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

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

Lionel Tiger, The Decline of Males[1]

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

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

If… one class of person does all the work and another does all the spending, you do not have to be Karl Marx to conclude that the second of these two classes is the more privileged.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engels’ Error

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Murray Rothbard observes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There, Tobais and Marcy write:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus, as the inestimable Esther Vilar puts it:

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

From Marxism to Sociobiology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus, as I have written elsewhere:

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

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

Women as Nature’s Capitalist Class

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Schopenhauer observed, whereas man strives in everything for a direct domination over things, either by comprehending or subduing them… woman is everywhere and always relegated in a merely indirect, which is achieved by means of man, who is consequently the only thing she has to dominate directly.[18]

Or, as Aristotle put it some two millennia earlier, What difference does it make whether the women rule or the rulers are ruled by the women? The result is the same.[19]

Thus, as Bertrand Russell observed:

The world is full of idle people, mostly women, who have little education, much money, and consequentially great self-confidence… Especially in America, where the men who make money are mostly too busy to spend it themselves, culture is largely dominated by women whose sole claim to respect is that their husbands possess the art of growing rich.[20]

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

The feminists never tire of reminding us that men, on average, earn more money than women. This is indeed true – not least because men work longer hours, in more dangerous and unpleasant working conditions for a greater proportion of their lives.[21]

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

As David Thomas observes, If… one class of person does all the work and another does all the spending, you do not have to be Karl Marx to conclude that the second of these two classes is the more privileged.[22] 

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

Ten or twelve passages consisting of solid rows of magnificent shops with immense plate-glass windows are all filled with all kinds of expensive wares – exclusively feminine ones – stuffs, dresses laces, dresses, gems, foot-gear, house adornments, furs and so on. All these things cost millions and millions, all these articles have been manufactured in establishments by working people who frequently ruin their lives in this work, and all these articles are of no use, not only the working people, but even to the wealthy men – they are all amusements and adornments of women…
And all these articles are in the power and in the hands of a few hundred women, who in expensive furs and hats of the latest fashion saunter through these shops and purchase these articles, which are manufactured for them.
A few hundreds of women arbitrarily dispose of the labour of millions of working people, who work to support themselves and their families. On the whims of these women depend the fate, the lives of millions of people.”.[23]

From Economic Power to Social and Political Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

The laws today protect the owners of property and the economically powerful. The more economic power a group, or a class, or a sex possesses, the more the state throws the mantle of its protective laws about it. Women are the owners of a commodity for which men are buyers or barterers, and our modern laws protect woman at the expense of man.[24]

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

Thus, for example, in the criminal courts, male offenders are sentenced to more severe sentences than female offenders guilty of the same offences,[25] and both male are female offenders are sentenced more severely when they victimize women than when they victimize men,[26] with male offenders who victimize women sentenced most severely of all.[27]

Similarly, before the family courts, mothers are awarded custody of offspring in preference to fathers in the overwhelming majority of cases where fathers even bother to contest the issue.[28]

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

Feminism as a ‘Dominant Ideology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus, as anti-feminist Neil Lyndon observes:

“The changes which were taken to be victories of emancipatory spirit among women were all conductive to the development of capitalism… [and] the long march of the left towards the identification of the class which would be the dissolution of all classes had simply resulted in the creation of a larger class of wage slaves required by national and international markets.”[33]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On this view, as late-nineteenth, early-twentieth century Marxist-Masculist Ernest Belfort Bax suggested in 1913 the Anti-man agitation [i.e. feminism] forms a capital red herring for drawing the popular scent off class opposition by substituting sex antagonism in its place.[34]

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

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

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

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

_____________________________________

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[18] Schopenhauer, A (1850) On Women.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[31] Dubay v. Wells (2004); Danforth v Planned Parenthood 428 U.S. 52 (1976); Planned Parenthood v Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992) Paton v. Trustees of British Pregnancy Advisory Service Trustees (1978) QB 276; C v S (1988) QB 135.

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

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

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

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Why I Am Not A ‘Feminist’?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defining Feminism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are two reasons for rejecting these sorts of definitions:

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

(2) The etymological root of the word ‘feminism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The result is that, as philosopher Michael Levin reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feminists Against Sex Equality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did Feminists Ever Support Sex Equality?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Feminism Then?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are Women Worse-Off?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there Anything Good About Feminism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Invention of ‘Sexual Equality’

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

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

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

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

Take two recent examples from the UK and EU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Men’s Rights and the Future of Feminism

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

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

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

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

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

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

__________________

Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[23] Who Stole Feminism: p24.

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

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

[26] Legalizing Misandry: at xii

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

[28] The Second Sexism: p15.

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

[30] Contrast descriptive linguistics with prescriptive linguistics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[42] See the ‘Presumption of Legitimacy’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[86] 453 U.S. 57 (1981).

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

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