent early male feminist and continued praise for feminist ideals either protected him from his own feminist-orchestrated smear campaign[55] or placated the angry crowds of feminist anti-free-speech activists who picket his speaking engagements at universities to prevent people hearing his views[56].

Such disclaimers do, however, have a more sinister effect. In declaring their commitment to feminism these writers inadvertently pay homage to, and thereby reinforce, the inviolable and sacrosanct nature of core feminist dogma.

Conservative Chivalry

Even what little opposition to feminism does exist, or at least that which succeeds in penetrating the mainstream media and publishing industry to any degree whatsoever, is decidedly neutered in form. I have already mentioned the irony that many of the most prominent critics of the feminist orthodoxy are themselves female. Of itself, this should not be held against them. However, a concomitant characteristic of such criticism is that, not only is opposition to feminism more often voiced by women, it is also, like the feminism it purports to critique, primarily concerned with women and with their interests.

Thus, if those writers castigated by feminists as ‘anti-feminists’ usually defend themselves against this charge by claiming to be, in fact, ‘feminists’ themselves, then those few commentators who do dare to openly declare themselves ‘anti-feminists’ often turn out, on closer inspection, to share so many values and assumptions with their ostensible feminist opponents that it would almost be accurate to them as ‘feminists’ themselves in all but name.

For example, Phillis Schlafly, probably the most prominent contemporary American activist to openly identify as ‘anti-feminist’, opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, not because of any adverse impact it might have had on men, but rather on the grounds that it would harm women by denying them their traditional legal privileges, notably in spheres of matrimonial law, child custody and immunity from the draft[57]. Similarly, Christina Hoff Sommers, gave Who Stole Feminism, her devastating debunking of the modern feminist movement, the subtitle ‘How Women Betrayed Women’, implying that the only, or at least the primary, victims of modern feminism have been women themselves[58].

Thus, even these ostensible critics of feminism share with their feminist adversaries the core feminist assumption that policies should be judged, not according to whether they are good or bad for humankind as a whole, but rather primarily according to the criterion of whether they advance the interests of women and of women alone. The interests of men are either ignored or, at best, relegated to secondary importance.

An example is provided by the debate regarding pornography. On the one hand, the opponents of pornography (dominated by an unholy alliance of radical feminists and religious fundamentalists) typically focus on the supposed harmful effects on women, claiming that pornography both exploits the women involved in its production (even though they are paid very well – and much more than the more talented male performers whom they work alongside) and harms women more generally by influencing male attitudes towards women (although the evidence suggests otherwise[59]).

On the other hand, defenders of pornography also do so in the name of feminism and ‘women’s rights[60] – namely the ostensible ‘right’ of women to produce, profit from and occasionally consume pornography. Meanwhile, any ‘rights’ men might be presumptuous enough to lay claim to – say, the right to consume and enjoy pornography and the sexual pleasure with which it provides them – go completely unacknowledged.

Thus, the implicit underlying assumption of both feminists and the conservatives who purport to critique them – namely that the rights and interests of women trump those men – stands unchallenged. As Warren Farrell observed in  The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here), male chauvinism and feminism have one thing in common – both are concerned with protecting women[61].

Discrimination and Disadvantage

Even those authors who do draw attention to discrimination against men typically emphasise its secondary importance as compared to discrimination against women. For example, discrimination against men is often referred to as ‘reverse discrimination’ – a phrase that suggests this is the reverse of the usual direction of discrimination.

Worse still, discrimination against men is sometimes referred to as ‘positive discrimination’ or ‘affirmative action’, implying that, unlike discrimination of which women are the victims, there is something ‘positive’ or even desirable about discriminating against men.

Philosopher’s David Benetar’s phrase, ‘The Second Sexism’, which he adopts as the title of his recent book on anti-male discrimination, is little better. By referring to discrimination against men as the second sexism, he implicitly concedes that the primary sexism is that against women, and that discrimination against men is only of secondary importance.

Yet, as I shall show in my forthcoming posts, “Why I am not a Feminist” [now available here] and “Why Feminism is False” (both due to be posted shortly), each of these assumptions is entirely false. In reality, discrimination against men is far more substantial and serious than that against women. Moreover, it is by no means a recent phenomenon. Instead, it is likely that men have always been the primary victims of discrimination, both today and throughout history.

Even the few heterodox writers courageous enough to buck this trend by suggesting that women may in fact be, not oppressed by men, but rather, on average, better off than men, or even privileged, have usually ducked from the full implications of this insight.

For example, military historian Martin Van Creveld suggests that, far from being oppressed, “women are in fact the privileged sex[62], a phrase which he provocatively adopts as the title of the excellent work in which this claim is made. However, on the very next page, Van Creveld qualifies his assertion by insisting “this phrase is not to deny that nature, by giving women weaker physiques and lactation, has in some ways made their lot harder than that of men… [nor] that their lives are a rose garden[63] and then, hedging his bets, instead insists that his claim is only that “for every disadvantage under which women labor, they enjoy a privilege that is equally important to their lives if not more so”[64]. Thus, far from asserting that women are ‘The Privileged Sex’, he is reduced to asserting only that men are no more privileged than are women.

Similarly, Steve Moxon observes that, whereas the majority of men “make up the biggest disadvantaged sub-group in every society… women by contrast are universally and perennially privileged: over-privileged[65]. However, in the very next paragraph, he insists, “you won’t find me adding men to the ever expanding list of ‘victims’”, and instead proposes “tearing up the entire list and throwing it away[66].

Likewise, Kingsley Browne, in his excellent Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality [which I have reviewed here], having demonstrated that the gender pay-gap is a function of, not discrimination, but rather the greater sacrifices men endure in return for higher pay, and how women have greater choices available to them compared to men, insists nevertheless “this is not to suggest that the mantle of victimhood should be lifted from women and conferred on men”, but rather “what needs to be questioned is the notion that either sex is a victim[67].

‘New Media’ and the Fall of the Feminist Dogma

From the preceding discussion, it may well be assumed that intellectual and political hegemony of what I have referred to as ‘the Feminist Dogma’ is, at least in the West, largely unchallenged. To be sure, a few heretics have dared to challenge some aspects of feminist orthodoxy. However, as we have seen, they have been subjected to relentless campaigns of censure, persecution and intimidation, and, as a form of self-defence have almost invariably insisted that their problem is not with feminism itself, but only with particular feminist theories or ideological excesses.

Moreover, even those writers who have purported to reject feminism in its totality (e.g.Phillis Schlafly) have invariably done so, not in the name of men, but rather in the name of women themselves. They have therefore shared so many underlying assumptions with the feminists whom they purport to critique – in particular the assumption that women’s rights and interests always trump those of men – that it would almost be accurate to characterise them as feminists, or at least crypto-feminists, themselves.

As recently as the 1990s, this picture would not represent an inaccurate depiction of the then-current state of play regarding views on gender relations in the West. However, this can now no longer be said to be the case.

As readers will already no doubt be aware, in the last fifteen or so years the rise of the internet has broken the monolithic mainstream media monopoly on political commentary and the dissemination of information. In addition to breaking this monopoly, such individuals have also shattered the politically-correct consensus, formerly enforced by editors, publishers and other guardians of what is regarded as the limits of acceptable debate.

Indeed, it is precisely those internet commentators whose views diverge from those already represented in the mainstream media who have been among the most successful. Whereas those bloggers whose views merely echo the politically-correct orthodoxy, in doing so, offer little if anything that is not already available in the mainstream media, politically-incorrect commentators are providing a viewpoint unavailable elsewhere. They therefore tap into an unexploited gap in the media market that mainstream publishers and publications, their hands tied by the censorious demands of political correctness, are unable, or at least unwilling, to occupy.

Whereas the vast majority of self-appointed internet commentators inevitably languish in obscurity, many of these heterodox thinkers have successfully penetrated the media marketplace, carving a unique niche for themselves in the marketplace of ideas. Slowly but surely, political correctness, the “Modern Mccarthyism in our Midst”, is being rendered unenforceable.

Inevitably, some of the most insightful of these taboo-breaking contemporary heretics write with regard to issues of sexual politics from what might be called a ‘masculinist’, or ‘men’s rights’ perspective. Notable among them are figures such as Glenn Sacks, Angry HarrySteve Moxon, Ally Fogg and Rich Zubaty.

Organizations such as the National Coalition For Men (NCFM) also usefully exploit the opportunities provided by New Media by maintaining active websites and online publications. These together provide something notably absent from mainstream media perspectives on gender relations, be they liberal, conservative, communist or socialist – namely a male perspective or ‘A Voice for Men’ (which is, incidentally, the name of another prominent and excellent website providing exactly that).

The open-access academic journal New Male Studies also plays a valuable role; as does the excellent discussion available at Feminist Critics.

Other excellent sites focus on more specific issues that run counter to feminist orthodoxy (e.g. Community of the Wrongly Accused, formerly the False Rape Society) or deal with more general issues (e.g. the Human Stupidity website, which focuses on politically correct taboos more generally), but often touch on issues of men’s rights. This list is not, of course, exhaustive.

However, although I have referred in the title to this section to ‘The Fall of Feminist Dogma’, this is not to say that the Feminist Dogma is now a mere thing of history, nor even that its collapse is imminent. On the contrary, the grip of feminism on the mainstream media remains as powerful as ever. All that has occurred is that the hold of the mainstream media itself over the public’s access to information and political commentary has itself been somewhat weakened.

Even the significance of this change should not be exaggerated. Even today, for the vast majority of people – namely those 90% of the population unable or unwilling to think for themselves or ‘swim against the current’ and hence lacking the motivation to seek out alternative viewpoints – the mainstream media remains by far the most important source of news, information and political opinion. Just because people now have greater opportunity to seek out alternative perspectives on and alternative sources of information about current affairs does not necessarily mean that they have an inclination to do so[68].

Therefore, I have thus far focussed on mainstream media commentators, activists and authors, not because I am a Luddite or am unaware of the burgeoning ‘manosphere’ – but rather because, even today, mainstream media remains important as the medium though which most people’s understanding of politics and current affairs is filtered.

After all, the unique feature of the internet (the precise feature that has enabled it to successfully shatter the politically correct orthodoxy of the mainstream media) is, after all, that anyone is free to publish anything – howsoever outrageous, heretical, iconoclastic, polemical, defamatory or just plain badly-written – without first having to navigate the filtering process previously presided over by editors and publishers and other custodians and guardians of what qualifies as the boundaries of ‘acceptable thought[69].

This feature represents both an advantage and a disadvantage of internet-based commentary. On the one hand, it provides a sphere of genuine freedom of speech increasingly rare in an era dominated by the contemporary taboos of that Modern McCarthyism in our Midst, namely political correctness. On the other, it lacks any mechanism of quality control.

While publishers and editors are, sure enough, responsible in large part for enforcing the contemporary censorship that has prevented open debate on feminism and other issues, they have also provided some (admittedly often barely apparent) degree of quality control largely absent in the burgeoning blogosphere. In short, whereas those published in the mainstream media are almost automatically conferred a readership as of right by virtue of the outlet provided to them, internet commentators have to fight for to be heard in a ruthless process of natural selection amongst literally millions of others.

As a consequence, in addition to insightful heterodox writers denied a voice in the mainstream media because of the heretical nature of their views, the internet also provides an outlet for all manner of paranoid conspiracy theorists, cranks and mentally-ill extremists with delusions of intellectual coherence.

Compared other hobbies to which such maladjusted malcontents are typically drawn (e.g. serial killing) blogging is, to be sure, is a comparatively harmless outlet. It does, however, create a problem both for the discerning reader and the aspiring writer – namely, how is worthwhile reading material to be detected amid the dross and deafening background noise when any lunatic with an internet connection, a modicum of basic literacy and an excess of time on their hands is entitled inflict their streams of consciousness upon the populace.

It is into this world that I proudly plunge myself in launching ‘Men’s Rights Review – MRR’. This publication aims to provide something lacking among both mainstream media and New Media – namely, a scholarly yet radical malculist perspective on gender relations, sex discrimination and the culture of misandry, fully referenced and with all claims and observations, wherever possible, comprehensively sourced, offering an unapologetically male perspective on society, politics and current affairs.

Thank you for taking the time to seek out and read ‘Men’s Rights Review’. I hope you will find it an original and enlightening read. Please check regularly for new posts.

________________________

Endnotes

[1] Of course, many modern feminists continue to cling to their status as radicals. To buttress this claim, they are forced, with each new feminist-sponsored reform that receives legislative and governmental backing, to invent new demands, each increasingly preposterous as compared to what has gone before it (e.g. integrating the armed services, undermining and subverting what remains of the civil liberties of defendants in rape trials). Not only is preposterousness forced upon them by the fact that their less patently unreasonable demands have already long previously been met, but the very preposterousness itself, I suspect, commends the proposals to their feminist framers precisely because it makes their implementation by government less probable and hence allows them both (1) to continue to claim that women are still oppressed because their demands have not been met and (2) to cling on to their treasured status as radicals – all the while avoiding the inconvenient persecution to which genuine radicals – not least, as we will see, the opponents of feminism – are typically subject.

[2] The Manipulated Man [which I have reviewed here]: p150.

[3] Quoted in Farrell, The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here): p9.

[4] Against Women’s Lib by Murray Rothbard (originally published as ‘The Great Women’s Liberation Issue: Setting It Straight’ in The Individualist, May 1970). Of course, Rothbard’s essay, along with Vilar’s polemic, themselves represented all-too-rare exceptions to the general rule whereby opposition to feminism was non-existent.

[5]  Lest anyone doubt the scale of the transformation, one example suffices to illustrate marginal status of early twentieth-century feminism, even among radicals. In the thirties, socialist and radical George Orwell was able to deplore the association of feminism with socialism and communism as liable to discredit the latter, writing that “one sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England [emphasis added]” (Road to Wigan Pier). These days, of course, the open embrace of feminism across the political spectrum means that it is more likely that feminism would be discredited by any residual association it might still be perceived to have with socialism, let alone with communism, rather than the converse.

[6] This suggestion was first made by pioneering Marxist-Masculist Ernest Belfort Bax who claimed as early as 1913 that “the Anti-man agitation forms a capital red herring for drawing the popular scent off class opposition by substituting sex antagonism in its place” (The Fraud of Feminism: p76).

[7] The effect on wages was especially pronounced because these new female employees could afford to work for less, undercutting their male competitors, because, unlike the latter, they were under no obligation provide for a wife and children in addition to themselves, but rather typically supplemented their own income with a portion of that of their husband. This has led author, activist and artist Rich Zubaty to controversially contend “feminism was the biggest scab labor movement in history“.

[8] No More Sex War: p123.

[9] No More Sex War: p123-4. This interpretation is also compatible with columnist Rod Liddle’s thesis that political correctness as a whole can be viewed in Marxist terms as promoting the interests of the ruling class (see The Politics of Pleasantville Spectator, Jan 21 2006). Liddle himself focuses primarily on the issue of immigration, which he argues similarly provides cheap labour, benefiting wealthy employers and consumers, but undercutting the indigenous proletariat and obligin them to reside in ethnically-divided and conflictual communities. This interpretation can easily be extended to feminism, given that women also increased the supply of labour, driving down wages and also represented cheap labour, able to undercut men (see note [7] above).

[10] This pattern continues into adulthood, where violent offenders are sentenced more severely when they target female victims: see Race, Gender, and Outcomes in First Degree Murder Cases by Beaulieu & Messner (1999) 3(1): 47-68; The conditional effects of victim and offender ethnicity and victim gender onsentences for non-capital cases by CurryPunishment & Society (2010) 12(4):438-462; Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing Outcomes, Crime & Delinquency, by Curry, Lee & Rodriguez (2004) 50(3):319-343; The Interactive Effects of Victim Race and Gender on Death Sentence Disparity Findings by Williams & Holcomb (2004)Homicide Studies 8(4):350-376.

[11] For example, in the laboratory, male subjects consistently refrain from inflicting electric shocks on female subjects in circumstances where they show no compunctions about similarly punishing males (see Felson, RB 2000 The Normative Protection of Women from Violence Sociological Forum 15(1): 91-116).

[12] In the UK, to take the form of violent crime least likely to go unreported or undetected, namely homicide, males were more than twice as likely to be the victims of homicide as were women, a pattern that has remained consistent over many years (see Statistical Bulletin: Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2011/12 (Office of National Statistics, February 2013): p26). The pattern is similar in other jurisdictions. For example, in the USA, between 1980 and 2008, men were three times as likely to be the victim of homicide as were women (Cooper A & Smith EL (2011) Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008 U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2011, NCJ 236018: at p3).

[13] According to data cited by Joshua Goldstein men represent 58% of fatalities from war across the world, despite the fact that, once children are factored in, adult men are only a small minority of the world population (War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400). More dramatically, Goldstein reports that of 17,000 people treated by the International Committee of the Red Cross from 1991 until the end of the century, only 35% were women, children under 16 or men over 50 even though together these groups comprise the vast majority of the population (Ibid.).

[14] Adam Jones (2000) ‘Gendercide and Genocide’ Journal of Genocide Research 2:2:185-211.

[15] Eagly, Alice H. & Crowley, Maureen (1986) Gender and Helping Behavior. A Meta-Analytic Review of the Social Psychological Literature, Psychological Bulletin 100(3):283-308. (Men are also more likely to stop and help than are women.)

[16] In fact, many men may have been less than willing. Instead they may have been coerced at gunpoint by the ship’s crew. However, given that the crew-members in question were themselves male, this itself represents a form of male chivalry.

[17] Whereas 80% of men on board the titanic died, only 26% of women suffered the same fate. Although much is made of the higher rates of survival for men in first class accommodation, in reality even a woman from the lowest class of accommodation (steerage class situated deep in the hull of the ship far from the lifeboats) had a higher rate of survival than men travelling first-class (for data, see: http://www.anesi.com/titanic.htm; for commentary see:http://www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2006/0426roberts.html).

[18] Blackwell BS, Holleran D & Finn MA (2008) The Impact of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines on Sex Differences in Sentencing Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24(4): 399-418; Embry R & Lyons P (2012) Sex-Based Sentencing: Sentencing Discrepancies Between Male and Female Sex Offenders, Feminist Criminology 7(2):146–162; Spohn, C  and Beichner, D (2000) Is Preferential Treatment of Female Offenders a Thing of the Past? A Multisite Study of Gender, Race, and Imprisonment, Criminal Justice Policy Review, 11(2): 149-184; Curry, TR, Lee G and Rodriguez, SF (2004) Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing Outcomes, Crime & Delinquency 50(3): 319-343; Rodriguez, SF, Curry, TR, & Lee G (2006) GenderDifferences in Criminal Sentencing: Do Effects Vary Across Violent, Property,and Drug Offenses? Social Science Quarterly 87(2): 318; Mustard DB (2001) Racial, Ethnic and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the US Federal Courts, Social Science Research Network XLIV:285-314; Daly K, Bordt, RL (1995) Sex effects and sentencing: An analysis of the statistical literature Justice Quarterly12(1); Starr, SB, (2012) Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases. University of Michigan Law and Economics Research Paper, No. 12-018 (August 29, 2012); Streib VL (2001) ‘Sentencing Women to DeathCriminal Justice Magazine16(1); Streib V (2006) Rare and Inconsistent: The Death Penalty for Women, 33 Fordham Urban Law Journal 609; Streib V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary, 63 Ohio State Law Journal 433; Shapiro, A (2000) Unequal Before the Law: Men, Women and the Death Penalty American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 8(2): 427-470. In addition there is also evidence that police officers (also predominantly male) similarly discriminate in favour of female offenders. For example, according to a study cited by Cathy Young (Ceasefire: Why men and women must join forces to achieve true equality (New York: the Free Press 1999) at p37), when the speed of vehicles is measured by the subjective assessment of individual police officers, men are given 250% more speeding tickets than women, but when speed is measured objectively by radar this shrinks to only 40% more. Consistent with this, the introduction of speed cameras in the UK was associated with an increase of 24% in the number of women charged with speeding offences but a decrease of 14% in the numbers of men charged with the same offences (see Steven Morris, Speed cameras blamed for rise in number of women fined, Guardian Friday 18 November 2005). More direct evidence is provided by a study conducted by Brian Rowe which found that male police officers (who, of course, constitute the vast majority of the police force) were less likely to issue female drivers with tickets for violations than were female officers, despite the fact that male officers were in general more willing to issue tickets for more minor violations: Rowe, B. (2008). Gender Bias in the Enforcement of Traffic Laws: Evidence based on a new empirical test American Law & Economics Association Annual Meeting Paper 3.

[19] Race, Gender, and Outcomes in First Degree Murder Cases by Beaulieu & Messner (1999) 3(1): 47-68; The conditional effects of victim and offender ethnicity and victim gender onsentences for non-capital cases by Curry Punishment & Society (2010) 12(4):438-462; Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing Outcomes, Crime & Delinquency, by Curry, Lee & Rodriguez (2004) 50(3):319-343; The Interactive Effects of Victim Race and Gender on Death Sentence Disparity Findings by Williams & Holcomb (2004) Homicide Studies8(4):350-376.

[20] For example, in the UK, the Whipping of Female Offenders Abolition Act which outlawed the flogging of female offenders as early as 1820 – even though this remained a sanctioned penalty for male offenders (including boys as young as seven!) until well into the Twentieth Century (see entry from 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica on corporal punishment) and was not finally abolished for all men until 1948. Similarly, the 1842 Mines and Collieries Act forbade the employment of women underground in mines yet permitted the employment in this capacity of boys as young as ten. The forcible conscription of men for military service, on the other hand, dates from ancient times and had become universal for young men throughout most of Europe by the end of time of the First World War.

[21] Arias, I., & Johnson, P. (1989). Evaluations of Physical Aggression Among Intimate Dyads. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 4, 298−307; Harris, M.B. (1991) Effects of Sex of Aggressor, Sex of Target, and Relationship on Evaluations of Physical Aggression Journal of Interpersonal Violence 6(2)174186; Greenblat, C. S. (1983). ‘A hit is a hit is a hit. Or is it? Approval and tolerance of the use of physical force by spouses’. In D. Finkelhor, R. J. Gelles, G. T. Hotaling, & M. A. Straus (Eds.), The dark side of families (pp. 235-260). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage; Feather NT (1996) Domestic Violence, Gender and Perceptions of Justice Sex Roles 35(7): 507-519; Felson RB (2009) When a man hits a woman: Moral evaluations and reporting violence to police Aggressive Behavior 35(6): 477-488.

[22] Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing Outcomes Crime & Delinquency, by Curry, Lee & Rodriguez (2004) 50(3):319-343.

[23] See Note [12], [13] and [14] above.

[24] For a regularly updated database of the countless studies replicating this finding see Fiebert, M.S. References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners:an annotated bibliography (an earlier version was published in Sexuality and Culture (2010) 14 (1), 49-91); see also Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren’t Supposed to Know by Thomas James.

[25] For example, a search of the archives of the Guardian newspaper for the phrase”violence against women” produced 30,900 results, almost a hundred times as many as the phrase “violence against men”, which managed just 330 hits. Lest any one assume that this a bias restricted to the feminist-invested political left, an identical search conducted in the archives of another UK newspaper, ostensibly from the opposite end of the political spectrum, The Telegraph found that, whereas the phrase the phrase “violence against men” produced just eighteen articles, the phrase “violence against women” produced over five hundred. Neither is the problem restricted to the UK. The New York Times produced 1,824 hits for “violence against women”, whereas for “violence against men” there were only 19 hits. New Media does little better. A google search for the exact phrase “violence against women” produced 14,200,000 hits, whereas “violence against men” managed 268,000. A more in-depth analysis of anti-male bias in Canada’s ‘newspaper of record’ is provided by academic Adam Jones: Jones, A. (1992) The Globe and Males: The Other Side of Gender Bias in Canada’s National Newspaper (Edmonton: Gender Issues Education Foundation, 1992).

[26] The 1994 Violence Against Women Act in the US a recent and familiar example. However, it is far from the first. In Victorian Britain, the Prevention and Punishment of Aggravated Assaults on Women Act of 1853 and the Wife Beaters Act of 1882, the latter of which, despite being enacted in relatively recent times, prescribed draconian penalties for those accused under it, including whipping and the pillory (‘Crime and Punishment in England: An Introductory History’, Briggs et al: p116 – penalties that had already been banned for female offenders (irrespective of the nature of their crime) fully fifty years before. This incidentally belies the popular feminist her-story to the effect that domestic violence against women was widely ignored, or even condoned, until recent times. In fact, only domestic violence of which men were the victims went unpunished – or rather male victims were perversely punished (see George, M.J. 1994 Riding the donkey backwards: Men as the unacceptable victims of marital violence The Journal of Men’s Studies, 3(2) 137-159; George, M.J. 2002 Skimmington Revisited The Journal of Men’s Studies, 10(1), 111-136).

[27] Carpenter RC  (2003) ‘Women and Children First’: Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian Evacuation in the Balkans:1991-95 International Organization 57(4): 661-694.

[28] Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say: p227.

[29] However, even here, the format of the ‘debate’ was so one-sided as barely to warrant the description, with Farrell denied any chance to respond to Sterba’s portion of the book. For a comprehensive rejoinder to Sterba’s portion of the book redressing this imbalance, see my review – Yes, Feminism Does Discriminate Against Men… And, Yes, The Book’s Format Does Discriminate Against Warren Farrell.

[30] According to Esther Vilar “the male sense of honour… is a system invented by women who loudly exempt themselves from it” (The Manipulated Man which I have reviewed here: p60).

[31] Fads and Fallacies in the Social Sciences: p222.

[32] See her article, Who’s Failing the Family: The Scotsman 30.3.99.

[33] See Who Stole Feminism?: p200; When She Was Bad: p121; Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say: p142. Note that, whereas Hoff Sommers, Patricia Pearson and Warren Farrell, in the three works cited, refer only to a bomb threat issued to a conference where Steinmetz was due to speak, only journalist Carey Roberts makes the more dramatic assertion that Steinmetz received a bomb threat at her daughter’s wedding, a claim for which I have been unable to find independent verification.

[34] Steinmetz, SK. (1977-8) Battered Husband Syndrome Victimology 2: 499.

[35] Quotation from The Woman Racket at p145; for a regularly updated database of studies replicating this finding seeFiebert, M.S. References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated bibliography (an earlier version was published in Sexuality and Culture (2010) 14 (1), 49-91); see also Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren’t Supposed to Know by Thomas James.

[36] Christina Hoff Sommers (in Who Stole Feminism?: p200) writes:

In 1992, a rumor was circulated that Murray Straus [a prominent researcher in this field] had beaten his wife and sexually harassed his students. Straus fought back as best he could and in one instance was able to elicit a written apology from a domestic violence activist. Richard Gelles [another prominent researcher in this field and sometime collaborator of Straus] claims that whenever male researchers question exaggerated findings on domestic battery, it is never long before the rumors begin circulating that he is himself a batterer.”

See also: When She Was Bad: p121.

[37] See Lyndon’s piece Return of the Heretic: Sunday Times 03.12.00.

[38]  The Manipulated Man (1998): p8.

[39] See Farrell, Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say: p217.

[40] See Brown, Kingsley (2005) Women in Science: Biological Factors Should Not be Ignored Cardozo Women’s Law Journal 11(3): 509-528. Temperamental factors, also probably innate, are also central to understanding occupational segregation, the pay-gap and the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ – in particular, the greater female attachment to infant offspring (a mammalian universal) and the greater status-orientation of males. (For more comprehensive discussions of the factors underlying occupational segregation: see Biology at Work: Rethinking Sex Equality [which I have reviewed here] by Kingsley Browne; and Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap [which I have reviewed here] by Warren Farrell.)

[41]  Yet, in contrast, a veritable media firestorm recently resulted only when, for once, a few isolated individuals turned the tables on the feminist bully-girls and provided them with a rare taste of their own medicine. In contrast, hate-mail is a fact of life for MRAs but never attracts the attention of the mainstream media, survey data indicates that men are more likely to be threatened in online forums etc.

[42] How the Mind Works: p492.

[43] How the Mind Works: p493.

[44] The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature: p341.

[45] The Blank Slate: p337.

[46] This is again a parallel with earlier religious dogmas. Early atheists, or probable and suspected atheists, like Thomas Hobbes and David Hume took the precaution of never explicitly identifying themselves as such, or even, in the case of Hobbes, explicitly denying it in order to avoid persecution.

[47] Big Sister: How Extreme Feminism Has Betrayed The Fight For Sexual Equality: at vi.

[48] See note [36] above.

[49] ‘The Conflict Tactics Scales and its Critics’ (pp49-73) In Straus and Gelles Physical Violence in American Families (New Brunswick: Transation 2009): at p72(n1).

[50] Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Betrayed Women.

[51] The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here): p6; Farrell also talks of “the legitimate issues of the women’s movement” (Ibid.), claiming that society is both patriarchal and matriarchal, both male and female dominated” (p10) and that both sexes made themselves slaves to the other sex in different ways” and “neither sex can accurately be called oppressed” (p30), professing to be “in favour of neither a women’s movement or a men’s movement but [rather] a gender transition movement” (p10).

[52] For example, his book’s blurbs frequently tout his dubious distinction as being the only man in the US to be elected three times to the Board of Directors of the feminist National Organization for Women in New York City.

[53] See http://www.glennsacks.com/faqs.htm.

[54] See note [36] above.

[55] Ironically, the main smear directed at Farrell, not only relates in no way to his more recent championing of men’s rights, but actually concerns comments he allegedly made regarding incest (he claims to have been misquoted) during an interview conducted over thirty years ago – at which time he was in fact a leading male feminist! Therefore, if anyone is guilty by association with the views purportedly expressed by Farrell, it would appear to be the feminists themselves, who at that time continued to associate with him and, in many cases, champion his work!

[56] For example, a talk scheduled due to be presented by Farrell at the University of Toronto on November 16 2012 was disrupted by feminist protesters, a video of whom is available on Youtube that I have also linked to in the text.

[57] See Phyllis Schlafly, “What’s Wrong with ‘Equal Rights’ for Women?” (1972); see her essays in the collection Feminist Fantasies.

[58] Similarly, some critics of so-called ‘affirmative action’ oppose this practice, not on the obvious grounds that it is manifestly unfair to white males against whom it systematically discriminates, but rather because, by implying that they are unable to make the grade without assistance, it is supposedly ‘patronising’ to its intended beneficiaries and leaves a cloud of suspicion over their qualifications and accomplishments. Similarly, paid maternity leave for new mothers is opposed, not because it is reserved for women and therefore discriminatory against male employees, nor even because it imposes an unfair burden on employers and on the economy as a whole, but rather because it creates a (further) rational economic incentive for employers to evade this burden by discriminating against women in choosing whom to hire in the first place. This tendency to focus on the adverse impact on women of what is plainly discrimination against men was taken to its perverse nadir by Hillary Clinton, who, in her address to the ‘First Ladies’ Conference on Domestic Violence’ (an ironic venue for her to address given her own alleged history of spousal abuse),  claimed:

“Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.”

On this view, the men who lose, not merely their loved ones and meal tickets, but their very lives, are presumably relegated to the secondary victims, if that.

[59] See Diamond, M. 2009 Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 32: 304-314

[60] See, for example, Wendy McElroy’s XXX: A Woman’s Right to Pornography.

[61]  The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here): p295.

[62]  The Privileged Sex: at xiv.

[63]  The Privileged Sex: at iv.

[64] The Privileged Sex: at iv.

[65] The Woman Racket: p2.

[66] The Woman Racket: p2.

[67] Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality: p139.

[68] After all, if vast swathes of the populace were indeed inclined to seek out non-mainstream viewpoints, then, even before the development of the internet, entrepreneurs would have capitalized on this demand by establishing publications catering to this demand and the viewpoint in question, and the media catering to it, would not have remained non-mainstream very long.

[69] This lack of both censorship and quality control also characterises the self-publishing industry and of vanity presses, although works published in this way are less easily obtainable.