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.
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!
“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.”
The battle of the sexes thus became, as Ronald K Henry characterised it, “a war in which only one side showed up”.
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.”
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 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, 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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. 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, to warfare, to pogroms and genocides.
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 Hakim, Erin 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, why, on board the titanic, women and children were allowed aboard the lifeboats first while male passengers went willingly to their deaths; why female offenders are sentenced more leniently than men convicted of the same crimes and why offenders of both sexes are sentenced more severely when they commit offences against women rather than against men.
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 and why, of all offender-victim dyads, it is men who commit violent offences against women are sentenced most severely of all.
It also explains why, despite the overwhelming overrepresentation of men among the victims of actual violence (and their at least equal representation among the victims of domestic violence), it is perceived issue of ‘violence against women’ (and the plight of so-called ‘innocent women and children’ during wartime) that attracts media attention, legislative intervention and discriminatory humanitarian relief efforts.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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 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”.
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.
A few years later, academic Suzanne Steinmetz also received anonymous phone calls threatening herself and her children and even bomb threat as payback for publishing one of the first papers providing rigorous scientific data to confirm Pizzey’s experience and intuition – 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”) have been the victims of defamatory smear campaigns
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” – 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”.
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” 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.
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.
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”, ideas which “feminism would lose nothing by giving up”; 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”, and even declares “the ongoing liberation of women after millennia of oppression is one of the great moral achievements of our species”.
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. 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”. Similarly, leading family violence researcher Murray Straus, like Steinmetz hounded by the feminist lobby 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”.
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” and continues to make play out of his background as a leading early male supporter of feminism. 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”.
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; 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 or placated the angry crowds of feminist anti-free-speech activists who picket his speaking engagements at universities to prevent people hearing his views.
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.
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. 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.
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).
On the other hand, defenders of pornography also do so in the name of feminism and ‘women’s rights’ – 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.
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”, 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” 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”. 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”. 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”.
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”.
‘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 ‘masculist’, or ‘men’s rights’ perspective. Notable among them are figures such as Glenn Sacks, Angry Harry, Steve 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).
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.
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’.
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 masculist 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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).
 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“.
 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  above).
 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.
 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).
 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).
 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.).
 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.)
 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.
 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).
 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 Death‘ Criminal 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.
 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.
 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 1967. 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.
 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): 174–186; 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.
 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.
 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.
 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).
 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).
 Carpenter RC (2003) ‘Women and Children First’: Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian Evacuation in the Balkans:1991-95 International Organization 57(4): 661-694.
 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.
 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.
 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.
“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.
 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.)
 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.
 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.
 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).
 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.
 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!
 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.
 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:
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.
 See Diamond, M. 2009 Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 32: 304-314
 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.
 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.