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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Witch Hunts: Historical and Contemporary

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

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

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

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

On reflection, this is little surprise.

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

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

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

This then brings us to the witch hysteria.

The Scale of the ‘Witch Hysteria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Men Persecuting Women?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indeed, sometimes women were even underrepresented among those victimized.

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

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

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

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

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

Religious Persecution in Context: Heresy, Apostasy, Blasphemy

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

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

As historian Martin Van Creveld explains

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

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

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

Were the ‘Witches’ Guilty?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On reflection, this is little surprise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contemporary Witch-Hunts in the ‘Developing’ World

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

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

The answer is an unambiguous ‘Yes’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The victims also seem to have been overwhelmingly disproportionately male.

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

Thus, Conquest concludes:

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

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

Metaphoric ‘Witch-Hunts’ in the Contemporary West

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

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

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

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

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

Thus, as I have written elsewhere:

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

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

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

Feminist ‘Witch-Hunts’

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

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

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

Admittedly, nobody yet has been burnt at the stake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concluding Thoughts

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

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[18] Van Creveld The Privileged Sex: p152.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[25] For a regularly updated database of such studies, see Fiebert, M References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated bibliography (an earlier version was published in Sexuality and Culture (2010) 14 (1), 49-91); see also Archer, J (2000) ‘Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: a meta-analytic review’ Psychological Bulletin 126(5):651-80; and James, TB Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren’t Supposed to Know (Aventine Press, 2003).

[26] Quotation from The Woman Racket at p145

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

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

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