Women as Children?

Women are directly adapted to act as the nurses and educators of our early childhood, for the simple reason that they themselves are childish, foolish, and short-sighted—in a word, are big children all their lives, something intermediate between the child and the man, who is a man in the strict sense of the word.

Arthur Schopenhauer, On Women[1]

According to the conventional wisdom, and according to the central tenet of feminism, women were ‘oppressed’ under traditional sex roles, and, to some extent, remain oppressed today.

If one looks only at the selective evidence cited by feminists themselves, this claim may seem to have some superficial plausibility, as least with regard to the position of women prior to the rise of modern feminism.

For example, as the feminists never tire of reminding us, women were, until around a hundred years ago, denied the right to vote in national elections.[2] Similarly, until around the same time, they were ineligible to serve on juries.[3]

These are indeed disqualifications that women shared in common with other genuinely disadvantaged groups, such as blacks in the USA under slavery and Jim Crow.

On closer inspection, however, the claim that women were oppressed by traditional sex roles breaks down. After all, there are countless other spheres where women were granted special privileges over and above those of their ostensible oppressor.

For example, women were exempt from military service, and from corporal punishment.

Thus, in Britain, the whipping of male offenders continued to be sanctioned, and imposed, by law until the middle decades of the twentieth century. However, the whipping of female offenders had been abolished and declared unlawful well over a century before in 1820[4]

Likewise, when the Titanic sunk in 1912, it was women and children, not men and children, who were allowed on board the lifeboats first, while men were left to die. As a result, whereas 80% of men on board perished, only 26% of women did, a form of privilege, and of discrimination, that was, for many men and women, literally a matter of life and death.[5]

The same is not, of course, true of other oppressed groups. It is unthinkable that slaveholders on board a sinking ship would allow their slaves to enter the lifeboats first while the slaveholders themselves willingly waited on board the sinking vessel. Likewise, whereas the whipping of women was forbidden long before that of men, the whipping of slaves was, of course, commonplace.

Moreover, unlike the examples of discrimination against women referred to above (i.e. the disqualification regarding voting or serving in juries), forms of discrimination against men continue up to the present day, even in the West.

Thus, women are still sentenced more leniently than men convicted of the same or similar offences, as has been demonstrated in countless studies;[6] and, just as on board the Titanic, women are accorded priority in rescue and relief operations, even when males are at greater risk.[7]

Indeed, to this day, and across the world, there are many forms of discrimination against men which receive little if any attention, least of all from feminists. These range from conscription,[8] car insurance,[9] child custody contests,[10] and sentencing in the criminal courts,[11] to pension rights,[12] reproductive rights[13] and international relief operations,[14] as well as the targeting of males in genocides and war crimes.[15]

Moreover, in common with other oppressed groups, it is men, not women, who are overrepresented among such groups as the homeless,[16] the victims of violent crime,[17] the prison population,[18] suicides[19] and the victims of genocides.[20]

In short, as I have shown in two previous posts, viewing women, either today or in the past, as an ‘oppressed group’ is simply untenable.

As Warren Farrell observes in The Myth of Male Power (reviewed here):

Women are the only ‘oppressed’ group to systematically grow up having their own private member of the ‘oppressor’ class (called fathers) in the field working for them… No oppressed group has ever had a higher net worth than the oppressor… Women are the only minority group that is a majority, the only group that calls itself ‘oppressed’ that is able to control who is elected to virtually every office in every community in the country… the only ‘oppressed’ group to share the same parents as the ‘oppressor’; to be born into the middle class and upper class as frequently as the ‘oppressor’; to own more of the country’s luxury items as the ‘oppressor’; the only ‘oppressed’ group whose ‘unpaid labor’ enables them to buy most of the fifty billion dollars’ worth of cosmetics every year; the only oppressed group that spends more on high fashion, brand name clothing than their ‘oppressors’.”[21]

Explaining Male Chivalry

If  the orthodox (i.e. feminist) view of the position of women is untenable, how then are we to make sense of the status of women in traditional societies?

The opposite view – namely that it is men who are oppressed and women who are their oppressors – is, after all, only marginally less problematic.

For one thing, it fails to explain the forms of discrimination pointed to by feminists (e.g. with respect to voting rights and jury service).

True, these forms for discrimination are both fewer in number, and less serious in their consequences, than the forms of discrimination to which men are subjected, and, moreover, unlike discrimination against men, have long previously been abolished.[22] However, they still in need of explanation.

Second, it makes little sense to talk of women oppressing men, when it is in fact men themselves who are responsible for doing much of the alleged oppression.

After all, as the feminists never tire of reminding us, it is men, not women, who are over-represented in senior positions among the legislature, judiciary and police. It is therefore men themselves who are responsible for enacting into law, interpreting and applying the very laws that discriminate against themselves and other men.

Thus, it was a male Parliament, both composed entirely by men and elected entirely by men, that passed into law many of the discriminatory laws discussed below (e.g. Whipping of Female Offenders Abolition Act of 1820, the Mines and Colleries Act of 1842, the Factories Act 1847 and the Military Service Act of 1916).

Likewise, it is a predominantly male judiciary that sentences females offenders more leniently than male offenders guilty of equivalent transgressions.[23]

In short, we must produce a theory of male chivalry – a theory that explains not only why women discriminate against men, but also why men themselves also discriminate against men.

Women as Children

Is there a way of conceptualizing the position of women in traditional society that enables us to explain both the apparent disadvantages under which women claim to suffer as well as the vastly greater number of undoubted privileges to which women have also been entitled?

I contend in this post that the most useful analogy for understanding the position of women in traditional societies, and to some extent even in contemporary Western societies, is that of societies’ treatment of, and attitudes towards, children.

To make sense of this analogy, let’s look in greater detail at just a few of the various ways in which women are, or have been, treated in a manner analogous to children.

Military Service

First, take the obligation to undertake military service.

Both women and young children are exempt from conscription and the draft and are generally not expected, nor even permitted, to volunteer for military service, at least in the front-line roles.

Recently, a few countries have made a largely nominal attempt to extend conscription to women in the name of equality. In reality, however, in the entirety of recorded history, conscription has never been applied on anything like equal terms to men and women.[24]

Indeed, in some respects, women are even more exempt from the obligation to undertake military service than are some children – i.e. older boys.

After all, child soldiers – almost invariably boys – are a regrettably common phenomenon, both throughout history, and throughout much of the Developing World today.

Moreover, even in Britain as recently as the First World War, many boys younger than the age of majority were pressured into enlisting, often by white feather-wielding young girls of similar age.

Indeed, although their enlistment was, in principle, unlawful, the authorities, faced with mounting casualty rates among soldiers and a shortage of manpower, and hence desperate for additional cannon-fodder, were said to ‘turn a blind-eye’, tacitly condone, or even approve, the enlistment of underage boys.

Innocent Women and Children

Indeed, the protection accorded women during wartime goes beyond merely their exemption from conscription. The deliberate targeting of so-called ‘innocent women and children’ still represents the quintessential ‘war crime’ and ‘atrocity’.

Indeed, admonitions to spare (at least some) enemy womenfolk are found as far back as the Old Testament;[25] and also in Islamic scripture.[26]

This is, of course, despite the fact that, in every war for which reliable data exists, it is males who represent the overwhelming majority of those killed.[27]

Indeed, men represent not only, for obvious reasons, the majority of military casualties, but also the majority of civilian casualties too,[28] not least due to the deliberate targeting of so-called ‘battle-age males’, as documented by Adam Jones.[29]

Yet, when the dead in some bombing raid or terrorist attack, or some other atrocity (or sometimes even a natural disaster), it is evidently thought particularly regrettable if women and children are included among the dead, to such an extent that newspaper reporters will sometimes report that the dead ‘included women and children’ as if this renders the tragedy especially lamentable.[30]

However, ‘battle-age males’ is often interpreted to include adolescent and teenage boys. This indicates that the protection accorded ‘innocent women and children’ applies more comprehensively to women than to children, at least if the latter are male.

Women and Children First

Likewise, the greater value accorded the lives of both women and children is evident not only in wartime, but peacetime too.

For example, on board the Titanic and other vessels such as the Birkenhead, both women and children were, famously, given priority in access to places on board the life boats. As a result, whereas fully eighty percent of men on board the Titanic perished, only twenty-six percent of women did.[31]

To some extent, this is well known and embedded in the popular consciousness. However, what is rather less widely appreciated is that this gender discrimination by far outweighed any class-based discrimination in allocating places on board the lifeboats.

Thus, even women travelling in the cheapest class of accommodation had a 41% better chance of survival than men travelling first-class.[32]

Indeed, while persons travelling in a higher class of accommodation did indeed survive at higher rates than those travelling in cheaper accommodation, this largely reflected the fact that:

  1. In the more expensive accommodation, there was also a higher proportion of female passengers; and
  2. Those in the cheapest accommodation (i.e. ‘Steerage’, or ‘Third Class’) were buried deep in the ship’s hull, far from the lifeboats.

Given the theme of the present post is the similarities between the treatment of women and of children, it is interesting to note that women also had a much higher rate of survival than did children. Whereas only twenty-six percent of women perished, almost fifty percent of children did – the survival rate for children lying roughly midway between that for women and for men.[33]

This perhaps suggests that, while men did indeed stand aside and sacrifice their lives in order to save both women and children, women themselves were less willing to do so in favour of children.

The practice of according women priority during rescue and relief operations is by no means obsolete, even in the ostensibly egalitarian West.

Thus, during the crash landing of US Airways Flight 1549, passengers reported that women and children were allowed on-board the life-rafts first.[34]

Similarly, during the genocidal civil war in Yugoslavia during the 1990s, it was women and children who were evacuated first, despite the fact that it was men who were overwhelmingly overrepresented among those targeted and killed.[35]

Indeed, even the ostensibly patriarchal Islamic societies of the Middle East are not immune from such chivalrous impulses, with, for example, Saddam Hussain permitting the evacuation of foreign women prior to the Gulf War.[36]

Protection from Violence, Pain and Suffering

The priority accorded both women and children in rescue and relief operations, from the Titanic in 1912 to Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, reflect a more general phenomenon – namely, the especial desire of society in general, and men in particular, to protect both women and children from violence, harm and suffering.

This then explains why people regard violent acts committed against women as more culpable than those committed against men,[37] why men are more ready to commit violent acts against men than against women,[38] and why the criminal justice system imposes more severe sentences on offenders who commit violent acts against women than those who commit violent acts against men.[39]

This then explains the perceived issue of ‘violence against women’ is regarded as a serious problem, but not the issue of, if you like, ‘violence against men’, despite the fact that, as we have seen, it is in fact males who are vastly overrepresented among the victims of violent crime, warfare and state violence.[40]

This also explains why, irrespective of who they have victimized, the courts also impose more severe sentences on male than female offenders,[41] and why women are all but exempt from certain penalties, such as corporal punishment[42] and the death penalty.[43]

Again, these protections and privileges are analogous to those accorded children.

Crimes against children are, of course, regarded as particularly loathsome, and sentenced accordingly, whereas, when children themselves commit crimes, they are treated with comparative leniency on account of their age.[44]

Interestingly, however, the protection from pain and suffering accorded women actually go beyond those accorded some children – namely male children, especially older boys.

For example, in Britain the Mines and Collieries Act of 1842, although now celebrated as a key piece of legislation in the fight against the exploitation of child labour, actually sanctioned the employment of boys as young as ten underground in mines, while prohibiting the employment of women or girls of any age in this same capacity.

An even more egregious case of such double standards is provided by laws governing the infliction of corporal punishment on offenders.

In the UK, the subjection of female offenders of any age to corporal punishment was ended in the early-nineteenth century with the passage of the Whipping of Female Offenders Act in 1820. However, the subjection of adult men to corporal punishment was not finally ended until the middle of the twentieth century, almost a century and a half later.

Yet, interestingly, the prohibition on subjecting female offenders to corporal punishment did not extend to children, at least not when these children were male.

Thus, while the whipping of male offenders was outlawed as early as 1820, the flogging of boys was not only permitted, but positively prescribed by law until well into the twentieth century, including for offences as minor as property damage and larceny, and for boys as young as seven.[45]

Indeed, the same is true to this day in many non-Western jurisdictions. Thus, David Benatar reports:

There are still over 30 countries in which the courts sentence people to corporal punishment. In the overwhelming majority of cases the punishment is reserved for males and may not be inflicted on females. This double standard was also the norm in those countries that previously inflicted judicial punishment but no longer do[46]

Indeed, as is apparent from this list maintained at wikipedia, many jurisdictions, not only subject only males to corporal punishment, but indeed restrict this practice specifically to young boys.

Women as ‘Dependants’

However, the privileges accorded both women and children go far beyond the especial protection of women and children from violence and suffering. The world of work provides a further sphere of privilege, further illuminating the analogies between the treatment of women and of children.

Children, unlike most adults (or at least most adult men), are not generally expected to work to earn a living. Instead, they are typically provided for by their parents.

Analogously, women are not always expected to provide for themselves.

Traditionally, women were provided for by their fathers, until, when married, this responsibility was passed on to their unfortunate husband, who was traditionally subject to a nonreciprocal obligation to ‘maintain’ (i.e. financially provide for) his wife.

Thus, historian Martin van Creveld, in his book The Privileged Sex (reviewed here), claims, “the duty of husbands to provide for their wives according to their means is universal”.[47] For example, he reports, “a French royal decree of 1214 gave a wife the rights to half her husbands’ property”;[48] while “the husband’s duty to support his wife was… written into… Roman wedding charters”.[49]

Despite the supposed advances of women in the workplace, the situation remains little changed even today.

Thus, in the UK as recently as 2003, government statistics that showed, Fewer than half of married women work, whereas 94 per cent of married men work full-time”.[50] Moreover, lest this disparity be attributed entirely to the demands of raising children, those women opting not to work included 42% of women without any children.[51]

Similarly, sociologist Catherine Hakim reports that in the US, on average, even those married women who do work earn only earn about a quarter of the total household income.[52] The pattern is similar in other western economies where, on average, married women earn only between one fifth and one third of the total income of the couple, a pattern which remained stable over the latter half of the twentieth century.[53]

In short, the vast majority of men are obliged to work full-time for a living for virtually the entirety of their adult lifetimes simply in order to support themselves and avoid destitution, let alone attract and support a wife and children.

In contrast, for many married women, work is optional. Moreover, even those married women who do opt to work usually do so only on a part-time basis. As a consequence, married men are often expected to provide, not just for themselves, but also for their wife and children as well.

As historian Martin van Creveld observes in his book The Privileged Sex (reviewed here):

[Whereas] most women settle into a life in which they are provided for and protected… most men step into one in which they provide and protect”.[54]

As a result, he concludes, “Men’s lot in life is endless hard work whose fruits will be consumed largely by others”.[55]

Thus, he observes, The biblical term eved, ‘slave’ has only a male form[56] – and, in the Book of Genesis (3:19):

When God drove the first human couple out of Eden, it was Adam and not Eve whom he punished by decreeing that ‘by the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread’”.[57]

In the whole of nature,” van Creveld declares, “there is no arrangement that is more demanding and more altruistic”.[58]

Government as a Substitute Husband/Father

Children without parents (i.e. orphans) also receive care, typically through charity or, more recently, the welfare system.

Thus, if a child’s parents are unavailable to perform the function of caring and providing for their children (e.g. if they are dead, missing or unidentifiable), then the state steps in, providing for orphans at public expense, as a Ward of the State, or else fostering the child out to substitute parents or adoptive parents who are willing and able to undertake this role.

Similarly, if a child’s parents have been adjudged by the courts and social services not to be providing an adequate level of care for their offspring, then, again, the state steps in, again taking the child into the custody and care of the state at taxpayer expense.

Likewise, where parents lack the necessary means to provide for their offspring, then the state again steps in, this time subsidizing the parents through the operation of the welfare system.

The same applies, once again, to women.

As in respect of children, when a husband is unwilling to maintain his wife, the state steps in, ordering the payment of alimony or maintenance, even sequestering the husband’s property for this purpose, and sometimes even employing debt collectors and bailiffs for this purpose, or even imprisoning husbands, or ex-husbands, for alleged non-payment of sums ordered by the courts.

Moreover, as taxpayers, men are obliged to financially provide for women even if they have no biological offspring, are sensible enough to have evaded marriage and even if the women in question are likewise unmarried.

Thus, where no husband is available to provide for a woman, either because she is widowed, has been unable to attract a husband, or her husband has been sensible enough to desert her and cannot be traced, then often charity, or, more recently, the state has stepped into the breach.

Formerly, prior to the emergence and expansion of the welfare state in the twentieth century, charitable institutions were principally responsible for performing this role.

Thus, historian Martin van Creveld, in his book The Privileged Sex (reviewed here), describes how, in nineteenth century America, many charitable institutions were set up specifically to help various classes of unmarried women. From spinsters and widows to former prostitutes and orphans in need of dowries, any woman lacking a husband was seemingly deemed eligible for charity on this ground alone.[59]

Meanwhile, men were often only eligible for charity if they were married, such that their wife would be the indirect, vicarious, beneficiary.[60]

Moreover, even those charities ostensibly providing aid to both sexes, in practice typically gave more money to women than men.[61]

Nowadays, while there remain many charitable organizations that assist only women (e.g. shelters for so-called ‘battered women’), the role of financially provisioning unmarried women has been largely usurped by the state, in the form of welfare/social security benefits.

Again, women received priority.

Thus, whereas men’s receipt of benefits/social security entitlement was usually conditional on their having worked and thereby contributed into the system, benefits for widows and mothers were unconditional.[62]

In addition, women also usually inherited the benefits earned by their husbands on the latter’s death. As Van Creveld puts it:

Having supported their wives during their entire lives, those husbands were now expected to continue doing so after their deaths as well.[63]

Discrimination against men in welfare entitlement continues to this day.

For example, benefits paid to parents of children, although ostensibly for the benefit of children, usually go to mothers rather than fathers.[64]

Meanwhile, in the UK, until just a few months ago, women were still eligible for state pensions at a younger age than were men. This was despite the fact that women, on average, both lived longer than men, and had worked for fewer years, hence contributing less into the system. This form of discrimination existed in Britain for around seventy years, before being belatedly phased out, in an unnecessarily protracted process, just a few months ago.[65]

As a result of these and other factors, men are, considered as a group, net contributors to government monies; whereas women, as a group, are net recipients.[66]

As Warren Farrell concludes in The Myth of Male Power (reviewed here), this has resulted in a:

A new nuclear family: woman, government and child… [or] Government as a Substitute Husband”.[67]

Van Creveld, in The Privileged Sex (reviewed here), likewise concludes:

On the face of it, a husband, a charitable institution and a modern welfare state are entirely different. In fact, though the details differ, the principle is the same. All are designed partly — and some would say primarily — to transfer resources from men… to women”.[68]

Husband as ‘Head of Household

Many of the advantages that women enjoy over men are, then, shared with children. Therefore, viewing women as occupying a position in society analogous to that of children helps us make sense of the position of women in traditional cultures and societies.

How then can we make sense of men’s role in these same societies? We can do so by viewing the position of men as analogous to that of adults, and, in particular, of parents.

Thus, just as women’s traditional privileges can be understood as analogous to those conferred on children, so the perceived privileges of men can be best understood as analogous to those rights, duties and obligations imposed on adults and particularly on parents.

Thus, just as parents are expected to feed, provide for, protect and care for their offspring, so they are delegated authority over their children.

Such authority is conferred on parents, not so much as recompense for their duty to provide and care for their underage offspring, but rather precisely so as to enable them to care for their offspring more fully and effectively.

After all, one cannot properly protect a child from dangerous behaviours the dangers of which the child is not yet capable of understanding unless one has the authority to forbid the child from engaging in such activities, and, if necessary, punish them to deter them from so doing.

Thus, parents’ authority over their offspring before the latter reach the age of majority includes, for example, the right to restrict their children’s activities, and also to discipline their children, although the acceptable forms such discipline can take has varied over time and place.[69]

Similarly, in return for the obligation to provide for their wives, husbands were, traditionally at least, conferred some, albeit largely nominal, authority over their wives.

Thence derives the husband’s traditional, albeit nominal, role as ‘head of household’ in traditional western society.

A society in which a male is designated head of household, and descent is traced down the male line, was traditionally referred to by anthropologists as a ‘patriarchal’ one. This term was then misappropriated, and indeed misunderstood, by feminists to mean something akin to ‘male privilege’.

It is thence from the the husband’s traditional role of ‘head of household’, including his obligation to financially provide for his family, that the feminist myth of ‘patriarchy’ and ‘male privilege substantially derives.

In practice, however, perceptive commentators have long recognised that the husbands’ ostensible authority was largely nominal and illusory.

Thus, even in pre-feminist late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Britain, legal scholar Ernest Belfort Bax (and an anonymous co-author), in his excellent The Legal Subjection of Men [reviewed here], observed how married women had effective impunity to desert their husbands and commit adultery at will, for which their unfortunate husband, unlike a wife in equivalent circumstances, had no legal remedy [for more details, see here].

Indeed, in such circumstances, the husband remained liable to maintain his wife, and even, under the presumption of legitimacy, to provide for the illegitimate bastard offspring of his wife’s lover, while also, under the doctrine of coverture, was even liable for any debts his wife continued to incur.[70]

Whereas men’s duty to financially provision their wives was enforced with force of law, there was no duty on women to perform housework or household chores.

In short, the marital contract, if it were indeed a true contract, would surely be void for lack of consideration.

Interestingly, and contrary to popular opinion,[71] the husband’s ostensible authority over his wife (unlike that of the parent over his or her offspring prior to the latter reaching the age of majority) never extended to physical chastisement , at least in Britain and America.

Thus, Christina Hoff Summers reports that:

In America, there have been laws against wife bearing since before the Revolution. By 1870, it was illegal in almost every state; but even before then wife beaters were arrested and punished for assault and battery.”[72]

She continues:

For most of our history, in fact, wife beating has been considered a sin comparable to thievery or adultery. Religious groups—especially Protestant groups such as Quakers, Methodists, and Baptists—punished, shunned, and excommunicated wife-beaters. Husbands, brothers, and neighbours often took vengeance against the batterer. Vigilante parties sometimes abducted wife-beaters and whipped them.[73]

Indeed, despite the man’s nominal authority as ‘Head of Household’, the prohibition on wife-beating in Anglo-American jurisprudence is far older than the settlement of the Americas.

Thus, researcher Michael George, in Skimmington Revisited, reports, not only was “wife beating was illegal in the Plymouth Bay Colony of 1655 and… wife beaters… often the subject of social approbation or sanction”, but also that:

In the first codification of a system of written law by Anglo-Saxon kings such as Aelhelberht (circa 587 A.D.) and Alfred the Great (circa 878 A.D.) there was recognition of individual rights and a rule of law within which women received protection from violent acts by men. [74]

Property Rights

It is sometimes claimed that women were, until recent times, ‘denied property rights’.

In fact, this is untrue and reflects a misunderstanding of the legal doctrine of coverture, a legal fiction whereby the legal personalities of husband and wife were subsumed into one.

However, coverture only ever applied to married women and men. Single women, therefore, were never, in any sense, ‘denied property rights’, but rather had the same ‘property rights’ as did single men.

Moreover, coverture was very much a ‘two-way street’, and, in fact, generally worked to the overwhelming advantage of women and the disadvantage of men.

Thus, as we have seen, married men were under a legal obligation to provide for and ‘maintain’ their wives, and monies could be seized from them for this purpose by the courts.[75]

Moreover, men were liable for the debts incurred by their wives and for civil wrongs the latter had committed. This meant that, if a woman ran up a debt, it was her husband who was responsible for paying it, and, if a woman committed a civil wrong (e.g. she defamed someone or breached a contract), it was her husband who would end up being sued and having to pay damages.

Indeed, under the related doctrine of marital coercion, a husband could even find himself held responsible for criminal acts which the latter had committed, if the husband was party to, aware of, or even merely present during, the commission of the offence.

Thus, historian Martin van Creveld reports:

In the 19th century, Britain even had a famous case when the jury was asked to consider whether a crippled and bedridden husband should be held responsible for a murder his wife committed in his presence”.[76]

In Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens famously ridiculed the assumption behind this manifestly unjust state of affairs, namely that “the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction”, with the immortal reply:

If the law supposes that… the law is a ass- a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience – by experience!”

However, the principle of coverture, in its implications if not its theory, again reflects the tendency of society in general, and the law in particular, to treat women as children rather than as adults.

Thus, if married women were indeed, in some sense, denied independent property rights, then, so, obviously, were children.

Yet neither suffered noticeably by this denial since their husband or father was, as we have seen, legally obliged to provide for both.

Likewise, husbands are liable for debts incurred, or civil wrongs committed, by their wives, just as fathers are for debts incurred and civil wrongs committed by their immature offspring – and husbands were punished for crimes committed by their wives, just as parents are sometimes held responsible and blamed for the crimes committed by juvenile delinquents ostensibly lacking responsible parental role models or parental control.

Far from evidencing the ‘oppression’ of women, coverture is thus further evidence that women were privileged, not held fully responsible for their own actions, protected and provided for by their husbands, and were, in short, to be mollycoddled and treated as children.

The Right to Vote

It is, of course, well known that, until comparatively recent times, women were denied the right to vote.[77]

This fact is, of course, well-known precisely because feminists never tire of reminding us of it. Indeed, along with the supposed pay-gap between men and women, the denial of the franchise, even though it came to an end a century ago, still represents perhaps the quintessential exemplar of the alleged oppression of women in the West.

Thus, in Britain, for example, until around a century ago, only adult males fulfilling certain property qualifications – a small minority of males right up until the enfranchisement of women in 1919 – had full voting rights.

This is, however, hardly the definitive proof of the oppression of women in pre- and early-twentieth century Britain (let alone today, a hundred years later) that the feminists take it for.

After all, as that great opponent of gender inequality – and of the enfranchisement of women – Ernest Belfort Bax observed in his early Men’s Rights Masterpiece, ‘The Legal Subjection of Men’ (reviewed here):

Electoral disqualifications are often attendant on special privilege. The Royal Family of this realm, with all their branches, are debarred from the exercise of both the passive and the active franchise. And yet no one pleads that, say, the prince of Wales, is, in consequence, a cruelly oppressed personage.”[78]

More pertinently to the topic of this post, there is, of course, another large subgroup of the population who are likewise denied exercise of the franchise, besides women and royalty, yet whom we do not generally regard as disadvantaged as a consequence – namely children.

Of course, granting electoral rights to toddlers or babes-in-arms is obviously preposterous.

However, many teenagers and older children are quite as capable of entering a ballot booth and marking a tick beside a preferred candidate on the basis of similar considerations to those entertained and considered by the average adult voter.

After all, electoral rights are not generally conditional on intelligence, literacy, emotional maturity, work experience or any similar criterion. Moreover, even if they were, many older children and teenagers surely have these traits in greater abundance than do many adults.

Indeed, even those adults qualifying as intellectually disabled or mentally retarded are not usually debarred from voting. However, even highly intelligent older children and teenagers, up to the age of eighteen in most jurisdictions, are still denied voting rights.

Why are Women Treated as Children?

Why then do societies in general, and men in particular, have a tendency to treat women as children, or at least as not wholly adult, with all the responsibilities and duties which adulthood typically imposes.

Ultimately, as I have argued previously, the male tendency to favour women, to grant them privileges and to discriminate in their favour probably primarily reflects men’s sexual desire for women and desire to gain their sexual affections.

Thus, men privilege and discriminate in women’s favour, ultimately because they think that doing so may enable them to receive sexual favours in return.

Even if this expectation, or hope, is not actually conscious, a tendency on the part of males to favour females and treat the latter indulgently in a range of situations may have been programmed into the male psych as a mating strategy via thousands of years of evolution as a result of sexual selection.

This then explains, in addition to the phenomena discussed above, why men are more ready to stop and help women in the street,[79] why male police officers are less likely to press charges against female defendants,[80] why predominantly male judiciary sentences women more leniently,[81] and even why even exclusively male legislatures, elected by exclusively male electorates, pass laws that explicitly discriminate against other males.[82]

On this view, as Jim Goad puts it, male feminism is a beta male mating strategy and the ultimate form of what is now pejoratively known as white knighting

However, this cannot be the whole story. After all, men are expected to hold doors open for little old ladies just as much as for nubile, pert-breasted eighteen-year-olds – perhaps more so.

This then is where the analogy with children comes in.

After all, men, and indeed adults in general, are particularly affectionate towards, and protective of young children, even where no obvious ulterior motive, conscious or unconscious, is evident.

People’s affection and protectiveness towards children probably has, once again, ancient and innate evolutionary roots, surely reflecting ultimately the Darwinian imperative of caring and providing for one’s own offspring during their infancy in order to secure the passage of our genes into subsequent generations.[83]

But why then do men in particular, and indeed adults in general, seem to treat women in the same way?

One reason may be that women indeed physically resemble children in many respects.

They are, of course, like children, smaller in stature than men. They are also, like children, physically weaker than men, especially in upper-body strength.[84]

They also have, like children, higher pitched voices than do men.

Finally, there is also evidence that women have more child-like facial features, sometimes referred to as neoteny.[85]

Women’s neotenous facial features are thought to be a product of sexual selection, since, among adult women, youth is correlated with both fertility and reproductive value, both key correlates of female sexual attractiveness in humans.

However, neoteny also functions to elicit nurturing and protective biological instincts which evolved, not in the context of mate choice, but rather of another essential reproductive activity, namely parenting.

In short, as compared to men, women physically resemble children, in stature, voice pitch, physical weakness and facial features. This may cause men to conceptualize both children and women as somehow similar and to group them together.

In addition, since it is women who are primarily responsible to the care of children, especially young children, this means that women and children are often seen in proximity of one another, further reinforcing men’s tendency to group them together.[86]

Interestingly in this context, Esther Vilar, in The Manipulated Man, her masterpiece of unmitigated misogyny (reviewed here), observes:

Woman’s greatest ideal is a life without work or responsibility – yet who leads such a life but a child? A child with appealing eyes, a funny little body with dimples and sweet layers of baby fat and clear, taut skin – that darling miniature of an adult. It is a child that woman imitates – its easy laugh, it’s helplessness, its need for protection. A child must be cared for; it cannot look after itself. And what species does not, by natural instinct, look after its offspring? It must – or the species will die out.  With the aid of skillfully applied cosmetics, designed to preserve that precious baby look; with the aid of helpless, appealing babble and exclamations such as ‘Ooh’ and ‘Ah,’ to denote astonishment, surprise, and admiration; with inane little bursts of conversation, women have preserved this ‘baby look’ for as long as possible so as to make the world continue to believe in the darling, sweet little girl she once was, and she relies on the protective instinct in man to make him take care of her.[87]

Of course, just because women are smaller in stature than men, and physically weaker than men, this does not mean that they are socially, politically or economically weaker. On the contrary, as Ernest Belfort Bax, the forgotten father of the Men’s Rights Movement in The Legal Subjection of Men (reviewed here) observed:

The bravest and strongest man is as weak as a child before the overwhelming force of the State. Any woman can at will summon to her aid a power no man can resist. And behind this force of law rests the equally irresistible force of public opinion… It would be just as reasonable to suppose that because the Czar of Russia and his high officials were less muscularly developed than the average Russian peasant, that the possibility of the Russian peasant being seriously oppressed by the Czar or his government was a proposition to be laughed at. The weakest and most frail woman, backed by the whole power of the State, may easily annihilate by the State forces summoned by her scream, a legion of Samsons or Hercules.”[88]

The Best of Both Worlds

In traditional societies, then, women were by no means ‘oppressed’. On the contrary, they were distinctly privileged in many respects as compared to men, in much the same say children were.

Moreover, those few forms of discrimination sometimes cited as evidence of oppression (e.g. the denial of the franchise) are better explained as, again, analogous to the treatment of children.

However, these few ostensible male privileges have been, without exception, long previously abolished at the behest of the powerful feminist lobby.

Moreover, at least in theory, feminists have vociferously objected to the treatment of women like children as ‘patronizing’ and ‘demeaning’.

It is fair to say, then, that it is no longer accurate to say that women are treated like children in modern western societies.

How then can we conceptualize the treatment of women in contemporary western society?

In modern western society, thanks to the one-sided activism of feminists, women have been granted the rights of adults without any of the responsibilities and duties that usually go along with these rights.

They have, in short, the rights of adults, combined with the privileges of children.

In short, women are blessed with what we might term ‘the best of both worlds’.

The Right to Vote and the Obligation to Fight

Take, for example, the earliest and perhaps most celebrated cause of feminist agitation, namely that with respect to voting rights, and, on the other hand, perhaps the most obvious, egregious and longstanding example of discrimination against males, namely that of conscription into the military.

The suffragettes, when they campaigned, and engaged in terrorist acts, in order to win voting rights for women, did so ostensibly in the name of ‘equal rights’ and ‘equality of the sexes’. This, at any rate, was at the essence of their rhetoric and even some critics of modern feminism take them at their word, insisting that it is only recent incarnations of feminism that abandoned the goal of equality.

In reality, however, the suffragettes conveniently ignored all those forms of sex discrimination of which men were the victims and women the beneficiaries, such as with regard to marriage law,[89] employment law[90] and corporal punishment.[91]

The result was that, as a consequence of, and in capitulation to, suffragette agitation and terrorism, women were granted the rights of adult men, while still retaining, and jealously guarding, the privileges to which they had long previously grown accustomed.

The most egregious and obvious example of such privileges is women’s exemption from military service.

As military historian Martin van Creveld explains in Men, Women and War (reviewed here):

In the Western world since the French Revolution the right to vote was often a direct consequence of, or at any rate went together with, conscription. But women were able to obtain the former without being subjected to the latter; for them to be put on an equal footing with men would have meant an end to their greatest privilege.[92]

Indeed, the association is arguably far older, going back to Athens and the dawn of democracy in the age of the Greek city states.

This, indeed, was among the primary objections among contemporaries to the enfranchisement of women. Thus, Almroth E. Wright, author of perhaps the most influential anti-suffrage work, observed:

“If it had not been that man is more prone to discriminate in favour of woman than against her, every military State, when exacting personal military service from men, would have demanded from women some such equivalent personal service as would be represented by a similar period of work in an army clothing establishment, or ordnance factory, or army laundry; or would at any rate have levied upon woman a ransom in lieu of such service.”[93]

Yet the suffragettes, despite their rhetoric with regard to ‘sexual equality’, vociferously rejected the notion that women ought to be conscripted into the military, when the spectre was raised, as it frequently was, by their political opponents as the reductio ad absurdum of their own nonsensical rhetoric.

Thus, Emmeline Pankhurst argued “it was not necessary for women to go to ‘the trenches’… since it was women who brought children into the world and thus perpetuated the human race”.[94]

Similarly, her daughter Christabel contended, “You must remember that if the men fight, the women are the mothers” and concluded, “if women do not actually take part in the fighting… that argues no diminution of their claim to political equality”.[95]

Yet this was no mere abstract theoretical debate, since the suffragette campaign of terror occurred during the early twentieth century, and therefore immediately preceded the First World War, in which unprecedented numbers of men – and only of men – were conscripted and sent to the trenches and, in many cases, their deaths.

Thus, while the feminists metaphorically ‘fought’ for the right to vote (and indeed committed very real terrorist acts in pursuit of this goal), men literally fought in the trenches of the Somme, Ypres and Verdun, and died in unprecedented numbers.

The Paradox of Male Supremacism

This then points to a final perverse paradox.

Feminists frequently contend that there exists a tradition of ‘male supremacism’, used to justify the oppression of women, and hence analogous to the ‘white supremacism’ that served to justify the oppression of blacks and other nonwhites under colonialism, slavery, segregation and Apartheid.

For once the feminists are, partly, right – but only up to a point.

There is indeed a longstanding tradition of male supremacism in the West and elsewhere.

Men were viewed as not just physically stronger than women, as they surely are, but also as mentally and intellectually superior.

Indeed, this view may even have some merit, albeit only at the aggregate statistical level, as indicated by psychometric testing, the historical record and theoretical grounds.[96]

However, there is a key difference between, say, nineteenth century European and American white supremacism and the male supremacism of the equivalent time and place.

White supremacism was, of course, used to justify discrimination against nonwhites (e.g. slavery, segregation, colonialism).

In contrast, male supremacism was used primarily, and perhaps paradoxically, to justify discrimination, not against women, but rather against men themselves.

Thus, it was reasoned, since men were stronger than women, it was men who should fight wars, and do all the most physically demanding and arduous work (e.g. in coal mines and on construction sites).

In contrast, since women were weaker than men, special privileges were accorded them, whether in the imposition of criminal sanctions or in awarding places on lifeboats on the Titanic.

In short, men, being superior and stronger, had greater demands placed upon them; while women, being inferior and weaker, had special allowances made for them, and were to be protected and provided for by men.

On this view, being biologically inferior seems like quote a good deal!

 ___________________________

References

[1] I begin with this quotation, not because I necessarily agree with the sentiments Schopenhauer expresses, but rather because they represent an unusually explicit elucidation of the sentiments that have, I feel, underlain the preferential treatment of women throughout western and indeed world history. Indeed, far from agreeing with Schopenhauer’s opinion on this matter, this indeed represents the precise sentiment with which I take issue in the essay/post that follows.

[2] In Britain, for example, women were first able to vote in national elections in 1918. However, this is misleading, since, until this time, over a third of men were also ineligible to vote, as they failed to satisfy the mimimum property qualifications set out in the Representation of the People Act 1884 (The Suffragette Bombers: p5-6). Also, as Steve Moxon is at pains to emphasise, women had always had the vote at the local and parish level, and often had, in practice, multiple votes, and it is decisions at this level that had a greater effect on their day-to-day lives (see The Women Racket).

[3] Women were first permitted to serve on juries in England and Wales in 1919.

[4] The Abolition of the Whipping of Female Offenders Act  of 1820, as the name implies, abolished the whipping of female offenders, in any circumstances, as early as 1820 in the UK. However, the the whipping of male offenders was not finally abolished until some almost a century and a half later under section 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 with the last prison flogging is said to have occurred in 1962. Indeed, as recently as 1911, while the flogging of women had long previously been abolished, the whipping of boys as young as seven for offences as minor as larceny and property damage was specifically authorised by law (see the entry on Corporal Punishment in the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica).

[5] On board the Titanic, 80% of men were killed as compared to only 26% of women. Indeed, contrary to popular opinion, even women travelling in the cheapest class of accommodation had a 41% better chance of survival than men travelling first-class.

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

[7] Carpenter CR (2003) ‘Women and Children First’: Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian Evacuation in the Balkans 1991–95, International Organization 57(04):661 – 694; for other examples see:  Quinn, J and Whitworth, M ‘New York plane crash: Pilot told passengers to ‘brace for heavy landing’’, The (London) Telegraph, 15 Jan 2009; Associated Press Cris Collinsworth among 83 rescued ESPN, Mar 14, 2011.

[8] As of 2012, a minimum of over eighty different regimes around the world continue to employ conscription as a means of recruitment for their armed services, according to research by David Benatar (The Second Sexism: p27). In the vast majority, conscription is applied exclusively to males. Although a few (e.g. Israel) make a nominal pretence of applying conscription to both sexes, I am unaware of any jurisdiction in which conscription is applied to both sexes on anything like equal terms.

[9] Discrimination against men in the provision of insurance policies remains legal in most jurisdictions (e.g. the USA). However, sex discrimination in the provision of insurance policies was belatedly outlawed throughout the European Union at the end of 2012, due to a ruling of the European Court of Justice. This was many years after other forms of sex discrimination had been outlawed in most member-states. For example, in the UK, most other forms of gender discrimination were outlawed almost forty years previously under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. However, section 45 of this 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”. Yet actuarial data could also be employed to justify other forms of discrimination, such as employers deciding not to employ women of childbearing age. However, this remained unlawful. 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 providers routinely charged young male drivers double the premiums demanded of young female drivers. Yet, curiously, 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. Interestingly, even after the ECJ ruling, there is evidence that indirect discrimination against males continues, simply by using occupation as a marker for gender.

[10] According to data cited by David Benatar, “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” (The Second Sexism: p50).

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

[12] In the UK, women have long been eligible for state pensions several years before men, despite the fact that men on average work for a greater number of years and contribute more yet die earlier. Traditionally, women were eligible at age sixty, but men not until they were sixty-five. In response to an ECJ ruling, this is now scheduled to equalized, after more than seventy years of discrimination, in 2020, by which time neither men nor women will be eligible for a state pension until they are seventy.

[13] It is, after all, as we are incessantly reminded by the feminists, a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion or carry an infant to term. However, while denied any say in this decision, men are nevertheless legally obliged to pay maintenance in order to provide for the resulting offspring, despite being denied custody of, and sometimes even visitation rights over, the offspring for whom they are obliged to provide [see Dubay v. Wells (2004); Danforth v Planned Parenthood 428 U.S. 52 (1976); Planned Parenthood v Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992) Paton v. Trustees of British Pregnancy Advisory Service Trustees (1978) QB 276; C v S (1988) QB 135].

[14] Carpenter CR (2003) ‘Women and Children First’: Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian Evacuation in the Balkans 1991–95, International Organization 57(04):661 – 694

[15] Jones A (2000) Gendercide and Genocide Journal of Genocide Research, 2(2): 185-211.

[16] The homeless are, by their nature, a difficult group to survey. However, estimates of the gender disparity among the homeless concur in suggesting that males are vastly overrepresented. George Orwell, in his classic study of the poverty and homeless of Paris and London, estimated, on the basis of both official statistics and his own personal experience, that the overrepresentation of men among the destitute occurred at a ratio of roughly ten to one. More recent estimates suggest a similar disparity today, a disparity accentuated among the ‘street homeless’ (see The Myth of Male Power: p209).

[17] In their comprehensive global survey of the correlates of crime, criminologists Anthony Walsh and Lee Ellis report that “except for rape, where essentially all victims are female, males have substantially higher victimization rates than do females” and “even with rapes included in calculating an overall victimization rate, males run a considerably greater risk of being victimized by violent crime than do females” (Criminology: A Global Perspective: p128). Walsh and Ellis are right with respect to violent crime generally. However, they underestimate the prevalence of male rape. Indeed, due to the epidemic levels of rape in the US’s overwhelmingly male prison population, recent government data suggests that in the USA, men may even be overrepresented among rape victims (see my post, Real Rape Culture – The American Prison System). However, violent crime often goes unreported. Meanwhile, rape in particular is probably over-reported, due to exceptionally high rates of false reports. Therefore, the most reliable data is that for homicide, which, as the most extreme form of violent crime, is also the form of violent crime least likely to go either undetected or falsely reported. In the UK in 2010-11, over two thirds (68%) of homicide victims were male, according to government statistics (Osborne, S. (2012) ‘Homicide’ in K. Smith et al (eds), Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2008/09: supplementary volume 2 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11 Home Office Statistical Bulletin 01/10: at p19). ). Similarly, in the USA, between 1980 and 2008, men were three times as likely to be the victim of homicide as were women (Cooper A & Smith EL (2011) Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008 U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2011, NCJ 236018: at p3).  Internationally, according to a comprehensive worldwide epidemiological survey in the mid-1990s, men represented 78% of violent deaths, excluding those resulting from war (see Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. The global burden of disease: A comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambridge, Harvard University Press; Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. Global health statistics: a compendium of incidence, prevalence and mortality estimates for over 200 conditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press: as cited by Joshua Goldstein in War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400).

[18] According to the latest estimates, the US prison population is over 93% male. Of course, this largely reflects the fact that men commit more crimes than women. However, it also reflects the fact that males are sentenced more harshly than females, even after controlling for such factors as prior criminal history and the severity of their offence (see above). In addition, it reflects bias in the very definition of what constitutes a ‘crime’. Thus, if a man steals another man’s hard earned money or other property, or that of a woman, this is termed ‘theft’. However, if a woman steals a man’s money, this is, as often as not called, not termed ‘theft’, but rather a ‘divorce settlement’ or a ‘maintenance payment’ – and, far from the courts punishing the wrongdoer, the family courts are actually aiders and abettors in respect of the misappropriation.

[19] For example, the most recent data from the USA suggests that males are about three and a half times as likely to commit suicide as are females and this pattern has remained stable for over half a century. Patterns are similar in other Western economies, and indeed across the world. However, women are relatively more likely to attempt suicide. This likely reflects the fact that attempted suicides are often not genuine attempts to kill oneself, but rather represent a mere cry for help  – and girls learn at an early age that they have only to burst into tears and misguided male morons will be only too ready to ride eagerly to their rescue like latter-day  knights in shining armour, presumably in eager but forlorn expectation of a blowjob in return for their noble heroism. In contrast, boys learn from an early age that if they burst into tears or otherwise ‘cry for help’ they will typically receive only ridicule for their perceived weakness.

[20] Jones A (2000) Gendercide and Genocide Journal of Genocide Research, 2(2): 185-211.

[21] Farrell W The Myth of Male Power (reviewed here).

[22] As noted above, women have been eligible to vote and serve on juries in the UK for one hundred years.

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

[24] The most famous example, by far, is the state of Israel, who  conscript women as well as men into their armed forces, despite being in a state of almost continuous war or civil insurgency. However, the terms upon which women are expected to serve are vastly more lenient than those imposed on Israeli men. Thus, Martin Van Creveld, Israel’s leading military historian, reports that, whereas Israeli men are now conscripted for three years, women serve only two or, in practice, “about twenty-two months” (Men, Women and War: p186). Moreover, “Married women and pregnant women (including such as got pregnant while on active service) were exempt”, as are “women who declared themselves to be religiously observant” (Men, Women and War: p186). Indeed, by 1999, the proportion of women who claimed exemption on this ground reached “over 26%” (Men, Women and War: p208) and certainly “it was always much easier for a woman to gain an exemption” (Men, Women and War: p188). Moreover, even when they were conscripted, women “were not expected to take part in combat or even… combat support” and “the first thing the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] used to do whenever war broke out was evacuate the female company clerks” such that, as a result, “very few women Israeli soldiers have ever been killed in action” (Men, Women and War: p188).

[25] E.g. Deuteronomy 20: 10-15; see also Numbers 31: 17-18, where the Israelites are commanded to spare only certain classes of women/girls, but, again, no men.

[26] Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3015) and Sahîh Muslim (1744).

[27] Here, I am, of course, faced with the usual difficulties of proving a negative. However, it is notable that, even in World War II, where much is made of the casualties inflicted by civilian bombing, Janet Howarth reports, “Only countries under German occupation had suffered more civilian than military losses” and “these victims were predominantly men” (Howarth, 2005, ‘Women at War’. In ICB Dear & MRD Foot (eds.), The Oxford Companion to World War II‘, pp997-1002. Oxford: Oxford University Press). Regarding war in general, according to data cited by Joshua Goldstein, adult men represent 58% of fatalities from war across the world – despite the fact that, once children are factored in, men represent a small minority of the population as a whole (War and Gender: p400). Goldstein bases this on data taken from the two most comprehensive worldwide epidemiological surveys of the causes of death, namely (Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. The global burden of disease: A comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambridge, Harvard University Press; and Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. Global health statistics: a compendium of incidence, prevalence and mortality estimates for over 200 conditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press).

[28] Thus, even in World War Two, where much was made of the deliberate targeting of civilian populations in indiscriminate bombing raids, Janet Howarth reports, “Only countries under German occupation had suffered more civilian than military losses” and “these victims were predominantly men” (Howarth 2005, ‘Women at War’. In ICB Dear & MRD Foot (eds.), The Oxford Companion to World War II, pp997-1002. Oxford: Oxford University Press).

[29] Jones A (2000) Gendercide and Genocide Journal of Genocide Research, 2(2): 185-211.

[30] For example, try searching the archives of virtually any major newspaper for the exact phrases (i.e. in inverted commas) “including women and children” and you will find many examples of this journalistic ranking of the relative value of human lives.

[31] These figures are taken from Titanic Disaster: Official Casualty Figures at https://www.anesi.com/titanic.htm. The ultimate source is Lord Mersey’s Report. Similar but less reliable figures are provided the US Senate enquiry.

[32] Thus, according to the same source, only 33% of men travelling in First Class accommodation survived the disaster, as compared to 54% of women travelling in Third-Class (i.e. Steerage class) accommodation. This is despite the fact that passengers travelling in steerage class were housed deep in the hull of the ship, far from the lifeboats.

[33] These figures are again taken from the same source, namely the Lord Mersey’s Report.

[34] Quinn & Whitworth, New York plane crash: Pilot told passengers to ‘brace for heavy landing’ Telegraph, 15 Jan 2009.

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

[36] Fineman M (1990) Foreign Women and Children Can Leave Iraq, Hussein Says, LA Times, August 29, 1990.

[37] Arias, I., & Johnson, P. (1989). Evaluations of Physical Aggression Among Intimate DyadsJournal 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.

[38] See studies cited in Felson, RB 2000 The Normative Protection of Women from Violence Sociological Forum 15(1): 91-116, which show that, even in the laboratory, males are less willing to inflict electric shocks on female subjects in circumstances where they evince no compunctions against doing so towards males.

[39] Beaulieu & Messner, Race, Gender, and Outcomes in First Degree Murder CasesJustice 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.

[40] As a simple experiment, try searching the archives of virtually any online news outlet for the exact phrase “violence against women” (with inverted commas) and the exact phrase “violence against men” (again, with inverted commas) and compare how many ‘hits’ you receive for each phrase.

[41] Hedderman & Hough (1994) Does the Criminal Justice System Treat Men and Women Differently Home Office, UK; 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; Mustard DB (2001) Racial, Ethnic and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the US Federal CourtsSocial Science Research Network XLIV: 285-314; Jeffries, S, Fletcher, GJO & Newbol, G (2003) Pathways to Sex-Based Differentiation in Criminal Court Sentencing Criminology 41(2): 329–354; Curry, TR, Lee G and Rodriguez, SF (2004) Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing 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, Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal CasesUniversity of Michigan Law and Economics Research Paper, No. 12-018 (August 29, 2012).

[42] For example, in the UK, corporal punishment for women was abolished as early as 1820 by the Whipping of Female Offenders Abolition Act of that year, yet continued to be specifically prescribed by law for boys as young as seven and offences as minor as larceny until well into the twentieth century, and was still used as a punishment for adult males until the 1960s. As this list maintained by wikipedia shows, today, in those jurisdictions where corporal punishment is still employed, it is often restricted to men and/or boys.

[43] Shapiro, A (2000) Unequal Before the Law: Men, Women and the Death Penalty American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 8(2): 427-470; Streib V (2006) Rare and Inconsistent: The Death Penalty for Women, 33 Fordham Urban Law Journal 609; Streib VL (2001) Sentencing Women to Death Criminal Justice Magazine 16(1); Streib V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary, 63 Ohio State Law Journal 433.

[44] An exception is corporal punishment, which is sometimes restricted, not only to males, but more explicitly to young boys. Likewise, in the UK, the corporal punishment of women was outlawed about a century and a half before that of boys.

[45] For details of the law as it existed at that time, see the entry on ‘corporal punishment’ from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

[46] Benatar D The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys: p34.

[47] Van Creveld, M The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p110.

[48] Van Creveld, M The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p108.

[49] Van Creveld, M The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p110.

[50] Liddle, R, Women Who Won’t Spectator, 2003, 29 November.

[51] Liddle, R, Women Who Won’t Spectator, 2003, 29 November.

[52] Hakim, C Work-Lifestyle Choices in the 21st Century: Preference Theory: p111.

[53] Hakim, C Work-Lifestyle Choices in the 21st Century: Preference Theory: p111.

[54] Van Creveld, M The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p64.

[55] Van Creveld, M The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p45.

[56] Van Creveld, M The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p70.

[57] Van Creveld, M The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p69.

[58] Van Creveld, M The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p43.

[59] Thus, van Creveld reports:

In late 19th-century Britain, far more women than men received assistance. Across the Atlantic, New York City around 1820 had a whole series of relief organizations specifically designed to assist women. Needless to say, there were no similar organizations for men” (The Privileged Sex: p128-9).

Such organizations were not restricted to the Anglo-American world. On the contrary, Van Creveld observes:

Copenhagen during the same period witnessed the construction of so many shelters for fallen women, pregnant women, postpartum women, lactating women, women with children and elderly women that they began ‘affecting the city’s architectural profile’” (The Privileged Sex: p127).

[60] Thus, Van Creveld concludes:

“In short, a poor man received assistance if he had a woman, while a poor woman received assistance if she did not have a man” (The Privileged Sex: p127).

[61] Thus, in New York, in addition to the myriad charitable organizations run explicitly for women, it was also the case that:

Even the largest ‘coed’ charitable organization, the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, aided 27 percent more women than men. In the 1880s the Charity Organization Society, which had become the largest of its kind in New York and which, like the rest, was run mainly by women, assisted four times as many women as men” (The Privileged Sex: p129).

[62] Thus, van Creveld reports that the first form of social benefits introduced in the USA were so-called “mothers’ pensions”, which, “unlike other pensions… required neither an investment of capital nor depended on contributions” (The Privileged Sex: p131). Likewise when social security was introduced:

Men only got benefits if they worked and contributed. However, women — forming the vast majority of adult women — received benefits irrespective of work… A widow past retirement age would be entitled to receive benefits. On the other hand, a man past retirement age whose wife had died would get exactly nothing” (The Privileged Sex: p133).

And neither was this discrimination restricted to America:

In Norway, the Sickness Insurance Act of 1909 began to grant maternity benefits as well as benefits to the wives of insured men. Sux years later, the state began to provide financial assistance to single mothers, too. In Italy, the very first effective national welfare scheme was the Maternity Insurance Act of 1910. In France, maternity benefits were instituted in 1913, 15 years before the introduction of the first comprehensive social insurance scheme. In all cases, women started receiving benefits years, even decades, before men did” (The Privileged Sex: p132).

[63] The Privileged Sex: p134.

[64] Moreover, there are literally no mechanisms in place to ensure that such monies, paid to the mother, are actually spent on, or for direct or indirect the benefit of, their offspring. On the contrary, they are not made to account for the sums in question at all, and are quite at liberty to spend the monies in question on, for example, cigarettes or clothes for themselves. Only if their treatment of their children is such as to amount to abuse or neglect does the state ever intervene or punish the mother.

[65] In the UK, for fifty years, women were eligible for a state pension at the age of sixty, whereas men had to wait until they were sixty-five. This inequality is scheduled to be phased out only in 2020. By this time, neither sex will be eligible until they are sixty-eight.

[66] For example, van Creveld reports that:

Although in Sweden almost as many women are in the labour force as men, men paid 61.5 percent of taxes, compared to 38.5 percent by women… [Yet] Swedish women received three-quarters of all advance maintenance allowances, parental allowances, housing allowances and study grants paid by the state. Even though women worked fewer hours per year than men, they still managed to receivde more sickness allowances. Eomen received four times as much in parentallowances and seven times as much in advance maintenance allowances. Taking all family-related allowances into account the difference was two to one. Women received 29 percent of their income as welfare payments from the state, men 19 percent. though women only paid two-thirds as much in taxes as men did, they received 23.5 percent more tax-exempt allowances. No wonder the taxable wealth of Swedish women was more than one and a half times that of Swedish men” (The Privileged Sex: p135).

[67] See Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power (reviewed here).

[68] The Privileged Sex: p137.

[69] For example, in most times and places, the physical chastisement of children (e.g. spanking, often with implements such as canes, belts and slippers) has been widely accepted, and employed, and indeed taken for granted. However, in contemporary western societies, the use of such methods of discipline is now frowned upon, at least among white non-immigrant middle-class parents, and sometimes criminalized.

[70] Bax, EB (1908) The Legal Subjection of Men (reviewed here) – also see here for summary.

[71] See Christina Hoff Summers’ debunking of the popular ‘etymythological’ origin of the phrase ‘Rule of Thumb (Who Stole Feminism: p203-7).

[72] Sommers, Who Stole Feminism: p205.

[73] Sommers, Who Stole Feminism: p206.

[74] George, MJ (2002) Skimmington Revisited Journal of Men’s Studies 10(2):111-127

[75] Bax, EB (1908) The Legal Subjection of Men (reviewed here) – also see here for summary.

[76] Van Creveld, M The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p155.

[77] Actually, this is not strictly true. As Steve Moxon is at pains to emphasise in The Woman Racket, women always had the vote at the local/parish level, which was probably more important in their day-to-day lives, especially since most women neither paid taxes nor were obliged to serve in the military, the collection of taxes for the purpose of maintaining a military for the nation’s protection being the primary purpose of central government prior to the expansion of the welfare state during the twentieth century.

[78] Bax, EB (1908) The Legal Subjection of Men (reviewed here)

[79] Eagly, AH. & Crowley, M (1986) Gender and Helping Behavior. A Meta-Analytic Review of the Social Psychological LiteraturePsychological Bulletin 100(3):283-308.

[80] Stolzenberg and Dalessio (2004) Sex differences in the likelihood of arrest Journal of Criminal Justice 32(5):443-454; Rowe et al (2008) Gender Bias in the Enforcement of Traffic Laws: Evidence based on a new empirical test American Law & Economics Association Annual Meeting Paper 3.

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

[82] Here, I am thinking of such legislation as the Whipping of Female Offenders Act 1820, the Mines and Colleries Act 1842, the Factories Act 1847 and the Military Service Act 1916. All these pieces of legislation were passed into law by a British Parliament, elected exclusively by men, and composed exclusively of men, yet all systematically discriminated against males.

[83] Why then are people affectionate and protective of children to whom one is not biologically related? Biologist Richard Alexander provides two possible explanations:

  1. They are likely to be relatives if they are in one’s vicinity (at least historically)”;
  2. The babies of others are almost ideal objects of beneficence in the context of indirect reciprocity because the benefits of aiding utterly helpless individuals are so high and the costs so low… especially… because babies represent enormously important investments to their parents” (The Biology of Moral Systems: p21)

[84] Indeed, with respect to upper-body strength, there is very little overlap between the sexes: e.g. Leyk et al (2007) Hand-grip strength of young men, women and highly trained female athletes European Journal of Applied Physiology 99(4):415-21. Thus, Kingsley Browne reports that, with respect to sex differences in physical strength:

“There is very little overlap between the sexes. Women have only one-half to two-thirds the upper-body strength of men and in many studies, the effect size separating males and females is on the order of 2 to 3. THe probability that a randomly selected man will have greater upper-body strength than a randomly selected woman is well over 95%” (Coed Combat: p21).

Similarly, anthropologist David Puts reports:

Men have about 90% greater upper-body strength, a difference of approximately three standard deviations… The average man is stronger than 99.9% of women.

[Quoted from Puts (2010)  Beauty and the beast: Mechanisms of sexual selection in humans, Evolution and Human Behavior 31(3): 157-175.]

[85] Jones, D (1995) Sexual Selection, Physical Attractiveness, and Facial Neoteny: Cross-cultural Evidence and Implications [and Comments and Reply] Current Anthropology 36(5): 723-748.

[86] Indeed, the tendency to discriminate in favour of women is sometimes justified by reference to women’s role in caring for children, as when judges justify imposing lesser sentences on female offenders, if the latter are mothers, by reference to indirect effect on their children.

[87] Vilar,  E (1971) The Manipulated Man (reviewed here).

[88] Bax, EB (1897) The Legal Subjection of Men (reviewed here).

[89] See Bax, EB (1897) The Legal Subjection of Men (reviewed here) – for a summary, see here.

[90] Here, again, I am thinking of such celebrated employment protection legislation as the Mines and Colleries Act 1842 and the Factories Act 1847. A libertarian might make the case that, in restricted the rights of women to enter employment in more demanding working conditions, this legislation actually disadvantaged women, by both limiting their earning potential as compared to men, and making it less profitable for employers to employ women in the first place. However, since the clear intention of this legislation was to protect women, I ignore these arguments. At any rate, while women may have thereby had certain demanding, but relatively well-remunerated, occupations denied to them, they nevertheless had the easier option of simply marrying men who were engaged in such occupations, thereby obtaining access to most of the monies thereby earned, without undertaking any of the risks or dangers involved in earning the sums in question.

[91] Here, I allude again to the Whipping of Female Offenders Act 1820, which abolished the whipping of female offenders in Britain well over a century before these forms of punishment were made unlawful in respect of male offenders also.

[92] Van Creveld, M Men, Women and War (reviewed here): p210.

[93] Wright AE (1913) The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage: p66-7.

[94] Purvis, Emmeline Pankhurst: A Biography: p269.

[95] Marwick, Women at War 1914-1918: at p30.

[96] See Lynn R (1999) Sex differences in intelligence and brain size: A developmental theory Intelligence 27(1):1-12; Lynn R (1994) Sex differences in intelligence and brain size: A paradox resolved Personality and Individual Differences 17(2): 257-271; Stove, D (1990) The Intellectual Capacity of Women Proceedings of the Russellian Society 15: 1–16.

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The Many Manifestations of Male Genital Mutilation: From Circumcision to Sub-Incision and Castration

The practice of female circumcision or infibulation – otherwise known by such emotive and value-laden neologisms as ‘female genital mutilation’ and ‘female genital cutting[1] – is unlawful throughout the West and indeed most of the world.

“Surveying patterns of genital mutilation cross-culturally, two findings become very clear. First, male genital mutilation is far more commonly practised cross-culturally than is female genital mutilation; and, second, the forms male genital mutilation has taken, and continues to take, among some pre-modern and ‘primitive’ peoples are at least as brutal as any form of genital mutilation to which females have been subjected.”

Throughout the West, the practice is opposed across the entirety of the mainstream political spectrum, from the nationalist and anti-Islamic ‘far-right, who associate the practice with African and Islamic third-world barbarism, to the feminist-infested far-left, who associate the practice with the alleged ‘patriarchal oppression of women’ in traditional societies.

In contrast, however, male circumcision is widely tolerated, entirely lawful and indeed widely practised even within the borders of liberal democratic Western polities.

Indeed, in the USA, as of 2013, a majority of new-born boys are still circumcised.

In contrast to the high profile and widely supported campaigns to eradicate female circumcision worldwide, opposition to male circumcision is decidedly marginal and muted.

Indeed, such opposition as does exist seems to be largely confined a marginal fringe, composed largely of (1) anti-religious secularists, who associate the practice with outdated superstition and religious barbarism; (2) anti-Semites, who associate the practice with the allegedly unique barbarism and cruelty of the Jews; and finally, (3) Men’s Rights Activists, who see the practice as an example of how society tolerates and sanctions violence against the male body.

Violence Against Men?

It is certainly the case that society in general tolerates, and approves of (and sometimes even celebrates) violence against males to a far greater degree than violence against women.

Indeed, perhaps the most obvious evidence of this is the fact that the elimination of ‘violence against women’, but not ‘violence against men’, is widely perceived as an important and worthy political issue,[2] despite the fact that it is in fact males who are vastly overrepresented among both the victims of violent crime,[3] and among the victims of state violence – e.g. the casualties in warfare[4] and the victims of genocide.[5]

As Warren Farrell has memorably observed, “We don’t call ‘male killing’ sexism; we call it ‘glory’”.[6]

Likewise, the courts worldwide are more reluctant to impose violent penalties on female offenders, including both corporal punishment[7] and the death penalty.[8]

Similarly, violent offenders of either sex are sentenced more harshly when they commit acts of violence against women than when they commit acts of violence against men.[9]

Similarly, studies show that both male and female subjects rate acts of violence against women as more serious and culpable in nature than those committed against men.[10]

On this view, the greater tolerance that societies accord male genital mutilation as compared to female genital mutilation can easily be viewed as a manifestation of society’s greater tolerance of violence against male victims of whatever age.

But Are Male and Female Genital Mutilation Comparable?

However, the notion that the greater toleration accorded male genital mutilation in comparison to female genital mutilation reflects double-standards and discrimination against males has been widely questioned.

Interestingly, these skeptics include, not only the usual suspects (i.e. feminists and chivalrous male conservatives), but also at least some figures broadly sympathetic towards the broader aims and claims of the men’s rights movement.

For example, philosopher David Benatar, in his book The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys reaches conclusions largely in agreement with those of the men’s rights movement. However, he makes an exception for the issue of circumcision, where, for once, he seemingly sides with the feminists.

While rightly deploring the continued practice of routinely circumcising infant boys without anaesthetics, Benatar nevertheless claims, “it is possible, without inconsistency, to disapprove of female genital cutting… while also approving, or at least tolerating the circumcision of males[11] and himself seems to endorse this position, writing, “there is good reason to think that circumcision of boys is not morally wrong”.[12]

He bases this argument on two main arguments:

  1. Female genital cutting is a much more radical procedure than male circumcision”;[13]
  2. There is some evidence of modest medical benefits that could reasonably be thought to outweigh the even more modest costs and risks.[14]

As we will see, both these statements are either wrong or grossly misleading.

Medical Benefits?

Let’s deal first with simpler of the two issues, namely the ostensible medical benefits of circumcision.

Many ostensible medical rationales for the practice have been offered over the course of the twentieth century. However, the vast majority have since been discredited.

“If male circumcision protects against the transmission of HIV, then one would expect female infibulation to have the exact same effect. Indeed, two separate studies have found that infibulated women have lower rates of HIV than intact women.”

This is unsurprising. If there were really health advantages associated with not having a foreskin, then men would not have evolved to have foreskins in the first place.

As a good general rule, medical experts rarely know better than does natural selection.

The only proposed justification for circumcision that still retains any credibility is the suggestion that circumcision somehow reduces the transmission of the HIV virus.

However, this is not, of course, the original reason the practice of circumcision came to be widespread. Instead, it represents a recent post-hoc rationalization for a practice that was already widespread but the original justifications for which have now been wholly discredited.

There are therefore a priori reasons for being skeptical regarding this claim.

However, the claim that male circumcision reduces somewhat the likelihood of a person contracting the HIV virus does have some support, albeit as yet inconclusive.[15]

However, several words of caution are necessary.

First, the only places where the rate of HIV infection is sufficiently high as to justify the routine circumcision of infants on this ground alone are in the so-called ‘Developing World’, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Yet these are precisely the places where the sort of sterile operating conditions necessary to perform the procedure are least likely to be widely available.

This means that the risk of contracting blood-borne infections (including HIV itself) during the procedure itself may outweigh any later reduced risk of exposure when a person reaches sexual maturity. Ironically, therefore, the widespread adoption of circumcision in, say, sub-Saharan Africa may actually increase the spread of HIV and other born-borne infections.

Indeed, hygiene considerations are not restricted to the Third World. Even among some highly orthodox Jewish communities resident in First World Western economies, the traditional form of Jewish circumcision is practised (brit milah), which includes metzihzah or metzitzah b’peh, literally translated as ‘oral suction’, whereby the adult mohel presiding over the ritual is expected to suck blood from the wounded penis (yes, really!), a process which, quite apart from the (perhaps unfair) connotations of paedophilia, is obviously unhygienic, and has been linked to the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes and implicated in several infant deaths.[16]

There are also other dangerous possible complications, as exemplified by the tragic but well-known case of David Reimer.

Moreover, no one really seems to have any idea as to the explanation as to why circumcision supposedly reduces the transmission of the HIV virus.

Indeed, there theoretical ground for believing that circumcision might increase, rather than a decrease, in the risk of transmission of blood borne viruses such as HIV during intercourse.

This is because, as ethologist Desmond Morris argues:

By removing the only movable part of the penis, amputation of the foreskin… causes increased friction during copulation, leading to macro-tears in tissue and therefore to a greater risk of HIV infection”.[17]

Yet the available evidence suggests the precise opposite, namely that HIV reduces the transmission of HIV, for whatever reason.

The only explanation yet proposed for the curious finding is the suggestion that transmission of the virus is facilitated by the high concentrations of Langerhans cells located on the human foreskin.[18] On this view, the removal of the foreskin, and hence of these cells, reduces the risk of transmission of the virus during sexual activity.

However, as researchers Gary Dowsett and Murray Couch, two researchers at La Trobe University, Melbourne, observe in an academic paper discussing the evidence for the effect:

Langerhans cells occur in the clitoris, the labia and in other parts of both male and female genitals, and no one is talking of removing these in the name of HIV prevention[19]

In fact, however, some people are indeed talking of removing the clitoris, labia and other parts of the female genital organs – namely the defenders and advocates of the practice of female genital mutilation in those few places where this practice continues to be widespread.

After all, removal of the whole or part of the inner and outer labia and other parts of the external female genitalia including the clitoris is precisely what the various forms of so-called ‘female genital mutilation’ principally involve.

This then raises the possibility that female genital mutilation may be as effective in reducing the transmission of HIV as is male circumcision.

Indeed, it may even be more effective – because, unlike male circumcision, female circumcision is also known to reduce female libido.[20] This would presumably, in turn, reduce the prevalence of promiscuous, pre-marital and extra-marital sex, the major channels through which HIV is thought to be transmitted in Africa.

Indeed, the idea that female genital mutilation may substantially reduce the transmission even has empirical support.

Although it has received a lot less support than the notion that male circumcision reduces HIV transmission, and is obviously more politically contentious, at least two epidemiological studies have found that women who have undergone the procedure actually have lower rates of HIV infection than comparable control populations.[21]

This then suggests the somewhat amusing possibility that the best way to prevent the spread of HIV in Africa, and perhaps elsewhere, is to encourage more widespread practice of female genital mutilation.

Just don’t hold your breath for feminists, AIDS campaigners or philosopher David Benatar to start advocating for this any time soon!

Male vs. Female Genital Mutilation

Benatar claims, “female genital cutting is a much more radical procedure than male circumcision”.[22]

Is he right? Well, the answer depends on which forms of ‘genital cutting’ are being compared.

Female genital mutilation takes at least four forms, as classified by the World Health Organization as Types I, II, III and IV, and is prevalent only in a few countries in Africa and the Middle East.

“Throughout much of East Africa, males are circumcised at puberty without anaesthetic, yet are barred from crying out in pain lest they be branded a coward for life, and unable to obtain a wife.”

Of these, some are relatively minor in nature, even as compared to Western circumcision. For example, the so-called ritual nick, or ‘symbolic nick, whereby only a nominal pinprick is made into the hood of the clitoris, is surely less invasive even than Western-style circumcision, as still widely practised in North America.[23]

In contrast, male genital mutilation is found, quite literally, all around the world.

As a result, it takes a huge number of different forms, ranging in brutality from comparatively benign forms of circumcision as are practised in the West, to the sickeningly brutal forms of genital mutilation practised, for example, among Australian Aboriginals, and even castration.

To compare ‘Type III infibulation’, a practice restricted to a few backward, primitive Third World hellholes, mostly restricted to sub-Saharan Africa, to a form of mutilation to which the majority of US baby boys are still subjected as of 2013, and which is still practised, tolerated and championed among the wealthiest citizens of other First World Western democracies, is clearly not to compare like with like.

A fairer and more appropriate comparison would be to compare female ‘genital cutting’ with those forms of male genital mutilation similarly restricted to the so-called developing world and/or among so-called primitive peoples of the sort traditionally studied by anthropologists.

In short, it appears that both men’s rights activists, and their feminist critics (and those such as Benatar occupying something of an intermediate position), as well as westerners in general, all display a rather remarkable anthropological ignorance of the variety of forms of male mutilation that are practised cross-culturally.

Surveying patterns of genital mutilation cross-culturally, two findings become very clear:

  1. Male genital mutilation is far more commonly practised cross-culturally than is female genital mutilation; and
  2. The forms male genital mutilation has taken, and continues to take, among some pre-modern and ‘primitive’ peoples are at least as brutal (or in Benatar’s terms, as “radical”) as any form of genital mutilation to which females are, or ever have been, routinely subjected in any culture.

Male Genital Mutilation in its Many Manifestations

Whereas female genital mutilation is almost entirely restricted to a few countries in Africa and the Middle East, male genital mutilation is found all around the world, in many forms among many different peoples.

As historian Martin Van Creveld observes:

In many places around the world, the focal point of male initiation consists of circumcision or some other form of genital mutilation. Except among Jews, usually the ceremony is carried out on boys ranging in age from 6 to 12. Since the objective is to prove that the boy can endure the operation without flinching, it is deliberately made painful. Should he fail the test, he will disgrace both himself and his family.[24]

The forms this genital mutilation has taken varies enormously. These vary considerably in ‘invasiveness’ and brutality – from western circumcision, to Australian Aboriginal subincision and beyond.

“The traditional penis decoration of the Dayaks of Borneo… consist[s] of a hole bored left to right through the glans, into which a small polished bone could be slid on feast days [while] at other times a piece of wood or feather might be inserted for everyday wear.”

However, let’s restrict ourselves first to those forms of male genital mutilation that are at least recognisable as ‘circumcision’ in the western sense rather than as representing an altogether different (and altogether more unpleasant) form of mutilation, and hence demanding altogether different terminology.

Here it is apparent that, even in cases where the genital mutilation practised is still recognisable as ‘circumcision’, it is often far more brutal in the means by which it is carried out than the forms of circumcision practised in the West.

For example, David Thomas observes that the Gisu people of Uganda “expect young men in their teens or early twenties to stand perfectly still while their foreskin is cut and the flesh peeled away”.[25]

Indeed, a this brutal form of circumcision is practised, not only among the Gisu people in Uganda, but throughout a large part of East Africa. Thus, it is reported that:

To come of age in much of East Africa, a boy between 12 and 20 must command himself to remain stoic while an extremely sensitive part of his body is slowly cut away. Sir A. Claud Hollis, a British diplomat, wrote of Nandi circumcision in 1909: ‘The boy’s face is carefully watched by the surrounding crowd of warriors and old men to see whether he blinks or makes a sign of pain. Should he in any way betray his feelings, he is dubbed a coward and receives the name of kipite. This is considered a great disgrace, and no kipite may ever attend another circumcision festival.’ Or claim full rights as an adult.[26]

Moreover, the same author reports, no medicines to deaden the pain are permitted during this procedure.[27]

Beyond Circumcision

“The most severe form of penis mutilation, once performed in parts of Arabia, was the brutal practice known as skin-stripping in which the skin was removed from the entire shaft of the penis.”

Yet, if these forms of genital mutilation seem barbaric, as indeed they are, then other forms of genital mutilation that are widely practised cross-culturally go beyond circumcision altogether in their barbarity.

For example, anthropologist and zoologist Desmond Morris, in The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body, describes how:

The traditional penis decoration of the Dayaks of Borneo… consist[s] of a hole bored left to right through the glans, into which a small polished bone could be slid on feast days [while] at other times a piece of wood or feather might be inserted for everyday wear.[28]

However, this is far from the most extreme form of male genital motivation that is practised as a male rite of passage.

Instead, according to Morris, this dubious honour goes to a form of genital mutilation once widely practised in the Middle East, but now thankfully apparently obsolete.

Thus, Morris describes how:

The most severe form of penis mutilation, once performed in parts of Arabia, was the brutal practice known as skin-stripping in which the skin was removed from the entire shaft of the penis”.[29]

Similarly, van Creveld describes how “one 19th century visitor to Arabia” described:

A ceremony whereby a youth standing straight, had the skin of his penis peeled off in the presence of his bride. Crouching or playing a drum, she had the right to refuse him if he so much as stirred or moaned.[30]

As in most other cases described, the process was obligatory – for males, that is.

Moreover, those subjected to the procedure were forbidden to cry out in pain. On the contrary, “only young men who were able to endure this extreme form of genital torture without screaming were considered to have become respected adults”.[31]

From Circumcision to Subincision

“The most brutal form of male genital mutilation is surely ‘penile subincision’, still practised by Australian Aborigines, and also known among Polynesians, Malaysians and in Africa, whereby a boy’s penis is literally sliced into two halves at adolescence.”

However, if so-called ‘skin stripping’, as formerly practised in the Middle East, represents the most extreme form of genital mutilation, short of castration, ever known to have been routinely imposed upon all males in a given group as an adolescent rite of passage, then the practice known to anthropologists as ‘subincision’ surely comes a close second.

Yet, unlike ‘skin stripping’, subincision continues to be practised in many parts of the world to this day.

At this point, before explaining precisely what this process involves, I reluctantly feel obliged to issue a disclaimer, or even a ‘trigger warning’, if you’ll excuse the expression, warning readers that the process described in the following paragraphs is highly unpleasant and the description is, of necessity, somewhat graphic. Readers lacking a strong stomach are advised to proceed with caution.

Typically associated with Australian Aborigines, but, according to the Wikipedia entry for the practice, also practised among some groups in Africa, South America, Polynesia and Melanesian,[32] Desmond Morris aptly describes subincision as the process whereby “the penis of a boy when he reached manhood was first circumcised and then almost split in two”.[33]

Morris describes the first stage of this bizarre and unpleasant initiation ritual, as it is still, to this day, practised among certain aborigine tribes, thus:

 “The boy, about thirteen, was held down by an older tribesman, who silenced his cries, sometimes giving him a boomerang to bite on. Another held the foreskin and, twisting it, stretched it upwards, while yet another sliced it off with two or three cuts from a very sharp piece of broken volcanic glass.”[34]

This, though, is barely the beginning.

The next stage of the process might be termed ‘sub-incision proper’, and occurs some four months or so after the former procedure, when, presumably, the incisions resulting from the earlier operation have, one hopes, begun to heal.

Here, a knife is used and the person responsible for performing the operation:

Sliced the underside of the penis down through its whole length, or part of its length, slitting open the urethral tube. This wound was not allowed to close up again”.[35]

If you have difficulty envisaging what this entails, then you are probably fortunate in this respect. Nevertheless, I reluctantly feel obliged include a link, illustrating what the genitalia of an adult male who has undergone the procedure looks like, as hosted by wikipedia and currently included in their article on the practice. Again, I issue a strong disclaimer and ‘trigger-warning’  for anyone tempted to click on the link. Indeed, I considered embedding this image as part of this post to illustrate what the procedure entails, but decided against it given the gruesomeness of the image. Having said that, for those with a strong stomach, here is the link.

The practice is, it goes without saying, obligatory – for men, that is.

As Morris explains:

If a young man did not go through with it, he was not allowed to join his father’s group of elders and was refused permission to be present at religious ceremonies. Even more important, he could not officially acquire a wife, and essentially became a social outcast.”.[36]

Subincision vs. Infibulation

As anyone who has read the description quoted in the former section of this post will surely agree, sub-incision, as described in the previous section, is at least as brutal and invasive a procedure as any form of so-called ‘female genital mutilation’, including even the comparatively rare ‘Type 3 Infibulation’.

“As compared to subincision, Arabian ‘skin-stripping’, East African circumcision and Dayak Ampallang, so-called female genital mutilation is often comparatively benign. For example, the so-called ‘ritual nick’, which involves making only a nominal pinprick in the hood of the clitoris.”

However, whereas there are, as no one can fail to notice, high-profile campaigns for the eradication of all forms of ‘female genital mutilation’, there are, to my knowledge, no similar campaigns against the practice of male ‘subincision’.

Indeed, this almost unbelievably barbaric practice receives little publicity and seems to be virtually unknown among everyone save:

  • The small number of groups that continue to practise the procedure; and
  • A small number of anthropologists.

Indeed, writing this piece, I have become aware that most, if not all, spellcheckers do not even recognise the word.

The only occasions where I have heard reference to the procedure in the popular media is in articles of an essentially jocular nature, such as this article at the Art of Manliness website on ‘8 Interesting (And Insane) Male Rites of Passages From Around the World’.

Apparently, the mutilation of female genitalia in far-away cultures represents a worthy cause for human rights campaigns. However, in contrast, the routine ritual slicing of the male penis into two halves during puberty is ‘interesting’, albeit ‘insane’, but, at any rate, apparently part of ‘manliness’ and a fit subject for jocular magazine columns.

Yet the practice of subincision, although bizarre and little known in the West, actually seems to be, if anything, rather more common around the world than is infibulation.

Given the lack of attention that the practice has attracted, precise figures are hard to come by. Moreover, the practise is most typically associated with Australian Aborigines, and is sometimes described as restricted to this group.

However, according to the Wikipedia entry regarding the practice, subincision is also practised, not just among the Aborigines, but also in Africa, South America and among the Polynesian and Melanesian cultures of the Pacific.[37]

In contrast, female infibulation is wholly confined to a few parts of Africa and the Middle-East, and in its most extreme – but least common – form, so-called ‘Type 3 Infibulation’, to just a few countries: namely Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and some parts of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Mali.[38]

Yet, despite continuing and high-profile campaigns for the eradication of infibulation by human rights groups, celebrities and the popular media, penile subincision receives no attention whatever from these same groups.[39]

Who Insists on Genital Mutilation – Men or women?

There is, moreover, one further notable difference between infibulation and penile subincision, as practised in various backward and primitive parts of the world.

In those few societies and cultures where it continues to be practised, infibulation is generally championed, performed and insisted upon, not by men, but by women.

Psychologists Roy Baumeister and Jean Twenge, reviewing various ethnological studies of the practice, conclude:

“Who supports and perpetuates these practices of female genital surgery? The available evidence points strongly and consistently toward women. The decision about whether and when a particular girl will receive the operation is made by her mother or grandmother… The female peer group regards the operation as a mark of positive status, and girls who have not yet had it are sometimes mocked, teased, and derogated by their female peers… The operation itself is nearly always performed by a woman such as a midwife. ‘Men are completely excluded,’ according to one work on the topic.”[40]

In contrast, they report:

Men seem generally indifferent… [and some observers suggest] the men often do not even know [while] some fathers object to having their daughters subincised or infibulated, but the men’s objections are overruled by the women in the family, who insist on having the operations performed.[41]

In stark contrast to the situation for female infibulation, however, it appears that women are prominent among those insisting that young boys have their penises sliced into two.

Thus, Martin van Creveld reports:

Tribal women in Australia told one researcher that they would refuse to marry a man who had not undergone it”.[42]

Indeed, one of the primary rationales offered for subincision is that the process supposedly increases the pleasure that women experience during sex.

Thus, Desmond Morris reports that Aborigines claimed that:

Opened up in this way, the splayed penis was much wider and… this gave enhanced pleasure to the females”.[43]

Evidently then, among the Aborigines, possible pleasure for women counted for more than the manifest pain inflicted on young boys.

Interestingly, this rationalization echoes perhaps the least persuasive justification offered for male circumcision in modern American – namely, that female sex partners supposedly prefer circumcised males as sex partners, on either aesthetic or other grounds.

Indeed, in one rather distasteful so-called ‘social experiment’viewable on YouTube, and apparently intended to be lighthearted, several women and girls are apparently quite unabashed in openly expressing a preference for mutilated male genitalia even on camera.

Of course, any man willing to express a similar preference for infibulated females would no doubt to swiftly excoriated and condemned in one of the contemporary West’s periodic witch-hunts.

Catholic Castrati and Other Useful Eunuchs

Not only is male genital mutilation more common than female genital mutilation today, it also has a longer history.

Indeed, until recently, the castration of males to create eunuchs was a widespread practice in many parts of the world.

“Male slaves were frequently castrated in Muslim societies, sometimes under such brutal conditions that 80 to 90% died of the operation.”

Thus, it is suggested that one reason why the Middle East, unlike the Americas, no longer has a distinct black African-descended population, despite the fact that more slaves were imported from Africa into the Middle East than were ever shipped across the Atlantic, is that, in the Middle East, male slaves were routinely castrated and hence incapable of reproducing.

Yet the process of castration was perhaps even more gruesome than one might imagine. Blood loss is surprisingly considerable, largely due to the body’s need to supply large quantities of blood to the penis to enable the engorgement necessary to maintain the erection necessary for intercourse and reproduction.

This, together with the unsanitary conditions under which the procedure was performed, meant that large numbers of castrated slaves males actually died during or in the immediate aftermath of undergoing the procedure.

Thus, Pierre van den Berghe reports:

Male slaves were frequently castrated in Muslim societies, sometimes under such brutal conditions that 80 to 90% died of the operation.[44]

In a sense, those who survived were the lucky ones.

Originally, it seems, eunuchs were favoured for the purpose of guarding the harems of rulers and other powerful individuals and hence ensure the paternity certainty of such individuals.[45]

Later, however, they were co-opted for other purposes. Often these purposes were surprisingly trivial.

One was as singers.

“The Catholic Church was still castrating choirboys so as to preserve their voices until at least the middle of the nineteenth century.”

Today, of course, Catholic priests are notorious for violating the genitalia of Catholic choirboys in rather different manner. However, until surprisingly recently, the Catholic Church was known for violating the genitalia of choirboys in an even more loathsome manner, the physical effects of which were altogether more permanent.

The best pre-pubescent male singers were singled out, and, in order to preserve their voices against the coming effects of puberty, castrated. After having undergone the procedure, the individuals were able to continue serving as, if you like, adult choirboys, and came to be known as Castrati’.

At this point readers may well object that, surely, I am now talking about ancient history, and that surely such barbaric practices were consigned to oblivion, at least in the civilized West, many centuries ago.

In truth, however, this practice continued, right in the heart of ostensibly civilized ‘Christendom’ until the late nineteenth century.

The castration of young boys for the purposes of maintaining their singing voices was only made illegal in Italy as recently as 1861, and only in 1878 did the then Pope prohibit the hiring of new castrati, though in the Sistine Choir some castrati remained until around 1900.

Indeed, one castrato, Alessandro Moreschi, even survived long enough that solo recordings were made of his voice.

In a bitter irony, he is not generally regarded as having had a particularly good voice, and therefore the sacrifice was perhaps not worth it even by the perverted and misandric standards of the Catholic Church. However, you can judge for yourself, as various recordings of his voice are available on youtube.

Castration Today?

Neither, unfortunately, is forcible castration wholly obsolete.

“In India, campaigners estimate that at least a thousand young men are forcibly castrated every year, and there are said to be 500,000 forcibly castrated eunuchs in the country. Meanwhile, in Iran, unknown numbers of homosexual men are forced to undergo sex change operations to escape execution.”

For example, Adam Jones refers to the estimated 500 000 forcibly castrated ‘eunuchs’ in India.[46] Thus, the India Times reports, at least 1,000 youths are converted into eunuchs in the city [Delhi] every year.[47]

This is a reference to the so-called Hijra community is South Asia. The term Hijra is sometimes translated as roughly equivalent to the western terms intersex or transgender, or a catch-all encompassing both these categories.

However, according to a report by the India Times:

Khairati Lai Bhola of All India Hijra Kalyan Sabha (AIHKS), formed in 1984 to protect the rights of the community, says most eunuchs in the country are not transvestites or hermaphrodites. They are actually castrated men. ‘Young and addicted boys are abducted and then introduced to homosexuality by the agents of eunuch’s gurus. Castrations are clandestinely forced on them and ironically, very few people gather the courage to retaliate,’ Bhola said… Not less than a thousand young men, says Bhola, are forcibly castrated every year. Many of them are married and have families.[48]

In recent years, despite the shame and embarrassment involved, as well as the dismissive attitude of the authorities to any complaints and the very real risk of retribution from the Hijra mafia, several complainants have recently come forward to report on how they were abducted and forcibly castrated against their will in recent years.[49]

Forcible castration of a somewhat different form is said to be widespread in contemporary Iran – namely coerced sex change operations that some homosexual men are said to be forced to undergo.

This practice is widespread in Iran because, although male homosexuality is strictly prohibited and sometimes punishable with death, the Islamic fundamentalist Iranian authorities are surprisingly ‘progressive’ when it comes to transsexual rights, recognising transsexuals as women, at least after they have undergone sex reassignment surgery.

As a result, Iran is, perhaps surprisingly, one of the world capitals for sex change operations, having more sex-change operations performed annually than anywhere in the world besides Thailand.

The result of Iran’s odd combination of tolerating transsexualism while persecuting male homosexuality is that many male homosexuals who are not transsexual are nevertheless seemingly forced to undergo sex change operations against their will, in order to avoid persecution, and possible execution, under Iran’s strict laws against male homosexuality.[50]

Contemporary Castration in Modern America

What then of the contemporary West?

Here, as we have seen, circumcision remains widespread, especially in the USA, where a majority of newborn boys continue to be genitally mutilated, usually without anaesthetic.

“On June 23 1993, Lorena Bobbitt cut off the penis of her sleeping husband, giving as her reason in a taped police interview later that night, ‘He always have orgasm, and he doesn’t wait for me ever to have orgasm… He’s selfish. I don’t think it’s fair, so I pulled back the sheets then and I did it.’ She received not a single day of incarceration as punishment.”

What though of actual castration, and similar forms of involuntary male genital mutilation?

These are widely regarded, so it seems, not so much as a crime, let alone a human rights abuse, but rather a laughing matter.

Take, for example, the case of John Wayne Bobbit. On the night of June 23 1993, while he slept, his wife Lorena cut off his penis at the base, drove away in her car, and threw the penis into a field.

On being taken into custody that day, in a tape-recorded interview, she gave as her reason for doing this:

He always have orgasm, and he doesn’t wait for me ever to have orgasm… He’s selfish. I don’t think it’s fair, so I pulled back the sheets then and I did it.[51]

Only several weeks later, presumably on being advised by her lawyers that (quite apart from the fact that removing his penis was unlikely to improve the quality of his lovemaking) his having been a selfish lover was hardly a sufficient ground on which to build a criminal defence, did she retract this statement and offer another in its stead.

Instead, several weeks later, she retroactively claimed that to have been a victim of the fraudulent battered woman syndrome, and even to have been raped by her husband on the night in question – a charge of which her husband was subsequently acquitted and which had evidently escaped her memory on the night of her arrest.[52]

Yet, as Alan Dershowitz has pointed out:

The same feminists who rail against putting the victim on trial in rape cases cheered the tactic of putting John Wayne Bobbitt on trial in this case”.[53]

Her eventual sentence for this sickening sexual assault on a sleeping, defenceless man?

She received not a single day of incarceration, nor even of community service, nor even a slap on the wrists, either literally or metaphorically.

Instead, she received literally no punishment at all.

“American man has been emasculated – reduced from John Wayne, the swaggering personification of American masculinity in the early twentieth century, to John Wayne Bobbitt, the pussy-whipped personification of an emasculated American masculinity at the dawn of the twenty-first.”

Instead, found not guilty on the grounds of insanity, she was ordered her to undergo ‘psychiatric evaluation’. This involved a 45-day evaluation period at a psychiatric hospital, after which she was released with no further charges and, to my knowledge, no further psychiatric treatment.

To this day, she perversely poses as a victim of domestic violence, despite being, in reality, a perpetrator of domestic violence of a most vile and sickening form, and has recently been the subject of sympathetic interviews in several major newspapers,[54] none of which references either the original reason she offered for her actions, nor her subsequent arrests for domestic violence.[55]

Meanwhile, her victim and former husband, in a characteristically male act of forgiveness, has I don’t blame Lorena…We both hurt each other. I wish her the best.[56]

It surely goes without saying that any man who was accused of, say, slicing up a woman’s genitalia with a kitchen knife – for whatever reason – would be sentenced to many years of incarceration. He would also be rightly vilified as a monster in the press and media.

In contrast, Lorena Bobbitt became:

  • A spokesperson and activist for victims of domestic violence;
  • A feminist icon and heroine to many women; and
  • The punchline to (countless) jokes.

Hailed in Vanity Fair as a national folk heroine,[57] the former Mrs Bobbitt recently appeared on an American talk show, where she was reported as having been greeted by the mostly female audience with a standing ovation and cheers,[58] and one woman interviewed by the New York Times in the immediate aftermath of the sickening attack, proudly giving her real name to reporters, was quoted as declaring, Every woman I’ve talked to about this says, “Way to go!’”,[59] an attitude reflected by other women, and, in itself, a shocking indictment of sickening levels of misandry among modern American women.

Male genital mutilation is, in short, a laughing matter and fit topic for ribald adult humour – and, no matter how horrible the acts which women commit, it is always men, or some man, who must ultimately be found to be at fault.

The Emasculation of American Man: From John Wayne to John Wayne Bobbitt

This then was the spectre of American manhood at the close of the twentieth century.

“Man of the West, unite – you have nothing to grow back except your balls.”

American man has been emasculated – reduced from John Wayne, the swaggering personification of American masculinity in the early twentieth century, to John Wayne Bobbitt, the pussy-whipped personification of an emasculated American masculinity at the dawn of the twenty-first.

Man of the West, uniteyou have nothing to grow back except your balls.[60]

___________________________________

References

[1] These terms are, of course, reserved exclusively for those forms of ‘genital cutting’ and ‘mutilation’ of which females are the victims, not the more frequently practised forms of ‘genital cutting’ and ‘mutilation’ of which men are the victims. Less emotive terminology is available to refer to the practice, which nevertheless distinguish the procedure from the quite different practice of male circumcision, namely the term ‘infibulation’. However, this is generally eschewed by feminists in favour of more emotive terms, presumably for rhetorical purposes. In order to avoid confusion, in this post, I will use the terms ‘male genital mutilation’ and ‘female genital mutilation’ to refer to any cutting of the genitalia of males or females designed to produce permanent alteration, from the mildest forms (e.g. a ritual nick) to the most extreme forms (e.g. castration, subincision and castration). In contrast, I reserve the terms ‘male circumcision’, ‘female circumcision’ and ‘infibulation’ to refer specifically to the forms of genital mutilation most familiar to western readers.

In passing it must be noted that philosopher David Benatar argues that male circumcision does not properly qualify as a form of ‘mutilation’ (The Second Sexism: p42). However, this is a semantic dispute of no substantive importance. Whether or not a certain form of genital alteration is such as to satisfy an arbitrary definition of ‘mutilation’ is irrelevant to the separate issue of whether the form of alteration is in any way justifiable.

[2] To illustrate this, try searching for the exact phrase violence against men (in inverted commas) on google, or in the archives of any of various newspapers/websites, then search for violence against women and compare the number of ‘hits’ obtained and by how many orders of magnitude they differ.

[3] In their comprehensive global survey of the correlates of crime, criminologists Anthony Walsh and Lee Ellis report that “except for rape, where essentially all victims are female, males have substantially higher victimization rates than do females” and “even with rapes included in calculating an overall victimization rate, males run a considerably greater risk of being victimized by violent crime than do females” (Criminology: A Global Perspective: p128). Walsh and Ellis are right with respect to violent crime generally. However, they underestimate the prevalence of male rape. Indeed, due to the epidemic levels of rape in the US’s overwhelmingly male prison population, recent government data suggests that in the USA, men may even be overrepresented among rape victims (see my post, Real Rape Culture – The American Prison System). However, violent crime often goes unreported. Meanwhile, rape in particular is probably over-reported, due to exceptionally high rates of false reports. Therefore, the most reliable data is that for homicide, which, as the most extreme form of violent crime, is also the form of violent crime least likely to go either undetected or falsely reported. In the UK in 2010-11, over two thirds (68%) of homicide victims were male, according to government statistics (Osborne, S. (2012) ‘Homicide’ in K. Smith et al (eds), Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2008/09: supplementary volume 2 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11 Home Office Statistical Bulletin 01/10: at p19). Similarly, in the USA, between 1980 and 2008, men were three times as likely to be the victim of homicide as were women (Cooper A & Smith EL (2011) Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008 U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2011, NCJ 236018: at p3). Internationally, according to a comprehensive worldwide epidemiological survey in the mid-1990s, men represented 78% of violent deaths, excluding those resulting from war (see Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. The global burden of disease: A comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambridge, Harvard University Press; Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. Global health statistics: a compendium of incidence, prevalence and mortality estimates for over 200 conditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press: as cited by Joshua Goldstein in War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400).

[4] According to data cited by Joshua Goldstein, adult men represent 58% of fatalities from war across the world – despite the fact that, once children are factored in, men represent a small minority of the population as a whole (War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400; Goldstein bases this on data taken from the two most comprehensive worldwide epidemiological surveys of the causes of death, namely, Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. The global burden of disease: A comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambridge, Harvard University Press; and Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. Global health statistics: a compendium of incidence, prevalence and mortality estimates for over 200 conditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press).

[5] See Jones A (2000) Gendercide and Genocide Journal of Genocide Research, 2(2): 185-211. Indeed, the overrepresentation of males among the victims of genocide is a recurrent feature of genocides throughout history. For example, Thucydides in the Melian Dialogue reports that, on conquering Melos, the Athenians put to death all the grown men whom they took, and sold the women and children for slaves. Similarly, in his recent comparative biography of Alexander the Great and his father, Philip II of Macedon, author Ian Worthington reports that on capturing “Sestus, an important grain city on the trade route from the Black Sea to Athens… he killed all of its male citizens and sold all of its women and children as slaves – one of the more gruesome punishments that civilians suffered in warfare” (By the Spear: p57). Similarly, the Bible recounts various gender-cides where males exclusively were massacred (Genesis 34: 25-9Exodus 1:22Matthew 2:16). Indeed, in the Old Testament, not only are gender-cides apparently approvingly recounted (Genesis 34: 25-9), but God even expressly commands such gender-cides (e.g. Deuteronomy 20: 10-15Numbers 31: 17-8), where the Israelites are commanded to kill every male among the little ones and, upon conquering a city put to the sword all the men in it, but to take the women and children as slaves. The Bible is a notoriously historically unreliable source. However, such male-specific massacres are not mere mythology. Their legacy is found even in our DNA. Thus, Nobel prize winning geneticist James Watson reports, whereas 94% of the Y-chromosomes of contemporary Colombians are European, mitrochondrial DNA shows a “range of Amerindian MtDNA types”, concluding “the virtual absence of Amerindian Y chromosome types, reveals the tragic story of colonial genocide: indigenous men were eliminated while local women were sexually ‘assimilated’ by the conquistadors” (DNA: The Secret of Life: p257).

[6] Farrell, W The Myth of Male Power (reviewed here): p29.

[7] For example, in Britain, the whipping of female offenders was prohibited as early as 1820 with the  Abolition of the Whipping of Female Offenders Act  of 1820. However, the  whipping of male offenders was not finally abolished until nearly a century and a half later under section 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967. Similarly, today, David Benatar reports, in the “overwhelming majority” of the “more than 30 countries” that still use corporal punishment as a penalty “the punishment is reserved for males and may not be inflicted upon females” (The Second Sexism: p34).

[8] For evidence of discrimination in the application of the death penalty in the USA, see Streib, V (1997) America’s aversion to executing womenOhio Northern University Women’s Law Journal, 1:1-8; Streib, V (2001) Sentencing Women to Death’ Criminal Justice Magazine 16(1); Streib, V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine SanctuaryOhio State Law Journal 63: 433; Streib, V (2006) Rare and Inconsistent: The Death Penalty for WomenFordham Urban Law Journal 33:609; Shapiro, A (2000) Unequal Before the Law: Men, Women and the Death PenaltyAmerican University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 8(2): 427-470. Meanwhile, in other jurisdictions, discrimination against males is overt. For example, The Indian death penalty statute expressly lists the offender’s sex as an extenuating circumstance, and the former Soviet and current Russian capital punishment statutes expressly prohibit the death penalty for female offenders: Streib, V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine SanctuaryOhio State Law Journal 63: 433.

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

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

[11] Benatar, D, The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys: p41-2.

[12] Benatar, D, The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys: p42.

[13] Benatar, D, The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys: p41.

[14] Benatar, D, The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys: p42

[15] Dowsett, G.W.; M. Couch (May 2007). “Male circumcision and HIV prevention: is there really enough of the right kind of evidence?” (PDF). Reproductive Health Matters 15 (29): 33–44.

[16] E.g. Blau (2014) Religious circumcision ritual leaves another Jewish baby with herpes New York Daily News, 24 December; Forster K (2017) Herpes cases among babies linked to ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual, Independent, 9 March; Campanile, C (2017) New case of neonatal herpes caused by Jewish circumcision 8 March; JTA Two infants diagnosed with herpes after ‘metzitzah b’peh’Times of Israel, 35 July 2014; Golgowski, N (2013) Two more babies stricken with herpes after ritual ultra-orthodox Jewish oral blood sucking circumcision in New York City Daily Mail, 5 April.

[17] Morris, D, The Naked Man: a Study of the Male Body: at p207. Morris fails to acknowledge the evidence that circumcision actually seems to prevent the transmission of HIV. On the contrary, he cites evidence suggesting the contrary, observing that, “the United States has a high rate of male circumcision and also of HIV infection [whereas] Scandinavia has a low rate of circumcision and also of HIV infection” (Ibid.). However, this pattern, besides being restricted to a sample of only two countries, fails to account for other potential confounding factors, notably the racial demographics of the two countries.

[18] Szabo R & Short RV (2000) How does male circumcision protect against HIV infection? British Medical Journal 2000 Jun 10; 320(7249): 1592–1594.

[19] Dowsett, G.W.; M. Couch (May 2007). “Male circumcision and HIV prevention: is there really enough of the right kind of evidence?” (PDF). Reproductive Health Matters 15 (29): 33–44: at p36

[20] See Berg, RC & Denison, E (2012) Does Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) Affect Women’s Sexual Functioning? A Systematic Review of the Sexual Consequences of FGM/C  Sexuality Research and Social Policy 9(1): 41–56; Sibiani, S & Rouzi, AA (2008) Sexual function in women with female genital mutilation Fertility and Sterility, 90 (Supplement): S92. Incidentally, the effect of female circumcision on female libido and sexual arousal is not disputed by the opponents of the practice. On the contrary, this forms one of the principle grounds on which they oppose the practice.

[21] Kinuthia, RG (2010) The Association between Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and the Risk of HIV/AIDS in Kenyan Girls and Women (15-49 Years) Thesis, Georgia State University, 2010. http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/iph_theses/98; Stallings RY, & Karugendo E. (2005) Female Circumcision and HIV Infection in Tanzania: for Better or for Worse? [poster] 3rd International AIDS Society Conference; 2005 24 July–27 July; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. International AIDS Society, 2005.

[22] Benatar, D, The Second Sexism: p41.

[23] However, when the American Academy of Paediatrics wisely proposed allowing the procedure, as an alternative to more invasive forms of female genital mutilation, they were widely condemned (see Belluck P Group Backs Ritual ‘Nick’ as Female Circumcision Option New York Times 6th May 2010). Thus, one congressman was quoted as complaining, what their recommendation has done is only create confusion about whether FGM [female genital mutilation] is acceptable in any form. Another refers permitting the practice as a slippery slope. However, the article does not mention whether permitting male circumcision similarly creates confusion about whether male genital mutilation is acceptable in any form’ and thereby lends credence to, or represents a ‘slippery slope’ practices such as penile subincision.

[24] Van Creveld, M, The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p50.

[25] Thomas, D, Not Guilty: The Case in Defence of Modern Man: p51.

[26] Moore, K (1990) Sons of the Wind, Sports Illustrated, 26 Feb 1990, p72.

[27] Moore, K (1990) Sons of the Wind, Sports Illustrated, 26 Feb 1990, p72.

[28] Morris, D, The Naked Man: a Study of the Male Body (London: Jonathan Cape 2008): p203.

[29] The Naked Man: a Study of the Male Body (London: Jonathan Cape 2008): p208.

[30] Van Creveld, M, The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p50.

[31] The Naked Man: a Study of the Male Body (London: Jonathan Cape 2008): p208.

[32] This is according to the wikipedia page on the topic, which cites various sources for the practice in different continents. Certainly, the practice has been documented outside of Australia (e.g. Margetts, E.L. (1960). “Sub-incision of the urethra in the Samburu of Kenya. East African Medical Journal 37(2): 105–8).

[33] Morris, D, The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body: p203.

[34] Morris, D, The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body: p204.

[35] Morris, D, The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body: p204.

[36] Morris, D, The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body: p204.

[37] Again, this is according to the current version of the wikipedia page regarding the topic, which cites various sources for the existence of the practice in different continents (e.g. Margetts, E.L. (1960). “Sub-incision of the urethra in the Samburu of Kenya. East African Medical Journal 37(2): 105–8).

[38] Of course, both sub-incision and infibulation may also be practised, to a lesser extent, among emigrants from these groups who settle in other countries.

[39] For example, searching the website of Amnesty, the human rights group, for the exact phrases “infibulation”, “female genital mutilation” and “female genital cutting” provides 87, 423 and 49 hits respectively. In contrast, searching for “subincision”, “sub-incision” or “male genital cutting” gives no results, while searching for “male genital mutilation” gives just four, none of which seem to be apposite. Similar results (or lack of results) are found at the website of Human Rights Watch website. Here, each of “subincision”, “sub-incision”, “male genital cutting” and “male genital mutilation” give zero results, while “infibulation”, “female genital mutilation” and “female genital cutting” give respectively 25, 410 and 38 results.

[40] Baumseister RF & Twenge JM (2002) Cultural Suppression of Female Sexuality, Review of General Psychology 6(2): 166-203 at p183.

[41] Baumseister RF & Twenge JM (2002) Cultural Suppression of Female Sexuality, Review of General Psychology 6(2): 166-203 at p183.

[42] Van Creveld, M, The Privileged Sex (reviewed here): p50.

[43] Morris, D, The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body: p204.

[44] Van de Berghe, P The ethnic Phenomenon: p117.

[45] Sanderson S Evolution of Human Sociality: p45.

[46] Jones A (2002) Towards a Minoritarian Framing of Male Experience Journal of Human Rights, 1(3): 387-403.

[47] Anwar T (2016) The Truth About How Hijras Are Made In India – Because They’re Not Always Born That Way India Times, July 6 2016.

[48] Anwar T (2016) The Truth About How Hijras Are Made In India – Because They’re Not Always Born That Way India Times, July 6, 2016.

[49] Joshi & Ahmedabad (1994) Eunuchs Fight Back India Today, May 15, 1994.

[50] Hamedani, A (2014) The gay people pushed to change their gender BBC Magazine, 5 November 2014; Senzee T (2015) HBO’s VICE Uncovers Gay Iranians Forced to Surgically Change Gender, The Advocate, April 11 2015; Robinson W (2015) State Department refers to Iran’s forced sex changes of homosexuals and transgenders as ‘gender-confirmation’ because their identity was ‘ambiguous’ beforehandDaily Mail, 27 June 2015.

[51] Margolick, D (1994) Lorena Bobbitt Acquitted In Mutilation of Husband New York Times, January 22, 1994.

[52] In fact, it appears there was indeed a history of domestic abuse in the relationship. However, Lorena seems to have given at least as good as she got even prior to the night for which she and her husband became infamous. This is, of course, consistent with the general finding that domestic violence is mutual in most cases and that women are more likely to initiate such violence. Interestingly, while much is made of the fact that John Wayne Bobbitt was subsequently charged with domestic assaults on later partners (something that is surely understandable given what he has gone through psychologically as a consequence of the injury he suffered), it remains less well-publicised that his wife has also been arrested on subsequent occasions in relation to assaults on family members, including an assault on her own mother.

[53] Dershowitz A The Abuse Excuse: and Other Cop-Outs, Sob Stories, and Evasions of Responsibility: p27.

[54] E.g. Warren, L (2014) Lorena Bobbitt speaks out 21 years Daily Mail, 29 April 2014; Spargo, C (2016) Lorena Bobbitt 23 years later Daily Mail, 23 December 2016; Lee, E (2015) Lorena Bobbitt, Woman Who Cut Off Ex-Husband’s Penis in 1993, Resurfaces in New Interview, US Magazine, 9 November 2015.

[55] E.g. The former Lorena Bobbitt charged in mother’s assault Deseret News, 8 December 1998.

[56]  John Bobbitt speaks 23 years after attack, News.com.au, November 25 2016.

[57]  Sex, Lies, and an 8-inch Carving Knife, Vanity Fair, November 1993.

[58]  Lee, E (2015) Lorena Bobbitt, Woman Who Cut Off Ex-Husband’s Penis in 1993, Resurfaces in New Interview, US Magazine, 9 November 2015.

[59]  ‘Battle of Sexes Joined in Case Of a Mutilation’, New York Times (November 8, 1993). In an attempt to justify her sadistic gloating with regard to a sickening sexual assault on a defenceless sleeping victim, the woman claimed, “Usually the woman is the victim; this was the woman striking back”. In reality, however, a huge number of studies have confirmed that women are at least as like to commit acts of domestic violence against male intimate partners as the converse.

[60] By way of acknowledgement, I owe this memorable turn of phrase, which I have quoted previously, and will now be plagiarising wherever possible, to the redoubtable Jim Goad.

The Concise Case Against Feminism

[Introductory Note: My intention in this post is to produce a succinct critique of feminism to which I (and, if they wish, others) can refer feminists and supporters of feminism and which, given its brevity, the latter may actually be expected to read. This is in contrast to my more in-depth treatment of the same topic in Why I am Not a Feminist.]

Feminists claim to champion ‘gender equality’. In reality, however, their advocacy for this cause has been, at best, highly selective.

Thus, men are discriminated against on account of their sex in countless spheres, including conscription,[1] car insurance,[2] child custody contests,[3] sentencing in the criminal courts,[4] civilian targeting during warfare and genocide,[5] pension rights,[6] reproductive rights,[7] and rescue and relief operations from the Titanic[8] to the Balkans.[9]

Yet feminists, despite their ostensible commitment to ‘gender equality’, have remained silent on these issues, and, when pressed, typically dismissed their importance.

Indeed, the one-sided commitment of feminists to eliminating gender inequalities only where such inequalities apparently disadvantage women is reflected even in the etymology of the name they use to refer to themselves.

The central tenet of feminism, then, is not the feminists’ ostensible (and loudly trumpeted) commitment to the notion of gender equality, since they have evidenced no consistent or even-handed commitment to this ideal.

Instead, the defining tenet of feminism is, not so much their belief in sexual equality, as their belief in sexual inequality – in other words their belief that women are oppressed and disadvantaged as compared to men.

The reality, however, is that, as in the examples of gender discrimination cited above, nothing could be further from the truth.

It is, in reality, men, not women, who are vastly overrepresented among the homeless,[10] the victims of violent crime,[11] the casualties in warfare,[12] the prison population,[13] suicides,[14] drug addicts[15] – in short, all the most disadvantaged groups within society and across the world.

As George Orwell wrote almost a century ago, one can almost say that below a certain level society is entirely male.[16]

__________

Meanwhile, men are also by far the primary victims of sexual discrimination.

I have already listed just a few of the many forms of discrimination to which men are subject above.

However, rather than attempting to compile a comprehensive list of all the various spheres in which males discriminated against on account of their gender, then comparing this list against all those spheres in which women claim to be the victims of gender discrimination (an obviously daunting, if not impossible, task), let’s restrict ourselves solely to the most extreme and severe forms of sexual discrimination.

The most extreme forms of sex discrimination are, we can all surely agree, those where life itself is at stake – in other words, those forms of discrimination which condemn the person who is discriminated against to certain or probable death on account of the discrimination.

Here, in respect of what we might call ‘life or death discrimination’, it is almost always males who are the victims.[17]

Thus, on board the Titanic and other vessels, it was women and children who were allowed on board the lifeboats first while men were left to perish.

As a result, around 80% of the men on board the Titanic perished that night, compared to only 26% of the women.[18]

Despite the ostensible death of chivalry, similar practices continue to be employed to this day, even in the feminist-invested, equality-obsessed contemporary West and even under ostensibly ‘patriarchal’ Middle-Eastern regimes.[19]

Likewise, it is not only male soldiers, but also male civilians (especially, but not exclusively, so-called ‘battle-aged males’) who are deliberately targeted for killing on the grounds of their sex in warfare and genocides across the world[20] and throughout history.[21]

Yet, despite this, it was women who were given preference during humanitarian evacuations from the Balkans during the civil wars there during the nineties, despite the fact that it was, once again, men who were overwhelmingly overrepresented among the casualties.[22]

Likewise, to take another form of ‘life-or-death discrimination’, it is male offenders  who are more often sentenced to death by the US courts, and more often actually executed, even as compared to female offenders the severity of whose offences is, by any measure, as culpable as that of the executed males.[23]

Indeed, in other parts of the world, discrimination against males in the application of the death penalty is explicit. Thus, the leading researcher in this area, Victor Streib of Ohio Northern University, reports that:

The Indian death penalty statute expressly lists the offender’s sex as an extenuating circumstance, and the former Soviet and current Russian capital punishment statutes expressly prohibit the death penalty for female offenders[24]

Compulsory enlistment for military service during wartime provides a final example of ‘life-or-death discrimination’ favouring females.

Although conscription has been practised by civilizations and nation-states for thousands of years,[25] and continues to be practised by a minimum of over eighty regimes around the world as of 2012,[26] it has almost always applied solely and exclusively to males, and never to men and women on anything like equal terms.[27]

This has, of course, entailed a massively elevated risk of death, as well as of permanent maiming and injury and, together with the deliberate selective targeting of male civilians, it responsible for the fact that males have represented the vast majority of casualties in warfare in every conflict for which reliable data exists.[28] Given that it involves forced labour, conscription is also arguably a form of slavery.[29]

____________

Against this overwhelming body of evidence that males are both worse-off than females in terms of outcomes, and discriminated against in favour of females in many spheres, including those where life itself is at stake, what evidence can the feminists marshal to buttress their claims that it is in fact women, not men, who are disadvantaged and ‘oppressed’?

In my experience debating with feminists, it seems to me that the latter most often cite two types of evidence:

  • The ‘gender pay gap’; and
  • The overrepresentation of males in many high-visibility and high-status occupations (e.g. in government and business).

Let’s look at these two disparities in greater detail.

________________

It is true that, on average, men earn higher salaries than do women. However, there are two reasons this cannot be viewed as evidence of male privilege.

First, although men do indeed earn higher salaries than women, this reflects, not discrimination, but rather the greater sacrifices that men are willing to endure in return for higher pay. For example, men work, on average, longer hours than women,[30] in more dangerous and unpleasant working conditions,[31] and for a greater proportion of their adult lives,[32] in addition to many other compensating differentials.[33]

For example, men are overrepresented in all of the most dangerous occupations (e.g. coal mining, soldiering construction, firefighting), such that, in any given year, males represent over ninety percent of workplace fatalities.[34]

Secondly, although men thereby earn more money, on average, than women, these additional earnings are then largely redistributed to women, via such mechanisms as maintenance, alimony, divorce, marriage, courtship and dating.

Thus, if men earn more money, much of these additional earnings are spent on or by their wives, ex-wives and girlfriends (not to mention daughters).

Indeed, as I have written previously:

The entire process of conventional courtship is predicated on the redistribution of wealth from men to women, from the social expectation that the man pay for dinner on the first date to the legal obligation that he continue to support his ex-wife, through alimony and maintenance, for anything up to several decades after he has belatedly rid himself of her [or she of him].”

Thus, as researchers in the marketing industry have long been aware, women are thought to control the vast majority of consumer spending, some estimates putting this at around 80% of consumer spending.

In short, men may earn more money (and earn it they do, in every sense of this word), but women both have more money and spend more money – which is, of course, precisely the reason that they have the luxury of being able to choose not to work in the sort of atrocious working conditions to which men often have no choice but to subject themselves.

___________

What then of the overrepresentation of males in high-profile and high visibility positions of power and influence, such as in government and big business?

Certainly, it is true that men are overrepresented in positions of apparent power, such as prime ministers, presidents and corporate CEOs of major multinational companies.

However, such men represent only a small minority of men and it must also be remembered that, as we have seen, men are also overrepresented among the most disadvantaged groups, such as the homeless, the casualties in warfare, the victims of genocides, the prison population and the victims of violent crime.

Moreover, the small minority of males who do occupy positions of visible authority, power, wealth and privilege in government and business etc. are themselves typically married to women. The latter (i.e. their wives) therefore have access to the same wealth and privilege as their husbands, albeit typically without any of the hard work that it took to achieve this wealth and privilege.

As Bertrand Russell writes:

The world is full of idle people, mostly women, who have little education, much money, and consequentially great self-confidence. Owing to their wealth they are able to cause much labour to be devoted to their comfort… 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.[35]

As Aristotle observed of the Spartans, so we must ask of our own societies – What difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women?.[36]

____________

Finally, while a small minority of men, namely those in positions of eminence and power in government and business, may indeed exercise hugely disproportionate influence and power, there is no reason to believe that they exercise this power to benefit men in general.

On the contrary, all the evidence suggests that men are naturally protective of women and far from discriminating against women or otherwise ‘oppressing’ them, are far more apt to discriminate in women’s favour.

For example, most judges are male. However, there is overwhelming evidence that judges in the criminal courts sentence female offenders more leniently than they do male offenders guilty of equivalent transgressions,[37] and also that they sentence violent offenders who target women more severely than they do those who target men.[38]

There is also evidence of discrimination at other stages of the criminal justice process, such as during the decision whether to arrest a suspect.[39] Yet, once again, most individuals charged with making these decisions (e.g. police officers) are male.

Similarly, although, as the feminists never tire of reminding us, men occupy most of the leading positions in government, and in legislatures, this has not prevented such bodies from enacting laws that systematically and overtly discriminate against men.

Indeed, in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, when women in the UK had yet to be enfranchised, it was a government, and a Parliament, both composed of, and elected by, exclusively males that nevertheless enacted various forms of legislation that systematically and overtly discriminated against, yes, men – for example, the Abolition of the Whipping of Female Offenders Act 1820,[40] the Mines and Collieries Act 1842[41] and the Military Service Act (or ‘Bachelor’s Bill’) of 1916.[42]

On reflection, however, this is surely little surprise. After all, men are, as I have said, naturally protective of, and chivalrous towards, women – especially those to whom they are sexually attracted.

Thus, studies find that men are more likely to stop and help women than they are to stop and help men;[43] are less likely to act violently towards women than towards men;[44] and judge acts of violence committed against females as more culpable than similar acts committed against males.[45]

In short, far from oppressing women or discriminating against women, men in positions of power, much like other men, are far more prone to discriminate in their favour.

______________________

Endnotes

[1] Conscription refers to compulsory military service. This has been practised in countless societies throughout history, and, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, has been practised at least since 27 BCE, if not earlier. By the time of the First World War, it was all but universal (for males) throughout Europe, and employed by all major combatant nations. Conscription continues to be practised by around eighty regimes around the world, as of 2012 (The Second Sexism: p27). However, it almost always applies exclusively to males, and even those societies which have, in recent years, made a perfunctory pretence of applying conscription to women as well (e.g. Israel), has never been applied on anything like the same terms to women.

[2] Discrimination against men in the provision of insurance policies remains legal in most jurisdictions (e.g. the USA). However, sex discrimination in the provision of insurance policies was belatedly outlawed throughout the European Union at the end of 2012, due to a ruling of the European Court of Justice. This was many years after other forms of sex discrimination had been outlawed in most member-states. For example, in the UK, most other forms of gender discrimination were outlawed almost forty years previously under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. However, section 45 of this 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”. Yet actuarial data could also be employed to justify other forms of discrimination, such as employers deciding not to employ women of childbearing age. However, this remained unlawful. 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 providers routinely charged young male drivers double the premiums demanded of young female drivers. Yet, curiously, 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. Interestingly, even after the ECJ ruling, there is evidence that indirect discrimination against males continues, simply by using occupation as a marker for gender.

[3] For example, according to data cited by David Benatar, “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” (The Second Sexism: p50).

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

[5] Jones A (2000) Gendercide and Genocide Journal of Genocide Research, 2(2): 185-211.

[6] In the UK, women have long been eligible for state pensions several years before men, despite the fact that men on average work for a greater number of years and contribute more yet die earlier. Traditionally, women were eligible at age sixty, but men not until they were sixty-five. In response to an ECJ ruling, this is now scheduled to equalized, after more than seventy years of discrimination, in 2020, by which time neither men nor women will be eligible for a state pension until they are seventy.

[7] It is, after all, as we are incessantly reminded by the feminists, a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion or carry an infant to term. However, while denied any say in this decision, men are nevertheless legally obliged to pay maintenance in order to provide for the resulting offspring, despite being denied custody of, and sometimes even visitation rights over, the offspring for whom they are obliged to provide [see Dubay v. Wells (2004); Danforth v Planned Parenthood 428 U.S. 52 (1976); Planned Parenthood v Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992) Paton v. Trustees of British Pregnancy Advisory Service Trustees (1978) QB 276; C v S (1988) QB 135].

[8] On board the Titanic, 80% of men were killed as compared to only 26% of women. Indeed, contrary to popular opinion, even women travelling in the cheapest class of accommodation had a 41% better chance of survival than men travelling first-class.

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

[10] The homeless are, by their nature, a difficult group to survey. However, estimates of the gender disparity among the homeless concur in suggesting that males are vastly overrepresented. George Orwell, in his classic study of the poverty and homeless of Paris and London, estimated, on the basis of both official statistics and his own personal experience, that the overrepresentation of men among the destitute occurred at a ratio of roughly ten to one. More recent estimates suggest a similar disparity today, a disparity accentuated among the ‘street homeless’ (see The Myth of Male Power: p209).

[11] In their comprehensive global survey of the correlates of crime, criminologists Anthony Walsh and Lee Ellis report that “except for rape, where essentially all victims are female, males have substantially higher victimization rates than do females” and “even with rapes included in calculating an overall victimization rate, males run a considerably greater risk of being victimized by violent crime than do females” (Criminology: A Global Perspective: p128). Walsh and Ellis are right with respect to violent crime generally. However, they underestimate the prevalence of male rape. Indeed, due to the epidemic levels of rape in the US’s overwhelmingly male prison population, recent government data suggests that in the USA, men may even be overrepresented among rape victims (see my post, Real Rape Culture – The American Prison System). However, violent crime often goes unreported. Meanwhile, rape in particular is probably over-reported, due to exceptionally high rates of false reports. Therefore, the most reliable data is that for homicide, which, as the most extreme form of violent crime, is also the form of violent crime least likely to go either undetected or falsely reported. In the UK in 2010-11, over two thirds (68%) of homicide victims were male, according to government statistics (Osborne, S. (2012) ‘Homicide’ in K. Smith et al (eds), Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2008/09: supplementary volume 2 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11 Home Office Statistical Bulletin 01/10: at p19). ). Similarly, in the USA, between 1980 and 2008, men were three times as likely to be the victim of homicide as were women (Cooper A & Smith EL (2011) Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008 U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2011, NCJ 236018: at p3).  Internationally, according to a comprehensive worldwide epidemiological survey in the mid-1990s, men represented 78% of violent deaths, excluding those resulting from war (see Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. The global burden of disease: A comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambridge, Harvard University Press; Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. Global health statistics: a compendium of incidence, prevalence and mortality estimates for over 200 conditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press: as cited by Joshua Goldstein in War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400).

[12] According to data cited by Joshua Goldstein, adult men represent 58% of fatalities from war across the world – despite the fact that, once children are factored in, men represent a small minority of the population as a whole (War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400; Goldstein bases this on data taken from the two most comprehensive worldwide epidemiological surveys of the causes of death, namely, Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. The global burden of disease: A comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambridge, Harvard University Press; and Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. Global health statistics: a compendium of incidence, prevalence and mortality estimates for over 200 conditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press).

[13] According to the latest estimates, the US prison population is over 93% male. Of course, this largely reflects the fact that men commit more crimes than women. However, it also reflects the fact that males are sentenced more harshly than females, even after controlling for such factors as prior criminal history and the severity of their offence (see endnote 4 above for the many studies replicating this consistent finding). In addition, it reflects bias in the very definition of what constitutes a ‘crime’. Thus, if a man steals another man’s hard earned money or other property, or that of a woman, this is termed ‘theft’. However, if a woman steals a man’s money, this is, as often as not called, not ‘theft’, but rather a ‘divorce settlement’ or a ‘maintenance payment’ – and, far from the courts punishing the wrongdoer, the family courts are actually aiders and abettors in respect of the misappropriation.

[14] For example, the most recent data from the USA suggests that males are about three and a half times as likely to commit suicide as are females and this pattern has remained stable for over half a century. Patterns are similar in other Western economies, and indeed across the world. However, women are relatively more likely to attempt suicide. This likely reflects the fact that attempted suicides are often not genuine attempts to kill oneself, but rather represent a mere cry for help  – and girls learn at an early age that they have only to burst into tears and misguided male morons will be only too ready to ride eagerly to their rescue like latter-day  knights in shining armour, presumably in eager but forlorn expectation of a blowjob in return for their noble heroism. In contrast, boys learn from an early age that if they burst into tears or otherwise cry for help they will typically receive only ridicule for their perceived weakness and femininity.

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

[16] This quotation is taken from Orwell’s celebrated semi-autobiographical ‘participant observatory’ study of homelessness, Down and Out in Paris and London.

[17] The sole exception I can think of is the sex selective infanticide widely practised in places such as China. Here, it is female babies who are the victims. Notably, since this is the only form of ‘life-or-death discrimination’ of which women are the victims, this is also the sole form of ‘life or death discrimination’ on which feminists have focussed any attention whatsoever. However, given that most feminists are dogmatically ‘pro-choice’ on the abortion issue, they might be wise not to make too much out of the sex-selective infanticide practised in places like China, since killing a new-born baby is presumably not all that different from killing an ‘unborn child’. Thus, if women have complete freedom to abort their offspring, why should they not also have complete freedom to practise infanticide. Indeed, there is already evidence that, even in the West, surprisingly large numbers of mothers are responsible for killing their own infant offspring, far more than the numbers of men guilty of the same offence, yet the former are treated far more leniently by the courts (see Wilczynski & Morris (1993) ‘Parents Who Kill Their Children’ Criminal Law Review 793: 31-36). Indeed, in the UK, this discrimination has even been made overt, through the Infanticide Acts of 1922 and 1938.

[18] This is based on data taken from the British Wreck Commissioner’s inquiry into the sinking of the RMS Titanic headed by Lord Mersey (see here for detailed breakdown of survival rates by sex and class of accomodation). Similar figures are reported by the rival US Senate enquiry. Interestingly, contrary to popular opinion, the gender disparity in survival rates is such that even men travelling in first class accommodation had a lesser chance of survival than did women travelling in steerage (the cheapest class), despite the latter’s quarters being buried deep in the ship’s hull and far from the lifeboats.

[19] For example, even as recently as the 2009 New York plane crash, women and children were rescued first (Quinn and Whitworth ‘New York plane crash: Pilot told passengers to brace for heavy landing’ Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2009). Similarly, even the Saddam Hussein, leader of a purportedly patriarchal Middle Eastern regime, allowed women and children who were foreign nationals to evacuate the country prior to the Gulf War in 1990 (Fineman, ‘Foreign Women and Children Can Leave Iraq, Hussein Says’ Los Angeles Times, 29 August 1990).

[20] Jones, A (2000) Gendercide and Genocide Journal of Genocide Research, 2(2):185-211.

[21] For example, Thucydides in the Melian Dialogue reports that, on conquering Melos, the Athenians put to death all the grown men whom they took, and sold the women and children for slaves. Similarly, in his recent comparative biography of Alexander the Great and his father, Philip II of Macedon, author Ian Worthington reports that on capturing “Sestus, an important grain city on the trade route from the Black Sea to Athens… he killed all of its male citizens and sold all of its women and children as slaves – one of the more gruesome punishments that civilians suffered in warfare” (By the Spear: p57). Similarly, the bible recounts various gender-cides where males exclusively were massacred (Genesis 34: 25-9Exodus 1:22; Matthew 2:16). Indeed, in the Old Testament, not only are gender-cides apparently approvingly recounted (Genesis 34: 25-9), but God even expressly commands such gender-cides (e.g. Deuteronomy 20: 10-15; Numbers 31: 17-8), where the Israelites are commanded to kill every male among the little ones and, upon conquering a city put to the sword all the men in it, but to take the women and children as slaves. The Bible is a notoriously historically unreliable source. However, such male-specific massacres are not mere mythology. Their legacy is found even in our DNA. Thus, Nobel prize winning geneticist James Watson reports, whereas 94% of the Y-chromosomes of contemporary Colombians are European, mitrochondrial DNA shows a “range of Amerindian MtDNA types”, concluding “the virtual absence of Amerindian Y chromosome types, reveals the tragic story of colonial genocide: indigenous men were eliminated while local women were sexually ‘assimilated’ by the conquistadors” (DNA: The Secret of Life: p257).

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

[23] Streib, V (1997) America’s aversion to executing women, Ohio Northern University Women’s Law Journal, 1:1-8; Streib, V (2001) Sentencing Women to Death’ Criminal Justice Magazine 16(1); Streib, V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary, Ohio State Law Journal 63: 433; Streib, V (2006) Rare and Inconsistent: The Death Penalty for Women, Fordham Urban Law Journal 33:609; 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

[24] This quotation is taken from: Streib, V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary, Ohio State Law Journal 63: 433.

[25] According to the Encyclopædia Britannica entry on the topic, conscription “has existed at least from the time of the Egyptian Old Kingdom (27th century BCE)”. It manifested itself in a particularly extreme form among the ancient Spartans, and became universal (for males) throughout most of Europe in the years leading up the the First and Second World Wars, in which all combatant nations employed conscription to all young men in order to recruit service personnel.

[26] This figure is taken from David Benatar’s The Second Sexism (p27). However, it is very difficult to obtain accurate information on the prevalence of conscription around the world. This is despite the fact that conscription constitutes a form of forced labour and hence arguably of slavery, as well as often involving a high probability of death or serious injury, and thus undoubtedly one of the most extreme forms of human rights abuse. However, human rights groups do not seemingly monitor the practice. As Benatar observes, “it is very difficult to get reliable, comprehensive, up-to-date information on which countries still conscript” (The Second Sexism: p62, note 2). The only previous figure of which I am aware was that given by Bernard T. Rostker, the then Director of the US Selective Service System, in congressional hearings held in 1980, where he reported that that, at that time, 72 countries employed conscription, but only ten registered, let alone conscripted, women (quoted in: Hollander RD (2013) The Draft: Men Only? New Male Studies 2:3 32-41: at p34).

[27] In this age of feminism, a few nations do now make a nominal pretence of applying conscription to women as well as men. To my knowledge, however, none apply the policy to men and women on equal terms. The most famous and widely cited example of the conscription of women occurs in the Israeli armed services. However, as Martin Van Creveld, Israel’s preeminent military historian, reports, whereas male Israelis are now obliged to serve three years, women serve only two or, in practice, “about twenty-two months” (Men, Women and War: p186). Moreover, women “were not expected to take part in combat or even… combat support”, and, partly as a result, “very few women Israeli soldiers have ever been killed in action” (Men, Women and War: p188). In addition, “married women and pregnant women (including such as got pregnant while on active service) were exempt”, as are “women who declared themselves to be religiously observant” (Men, Women and War: p186). By 1999, those claiming exemption on this ground alone  had reached “over 26%” (Men, Women and War: p208).

[28] Admittedly, this is, of course, an argument from silence and, as a famous aphorism has it, ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’. Nevertheless, the amount of data that is available is considerable, and the pattern is consistently the same, namely, males being vastly overrepresented among the dead. For example, much is made of civilian casualties during WW2, where widespread bombing of civilian targets occurred. However, according to the entry on ‘Women at War’ by Janet Howarth in The Oxford Companion to World War II, “only countries under German occupation had suffered more civilian than military losses” and “these victims were predominantly men” (The Oxford Companion to World War II: p998).

[29] This is one of the emotive metaphors employed by Warren Farrell in his seminal The Myth of Male Power (reviewed here), where he writes of how “during the [American] Civil War, the government passed a Conscription Act, allowing… for an all-male slave trade”, such that, “in essence, white male slaves fought to free black slaves”. Strictly speaking, most economic definitions of slavery entail two criteria, namely, that the work be both involuntary and unpaid. While conscription, by definition, involves involuntary labour, whether compulsory military service is recompensed, and whether the recompense offered is purely nominal or not, has varied over time and place. Nevertheless, the analogy is sufficiently powerful that the 1930 Forced Labour Convention, prohibiting slavery, explicitly excluded conscription from its prohibition (Article 2 paragraph 2a).

[30] The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2014,  on the days they worked, employed men worked 52 minutes more than employed women and that “[although] this difference partly reflects women’s greater likelihood of working part time… even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked longer than women—8.4 hours compared with 7.8 hours. Indeed, it is also clear from their data that, not only did male full-time workers work, on average, longer hours than female full-time workers, but also that male part-time workers worked longer hours than female part-time workers. Male employees also worked more hours during weekends and on holidays. (See Time spent working by full- and part-time status, gender, and location in 2014).

[Feminists might object that this fails to take into account women’s so-called unpaid labour in the home. However, quite apart from the fact that this is irrelevant to explaining the pay-pay which, of course, reflects only paid work, I refer readers to my earlier post, Unpaid Labour or Overpaid Laziness: Why Housework in Your Own House Isn’t Really Work, where I explain that housework in your own house and childcare in respect of your own children, not only is already financially remunerated, but isn’t really deserving of financial remuneration in the first place, any more than one is deserving of a salary in return for washing behind your own ears in the shower, because each is work that one does for oneself and of which one is oneself the direct beneficiary.]

[31] For example, men’s work is more likely to require them to work outdoors in all weather conditions (Mind the Gap: p47; Why Men Earn More: p44-6). More significantly perhaps, men are overrepresented in all of the most physically dangerous occupations, including coal mining, construction work, firefighting and serving in the armed forces, especially in a combat capacity. Indeed, many of these occupations could be said to be almost entirely male.

[32] For example, many more women than men withdraw from the labour force in order to raise children, often for periods as long as a decade or more. Moreover, even couples without children, women are much more likely to withdraw from the labour force and become so-called ‘homemakers’ or ‘housewives’. Thus, in the UK in the twenty-first century, Rod Liddle, citing data released by the Equal Opportunities Commission, reported that, at any given time, only 57 per cent of women work full-time and, as compared to the 94 per cent of married men work[ing] full-time”, “fewer than half of married women work, including only 58 per cent of married women with no children (Liddle, R, Women Who Won’t Spectator, 2003, 29 November). The result is that many women are constantly flittering in and out of the workforce and, over the course of their lifetimes, clock of many fewer years in which to earn promotions and advance their careers than do men. Professor of Law Kingsley Browne reports that one analysis found that “absences from the labor market may explain as much as 93 percent of the gender gap” (Biology at Work: p86).

[33] For example, men are also commute further and are more willing to relocate for work purposes. In addition to, as we have seen, working longer hours, they are also more willing to work unsociable hours (Mind the Gap: p47). Men also, on average, commute further (Why Men Earn More: p90-91); and are more willing to relocate, especially to undesirable locations (Why Men Earn More: p93-6). Moreover, contrary to the misandrist stereotype of man flu, men even have fewer illness-related absences from work. For a comprehensive but accessible discussion of the many ‘compensating differentials’ that together account for the gender pay-gap, see Warren Farrell’s Why Men Earn More by Warren Farrell (which I have reviewed here). For a more scholarly take on the same issues, see Kingsley Browne’s Biology at Work: Rethinking Gender Equality (which I have reviewed here).

[34] In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive, the governmental body responsible for regulating workplace safety, reports In 2016/17, 133 (97%) of all worker fatalities were to male workers, a similar proportion to earlier years (Fatal injuries arising from accidents at work in Great Britain 2017: Headline results (HSE, 2017): p7). Similarly, in the USA, men represented 93% of workplace fatalities in 2015 a document produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (p8).

[35] Russell B The Case for Socialism in In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays (1935).

[36] This Quotation is taken from Book 2 of Aristotle’s Politics, thought to have been published around 350, where he discusses the merits and demerits of the Lacedaemonian Constitution of ancient Sparta.

[37] Hedderman & Hough (1994) Does the Criminal Justice System Treat Men and Women Differently Home Office, UK; Daly K, Bordt, RL (1995) Sex effects and sentencing: An analysis of the statistical literature Justice Quarterly 12(1); ; Shapiro, A (2000) Unequal Before the Law: Men, Women and the Death PenaltyAmerican University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 8(2): 427-470; Spohn, C  and Beichner, D (2000) Is Preferential Treatment of Female Offenders a Thing of the Past? A Multisite Study of Gender, Race, and ImprisonmentCriminal Justice Policy Review, 11(2): 149-184; 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 (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary, 63 Ohio State Law Journal 433; Jeffries, S, Fletcher, GJO & Newbol, G (2003) Pathways to Sex-Based Differentiation in Criminal Court Sentencing Criminology 41(2): 329–354; Curry, TR, Lee G and Rodriguez, SF (2004) Does Victim Gender Increase Sentence Severity? Further Explorations of Gender Dynamics and Sentencing 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; Streib V (2006) Rare and Inconsistent: The Death Penalty for Women, 33 Fordham Urban Law Journal 609; Blackwell BS, Holleran D & Finn MA (2008) The Impact of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines on Sex Differences in Sentencing Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24(4): 399-418; Embry R & Lyons P (2012) Sex-Based Sentencing: Sentencing Discrepancies Between Male and Female Sex OffendersFeminist Criminology 7(2):146–162; Starr, SB, Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal CasesUniversity of Michigan Law and Economics Research Paper, No. 12-018 (August 29, 2012).

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

[39]See Demuth & Steffensmeier (2004) Impact of Gender and Race-Ethnicity in the Pretrial Release Process Social Problems 51(2):222-242; Stolzenberg and Dalessio (2004) Sex differences in the likelihood of arrest Journal of Criminal Justice 32(5): 443-454; Rowe, (2008). Gender Bias in the Enforcement of Traffic Laws: Evidence based on a new empirical test American Law & Economics Association Annual Meeting, Paper 3; Freiburger & Hilinski (2010) The Impact of Race, Gender, and Age on the Pretrial DecisionCriminal justice Review 35(3):318-334.

[40] The Abolition of the Whipping of Female Offenders Act  of 1820, as the name implies, abolished the whipping of female offenders, in any circumstances, as early as 1820 in the UK. However, the the whipping of male offenders was not finally abolished until some almost a century and a half later under section 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 with the last prison flogging is said to have occurred in 1962. Indeed, as recently as 1911, while the flogging of women had long previously been abolished, the whipping of boys as young as seven for offences as minor as larceny and property damage was specifically authorised by law (see the entry on Corporal Punishment in the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica).

[41] While sometimes described as legislation intended to prevent the exploitation of child labour, the Mines and Collieries Act 1842 actually sanctioned the employment of boys as young as ten underground in mines, while prohibiting the employment of women of any age in the same capacity.

[42] The Military Service Act of 1916 of 1916 sanctioned the compulsory enlistment  (i.e. conscription) of men from the ages of eighteen to forty-one years old to serve in the armed forces during World War One. It applied, of course, only to men. Interestingly, however, married men were initially exempt (hence it was nicknamed the ‘the Bachelor’s Bill’. Clearly depriving men of their liberty and very probably their lives was perfectly acceptable to the male Parliament and its male electorate. However, depriving women of their husbands and hence their meal-tickets was another thing altogether.

[43] See Eagly, AH. & Crowley, M (1986) Gender and Helping Behavior. A Meta-Analytic Review of the Social Psychological LiteraturePsychological Bulletin 100(3):283-308.

[44] See Felson, RB 2000 The Normative Protection of Women from Violence Sociological Forum 15(1): 91-116.

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

Witch Hunts: Historical and Contemporary

The persecution of alleged witches in the medieval and early modern period in Europe and colonial North America has attracted substantial attention, and been the subject of several sensationalized depictions, not least in horror literature and cinema.

The victims of witch-hunts were not always women. Women were sometimes even underrepresented among those victimized. Moreover, once we include other ‘spiritual offences’ such as heresy, apostasy and blasphemy, there is little doubt that males actually represented the overwhelming majority of those persecuted under laws of religious intolerance in medieval and early modern Europe.

Thankfully, however, the burning of witches is a practice that has long previously been consigned to history, at least in the civilized West. Indeed, the last person executed for practicing witchcraft in Europe is said to have been a Swiss woman executed in 1782, over two centuries ago, while the last such execution in North America seems to have occurred almost a century earlier still in 1692.

Nevertheless, the early modern witch hysteria remains something a cause célèbre for contemporary feminists. Even today, some several centuries after the last witch executions occurred, the witch-trials seemingly represent for some feminists both key evidence for, and the quintessential exemplar of, the oppression of women in the West.

On reflection, this is little surprise.

After all, clear cases of unfair discrimination against females, or of female disadvantage, are now all but unknown in the contemporary West, not least because those few (and usually, on closer inspection, rather ambiguous) cases of discrimination against females which were once widespread, have now long previously been done away with, abandoned, or at least declared unlawful, invariably at the behest of feminists themselves. The feminists are, in this sense, victims of their own political successes.

As a result, feminists have been forced, almost of necessity, to look to the distant past in order to furnish themselves with unambiguous examples of discrimination against women.

On closer inspection, however, these unambiguous examples of discrimination against women, even those from the distant past, turn out to be, on closer inspection, rather less unambiguous than the feminist portrayal of them would suggest.

This then brings us to the witch hysteria.

The Scale of the ‘Witch Hysteria

The first thing that must be said regarding the persecution of witches in medieval and early modern Europe and colonial North America is that the whole scale of the phenomenon has been vastly exaggerated – not least by feminists themselves.

Thus, author Lois Martin credits “women’s rights campaigner Matilda Joslyn Gage” as having “first plucked the wildly inaccurate figure of nine million executions out of thin air and created one of the biggest historical misconceptions still in circulation today”.[1]

Yet, like many made-up feminist statistics, this wholly discredited figure remains widely cited to this day, especially among  neo-pagans, feminists and other idiots.

In reality, however, the most creditable recent estimates put the number of killings at less than a hundredth of this figure.

For example, in their text, Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History, authors Alan Charles Kors, Edward Peters report that, throughout the entire early modern period, most recent scholarship rarely allows more than a total of 50,000 victims over the entire period.[2]

Interestingly, despite the continued interest of Anglo-American feminists on this topic, witch-trials, and executions, were especially rare in the English-speaking world, including both Britain and North America.

In short, the outbreaks of witchcraft hysteria which briefly engulfed East Anglia during the English Civil War and colonial Massachusetts during the late-seventeenth century remain infamous to the day in large part precisely because they were so exceptional even then.

Men Persecuting Women?

For feminists, the witch hysteria represents the paradigmatic exemplar of the oppression of women by men.

However, there are two reasons that this analysis cannot withstand scrutiny – namely:

  1. The accusers were not all men; and
  2. The victims were not all women.

In relation to the first point, historian Martin Van Creveld reports, not only were “female rulers… as apt to persecute witches as were male ones”, but “women participated in witch-hunts at least as much as men did” and “most maleficia were directed by women at women”.[3]

This has led Steve Moxon to conclude that “the root of the centuries-long hysteria over the ‘witch’ was the classic phenomenon of ‘female relational aggression’”.[4]

However, this leads us to the second reason that witch-hunts cannot be regarded as a manifestation of the oppression of women, namely that, contrary to both Moxon’s implication and, indeed, to widespread popular perception, the victims of witch-hunts were not always women.

Indeed, sometimes women were even underrepresented among those victimized.

Thus, van Creveld reports, “in the British Isles, men comprised 59 percent of those accused”, while in areas of Switzerland, the figures were as high as eighty percent.[5] Meanwhile, in Italy, clerics seem to have been at greatest risk of being accused of witchcraft, while in Germany prominent men were especially vulnerable,[6] while, from 1500 to 1650, young men were at greatest risk.[7]

Similarly, the current version of the Wikipedia entry for ‘Witch trials in the early modern period’ reports:

In various instances, it was men rather than women who constituted the majority of the accused. For instance, in Iceland 92% of the accused were men, and in Estonia 60% of the accused victims were male, mainly middle-aged or elderly married peasants, and known healers or sorcerers. In the witch trials of Moscow, Russia, two-thirds of those accused were male.”[8]

The same is also said to have been true in France.[9]

Indeed, overall, Martin van Creveld reports, “before 1350, nearly three times as many men as women were tried for witchcraft” and “for Europe as a whole, between 1300 and 1499 the number of accused men is said to have nearly equalled that of accused women”.[10]

Religious Persecution in Context: Heresy, Apostasy, Blasphemy

However, all these figures are potentially misleading, and moreover overestimate the extent of female victimization, for one key reason – namely, they consider allegations of witchcraft wholly in isolation from other forms of religious persecution.

Yet allegations of witchcraft were by no means the only form of religious persecution in evidence during this period of European history, a period which included two Inquisitions, the suppression of various heresies and the respective persecutions of Protestants by Catholics and Catholics by Protestants and of Jews by both Catholics and Protestants in various European countries time and time again.

As historian Martin Van Creveld explains

The problem of witchcraft did not stand on its own. Rather it formed part of a much larger complex of ‘spiritual’ offences that included heresy, apostasy and blasphemy, among others. All were considered to be crimes against God and religion, and all deserved to be punished as harshly as witchcraft. Consequently, witchcraft comprised only a small fraction of the cases brought before the Inquisition. In Venice, the figure amounted to just 20 percent, and the vast majority of those received very light sentences”.[11]

Yet, van Creveld explains, “most of those charged with other spiritual offences were men”.[12] Thus, once other forms of spiritual offence are factored in, including heresyapostasy and blasphemy, there is little doubt that males actually represented the overwhelming majority of those persecuted under laws of religious intolerance in medieval and early modern Europe.

Indeed, van Creveld reports that “women accounted for only 10 percent of all those executed during the period in question”.[13]

Were the ‘Witches’ Guilty?

It might be objected that those who were accused of, say, heretical beliefs, while it was surely wrong to execute them, were at least, in many cases, genuinely guilty of holding what were, at that time, regarded as heretical religious viewpoints. They were therefore guilty of the offence of which they were charged, even if the offence in question ought not to have been a criminal offence in the first place.

In contrast, the accusations made against witches – e.g. sexual relations with the devil, flying on broomsticks, casting spells that caused victims to drop dead or be afflicted with physical symptoms of disease – are obviously preposterous.

However, this leads to the most paradoxical conclusion of my research on this topic – namely that not all the women (and men) accused of witchcraft were necessarily wholly innocent of the charge.

After all, many victims of witch trials seem to have been employed and made a living as traditional healers, wise women or cunning folk, being employed by the local community for such purposes as casting spells, combating the spells cast by others, healing the sick etc., a job which rendered them vulnerable to witchcraft allegations, the risk of which seemingly represented an occupational hazard that went with the work.

Given that they provided such services, they must have been either:

  1. Charlatans, deliberately exploiting and profiting by exploiting the gullibility, ignorance and superstition of those who employed their services; or
  2. Themselves, like their customers and accusers, genuinely convinced of the efficacy of their spells and of the reality of the supernatural forces they were regarded as capable of invoking.

In either case, they were, in some sense, not entirely innocent.

If such people were charlatans, they were, of course, guilty of fraud, or of obtaining property by deception, in exploiting the superstitions of those who employed their services for their own financial benefit.

If, on the other hand, they were, like those who employed their services, genuinely convinced of the efficacy of their spells, potions and incantations, then they clearly had the exact same malevolent intent (i.e. mens rea, an essential component for most forms of criminal liability) as if these spells and incantation did indeed have the effect which the ‘witches’ themselves believed they had.

We might then say then that they were guilty of an ‘inchoate offence’ of, if you like, ‘attempted witchcraft’.

If this seems implausible to modern readers, remember that, at this time in history, society at large apparently believed in the reality of the supernatural powers which witches were accused of invoking, including both those who used the services of so-called ‘cunning folk’, and often paid to do so, and, of course, those who persecuted, tortured, extracted bizarre confessions from and executed the alleged ‘witches’ for supposedly invoking such forces.

Is it then any greater stretch of the imagination to believe that the accused ‘witches’ themselves sometimes also genuinely believed in the reality of their occult powers and sought to use them for nefarious ends, or that many accused witches may even have secretly self-identified as witches?

Another Case of Discrimination Against Men in the Criminal Justice System?

We have seen then that the phenomenon of medieval and early modern witch hunting cannot be viewed as a manifestation of the oppression of women by men.

On the contrary, not only did many women participate wholeheartedly in the persecutions, but many of those persecuted were actually male, and, moreover, once other forms of religious persecution are factored in (heresy, apostasy etc.), males represented the overwhelmingly majority of those who were victims of unjust religious persecution.

On reflection, this is little surprise.

After all, to this day, it is men who represent the overwhelming majority of those who come before the courts and are sentenced to a range of criminal penalties and, moreover, women who receive more lenient treatment by the courts when they do find themselves in this situation.

A huge number of studies have found that female defendants are sentenced more leniently than male offenders, even after controlling for such factors as the severity of their offence as well as the extent of their prior criminal record.[14]

For example, in the most recent and rigorous such study of which I am aware, Sonja Starr found that, even after controlling for prior criminal history, convicted women are only half as likely to receive custodial sentences (i.e. jail time) as men convicted of the same offences, and, even when they are sentenced to incarceration, receive, on average, 60% shorter sentences.[15]

Men are also more likely to be executed than women guilty of offences of comparable severity.[16]

Thus, if men are treated more harshly and unfairly than women before the criminal courts, and the family courts,[17] to this day, it is little surprise that the same was true also before the ecclesiastical courts, lynch mobs and Inquisitions of ages past.

In short, women are always treated better than men, especially by men themselves, for the simple reason that men are naturally protective and chivalrous towards women.

This then perhaps explains the continued feminist fixation on witch-hunts that occurred many centuries ago. As historian Martin Van Creveld explains:

The witch-hunting episode… is perhaps the only time in history when more women than men were charged with a serious crime and executed for it.[18]

Contemporary Witch-Hunts in the ‘Developing’ World

I began this post by observing that, bereft of genuine examples of unfair discrimination against women in contemporary western societies, feminists have been forced, of necessity, to look to the distant past in order to furnish themselves with unambiguous examples of discrimination against women, examples which, as we have seen, turn out, on closer inspection, to be rather less unambiguous than the feminists themselves suppose and suggest.

However, this begs the question: Is the phenomenon of witch-hunting wholly confined to history, or does it continue, in any sense, in the contemporary world?

The answer is an unambiguous ‘Yes’.

In the first place, witch-hunts, in the literal sense, continue in the so-called ‘developing world’. Again, here the victims seem to be of both sexes. For example, Gendercide Watch reports that in Kenya the witch-hunts appear predominantly to target males, while, similarly, a trend of predominantly male victimization may also be evident in West Africa, where a bizarre wave of accusations of ‘penis-snatching’ has come to light, whereas in Tanzania and Zimbabwe the gender of the victims may be more even.

In short, in the contemporary ‘developing world’, as in early modern and medieval Europe, both sexes could become victim to witchcraft allegations.

Metaphoric ‘Witch-Hunts’ in the ‘Developed’ World

What then of the ostensibly civilized and secular so-called ‘developed world’, where religious superstition and bigotry is, supposedly, meant to be a thing of the past?

Here, while witch-hunts in the literal sense may, thankfully, now be a thing of the distant past, ‘witch-hunts’ in the metaphoric sense remain very much a contemporary phenomenon.

Of course, perhaps the most notorious twentieth century metaphoric ‘witch-hunts’ were the McCarthyist Second Red Scare, when individuals were accused, and denied employment on the basis of, allegations of communist sympathies. The analogy between the two forms of oppression was, of course, made explicit by Arthur Miller‘s famous play ‘The Crucible’.

However, undoubtedly the greatest ‘witch-hunts’ of the twentieth centuries were not conducted in the name of rooting out or persecuting communists, but rather in the name of communism itself, such as the Stalinist purges and the Chinese ‘Cultural Revolution’.

These were not only conducted on a far greater scale than the McCarthy hearings, but also the consequences for victims were far greater, the latter often losing, not only their jobs and perhaps reputations, but also often their very lives.

For example, Wikipedia reports that According to the declassified Soviet archives, during 1937 and 1938, the NKVD detained 1,548,366 persons, of whom 681,692 were shot – an average of 1,000 executions a day, but that Several experts believe the evidence released from the Soviet archives is understated, incomplete, or unreliable.

Similarly, the Wikipedia entry on the ‘Cultural Revolution’ in Maoist China reports that Estimates of the death toll, including civilians and Red Guards, vary greatly… [and] range upwards to several millions, with some reputable estimates putting the death toll as high as five to ten million.

The victims also seem to have been overwhelmingly disproportionately male.

For example, Robert Conquest, in perhaps the most celebrated and authoritative work on the Stalinist purges, points to census data showing an exceptionally imbalanced sex-ratios (even taking into account war deaths) in the population at large in certain age groups as evidencing the gendered impact of the purges.[19]

Thus, Conquest concludes:

Many women died as a result of… the purges. But… the great bulk of the victims was certainly male.[20]

Drawing on this and other data, the website Gendercide Watch tentatively estimates that, of the almost ten million Soviet citizens who perished in the purges, 98% were male.

Metaphoric ‘Witch-Hunts’ in the Contemporary West

Narrowing our focus yet further, what then of the contemporary West?

Witch-hunts’ certainly occurred – indeed, occurred on a greater and bloodier scale than ever – in the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc during the twentieth century, did they also occur in the Eastern bloc’s Cold War era competitors, namely the capitalist liberal democracies of Europe, North America, Australia New Zealand etc. (i.e. states populated primarily by the descendants of white Europeans)?

Of course, as already alluded to, the most familiar example of twentieth century metaphoric ‘witch-hunting’ occurred in that most western of countries, namely the USA, in the form of the Second Red Scare and the McCarthy hearings.

Yet, ironically, it is often the self-same individuals who complain loudest about the alleged persecution of communists in the McCarthy era who are themselves engaged in analogous forms of persecution in the present day, namely the left and self-styled ‘liberals’.

Many journalists, public figures, political commentators, activists, scientists, academics and ordinary people have faced ‘blacklisting’ in recent years, and often faced censure and the sack, or been obliged to issue grovelling and embarrassing apologies, as a result of voicing politically incorrect opinions with respect to such issues such as race differences, gender differences, intelligence, underage sexual activity and Jewish influence in the media and over American foreign policy.

Thus, as I have written elsewhere:

While commentators, documentary filmmakers and other professional damned fools never tire of condemning, without fear of reprisals, a form of McCarthyist witch-hunt (i.e. anti-communism) that died away over half a century ago, few dare challenge the Modern McCarthyism that operates right here in our midst, namely political correctness.

Indeed, conservative author David Horowitz asserts, the era of the progressive witch-hunt has been far worse in its consequences to individuals and freedom of expression than was the McCarthy era, and that unlike the McCarthy era witch-hunt, which lasted only a few years, the one enforced by left-wing ‘progressives’ is now entering its third decade and shows no signs of abating.[21]

Indeed, far from McCarthyist witch-hunting representing a relic of the past, recent developments in social media have been accused of facilitating the process and apparently made recreational witch-hunting and public shaming a popular pastime for many social media users that can be engaged in from the safety and comfort of your own living room with the aid of a laptop or smartphone.

Feminist ‘Witch-Hunts’

Feminists themselves have, of course, been at the forefront of this modern McCarthyism.

In short, it seems feminists have all too readily moved from whinging about witch-hunts in ages long past, to leading witch-hunts all of their very own, torch and pitchfork proudly in hand.

In short, at the same time as they complain loudly and incessantly about witch-hunts that ceased several centuries ago, feminists have begun leading witch-hunts all of their very own.

Admittedly, nobody yet has been burnt at the stake.

Indeed, sociologist Steven Goldberg, himself a prominent dissident vis a vis the feminist orthodoxy, has been quoted as observing:

“[These days] all one has to lose by unpopular arguments is contact with people one would not be terribly attracted to anyway”.[22]

However, Goldberg underestimates, not only the psychological consequences of social ostracism, but also the magnitude of the persecution to which some feminists will resort.

True, no one, as yet, has been burnt at the stake. However, but many individuals have been the victims of violent threats and intimidation, physical assaults, and, as in the McCarthy Era, lost their jobs.

For example, Erin Pizzey discovered to her cost that her impeccable credentials as the founder of the world’s first refuge/shelter for so-called ‘battered women’ did not protect her from a campaign of violent intimidation involving murder and bomb threats and ultimately culminating in the shooting of her pet dog on Christmas Day when she made the candid admission that many of the women who entered her shelter were as prone to violence as the men from whom they were ostensibly escaping.[23]

Meanwhile, a similar fate befell academic researcher Suzanne Steinmetz for publishing some of the first hard data conclusively confirming Pizzey’s anecdotal observations,[24] namely that women are as liable to perpetrate acts of ‘domestic violence’ against their male intimate partners as men are against their female intimate partners, a finding now confirmed by literally hundreds of studies,[25] such that it has been described as “one of the most emphatic in all of social science”.[26]

Steinmetz, like Pizzey, was the victim of death and bomb threats and of attempts to disrupt her speaking engagements with terrorist threats.[27]

Meanwhile, another prominent female critic of mainstream feminism, Camille Paglia, reports that she receives so many death threats, her answering machine announces that she doesn’t personally open packages sent to her.[28]

Meanwhile, author and journalist Neil Lyndon reports that he was hounded out of his job as a journalist, physically threatened for authoring a series of articles and a book critical of feminism.[29]

As in the age of ‘Modern McCarthism’, other individuals have lost their jobs, including Harvard President Lawrence Summers and, most recently, Google employee James Damore, both for suggesting that innate differences in personality, preferences and cognitive ability might have something to do with women’s underrepresentation in certain specialized and technical fields, an imminently defensible position compatible with much biological evidence.

Concluding Thoughts

In short, it seems feminists have all too readily moved from whinging about witch-hunts in ages long past, to leading witch-hunts all of their very own, torch and pitchfork proudly in hand.

In conclusion, then, I would suggest that feminists concerned with the plight of the victims of witch-hunts ought perhaps to turn their attention away from the distant past and to look a little closer to home in order to find victims worthy of their sympathy.

References

[1] Martin L A History of Witchcraft (Oldcastle Books, 2009): p123.

[2] Kors, AC & Peters, E Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History (University of Pennsylvania Press; 2nd edition, 2001): p17.

[3] Van Creveld, M The Privileged Sex (DLVC Enterprises, 2013): p11.

[4] Moxon The Woman Racket (Imprint Academic 2008): p92

[5] Van Creveld, The Privileged Sex: p14.

[6] Van Creveld, The Privileged Sex: p10.

[7] Van Creveld, The Privileged Sex: p14.

[8] This quotation is taken directly from the current version of the Wikipedia page on Witch Trials in the early modern period. The main source cited by the Wikipedia article is Scarre and Callow’s Witchcraft and Magic in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Europe (second edition) (Basingstoke: Palgrave 2001), which I have not consulted directly.

[9] This claim is made by Kors & Peters in Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History. However, the authors also inaccurately claim that France was “the one exception” in Europe which “shows more males than females executed” (p17). However, as we have seen from a preponderance of other reliable sources, this claim is not true.

[10] Van Creveld, The Privileged Sex: p13.

[11] Van Creveld, The Privileged Sex: p13.

[12] Van Creveld, The Privileged Sex: p13.

[13] Van Creveld, The Privileged Sex: p13.

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

[15] Starr, SB, Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal CasesUniversity of Michigan Law and Economics Research Paper, No. 12-018 (August 29, 2012).

[16] Shapiro, A (2000) Unequal Before the Law: Men, Women and the Death Penalty American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 8(2): 427-470; Streib VL (2001) Sentencing Women to Death Criminal Justice Magazine 16(1); Streib V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary, 63 Ohio State Law Journal 433; Streib V (2006) Rare and Inconsistent: The Death Penalty for Women, 33 Fordham Urban Law Journal 609.

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

[18] Van Creveld The Privileged Sex: p152.

[19] Conquest, The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1968): pp711-12; quoted in Case Study: Stalin’s Purges at GenocideWatch.org.

[20] Conquest, The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties: p711; quoted in Case Study: Stalin’s Purges at GenocideWatch.org.

[21] Horowitz, The Era of Progressive Witch-Hunts, from Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey (Spence Publishing, 2003).

[22] Goldberg, Fads and Fallacies in the Social Sciences (Humanity Books, 2003): p222.

[23] Pizzey, E (1999) Who’s Failing the FamilyThe Scotsman (30 March).

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

[25] For a regularly updated database of such studies, see Fiebert, M 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 Archer, J (2000) ‘Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: a meta-analytic review’ Psychological Bulletin 126(5):651-80; and James, TB Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren’t Supposed to Know (Aventine Press, 2003).

[26] Quotation from The Woman Racket at p145

[27] Quotation from The Woman Racket at p145; see preceding notes for reviews of the studies confirming this claim.

[28] Farrell, W Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say (Penguin 2000): p217; relevant exert available here.

[29] Lyndon, N (2000) Return of the Heretic Sunday Times.

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.

_____________________________________

References

[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.

The Misogyny Myth

Misogyny is a myth. It does not exist.

Like certain other words or phrases (e.g. ‘Santa Claus’, ‘dragon’, ‘god’, ‘unicorn’, ‘male dominated society’, ‘patriarchal society’ – but not, incidentally, rape culture), it refers to an entirely imaginary phenomenon.

But, unlike with some of these other words, people do not seem to realise the word ‘misogyny’ refers to a wholly imaginary phenomenon. Therefore, the word ‘misogyny’ is, I contend, like certain other words and concepts (e.g. ‘patriarchal society’, ‘affirmative action’, ‘comparative worth’) best banished from the English language altogether.

Men in General Do Not Hate Women

Misogyny refers, ostensibly at least, to the supposed hatred of women.

That is, to repeat, hatred. Not a mere tendency to patronise, or a superior condescending attitude, or a tendency to stereotype – but outright hatred.

Yet men do not hate women.

Indeed, far from hating women, most men spend a large part of their lives doing everything they can to attract women, spend copious monies courting women, and sometimes attempt to mould their entire personalities simply so as to win the favour and approval of women. They then, as often as not, spend the remainder of their lives doing everything they can to provide for and financially support their wife and children.

Neither can men’s love for women be dismissed merely as reflecting the ulterior motive of sexual conquest. On the contrary, men are chivalrous and protective even towards women whom they have no chance of ever copulating with and are expected to open doors for ‘little old ladies’ just as much as for pert-breasted nineteen-year-olds, perhaps more so.

Thus, studies find that men are more likely to stop and help women on the street or in public than they are to help men in equivalent circumstances (as are women).[1]

Indeed, even psychological studies in the laboratory find that men as well as women associate positive attributes with women as a group more readily and to a greater degree than they associate positive attributes with men as a group.[2] Indeed, this finding, known as the ‘women are wonderful effect, is so consistent, widespread and robust that it even has a Wikipedia page of its own.

In addition, men are less likely to behave violently towards women than they are towards men in similar circumstances. For example, in laboratory experiments, male subjects are less willing to inflict electric shocks towards female subjects, even in circumstances where they show no compunctions towards doing so towards male subjects.[3]

Finally, men as well as women perceive violent acts committed by men and against women as more serious and culpable in nature than acts of violence committed by women against men.[4]

This perception is reflected in the fact that the (predominantly male) judiciary, on average, not only sentences male offenders more severely than female offenders guilty of equivalent crimes,[5] but also sentences violent offenders of either sex more severely when they victimize females than when they victimize males,[6] with male offenders who victimize females treated most severely of all victim-offender dyads and female offenders who victimize males treated most leniently.[7]

It is also reflected in the fact that mainstream media, activists, and politicians from across the political spectrum focus on the perceived issue of ‘violence against women’, rather than, say, ‘violence against people’ or even ‘violence against men’,[8] despite the fact that it is, in fact, men, not women, who are overwhelmingly overrepresented among the victims of violent crime,[9] as well as among the casualties in warfare[10] and genocide.[11]

In short, men’s problem is not that they hate women, but rather that they love women all too much, a love which renders them vulnerable to exploitation on an unimaginable scale and which most women are all too eager to exploit to the fullest.

Do Any Men Hate Women?

Yet, despite this overwhelming evidence, the word ‘misogyny’, not only remains in our everyday vocabulary, but seems to be invoked and employed ever more frequently over recent decades. Indeed, in coverage the recent Trump presidential campaign, the concept seemed to be invoked on a literally daily, if not hourly, basis.

Yet clearly Trump does not hate women. On the contrary, he has been foolish enough to marry several of them, and, in the process, been deprived of substantial proportions of his fortunes in the ensuing marriages and divorce settlements.

This then begs the question: Do any men truly hate women?

To answer this question, I must first acknowledge that, in saying that misogyny is a myth, I cannot, of course, rule out the possibility that some man, somewhere in the world, or at some time in history, has indeed hated women.

To do so would be obviously impossible. After all, the world is a big place, human history is a long time, and it is notoriously difficult to prove a negative in such cases, since, as a famous aphorism has it, ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’.

However, such a man, if he exists, or ever has done, would clearly be highly abnormal.

Indeed, even such highly abnormal and exceptional males as serial killers and repeat rapists rarely, if ever, seem to qualify as true ‘misogynists’.

With regard to rapists, contrary to the prevailing feminist orthodoxy, I subscribe to the unfashionable common-sense theory that the vast majority of rapists are motivated primarily by sexual desire, rather than by hatred, a desire for dominance or to perpetuate patriarchy or other such doubtful postulated motivations proposed by feminists but unlikely, by themselves, to stimulate the sort of erection necessary for most forms of rape.

Meanwhile, serial killers, seem to have a variety of motivations for their crimes, ranging from perverted sexual desire to an equally perverse craving for infamy. However, I have yet to read an account of a single serial killer, even among those who targeted women exclusively and indiscriminately, who seemed to be motivated by a generalized hatred for women as a whole.

So, in conclusion, the genuinely woman-hating man may well exist somewhere in the world or at some time in history, just as Yeti, Big Foot and the Loch Monster may be hiding somewhere in the Himalayas, North America or the Loch Ness. However, I have yet to be presented with convincing evidence that he is anything other than a figment of the fertile feminist imagination.

Chauvinism’ ≠ Misogyny

My conclusion is therefore restricted to the following: Men in general do not hate women and neither do significant numbers of men. This includes, incidentally, men who are ‘sexist’ and ‘chauvinistic’, in the feminist senses of these much overused words.

Of course, men are sometimes patronising and condescending towards women, and sometimes seem to believe that women are inferior to males.

However, neither of these attitudes amounts to a hatred to women.

To explain why, let us look at the analogy of people’s attitudes to children.

After all, adults (both men and women) are surely similarly patronising and condescending towards children. Moreover, they surely both hold the belief that children are, in general, inferior to adults in various ways, both mental and physical, as indeed they are.

However, this would surely not lead us to the conclusion that adults therefore hate children. On the contrary, adults are usually especially affectionate and protective towards children. Moreover, they are generally more forgiving of children, when the latter misbehave, than they would be of similar behaviour on the part of an adult.

Indeed, part of the reason why adults are so protective of, and forgiving towards, children is precisely because the latter are perceived as weaker and hence inferior. This is why we believe that they are in need of special protections, and deserving of greater tolerance and forgiveness.

The same is true, I contend, of the privileges and protections afforded women.

I therefore contend that the traditional attitude of men towards women is directly analogous to that of adults towards children.

Indeed, since women are, like children, smaller than men, have, again like children, higher pitched voices than men and even have more neotenous (i.e. childlike) facial features, I suspect that, due to these superficial similarities, men may, at some psychological level, conscious or not, perceive women as more childlike, and hence more deserving of protection, than are men.[12] Moreover, since women remain primarily responsible for the care of children, especially young children, they are often seen in the company of one another, which may further contribute to men’s tendency to class women and children together.

Therefore, whereas feminists have sought to viewed ‘male supremacism’ as analogous to ‘racial supremacism’, the two cases are fundamentally different, and the better analogy is with the attitude of adults towards children (‘age supremacism’ or ‘adult supremacism’, if you like). Whereas ideologies of ‘racial supremacism’ have typically been used to justify the oppression and enslavement of the group deemed inferior, notions of the inferiority of women and children have been used to justify according the latter with special privileges and protections on account of, or in order to compensate for, their perceived weakness and inferiority.

So, yes, men do indeed often regard women as inferior to men – just as they regard adults as superior to children. However, far from being used to justify the oppression of women, male supremacism is used, in fact, to justify according special privileges and protections to women precisely on account of their perceived weaknesses.

Thus, on this ‘male supremacist’ view, because men are stronger and braver (i.e. superior), only men are conscripted into the armed forces in wartime; while women, being weaker and less able to protect and provide for themselves (i.e. inferior), must be protected, provisioned and provided for by their husbands.

On this view, being biologically inferior looks like quite a good deal!

The Best of Both Worlds

However, this analogy between society’s treatment of children and of women can only be taken so far.

In some respects, women are indeed treated like children. In other circumstances, however, they have loudly demanded, and promptly received, the rights formerly reserved for adult males, albeit without assuming any of the accompanying responsibilities and duties that traditionally went alongside these rights.

For example, in many respects, women retain the protections accorded children, but denied to men when the latter reach maturity, for the entirety of their lives. For example, on board the Titanic and Birkenhead and elsewhere, it was not just children, but women and children who were allowed on board the lifeboats first.

Likewise, during wartime, women retain for their whole lifetimes the protected status of children. Thus, adult men alone are eligible for the draft from age eighteen onwards. However, the targeting of so-called ‘innocent women and children’ remains the quintessential ‘war-crime’.

Yet this did not prevent women from demanding the vote, a demand promptly and readily acceded to, in both Britain and America, ironically, in the immediate aftermath of the First World War.

However, as military historian Martin Van Creveld observes:

In the Western world since the French Revolution the right to vote was often a direct consequence of, or at any rate went together with, conscription. But women were able to obtain the former without being subjected to the latter; for them to be put on an equal footing with men would have meant an end to their greatest privilege”.[13]

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

Likewise, nowadays, women, even married women, famously have the right to work in any career they choose and earn money in their own right.[14] However, they have not given up on their claim to maintenance from their husbands should they choose not to work, a choice denied, of course, to their husbands.

In short, women now have the best of both worlds – the protections and privileges of children, the rights of adult men with none of the responsibilities, plus a freedom all of their very own.

Thus, the clarion call of feminist agitation has ever been ‘Equality, Equality, Equality – But Only When It Suits Us!’

Is Misandry a Myth Too?

What then of misogyny’s evil twin sister and anti-male equivalent – ‘misandry’. This word, referring to the hatred of men, is far less well-known, and less widely invoked than its female equivalent. It has, however, recently been somewhat popularised among self-styled ‘Men’s Rights Activists and others sympathetic to their views.

However, is the emotion to which it refers any more real or prevalent than that referred to by the word ‘misogyny’?

Certainly among the fringe of so-called ‘radical feminists’ the phenomenon of hating males seems to be rampant, if not universal, at least if one takes them at their word. Moreover, a less visceral, but no less obvious, misandry seems to pervade the writings and statements of feminists in general, even the ostensible ‘moderate feminists’ among their ranks.

Thus, in feminist literature, men are routinely blamed for warfare, rape, violent crime, pollution and environmental damage. Yet rarely if ever are they given credit for producing science, technology, roads, bridges, sewage systems, modern medicine and all the essentials of civilization. Neither is it acknowledged that, if men are indeed, primarily responsible for war and violent crime, they also have the misfortune of being its primary victims.

Yet, for all their bluster and self-conscious pseudo-iconoclastic radicalism, I cannot bring myself to believe that women in general, or even feminists, truly hate men. It is, I suspect, all something of an act. Rather like an adolescent temper tantrum calculated to extort a greater amount of pocket-money.

Women do not hate men – because women cannot afford to hate men. Because women remain, at the end of the day, almost wholly dependent on men for both their comfort and indeed their very survival.

Women live in houses and apartment blocks built exclusively by men. They depend on clean water systems built and maintained almost exclusively by men, on sewage systems likewise built and maintained almost exclusively by men, and on technologies invented almost exclusively by men.

In short, as Fred Reed put it, “Without men, civilization would last… until the oil needs changing”.

Add to this the fact that most married women, or women with dependent children (and many other women besides), are, in one way or another, financially supported by men, whether by their husbands, ex-husbands or simply by the (predominantly male) taxpayer via the welfare system, and it soon becomes clear that women simply cannot afford to hate men, let alone do without them. On the contrary, they must continue appealing to men’s misguided chivalry, by playing the role of the ‘oppressed woman’, or ‘damsel in distress’.

Just as a slave-master cannot afford to hate his slaves, because he is dependent on them for their work and his livelihood, and a parasite cannot afford to hate its host, because, without its host, it too would perish, so, for all their moronic misandrist bluster, women simply cannot afford to truly hate men because, at the end of the day, there are dependent on men for their comfort, their prosperity, and their very survival. They simply know of no other way to live.

____________________

References

[1] Eagly, AH. & Crowley, M (1986) Gender and Helping Behavior. A Meta-Analytic Review of the Social Psychological LiteraturePsychological Bulletin 100(3):283-308

[2] Eagly, AH & Mladinic, A (1989). Gender Stereotypes and Attitudes Toward Women and Men Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 15: 543–58; Eagly, AH, Mladinic, A, & Otto, S (1991). Are women evaluated more favorably than men? An analysis of attitudes, beliefs and emotions Psychology of Women Quarterly. 15 (2): 203–16; Rudman, LA & Goodwin, SA. (2004). Gender differences in automatic in-group bias: Why do women like women more than they like men? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 87 (4): 494–509.

[3] See studies cited in Felson, RB 2000 The Normative Protection of Women from Violence Sociological Forum 15(1): 91-116

[4] Arias, I., & Johnson, P. (1989). Evaluations of Physical Aggression Among Intimate DyadsJournal 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.

[5] 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).

[6] 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.

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

[8] If you doubt this focus, then just try searching for the phrases “violence against women”, “violence against men” and “violence against people” in pretty much any search engine, library database, media/newspaper/magazine archive on the internet and compare number of ‘hits’ you get.

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

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

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

[12] This was certainly true of Schopenhauer, who described women as big children all their lives, something intermediate between the child and the man, who is a man in the strict sense of the word (On Women, 1851). While this observation is often attributed to Schopenhauer’s alleged ‘misogyny’, the great pessimist may, in fact, have grasped one of the key reasons why, far from hating women, men are actually naturally protective and chivalrous towards them.

[13] Van Creveld, M (2002) Men Women and War: Do Women Belong in the Front Line? (reviewed here): at p210.

[14] In fact, the notion that women formerly ‘lacked property rights’, as is commonly asserted, represents a misunderstanding of the legal doctrine of so-called coverture, whereby the legal personalities of man and wife were subsumed after marriage. In fact, this principle only ever applied to married women, not women in general. Moreover, on balance, married women benefited from this legal fiction, since it meant husbands were legally liable for debts and fines incurred by their wives and sometimes even punished for crimes committed by their wives. In addition, women were, of course, legally obliged to provide for their wives.

Real Rape Culture – The American Prison System

Sodomy rape was a way of life in the penitentiary, not something that occurred on occasion.”

Donald Goines,[1] Whoreson

Rape culture is real – and it exists right in the heart of modern America.

What is ‘Rape Culture’?

‘Rape Culture’ is real and exists right here in the heart of modern America. It exists, however, not in American society as a whole – but rather in the burgeoning and overwhelmingly male American prison system and its victims are overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, men and boys.

Before I defend and explain this seemingly preposterous claim, a claim popular among feminists, their supporters and apologists, it is first necessary to explain what precisely ‘Rape Culture’ is and what this curious phrase, so often bandied about by feminists and other professional damned fools, is actually supposed to mean.

Most readers are probably familiar with the term. ‘Rape Culture’ is defined by Wikipedia as a culture in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender, sex, and sexuality.

Performing a google search for the phrase “rape culture” brings up, at the top of the first page of results (after the Wikipedia entry), the following feminist web page site, entitled “What is a Rape Culture?”. It quotes the following definition of rape culture approvingly: “[rape culture is] a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women” and “rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm”.[2]

Let us then investigate how well Western society fits this definition.

Is Western Culture a ‘Rape Culture’?

According to the feminists, Western society is itself a ‘rape culture’ according to these definitions. However, like most feminist claims (e.g. regarding the pay gap, domestic violence etc.), this claim is wholly bogus.

Indeed, it is not only untrue, but wholly preposterous. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Far from rape being ‘normalized’, ‘encouraged’ or ‘condoned’, rape is widely regarded as one of the most heinous of crimes.

In the USA, as late as 1971, sixteen states as well as the federal government actually imposed the death penalty for rape, until this practice was finally ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Coker v Georgia in 1977.[3] Likewise, in the UK, sentences for rape are greater than those handed down for attempted murder.[4]

Indeed, not only do honest law-abiding citizens despise rapists, even other classes of violent criminals do as well – to such an extent that, along with police informants and other classes of sex offender, rapists typically have to be housed in separate prison accommodation for their own protection.[5]

This reflects the fact that, both among criminals and the law-abiding community, the stigma attached to being labelled a ‘rapist’ surely outstrips that associated with any other crime besides child molestation.

This, incidentally, includes murder.

Of course, murder is, by any objective measure, a more serious offence than rape. The penalties imposed by law for murder are, in theory at least, more severe.

However, in practice, a rape allegation is harder to live down.

For example, in the UK, Lesley Grantham’s conviction for murder did not prevent him from having a successful later career as a popular British television actor, soap opera star and celebrity.

However, despite the fact that he was never convicted of any crime and the charges against him were ultimately dropped, even a mere unsubstantiated allegation of rape was sufficient to destroy forever the hitherto successful career of another British TV personality, the presenter John Leslie[6] – just as, in the US, similarly unsubstantiated allegations seem to currently be in the process of destroying the career of Bill Cosby, the formerly beloved American comic and actor.[7]

Does Western Society Encourage Violence Against Women?

Neither is so-called ‘violence against women’ more generally ‘normalized’, ‘encouraged’ or ‘condoned’, as suggested in the definitions of ‘rape culture’ quoted at the beginning of this post.

On the contrary, violence against women is almost universally condemned. As sociologist Richard Felson argues in an important paper, women are normatively protected from violence to an extent that does not extend to men.[8]

Thus, both men and women perceive violence by men directed against their female intimate partners as more serious than female violence against their male intimate partners[9] and violent offenders who target female victims are sentenced more severely than those who victimize men[10] – with male offenders who victimize women treated most severely of all and women who victimize men most leniently.[11]

Indeed, as with rape, it is notable that even violent male criminals, who brag about, revel in and celebrate violence against male victims, typically, in my experience, at least affect to disapprove of violence against women.

Even in the laboratory, individuals of both sexes refrain from inflicting electric shocks on female subjects in circumstances where they show no compunctions about doing so to male subjects.[12]

Likewise, outside the laboratory in the real world, it is men who represent the overwhelming majority of victims of violent crime.[13] Yet, despite this, it is the perceived issue of ‘violence against women’ that attracts the attention of campaigners, politicians, legislators[14] and the mainstream media.[15]

Moreover, males are overrepresented not only among the victims of violent crime, but also among the victims of state violence, warfare[16] and genocide.[17] Yet here, once again, it is the deaths of so-called ‘innocent women and children’ that attracts the attention of campaigners and the media, and it is female victims (or potential victims) on whom rescue and relief operations disproportionately (and discriminatorily) focus.[18]

In contrast, everywhere from the action movies to war heroes, violence against men is celebrated. As Warren Farrell observes, “We don’t call male-killing sexism: We call it glory”.[19]

The social censure associated with violence against women also explains why, when men do behave violently towards women, this usually happens ‘behind closed doors’ in private residences where third-party witnesses are absent and where the behaviour is therefore more likely to go undetected and evade censure.[20] It also explains why men who are violent towards women are also socially deviant in other ways.[21] In short, as sociologist Robert Felson puts it, “wife beaters are violators, not bearers of society’s norms”.[22]

Real Rape Culture

How then can I argue that ‘rape culture’ is real – and, as the feminists claim, exists right here in the heart of modern America?

I do not claim, as the feminists do, that so-called ‘rape culture’ exists in mainstream American culture. On the contrary, as we have seen, nothing could be further from the truth.

But rape culture does exist in a certain large subculture of American society – namely the burgeoning and overwhelmingly male American prison system.

Here, as we will see, rape is indeed normalized, trivialized, socially-sanctioned and even tacitly (and sometimes openly) encouraged and celebrated. Moreover, rape is also endemic, and occurs at rates far higher than that observed in outside society, to such an extent that, as we will see, although less than a hundredth of the population is behind bars at any one time, the majority of rapes that take place in America may be committed behind bars.

So the feminists, for once, have it right. ‘Rape Culture’ does indeed exist in the heart of America. However, its victims are overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, men and boys.

Is the American Penal System a ‘Rape Culture’?

Let us return again to the definitions of ‘rape culture’ quoted above to see if the American prison system does indeed qualify as a ‘rape culture’ according to the terms set out by the feminists themselves. Bear in mind that I am considering this question by reference to the definitions of ‘rape culture’ provided by the feminists themselves.

As we have seen the two key components of the definitions of ‘rape culture’, as defined by the feminists themselves, are that rape is:

  • Pervasive and widespread; and
  • Normalized, trivialized, encouraged and condoned.

The Normalization and Trivialization of Prison Rape

Let’s look first at the second of these two criteria. Is male rape in the American prison system normalized or trivialized in a way that does not extend to the rape of women in the outside world? The answer, as we will see, is a resounding “yes”, on several scores.

Exhibit 1: Rape Jokes

One feminist website, says that Rape Culture “includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable”. Similarly, some feminists cite the (supposed) acceptability of rape jokes as evidence of so-called ‘rape culture’.

By this criteria, western society at large is certainly not a ‘rape culture’. On the contrary, rape jokes are regarded as among the most dark and socially taboo of comedic material. Indeed, they have been known to cost comedians their careers – and TV shows.

However, the same rules do not evidently apply to jokes about male-on-male rape in the American prison system. On the contrary, here jokes about dropping the soap in the shower are culturally ubiquitous and not regarded as sexist or offensive at all.

Indeed, virtually every second-rate comedy film or TV show that includes a prison sequence includes a light-hearted jocular reference to this phenomenon, from Naked Gun II½  and House Party to Dirty Work. Indeed, I suspect that, to the extent most ordinary Americans have any familiarity with the prison rape issue at all, it is largely filtered through to them by jokes and scenes such as these.

Endemic levels of male rape and sexual slavery occurring under the supervision of the so-called justice system of the world’s leading liberal democracy is treated, not as a scandalous human rights abuse, but as a laughing matter and fit subject for raunchy humour.

Watch for yourself the relevant sections of these movies (I include links to youtube videos of the relevant scenes) and ask yourself whether these scenes would ever be deemed acceptable as a subject fit for humour in a mainstream light-entertainment comedy movie if the person whose possible rape is alluded to in the movies were female rather than male.

Exhibit 2: Celebrating Rape

Beyond the trivialization of prison rape through jokes, probably the next most common reference to prison rape involves its justification, or even celebration.

Thus, when a criminal (invariably a male criminal) has been convicted, or merely charged, with a crime perceived as especially gruesome or unpleasant (ironically often a sex crime such as rape), it is usual to hear comments, in public, in private, in online discussion boards or the comment sections beneath newspaper articles, and sometimes even in the articles themselves, to the effect that the writer/speaker hopes or expects and delights in the fact that the convict or defendant will, so they avidly anticipate, himself be regularly sexually assaulted by other inmates now that he is incarcerated, with the implication that this is deserved and just recompense.

In fact, while there is some evidence that child sex offenders in particular are indeed singled out for sexual abuse in prison, according to the Human Rights Watch report, No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons, the vast majority of victims of prison rape are incarcerated for other crimes.[23]

In fact, non-violent offenders and first-time offenders are overrepresented among victims of sexual coercion behind bars, as are other vulnerable groups such as young offenders, homosexuals and the mentally retarded (and whites).[24] Journalist Eli Lehrer reports that so-called ‘punks’ are usually young, nonviolent offenders, and often pretrial detainees, since, naturally enough, jailhouse rapists select victims from the least violent segments of the prison population.[25] Underage inmates housed in adult facilities are especially vulnerable to abuse.[26]

Tom Cahill, president of Stop Prisoner Rape, and himself a victim when incarcerated for his part in anti-Vietnam protests, reports:

Most prison rape victims are in for minor nonviolent offenses. The victim profile is a young adult heterosexual male, maybe small or with a slight frame, confined for the first time for a minor victimless crime such as possession of a little too much marijuana – and too poor to buy his freedom.[27]

Such young non-violent offenders, some of whom have yet even to be convicted of an offence, are hardly the most deserving victims of repeated sexual abuse, even assuming, that is, anyone is deserving of such treatment. Nevertheless, a poll of voters in Massachusetts in 1994 found that fully half of respondents agreed with the statement: ‘society accepts prison rape as part of the price criminals pay for their wrongdoing’.[28]

Yet if any person, male or female, has the temerity to venture the opinion that any woman, in any way, or in any circumstances, deserves to be raped, he or she (especially he) would be excoriated by the feminist thought-police and mainstream media for this outrageous heresy.

Moreover, it goes without saying that, were a woman to be sentenced to repeated rape as a punishment for a crime she had committed, however gruesome or unpleasant this crime may be, there would be outrage.

Indeed, reports do occasionally surface from the Developing World of the use of rape as a sentence or punishment for female offenders.[29] In these cases, the reaction in the West is, of course, one of universal revulsion and outrage, not to mention the usual culturally-imperialist sanctimony in which the Western media specializes.

Yet the American criminal courts routinely sentence young men and boys, in effect, to exactly the same punishment, the only difference being that, for American men and boys, the victims are not raped only once, but, as we will see, repeatedly over the entire spell of their incarceration.

The only other distinction between the sentences handed down in India in the news reports I have linked to above and the sentences routinely handed down by American justices is that the officials in India who sentenced the young woman to gang-rape were at least honest and open about the nature of the punishment they were inflicting.

Yet, as legal scholar Alan Dershowitz points out, a sentence of imprisonment for a young first-time non-violent offender in the USA is often not only a sentence of rape, but, given the high prevalence of HIV and other STDs among incarcerated felons, including prison predators, often, in practice, a death sentence too.

In his article The Other Rape Epidemic,[30] Dershowitz explains:

What… happen[s] to thousands of young male first offenders in prison is a national scandal. They are raped – often repeatedly and by gangs of older inmates – as a rite of passage in prison life. Their bodies are traded like cigarettes. And, worst of all, they contract AIDS in significant numbers. Thus, a short sentence imposed for ‘rehabilitation’ may become a death sentence. Yet many prison authorities turn a blind eye to this crisis.[31]

He continues:

No civilized person supports the death penalty for first-time non-violent criminals. Yet that is precisely what some get when they are sent to prisons where rape is a way of life… [and] the rate of HIV infection may be as high as 15 percent –  and rising.[32]

Referring to a then current international controversy arising from the corporal punishment sentence imposed on an American teenager convicted of vandalism in Singapore, Dershowitz observed:

As many Americans rail against the recent caning of an American teenager in Singapore few pause to ash themselves what they themselves would opt for, if given the choice of four lashes with a Singaporean cane or four months in an American prison where rape and the risk of AIDS was rampant. I, for one, would not hesitate before selecting the cane. A bruised backside heals with time, whereas HIV only gets worse.[33]

For example, Stephen Donaldson, America’s most prominent campaigner against prison rape and among the first to speak out about his own victimization, ultimately died as a consequence of HIV infection he is thought to have contracted during his multiple rapes during his first spell of incarceration.

Others are driven to suicide, such as the seventeen-year-old, Rodney Hullin, who hanged himself in 1995 after being raped and refused admission to protective custody

Exhibit 3: Lack of Redress for Victims

There is an almost complete lack of effective redress for victims of prison rape. Legal scholar Shara Abraham bluntly concludes, male rape victims in US prisons essentially are without legal redress.[34] Thus, sexually abused inmates suffer not only the physical and emotional trauma that accompany rape, but are re-victimized by their inability to assert their legal rights.[35]

There are several reasons for the lack of effective of legal remedy.

Firstly, victims have every incentive not to come forward. In doing so, they would be outing themselves as both an informer and as a victim of sexual assault – i.e. in prison parlance both a ‘snitch’ and ‘punk’ – perhaps the two the most reviled classes of inmate within the American prison subculture and either of which statuses would be sufficient to single them out for further victimization and possibly death.

Journalist Eli Lehrer, in his article Hell Behind Bars: The Crime That Dare Not Speak Its Name, first published in National Review, explains:

A code of silence that nearly all prison inmates adhere to means that prison rape almost never gets reported. ‘This silence spares cost-conscious prison officials the expense and burden of investigating and prosecuting incidents of prison rape,’ writes Victor Hassine, a convicted murderer turned college-textbook writer who has spent the last twenty years in a variety of Pennsylvania state prisons. ‘Rapists are thus virtually handed licenses for their attacks.’[36]

Indeed, such is the stigma associated with victimization, Joanna Burke reports, “even the families of victims might want the whole incident ‘hushed’ in an attempt to ‘avoid the shame and dishonor they believed would follow such a complaint’”.[37]

Thus, Bourke reports that “according to some estimates, between 60 and 70 per cent of sexual assaults in prisons are never reported to staff”, but “prisoners insist that the figure is even higher”.[38] In one study at the Tennessee State Penitentiary conducted in the 1970s, “over a quarter of inmates… believed that more than 90 per cent of rapes were never reported”.[39]

Even if victims do have the courage to come forward, their complaints are often dismissed.

Whereas in respect of rape allegations made by women in society at large, there are now strict guidelines regarding the interviewing of victims by the police, which ensure that these victims receive sympathetic treatment and support no matter how spurious their allegations, the same principles do not seem to apply to men and boys raped in the American prison system.

One inmate who reported his victimization to prison officers received the dismissive response, “no way–you’re not that good of a catch”.[40] A mentally-retarded victim of sexual assault behind bars reported received the jocular response, here’s another one the booty bandit got.[41]

Meanwhile, another inmate was made to identify his assailant in front of twenty other inmates then returned to General Population, a course of action that was certain to put his safety, indeed his life, in danger.[42]

Abraham reports that prison authorities rarely investigate allegations of rape and generally turn to internal disciplinary mechanisms as an alternative to criminal prosecution, while prison administrators effectively tolerate rampant sexual abuse when they fail to hold correctional authorities responsible for criminal violence that occurs behind prison walls.[43]

Certainly, prison authorities have every incentive to downplay and cover-up the scale of the problem by discouraging victims from pressing charges. As Wayne Wooden and Jay Parker explain in Men Behind Bars: Sexual Exploitation in Prison, their pioneering study of sexual victimization in the nation’s prison system:

The staff did not want the bad publicity of rape prosecutions within their prison. They did not want the official documentation that this type of behaviour was occurring. They preferred, or so it seemed to [the victim], to sweep the whole affair ‘under the rug,’ pretending that it had not happened.”[44]

Thus, one victimized inmate believed that, on making a complaint to prison guards, he was deliberately put in an adjacent cell to his victimizers in segregation, enabling the latter to makes threats to his family, so as to discourage him from proceeding with the charges.[45]

Thus, one victim of repeated sexual assault described the process of lodging a complaint thus:

If a whore [rape victim] went to the authorities, all they’d do is tell you that since you [are] already a whore [rape victim], they couldn’t do nothing for you, and [that you should] go back to the dorm and settle down and be a good old lady [i.e. passively submit to continued sexual abuse]. Hell, they’d even call the whore’s old man [rapist] up and tell him to take you back down and keep you quiet… the most you’d get out of complaining is some marriage counselling, with them talking to you and your old man [rapist] to iron out your difficulties.[46]

Far from seeking to protect potential victims and prevent rape, the attitude of many prison officers seems to be that inmates should defend themselves. If they are either unable or unwilling to do so, then, in the eyes of many correctional officers, they are deemed to be consenting or at least their victimization is deserved.

One California correctional officer is quoted as explaining, and “the guy has to be willing to get a pipe or a shank and defend himself”, even though possession of such a weapon is, of course, both a serious breach of prison rules and a criminal offence.[47]

On this view, as this prison officer observed, “It’s either fight or fuck[48] – a perspective echoed among inmates, among whom there is a saying to the effect that “every convict has three choices, but only three: He can fight [kill someone], he can hit the fence [escape] or he can fuck [submit]”.[49] This view is also paralleled in the title of an article published in a law journal reviewing the options available to victimized inmates – Fight, Flee, Submit, Sue: Alternatives for Sexually Assaulted Prisoners.[50]

Joanne Mariner, the lawyer primarily responsible for authorship of the Human Rights Watch report No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons, is quoted as explaining:

Many inmates find that when they try to report a rape, the guards don’t want to hear it… They tell them to act like a man, to deal with the problem themselves. There are very few prisons that follow good procedures for counseling, or sending inmates for a medical examination.[51]

Lawyer, Donna Brorby, lead counsel in a prisoners’ right case in Texas who spent months interviewing incarcerated felons in Texas, explains:

In the Texas prison system… the policy, of course not written, is to leave it up to each prisoner to defend himself, and to consider people who don’t fight off their attackers to be consenting.[52]

Some officers even openly express the opinion that “allowing a degree of coercion was beneficial for the victim, especially if the perpetrator was able to subsequently protect the more vulnerable prisoner from attacks by other (presumably more brutish) aggressors”.[53]

For example, journalist Pete Earley, in The Hot House, his book-length account of life inside Leavenworth Penitentiary, quotes one officer explaining, “the truth is that [the rapist] is doing everyone a favor… [the rape victim] is the sort of guy who can’t take care of himself in here, and if we tell him he can’t live with [the rapist] then [the rapist] won’t be able to protect him from other convicts. There will be heaps of problems for everyone, especially [the rape victim]”.[54]

This was despite the fact that the rapist in this case was well known to officers as, in the words of another officer, a known “homosexual predator”.[55]

The only other alternative is for a vulnerable prisoner to request a transfer to protective custody. However, protective custody usually involves great restrictions on an inmates’ freedom of movement and access to exercise, recreational and educational facilities. In their pioneering study of sexual victimization in prisons, authors Wayne Wooden and Jay Parker explain that “protective custody is not a viable option for someone with a lot of time to do since the isolation is psychologically devastating” and often involves “being separated for virtually all human contact for the full period of incarceration”.[56]

Moreover, protective custody is not available as of right. An inmate generally has to apply to be admitted to protective custody and the authorities have the discretion to refuse such a request. For example, one victim of prison rape, Rodney Hullin, was refused admission to protective custody, despite a medical examination confirming that he had suffered internal injuries consistent with sexual assault. He later committed suicide.[57]

Neither, incidentally, is protective custody always a guarantee of protection. Stephen Donaldson reports that, after being placed in protective custody for his own protection, during his first night in the segregation area, he was assigned to share a cell with three black inmates who raped him.[58]

Neither is a victimized inmate likely to be able to receive redress in the courts. As Joanne Mariner has observed, many federal judges seem “resigned to tolerating prison violence and exploitation as somehow inevitable”.[59]

For example, in Chandler v Jones,[60] a Missouri court dismissed the claim of an inmate who had been pressured into sex while incarcerated, with the cynical declaration that sexual harassment of inmates in prisons would appear to be a fact of life, about which officials could do little.[61] Similarly, in Farmer v Brennan,[62] Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was quoted as saying “some level of brutality and sexual aggression among [inmates] is inevitable no matter what the guards do”.[63]

In fact, however, far from an inevitable and unpreventable fact of prison life, in many European jurisdictions sexual assault behind bars is relatively rare, albeit not altogether unknown.

Finally, even where victims do follow the long, cumbersome, uncertain and expensive process of seeking legal redress through the courts and are eventually successful in winning their case, the redress offered may be derisory in nature. For example, in one case from the 1990s, Butler v Bowd, although the jury found that the four plaintiffs had indeed been repeatedly raped while incarcerated, each were awarded the derisory figure of one dollar in compensation each![64]

Exhibit 4: Use and Encouragement of Rape by Prison Authorities

Not only do prison authorities ignore, downplay and fail to offer either preventative measures or redress after the fact – it is also alleged that the authorities tacitly or even actively encourage prison rape as a means of controlling the inmate population.

For example, Stephen Donaldson (born Robert Anthony Martin but better known as Donny the Punk), America’s most prominent campaigner against prison rape, claims he was deliberately set up to be raped as punishment, after he refused, on principle, to pay ten-dollar bail required to secure his release, after his arrest for his part in a peaceful anti-war protest. Accordingly, after a week, Donaldson was moved to the prison’s most fearsome cellblock, where he was one of only two white inmates (the other of whom was already being sexually abused)[65] and where he was raped an estimated sixty times in two days.[66]

The situation was similar for Tom Cahill, who took over the presidency of Stop Prisoner Rape when Donaldson died from the HIV infection he in all probability first contracted when he was raped in prison. The former was, like Donaldson, jailed for his part in anti-Vietnam protests. The jailers, regarding Cahill as a traitor for his anti-Vietnam advocacy, placed him in a 24-bed cell with 30 guys, mainly black and hispanic, with three white guys, two cowering in the back, falsely informed the other inmates that he was a child molester” and offered the incentive “that if they took care of me they would get extra rations of jello.[67]

Donaldson refers to rape as a management tool used by the prison authorities to control the inmate population, and potentially disruptive elements within it.[68] Thus, Joanna Burke reports, “threatening prisoners with being sent to cells or prison areas notorious for sexual violence was an effective means of controlling offenders”.[69]

Similarly, Eli Lehrer, in his article “Hell Behind Bars: The Crime That Dare Not Speak Its Name”, reports:

A 1998 Los Angeles Times investigation of brutality in California’s Corcoran State Prison found that guards sometimes sent troublesome prisoners to live with one man, who raped inmates in return for favors from prison staff. Such practices are common.”[70]

For example, one victim of prison rape, Eddie Dillard, was set up to be raped as revenge for his assault of a (female) prison officer. He was therefore transferred to share a cell with an inmate charmingly nicknamed ‘the booty bandit’ who was twice his size and had a history of multiple prison rapes and with whom he had already had violent altercations. Indeed, it was claimed that this psychopathic serial rapist was the guards’ resident enforcer, one whose specialty was reining in abrasive young toughs by beating, torturing and sodomizing fellow inmates while prison guards looked the other way.[71]

Jack Abbott, in his celebrated prison memoir, “In the Belly of the Beast”, claims:

The judge sentenced me to the main penitentiary for the express purpose of having me raped by prisoners and reduced to a homosexual. This ‘version’ being a punk. There was absolutely no other reason… I was even told by the pigs who transported me to prison that I was being sent there to be reduced to a punk, to be shorn of my manhood. They felt that I would be less arrogant once I had been turned into a cocksucker.[72]

In addition to setting up disruptive prisoners for rape, rape is also said to be used as a ‘safety valve’ to maintain relative peace within prison facilities. On this view, ‘punks’ provide an outlet for the pent-up sexual frustrations of more violent and potentially dangerous inmates and only if the more dangerous inmates are provided with their share of punks on whom can order in the prison be maintained.

Thus, weak non-violent offenders who comply with prison rules are effectively sacrificed to appease more violent inmates and thereby make correctional officers jobs easier. For example, Ken Haas, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware reports he has “heard about prisons where they always make sure there is one [punk] per tier as a safety valve for the population”.[73]

Thus, according to Ginnette West of Mothers Against Prison Rape-HIV/AIDS, the prison authorities want to keep the black gangs quiet, and know they’ll be in an uproar if they don’t get something to release their sex drive, and usually it’s young, nonviolent inmates of a different race.[74]

It is also reported that, within prison, gangs sometimes use rape as a form of punishment for those who threaten to disrupt the flow of drugs and other contraband that the gangs control in most prison systems.[75] Similarly, extending our gaze temporarily from US prisons to those in South Africa, one particularly gruesome punishment employed by the Numbers Gang is what they refer to as a ‘slow puncture’, whereby the victim’s anus is first cut open, then he is held down and raped by an HIV-positive inmate so as to deliberately infect him.

In addition to using the use of prison rape on a systematic scale, corruption also occurs on a smaller scale.

For example, Donaldson reports that when, after his two days of repeated sexual abuse, he was transferred to protective custody, ostensibly for his own protection, he was then raped by three more inmates while in protective custody. The reason, he later surmised, was that the trio had paid the guards five dollars to switch him into their cell since, ironically, violent prisoners who were threats to other inmates were held in the same segregation wing as those segregated for their own protection.

Such petty corruption was by no means an isolated case. Joanna Bourke reports:

At prisons like Holmesburg… sexual corruption was a highly regulated trade” and “in exchange for money or information, guards would allow certain prisoners to choose sexual partners from new or otherwise desirable inmates”.[76]

While many of these allegations are difficult to prove, certainly prisons do little to challenge the ingrained culture of sexual abuse and much to implicitly encourage and allow it to continue. Former Arizona correctional inmate Shaun Attwood alleges, The US prison system cultivates rape” simply because “if you treat people like animals, they behave like it.[77]

More specifically, in their report on prison rape in America, Human Rights Watch report that Prisoners are frequently double-celled with much larger, stronger, tougher inmates, even with prisoners who have a known history of sexual abuse and a large number of inmates report having been raped by their cellmates.[78]

There are various documented cases of the prison authorities double-celling young vulnerable inmates with known sexual predators.

For example, in Wilson v Wright,[79] an eighteen-year-old non-violent offender of slight stature who had already reported receiving sexual threats from other inmates was assigned to share a cell with a much larger middle-aged convict with a history of violent assaults on other inmates who was serving a sentence for abducting and raping an underage boy.[80]

Similarly, in Redman v San Diego, an eighteen-year-old pre-trial detainee with no criminal record was celled with a thirty-seven-year-old sex offender described in his file as an “aggressive homosexual” as a result of aggressive advances made towards other inmates.[81]

Joanna Bourke concludes:

Heavily armed authorities enforce physical closeness between perpetrator and victim in prison. This is sexual slavery monitored by the state.[82]

Exhibit 5: Rewarding Rape

We have seen that, far from western society encouraging rape (as the ‘Rape Culture’ hypothesis insists is the case), rapists are universally reviled. Indeed, they are not only reviled by the mass of law-abiding citizens, but even by other classes of violent offender, to such an extent that they typically have to be housed in separate accommodation from other prisoners for their own protection and are frequently the victims of violent assaults by other inmates.

However, there is one particularly perverse exception to this general rule. The intense opprobrium attached to rapists among their fellow offenders curiously does not extend to one particular class of rapists – namely, those responsible for the rape of male inmates within the prison system itself.

Among other inmates, the prison rapist suffers no diminution of status on account of his rape of another inmate. On the contrary, his status is enhanced.

Joanna Bourke explains:

While prisoners generally despise men convicted of rape in civilian society, the man who rapes fellow inmates places himself at the pinnacle of prison society. ‘If you raped someone it was like a feather in your cap,’ boasted one prisoner. The rapist of prisoners commands respect, not disdain.[83]

Moreover, the prison rapist is not regarded as homosexual. In contrast, it is the victim who is tainted with the stigma of homosexuality and effeminacy.

Of course, in the ordinary usage of these words in society at large it is the perpetrator, not the victim, who demonstrates homosexual inclinations.[84] The perpetrator, unlike his victim, engages in the act willingly, and, to successfully penetrate another inmate, obviously must experience sexual arousal.[85] In the ordinary way these terms are used outside of prison, then, it would be the perpetrator not the victim who is regarded as homosexual.

However, in their article in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Man and Cronan explain:

Inmates perceive the insertive sexual partner as heterosexual because he is demonstrating his power and masculinity. In contrast, the receptive sexual partner is perceived as homosexual because, in their eyes, he is assuming the role of a woman.[86]

Thus, as one Illinois prisoner explained to Human Rights Watch:

The theory is that you are not gay or bisexual as long as YOU yourself do not allow another man to stick his penis into your mouth or anal passage. If you do the sticking, you can still consider yourself to be a macho man/heterosexual, according to their theory. This is a pretty universal/widespread theory.[87]

In contrast, the homosexual rapist has his masculinity positively reinforced by virtue of his act. Thus, in the inverse morality of the American prison system:

The prison rapist is the epitome of manliness. While male victims of sexual abuse find themselves diminished as men, the man ‘strong enough’ to rape other men is the embodiment of a superior heterosexuality. This was why raping an unwilling young man was much more gratifying than having sex with a willing ‘homosexual sissy’”.[88]

Thus, authors Wayne Wooden and Jay Parker, in their pioneering study of sexual coercion behind bars, Men Behind Bars: Sexual Exploitation in Prison, explain:

For the jocker [i.e. prison rapist], these sexual conquests serve to establish his status and dominance within the convict hierarchy as well as continue to validate his manhood.[89]

The Normalization and Trivialization of Prison Rape – Summary

We have thus seen that the American system meets the second component of the definitions of rape culture formulated by feminists and quoted above. Prison rape is normalized, trivialized, encouraged and condoned in multiple mutually reinforcing ways.

Outside of prison, prison rape is normalized, trivialized and condoned by prison rape jokes (‘dropping the soap’ etc.) and justifications of prison rape as a legitimate or even desirable part of the ‘deterrent value’ or ‘just deserts’ imposed on offenders.

Within the walls of prison itself, on the other hand, rape is normalized, trivialized, and implicitly, or explicitly, encouraged and condoned by the prison authorities through the almost complete lack of redress afforded victims, inadequacy of preventative measures, and, in some cases, the active use of the threat or reality of rampant rape as a means of controlling the inmate population.

Meanwhile, among inmates themselves, rape is encouraged, normalized and condoned by both the lack of stigma attached to prison rape and indeed the elevated status enjoyed by known prison rapists. As we will see, this contrasts sharply with the extreme stigma attached to the victims of prison rape, who are reduced to a servile slave-like status akin to slavery (see below) and regarded as fair game for further victimization for the remainder of their period of incarceration.

The Prevalence of Prison Rape

It remains then to turn to the first part of the definition of prison rape provided by feminists and quoted above – namely, is rape pervasive and widespread in the prison system?

Much of the material quoted in the previous discussion already gives some indication of extent to which violent rape is accepted as a normal part of the prison experience in the contemporary US. However, what about systematic, quantitative studies of the prevalence of prison rape? Do surveys and statistics confirm this impression?

Obtaining accurate and reliable statistics on the prevalence of prison rape in America is easier said than done. As noted above, due to the stigma attached to both victims of sexual victimization and informers (pejoratively ‘punks’ and ‘snitches’ respectively), victims have every incentive not to come forward. Likewise, the prison authorities themselves have every incentive, and considerable means at their disposal, to discourage victims from coming forward, given the adverse publicity and possible lawsuits that are likely to result.

Perhaps for these reasons there was, until recently, almost a complete of research attempting to assess the scale of the problem. Moreover, those few attempts that had been made to estimate the scale of the problem were likely gross underestimates. As Cotton and Groth concluded in 1982, “available statistics must be regarded as very conservative at best, since discovery and documentation of this behavior are compromised by the nature of prison conditions, inmate codes and subculture and staff attitudes”.[90]

In recent years, however, there has been some research on the topic, and several attempts have been made to estimate the prevalence of sexual coercion within the walls of US prisons. The findings have been consistently shocking.

Alan Davis, then Chief Assistance District Attorney for Philadelpia, seems to have been the first to seriously address the scale of the phenomenon in 1968, having been commissioned to investigate the problem by the District Attorney’s office and the police department. His conclusions in his final report was stark and explicit. Sexual assaults in the Philadelphia prison system are endemic, he wrote.[91]

Within the Philadelphia prison system, Davis reported, virtually every slightly built young man committed by the courts is sexually approached within a day or two of his admission to prison [and] many of these young men are repeatedly raped by gangs of inmates.[92]

Using data from Davis’s investigation, Joanna Bourke reports that “according to the most reliable surveys, for every one hundred male prisoners held in American prisons, between five and nine had been sexually assaulted” but that “depending how the question was phrased, this figure could rocket to twenty-two prisoners assaulted for every hundred incarcerated”.[93]

Neither are these figures anomalous or restricted to Philadelphia.

Another early study that sought to systematically investigate the prevalence of sexual coercion and victimization behind bars was conducted by Cindy and David Struckman-Johnson and colleagues (including campaigner Stephen Donaldson) in a Midwestern prison by means of an anonymous survey. Their survey of inmates found that 22% of male inmates reported having been pressured or forced into having sexual contact against their will while incarcerated.[94]

In a further study, Cindy and David Struckman-Johnson then broadly replicated these findings in seven different prisons across the Midwest. At these seven institutions, it was found that at least 7% of inmates reported having been raped in their current facility, while 21% of inmates reported having experienced one or more incidents of pressured or forced sexual contact since they were first incarcerated in their state.[95]

Some experts suggest, however, that even these figures may represent an underestimate. Thus, writing in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Robert Dumond, author of several papers on prison rape, concludes, “it is reasonable to assume that in states with larger, heterogeneous urban populations, the rates of sexual assault are even higher”.[96]

Indeed, even the courts have now been forced to recognise the rampant levels of sexual violence within the prison system, with the Eleventh Circuit Court acknowledging in Harris v Thigpen that homosexual rape is commonplace in the prison system.[97] Similarly, in US v Bailey,[98] Justice Blackmun acknowledged:

A youthful inmate can expect to be subjected to homosexual gang rape his first night in jail, or, it has been said, even in the van on the way to jail. Weaker inmates become the property of stronger prisoners or gangs, who sell the sexual services of the victim. Prison officials either are disinterested in stopping abuse of prisoners by other prisoners or are incapable of doing so, given the limited resources society allocates to the prison system.[99]

Campaigner (and victim) Stephen Donaldson (a co-author of the original paper on victimization at a Midwestern prison), extrapolating from the results of various studies of the prevalence of sexual assault in US prisons, estimated that, across the US as a whole, over 240,000 men are raped in the US prison system every year.[100]

There is now, belatedly, official government data on the prevalence of prison rape, corroborating Donaldson’s estimate.

In 2012, the US Department of Justice, under pressure from a series of exposés published in the New York Review of Books, belatedly released data of their own. Christopher Glazek reports:

In January, prodded in part by outrage over a series of articles in the New York Review of Books, the Justice Department finally released an estimate of the prevalence of sexual abuse in penitentiaries. The reliance on filed complaints appeared to understate the problem. For 2008, for example, the government had previously tallied 935 confirmed instances of sexual abuse. After asking around, and performing some calculations, the Justice Department came up with a new number: 216,000. That’s 216,000 victims, not instances. These victims are often assaulted multiple times over the course of the year. The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women.[101]

Let’s compare this figure with other official government data released by exactly the same source, namely the US Department of Justice, on previous occasions.

In their annual report on “Crime Victimization”, reported, for the year 2013, the Justice Department reported that there were 346,830 cases of “rape/sexual assault” for the USA as a whole.[102]

In theory this figure should surely include those assaults that occurred within the prison system. These are after all rapes and sexual assaults that occur within America and should therefore be included within the figures on ‘Crime Victimization’ reported by the Justice Department.

However, if there are 216,000 rape victims in the prison system alone, then, even if we assume each of these victims was raped only once (a highly implausible proposition: see below), this leaves room for only 130,830 rapes occurring outside of prison. Thus, even assuming all these rapes (i.e. those that occur outside of prison) involved the victimization of females (again, a rather doubtful proposition), this means that the American Justice Department are themselves admitting that it is males who represent the victims of the majority of rapes in the USA.

Of course, just as some of the victims of rape outside of prison walls are male, so some victims of rape within the prison system are likely to be female. However, these are likely to represent only a tiny minority of victims of prison rape.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the US prison population as a whole is overwhelmingly male with about ten times as many males are incarcerated in the USA at any given time as females. This means that, even if the rates of sexual assault for male and female inmates were equivalent, the scale of the problem would still be ten times greater for men.

However, all the evidence suggests that the rates of sexual assault in male prisons are many times higher than the rates in female institutions. For example, in the study of the prevalence of rape in one Midwestern prison discussed earlier, it was found that, whereas 22% of male inmates reported being sexually assaulted during their incarceration, only 7% of women reported sexual assault.[103]

This suggests a rate of victimization some three times higher among male incarcerated felons as compared to that reported by female incarcerated felons.

Indeed, even Joanna Bourke, a self-described ‘socialist feminist’ who therefore has every ideological incentive to downplay the extent of male victimization, concedes, “levels of victimization of female prisoners are lower than those experienced by their male counterparts”.[104]

All told, if there are ten times as many men in prison as women, and incarcerated males are three times as likely to be sexually assaulted as are incarcerated females, this means that there are around thirty times as many male victims of prison rape as there are female victims. In short, prison rape is an overwhelmingly male problem in America.

Nevertheless, campaigner Tom Cahill reports that when “[when] Amnesty International asked me to speak for them a few years ago… all they wanted me to talk about was women being raped by male guards.[105]

But all these calculations have assumed that each of the 216,000 victims of rape within the prison system is raped only once. In fact, however, this is a wholly implausible assumption. All the evidence suggests that prison rape victims, having been victimized once, are highly vulnerable to repeated victimization. Indeed, having been labelled as a ‘punk’, victims are often typically victimized again and again, for the duration of their period of incarceration (see below).

But the Justice Department’s report on “Crime Victimization” reports that there were just 346,830 incidents of “rape/sexual assault” in the US as a whole in 2013. This means that, if each of the 216,000 victims of prison rape in the USA in a single year was victimized on average just twice (an implausibly conservative estimate), this would be more than the total number of rapes reported by the Justice Department for the US as a whole, leaving no room for any rapes to have occurred outside of prison walls.

This is obviously preposterous. While many feminist estimates of the prevalence of rape are obviously fraudulent,[106] and, in reality, many rape allegations turn out to be false,[107] clearly many rapes do indeed occur outside of prison walls in any given year.

How then can we reconcile the two conflicting figures released by the US Justice Department?

Unless we are to dismiss all its statistics as essentially worthless, the inescapable conclusion seems to be that, in its figures for “rape/sexual assault” in its annual report on “Crime Victimization”, the Justice Department simply didn’t bother to include incidents of male-on-male sexual assault that occur within the prison system. Either the researchers responsible for collecting and compiling the data didn’t ever think to include inmate victims in their figures, or else they deliberately excluded inmate victims.

Either way, the implication is clear. For the US Department of Justice, male victims of sexual assault who are victimized within the prison system don’t really count.

Either because they were prisoners (and therefore in most, but not all,[108] cases themselves guilty of an offence), or simply because they were male – or, in all probability, a combination of both these factors – male victims of sexual assault behind bars were not classed as ‘real victims’ at all, or at least not sufficiently so as to be counted alongside those victims (presumably predominantly female) who are assaulted outside of prison walls.

Yet, howsoever we reconcile the apparently conflicting figures released by the Department of Justice on the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in prison and in society at large, two things are clear and beyond doubt from these figures, namely:

  1. Most incidents of rape/sexual assault in the USA as a whole involve the victimization of males not females; and
  2. Most victims of rape/sexual assault America as a whole are male.

All told, this almost certainly means that the USA has the dubious honour of perhaps being the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women.[109]

So much then for the notion of incapacitation’ as a rationale for imprisonment – i.e. the idea that imprisonment prevents criminals from committing further crime by locking them up. On the contrary, the evidence presented here suggests that it simply gives hardened criminals the opportunity to commit more crimes, the only difference being that their victims are now their fellow inmates.

Prison Rape Denialism

In The Myth of Prison Rape and her report The Culture of Prison Sexual Violence co-authored with Mark S Fleisher, Jessie L. Krienert attempts to dismiss the problem of prison rape as a ‘myth’. Her attempt is singularly unconvincing.

She employs an outrageously narrow definition of ‘rape’, distinguishing between rapists and those she terms ‘turn-out artists’, the latter of whom rely, not only on physical force, but also guile to entrap their victims.

For example, one tactic adopted by so-called ‘turn-out artists’ that she describes is to get a new inmate into debt such that he has no means of paying off this debt other than by sexual favours. One way this is done is by offering the new inmates unsolicited gifts of commissary goods (e.g. cigarettes or chocolate). Usually, at the time the gift is offered, there is no indication that any reciprocation is expected. Only later is any indication given of strings attached to the gift.[110]

In this scenario, “inmates, especially new ones, are offered loans, gifts, or commissary. Shortly thereafter, these inmates are approached sexually and threatened with physical violence unless they repay loans or the cost of the gifts”.[111]

This is why first-time offenders are advised not to accept any gifts from other inmates on first arriving at an institution.[112]

This is, of course, directly analogous to the notion that, if a man has paid for a woman’s dinner and/or drinks during a date, this confers upon him the right to demand, or indeed force, sexual favours in return. On this view, the man who forces a woman to have sex after having been considerate enough to have paid for her dinner beforehand has not committed rape at all but is simply a ‘turn-out artist’ who has taken what is rightfully his.

This is of course a notion vociferously rejected, not least by feminists, but also by the courts and society in general.

Another situation distinguished from rape by Fleisher and Krienert is where an established inmate offers protection to a vulnerable new inmate in return for sexual favours.

However, oftentimes, in this situation, the inmate offering protection and the inmates from whom protection is ostensibly being sought are, in reality, working together to entrap the victim.[113] For example, in Men Behind Bars: Sexual Exploitation in Prison, the first book-length study of sexual victimization in US prisons, this is described as “the old convict game, the classic play”, whereby other inmates would “merely waited for [the victim] to take the bait and ‘cop some rod and then they ‘awoke’ and demanded their fair share”.[114]

Certainly, there is no guarantee that submitting to the protector will in fact amount to protection from third-parties. Indeed, as we will see, within the prison subculture, the victim’s ‘man’ is viewed as within his rights to pimp out his ‘punk’ to other inmates in return for a fee, paid, of course, to the victim’s ostensible ‘protector’ rather than the victim. For example, Stephen Donaldson discovered that the first two inmates to rape him then proceeded to pimp him out to other inmates in return for a fee of two packets of cigarettes for each rape.[115]

Eli Lehrer explains how a survival-minded punk eventually settles down to serve a ‘man’ who protects him from other predators in return for regular sex for the man and his friends.[116] However, (unlike Krienert and Fleisher) Lehrer rightly recognizes that, far from involving something other than rape, in effect, this can amount to daily rape for years on end.[117]

Certainly, it is hardly freely conferred consent of the sort demanded by the courts, let alone radical feminists, in relation to sex offences committed outside of the prison system.

In defence of this outrageously narrow definition of rape, Fleisher and Krienert insist that this simply reflects the narrow definition of ‘rape’ employed by inmates themselves.

Here, they have a point. Prisoners themselves typically employ a far more restrictive definition of rape than that employed by the courts and society at large, let alone the expansive definitions proposed by some radical feminists.[118]

For example, in one interview with a British newspaper, Shaun Attwood, a former inmate in the Arizona prison system describes walking in on a young man being forced to fellate another prisoner but when [the interviewer] ask if Attwood ever witnessed a rape, he says no. And when I ask if he felt he had been assaulted when another lag grabbed him, French-kissed him and groped him with hands moist with lubricant Attwood replies, ‘No, not at all. If I did that to a woman in a bar, that’s sexual assault, but in prison the limits are completely different from society’.[119]

However, rather than suggesting that prison rape is a ‘myth’, this actually suggests instead that rates of rape within the prison system may be even higher than previously reported.

This is because almost all previous estimates of the prevalence of prison rape rely on the reports of inmates themselves. For example, each of the studies of the prevalence of prison rape that I cited in the previous section of this post relied on the results of anonymous surveys circulated among inmates. Therefore, the levels of rape these inmates report presumably reflect the outrageously narrow definitions of rape employed by convicts themselves.

If instead we used the more expansive definitions of rape employed by the legal system, let alone those proposed by some feminists, we would almost certainly find even higher levels of rape and sexual coercion within American prisons.

Rather than accept prison rape is a myth, the better view is that of another inmate, quoted in No Escape, the Human Rights Watch report, who recognised:

A prisoner that is engaging in sexual acts, not by force, is still a victim of rape because I know that deep inside this prisoner do not want to do the things that he is doing but he thinks that it is the only way that he can survive.” [120]

Repeated Rape and the Prison ‘Punk

As already alluded to, in the American prison system, the number of rapes vastly outnumbers the number of rape victims. Thus, if there are, as the Justice Department reports, some 216,000 victims of prison rape in the USA in any given year, this means there are almost certainly several times this number of individual incidents of prison rape. This is because, as Catherine Hoff Sommers explains, “the number of rapes is vastly higher than the number of victims because the same men are attacked repeatedly”.[121]

As Eli Lehrer explains, while female rape victims typically get raped only once, imprisoned men can get raped thousands of times; physically weak inmates get raped the most.[122]

For example, campaigner Stephen Donaldson estimated that he was raped around sixty times within just two days on being transferred to a new prison cellblock, then in subsequent stints of imprisonment was subjected to much the same treatment again and again in a process to which he gradually became habituated, before eventually dying of AIDS, an infection he, in all probability, contracted as a result of his successive rapes.[123]

Whereas outside the prison system, female victims of rape elicit almost universal sympathy, this sympathy does not extend to male victims of rape in the American prison system. In outside society, the victim of prison rape is a matter of indifference, and prison rape itself is seen as both just deserts and a fit subject for bawdy jokes.

Within the prison system itself, meanwhile, the victim of prison rape is the object, not of sympathy, but of scorn, contempt and derision. As we have seen, only the victim, although unwilling, is tainted with a perception of homosexuality. However, the rape victim is, if anything, of even lower status than the actual homosexual.

The latter is a homosexual by choice, and may profit from his orientation by selling his services to other inmates. The prison punk, however, is forcibly ‘turned out’ and hence unable to profit from his victimization. Moreover, heterosexual victims of prison rape are likely to suffer more psychological trauma by virtue of their victimization

Victims of sexual assault within the prison system are targeted again and again, not only because those who are weak and unable to defend themselves are likely to remain weak and unable to defend themselves, but also because those previously victimized are thereby forever stigmatized and tainted by virtue of their prior victimization, and henceforth regarded as, in effect, ‘fair game’ for their fellow offenders.

Various pejorative epithets attach to men and boys who have been targeted with sexual victimization within the prison system. These include punks, bitches, fuck-boys, catchers, galboys, punks, june bugs and may tags.[124] A few of these, largely through the influence of rap music, have even seeped into the popular vernacular. For example, Pete Earley reports that the term ‘fuck-boy’ was originally “a term used to describe a prisoner who is not a homosexual but is forced to work as a prostitute in prison by a pimp”.[125]

The reputation as a ‘punk’, to use the most familiar variant, is among the worst with which an inmate can be tarred. Crime writer Edward Bunker, a writer of fiction who spent the greater part of his life in the California prison system, has one of his characters explain, “If you have a jacket as a punk, you’ll have that wherever you go. It’ll come up twenty years from now. It’s the next worst thing to being jacketed as a stool pigeon.”[126]

One imprisoned rapist explained, “when a boy was once perverted he was everybody’s punk” and “a punk will be a punk as long as anyone knows that he had once capitulated”.[127] Similarly, Alan Davis reports, “after a young man has been raped, he is marked as a sexual victim for the duration of his confinement”;[128] while Shaun Attwood, a former correctional inmate in Arizona reports, once that’s happened to you [i.e. rape], everyone finds out and the whole prison society will treat you differently. From then on you’re game for anyone to do anything to do you. Not only sexually, but in any way you will be taken advantage of.”[129]

Legal scholars Man and Cronin explain:

Once a prospective ‘punk’ is raped, other inmates promptly brand him a continual target for future sexual attack. The success of the initial rape causes the victim to be perceived weak and vulnerable by other inmates, who, in turn, take full advantage of this perceived weakness. ‘Punks’ are relegated to the lowest class of inmates and are victims of the most violent and heinous sexual assaults.[130]

From Real Rape Culture to Real Sexual Slavery

This leads us from one familiar feminist trope, namely ‘Rape Culture’, to another, namely the spectre of so-called ‘Sexual Slavery’.

Thanks to the efforts of an unholy alliance of ‘anti-sex’ feminists and ‘pro-family’ conservatives, everybody is no doubt aware of the supposed phenomenon of ‘modern sexual slavery’, whereby large numbers of women and girls are ‘trafficked’ across borders and forced to work in the sex industry against their will.

Unfortunately, fewer people are aware that the entire supposed phenomenon is little more than a contemporary urban myth,[131] a modern version of the nineteenth century moral panic over so-called white slavery,[132] albeit denuded of its overtly racialist overtones to better fit the palate of modern politically-correct Western Woman.

In short, it is anti-immigrant prejudice masquerading as humanitarian concern.

While large numbers of women do indeed cross borders to work in the sex industry, they do so voluntarily, just like any other class of economic migrant. Moreover, they have every incentive to do so, earning large salaries, many times those they could earn in their home-countries. Few if any are deceived as to the nature of the work they will be expected to undertake after crossing international borders. Indeed, many are seasoned-veterans of the sex industry, having worked as prostitutes in their own home countries, before upping sticks for pastures new in order to increase their potential earnings.

For example, in 2009, it was reported by the Guardian newspaper that the UK’s biggest ever investigation of sex trafficking failed to find a single person who had forced anybody into prostitution in spite of hundreds of raids on sex workers in a six-month campaign by government departments, specialist agencies and every police force in the country.[133]

Indeed, it has been reported that, internationally, “Mining and industry base themselves to a far greater degree on the doping, violent coercion, and smuggling of children than does the sex industry”.[134]

Of course, large numbers of poor people from the developing world do indeed cross-borders so as to work under horrendous conditions at low-paid jobs. However, all the evidence suggests that these people are overwhelmingly male.[135] Indeed, the overrepresentation of males among the recent refugees from Syria is even cited as evidence that they are unworthy of asylum[136] – though since men are overrepresented among the casualties of warfare[137] and the victims of genocide,[138] it is entirely unsurprising that men should be overrepresented among refugees seeking to escape warzones.

Does sexual slavery really exist then? Or rather, does it exist outside of the febrile imaginations of feminists and a certain subgenre of pornography?

The answer is a resounding yes. Moreover, like Real Rape Culture, it exists, not in some distant corner of the globe, but right in the heart of modern America.

Literal Slaves in Every Sense of the Word

In short, like Real Rape Culture, Real Sexual Slavery is to be found in the American prison system – and its victims, once again, are almost exclusively men and boys.

Within the American prison system, for thousands of men and boys, the spectre of ‘sexual slavery’ is not a mere metaphor, but an unimaginable daily horror.

The victim of prison rape becomes, in effect, literally a slave in every sense of the word. Journalist Christian Parenti reports that, upon being raped (or ‘turned out’ in prison slang), an inmate is reduced to a psychologically broken, politically servile ‘punk’ – in prison argot, the lowest form of life… now jailhouse chattel, to be sodomized, traded and sold like a slave.[139]

Indeed, the slavery to which the prison ‘punk’ is subjected extends beyond sexual slavery (i.e. Repeat Rape) to other forms of subjection and serfdom.

Jack Abbott, long-term prison inmate and celebrated author, writes:

If I take a punk in prison, she is mine. He is like a slave, a chattel slave. It is the custom that no one addresses her directly. He cleans my cell, my clothing and runs errands for me. Anything I tell him, he must do… I can sell her, or lend her out or give her away at any time. Another prisoner can take her away from me if he can dominate me.[140]

Similarly, Shaun Attwood explains:

The punk becomes their property. And as such, can either be kept for their sole use or pimped. ‘People use them like a commodity and rent them out,” he explains. But it’s only others with high status who hire them. Some will allow their punks to be unfaithful with other punks only, which is called ‘bumping pussies’. It’s all tied up in notions of property ownership, with sexual jealousy a secondary factor.’[141]

Their enslavement extends beyond the provision of sexual favours to other inmates to all aspects of their day-to-day lives.

Thus, in No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons, Human Rights Watch report:

Victims of prison rape, in the most extreme cases, are literally the slaves of the perpetrators. Forced to satisfy another man’s sexual appetites whenever he demands, they may also be responsible for washing his clothes, cooking his food, massaging his back, cleaning his cell, and myriad other chores. They are frequently ‘rented out’ for sex, sold, or even auctioned off to other inmates, replicating the financial aspects of traditional slavery. Their most basic choices, like how to dress and whom to talk to, may be controlled by the person who ‘owns’ them. They may even be renamed as women.”[142]

Similarly, in their article in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology legal scholars Man and Cronan report:

‘Punks’ are relegated to the lowest class of inmates and are victims of the most violent and heinous sexual assaults. Typically, one inmate ‘owns’ a particular ‘punk,’ rendering the ‘punk’ the equivalent of a sexual slave. The ‘punks’ are forced to satisfy their ‘owner’s’ sexual appetites whenever he demands, are sometimes forced to assume a female name, and may be responsible for washing the owner’s clothes, massaging his back, cooking his food, cleaning his cell, and various other chores. Moreover, these ‘punks’ are often ‘rented’ by their ‘owners’ to other inmates… [and] the ‘man’ commonly sells oral or anal sex from his ‘punk’ in exchange for money or other prison perks, like cigarettes.[143]

Sometimes victims are forced to wear makeup and feminine clothing at the behest of their tormentors. Joanna Bourke reports, “claiming that it would improve a man’s ability to give a good ‘blowjob’, teeth are frequently knocked out” and “gang rape is the norm”.[144]

In other cases, victims are forcibly tattooed with words or images designed to indicate their subordinate status as a sex slave, and thus permanently brand them as ‘punks’. For example, one fifteen-year-old, housed in a facility for adult offenders, was repeatedly sexually abused by older inmates. These older inmates then “forced him to have their names tattooed on his body to signify their ownership of him” and with “his nickname ‘Brown Sugar’” so as to permanently “brand him as a victim of repeated and ongoing sexual abuse”.[145]

A particularly graphic account is provided of the treatment to which campaigner Stephen Donaldson was subjected is provided in Jim Goard’s piece, “The Punk Who Wouldn’t Shut Up”.

Indeed, behind prison walls, the pimping of young male offenders by other inmates is literally big business and a lucrative trade within the underground economy of the prison system. One Texas inmate reported to Human Rights Watch investigators:

When they do turn out a guy they actually own them, every penny they get it goes to there [sic] man. You can buy a kid for 20 or 30 dollars on most wings!! They sell them like cattle.”[146]

An Indianna inmate even claimed:

Most time when a young boy is turned out by a gang, the sole purpose of that is first to fuck the boy especially young boys, once they finish with the boy they are sold to another prisoner for profit, it’s big business selling boys in prisons and gang members control this business.[147]

The reality of slavery for thousands of incarcerated felons is even acknowledged by the prison officers who are ostensibly responsible for preventing such exploitation. One officer in Pete Earley’s account of life inside what was then the largest maximum security federal penitentiary in the USA warns a vulnerable newly-arrived inmate facing his first spell of incarceration, that another inmate was:

A homosexual predatorlooking to make you his wife. He’ll have you waiting on him, having sex with him, doing whatever he demands. You’ll be a slave and when he tires of you, he’ll sell you to someone else.[148]

The extent of the victimization endured by victims of male rape in the US prison system is harrowing and often unimaginable.

In other contexts, the word ‘slavery’ is employed as a mere metaphor or for rhetorical purposes to emphasize a point (e.g. so-called ‘wage slavery’). In the American prison system however, slavery is not a mere metaphor but a literal reality of large numbers of incarcerated men and boys.

Conclusion

So, as we have seen, the ‘Rape Culture’ so often invoked by feminists is not a mere myth. Neither is it restricted to Third World Islamic theocracies or dictatorships, as some critics of modern feminism sometimes allege. Rather it is a real phenomenon that exists right in the heart of America in the US’s burgeoning and overwhelmingly male prison system.

The same is true of the spectre of ‘Sexual Slavery’, also frequently invoked by feminists. Although in the sex industry outside of prison, ‘Sexual Slavery’ is largely an urban myth, in the overwhelmingly male American prison system, it is a daily and horrible reality for possibly thousands of men and boys.

In the American prison system, these familiar soundbites are not mere exaggerated metaphors, but daily and continuing realities for untold numbers of men and boys. Moreover, the state itself is directly implicated in the abuse, which occurs right under the watchful but disinterested eyes of agents of the state, namely the prison authorities or Penal Industrial Complex, who both permit, enable and sometimes encourage and foster the horrendous abuses that go on right before their eyes.

So, for once, the feminists are right – ‘Rape Culture’ and ‘Sexual Slavery’ are real phenomena that exist right in the heart of modern America. However, as we have seen, the feminists are wrong in one crucial respect – namely, that the victims of these phenomena are overwhelmingly men and boys.

______________

Endnotes/Footnotes

[1] Although the extract quoted comes from a work of fiction, Goines, the godfather of the much-maligned (and often justly maligned) urban subgenre of crime fiction, was a noted alumni of the American prison system, having served various stints in prison for a variety of offences and having reputedly begun his writing career as an inmate in Jackson Penitentiary, Michigan. His description of ‘sodomy rape’ as a ‘way of life’ in the American prison system therefore carries some weight. The prevalence of sexual coercion in the American prison system is also a principle theme of another of his later books, White Man’s Justice Black Man’s Tears.

[2] This definition is itself apparently taken from Emmilie Buchwald, whom the website describes as the “author of” the book, Transforming a Rape Culture, though in reality she appears to be the lead co-editor rather than the author.

[3] Coker v Georgia 433 U.S. 584 (1977)

[4] Writing in 2008 and summarising the then situation in the UK, Steve Moxon reports:

The punishment of attempted murder is in some respects actually less than that for rape. Even before more stringent sentences for rape were introduced, breakdowns of Home Office figures reveal that a much greater proportion of convicted attempted murderers stayed out of jail than did rapists, and of those who did go to jail, sentencing was comparable. With recent longer sentencing guidelines for rape, rape is now in all respects more heavily punished than attempted murder” (The Woman Racket: p200).

Rape is also sentenced more leniently than grievous bodily harm. The result, as Moxon describes it, is that “a criminal who inflicts life-destroying mutilation can easily receive a lesser sentence than a rapist, yet if we were to crudely ask women if they would rather have parts of their bodies severed than be raped, the reply would not be ‘Which parts are you talking about?’” (The Woman Racket: p199).

[5] In the UK, sex offenders are housed in separate wings for so-called ‘vulnerable prisoners’ (pejoratively termed ‘nonce wings’ by other inmates) under Prison Rule 45 (formerly Rule 43); while in the US, sex offenders are housed in so-called ‘protective custody’ (PC) or Special Needs Yards (SNY). As a consequence, their freedom of movement and access to recreational and educational facilities are often restricted as compared to other inmates.

[6] Meanwhile, the woman responsible for making the original allegation against John Leslie was able to continue her career as a talentless TV celebrity with no stigma attached to her even though, in making what was, in all probability, a false allegation, she was guilty of ruining an innocent man’s reputation, a crime as serious as that which she accused Leslie of.

[7] Miked Tyson was able to make a comeback, albeit with his reputation ruined, despite a (decidedly unsafe) rape conviction largely because his status as the former undisputed world heavyweight champion and, even before his conviction, the sport’s best known celebrity and greatest crowd-puller. Perhaps the closest thing to a celebrity surviving a rape conviction with his reputation relatively intact, is the rapper Tupac Shakur who was convicted, not of rape, but of ‘first degree sexual assault’, yet is now celebrated as an icon. However, Tupac inhabited the world of ‘gangsta rap’, with its inverse morality whereby criminal convictions are a bizarre badge of authenticity. Moreover, although, like other rappers, Tupac routinely bragged in his lyrics of other ostensible criminal exploits, real or imaginary, it is notable that he always vociferously denied the sexual assault charge, despite his conviction. At any rate, he owes his status largely having died early. In short, a person’s celebrity and reputation can survive, only if they themselves do not. The same phenomenon is evident perhaps in the posthumous rehabilitation of Michael Jackson.

[8] Felson, RB (2000) The Normative Protection of Women from Violence Sociological Forum 15(1): 91-116.

[9]  Arias, I., & Johnson, P. (1989). Evaluations of Physical Aggression Among Intimate DyadsJournal 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); 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.

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

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

[12] See the studies cited by Felson, R.B. The Normative Protection of Women from Violence Sociological Forum 15(1): 91-116: at p95.

[13] In the US, men are almost twice as likely to report being the victim of violent crime and the more violent the crime, the more likely men are to be the victim (Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren’t Supposed to Know at p11). Likewise, in the UK, men are about three times as likely to be victims of violent crime [see The Retreat of Reason (reviewed here): p49]. In their comprehensive global survey of the correlates of crime, criminologists Anthony Walsh and Lee Ellis report that “except for rape, where essentially all victims are female [sic], males have substantially higher victimization rates than do females” and “even with rapes included in calculating an overall victimization rate, males run a considerably greater risk of being victimized by violent crime than do females” (Criminology: A Global Perspective: p128). The most reliable data is likely to be for homicide, since this is least likely to go unreported, undetected or to be the subject of a false report. 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). Similarly, in the UK in 2010-11, over two thirds (68%) of homicide victims were male, according to government statistics (Osborne, S. (2012) ‘Homicide’ in K. Smith et al (eds), Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2008/09: supplementary volume 2 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11 Home Office Statistical Bulletin 01/10: at p19). Internationally, meanwhile, according to a comprehensive worldwide epidemiological survey in the mid-90s, men represented 78% of violent deaths, excluding those resulting from war (see Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. The global burden of disease: A comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambridge, Harvard University Press; Murray, C.J.L. and Lopez, A.D. 1996. Global health statistics: a compendium of incidence, prevalence and mortality estimates for over 200 conditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press: as cited by Joshua Goldstein in War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa: p400).

[14] In referring to the attention of legislators, I have in mind not only recent legislation such as the 1994 Violence Against Women Act but also similarly draconian legislation passed during earlier, now forgotten, waves of public hysteria and moral panic such as the Prevention and Punishment of Aggravated Assaults on Women Act of 1853 and the Wife Beaters Act of 1882, both passed in Victorian Britain.

[15] If you doubt this, try searching for the phrases “violence against women” (with quotation marks) as compared to the phrase “violence against men” (also with quotation marks) in the archives of any major national newspaper and compare the number of ‘hits’.

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

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

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

[19] Warren Farrell The Myth of Male Power (which I have reviewed here)at p29.

[20] Felson, R.B. The Normative Protection of Women from Violence: at p92.

[21] Felson, R.B. The Normative Protection of Women from Violence: at p93-4.

[22] Felson, R.B. The Normative Protection of Women from Violence: at p94.

[23] Human Rights Watch  (2001) No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons (New York: Human Rights Watch 2001).

[24] Human Rights Watch  (2001) No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons (New York: Human Rights Watch 2001); Hensley, C, Tewksbury, R & Castle, T (2003) Characteristics of Prison Sexual Assault Targets in Male Oklahoma Correctional Facilities Journal Of Interpersonal Violence 18(6):595-606

[25] Lehrer, E (2001) Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review (5 Feb) 53(2): 24-26.

[26] Quoted in Robertson, JE (2011) The ‘Turning-Out’ Of Boys In A Man’s Prison: Why And How We Need To Amend The Prison Rape Elimination Act Indiana Law Review 44: 819-852 at p822

[27] Quoted in Smith, Philip ‘Interview: Tom Cahill, President of Stop Prisoner Rape’ Alternet, April 30 2001.

[28] Quoted in Dumond RW (2001) The Impact and Recovery of Prisoner Rape (paper presented at the National Conference ‘Not Part of the Penalty’: Ending Prisoner Rape in Washington, D.C., October 19, 2001)

[29] E.g. Bunbombe A (2014) Village elders ‘order gang-rape of young woman as punishment for relationship with outsider Independent, Thursday, 23 January, 2014; MacFarlane T (2015) Indian sisters sentenced to be raped then paraded naked through the streets as punishment for their brother running away with a married woman Daily Mail 28 August 2015.

[30] Dershowitz A, (1994) ‘The Other Rape Epidemic’ In Dershowitz A The Abuse Excuse: and other cop-outs, sob stories and evasions of responsibility: pp279-28 (first published Buffalo News June 18, 1994).

[31] Dershowitz A, (1994) ‘The Other Rape Epidemic’ In Dershowitz A The Abuse Excuse: and other cop-outs, sob stories and evasions of responsibility: pp279-28 (first published Buffalo News June 18, 1994).

[32] Dershowitz A, (1994) ‘The Other Rape Epidemic’ In Dershowitz A The Abuse Excuse: and other cop-outs, sob stories and evasions of responsibility: pp279-28 (first published Buffalo News June 18, 1994).

[33] Dershowitz A, (1994) ‘The Other Rape Epidemic’ In Dershowitz A The Abuse Excuse: and other cop-outs, sob stories and evasions of responsibility: pp279-28 (first published Buffalo News June 18, 1994).

[34] Abraham, S (2001) Male Rape in US Prisons: Cruel and Unusual Punishment Human Rights Brief 9(1) Article 2: p5.

[35] Abraham, S (2001) Male Rape in US Prisons: Cruel and Unusual Punishment Human Rights Brief 9(1) Article 2: p5

[36] Lehrer, L (2001) Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review (5 Feb) 53(2): 24-26.

[37] Bourke, J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p350.

[38] Bourke, J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p335.

[39] Bourke, J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p335.

[40] Human Rights Watch (2001) No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons (New York: Human Rights Watch 2001).

[41] Quoted in Ruiz, 37 F. Supp.2d

[42] Human Rights Watch (2001) No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons (New York: Human Rights Watch 2001).

[43] Abraham, S (2001) Male Rape in US Prisons: Cruel and Unusual Punishment Human Rights Brief 9(1) Article 2: p5.

[44] Wooden WS & Parker J, Men Behind Bars: Sexual Exploitation in Prison: p119.

[45] Wooden WS & Parker J, Men Behind Bars: Sexual Exploitation in Prison: p119.

[46] Parenti, C (1999) Rape as a disciplinary tactic Salon, Monday August 23rd

[47] Quoted in Bourke, J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p342.

[48] Quoted in Bourke, J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p342.

[49] Quoted in Earley P, The Hot House: Inside Leavenworth Prison: p64.

[50] Levin MC (1985) ‘Fight, Flee, Submit, Sue: Alternatives for Sexually Assaulted Prisoners’ 18 Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems 505

[51] Quoted in: Lewin Tamar (2001) ‘Little Sympathy or Remedy For Inmates Who Are RapedNew York Times, April 15.

[52] Lewin Tamar (2001) ‘Little Sympathy or Remedy For Inmates Who Are RapedNew York Times, April 15.

[53] Bourke J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p342.

[54] Earley P, The Hot House: p72.

[55] Earley P, The Hot House: p67.

[56] Wooden WS & Parker J, Men Behind Bars: Sexual Exploitation in Prison: p108.

[57] Farrington, K Maximum Security: Inside Stories from the World’s Toughest Prisons (2009): p86.

[58] Goad J “The Punk Who Wouldn’t Shut Up” Answer Me, 1994.

[59] Mariner, J (2001) ‘Not Part of the Penalty’: Judicial Abdication Of Responsibility For Protecting Prisoners From Rape Findlaw, Thursday, Apr. 19, 2001.

[60] Chandler v. Jones, 1988 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 693, *3 (E.D. Mo. 1988).

[61] Quoted in: Human Rights Watch (2001) No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons (New York: Human Rights Watch 2001) at p158.

[62] 511 U.S. 825 (1994).

[63] Quoted in: Abraham, S (2001) Male Rape in US Prisons: Cruel and Unusual Punishment Human Rights Brief 9(1) Article 2: p6.

[64] Butler v Bowd 979 F.2d 661.

[65] Together with the fact that it contradicts a central tenet of feminism, the racial aspect of prison rape, with whites overwhelmingly overrepresented as victims, and blacks as perpetrators, is another reason that the topic is politically incorrect.

[66] Goad J “The Punk Who Wouldn’t Shut Up” Answer Me, 1994.

[67] Quoted in Smith, Philip ‘Interview: Tom Cahill, President of Stop Prisoner Rape’ Alternet, April 30 2001

[68] Quoted in Smith, Philip ‘Interview: Tom Cahill, President of Stop Prisoner Rape’ Alternet, April 30 2001.

[69] Bourke, J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: 342.

[70] Lehrer, Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review 5 Feb 2001.

[71] Parenti, C (1999) Rape as a disciplinary tactic, Salon, August 23

[72] Abbott JH (1981) In the Belly of the Beast: Letters From Prison: p79.

[73] Quoted in Lehrer, E, (2001) Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review 5 Feb 2001.

[74] Lehrer, E, (2001) Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review 5 Feb 2001.

[75] Lehrer, E, (2001) Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review 5 Feb 2001.

[76] Bourke, J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p341.

[77] Studwick P (2014) Sex in Men’s Prisons: US Prison System Cultivates Rape: If You Treat People Like Animals, They Behave Like It Independent Saturday 1 March

[78] Human Rights Watch  (2001)  No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons.

[79] 998 F. Supp. 650 (E.D. Va. 1998)

[80] This case is discussed in the article, Man, CD, & Cronan, JP ‘Forecasting Sexual abuse in Prison: The Prison Subculture of Masculinity as a Backdrop for ‘Deliberate Indifference’’ Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (2001-2) 92:127-186.

[81] Redman v County of San Diego 942 F.2d 1435; 60 USLW 2218

[82] Bourke J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p338.

[83] Bourke J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p348.

[84] Whether prison rapists ought to be labelled as ‘homosexual’ is a matter of some controversy, as most are not actively homosexual when outside of prison. Prison rape seems to be primarily a case of situational homosexuality. However, whether we should class prison rapists as ‘homosexual’ is ultimately a semantic dispute that will not concern us here.

[85] Strictly speaking, in some cases sexual arousal is not necessary for prison rape. There are numerous documented cases of prisoners being raped with objects (e.g. a broom handle). These rapes seem to be motived not by sexual desire but solely by a desire to wound, degrade and stigmatize the victim. Such cases may represent the rare exception to the rule, where rape is indeed (as feminists often claim) about power not sex.

[86] CD Man & JP Cronan (2001) ‘Forecasting Sexual Abuse in Prison: The Prison Subculture of Masculinity as a Backdrop for Deliberate Indifference’ Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 92(1):127-186 at p151

[87] Quoted in Human Rights Watch, No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons.

[88] Bourke J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p348.

[89] Wooden WS & Parker J, Men Behind Bars: Sexual Exploitation in Prison: p115.

[90] Cotton DJ & Groth AN (1982) Inmate rape: prevention and intervention Journal of Prison & Jail Health 2:47–57 at p48.

[91] Davis AJ (1968) ‘Sexual assaults in the Philadelphia prison system and Sheriff’s Vans’ Trans-action 6(2):8-17 at p9.

[92] Davis AJ (1968) ‘Sexual assaults in the Philadelphia prison system and Sheriff’s Vans’ Trans-action 6(2):8-17 at p9.

[93] Bourke J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p334.

[94] Struckman‐Johnson, C Struckman‐Johnson, D, Rucker, L, Bumby, K & Donaldson, S, (1996) Sexual coercion reported by men and women in prison Journal of Sex Research 33(1).

[95] Struckman-Johnson, C & Struckman-Johnson, D (2000) ‘Sexual Coercion Rates in Seven Midwestern Prison Facilities for Men’ The Prison Journal, December 80: 379-390.

[96] Dumond R (2003) Confronting America’s Most Ignored Crime Problem: The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 Journal of the  American Academy of Psychiatry & Law 31:354–60 at p355.

[97] Harris v Thigpen 941 F.2d 1495 (1991)

[98] 444 U.S. 394 (1980)

[99] US v Bailey 444 U.S. 394 (1980)

[100] Quoted in Lehrer, Eli, (2001) Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review (5 Feb) 53(2): 24-26.

[101] Glazek, Christopher, “Raise the Crime Rate” N+1 magazine, Issue 13, Winter 2012.

[102] Langton, L, & Truman, JL, ‘Criminal Victimization, 2013’ 14 September 2014: p2.

[103] Struckman‐Johnson, C Struckman‐Johnson, D, Rucker, L, Bumby, K & Donaldson, S, (1996) Sexual coercion reported by men and women in prison Journal of Sex Research 33(1).

[104] Bourke, J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present: p336-7.

[105] Quoted in Lehrer, Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review (5 Feb) 53(2): 24-26; It seems, for Amnesty International, a self-styled human rights group, only certain humans qualify for human rights (i.e. females). Human Rights Watch are therefore to be commended for their willingness to address the politically-incorrect issue of male, especially white male, victimization, in their report No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons, cited extensively throughout this post.

[106] For example, see the various studies debunked in Who Stole Feminism? by Christina Hoff Sommers.

[107] Kanin, E.J. (1994) False Rape Allegations, Archives of Sexual Behavior 23(1):81.

[108] Not all inmates of correctional facilities, it should be noted, have themselves necessarily been convicted of an offence. Some are held on remand awaiting trial. They are therefore yet to receive a verdict regarding their guilt and should therefore be considered ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Others, of course, may have been victims of wrongful convictions.

[109] Glazek, Christopher, “Raise the Crime Rate” N+1 magazine, Issue 13, Winter 2012.

[110] For example, she quotes one inmate as observing:

A lot of people who use the word rape to administration, but it usually doesn’t happen that way. They consent to sex to get out of debt.” (The Culture of Prison Violence: p174).

[111] Eisenberg HM 2000 ‘Correctional officers and their perceptions of homosexuality, rape and prostitution in male prisons The Prison Journal 80(4):415-433.

[112] For example, as part of their ‘Inmate Orientation Program’, new inmates in the Arkansas Department of Correction are advised:

Don’t get into debt; it’s a trap. Don’t ask for or accept gifts, loans or favours.  These people will try to get you into debt then demand that you pay by providing sex for them or their friends. Everything in prison has a price there are no gifts.” – quoted in No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons (New York: Human Rights Watch 2001 ) at p286.

[113] According to dialogue in the novel Animal Factory, authored by Edward Bunker, himself a former inmate at the prison, this is known as ‘the San Quentin cross’. This name is also used by Bunker and actor Danny Trejo, both former San Quentin inmates, in the commentary track accompanying the DVD release of the movie based on this novel.

[114] Wooden WS & Parker J, Men Behind Bars: Sexual Exploitation in Prison: p103.

[115] Goad J, The Punk Who Wouldn’t Shut up, Answer Me, 1984.

[116] Lehrer, Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review, (5 Feb) 53(2): 24-26.

[117] Lehrer, Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review, (5 Feb) 53(2): 24-26.

[118] For example, Susan Brownmiller has been quoted as claiming, politically, I call it rape whenever a woman feels violated (Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law: at p82); while Andrea Parrot, a Cornell University professor, has written “any sexual intercourse without mutual desire is a form of rape” (quoted in Who Stole Feminism?: at p220). Brownmiller curiously does not mention whether it is also rape when a man ‘feels violated’, nor, for that matter, when he is forcibly sodomized by another prisoner. Similarly, several studies of the prevalence of rape conducted by feminist researchers have employed expansive definitions of rape, which go far beyond the ordinary meaning of ‘rape’ as understood by the average man (or woman) on the street, so as to produce sensationalist statistics on the prevalence of rape (see the various studies debunked by Christina Hoff Sommers in Who Stole Feminism?). In short, if any woman who has sex then regrets it the next morning is classed as a rape victim, then there may indeed be an epidemic of rape. However, this is not how most people use the word ‘rape’, and moreover trivialises and demeans the experience of real rape victims, both male and female.

[119] Studwick P (2014) Sex in Men’s Prisons: US Prison System Cultivates Rape: If You Treat People Like Animals, They Behave Like It Independent Saturday 1 March.

[120] Human Rights Watch  (2001)  No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons.

[121] Hoff Sommers, C Who Stole Feminism? (New York: Touchstone, 1995): p225.

[122] Lehrer, Eli, (2001) Hell Behind Bars: The crime that dare not speak its name National Review (5 Feb) 53(2): 24-26.

[123] Goad J “The Punk Who Wouldn’t Shut Up” Answer Me, 1994.

[124] See this glossary of American prison slang for the large number of such terms.

[125] The Hot House: p70.

[126] Bunker, E, (2000) Animal Factory (New York: St Martin’s Minotaur, 2000): at p110.

[127] Quoted in Bourke, J, Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present:p349.

[128] Davis AJ (1968) ‘Sexual assaults in the Philadelphia prison system and Sheriff’s Vans’ Trans-action 6(2):8-17 at p9.

[129] Quoted in Studwick P (2014) Sex in Men’s Prisons: US Prison System Cultivates Rape. If You Treat People Like Animals, They Behave Like It Independent Saturday 1 March.

[130] CD Man & JP Cronan (2001) Forecasting Sexual Abuse in Prison: The Prison Subculture of Masculinity as a Backdrop for Deliberate Indifference Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 92(1):127-186 at p156.

[131] McAleer, P (2003) Happy Hookers of Eastern Europe, Spectator 5 April 2003.

[132] Doezema J. (2000) Loose women or lost women? The re-emergence of the myth of white slavery in contemporary discourses of trafficking in women Gender Issues 18(1):23-50.

[133] Davies N, (2009) Inquiry fails to find single trafficker who forced anybody into prostitution Guardian 20 October 2009.

[134] Ringdal, NJ Love for Sale: A World History of Prostitution (New York: Grove Press 2004) at p387-388.

[135] For example, to take the two worst immigration-related tragedies to occur in Britain during the present century, of the twenty-one cockle pickers to die in Morecambe Bay in 2004, all but two were male; while of the sixty immigrants, all but two of whom suffocated in the back of a lorry in Dover in 2000 after entering the country illegally, all but four were men.

[136] E.g. Gutteridge, N (2016)  Aren’t there ANY girls? Questions over ‘child’ refugees as more ‘hulking males’ come to UK Daily Express 19th October 2016; Tonkin, S (2016) Another all-male coachload of ‘child’ migrants arrives at Calais Daily Mail, 19th October 2016; Rhodan, M Are the Syrian Refugees All ‘Young, Strong Men’? Time, November 20 2015. Of course, in a different context, when seeking to emphasize the female monopoly on suffering, it is often claimed that “most refugees are women and children”. Some sceptics have suggested that this simply reflects the fact that most of those killed in war are male, and refugees represent the survivors. In fact, however, it simply reflects the conflation of women with children into a single category, despite the fact that half of the children are boys. Thus, while it may be true that most refugees are ‘women and children’, it is also true that most refugees are ‘men and children’, for the simple reason that a substantial proportion of the population are neither men nor women but rather children (see Goldstein, J War and Gender, Cambridge University Press: 2001: at p402).

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

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

[139] Parenti, C (1999) Rape as a disciplinary tactic, Salon, August 23.

[140] Abbott JH (1981) In the Belly of the Beast: Letters From Prison: p80.

[141] Quoted in Studwick P (2014) Sex in Men’s Prisons: US Prison System Cultivates Rape. If You Treat People Like Animals, They Behave Like It Independent, Saturday 1 March.

[142] No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons (New York: Human Rights Watch 2001).

[143] CD Man & JP Cronan (2001) Forecasting Sexual Abuse in Prison: The Prison Subculture of Masculinity as a Backdrop for Deliberate Indifference Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 92(1):127-186 at p156.

[144] Bourke J Rape: A History From 1860 to the Present : p338.

[145] Quoted in Robertson, JE (2011) The ‘Turning-Out’ Of Boys In A Man’s Prison: Why And How We Need To Amend The Prison Rape Elimination Act Indiana Law Review 44: 819-852 at p822.

[146] No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons (New York: Human Rights Watch 2001).

[147] No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons (New York: Human Rights Watch 2001).

[148] Earley P, The Hot House: p67.