Marxism, Men’s Rights and the ‘Means of Reproduction’

“Marx said about the industrial system that people are profoundly alienated from the ‘means of production’ – jobs. Political and social radicalism was one response to that. If Darwin were alive today he might comment that men are profoundly alienated from the ‘means of reproduction’ – women”

Lionel Tiger, The Decline of Males[1]

Why are women conservative? Because they are a privileged sex; because they do not need to depend upon the earnings of their hands or brain. As a sex women occupy a position similar to the petty shop-keeper, because they possess a commodity to sell or to barter besides their own labour power! Here is the key to the mystery of the modern woman!

RB Tobias and Mary E Marcy, Women as Sex Vendors[2]

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.

David Thomas, Not Guilty: The Case in Defence of Men[3]

To most people who identify with the contemporary left, the parallel between class exploitation and the exploitation that allegedly underlies the relations between men and women is obvious. Just as the proletariat are exploited and oppressed by the capitalist class, so women are exploited and oppressed by males.

Indeed, the entire structure of feminist theory (or what passes for theory among feminists) is rooted, consciously or not, in Marxist social theory. Thus, just as Marxist sociologists view all the institutions of society (the family, education system, mass media etc.) as controlled by and functioning so as to perpetuate the dominance of the bourgeoisie, so feminist theory views these same institutions as controlled by and functioning to perpetuate the dominance of men.

Indeed, this is a feature shared with other radical leftist ideologies rooted in identity politics. Each posits the existence of a grand conspiracy against an ostensibly ‘oppressed’ group. The only difference is who is a party to, and beneficiary of, the said conspiracy, and who the victims.

For Marxists, the evil conspirators are the capitalists; for black nationalists, they are ‘The White Man’; for anti-Semites, ‘the Jews’ are to blame; whereas, for feminists it is men. Each theory appeals to simple minds looking for simple answers, and, more importantly, someone to blame.

However, the similarities between the Marxist and feminist ideologies do not end there. Just as their analyses of capitalist/patriarchal society mirror one another, so do their proposed antidotes. Thus, both feminists and Marxists posit a future egalitarian utopia fundamentally incompatible with what is now known about human nature and with the innate heritable differences between both individuals and groups.

Of course, these days, some ‘moderate’ feminists, and conservatives who identify as feminist, may try to downplay the extent of the debt feminism owes to Marxism. Nevertheless, among feminists and Marxists alike, not to mention among feminist-Marxists, Marxist-feminists, sociologists, Women’s Studies professors and other such professional damned fools who together make up the state-funded intellectual vanguard of the contemporary left-liberal establishment, it is axiomatic that feminism and Marxism are, not only compatible and complementary, but moreover ideological comrades-in-arms united together in fighting for an end to all forms of inequality and injustice.

In fact, however, my own view is that feminism is neither left-wing nor liberal. In a forthcoming post (provisionally entitled ‘Feminist Fascism: From Burning Bras to Burning Books – or Why Feminism is Neither Left-Wing Nor Liberal but Rather Right-Wing and Reactionary’), I shall expand upon this theory. However, for now it suffices to say that, in seeking to entrench and expand the privileges of an already immensely privileged group (i.e. Western women), it is obviously right-wing; whereas, in campaigning to restrict pornography, prostitution and other such fun and healthy recreational activities, not to mention free speech, it is anything but liberal.

In this post, however, my focus is rather narrower. I intend to demonstrate that, despite their superficial commonalities, Marxist and feminist theory are fundamentally incompatible and that the central feminist claim, namely that women represent an oppressed and disadvantaged class, is contrary, not only by the manifest reality the privileged position of women in contemporary Western society, but also, by basic Marxist economic theory.

In fact, as early twentieth century socialists Roscoe B Tobias and Mary Marcy first recognised, Marxist theory can even be even employed to help us to understand why women are so privileged as compared to men, both economically and in the operation of the law.

On this view, feminism is better viewed, from a Marxist standpoint, as a form of dominant ideology designed to benefit the capitalist class, both by expanding the availability of cheap labour (i.e. working women) and distracting attention from the real oppression of the truly disadvantaged, who are, in truth, mostly men.

In short, as Jim Goad has written, Males of the world unite! You have nothing to grow back but your balls!

Engels’ Error

Where then did Marxists, feminists, Marxist-feminists and feminist-Marxists take a wrong turn in attempting to apply Marxist theory to the family and the relations between the sexes. The problem, it seems, began early, not with feminists, nor with Marx himself, but with his comrade, collaborator and (capitalist) financial backer, Fredrich Engels.

In The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, Freidrich Engels wrote, in a famous passage much quoted by feminists:

“In the great majority of cases today, at least in the possessing classes, the husband is obliged to earn a living and support his family, and that in itself gives him a position of supremacy, without any need for special legal titles and privileges. Within the family he is the bourgeois and the wife represents the proletariat.”[4]

This is a passage much quoted by early feminists and their modern intellectual descendants. Indeed, along with Mill’s The Subjugation of Women, it arguably provides the intellectual foundation for modern feminism.[5]

However, Engels’ analysis in this paragraph is also obviously, not only wrong, but also fundamentally inconsistent with the very Marxist analysis that Engels purported to apply and of which he was himself the co-formulator.

Think about it for a moment. According to Marxist theory, the defining characteristic of the proletariat in Marxist theory is that, possessing neither capital nor production means, [they] must earn their living by selling their labour. This is the very definition of the term ‘proletariat’, as the term is used in orthodox Marxist theory.

In contrast, the bourgeoisie (i.e. capitalists) are defined by their ownership of the Means of Production (i.e. of land, factories and everything needed to produce goods for sale, except labour). This means that, unlike the proletariat, they do not have to sell their labour, and are able instead to subsist, and indeed to prosper, by employing the labour of proletarians and extracting surplus value (i.e. profits).

In short, the proletariat are obliged to sell their labour to make a living; the bourgeoisie/capitalists are not, being able instead to exploit the labour of the former.

Indeed, even non-Marxists agree that, always, throughout history, it was those groups within society who were obliged to work so as to survive – slaves, serfs, so-called ‘wage-slaves’ and the aptly named ‘working classes’ – who were regarded as ‘oppressed’, disadvantaged and exploited as a consequence of this fact.

In contrast, those exempt from having to work – the so-called ‘leisure class’ or ‘idle rich’ – who were supported by the labour of others were regarded as their exploiters.

As Murray Rothbard observes:

“It is always the slaves who do the work, while the masters live in relative idleness off the fruits of their labor. To the extent that husbands work and support the family, while wives enjoy a kept status, who then are the masters?”[6]

Yet feminists following in the footsteps of Engels equated the housewife’s ostensible ‘oppression’ precisely with the fact that she did not have to work to earn her keep but rather was supported by her husband, and her ‘liberation’ with her entrance into the world of wage-slavery.

It is almost as if the slaveholder were perversely to pose as ‘oppressed’ on account of being denied the opportunity to toil for endless hours in his cotton fields, and was to claim ‘liberation’ by virtue of being chained up alongside his slaves.

[Of course, feminists will respond by claiming that this ignores the so-called unpaid labour in the home (i.e. housework). However, as I explain in my previous post, entitled ‘Unpaid Labour or Overpaid Laziness: Why Housework in Your Own House Isn’t Really Work’, such activities do not qualify as work for the sort for which one is entitled to demand remuneration.]

Thus, contrary to Engels, the fact that the husband is, in Engels’ own words, “obliged to earn a living and support his family” does not make him bourgeois. On the contrary, it makes him the quintessential proletarian.

In contrast, it is the housewife, who is supported at the expense of her husband, who occupies a position analogous to the bourgeois. Both are spared work and instead supported at the expense of male labourers.

Engels, perhaps suffering from an infection of misguided male chivalry, does not just have it wrong; he has it precisely backwards – and the feminists fell for it.

The ‘Means of Production’ and the ‘Means of Reproduction

Of course, this analysis begs the obvious question: Why are women in such an exalted position? How do they manage to achieve this remarkable feat of living off the proceeds of male labour?

The answer must be sought again in orthodox Marxist theory – albeit this time with an added sociobiological twist.

Let’s first deal with the orthodox Marxism. The bourgeoisie manage to live off the labour of the working-class, according to orthodox Marxist economic theory, because they control what Marxists refer to as the Means of Production. This refers to the means necessary to produce goods and services for sale in the marketplace, and includes such items as land, factories, capital and, of course, labour.

How then do women manage to achieve a feat analogous to that or the capitalists when most women do not own any of the ‘means of production’?[7]

I submit the explanation lies, not in women’s control over the ‘means of production’, but rather in their ownership of the Means of Reproduction – namely their own vaginas, wombs, ovaries etc.

The essence of this idea was first captured by American socialists, Roscoe B Tobias and Mary Marcy, the latter a vaguely famous early twentieth century (female) American socialist, the former her brother, in their remarkable but largely forgotten work, Women as Sex Vendors[8] (which I have reviewed here).

There, Tobais and Marcy write:

As a sex, women occupy a position similar to the petty shop-keeper, because they possess a commodity to sell or to barter. Men, as a sex, are buyers of, or barterers for, this commodity”.[9] 

In short, as they put it in the blurb to the original 1918 edition, “women occupy a position similar to the petty shop-keeper, because they possess a commodity to sell or to barter besides their own labour power”.

Thus, according to another early-twentieth-century socialist and anti-feminist, Ernest Belfort Bax, Tobias and Marcy’s thesis can be summarized thus:

The privileged situation of woman socially and economically in our existing society… is deducible from the fact that women are the monopolists of a saleable or barterable commodity necessary to the vast majority of men – viz., their sex.[10]

In other words, whereas the male proletarian famously has ‘nothing to sell but his labour’, the same is not true of any woman, irrespective of her socioeconomic class. She has something else to sell – namely her body.

[Actually, strictly speaking, prostitutes (and wives) do not, as cliché has it ‘sell their bodies’. After all, when one sells something, one permanently loses ownership of it (unless one is prepared to buy it back). However, after the contracted sex act, the prostitute retains ownership of her body. What prostitutes do then is, not so much ‘sell their bodies’, so much as temporarily rent out access to certain specified orifices therein. This renting out is typically on strict and freely negotiated contractual terms and represents, in the strict legal sense, a ‘licence’ not a ‘lease.]

Thus, as the inestimable Esther Vilar puts it:

By the age of twelve at the latest, most women have decided to become prostitutes. Or, to put it another way, they have planned a future for themselves which consists of choosing a man and letting him do all the work. In return for his support, they are prepared to let him make use of their vagina at certain given moments.[11]

From Marxism to Sociobiology

Of course, this in turn begs the question as to why it can be said that women own the ‘means of reproduction’? After all, both a man and a woman, a sperm and an ovum, are required to produce human offspring. Thus, despite women’s proudly proclaimed status as ‘the bearers of life’, both a woman and a man are necessary to create human life.

To answer this question, we must turn from pseudo-scientific nineteenth-century Marxian economics to twenty-first century evolutionary Biology – in particular the contemporary sciences of sociobiology, behavioural ecology and evolutionary psychology.

The key insight underlying the understanding of most differences, both physical and behavioural, between males and females in humans and other animals is what biologists refer to as Bateman’s Principle.[12] According to this fundamental law of behavioural biology, as later formalized and elaborated upon by Robert Trivers as differential parental investment theory, the sex that makes a greater investment in offspring is competed over by the sex making a lesser investment.[13] 

To successfully reproduce, a woman in the EEA must, at the very minimum, invest not only an ovum, but nine month’s gestation, plus some time nursing. In contrast, reproduction may cost a human male nothing more than the costs involved in producing a single ejaculate, plus the energy expended in intercourse.

As a result, a man can increase his number of offspring (i.e. his Darwinian fitness) by mating with multiple females and the more females with whom he mates, then, all else being equal, the more offspring he is likely to have.

In contrast, given the demands of pregnancy, a human female can only produce one offspring every year or so at most (with the exception of twins), however many men she has sex with. With the addition of the demands of nursing (i.e. in the absence of either surrogate wet nursing or bottle-feeding, both of which would have been absent in what evolutionary psychologists call the EEA), this is reduced to one child every few years or more, given the suppression of fertility by lactation.

It therefore pays females to be more selective over their choice of sexual partners than are males. Thus, in one delightful illustration of this principle, psychologists Clark and Hatfield found that, whereas 72% of male subjects agreed to go to bed with an attractive female stranger who approached them with a request to this effect on a university campus, not a single one of the 96 females approached agreed to the same request from a similarly attractive male experimenter.[14] (What percentage of the women sued the university for sexual harassment was never revealed.)

This then gives women their sexual power over men, reflecting what is sometimes known as ‘the principle of least interest’.

One strategy adopted by females in various species, humans included, is to demand material resources from males in return for sexual access.

Thus, leading evolutionary psychologist David Buss has written “The evolution of the female preference for males who offer resources may be the most ancient and pervasive basis for female choice in the animal kingdom”.[15]

John Alcock, in his textbook on Animal behaviour, reports:

A classic demonstration of this strategy comes from Randy Thornhill’s study of the black-tipped hangingfly, whose females make copulation, and subsequent egg fertilisations, contingent upon receipt of an edible nuptial gift. Females flatly refuse to mate with males that proffer unpalatable ladybird beetles and will let copulation begin only when the present is edible. If, however, the female can consume the gift in less than 5 minutes, she finishes it and separates from her partner without having accepted a single sperm. When the gift is large enough to keep the copulating female occupied for 20 minutes, she will depart with a full gut and a full complement of the gift-givers sperm.[16]

Patterns of prostitution also confirm that, in respect of sexual favours, women are the sellers, men the buyers.

Indeed, to the extent male prostitutes do exist, they overwhelmingly service, not women, but rather homosexual men. As pioneering sociologist-turned-sociobiologist Pierre Van Den Berghe observes, “The male prostitute, unless he caters to homosexuals, is an economic redundancy, constantly undercut by eager amateur competition”.[17]

Indeed, this pattern is not merely restricted to overt prostitution but extends, in one way or another, to all forms of heterosexual coupling and courtship.

Thus, as I have written elsewhere:

The entire process of conventional courtship in Western society is predicated on prostitution – from the social expectation that the man pay for dinner on the first date, to the legal obligation that he continue to support his ex-wife, through alimony and maintenance, for anything up to ten or twenty years after he has belatedly rid himself of her. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a prostitute as ‘a person who engages in sexual intercourse for payment’. That’s not the definition of a prostitute. That’s the definition of a woman! The distinguishing feature of prostitutes isn’t that they have sex for money – it’s that they provide such excellent value for money.

In short, as Tobias and Marcy put it in the title to their forgotten early twentieth century masterpiece of Marxian-masculism, women are Sex Vendors.

Women as Nature’s Capitalist Class

Women, like the scions of great capitalists, are therefore blessed by birth with ownership over a commodity, other than their own labour, they will be able to sell in the marketplace – namely sexual access to their various orifices.

This is a commodity the value of which is easy to underestimate.

Thus, as we have seen, Tobias and Marcy equate women with what Marx derisively termed the ‘petit bourgeoisie’, writing, “women occupy a position similar to the petty shop-keeper, because they possess a commodity to sell or to barter besides their own labour power”.

However, in equating women exclusively with “the petty shop-keeper”, Tobias and Marcy potentially vastly underestimate the potential price of pussy.

Some women may indeed sell their sex cheaply – e.g. the street prostitute or wife of a humble manual labourer. However, other women manage to command a price that is, by any measure, positively exorbitant – e.g. the indolent parasitic wife of a multimillionaire tycoon or of royalty.

The wife of the millionaire tycoon is therefore the apex predator, occupying an even higher position in the economic food chain than her husband. Women have long been known by researchers in the marketing industry to dominate almost every area of consumer spending.

After all, given that humans have evolved through natural selection ultimately to maximise their inclusive fitness or reproductive success, women’s advantage is, in sociobiological terms, more fundamental than that of the capitalists. The capitalists may control the ‘Means of Production’, but women control the ‘Means of Reproduction’.

As pioneering sociologist-turned-sociobiologist Pierre van den Berghe writes:

The ultimate measure of human success is not production but reproduction. Economic productivity and profit are means to reproductive ends, not ends in themselves.[18]

Production is ultimately, in Darwinian terms, merely a means of reproduction. Reproduction is the ultimate purpose of life.

Thus, for all his ostensible radicalism, it seems that Karl Marx, in his emphasis on economics (‘production’) at the expense of sex (‘reproduction’), was just another Victorian sexual prude.

Thus, if, as Marxists maintain, wealthy capitalists control the capitalist economy, then the women who are wives of wealthy capitalists also indirectly control the capitalist economy through both their purchasing power and their control over the wealth generated by their husbands’ entrepreneurialism.

As Schopenhauer observed, whereas man strives in everything for a direct domination over things, either by comprehending or subduing them… woman is everywhere and always relegated in a merely indirect, which is achieved by means of man, who is consequently the only thing she has to dominate directly.[19]

Or, as Aristotle put it some two millennia earlier, What difference does it make whether the women rule or the rulers are ruled by the women? The result is the same.[20]

Thus, as Bertrand Russell observed:

The world is full of idle people, mostly women, who have little education, much money, and consequentially great self-confidence… Especially in America, where the men who make money are mostly too busy to spend it themselves, culture is largely dominated by women whose sole claim to respect is that their husbands possess the art of growing rich.[21]

Thus, women are indeed capitalists by birth, but not always of the petit bourgeois variety.

The feminists never tire of reminding us that men, on average, earn more money than women. This is indeed true – not least because men work longer hours, in more dangerous and unpleasant working conditions for a greater proportion of their lives.[22]

However, what they neglect to point out is that, while men may earn more money than women, researchers in the marketing industry have long been aware that it is women who spend most of it, some researchers estimating that women control around 80% of consumer spending.

As David Thomas observes, 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.[23]

As Leo Tolstoy observed, then as now, one has only to walk through the streets of any shopping mall, especially the among more expensive shops selling jewellery or overpriced designer clothes to see who spends most of the money, and to whom most of the products are marketed

Ten or twelve passages consisting of solid rows of magnificent shops with immense plate-glass windows are all filled with all kinds of expensive wares – exclusively feminine ones – stuffs, dresses laces, dresses, gems, foot-gear, house adornments, furs and so on. All these things cost millions and millions, all these articles have been manufactured in establishments by working people who frequently ruin their lives in this work, and all these articles are of no use, not only the working people, but even to the wealthy men – they are all amusements and adornments of women…
And all these articles are in the power and in the hands of a few hundred women, who in expensive furs and hats of the latest fashion saunter through these shops and purchase these articles, which are manufactured for them.
A few hundreds of women arbitrarily dispose of the labour of millions of working people, who work to support themselves and their families. On the whims of these women depend the fate, the lives of millions of people.”.[24]

From Economic Power to Social and Political Power

However, Marxist analyses of capitalist society do not stop at the economic analysis that lies at their foundation. On the contrary, it extends to sociological and political analysis.

Marxist Theory is often described as a form of economic determinism. Marxists maintain that the ideology and institutions prevailing in a given society reflect the economic relations between members of that society. Thus, economics ultimately determines culture – or, in Marxist terminology, the economic base determines the Superstructure.

In other words, economically powerful groups within society convert their economic power into social and political power by controlling the culture and institutions of society in order to promote their own interests and continued dominance over the rest of society.

On this view, all the central institutions of Western capitalist society – e.g. the mass media, criminal justice system, courts and education system – function, ultimately, to maintain and perpetuate the dominance of the capitalist class.

Thus, the legal system functions to protect property rights, the educational system to reproduce the class system in the next generation and to inculcate capitalist values in young minds, while the media exists to propagate the dominant ideology of the ruling class among the malleable masses.

Extending their Marxian-masculist analysis from purely economic relations to the social and political institutions of society, Tobais and Marcy write:

The laws today protect the owners of property and the economically powerful. The more economic power a group, or a class, or a sex possesses, the more the state throws the mantle of its protective laws about it. Women are the owners of a commodity for which men are buyers or barterers, and our modern laws protect woman at the expense of man.[25]

This then explains the discrimination against men that operates in many areas of law, not just in Tobais and Marcy’s day, but also in the legal systems of modern, ostensibly egalitarian, Western legal systems.

Thus, for example, in the criminal courts, male offenders are sentenced to more severe sentences than female offenders guilty of the same offences,[26] and both male are female offenders are sentenced more severely when they victimize women than when they victimize men,[27] with male offenders who victimize women sentenced most severely of all.[28]

Similarly, before the family courts, mothers are awarded custody of offspring in preference to fathers in the overwhelming majority of cases where fathers even bother to contest the issue.[29]

Elsewhere, laws sometimes still explicitly discriminate against males, for example, in respect of pension rights,[30] insurance premiums,[31] abortion rights[32] or criminal defences.[33]

Feminism as a ‘Dominant Ideology

However, according to the ‘economic determinism’ of orthodox Marxism, the economic relations between classes (the ‘economic base’ of society) determines not only the laws operating, but also the prevailing cultural, social, political and philosophical values and beliefs prevalent in the society in question.

This is sometimes referred to as the ‘dominant ideology’ of the society, and is thought to reflect the interests of the dominant economic class in that society.

Thus, the values and beliefs widely held in Western capitalist society, and promoted in the mass media, education system etc., are, on this view, thought to be those that benefit the dominant capitalist class in Western society (‘sex vendors’ included).

This same analysis can then surely be employed to explain feminism itself.

After all, what represents the dominant viewpoint or ideology concerning gender roles and the relations between the sexes in contemporary Western society? The answer, of course, is feminism.

Indeed, its intellectual shortcomings notwithstanding, no ideology or belief-system has been so relentlessly promoted by the mass media, academic establishment and educational system as has modern feminism. As I have written elsewhere, from originally portraying itself as a radical challenge to the status quo, feminism has come to represent a sacrosanct contemporary dogma the central tenets of which an individual (especially a male) may publicly question only at grave risk to their reputation and livelihood.

Why then does the capitalist media and the political and academic establishment promote feminist ideology so relentlessly? How does feminism benefit the dominant capitalist class in Western society?

The answer, for anyone familiar with basic Marxist economic theory, should be obvious. Indeed, it is literally staring us in the face, to such an extent that it is a wonder that so few self-styled Marxist intellectuals (Bax, Marcy and Tobias excepted) have failed to recognise it and have instead fell hook line and sinker for the bourgeois propaganda.

In promoting the idea that married women, instead of devoting themselves to keeping house and raising children, should pursue careers outside the home just as men do, feminism increases the supply of labour available to capitalists.

An increase in the supply of labour, creates greater competition for jobs, which, in turn, drives down wages, an obvious benefit to capitalist employers.

Moreover, since married women usually remain financially supported, at least in part, by their husbands, this means they can afford to work for less than can single men, let alone married men and fathers (who are still expected to support a wife and children in addition to themselves). This means that women undercut the wages which male employees are otherwise able to command, further benefiting capitalist employers.

This has led anti-capitalist anti-feminist iconoclast Rich Zubaty to controversially describe feminism as “the biggest scab labor movement in history”.

Thus, as anti-feminist Neil Lyndon observes:

“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.”[34]

On this view, it is no surprise that the rise of modern feminism in the 1970s was concomitant with a change in the economic structure of Western societies – namely the decline in heavy industry, manufacturing and manual labour, where male physical strength was at a premium, and the rise of the ‘Service Sector, an area of employment to which women are arguably better suited.

On the contrary, this observation is eminently compatible with the ‘economic determinism’ of orthodox Marxist theory, whereby it is presumed that a change in the ‘dominant ideology’ or ‘superstructure’ is always preceded by, and determined by, a prior change in the ‘economic base.

At any rate, whether or not one accepts the rigid ‘economic determinism’ of orthodox Marxism, it is clear that feminism led the way in helping to effect, or, at the very least, providing a key retrospective justification for, the shift in patterns of employment among married women that was undoubtedly beneficial to capitalist employers.

An accompanying side-effect of this shift was, of course, mass male unemployment and the widespread breakdown of the family unit, with men losing their traditional role role as breadwinners, and the traditional ‘nuclear family’ replaced by what Warren Farrell calls “a new nuclear family: woman, government and child”, with single mothers increasingly subsidised by taxpayers’ money via the welfare system, and fathers increasingly superfluous to requirements.

However, to the capitalists, this was of little concern. The key point was that, civil disorder and psychological distress notwithstanding, capitalist production and consumption continued unabated.

Meanwhile, in addition to these purely economic benefits, feminism offered a further political and ideological benefit for ruling elites – namely, it distracted attention away from the very real oppression of genuinely disadvantaged groups – e.g. refuse disposal workers, coal miners and the homeless (all of whom happen, of course, to be overwhelmingly male).

It therefore permitted successive waves of resolutely capitalist governments of all political colours to disingenuously pose as radical by pandering to the whims of over-privileged middle-class feminists in lieu of doing anything to tackle genuine inequality, oppression and poverty.

On this view, as late-nineteenth, early-twentieth century Marxist-Masculist Ernest Belfort Bax suggested in 1913 the Anti-man agitation [i.e. feminism] forms a capital red herring for drawing the popular scent off class opposition by substituting sex antagonism in its place.[35]


In this respect, moreover, feminism has been remarkably successful. Whereas radical socialism is all but moribund across the entire world, feminism now reigns triumphant throughout the West, its main tenet, namely the ostensible ‘oppression’ of women, being accepted as an unquestioned dogma throughout academia, the mainstream media and by political parties from across the political spectrum.

On this view, feminism served both economic and political purposes for the capitalist ruling class, and was an overwhelmingly successful strategy in both respects.

Yet, far from being the radical left-wing revolutionaries of their own imaginings, feminists were, on this view, little more than naïve and unwitting tools of, ‘useful idiots’ for, and abettors to, the very capitalist exploitation they, and their leftist allies, purport to oppose.

Feminism can thus be reduced to a form of what Marxists are apt to term false consciousness.



[1] Tiger, L (1999) The Decline of Males (New York: St Martin’s Press): at p27.

[2] Tobias, RB & Marcy, ME (1918) Women as Sex Vendors or, Why Women Are Conservative (Being a View of the Economic Status of Woman) – this precise wording is taken from the blurb on an original edition.

[3] Thomas, D (1993) Not Guilty: The Case in Defence of Modern Man: at p80.

[4] Engels, F (1884) The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State. Interestingly, Engels’ use of the phrase “without any need for special legal titles and privileges” in the passage quoted seems to implicitly concede that, contrary to the prevailing feminist orthodoxy, men did not have any explicit legal privileges over women – even in the purportedly ‘patriarchal’ late-nineteenth century when these words were penned. In fact, even then, virtually all legal privileges, whether in family law, labour law, or before the criminal courts, lay with women.

[5] Yes, feminism was, like the internal combustion engine, the microcomputer, Marxism and Nuclear Weapons, by and large invented by men. In a sense, we have only ourselves to blame.

[6] Rothbard, Murray (1970) “The Great Women’s Liberation Issue: Setting It Straight” The Individualist, May.

[7] Of course, some women may own these things, usually indirectly though their husband’s ownership of them, and their own effective ownership of their husbands under current marriage laws. Moreover, women, as we have seen, in a sense control the labour of their husbands, in that they benefit from and are supported by it, and labour is itself one of the essential ‘means of production’. However, these are precisely the facts that we are trying here to explain.

[8] Tobias RB & Marcy M (1918) Women as Sex Vendors (Chicago: Charles H Kerr and Company Cooperative, 1918).

[9] Tobias RB & Marcy M (1918) Women as Sex Vendors: p12-13.

[10] Bax, EB (1918) The Woman Question and Marxian Historical MaterialismJustice (19th December): at p7.

[11] Vilar, E (2008) The Manipulated Man (Londond: Pinter & Martin 2008): p24-5.

[12] Bateman, A.J. (1948), Intra-sexual selection in Drosophila Heredity, 2 (Pt. 3): 349–368.

[13] Trivers, R. L. (1972) Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.) Sexual selection and the descent of man, 1871-1971 (pp 136–179). Chicago, Aldine.

[14] Clark & Hatfield (1989) ‘Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers’ Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality 2:39-53 (This study was supposedly the inspiration for the lyrics of the hit British 90s Dance track “Would you go to bed with me?” which reached no.3 in the British charts and was played on the radio for many years.)

[15] Buss D (2003) The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating (Basic Books 2003): at p22.

[16] Alcock J (2001) Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach (Seventh Edition) (Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates 2001): p343.

[17] Van Den Berghe, P (1979) Human Family Systems: An Evolutionary View (New York: Elsevier 1979): p60-1.

[18] Van den Berghe, P (1987) The Ethnic Phenomenon (Westport: Praeger 1987)

[19] Schopenhauer, A (1850) On Women.

[20] Aristotle (c. 340 BCE) Politics, Book 2.

[21] Russell, B ‘The Case for Socialism’, in In Praise of Idleness (1935).

[22] Farrell, W (2005) Why Men Earn More (which I have reviewed here).

[23] Thomas, D Not Guilty: The Case in Defence of Modern Man (1993).

[24] Tolstoy L (1900) ‘Need it be So?’; Similarly, in a contemporary context, Warren Farrell makes much the same observation, concluding, “in my own examination of large shopping malls… I found that seven times as much floor space is devoted to women’s personal items as to men’s” and that “the more valuable floor space… was devoted to women’s items” (Myth of Male Power: p33; p374).

[25] Tobias RB & Marcy M (1918) Women as Sex Vendors: p52.

[26] Daly K, Bordt, RL (1995) Sex effects and sentencing: An analysis of the statistical literature Justice Quarterly 12(1); Spohn, C  and Beichner, D (2000) Is Preferential Treatment of Female Offenders a Thing of the Past? A Multisite Study of Gender, Race, and ImprisonmentCriminal Justice Policy Review, 11(2): 149-184; 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; Mustard DB (2001) Racial, Ethnic and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the US Federal CourtsSocial Science Research Network XLIV:285-314; 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; Curry, TR, Lee G and Rodriguez, SF (2004) Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing OutcomesCrime & 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 OffendersFeminist Criminology 7(2):146–162;   Starr, SB, (2012) Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases. University of Michigan Law and Economics Research Paper, No. 12-018 (August 29, 2012).

[27] Beaulieu & Messner, Race, Gender, and Outcomes in First Degree Murder Cases Justice Quarterly (1999) 3(1): 47-68; Curry, Lee & Rodriguez  Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing OutcomesCrime & Delinquency, (2004) 50(3):319-343; Williams & Holcomb, The Interactive Effects of Victim Race and Gender on Death Sentence Disparity Findings (2004) Homicide Studies 8(4):350-376; Curry, The conditional effects of victim and offender ethnicity and victim gender on sentences for non-capital cases Punishment & Society (2010) 12(4):438-462.

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

[29] 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 caregiver’ is defined in such a way as to be overwhelmingly female.

[30] 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.

[31] 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.

[32] 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.

[33] Whereas Warren Farrell in The Myth of Male Power (reviewed here) purports to identify twelve “‘female-only’ defences” in US criminal law, I am thinking here particularly of the Infanticide Acts of 1922 and 1938 in the UK, which give explicit statutory recognition to one of these.

[34] Lyndon, N (1993) No More Sex War: p123.

[35] Bax, EB, (1913) The Fraud of Feminism (London: Grant Richards Ltd.): at p76.