Women as Children?

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

Arthur Schopenhauer, On Women[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Explaining Male Chivalry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women as Children

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

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

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

Military Service

First, take the obligation to undertake military service.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Innocent Women and Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women and Children First

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Protection from Violence, Pain and Suffering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women as ‘Dependants’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government as a Substitute Husband/Father

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

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

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

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

The same applies, once again, to women.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, women received priority.

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

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

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

Discrimination against men in welfare entitlement continues to this day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Husband as ‘Head of Household

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus, Christina Hoff Summers reports that:

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

She continues:

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

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

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

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

Property Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus, historian Martin van Creveld reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Right to Vote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why are Women Treated as Children?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This then is where the analogy with children comes in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Best of Both Worlds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Right to Vote and the Obligation to Fight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Paradox of Male Supremacism

This then points to a final perverse paradox.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 ___________________________

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[9] Discrimination against men in the provision of insurance policies remains legal in most jurisdictions (e.g. the USA). However, sex discrimination in the provision of insurance policies was belatedly outlawed throughout the European Union at the end of 2012, due to a ruling of the European Court of Justice. This was many years after other forms of sex discrimination had been outlawed in most member-states. For example, in the UK, most other forms of gender discrimination were outlawed almost forty years previously under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. However, section 45 of this Act explicitly exempted insurance companies from liability for sex discrimination if they could show that the discriminatory practice they employed was based on actuarial data and was “reasonable”. Yet actuarial data could also be employed to justify other forms of discrimination, such as employers deciding not to employ women of childbearing age. However, this remained unlawful. This exemption was preserved by Section 22 of Part 5 of Schedule 3 of the new Equality Act 2010. As a result, as recently as 2010 insurance providers routinely charged young male drivers double the premiums demanded of young female drivers. Yet, curiously, the only circumstances in which insurance policy providers were barred from discriminating on the grounds of sex was where the differences result from the costs associated with pregnancy or to a woman’s having given birth under section 22(3)(d) of Schedule 3 – in other words, the only readily apparent circumstance where insurance providers might be expected to discriminate against women rather than men. Interestingly, even after the ECJ ruling, there is evidence that indirect discrimination against males continues, simply by using occupation as a marker for gender.

[10] According to data cited by David Benatar, “in the United States, fathers gain sole custody of children in about 10% of cases and women in nearly three-quarters” and “in cases of conflicting requests for physical custody, mothers requests for custody were granted twice as often as fathers”, while “in 90% of cases where there was an uncontested request for maternal physical custody of the children the mother was awarded this custody”, whereas this was granted “in only 75% of cases in which there was an uncontested request for paternal physical custody” (The Second Sexism: p50).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[37] Arias, I., & Johnson, P. (1989). Evaluations of Physical Aggression Among Intimate DyadsJournal of Interpersonal Violence, 4, 298−307; Harris, M.B. (1991) Effects of Sex of Aggressor, Sex of Target, and Relationship on Evaluations of Physical Aggression Journal of Interpersonal Violence 6(2): 174–186; Greenblat, C. S. (1983). ‘A hit is a hit is a hit. Or is it? Approval and tolerance of the use of physical force by spouses’. In D. Finkelhor, R. J. Gelles, G. T. Hotaling, & M. A. Straus (Eds.), The Dark Side of Families (pp. 235-260). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage; Feather NT (1996) Domestic Violence, Gender and Perceptions of Justice Sex Roles 35(7): 507-519; Felson RB (2009) When a man hits a woman: Moral evaluations and reporting violence to police Aggressive Behavior 35(6): 477-488.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[59] Thus, van Creveld reports:

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

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

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

[60] Thus, Van Creveld concludes:

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

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

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

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

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

And neither was this discrimination restricted to America:

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

[63] The Privileged Sex: p134.

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

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

[66] For example, van Creveld reports that:

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

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

[68] The Privileged Sex: p137.

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

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

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

[72] Sommers, Who Stole Feminism: p205.

[73] Sommers, Who Stole Feminism: p206.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Similarly, anthropologist David Puts reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Concise Case Against Feminism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

__________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

____________

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

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

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

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

________________

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

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

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

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

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

Indeed, as I have written previously:

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

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

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

___________

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

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

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

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

As Bertrand Russell writes:

The world is full of idle people, mostly women, who have little education, much money, and consequentially great self-confidence. Owing to their wealth they are able to cause much labour to be devoted to their comfort… Especially in America, where the men who make money are mostly too busy to spend it themselves, culture is largely dominated by women whose sole claim to respect is that their husbands possess the art of growing rich.[35]

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

____________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

______________________

Endnotes

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

[2] Discrimination against men in the provision of insurance policies remains legal in most jurisdictions (e.g. the USA). However, sex discrimination in the provision of insurance policies was belatedly outlawed throughout the European Union at the end of 2012, due to a ruling of the European Court of Justice. This was many years after other forms of sex discrimination had been outlawed in most member-states. For example, in the UK, most other forms of gender discrimination were outlawed almost forty years previously under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. However, section 45 of this Act explicitly exempted insurance companies from liability for sex discrimination if they could show that the discriminatory practice they employed was based on actuarial data and was “reasonable”. Yet actuarial data could also be employed to justify other forms of discrimination, such as employers deciding not to employ women of childbearing age. However, this remained unlawful. This exemption was preserved by Section 22 of Part 5 of Schedule 3 of the new Equality Act 2010. As a result, as recently as 2010 insurance providers routinely charged young male drivers double the premiums demanded of young female drivers. Yet, curiously, the only circumstances in which insurance policy providers were barred from discriminating on the grounds of sex was where the differences result from the costs associated with pregnancy or to a woman’s having given birth under section 22(3)(d) of Schedule 3 – in other words, the only readily apparent circumstance where insurance providers might be expected to discriminate against women rather than men. Interestingly, even after the ECJ ruling, there is evidence that indirect discrimination against males continues, simply by using occupation as a marker for gender.

[3] For example, according to data cited by David Benatar, “in the United States, fathers gain sole custody of children in about 10% of cases and women in nearly three-quarters” and “in cases of conflicting requests for physical custody, mothers requests for custody were granted twice as often as fathers”, while “in 90% of cases where there was an uncontested request for maternal physical custody of the children the mother was awarded this custody”, whereas this was granted “in only 75% of cases in which there was an uncontested request for paternal physical custody” (The Second Sexism: p50).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[23] Streib, V (1997) America’s aversion to executing women, Ohio Northern University Women’s Law Journal, 1:1-8; Streib, V (2001) Sentencing Women to Death’ Criminal Justice Magazine 16(1); Streib, V (2002) Gendering the Death Penalty: Countering Sex Bias in a Masculine Sanctuary, Ohio State Law Journal 63: 433; Streib, V (2006) Rare and Inconsistent: The Death Penalty for Women, Fordham Urban Law Journal 33:609; Shapiro, A (2000) Unequal Before the Law: Men, Women and the Death Penalty, American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 8(2): 427-470

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 1967, with the passage of section 65 Criminal Justice Act 1967 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). In contrast, the whipping of females was prohibited by the Whipping of Female Offender Act 1820.

[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.