This is the first of several essays that deal with the oppression of women in general and specifically with false assumptions about sex and reproduction that were originally made by the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand and carried forward by her Objectivist followers.
Ayn Rand is mostly known for her novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, novels that celebrate human reason, individuality, and productivity, and for a philosophy she developed called Objectivism that holds many not-so-evident “truths,” the most controversial in my view being the belief that laissez-faire capitalism is an ideal. Despite my departure from many of the applications of Objectivism, I am greatly indebted to the philosophy for helping me to think rationally.
More than any other essay on this site, this essay was “inspired” by several male chauvinists on the Objectivist mailing list, Atlantis. These members constantly berated me for bringing up the ongoing oppression of women as an example of modern-day slavery and tyranny. This is an answer to their accusations of male bashing. It is also my attempt to understand the nature of the beast that is the doctrine of male supremacy: why it exists and how it continues to function to undermine the status and freedom of women.
Generalizations are used by everyone all the time. It is widely understood that when one says “Men are this” or “women are that” that these statements do not apply to every single man or every single woman. Yet for years when I participated in the Atlantis mailing list, a list for those interested in Objectivism, I was condemned for making generalizations—and no one else was.
Over the years, I have come across numerous books that have explored the differences between the sexes, books such as Matt Ridley’s Red Queen: The Evolution of Sex and Human Nature, Steve Jones’ Y: The Descent of Men, and Leonard Shlain’s Sex, Time and Power, to name a few, as well as numerous articles on the status of women in this country and all over the world. With virtually no exceptions, the authors of these books and articles have generalized about the mental and physical differences between the sexes. Such generalizations are made not only by those who are scholars in fields that explore sexual differences, fields such as biology, psychology, and sociology, but also by intelligent and accomplished laypeople. If I am a sexist bigot because I generalize about the sexes, then so is everyone else, including those who make accusations toward me.
The reason that virtually no one who makes generalizations about sexual differences is automatically labeled a “sexist bigot” (as I have been) is because sex, unlike race, refers to profound differences in anatomy and physiology, and therefore in experience, between two classes of people. There is nothing even remotely similar to the experience of ejaculating semen and the experience of giving birth to a child. One is a completely riskless endeavor that involves a trivial investment of time and energy, the other a momentous event and very often the most dangerous ordeal a woman will face in her lifetime, save whatever ordeal will result in her death.
I am condemned not because I generalize (only a fool would maintain there are no mental differences between men and women), but because I generalize correctly and that I have the audacity not only to expose the male chauvinism that permeates the Objectivist and Libertarian communities, but to address their inadequacy to deal with issues concerning the status and treatment of women.
Look at these two statements, A and B. A: All men are more violent than all women. True or false? False. Anyone who would make such a statement is a blabbering idiot. That is not a generalization, valid or invalid. It is a statement about specifics and is obviously false. There are many women who are more violent than many men. B: Men are more violent than women. True or false? True. This is a valid generalization and does not mean that all men are more violent than all women, but that men are generally more violent than women, meaning that more men are violent than women are violent.
The evidence that makes this generalization valid is crime statistics and observation. I knew as a child that males commit most crimes and everyone knows it. It is not a debatable point. Anyone who attempts to debate it is in denial of reality. I have never in my entire life met any class of people other than Objectivists and Libertarians who have found this statement to be untrue, which only illustrates the huge amount of denial that is present in this group re: the differences between the sexes.
The reasons for this difference in violence are debatable and the agendas of those who make an issue of the difference are also debatable, but the facts themselves are not debatable. I do have an agenda, which I have advanced in the past and will continue to advance. My agenda in terms of Objectivism is simple. I oppose the notion commonly advanced by many members of that group that more women than men are parasites that impose costs on society as a whole because of their so-called socialistic tendencies and advance the exact opposite idea: Women as a group are the greatest bargains on earth; they are Atlases that will massively shrug in a laissez-faire society that dares to let them retain their present freedoms, meaning they will cease to reproduce at replacement levels in any free society that refuses to compensate them for their most essential and productive labor.
Moreover, if men ever developed the technology to rid themselves of women, they would socialize the entire process of reproduction from beginning to end. The reason they would do so is because artificial reproduction would be extraordinarily expensive and few men would be willing to pay the costs themselves as individuals. What is truly ironic is that the so-called “free market” to the extent that it has existed has been made possible by a whole gamut of social services provided by women privately and individually with little or no compensation (childbearing; childrearing; care for the sick, injured, disabled, elderly, etc.). The reason that laissez-faire capitalism is dead and will remain so everywhere in the world where women are free is because women will no longer do the necessary social work that makes the market possible in the first place without the kind of compensation the market cannot provide.
Over the years, my contentions regarding the worldwide oppression of women have been met with personal attacks against me. Personal attacks are the first and last refuge of those who are unable to accept the truth. If I what I state is false, show me the error of my ways. If what I state is true, deal with it. Millions of women have been beaten, raped, mutilated, humbled, and thoroughly dominated by men. Most of them are in no position psychologically to fight back in the way I do by challenging the doctrine of male supremacy and the deliberate shaming of women that is the basis and justification for such horrific treatment. I adore my own sex and it is the name of justice for my sex that I speak up, not attempts to deal with my own non-existent abuse.
I also adore my own emotionality. I have nothing but contempt for detached, insensitive, rationalistic clods and geeks that find their way into intellectual movements. Beyond that, there is a tendency among intellectual types, mostly male, to disparage the emotionality of women. Part of the strategy of oppression is convincing those who you want to oppress of how worthless and inferior they are. Women are thought to be emotional and men rational. And of course it is so much better to be rational than emotional, isn’t it?
The emotionality of women is based on a simple biological fact: women nurture life and life depends on their emotionality. Women contribute far more to the production of people, to the existence of the human organism than men. And since women give birth to living children rather than simply ejecting a liquid from their bodies, women cannot afford the luxury of treating those around them as things that exist for their use. This is why most women value relationships more than most men. They need them and their children need them to survive. It is not a weakness, but a strength, a glorious strength that this species depends on for its very existence.
I am a blond-haired, blue-eyed American of almost solely Anglo-Saxon ancestry—English, Dutch, French, and German. My ancestors have been here for four hundred years, before that they were confined to Northern and Western Europe probably for millennia. I doubt I have any “Jew” in me. Therefore I have no “bone to pick” with the non-Jewish Gentiles, the ancestors of my ethnic group that robbed, raped, slaughtered, and mercilessly oppressed the Jewish people for nearly 2000 years.
Does this statement of truth make me a hater of Germanic peoples, a hater of Europeans, a hater of non-Jewish whites, a hater of myself? Well, I no more hate Gentiles than I hate men. So I will state these generalizations concurrently so my message is made clear.
Women are the most oppressed group of human beings that has ever existed. They have been oppressed by men, not all men, who are not all individually and therefore morally guilty, but by men as a group, those men gaining a higher status in society, and all the benefits this implied, by virtue of not being female. (In the Third World that higher status begins in infancy when male children are not only allowed to live when female infants are killed, but are fed better from the word go.) Jews are the second most oppressed group that has ever existed. They have been oppressed by non-Jews, not all non-Jews, who are not all individually and therefore morally guilty, but by non-Jews as a group, those non-Jews gaining a higher status by virtue of not being Jewish.
To develop this further, what does it mean to benefit from the oppression of others? It means primarily that one doesn’t have to compete for values on an equal playing field with the other group. It means one has bargaining power and the other group does not. It is the lack of bargaining power that is the defining criteria of what constitutes rape and what constitutes consent, what constitutes theft and what constitutes trade. Choice means something only when one has other options. Where there are no options, there are no choices!
A woman is on a deserted road driving with her three-year-old son and he starts to have trouble breathing. She pulls over to the side of the road and 30 seconds later a man in a pickup pulls up behind her. He offers to let her use his cell phone to call 911 (the battery on her phone is dead) on the condition that she put out for him right on the spot, pull down her pants and bend over. In this instance, she will have no choice but to do what he says. This is not a trade, this is coercion. It is rape, because he took advantage of the fact that she had no bargaining power whatsoever and had to do what he wanted in order to save her son’s life.
Of course, most men would never do something so blatantly indecent. This is an extreme example to make a point. But it is a point that needs to be understood. There is sometimes a fine line between choice and coercion. Exploitation and oppression are legitimate concepts, not solely left-wing ones. Exploitation and oppression occur when people are not literally forced to do things they don’t want to do or prevented from doing things they do want to do, but when the options are so few as to be meaningless, and when the terms of agreement are so skewed in the direction of one party due to duress that the “trade” is nothing but a swindle and a rape.
For most of the past 2000 years, Jews lived under Christian domination. Even so-called voluntary, consensual exchanges between the Jew and the Christian had the character of coercion because the Jew did not have the same bargaining power as the Christian. The Jew had less rights than the Christian—in many countries he could not take the Christian to court and sue him, for instance. The Jew had to worry about alienating the Christian’s good will because pogroms against Jews were common. If a Jew acted too uppity, Christians might swoop down on the Jew’s village or community and kill, rape, and rob. The laws and customs of Christian Europe disarmed the Jew from making choices about his livelihood that would be in his own self-interest. He was confined to professions in numbers that were determined by Christians; how far he could succeed in those professions was also determined by Christians. In a real sense, every economic transaction between Jew and Christian had the character of theft, because the Jew could not bargain or negotiate from a position of strength.
Throughout history, women have had little bargaining power in relation to men. Most of that power consisted of playing to male lust when young, manipulating male guilt about their obvious sacrifices when middle-aged, and exploiting male pity when they were old and thought to be socially useless. The value of a woman could be had cheaply because women had no choice but to enter into relationships with men in order to survive.
What does it mean, specifically, to have no bargaining power over the course of one’s life? Here’s an admittedly extreme but possible example from the Western world in the past:
It’s the nineteenth century and a woman is married to a working-class man. His income is insufficient to meet her needs and the needs of their children. As a result, this woman takes a paying job working outside of the home. At the end of the week, her husband collects the funds she earns. By law, all her wages are owned by him and the money is his to do with as he sees fit.
Let’s say Mr. Working Class decides to spend his wife’s earnings on prostitutes and drink. He is free to do so. He may go into the city and bag himself a ten-year-old “whore,” a little girl who is on the streets because her parents abandoned her, or because her mother died and Daddy wasn’t around, or because Daddy beat and raped her and she had to get away, or because someone kidnapped her and put her to work in the sex trade.
Mr. Working Class is free to rape her or purchase the sexual labor of other girls with his wife’s earnings. Prostitution is illegal but the police don’t prosecute johns. They would sooner lock up a ten-year-old child than put a fellow man in jail. (The age of consent was commonly around ten in the United States at that time and as low as seven in the state of Delaware!)
Now after several nights of carousing, Mr. Working Class gets bored and returns home to rape and beat his wife, all legally, of course. He owns his wife’s body and can compel her to have sex even if he’s carrying a sexually transmitted disease. In time, she finds herself pregnant and ends up delivering a baby blind from the gonorrhea her husband picked up from his whoring. Imagine: her own earnings financed her child’s blindness!
Not only can’t she have her husband prosecuted for this despicable crime against her and her child, but if she ever chooses to have an extramarital affair to comfort herself, he can have her jailed for adultery.
In the “glorious” nineteenth century and throughout all of human history, men could enslave women in this manner and do so with a vengeance. In a very real sense, up until the twentieth century in the Western world, all acts of sex were a form of rape because women were disenfranchised from trading value for value.
In the Soviet Union during Stalin’s reign, ideas were not allowed to be discussed freely. This was the norm for all Communist societies, but the suppression and distortion of truth reached new levels of absurdity under the tyranny of Josef Stalin. Communism is completely antithetical to human nature, meaning to the requirements of human existence. Therefore, any espousal of truth is a threat to a Communist regime.
Evolution very clearly exposes the lie of Communism because evolution establishes certain truths about the nature of life, and hence human life, that contradict Communist ideology. Evolution teaches that living organisms struggle to survive in competition not only with members of other species but also with members of their own species. Evolution teaches that individuals seek their own self-interest rather than the self-interest of others. Altruism is not part of the natural ethic. This was anathema to Stalin and the Communists because it has obvious implications for the feasibility of contructing a human society where wealth is collectively owned and equally shared.
What is the problem evolution poses for Objectivists? Certainly it is not the competition of individuals for survival, but rather it is the competition of individuals for reproductive success. Sexual reproduction is a huge problem for those who would argue for an individualistic ethics, especially for proponents of laissez-faire capitalism.
Objectivists believe in a philosophy of individualism. This is consistent with evolution when viewed as a struggle of individuals for their own survival. But that is not what evolution teaches us. Individuals seek not only their own survival, but the survival of their genes in the form of their offspring. Individuals struggle for reproductive success and since that is the case, sexual selection in sexually reproducing species is the engine of evolution. In short, reproduction and everything associated with it is central to an understanding of life.
What is sexual reproduction and how did it arise? Sex is a form of reproduction where two different kinds of organisms contribute genes to the development of a new organism that is distinct from both its parents. Scientists think they know the advantages of sexual reproduction; the current theory is that the diversity sexual reproduction creates is helpful in warding off parasitic infestation. Scientists must find advantages because the nature of sex is problematic, and even with advantages, it remains problematic.
The problem is that sexual reproduction is costly, and it is primarily costly to only one of the two sexes. One sex does most of the work and the other sex rides. In a very real sense, the history of sex is the history of a very successful (from the male’s point of view) form of partial parasitism. I say “partial parasitism” because even though the male contributes nearly half of the genes (the female always contributes more in the form of mitochondrial genes) he usually does not contribute half of anything else. In mammals, he rides to such a huge degree that he starts an arms race in competition for the female that results in him becoming the larger and stronger sex, unlike his status as the smaller and weaker sex in most of nature.
This again makes scientists ask: Why male? Why this sex that gets so much from sexual reproduction and pays so pitifully little? Why didn’t the female evolve out of this very costly and for her almost counter-productive arrangement? The answer is, of course, that life isn’t fair. The die was cast and females did what they could, however poorly, to even the score.
To discuss the evolution of sex and what that evolution means in terms of how the sexes relate to each other is a potentially explosive issue for Objectivists and Libertarians because of the issues it raises. To examine who does the essential work of reproduction and who does not, and how that work (or lack of) can be evaluated in terms of the producer/parasite paradigm begs the question: Who are the real Atlases in this world and what would happen if they went a-shrugging?
Although I no longer consider myself an Objectivist, I believe that reality can be known and that it should be known, that the most noble thing in the world is adherence to the truth, and that the way that one arrives at truth is through one’s reason. Everything else is secondary to the one goal: adherence to reality first-hand as a product of one’s own thinking. I believe in inductive reasoning. Employing inductive reasoning has led me to disagree with some of the derivatives and applications of Objectivism, not with the first principles.
Unfortunately, those who swallow Objectivist ideology hook, line, and sinker are very much like their much-despised Communist counterparts when it comes to adopting and discussing ideas. They are not inductive thinkers, but deductive ones. They accept a premise as correct and then deduce a number of conclusions as a result, never realizing that their initial premise was wrong. Faulty premises result in false knowledge. Worse still, like Communists, they do not re-think their premises under any circumstances. Those who suggest that their premises are wrong are smeared, not as “enemies of the people” but rather as “parasites,” a term adopted by some Objectivists to describe anyone who relies on the state for support or advocates a mixed economy.
A good example of false knowledge was Rand’s apparent belief that because men are stronger and more aggressive than women they are better adapted to reality, when, in fact, male strength and aggressiveness are a result of competition for women and have nothing whatsoever to do with being better adapted to reality. If anything, the greater aggressiveness of the male sex is proof that the female sex is the greater value, the “bargain” that males evolved to take advantage of.
If females were a costly burden, then why pursue them so aggressively? Nature gives lie to the premises of some Objectivists who like to delude themselves into thinking that women are more parasitical than men. One doesn’t evolve to aggressively pursue infections with parasites.
The tendency to define women as parasites is part of the Objectivist tendency to function as a patriarchal religion functions: to create self-serving myths that glorify the traditional work of men (production of wealth) and denigrate or at least trivialize the traditional work of women (production of people). It is an inversion of reality of Biblical, meaning religious, proportions. Objectivists dress up the Adam and Eve myth with new clothing. Too clever to directly denigrate women by defining them as the Lord’s afterthoughts, Objectivists define “woman’s work” as the equivalent of an afterthought, as something largely irrelevant and peripheral, barely “work” at all.
Yet if Ayn Rand had looked closely, she would have seen a whole class of Atlases she never knew existed: her own sex that carries disproportionately the burden of producing those who produce the wealth. This one fact has huge economic, social, psychological, sexual, and behavioral implications. It explains not only all the differences between the sexes (and I do mean every last one of them) but also why men have ruled the earth. Male hands are free, so to speak, to wield power, female hands never have been. It might have occurred to her then to ask, “How might we better compensate this very essential work?” and “Children are a value to whom and for what?” The answers might have startled her and put laissez-faire out of her mind forever.
My contention is that the common Objectivist notion that childbearing is solely an individual value, like the choice to buy or not buy a car stereo, and therefore not deserving of any form of social compensation or subsidy is a lie, and a lie that would be exposed overnight if all women were free. (We live in an overpopulated world solely as a result of the millennia-old reproductive enslavement of women.)
If people choose not to buy stereos because the price is too high, and/or the risk of having one is too great, stereos simply disappear. And if stereos disappear, the market simply shifts: the capital that went toward building stereos is transferred to building other goods or supplying other services. The economic consequences are evenly divided between losses for some people and gains for others.
The problem with reproduction is that it has no market value. It is not an economic transaction. Children are not goods and services traded and compensated in the marketplace. Yet if women choose not to bear and rear children because the risks and costs are too great, the market doesn’t just shift, it collapses. (For a full explanation of the incompatibility of replacement levels of reproduction with laissez-faire capitalism, see my essay, Stopping the Engine of the World.)
There are two choices: Allow women to be free and increase the compensation for the choice to reproduce or re-enslave women by making it impossible for them to exist without relying on men. Since beggars are never choosers, in a society where women have to beg to exist, men will determine if and how often reproduction occurs. Since sex is a benefit for men and occurs without biological cost, it is logical to assume that reproduction levels will be high, or at least higher than they would be if women controlled the process.
There is a third choice, of course: extinction. Build a laissez-faire society, and fertile and free women either will not come or will show up and remain childless or reproduce at under replacement levels. Such a society, if indeed populated by free women, would die just as surely as a nineteenth-century Shaker society. (These folks did not believe in sexual intercourse.)
To sum up, reproduction was a huge problem for Ayn Rand both personally and philosophically. Personally, Ayn Rand had no interest in reproduction and therefore had a tendency to minimize its importance, regard it as almost trivial. But more critically, reproduction must be trivialized philosophically if laissez-faire capitalism is to be wholeheartedly embraced.
In the Kingdom of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is King. In the Kingdom of Dependent Women, Every Man is King. This sums up the purpose of male chauvinism: to establish and maintain Every Man on His Throne by promoting the idea that men are more important than women, more worthy of esteem, and therefore more worthy of being accorded rights, privileges, and status in society.
Muhammad Attar, mastermind of September 11, supposedly voiced his opinion that women were less important than men, so essentially without value that it made no sense to attend their funerals.
Now, one can ask oneself: How could one judge the relative importance of the sexes in the overall scheme of things. Which sex, by nature, that is, metaphysically, is the more important sex? How would one go about determining the answer to that question? Wouldn’t one ask: Important for what? Now, of course, we enter the realm of values.
If the most important value, the ultimate value by which other values are measured, is life, then it stands to reason that the sex that contributes more to the production of life is the more important sex. Now which sex might that be?
In terms of nuclear DNA, the male contributes the same to the human organism as does the female, yet one receives so much of critical importance from one’s mother alone. Not only mitochondrial DNA, but the quality of the egg’s cytoplasm and maternal uterine environment contribute a great deal to the quality of the human organism. Scientists now know that maternal stress, poor nutrition, and a host of other factors can make the difference between a healthy baby and an ill one, a smart child, and a not-so-smart one. Destiny is in the egg and in the womb as well as in the nuclear DNA.
But even this does not tell the whole story. What makes human beings so different than other animals is our rationality, and this capacity to think is a direct result of the size and complexity of our brains. Our brains could not possibly have gotten so large if the female pelvis hadn’t evolved to be wide enough to permit the passage of a large-skulled infant, yet at the same time not become so wide that the female could not outrun at least some of her predators.
This compromise between a woman’s need to escape predators and her need to survive childbirth resulted in her paying the price of human rationality in the most dramatic and searing manner possible. Her large-brained baby must twist, turn, and squeeze its way out of her body in a journey that historically not only caused her great pain and suffering, but frequently ripped her insides apart, even killed her. And once and if she survived the travail of birth, she continued to shoulder the burden of life, suckling her offspring with milk produced from her own bodily reserves and frequently doing the hard work of rearing her child with little or no help from others.
Now imagine the absurdity of holding life as the supreme value, but disdaining those who do this work and pay this price. Imagine advancing the argument that the production of wealth deserves compensation, but those who produce the people who produce the wealth deserve nothing.
Yet this is exactly what male chauvinists do. Their goal is to hide the nature of that work and knowledge of who performs it, and the nature of that price and the knowledge of who pays it. The way to avoid these truths is to oppose female independence, both psychological and physical, while at the same time actively working to increase and maintain female dependency.
The reason dependency is so desirable is because no one can effectively assert their own importance when they depend on another’s good graces to survive. Dependency effectively masks the truth of the relations between the sexes (that the female is the more primary sex because it contributes more to the existence of life, and its corollary that men need women more than women need men) and enables men, especially less desirable males who need the advantage, to bargain for female sexual, reproductive, and social labor from a position of strength. In the kingdom of dependent women, every woman needs a man and every man is king.
Male chauvinists use two primary strategies to advance this kingdom. The two strategies are persuasion and force. Persuasion occurs when women are taught to regard themselves as inferior, as less important, less worthy than the male. Sometimes such lessons are explicit, such as in Biblical verses that command women to obey their husbands. More commonly, they are housed in myths or fairy tales that regale the male and shame the female, like the Adam and Eve myth or the myth of Pandora’s box. Persuasion, of course, is rarely enough when you want to permanently subjugate a segment of the population. Life has a way of knocking down myths, fairy tales, sermons, and propaganda.
When persuasion doesn’t work one can always resort to force. Rape in all its various forms has always been the most popular sexual, reproductive and social form of force that the male chauvinist has employed to hold women in subjugation throughout the existence of this species.
Rape is a blunt and obvious strategy that has the supreme disadvantage of being impossible to morally justify. Therefore, in order to function effectively for the male chauvinist, rape must be hidden from view, camouflaged, transformed through semantics, rendered less obvious. This said, outright rape still remains a potent weapon, especially when the rape victim can be shamed.
Forcible rape is greatly facilitated by shaming, which enables the rapist not only to get away with his deed but indirectly leads to the creation of prostitutes. Rape victims often punish themselves for their “sin” by becoming whores or, in some parts of the world, they are driven out of the family home and community and resort to whoredom as the only means of survival.
Sex slavery occurs when girls and women are forced, sold, or tricked into prostitution. Although there are many cases where girls and women are kidnapped, there are far more cases where women freely join their captors under false pretenses or where they are sold into slavery by their parents.
Arranged or forced marriage exists when usually young girls are married against their will and without their consent, often to older men and often in the Islamic world to men already married. This is a lifetime of legal rape perpetuated by one man who has a legal and moral right to commit the rape as often as he pleases.
Prohibition of divorce makes it impossible for a woman to withdraw consent to a sexual relationship. It means that if a woman consents to sex with a man by marrying him, she must always so consent. This has been a long-time favorite tactic of the male chauvinist. Tie women to men by trumpeting such things as “family values,” a term that is often little more than a euphemism for contractual rape.
Banning women from effectively competing with men in the marketplace is an indirect form of rape because it makes engaging in a sexual relationship with a man necessary in order to avoid starvation, exposure to the elements, or outright destitution that might for instance lead to an inability to protect and shelter one’s children, provide them with an education, basic medical care, etc. An extreme example of this is practiced by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Banning women from controlling their own reproduction through laws against birth control and abortion leads to the birth of unaffordable children either through consensual sex or as was commonly the case throughout history through one or more other forms of rape.
All of these forms of rape reinforce one another. A woman with a child she was forced to bear may marry a man she does not love or even like in order to get support. Once married she may be impregnated again and again because it is her duty to engage in sex, and then the children so produced make continuing the marriage necessary. The prohibition against divorce safeguards a woman’s dependency in the few cases where a woman might choose to live independently of a man despite the financial hardships.
However effective rape is, it is far easier to get women to do the job of keeping themselves in line. One does this through shaming, a tactic aimed at persuading women to accept their own subjugation. By getting women to accept guilt, one undermines their self-esteem such that they in effect oppress themselves—and do so under the guise of doing something else.
The “doing something else” is adopting anti-sex ideas. Convince women that sex is bad all while getting them to feel that they are bad.
Historically, the most popular form of persuading women that they are bad is this Trojan horse of anti-sex propaganda, this deliberate shaming of women that masquerades as being anti-body but is really anti-woman since the anti-sex propaganda is rarely applied to the male population. Anti-sex propaganda is always backed up by punishment, i.e., force, to put the “fear of God” in women who are not persuaded by shaming alone to toe the line. Thus, anti-sex propaganda functions as a bridge between the competing strategies of force and persuasion. (See my essay, Misogyny Inside: The Trojan Horse of Anti-Sex Propaganda, for more details.)
Unfortunately for the male chauvinist in the modern Western world, anti-sex propaganda no longer cuts it, nor is it any longer politically feasible to advocate the outright subjugation of women or any of the more obvious forms of rape. This means the male chauvinist must be as sly as a fox. If only women can be forced to bear children they cannot afford, they can be kept out of the marketplace, out of the competition for jobs, saddled with huge burdens so they can be made to do what their female forebears have been forced to do since the dawn of history—submit sexually and in every other sense for less than desirable men in order to get their children and themselves fed, clothed, housed, etc. But how does one accomplish this?
The only effective tactic left to the male chauvinist here is to promote the strategy of reproductive rape by the pretense of concern for the unborn. And even if laws against abortion didn’t result in forcing huge numbers of women to bear unwanted children, those women who obtained illegal abortions, whether chemical or surgical, would be subject to the insidious effects of shame that nearly always accompany illegal, covert behavior.
For more information on this popular male chauvinist tactic, see my many essays on the subject of abortion, such as Cheaper by the Million, The End of Pro-Life, The Forgotten Unborn, etc.
Lies with the most staying power are those that are the boldest and that hide the most painful truths. The common lie of anti-Semitism, that Jews are vermin, hides the very painful truth that Jews are the most productive ethnic group in the history of the world, a very painful fact to the losers of other ethnic groups who want so desperately to blame someone for their lack of success and achievement. The Jew is a thorn in their side, a painful reminder of how little they have achieved.
The lie of male supremacy is an even greater lie. It completely inverts the biological facts of reality such that the primary sex in all of nature, the female, is relegated to the role of afterthought, a handmaiden to the male. It ought to be obvious to anyone with their eyes open that the female does not function that way in any species on this earth, save our own.
The opposite is far closer to the truth. Everywhere in nature the male clamors for the female. As holder of precious eggs, she is the prize, the bargain, and the superlative value. Pity the male that the female rarely holds him in such high esteem.
Ours is one of the few species where the female clamors loudly for the male, often even more loudly than he clamors for her. And for good reason. Traditionally, he made it so that she cannot possibly survive without him, a fact of life that helps to counteract the painful truth that it is far harder to be male than female.
Unlike the female, the male has no natural vocation, no default mode to fall back on if he can’t cut it in the world of competitive achievement. The phenomenon of “loser male” (or rogue or subordinate male in the animal world) doesn’t apply to the female, not in this or in most species. This is because the job of developing eggs, and giving birth to and suckling young, is inherently valuable, contrary to the opinion of many male chauvinists.
Male chauvinism is actually the attempt on the part of men to acquire the same sort of built-in value most women have by nature. The doctrine of male supremacy asserts that men are members of the more important sex, as a given, by nature, not on the basis of a rational achievement of values.
Just as patriarchal religion is the great friend of male chauvinism, science is the great enemy. Science strips away the pretences of male supremacy that religion has established for thousands of years. Sometime in the near future, probably when I am long gone, science will render the male sex unnecessary for the generation of life. After that, the female sex will also be rendered unnecessary. What will remain as necessary is the investment of resources, most precisely, the devotion we call love that is essential to human survival and well-being.
Feminism is not about subjugating men, haranguing men, mutilating, maiming, or killing men, or in any way denying men their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is about protecting freedom, most importantly the right to control the use and functioning of one’s own body, and as its most important corollary, the right to be compensated for one’s productive labor. Feminism focuses on those freedoms which are held by men but are denied women.
Beyond the issue of legal rights, feminism is the assertion of the value of women, and the moral right of a woman to define the terms of her own existence and to assert her own agenda, her own self-interest, as opposed to the interests and agendas of others.
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