Enter Androcentrism…

It’s been a long time—too long a time.

(c) 2013, Davd

The notion that a man, a real, anatomically complete man with healthy normal human male physiology, should declare himself Feminist, is not merely absurd. It is a form of self-condemnation which has parallels in history—none of which parallels* is worthy of respect. For a man in a Feminist milieu, to say “I hear and I obey, mem-sahib1” to a woman who decides to boss him around, is acceptance of a subordinate status—but it is not complicity in the degradation. It derives from prudent fear and not from self-condemnation.

For a man to declare himself Feminist is much worse. Feminism entails gynocentrism; therefore, a man declaring himself Feminist accepts gynocentrism as the right-and-proper ideological stance where it be relevant2. A woman declaring herself Feminist speaks in self-interest. Whether or not gynocentrism be the right-and-proper ideological stance, it is the one congenial to her. Therefore, a woman is more to be heard claiming gynocentrism to be the right-and-proper ideological stance (or at least, a respectable option), than acknowledging or conceding—or proving—that contention. A man, whose natural outlook and style is androcentric, speaks against self-interest if he declares himself Feminist; and therefore, his doing so is to be heard as a concession or acknowledgment rather than as a contention.

For a man to declare himself Feminist, it is worth repeating, entails his acceptance of gynocentrism: By calling himself a Feminist, he declares (concedes?) that gynocentrism is the right-and-proper view of social life, wherever it has relevance. Since gynē is a Greek word meaning woman, he is declaring that women have the right kind of attitudes, mental emphases, perceptions, etc. ad naus., and that where men’s attitudes, mental emphases, perceptions, etc. differ from women’s—the women know best.

Such a declaration “puts oneself down”, somewhat like the mid-20th Century “Afro-Americans” who preferred white images, who thought “white” dolls were prettier than Negroid dolls (Clark and Clark, 1947). Please notice the past-tense: The  study’s findings, “obviously”, would not be replicated today if the research were repeated, due to social change: Afro/Black/Negro Americans today are not ashamed of their race nor do they try to adhere to “white” standards of beauty or social appeal.

A similar development of men’s sense of self and of worthiness, is entirely appropriate. If that is not obvious, blame Feminist claims that men are condescending and privileged—which claims are based on outdated “information” and biased perceptions. In fact, very many women have long assumed for themselves a stance of moral superiority with which neither the facts3 nor the Great Faiths4 concur; and many men, some out of false consciousness and some out of “courtesy” (misplaced chivalry5), have supported that stance to our loss. It is not my task here to assess whether men or women are morally superior overall; suffice to say that as with merit, a default stance of equality is both democratic and, until clear evidence shows otherwise, fairest. Both men and women are imperfect, both evil men and evil women can be found; if gynocentrism be normally appropriate for women, then androcentrism is normally appropriate for us men.

It has been a long time since androcentrism “prevailed”, longer than most Feminists seem willing to admit. Looking back at the chivalry displayed at the sinking of the Titanic, the combat death rates of men vs. women in the World Wars and smaller wars since, and the social and financial consequences of divorce since the end of the “Vietnam war”, it seems impossible to regard the 20th Century as even slightly “male chauvinist on balance”. Early in that 20th Century, one might say, there was a  balance of advantages and disadvantages, which balance was lost in the second half of that past century: If anything, the status of women was better than that of men by some time between 1970 and 1990; and women’s advantage has if anything, increased rather than declined since. (Perhaps some men have accepted Feminism and gynocentrism as their outlook because women have lately been “the winners”, in parallel with what the Clarks found about Afro-American children in 1947.)

It is better to be as honest as we can, about facts and about our own natures. Androcentric thinking is more normal to us, just as gynocentric thinking is more normal to women—and if each sex functions in accord with its nature, fairness and truth should be more readily accomplished.

It is not for me, as one man with one life experience, to detail “what androcentrism is”. That must be worked out among the colloquy of men—and note, not “in colloquy with women”, much less in any colloquy led by women. Women can and likely will influence how androcentrism is expressed in social activities that include them; but of androcentrism itself, they can be but observers, as we can be but observers of gynocentrism.

We have as much human right to our ways of perceiving and our inborn attitudes, as women have to theirs. Our turn for the consciousness-raising.

My next ‘post’ will be about making spaces—androcentric, economical, co-operative spaces where men can live and work—and revive our natural consciousness.

References:

Baskerville, Stephen, 2004. “Divorce As Revolution:The Government has a vested interest in destroying Marriage and the Family.” The Salisbury Review, July 22.

Clark, Kenneth B., and Mamie P. Clark, 1947 “Racial identification and preference in Negro children.” In T. M. Newcomb and E. L. Hartley, eds., Readings in Social Psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston.

Rowan, Carl T., 1991. Breaking Barriers: A Memoir. Boston, Toronto, London: Little, Brown & co.

Thatcher, Virginia S. and Alexander McQueen, eds. 1971. The Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language. Chicago: Consolidated Book Publishers.

Turnbull, Colin M.1968. The Forest People. NY: Simon and Schuster paperback.

Zacharias, Ravi, 2000. Jesus Among Other Gods. Nashville, TN: Word Publishing. Coming from Asia, Zacharias is well exposed to Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism; and his commentaries contain a logic which makes them the more valuable, especially for the edification of non-Christians.

Notes:

*… at least, none of those i have seen …

1. Thatcher and McQueen, 1971: 740-1 states that the word sahib is Arabic in origin, was spoken from servant to master, and was used in India and Persia as a term of deferential “respect” by then-colonialized natives speaking to and of Europeans. Its use connotes the speaker’s subordination rather than concurrence: “I obey because you are more powerful.” p. 385 states that gynē is a Greek word meaning woman.

2. Some “Feminist men”, sadly including at least one of my own kin, claim they are working for equality; but a look at current school performance, death rates by age, rates of death at work, hours worked relative to pay [preferably with allowance for hazardous work] indicates that for a generation and longer, it has been advantageous to be born a girl rather than a boy in Europe and North America: Social policy is gynocentric “overall”, and has been for decades.

3. Baskerville (2004) quotes Feminist Shere Hite as reporting that 91% of all divorces are initiated by women, and Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, as writing that restraining orders are doled out ‘like candy.’ ‘Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply,’ Baskerville quotes, ‘the facts have become irrelevant.’ False accusations of violence and sexual assault are common enough to support a website for the wrongly accused.

4. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all revere the “Old Testament”, which includes as exemplars the sins of Eve and the evils of Delilah, Jezebel, and Potiphar’s wife (as well as exemplary stories of sinful and evil men and of good and holy men and women.) Zacharias (2000) informs “Western” readers that Buddhism has more restrictions and “hurdles to jump” for women than for men.

5. Chivalry comes from the French cheval (horse), and is defined as “Knighthood; the system to which knighthood and all its usages belonged ….” (Thatcher and McQueen, 1971: 144). It is an upper-class code (cf. the Roman equestrian class), and is ipso facto misplaced when attempted by or demanded of, men of the working or middle class (or in a society which has status-differences but not social classes.)

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About Davd

Davd (PhD, 1966) has been a professor, a single father keeping a small commercial herb garden so as to have flexible time for his sons, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. He is a practicing Christian, and in particular an advocate of ecoforestry, self-sufficiency horticulture, and men of all faiths living together "in peace and brotherhood" for the fellowship, the efficiency, and the goodwill that sharing work so often brings.
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