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’.

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

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.[18]

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.[19]

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.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22] 

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.”.[23]

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.[24]

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,[25] and both male are female offenders are sentenced more severely when they victimize women than when they victimize men,[26] with male offenders who victimize women sentenced most severely of all.[27]

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.[28]

Elsewhere, laws sometimes still explicitly discriminate against males, for example, in respect of pension rights,[29] insurance premiums,[30] abortion rights[31] or criminal defences.[32]

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.”[33]

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.[34]

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 Human Family Systems: An Evolutionary View (New York: Elsevier 1979): p60-1.

[18] Schopenhauer, A (1850) On Women.

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

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

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

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

[23] 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 thatseven 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).

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

[25] 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).

[26] 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.

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

[28] 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.

[29] 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.

[30] 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.

[31] 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.

[32] 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.

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

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

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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, and have more neotenous (i.e. childlike) facial features, I suspect that, due to these superficial external 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] In the commentary track accompanying the DVD release of the movie Animal Factory, writer Edward Bunker and starring actor Danny Trejo, both former long-term California prison inmates, including spells at San Quinten, refer to this confidence trick as ‘the San Quinten switch’.

[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.

Why I Am Not A ‘Feminist’?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defining Feminism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are two reasons for rejecting these sorts of definitions:

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

(2) The etymological root of the word ‘feminism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The result is that, as philosopher Michael Levin reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feminists Against Sex Equality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did Feminists Ever Support Sex Equality?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Feminism Then?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are Women Worse-Off?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there Anything Good About Feminism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Invention of ‘Sexual Equality’

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

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

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

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

Take two recent examples from the UK and EU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Men’s Rights and the Future of Feminism

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

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

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

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

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

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

__________________

Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[23] Who Stole Feminism: p24.

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

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

[26] Legalizing Misandry: at xii

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

[28] The Second Sexism: p15.

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

[30] Contrast descriptive linguistics with prescriptive linguistics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[42] See the ‘Presumption of Legitimacy’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[86] 453 U.S. 57 (1981).

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

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

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

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

‘AngryHarry’, ‘Housework

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I shall argue that this assumption is in error.

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

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

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

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

Why Housework in Your Own House Isn’t Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who Benefits From Housework?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Kingsley Browne observes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Browne concludes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet, Vilar continues:

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

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

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

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

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

Why Childcare for Your Own Children Isn’t Work Either

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Steve Moxon observes in The Woman Racket:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What About Childcare by Men?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Child maintenance payments;
2) Welfare payments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

As historian Martin Van Creveld observes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_________________

Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Feminist Dogma

The New Orthodoxy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus, as Murray Rothbard observed:

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

Chivalry and the Rise of Feminism

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

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

Thus, according to Neil Lyndon:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Modern McCarthyism in our Midst”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apologetics and Appeasement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conservative Chivalry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discrimination and Disadvantage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘New Media’ and the Fall of the Feminist Dogma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

________________________

Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[8] No More Sex War: p123.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also: When She Was Bad: p121.

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

[38]  The Manipulated Man (1998): p8.

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

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

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

[42] How the Mind Works: p492.

[43] How the Mind Works: p493.

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

[45] The Blank Slate: p337.

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

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

[48] See note [36] above.

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

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

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

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

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

[54] See note [36] above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[62]  The Privileged Sex: at xiv.

[63]  The Privileged Sex: at iv.

[64] The Privileged Sex: at iv.

[65] The Woman Racket: p2.

[66] The Woman Racket: p2.

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

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

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