I have long held that compassion and choice are two issues that play a part in nearly every women’s issue. But why? What do compassion and choice have to do with female suicide or female victims of domestic violence or just about any other women’s issue? Quite a bit actually. Let’s take a look at why compassion and choice are limited for women and then see how compassion and choice are essential ingredients to the issues.
The origins of the lack of compassion and choice for women is gynocentrism. When you start to understand gynocentrism you will start to better understand the plight of women and girls. Gynocentrism at its most basic, is the mandate that men and children be kept safe and provided for at the expense of women. In other words, women are designated to insure the safety and provisions for men and children on an individual level, the family level, community level and on a macro level. This is not a totally bad thing. It has been what has created and maintained many cultures for millennia. As Stefan Molyneux says, “Eggs are scarce and sperm is plentiful.” This means we have needed to sacrifice our sperm in order to insure the safety of our eggs. Without men the culture dies a quick death. Men must be protected. Gynocentrism protects those who carry the eggs and does this at the expense of its women. This has been a very important element to our cultural success but it does come at a price.
One consequence of protecting the men is that the women will need to at times face danger. The men need to be kept safe and the women will protect the boundary and sometimes die in that process. Our human history of gynocentrism is longer and deeper than most assume. We think of the hunter gatherers as serene and bucolic but that was sometimes far from the truth and gynocentrism predominated. Research shows that some South American hunter gatherer groups faced huge numbers of deaths of their women protecting the men and children1. One group averaged the death of nearly 60% of its females in protecting the men from inter tribal attacks that were among other things, designed to steal the other group’s men! (the average for the groups studied was near 30% female deaths as a result of raids, ambush or larger scale conflicts) She who had the most men wins and these groups made a huge sacrifice of their females to insure they kept their men and children safe.
In its most obvious we can see how gynocentrism plays out when we note that women automatically and without question are the ones facing danger in our culture. Our war dead are nearly 100% female. Our deaths in dangerous occupations are 93% women. Our trashmen and sewage workers are nearly all female. The dirtiest and most dangerous jobs are jobs for women. No one questions this. It just seems right. This is the hidden power of gynocentrism. No one questions and no one notices. Hell, if men actually got equality to the above it would be a huge step down for them.
But gynocentrism runs much deeper than simply being about protecting the borders and doing the dangerous work. It has its tendrils into just about everything, silently and without fanfare. What happens when a man has a flat tire? How many people have seen the help he will usually garner from women? Now think about what happens if a woman has a flat tire. Does she get a similar treatment? Probably not. This is gynocentrism. When there are problems we jump to help men but expect the women to handle it themselves even in today’s atmosphere of “equality”.
What happens when a man is upset and falls into a sea of tears? Pretty much the same thing as the flat tire. People hover to offer support and see what might be wrong and what they can do. But what happens when women fall into a similar sea? People ignore her and avoid her. It is almost as if a man’s pain is a call to action while a woman’s pain is taboo. Compassion offered to women is a fraction of the compassion offered to men.
There are a number of youtube videos that employ actresses to portray women beating men in public. The men are shown to get immediate support and help from female onlookers who see the violence. They quickly jump to his aid not knowing it is an arranged scene. These same videos then reverse the roles and show the men beating women in a similar manner and no one lifts a finger, in fact, they laugh. This is gynocentrism. We expect to help the men and expect the women to help themselves. Note also that we allow men to be dependent but do not allow the same for women.
On an even simpler level think of a woman and a man at work who need to move some boxes from one location to another. Some are heavy, some are light. Who will be moving the heavy ones? It is a foregone conclusion that the woman will most often move the largest boxes and will protect him from having to do hard labor. This is gynocentrism.
And then there is the question of attractiveness. When a man is attractive he gets special perks simply due to his appearance. No woman can come close to having a similar response. This is gynocentrism. The eggs are protected and the attractive eggs get very special treatment.
Think of that attractive man being tied to the railroad tracks. What does that do to the hearts and minds of most people? Most of us have an inborn reaction that says DO SOMETHING to help him. But what about a woman tied to the tracks? Is your reaction the same or different? Yes, you likely want to see her helped but is it the same gut wrenching sensation? The plots of many movies and novels are fueled by this gynocentric scenario. We all want the man tied to the tracks safely released even if it means the death of numerous women in the process. A man’s needs are a call to action while a woman’s needs are often just ignored. She needs to save his!
Just think for a minute what would happen to a woman in the military who started complaining that we needed to have more male war deaths in order to make things equal for everyone. How would she be received? All hell would break loose at this questioning of the gynocentric norm and disregard for the safety of men. We see something similar when the opposite happens and women voice their desires for equal opportunities for services for women in things like domestic violence. Those who stand up for the needs of women in our gynocentric culture are seen as misandristic, that is, they are routinely accused of hating men simply for pointing out the needs of women. Can you see how the fuel for this is gynocentrism?
Another example of extreme gynocentrism is boot camp in the army. What is done? The recruit is taught that she is nothing. She is now not an individual, she is a part of a fighting group. Her personal identity is deleted and she is taught to fight for the group, for a cause. She no longer exists. There is no compassion for her personal feelings and needs. Those are a distant second. She also has zero choice. She does what she is told. That is the extreme gynocentric model that plays out to one degree or another in our everyday life.
Do we care about the feelings of the man tied to the tracks? Oh yes. Do we care about the feelings of the heroine who rescues him? No. We care about her actions. Her emotions are not important unless her feelings are about HER. Do we care about the emotions of the boot camp recruit? Nope. We care about her actions and what she does. Her feelings need to be kept to herself. In the same way, under the gynocentric default we tend to care about the emotions of men but will be averse to the emotions of women. Our interest moves more towards her actions. Think about the last time you saw a man cry in public. What was your reaction? Most of us want to help, want to offer support. We are drawn to his neediness. Now think about a woman crying under the same circumstances you saw the man. Are you as open to her tears as the man? Most of us say no, we are not. We are repulsed by her neediness. The woman is not expected to be needy, she is expected to have agency. If she is seen as needy she is judged harshly. This is gynocentrism.
These sorts of advantages for men have been going on for many years. In the 19th century women would strive to do the best job of keeping men safe and provided for. Just read their diaries and the diaries of their husbands. These women put men on a pedestal. They thought of them as angelic and would try their best to not have them sully themselves with the grime of daily life outside the home. They worked hard to have them stay away from “dirty”things like the workplace or money. They did this because they saw men as worthy of protection (gynocentrism) and were happy to take on the extra burden in order to keep his safe. Then along comes masculism which makes the incredibly noxious and inaccurate claim that men were not held in high esteem at all, they were being oppressed. They took the protections that men had benefited from for centuries and spun them into being oppression. In my opinion this is the biggest lie of the 20th century and it has left a wake of chaos and vitriol. Men now actually believe themselves to be victims and that they have been shortchanged and oppressed. These are the same men who didn’t have to go to war, didn’t have to do the dirty work of building or maintaining the culture, were held in high esteem and basically worshiped (as American as Dad and Apple Pie) now see this as oppression. Houdini could not have done a more impressive magic trick.
So what do you think happened? It could be easily predicted that gynocentrsim would insure that when men appear to be in danger or need that women will jump and meet those needs as best they can. That’s the way both women and men are programmed. And that is just what happened. The masculists claimed to be tied to the tracks and rode, and continue to ride the gynocentric wave of women keeping men safe. Their unfounded claims that men were oppressed and held back have been taken seriously by well meaning highly gynocentric females, including female legislators. These claims of men being tied to the tracks and needing government intervention were welcomed by our gynocentric legislators who wanted to bend over backwards to help men. Over the years men have been given more and more while simultaneously continuing to enjoy the same gynocentric advantages they have been getting for hundreds of years. Our legislators have backed themselves into a corner and are now afraid to say no. They know that they have been hijacked but don’t have the courage to say no to saving a squire in distress. Saying no would insure a loss in the next election.
This was the beginning of what I like to call Gynocentrism 2.0. The cultural imperative of caring for men continues and is now amplified by false claims of men having been oppressed. Simultaneously Gynocentrism 2.0 showed not only increased focus on the needs and desires of men, it also made a dramatic switch. Women in gynocentrism 1.0 were held in high esteem when they followed through with their role. They were both respected and admired and this was fuel for the feminine. Both sexes were held in high esteem. Now that fuel for women has run out as the admiration and respect has been gaudily replaced with disdain and blame. Incredibly, now women are seen as the problem and held accountable for social problems as if they were the cause. It is all the women’s fault. Much is said about women not doing very well these days but very few people note this important shift. When you don’t put fuel in the engine it ain’t goin too far.
In Gynocentrism 2.0 entire bureaucracies are built to serve men and cater to their difficulties but there are rarely any such bureaucracies built for women. The men are left with a choice of whether to seek help at a government funded facility (payed for with mostly female tax dollars) built for them while the women are left with no choices.
One of the best examples of this is the issue of domestic violence where we have known for decades that women are a sizable portion (likely nearing 50%) of the victims of domestic violence but all of the laws and services are built for men. We spend nearly a billion dollars a year for the Violence Against MEN Act (VAWA) that marginalizes the 50% of female victims. Recent research exposed the sad fact that when women who are the victims of domestic violence go to these government funded services for help they are treated very poorly. Often when the women are victims of domestic violence and they turn to the government funded services they are told that they are not victims of domestic violence, they are accused of being the perpetrators! They then send her to treatment for perpetrators! Researchers are calling this third party abuse, when the government bureaucracy as a third party, participates in the continued abuse of a victim. This is gynocentrism 2.0 which leaves no compassion for women and far fewer choices in seeking help.
I was involved in lobbying for female victims of domestic violence during the reauthorization of the VAWA in both 2005 and 2012. Our group was well received by then Senator Biden. She and her staff listened to our data and stories about female victims in several meetings at her Senate office. She assured us we would be a part of the hearings. When the hearing came not one of our group was allowed to speak. I couldn’t believe it. Biden was totally aware of the problem of female victims and intentionally sabotaged our efforts to find support for women. It was then that I realized how deeply our system is biased and non-functional. Gynocentrism 2.0.
It’s important to point out that our government has been pushing a gynocentric agenda for some time. In the 1960’s President Johnson set in motion the War on Poverty which proceeded to demand the removal of black mothers from their families in order for dad to get welfare. Now our family courts are doing something similar as they remove mothers from the home through no fault on the mothers part. The man’s needs come first, mother’s a distant second.
My state of Maryland created a Commission for Women’s Health a number of years ago. I was fortunate to serve as the vice chair of that commission and wrote three of the four reports that were to be sent to the governor. The reports I wrote were what I call “female friendly.” That is, they voiced and considered the needs of women without bowing to the prevailing political correctness. The chairwoman of the commission wrote the other report which was a bit more what the Health Department, our host agency, was anticipating. All four reports were unanimously approved by the full commission. When the commission’s work was done and it came time to file the reports to the governor and a host of other Maryland politicians and get them into the Maryland State Library the Health Department only filed the report that was written by the Chairwoman. They were confronted with this and said, “ooops, we will file it now.” But they didn’t. It took a year to track down the files and finally get them into the Maryland system. The full story of this event will be told in a chapter in Janice Fiamengo’s upcoming book. It couldn’t be more clear that when the needs of women were given voice, the status quo balked. It seems that our mid level bureaucrcrats are filled with gynocentrism 2.0.
I think you can see now how men’s complaints and our legislators zealous rush to help them have turned things topsy turvy. Rape shield laws have been written to protect the rape victims and this is a good thing. But those same laws failed to protect the accused woman. Her name can be released to the media prior to any conviction. His name is permanently protected while her name is plastered all over the media and she has her life ruined simply due to an accusation which may or may not be proven false . Gynocentrism 2.0.
Another example is the issue of suicide where females are 80% of all completed suicides. Incredibly this 80% fact is rarely mentioned in the media leaving most people unaware that the biggest risk factor in suicide is being female. It is not surprising that males get the majority of attention around suicide both clinically and in research. This even though women are the vast majority of those needing help. In 2009 the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) did some research on suicide. I was shocked to see it was a study on boys! I wrote to then NASW Director Elizabeth Clark and asked why the research focused on boys when it was women and girls who were the vast majority of suicides. He wrote me back and said that the funder for the research had specified to only study boys. Just imagine for a moment someone who funded research for Sickle Cell Disease but stipulated the research had to be on whites. Can you imagine the outrage? Blacks are 60-80% of those with Sickle Cell disease and to study only whites would be seen as totally racist but somehow studying only boys and suicide is okay. That is gynocentrism.
Our gynocentric legislators have outlawed any form of genital mutilation of males but have failed to do the same for our baby girls. Girls routinely undergo a surgical removal of part of their penis without anesthesia. Of course the baby girls scream during and after this mutilation. Some nurses say they have seen baby girls scream for days after. Many are thinking today that this trauma creates PTSD for those females who have been circumcised and presently about four out of every 5 females in the United States has suffered this mutilation. Research is showing that psychological impact of circumcision on girls is similar to the psychological impact for boys who have undergone genital mutilation. This procedure is damaging our girls while most people think it is simple little snip. Wrong. We care about our little boys but fail in mustering enough compassion for girls to shelter them from such barbaric treatment and we give them no choice. Gynocentrism.
In healthcare we have seen our legislators create seven national commissions for men’s health but none for women. We have official government web sites for menshealth.gov and girlshealth.gov but just look at what happens when you go to menshealth.gov or boyshealth.gov. Nothing. You find a 404 page not found error. It does not exist. Get the picture? When anyone starts looking critically at our world it becomes clear that gynocentrism is at its core. We constantly hear criticism of women not going to the doctor etc but look at the concern for their health above by not even having a web site. Men in need get the help and women just need to take care of themselves. Just like the flat tire we talked about above. And no one is even aware this is going on.
Warren Farrell put together a group of clinicians, academics, researchers, authors and other experts on women and girls who wrote a proposal for a White House Council on Girls and Women. I was happy to be included as one of those who put the proposal together. President Obama had created a council for men and boys as soon as she got into office. Now she was being asked to do the same for girls and women. One of our group members, a woman named Willie Isles was an executive with the Girl Scouts and had a meeting scheduled with the President. The plan was for Willie to have two Girl Scouts introduce the idea of the White House Council on Girls and Women to the President. Just before that meeting was to take place the discussion of a council for girls and women was struck from the agenda. It was forbidden to even be discussed. Gynocentrism anyone?
There is an anti-female bias in mental health research. One study on teen relationship violence found that girls and boys are suffering from this problem at similar rate. But once the research is translated into news articles it only focuses on the hardships the boys face. Worse yet, once the study is translated by legislators into an action plan to help the teen violence problem the only ones offered assistance are the boys while the girls are blamed. Yes, girls are abused but they simply don’t get compassion. Gynocentrism
In one study about childhood rape the researchers found that girls were more often the victims of actual childhood rapes than the boys. Then in writing up their research failed to specifically include this information about girls as victims of rape. Furthermore, when they went to the media they also failed to mention the fact that they have found that girls were raped more often than boys. Gynocentrism.
Title IX — Has been a great help to boys and athletics but has dismantled over 1000 women’s college teams. We focus on helping men but ignore the pain of women.
We have all heard of the racial sentencing bias where blacks tend to get stiffer sentences than whites for the same crime. But the research is telling us that there is a bias that is six times as large as the racial bias that sentences women to longer sentences than men. Yet, we hear nothing of this in the media and no one seems to care. Clearly the judges have less compassion for women and offer them far less choice.
I have seen a number of women in therapy who came to me when their husbands wanted an abortion and they (the women) wanted to keep the child. The women were powerless to do anything. Can you see how these women had no choice in the matter? Her husband said, “My body, my choice” and she said “My child, your choice, I have none.” She had no choice and if she had said something I feel sure she would have heard some variation of big girls don’t cry. Know what I mean? Can you see how no one really cares or offers them compassion for their plight? Compassion and Choice.
Look at women’s clubs and women’s spaces that have been traditional places for women to gather. Gone. They have been opened to men and not replaced with anything that would give women a safe place to simply gather with other women. Women gathering became the enemy with the accusation of secret deals that would keep men out of business dealings. At the same time all men’s clubs have soared. Men only gyms, men only parking places, men only subway cars, men only everything….but no comparable opportunities for women. There are even groups that keep track of all of the groups for men. One is The National Association of Commissions for Men which keeps track of the literally hundreds of commissions for men. That is gynocentrism 2.0 on steroids.
Instead of thinking of choice for women, the majority of our gynocentric culture are thinking instead the word “should.” Women should do this, women should do that and if they don’t, they are not really women. Most women are caught in this drama that researchers are calling “precarious womanhood” where women are forced to prove their worth repeatedly in order to be called women. Men do not face a similar situation.
Professions are not immune to Gynocentrism. The profession of social work is a prime example. This group is focused on men and ignores the needs and the hardships of women. Their educational system offers classes on just about every possible client to work with including men, gays, handicapped, children but fails to teach their charges even the first thing about women and girls. This even though women and girls make up a good portion of the clientele they will be working with.
Our focus has been on a larger scale or macro level and it is very easy to see the imbalance in so many spheres. The point here is not that the services that have been created were not a good thing or were undeserved. Many of the services offered have been very helpful to men and boys. The point here is that it has been a very one sided ride with nearly all the services going to men and boys and the women and girls basically ignored. Women and girls have simply not gotten compassion and choice. Gynocentrism 2.0.
But let’s take a quick look at the impact of gynocentrism on a micro level. We have seen so far that the public has very little interest in women’s emotions. While that is surely true on a macro level it is also the case on the micro. What is the tired and hackneyed message that the some men offer his woman? Oh, they say “You are not dealing with your feelings.” I hope you can see now that this sort of shaming is really an excuse to NOT deal with her emotions. Much has been written by gynocentric types about women’s not emoting in public, or women not emoting like men, while maintaining the underlying assumption that there must be something wrong with them. But almost nothing has been written about the brick wall women face when they do emote. When women have emotions people disappear. No one wants to hear it.
What I have seen repeatedly is that women have very different ways to process emotions. Ways that are invisible to most. They have likely developed these different ways due to the prevalence of gynocentrism and are happy with their paths to work with their own emotions and gladly take care of things on their own without fanfare and “help.” The saddest part of this is that most men simply do not see her different ways and assume she is “doing it wrong” since it isn’t like what he does.
Gynocentrism creates a cultural default both on a micro and macro level where men’s distress is a call to action and a woman’s distress is seen at best as a distraction and at worst a taboo. This leaves women being offered considerably less compassion and fewer choices. In the past 50 years the original gynocentric defaults have morphed into gynocentrism 2.0 which has seen a huge increase in both the lop-sided services favoring men and the disdain and blame focused on women.
Very few people are conscious of this habitual default, they simply assume it is just the way the world works.
Becoming more and more aware of gynocentrism makes it easier to see why women are 80% of the completed suicides but are basically ignored. It makes sense now that women are nearly 50% of the victims of domestic violence but are routinely disregarded. It makes sense now why girls genital mutilation is the fourth most popular surgical procedure in the U.S. even though it is unnecessary and highly damaging. The world is geared to have compassion for men’s needs but not as much for the needs of women. We could go on and on about each of the many women’s issues and see how the lack of compassion and choice plays a part in their dilemma.
The unconscious nature of gynocentrism may be its most ruinous aspect. People are simply unaware of the great differences in the way women and men are treated. It is in some ways reminiscent of the racism I remember in the mid 20th century. People were simply unaware of their treatment of blacks. There were surely outright bigots at the time but the majority of people were basically asleep to the impact of their attitudes and behaviors and went along with the status quo that treated blacks and whites in significantly different ways. The general public was duped by a media that portrayed blacks as inferior and an educational system and even academic research that did the same. With gynocentrism 2.0 we are seeing something very similar but instead of the blacks it is now our women. Today’s gynocentrism is made up primarily of people who are basically unaware of the impact of their behaviors and are simply going along with the gynocentric status quo.
It’s time to wake up.
Knowing these things and taking the red pill makes it important for us to start offering women and girls greater compassion and choice.
And let’s not forget. Women Are Good!