The matriarchy described in the previous chapter is perceived by feminists
as a lost Golden Age--and also as the bright wave of the future. Women living
in surviving Stone Age societies, such as exist on Indian reservations, are
held up as exemplars for the liberated women of our own society. "There are
parts of the world," writes feminist Elise Boulding,
where women already
feel the autonomy I am imagining for Western women in the future. For Americans,
North and South, there is an alternative model for women close at hand, in
the Native American communities....It doesn't take many encounters with women
tribal leaders who have the quiet confidence of centuries of traditional
knowledge behind them to realize that here are a set of teachers for
European-stock American women right in our midst. Where does their serenity
and self- confidence come from? What do they "know"?...This is a time for
the rest of us, especially middle-class Western women, to "go to school"
to those of our sisters who have the unacknowledged skills, the confidence,
the serenity, and the knowledge required for creative social change.
These Stone Age
women, despite their squalor, ignorance and poverty, are contented. They
fill the biological role of the mammalian female, heading the reproductive
unit, enjoying the liberty of the first law of matriarchy. And today's feminists
are coming to share their tranquility and placidity. They are, as Helen Fisher
says, "moving towards the kind of roles they had on the grasslands of Africa
millions of years ago....Human society is now discovering its ancient roots."
As Betty Friedan puts it,
For my generation
and the generation that followed, the battle for women's rights came in the
middle of life--after we'd started our families and were already living the
feminine mystique. For us, the feminist movement meant the marvelous midlife
discovery of a whole new identity, a new sense of self. The most notable
result of this newfound identity was a dramatic improvement in the mental
health of older women....Two decades ago mental hospitals were full of women
suffering from involutional melancholia, a severe depression that afflicted
women at the time of menopause when, according to the old feminine mystique,
their life was over. But a few years ago the American Psychiatric Association
stopped using the term because such acute depression was no longer considered
Today the mental
health of women in their 40s, 50s and 60s is as good as that of women in
their 20s and 30s. No such improvement has occurred in men, so it really
is related to the women's movement toward equality.
No such improvement has occurred in men because men have had to pay the costs.
Men in the larger society are being ground down to the status of the men
on Indian reservations--roleless, unmotivated, alcoholic and suicidal, because
the first law of matriarchy deprives them of a stable family role.
It was the discovery a few thousand years ago of this connection between
the regulation of female sexuality on the one hand and family and social
stability, male productivity and social progress on the other which ended
the Stone Age and began the era of patriarchal civilization. "Patriarchy's
age," says lesbian- feminist Susan Cavin, "is approximately 3,000-5,000 years
old. Compared to the millions of years human ancestors have populated the
earth, patriarchy represents only a dot of human time." True. The fact shows
that the creation of patriarchy is the greatest of human achievements, since
each and every one of the other achievements of civilization came into existence
during that dot of time, whereas the preceding millions of years created
none of them. Patriarchy, says Adrienne Rich, "is the one system which recorded
civilization has never actively challenged." That is because without patriarchy
there can be no recorded (or unrecorded) civilization. The central fact about
patriarchal civilization, besides its recency and the magnitude of its
accomplishments, is its artificiality and fragility, its dependence on women's
willingness to submit to sexual regulation. Women's de-regulation of themselves
by achieving economic and sexual independence can wreck the system. The ghettos
show how easily this can happen. The wrecking of the system is rapidly spreading
from the ghettos to the larger society, where the legal system has become
patriarchy's chief enemy, expelling half of society's fathers from their
Dr. Gerda Lerner describes how sexual regulation was imposed on women in
ancient Mesopotamia, during the era in which the patriarchal system was being
developed: "While the wife enjoyed considerable and specified rights in marriage,
she was sexually the man's property." Her rights and her status depended
upon her acceptance of the patriarchal system--and vice versa, the system
depended upon her acceptance of regulation. "In Mesopotamian law, and even
more strongly in Hebrew law," continues Dr. Lerner, "all women are increasingly
under sexual dominance and regulation....The strict obligations by husbands
and sons toward mothers and wives in Hammurabic and Hebrew law can thus be
seen as strengthening the patriarchal family, which depends on the willing
cooperation of wives in a system which offers them class advantages in exchange
for their subordination in sexual matters."
Providing for a woman and placing her "under coverture" in the honorable
state of marriage is perceived by today's feminists in wholly negative terms
as dominance, regulation and oppression. Feminist Dr. Alice Rossi speaks
of "an exchange" between a husband and a wife in which the husband confers
social status on the wife and "in exchange...she assumes economic dependence
on him"--permits him to pay her bills. It doesn't occur to feminists that
"their subordination in sexual matters" benefits women as much as it benefits
men. It means law-and-order in the sexual realm and the creation of wealth
in the economic realm. It means stable families which provide women with
security and status and in which children can be decently reared and socialized.
As will be explained in detail in Chapter VII, Dr. Lerner's and Dr. Rossi's
view of sexual law-and-order as something imposed by males is the opposite
of George Gilder's. Gilder imagines that women have a primal yearning to
impose sexual law-and-order on men and that civilization depends on men
submitting themselves to women's higher ethic:
She is the vessel
of the ultimate values of the nation. The community is largely what she is
and what she demands in men.
He describes this
imposition of female values on males as "creating civilization." But if
civilization is a female creation, imposed by women upon men, why did not
civilization precede patriarchy? "The appropriation by men of women's sexual
and reproductive capacity," says Dr. Lerner, "occurred prior to the formation
of private property and class society." It was the precondition for the creation
of the wealth upon which civilization depends. Without sexual law-and-order
men cannot be motivated to create wealth or do anything else worth doing.
While Dr. Lerner is oblivious to the advantages for women of this patriarchal
law-and-order, she is correct in insisting that the law-and-order is a male
idea. In discussing the Garden of Eden story she writes:
of Adam and Eve's transgression fall with uneven weight upon the woman. The
consequence of sexual knowledge is to sever female sexuality from procreation.
God puts enmity between the snake and the woman (Gen. 3:15). In the historical
context of the times of the writing of Genesis, the snake was clearly associated
with the fertility goddess and symbolically represented her. Thus, by God's
command, the free and open sexuality of the fertility-goddess was to be forbidden
to fallen woman. The way her sexuality was to find expression was in motherhood.
It is significant
that a feminist like Dr. Lerner perceives "female sexuality" as female
promiscuity. On page 198, she has this:
To the question
"Who brought sin and death into the world?" Genesis answers, "Woman, in her
alliance with the snake, which stands for free female sexuality." [Emphasis
The Biblical view
is not that "female sexuality" is severed from procreation but that it is
joined to it, in other words that it must be regulated in accordance with
the patriarchal Sexual Constitution which Gilder imagines as something which
women try to impose on men, but which Genesis and Dr. Lerner more plausibly
see as something men impose on women.
Dr. Lerner affects to believe (perhaps does believe) that sexual promiscuity
signifies high status for women:
[in the Ancient Near East] seemed to have greatly different status in different
aspects of their lives, so that, for example, in Babylon in the second millennium
B.C. women's sexuality was totally controlled by men, while some women enjoyed
great economic independence, many legal rights and privileges and held many
important high status positions in society. I was puzzled to find that the
historical evidence pertaining to women made little sense, when judged by
traditional criteria. After a while I began to see that I needed to focus
more on the control of women's sexuality and procreativity than on the usual
economic questions, so I began to look for the causes and effects of such
Her views, paralleling
those of promiscuity chic movie actresses and other anti-patriarchal groupies,
are antithetical to those of Gilder. Much of the feminist struggle is one
to displace the feminine mystique "image" of the weakly virtuous patriarchy-
accepting doll-wife abominated by Betty Friedan (and lauded by George Gilder)
by the image of a defiantly promiscuous hell-raiser who will destroy the
patriarchy by re-instituting the first law of matriarchy.
"The sexual control of women," says Dr. Lerner, "has been an essential feature
of patriarchal power. The sexual regulation of women underlies the formation
of classes and is one of the foundations upon which the state rests." Quite
so. If you doubt it, ask yourself what kind of a state we will have when
it is populated, as it is coming to be, by the fatherless offspring of today's
promiscuous females--when the feminists on the campuses of our schools and
colleges have convinced young women that the traditional patriarchal attempts
to regulate their reproduction by imposing chastity and modesty upon them
are a sexist plot to contravene the first law of matriarchy. The kind of
state we will have is indicated by the evidence given in Chapter I, showing
the high correlation between female-headed families and social pathology.
"The state," continues Dr. Lerner,
during the process
of the establishment of written law codes, increased the property rights
of upper-class women, while it circumscribed their sexual rights and finally
totally eroded them.
By their "sexual
rights" she means not their right to be loved, honored and protected under
coverture, not their right to enter into a stable and binding--and highly
advantageous--contract to share their reproductive life with a man, but their
right to be promiscuous, and therefore of no value to a man interested in
having a family rather than a one-night stand. She does not even consider
(what Gilder supposes to be self-evident) that many women covet the right
to have a stable monogamous marriage, and thereby acquire the economic and
emotional security and the status which the patriarchy offers women in exchange
for allowing men a meaningful reproductive role--the right to be decently
socialized in childhood, the right to the high status patriarchy confers
upon "good" women.
"Their sexual and reproductive capacities," continues Dr. Lerner, "were
commodified, traded, leased, or sold in the interest of male family members."
What is the alternative? To have men not interested in stable family
arrangements--to leave these arrangements instead to female improvisation
of the sort found in the ghettos and on Indian reservations?
The Code of Hammurabi [continues Dr. Lerner] marks the beginning of the
institutionalization of the patriarchal family as an aspect of state power.
It reflects a class society in which women's status depended on the male
family head's social status and property. The wife of an impoverished burgher
could by a change of his status, without her volition or action, be turned
from a respectable woman into a debt slave or a prostitute. On the other
hand, a married woman's sexual behavior, such as adultery or an unmarried
woman's loss of chastity, could declass her in a way in which no man could
be declassed by his sexual activity.
Her status depended upon his status. Therefore she was motivated to make
him achieve high status. And the success of the system in generating male
overachievers who create wealth, social stability and progress--all beneficial
to women--proves the arrangement to be desirable. Women would not have accepted
it unless its benefits were greater than those offered by matriarchy. The
wife of an impoverished burgher could have been de-classed by her husband's
behavior, but she chose to be his wife because through marriage her status
and income were more likely to be raised than lowered. This is the way the
patriarchal system works, and it benefits everyone. It gives men motivation,
makes them productive and thus helps their wives and children. It puts sex
to work as a motivator, focusing on long-term (family) arrangements rather
than on short term sexuality--promiscuity, the first law of matriarchy. "Society
asks so little of women," says Betty Friedan. But that little must include
the chastity and loyalty which makes patriarchal fatherhood and legitimate
"When Nigerian Muslim communities get richer through development," writes
feminist sociologist Caroline Knowles, "women are increasingly confined in
the home." Is it not the other way round--that when women are increasingly
confined to the home, the communities get richer because more stable families
are better motivators of male achievement?
There exists a woman's organization called Single Mothers by Choice but there
exists no comparable men's organization called Single Fathers by Choice.
A man must choose to marry if he wants children. Only a woman can choose
to be a single parent--but for every woman who makes that choice there exists
a man who is denied the choice of marriage and family, and therefore patriarchal
society must deter single women from choosing parenthood. If women were to
become economically independent (as feminism wishes them to be) and if the
feminist principle becomes accepted that "there is no such thing as an
illegitimate child," then men have no bargaining power, no way of inducing
women to enter a stable marriage (though they may be willing to enter an
unstable one as long as, following divorce, they have assurance of custody
of the children accompanied by economic advantages). Under such conditions
society becomes a matriarchal ghetto. "Woman, in precivilized society," writes
Dr. Lerner, "must have been man's equal and may well have felt herself to
be his superior." Her superiority (which made males idle drones) is why it
was "precivilized"--and why precivilization lasted a million years. Her
superiority is why Elise Boulding holds up the squaws on Indian reservations
as models for American middle-class women. Her superiority is why women would
not be altogether reluctant to return to precivilization, why feminists like
Mary Daly declare that "society is a male creation and serves male interests"
and that "sisterhood means revolution," why Freud thought that woman was
the enemy of civilization, why feminists like Adrienne Rich insist that
patriarchal civilization has been imposed upon women over "an enormous potential
"In some places like Dahomey and among the Tlinkits of Alaska," writes feminist
Marilyn French, "wealthy classes are patrilineal while poorer classes are
matrilineal." Let's put this the other way round: the patrilineal classes
are wealthy-- because their males are motivated to provide for stable families;
the matrilineal classes are poor because their males are not. As she adds
on the following page, "In matrilineal societies there are more sexually
integrated activities and more sexual freedom for women." That is why they
are poorer. Savage women and feminists want marriage to be unstable in order
that they may point to its instability not only as justification for the
first law of matriarchy but as proving the necessity for women to be subsidized
by non-family arrangements which do not impose sexual law-and-order upon
them. That the subsidization they demand must be paid for by taxing the shrinking
numbers of patriarchal families who do submit to sexual law-and-order is
no concern of theirs--except as it further undermines the patriarchy, which
(they think) is good. Men stabilize marriage by creating wealth. According
to Emily Hahn, "Necessity, as well as instinct, sends the ladies pell-mell
to the altar; it is only the secondary things, social pressure of conscience,
that send the men." (What sends the men is the desire to have families--which
is not secondary, but never mind that.) What Ms. Hahn is acknowledging is
that with women the economic motive is primary. Feminist Barbara Ehrenreich
Women were, and
to a large extent still are, economically dependent on men....So what was
at stake for women in the battle of the sexes was, crudely put, a claim on
some man's wage.
The fact that,
in a purely economic sense, women need men more than the other way round,
gives marriage an inherent instability that predates the sexual revolution,
the revival of feminism, the "me generation" or other well-worn explanations
for what has come to be known as the "breakdown of the family."
(The instability does not predate the feminist/sexual revolution but is a
principal consequence of this revolution.)
It is, in retrospect
[continues Ms. Ehrenreich], frightening to think how much of our sense of
social order and continuity has depended on the willingness of men to succumb
in the battle of the sexes: to marry, to become wage-earners and to reliably
share their wages with their dependents.
(A man formerly--in
the days of stable marriage contracts--did not "succumb"; he entered into
what he believed to be a binding agreement which promised him the satisfactions
of marriage and the right of procreating legitimate and inalienable offspring.
It is the invalidating of these expectations which has turned men off from
marriage or made them enter into it with the shallow commitment of which
Ms. Ehrenreich complains.)
In fact, most of
us require more comforting alternative descriptions of the bond between men
and women. We romanticize it, as in the popular song lyrics of the fifties
where love was an adventure culminating either in matrimony or premature
death. Or we convince ourselves that there is really a fair and equal exchange
at work so that the wages men offer to women are more than compensated for
by the services women offer to men. Any other conclusion would be a grave
embarrassment to both sexes. Women do not like to admit to a disproportionate
dependence, just as men do not like to admit that they may have been conned
into undertaking what one cynical male called "the lifelong support of the
She shows that
it is the man's paycheck which holds marriage together, and then she, most
illogically, describes this paycheck as something causing instability. The
least stable marriages are those in which the husband fails to earn the paycheck
and those in which the wife earns a large enough paycheck to make her
economically independent of the husband. "In the overwhelming majority of
households today," says Lynne Segal, "men are no longer the sole breadwinners,
and as their economic power has declined, domestic conflict and strain have
increased...." Segal regards it as self-evidently good that women should
shake off male controls and that the relative decline in men's economic power
facilitates this shaking-off. She speaks for most women. Besides economic
emancipation, there is an emancipation from traditional mores. The increase
in illegitimate births among white teenagers from 6.6 percent in 1955 to
40 percent today follows from the removal of the controls (shame, guilt,
etc.) which feminists have been working to remove, and their replacement
by "a woman's right to control her own sexuality."
Popular songs such as "Papa, Don't Preach" and "Thanks for My Child" illustrate
the failure to comprehend the Legitimacy Principle as essential to the working
of the patriarchal system. Mrs. E. M. Anderson of Compton's Teen Mothers
Program comments thus concerning the message of "Thanks for My Child," dealing
with the woes (but also the noble inner strength) of a poor female who meets
the father of her child four years after it is born:
These guys [i.e.,
the unwed fathers] are dumb--dumb. All they think about is themselves.
Responsibility? Forget it. They cause a lot of pain and are too dumb to care.
"The song," says
Mrs. Anderson, "does a service if it exposes the problem of these young kids
getting pregnant out of wedlock by these guys who don't want any part of
being fathers." A better service would be to explain to the dumb guys how
they might claim the responsibilities of fatherhood if they wished to do
so. What inducement would she have society offer the guys who want to be
fathers and have families? The larger society offers white males a fifty
percent chance of having and keeping children and a fifty percent chance
of losing them to their ex-wives. In the ghettos society offers virtually
nothing to males who accept the responsibilities of fatherhood--and it attempts
to compensate for its failure to provide the props needed by responsible
fathers by showering rewards upon single mothers (non-ghetto and ghetto)
in the form of AFDC, food stamps, subsidized housing, free medical care and
Besides these material rewards, there are status rewards. According to Jeff
Wyatt, program director of a radio station which plays "Thanks for my Child"
every day on the demand of enthusiastic female listeners,
The message really
touches them--the mother-child aspect of it. Women identify with the woman
in the song. Maybe some of them know young ladies who have been in that
situation. Maybe some of them have been in that situation themselves.
According to Mike
Archie, music director of WHUR-FM in Washington, D. C., women, especially
black women, are responding strongly to the record, which has been the most
requested single at his station:
The single focuses
on the inner strength of black women, which makes it appeal strongly to black
women. I find that it really touches single female parents--or women with
children in general. In the song this woman is saying how much she really
loves her child and that love can carry her through anything.
This is the old
"feminine mystique" again--which feminism was created to get rid of. Women
were told by Ms. Friedan to make less of a fuss about their maternal functions
("Don't you want to be more than an animal?" ) and participate instead in
the arena of male achievement. "Thanks for My Child" reverts to Mom's maternal
functions as the true source of woman's glory. The miserable consequences
of female unchastity are celebrated as proving "the inner strength of black
women." And the same wonderful inner strength is illustrated by comparison
with the irresponsibility of the dumb male. The Los Angeles Times article
describing the popularity of the song quotes Wes Hall, dean of students at
Compton High School, in the Los Angeles ghetto:
The guys who father
these kids have all the excuses for ignoring their responsibilities. If no
one makes the young man see his responsibility, he'll go scot-free and father
more kids. The burden falls on the teen-age girls who are too young to handle
it. Maybe this song will get a message to some of these young men--that what
they're doing is very wrong.
The girls are too
young to handle it--and therefore they need to be taught what nobody teaches
them, the necessity of chastity and conformity to the Sexual Constitution,
the necessity of rejecting the Promiscuity Principle which tells them they
alone have the right to control their sexuality--without interference from
the irresponsible males whom Wes Hall would like to make responsible but
who are discouraged--or prevented--from responsibility by the Promiscuity
Principle which allows females to be mothers while preventing males from
being fathers. Instead of teaching these girls chastity, the song teaches
them about their wonderful inner strength (which nobody would have known
about if they hadn't been promiscuous), about the moral inferiority of the
dumb male, equally responsible but lacking their inner strength--as though
unchaste females might protect their virtue by surrounding themselves with
chaste Parsifal-like males. They are taught that there is no such thing as
an illegitimate child, that society must not be judgmental of them, meaning
that it must not use shame and guilt to regulate their anti-social behavior.
And so forth. Wes Hall simply refuses to see the fact that males cannot be
responsible heads of families unless society insists upon female chastity
and loyalty and implements its insistence by guaranteeing to males the rewards
of family life which justify imposing upon them the obligations of paternal
responsibility. For males to accept the responsibility which Wes Hall wishes
them to accept there must exist some reasonably dependable way for them to
assume responsibility--and there is no way, because promiscuous Moms and
society want no part of them except their paychecks. Here's Edward McNamara,
who wants to do what Wes Hall is urging the young black teenagers to do--accept
the responsibilities of fatherhood. The law won't let him. He has had six
court appearances to gain custody of an illegitimate daughter, and, after
giving up on custody, more court appearances to gain visitation rights. According
to the Los Angeles Times,
McNamara, 41, maintains
that his constitutional rights were violated when San Diego County social
workers--acting at the behest of the baby's mother--placed the girl with
an adoptive family four weeks after her birth.
But in sharp
questioning in a high court [U.S. Supreme Court] hearing on the case, the
justices disputed the notion that the U. S. Constitution gives an unwed father
rights that outweigh those of the child.
"Why can't the state of California decide it wants to follow this polity"
of acting in the best interest of the child? asked Chief Justice William
H. Rehnquist. State law directs social workers to consider the child's welfare
foremost in custody cases, and the courts have agreed that McNamara's daughter
would be better served in the care of the adopting family.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said she wondered why someone who engages "in
a so-called one-night stand" would have a constitutional right to control
the fate of the child who accidentally results from the affair.
The right of "someone" is unquestioned if "someone" is the female who engages
in the one-night stand. And if McNamara were not a participant in a one-night
stand but a husband or ex-husband he would stand little better with the law.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News,
In 1976, the Supreme
Court ruled that a husband did not have the power to impose an "absolute
veto" over his wife's decision to have an abortion....Women's groups reject
out of hand the argument that men have a right to a legal say in the
decisionmaking process...and insist that the abortion decision should belong
solely to the woman.
The point is equally
relevant to McNamara and to the black youths scolded by Wes Hall: Women's
[and girls'] refusal to grant men a significant role in reproduction means
that they are denying to themselves the right to make a dependable commitment
to bear a husband's children. The Promiscuity Principle (a woman's right
to control her own sexuality) makes women moral minors who cannot enter into
an enforceable contract to share reproduction with a man. A contract with
a woman is worthless if she insists on her right to break it--and has the
law on her side in doing so. No matter what a man does, a promiscuous woman
excludes him from responsible reproduction. It is for this reason that the
civilizations of antiquity found it necessary to divide women into "good"
and "bad," those with whom a binding contract of marriage was possible and
those with whom it was not. Only with society's enforcement of the man's
rights under the contract is it possible for him to accept the kind of
responsibility Wes Hall wants black teenage youths to accept. The entire
fabric of patriarchal civilization rests upon female chastity. It would be
ridiculous to refer to a man's chastity as his virtue because his unchastity
does not destroy his family and his wife's reproductive role. But a woman's
chastity is her virtue because her unchastity destroys her family and her
husband's reproductive role--and civilized society along with them, because
civilized society is built on the patriarchal, nuclear, two-parent family.
Feminist Hazel Henderson writes a piece titled "Thinking Globally, Acting
Locally," in which she complains of "fathers who refuse to pay their child
support payments ordered by courts." In the same column of the same page
she rejoices thus over the success of the sexual/feminist revolution:
Yet the genie will
not go back in the bottle--the cultural revolution has already occurred.
Politics only ratifies social change after at least a ten year lag. Even
more terrifying for the old patriarchs and their female dupes is the knowledge
that the whole culture is "up for grabs." For example, it could shift
fundamentally in less than a generation IF women simply took back their
reproductive rights, endowed by biology and Nature. All that women would
need to do to create a quiet revolution is to resume the old practice of
keeping the paternity of their children a secret.
She cherishes the
Promiscuity Principle--but also men's money. Men must teach women that the
money will not be forthcoming unless they submit to the patriarchal Sexual
Constitution and allow fathers to have legitimate and inalienable children.
Society wants males to earn money. It is the labor of males which creates
the prosperity of society, as the poverty of the surviving Stone Age societies,
the ghettos, and the Indian reservations amply shows. There is one way, and
only one, of motivating males to earn that money, and that is to make them
heads of families. Wes Hall may condemn the young black males who procreate
illegitimate children and go "scot-free" of the responsibility which ought
to accompany fatherhood. These young black males ought to be taught in their
sex education classes that they aren't so much getting something for nothing,
as they are being deprived of the possibility of real fatherhood because
of the unchastity of the females who consent to cohabit with them and because
of society's unwillingness to supply the props (in addition to demanding
the complementary responsibilities) which fatherhood must have because of
its biological marginality.
The black matriarchs, who, like Mrs. E. M. Anderson, view "Thanks for My
Child" as "a positive statement of a mother's love for her child" no doubt
also perceive it as a reaffirmation of female moral superiority, paralleling
the one-upmanship of their Latin American sisters who encourage their men
in childish displays of machismo in order to cast themselves in the complementary
role ("marianismo") of morally superior, spiritually strong, understanding
but forbearing "Mamacitas." It is men who must put an end to this feminine
mystique. The male reply to the condescension of "Thanks for My Child" ought
to be an indignantly ironic "Thanks for reducing me to the status of a stud.
Thanks for preventing me from being a real father, from having a real family."
The male is not equally responsible with the female for inflicting illegitimacy
on a child. In the patriarchal system a man can only be held responsible
to a "good" woman, one who accepts the Sexual Constitution. The bad women
are an essential part of the system, but they must be de-classed and regarded
as unfit for marriage, since husbands can have no assurance of their chastity
and loyalty, no assurance of having legitimate children by them. The feminist
campaign to do away with the double standard is an attempt to remove this
class distinction and make all women "good." Instead, it is making all women
"bad," creating the Garbage Generation in the process. The predicament lamented
in "Thanks for My Child" has the consequence that women can no longer trust
men and men can no longer trust women.
77 percent of the women readers of Glamour magazine responded "yes" to a
survey (Nov., 1985) asking whether they approved of single women having children.
40 percent of girls in school today will be heads of households --signifying
that 40 percent of boys will not be. These females will deem themselves to
be leading meaningful and (now that their sexuality is de-regulated) socially
acceptable lives. The displaced males will be leading roleless, often disruptive
lives. If the fathers of illegitimate children can be coerced into supporting
the mothers, the mothers will believe that a paternity suit (or a divorce
decree) is as good as a marriage contract--or rather better, since it involves
no reciprocal responsibilities, not even temporarily. Such sexual de-regulation
of females means the destruction of the family and the ghettoizing of society.
The Prophet Mohammed emphasized the importance of regulating female sexuality.
According to Dr. Fatima Mernissi, he
saw the establishment
of the male-dominated Muslim family as crucial to the establishment of Islam.
He bitterly fought existing sexual practices where marital unions for both
men and women were numerous and lax.
In Saudi Arabia
there exists a Committee for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,
whose executive arm is the Mutatawa or religious police. According to Kim
Nearly every woman
has an unpleasant encounter with the Mutatawa to report, an incident when
she was observed talking to an unrelated man in public, or shopping without
the proper headgear or abaya, and subjected to a public tongue-lashing, or
"In the souq [market],
they'll come up to you and say, 'Aren't you ashamed of yourself?' Or worse
yet, they go up to your husband and say, 'Aren't you a man? Why are you dragging
this hussy around with you?'" Raslan said. "You've embarrassed yourself,
you've embarrassed your husband, and for what? For what reason?"
"Officially," she said, "they say, 'We don't want the ladies having to face
the hazards [of being part of the working world], we want to protect them.'
But unofficially, what the women see is they are apprehensive of women finding
their own feet."
Apprehensive that women will sexually de-regulate themselves, restore the
first law of matriarchy, replace the two-parent family with the "rotational"
family, destroy the male role and ghettoize society. The Matatawa themselves
may be ridiculous, but their apprehension is not. Take another look at the
words of Hazel Henderson or those of Helen Fisher on page 5. What the Matatawa
are afraid of has already happened in the ghettos and is happening before
our eyes in the larger society. The ridiculousness of the religious police,
like the ridiculousness of Victorian puritanism, proves not the silliness
of the patriarchal system but its shakiness and the marginality of the male
role within it--and its need for social props to sustain it. Female promiscuity
can wreck it, as Hazel Henderson and Sjoo and Mor and other feminists clearly
"The women's libbers," says Samuel Blumenfeld,
object to the moral
codes that the patriarchal system evolved as aids in the subjugation of women.
But we must marvel at man's intellectual genius in creating such effective
cultural and social devices to maintain the integrity of the family, as well
as his control over women with a minimum of physical force.
"the moral codes crumbling all around us," and says
Whoever sold teen-agers
on the idea that there is such a thing as premarital "recreational sex" ought
to be shot. Unless one understands that sexual pleasure was created by nature
as bait for the more painful responsibilities of existence, one cannot understand
sex, one cannot understand love, one cannot understand life. Unless sexual
pleasure leads to human responsibility, it then becomes the shallowest and
most depressing of pursuits.
It is not "nature"
but the patriarchal system which puts sex to work as the great stabilizer
and motivator of society, and the central feature of this system is society's
guarantee to the father of the legitimacy and inalienability of his offspring.
"Everywhere as society advances," says W. Robertson Smith, "a stage is reached
when the child ceases to belong to the mother's kin and follows the father."
"Everywhere" except in contemporary America, where society is reverting to
the matriarchal pattern, with consequent social deterioration.
Freiherr F. von Reitzenstein, writing of early Roman antiquity, says
We cannot doubt
the existence of matriarchy, which was constantly encouraged by the
Etruscans...Marriage as a binding union was certainly unknown to the plebeians;
accordingly their children belonged to the mother's family. This agamous
or marriageless relationship still existed at Rome in later times, and was
the basis of a widely developed system of free love, which soon changed into
different kinds of prostitution.
Otto Kiefer's Sexual
Life in Ancient Rome informs us that the celebrated Swiss jurist J. J. Bachofen
sought to prove
that in ancient Italy the reign of strong paternal authority had been preceded
by a state of exclusive matriarchy, chiefly represented by the Etruscans.
He considered that the development of exclusive patriarchy, which we find
to be the prevailing type of legitimate relation in historic times, was a
universal reform, a vast and incomparable advance in civilization.
writes lesbian-feminist Charlotte Bunch, "that the demand by some for control
over our intimate lives-- denying each person's right to control and express
her or his own sexuality and denying women the right to control over the
reproductive process in our bodies--creates an atmosphere in which domination
over others and militarism are seen as acceptable."
She makes no reference to the contract of marriage, which is intended to
allow men to share in women's reproductive lives. She would have the marriage
contract place no obligations on the woman, and allow her to exercise her
reproductive freedom as though there were no contract.
We know that priorities
are amiss in the world when children are not protected from parents who abuse
them sexually while a lesbian mother is denied custody of her child and labeled
immoral simply because she loves women.
She is labeled
immoral because she denies her child a father and wishes to transform society
in order to make her lifestyle normative and thus make it unnecessary for
any child to have a father. In other words, while she considers child abuse
bad, she considers destruction of the patriarchal Sexual Constitution good,
even though child abuse is commoner in the female-headed homes she wishes
to create by destroying the Sexual Constitution.
Let's look as a concrete example. Charles Rothenberg was divorced by his
wife and confronted with the loss of the one love object of his life, his
6 year old son David. He kidnapped the boy and then, realizing the futility
of his one-man revolt against the legal system which was about to take the
boy back, made the desperate resolve to kill the boy and himself. He doused
David with kerosene and set him afire but lost his nerve when it came his
own turn. He fled and was captured. The fire left David disfigured with burns
over his face and most of his body. The righteously indignant judge, James
R. Franks, who sentenced Charles to 13 years in prison wept in his chambers
over the fact that this was the maximum allowed by the law.
A hideous crime. It might not have happened if Charles had not been goaded
and crazed by the knowledge that he had no chance of getting a fair custody
shake from the court.
Aside from this, is there anything to be learned from what Rothenberg did?
This mixed-up man was, like Charles Manson, the offspring of an unmarried
teen-age prostitute and a father he never saw. Presumably he got messed up
because his socialization was messed-up. The sins of the father were visited
upon the son, David. But also the sins of the grandmother, who brought Charles
into the world in violation of the Legitimacy Principle. Grandma is unpunished
because her sins are non-violent, merely sexual, merely sins against the
Sexual Constitution which Ms. Bunch wants to do away with.
"There is no such thing as an illegitimate child"--no such thing as an unchaste
woman, no need to regulate sexual behavior. But there are unchaste women
and Charles's mother was one of them, and unchaste women do bring illegitimate
children into the world, and Charles was one of them, and illegitimate children
are responsible for a disproportionate amount of social pathology, a fact
which will not be changed by passing as law (as has been done in Sweden)
that there are no illegitimate children.
Harriet Taylor, friend, and later wife, of the 19th century feminist John
Stuart Mill, expressed the feminist view about regulating women:
that if men are
so sure that nature intended women for marriage, motherhood and servitude,
why then do they find it necessary to erect so many barriers to other options,
why are they required to force women to be restricted to this role? For if
women's preference be natural there can be no necessity for enforcing it
by law, and it has never been considered necessary in any other area to make
laws compelling people to follow their inclination.
Women aren't drawn
into marriage by their "nature." They accept it because it is advantageous
and because its advantages cannot be obtained without submitting to the
patriarchal constraints whose purpose is to channel procreation through families.
The present disruption of sexual law-and-order is produced by women's trying
to retain the advantages while rejecting the constraints.
We read in the book of Hosea in the Bible that Gomer, wife of the prophet,
dressed herself in fine raiment and had sex with strangers at the Temple
in Jerusalem. According to feminist Merlin Stone,
She took part in
the sexual customs of her own free will and...viewed them not as an obligatory
or compulsory duty but as pleasant occasions, rather like festive parties.
This situation was clearly unacceptable to the men who espoused the patrilineal
Hebrew system, as Hosea did, but it does reveal that for those who belonged
to other religious systems it was quite typical behavior.
For thousands of
years these sexual customs had been accepted as natural among the people
of the Near and Middle East. They may have permitted and even encouraged
matrilineal descent patterns to continue and a female-kinship system to survive.
Inherent within the very practice of the sexual customs was the lack of concern
for the paternity of children- -and it is only with a certain knowledge of
paternity that a patrilineal system can be maintained.
Hosea was a spokesman for the newer patriarchal religion of Jahweh, Gomer
a representative of the older worship of the Great Goddess. "The male and
female religions existed side by side for thousands of years," reads a
publisher's flyer advertising Merlin Stone's book:
continued throughout the periods of Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon and
as late as St. Paul. It appears that the worship of the Goddess did not naturally
give way to the new masculine religions, but was the victim of centuries
of continual persecution and suppression by the more aggressive, war-like
invaders....Merlin Stone believes that the persecution of Goddess worshippers
had a political and economic basis. The invaders had a patrilineal system
whereby men controlled paternity, property and the right to rule. If Goddess
worship was destroyed, the indigenous, matrilineal system would also be
destroyed. It was only by denying women the sexual freedom they had under
the Goddess that men could control paternity. Therefore, moral imperatives,
such as premarital virginity and marriage fidelity for women reflected and
reinforced politically inspired religion. Stone's research has shown her
that this integral Biblical story [the Garden of Eden story] which is used
theologically to explain male dominance in all things, has been used through
the ages to justify the continual oppression and subjugation of women. Ms.
Stone believes that the story symbolically describes the eradication of Goddess
worship and the damning of its religious trappings and institutions, i.e.,
wise, prophetic serpents as adjuncts of the Goddess, holy fruit trees, sexually
active and free women. [Emphasis added.]
The male and female
religions existed side by side for thousands of years. In other words, it
required thousands of years of struggle to establish the patriarchal system
and to do away with forms of religious worship which W. Robertson Smith describes
as "horrible orgies of unrestrained sensuality, of which we no longer dare
to speak in unveiled words."
The single generation following the publishing of The Feminine Mystique has
produced a catastrophic subversion of the fragile and artificial patriarchal
system and a more-than-partial return to the older matriarchal system, including
even some tentative attempts in books like Stone's When God Was a Woman and
Sjoo and Mor's The Great Cosmic Mother to provide it with a theological
superstructure. The central issue, however, is not theological but familial:
whether or not males shall participate equally with females in human
reproduction. Equal male participation is possible only on the basis of stable
families--on assurance of father custody in cases of divorce.
"Women by nature," writes Hendrik DeLeeuw,
are no more monogamous
than men and no less polygamous. Women's sexual tendencies, biologically,
are no less variational than those of the male gender. Best historical proof
lies in the case of some of the primitive communities where conditions of
life did not hamper sex expression of women any more than of men. Among the
natives of Victoria, for example, the women have so many lovers that it becomes
almost impossible to guess the paternity of children. Brazilian historians
relate that among the Guyacurus and the Guyanas Indians of South America,
the women, and especially the nobler ones, have one or more lovers who remain
at their side day and night to attend to their sexual requirements. And so
it becomes obvious that wherever conditions permitted, women have rejected
the monogamous relationships as often as men. What it also implies is that,
if granted equal freedom, women tend to be equally variational and multiple
in their sex expression.
is why these societies are "primitive." It is to prevent civilized society
from relapsing into this primitivism that the Legitimacy Principle--every
child must have a father--must be enforced.
Here, from Dear Abby, 27 December, 1985, is an illustration of how easily
the Legitimacy Principle is undermined:
DEAR ABBY: I'll
bet you never heard anything like this before. Our son, "Mike," has been
living with his girlfriend, "Libby," for three years. They have a 2-year-old
son whom we love like a grandson.
Last year, money got tight, so to help out with the expenses, Libby and Mike
rented their spare room to a friend of Mike's. (I'll call him Gary.)
As it turned out, Libby carried on a secret affair with Gary, and now she
has a child by him, too.
Our son wants to forgive Libby, marry her and adopt her new baby. We, his
parents, cannot forgive her for what she did to Mike.
We love our son and the grandson he and Libby gave us, but we do not want
to accept Libby as our daughter-in-law knowing she had an illegitimate child
by a guy who rented a room in their house.
How should we handle this?
DEAR GRAMAW: Regardless
of how you feel about Libby, if you don't accept her as your daughter-in-law
along with her children, you can say goodby to your son and the grandson
you love. It's a package deal. Take it or leave it; the choice is yours.
It's a good example
of the contrasting ways in which matriarchy and patriarchy handle the regulation
of sexuality. Libby accepts the first law of matriarchy--whatever she decides
is final--and Mike and the legal system go along. In consequence, seven people
are at risk, the two babies, the three parents and the two grandparents.
The son must either subsidize an adulteress and a bastard or lose his own
child. The mother is at risk of being a single parent caught in the Custody
Trap--as sole provider and sole custodian, with reduced resources and doubled
responsibilities, de-classed in the eyes of conservative people, perhaps
driven onto welfare. The two babies are at risk of being fatherless and therefore
more likely to be impoverished and delinquent. The two grandparents will
either lose their grandchild or be compelled to accept the adulteress's value
system, accept an illegitimate child they don't want as their grandchild
and pretend not to care about traditional family values.
Suppose that the legal system didn't go along. Suppose it behaved in accordance
with the principles of the patriarchy which created it. Suppose it provided
props for the father's role rather than for the mother's.
Then (1) there would probably be no shacking-up to begin with, no illegitimate
child. Libby would be far less likely to have shacked up with Mike or to
have had her secret affair with Gary, knowing that Mike, not she, was the
legal custodian of the grandson and knowing that Mike had the authority to
toss her out and keep his grandson for himself--and find himself a wife who
would not introduce confusion of progeny into his household. Then (2) if
there had been an affair between Gary and Libby anyway, it would have been
up to Mike to decide whether to legitimize Libby's illegitimate child and
by doing so guarantee it a place within the patriarchal system, or to expel
Libby and her illegitimate child and by so doing safeguard the proper rearing
and socializing of his son and his relationships with the grandparents--while
at the same time giving Libby, Gary and their child their best opportunity
of forming a patriarchal family of their own. And of course giving himself
his best opportunity of marrying another woman and creating a patriarchal
family of his own and providing his son with a stepmother who shared his
Here's another letter to Abby, illustrating the sexual confusion of the times:
DEAR ABBY: Our
parents' anniversary is coming up soon. Some of us would like to make them
a gift of a family portrait including their children, their children's spouses
and their grandchildren.
We want to limit this portrait to legitimate family members only, which would
exclude the mother of one of the grandchildren and her son from a previous
We would like to include our brother and his legitimate child without including
the woman he lives with and her illegitimate son. Is it possible to do this
without causing hard feelings?
DEAR PROBLEMS: No. Abandon the idea. There are no illegitimate children;
just illegitimate parents.
The writer and
his or her siblings believe in the Legitimacy Principle. No matter, says
Abby. There are new proprieties to which everyone must conform on pain of
being disliked by feminists and believers in the first law of matriarchy.
Since the feminist/sexual revolution the Promiscuity Principle has replaced
the Legitimacy Principle and one sexual arrangement is as good as another.
Nobody's feelings must ever be hurt--unless they happen to believe in the
Field direction (thinking the way everyone else thinks), shame and guilt
have hitherto been means of maintaining sexual law-and- order, especially
among females, who used to glory in their role as the guardians of morality
and who formerly had no greater pleasure than in gossiping about the sexual
transgressions of their less virtuous sisters.
No more. What Charlotte Bunch said of lesbianism ("it threatens male supremacy
at its core") is trebly true of the first law of matriarchy, now that field
direction works for, rather than against it, now that shame and guilt no
longer function to promote legitimacy, now that the courts (and Abby) are
on the side of the Promiscuity Principle. Women now control their own sexuality
without interference from men. The Legitimacy Principle, the patriarchal
family and the male role as its head are obsolete. These changes, striking
at the foundation of the patriarchal system, have been accomplished without
any examination of their portentous consequences for society.
According to feminists Barbara Love and Elizabeth Shanklin:
mode of child-rearing, in which each individual is nurtured rather than dominated
from birth provides the rational basis for a genuinely healthy society, a
society of self-regulating, positive individuals.
Things are this
way in the ghettos, where half of the young bear the surnames of their mothers,
and where the proportion of such maternal surnames increases every year,
along with crime and the other accompaniments of matriarchy.
"You Frenchmen," said an Iroquois Indian three hundred years ago to the Jesuit
Father Le Jeune, "love only your own children; we love all the children of
the tribe." In a promiscuous matriclan this is the best way to see that all
children are cared for; but it will not create the deep family loyalties
needed to usher a society out of the Stone Age. "At the core of patriarchy,"
says Adrienne Rich, "is the individual family unit which originated with
the idea of property and the desire to see one's property transmitted to
one's biological descendants." This creation of wealth cannot be motivated
by a desire to transmit it to an ex-wife or to a welfare system which undermines
the families whose resources it feeds upon.
The patriarchal family, whose linchpin is female chastity and loyalty, makes
men work. That is why civilization must be patriarchal and why it slides
into chaos, as ours is doing, where family arrangements become matrilineal.
What feminist Marie Richmond-Abbott says of men in general is especially
true of men in capitalist patriarchy:
A man's life is
defined by his work, his occupation. The first question a man is usually
asked is, "What do you do?" People shape their perception of him according
to his answer.
A man's life may
be defined by his work even under matriarchy, but it is only loosely defined.
Here, described by the 19th century German explorer, G. W. Schweinfurth,
is the way males perform when females regard them as inessential. The tribe
described is the Monbuttu:
Whilst the women
attend to the tillage of the soil and the gathering of the harvest, the men,
except they are absent either for war or hunting, spend the entire day in
idleness. In the early hours of the morning they may be found under the shade
of the oil-palms, lounging at full length upon their carved benches and smoking
tobacco. During the middle of the day they gossip with their friends in the
communism, the state's guarantee of economic security weakens the male's
commitment to work and undermines his productivity. "The other day," writes
I happened to ask
myself a routine question and stumbled on a surprising answer. The question
was: What is the uppermost problem which confronts the leadership in a Communist
regime? The answer: The chief preoccupation of every government between the
Elbe and the China Sea is how to make people work--how to induce them to
plow, sow, harvest, build, manufacture, work in the mines, and so forth.
It is the most vital problem which confronts them day in day out, and it
shapes not only their domestic policies but their relations with the outside
Who wants to plow, sow, harvest, build, manufacture, work in the mines--unless
the work, unsatisfying and unfulfilling in itself, is made meaningful by
a man's knowledge that it must be done if he is to provide for his family?
In the occident
[continues Hoffer] the chief problem is not how to induce people to work
but how to find enough jobs for people who want to work. We seem to take
the readiness to work almost as much for granted as the readiness to breathe.
Yet the goings on inside the Communist world serve to remind us that the
Occident's attitude toward work so far from being natural and normal, is
strange and unprecedented. It was the relatively recent emergence of this
attitude which, as much as anything else, gave modern Western civilization
its unique character and marked it off from all its predecessors.
George Gilder makes the same point, but with a different emphasis, indicating
the significance of family arrangements:
revolution was perhaps the most cataclysmic event in history, changing every
aspect of human society.
He points out that
while multiple causes are at work,
it may well be
that economic growth is most essentially a problem of interrelated motivation
and demography--that is, a problem of familial and sexual organization.
Once again we may
find that the success and durability of a society is less dependent on how
it organizes its money and resources on a grand scale, or how it produces
its goods, than on how it induces men to subordinate their sexual rhythms
to extended female perspectives.
Patriarchy comes to its full flowering in capitalism:
men," as the British demographer E. A. Wrigley puts it, "lived their lives
in a moving present; short-term prospects occupied much of their attention."
that it was the presence of relatively isolated conjugal or nuclear families
that made possible the emergence of the highly motivated industrial bourgeoisie
and labor force.
There were major differences between the families of Eastern Europe and Asia
("economically stagnant") and those of England and precocious parts of Western
Europe where the Industrial Revolution began and flourished, and where "a
couple generally could not get married unless it was economically independent,
with a separate household."
Thus sexual energies were directly tied to economic growth, and since strong
sanctions were imposed on premarital sex, population growth was directly
connected to economic productivity.
The italicized words signify that the Legitimacy Principle was enforced,
the first law of matriarchy made inoperative. Chastity and monogamy became
an essential part of capitalism. It was a stroke of genius: Work became sexy--but
only for men, and only if women are chaste and loyal to their husbands.
Now dig this, from Harper's Index for March, 1987:
of sperm per cubic millimeter of an American male's semen in 1929: 100 million.
Today: 60 million.
Work is no longer
sexy. Alas, alas. What a universe of social disruption and
suffering--demoralization, broken marriages, sexual confusion, female-headed
families, underachievement, declining productivity, increased absenteeism,
jobs travelling overseas, educational failure, crime, illegitimacy, drug
addiction--is revealed by that cubic millimeter.
The Family in America: New Research, April, 1988 cites a study made by the
William T. Grant Foundation Commission on Work, Family and Citizenship, titled
The Forgotten Half: Non-College Youth in America:
Millions of young
men are marking time in low-paying jobs that make them poor marriage prospects.
This problem in male marriage and work patterns recently attracted the attention
of the William T. Grant Foundation Commission on Work, Family and Citizenship,
comprising some of the leading sociologists and policy analysts in America.
In its interim report, the Commission notes that between 1973 and 1986, the
average earnings of American males aged 20 to 24 fell from $11,939 to $8,859
(in 1985 dollars). This drop meant that while 59 percent of all males in
1973 could support a three-member family at or above the official poverty
line, only 44 percent could in 1985. "No wonder, then," observes the Commission,
"that marriage rates among young males (ages 20-24) declined almost in half,
from 39.l percent in 1974 to 21.2 percent in 1985." Among black males, the
drop has been an even sharper 60 percent, from 29.2 percent in 1974 to only
11.1 percent in 1985. Understandably, as marriage rates have fallen, the
proportion of children born out of wedlock has risen, stranding millions
of children in impoverished female-headed households.
"There is," writes
of a sexual crisis among young men, marked by sexual fragility and retreat.
Greater female availability and aggressiveness often seem to decrease male
confidence and initiative. A large survey of college students indicated that
while virginity among girls was rapidly diminishing, virginity among boys
was actually increasing, and at an equal rate. Impotence has for some time
been the leading complaint at most college psychiatric clinics. Citing evidence
from "my patients, both male and female, articles in medical journals, and
conversations with my colleagues," one psychiatrist called it "the least
publicized epidemic of the 1970s."
coined a new term for this, Inhibited Sexual Desire, ISD. According to Newsweek,
psychologists say they are seeing a growing proportion of patients with such
complaints--people whose main response to the sexual revolution has been
some equivalent of "not tonight, dear." Clinically, their problem is known
as Inhibited Sexual Desire (ISD), a condition marked by the inability to
muster any interest in the great obsession. "The person with low sexual desire
will not feel 'horny'....He will not be moved to seek out sexual activity,
nor will he fantasize about sex," wrote psychiatrist Helen Singer Kaplan
in a 1979 book that first called wide attention to the problem.
Over the past decade
ISD has emerged as the most common of all sexual complaints.
Here is Gilder's explanation of how the patriarchal system works and why
chastity and monogamy are essential to it:
The virtues of
this arrangement, which also prevailed in the United States, go beyond the
effective harnessing of male sexual and economic energies to the creation
of family units. By concentrating rewards and penalties, the conjugal household
set a pattern of incentives that applied for a lifetime. Benefits of special
effort or initiative were not diffused among a large number of relatives,
as in the extended family; and the effects of sloth or failure would not
be mitigated by the success of the larger unit. In general, the man stood
alone as provider for his wife and children. He was fully responsible for
the rest of his life. Such responsibility transformed large numbers of
pre-industrial men, living in "a moving present," into relatively long-term
planners, preparing for an extended future.
was shown in a 1986 T.V. film, Man Made Famine, which made the point that
African women did most of the continent's agricultural work, a fact interpreted
by the filmmakers as proving that "institutionalized male chauvinism is at
the core of many of Africa's agricultural problems." These hard-working African
women want independence from men and yet they complain of abandonment by
men. Their problem is that their societies have failed to channel male energies
into socially useful and economically productive directions. This is not
institutionalized male chauvinism; it is the failure to impose patriarchy.
The males will never be productive as long as women's sexual autonomy (the
first law of matriarchy) cuts men off from families. They are in the same
situation as millions of their American brothers, concerning whom Success
The alienated poor.
Some see their very existence as an indictment of capitalism. These are not
the striving, ambitious immigrants who battle hardship and discrimination
in order to ascend the economic ladder. These are the cut-off poor, whether
in Harlem or Appalachia, who lack the conviction that they can succeed by
dint of their own efforts. They are without skills, motivation, self-esteem,
and awareness of opportunity. They are nonfunctional in a free-enterprise
society, where effective work requires, to use [George] Gilder's words,
"alertness and emotional commitment"--in short, a positive mental attitude.
They hate capitalism,
and capitalism does nothing for them because they have been deprived of the
cornerstone of capitalism, a patriarchal family, without which most males
A famous 1965 study by Mattina Horner showed that women commonly feared success.
The study was repeated in 1971 by Lois Hoffman, with surprising differences
of result. According to Marie Richmond-Abbott,
The group that
had changed in their perceptions since Horner's (1965) study were the men!
Horner reported only 8 percent of the males tried to avoid success, and Hoffman's
(1971) study showed 77 percent of the men tried to do so. They were equally
likely to show fear of success in all-male settings as in settings where
both sexes functioned professionally.
For both men and women, mean scores of "desire to achieve" had gone down
significantly between 1965 and 1971. However, women's reasons for fear of
success remained much as they had been earlier, whereas men's reasons seemed
linked to a diminished desire to achieve at all. Hoffman points out that
the content of the men's stories was different from that of the women's.
The men seemed to question the value of success itself.
"By age 30," says
medical writer Janny Scott, "only 3% of those born before 1910 had experienced
depression--compared to nearly 60% of those born around 1950." The suicide
rate of white males age 15-24 rose almost 50 percent between 1970 and 1983.
"Somewhere at the dawn of human history," says Margaret Mead, "some social
invention was made under which males started nurturing females and their
young." Aside from a few tramps, she thinks, most men will accept their
responsibilities to provide for their families. But there exists a male
responsibility only if there exists a complementary female need. The goal
of feminism is to remove this need. Hear Betty Friedan:
that the men who really feel threatened by the women's movement in general
or by their own wives' moves toward some independent activity are the ones
who are most unsure of their women's love. Such a man often worries that
his wife has married him only for economic security or the status and vicarious
power he provides. If she can get these things for herself, what does she
need him for? Why will she continue to love him? In his anger is also the
fear she will surely leave him.
Of course. If she
can get these things for herself she doesn't need him and they both know
it, even if they haven't read Nickles and Ashcraft's The Coming Matriarchy
and found out about the divorce rates of economically independent women--women
like Ms. Friedan herself, who put her husband's name on the dedication page
of The Feminine Mystique, but later, after she discovered she could make
it alone on her royalties and lecture fees, tossed him out, took his children
from him and removed his name from the dedication page. (Not that she didn't
complain about his failure to provide her with child support money for the
children she took from him. )
A man who supposed his wife married him only out of love, the motive proposed
by Ms. Friedan as sufficient to hold marriages together, would be a ruddy
fool and--what is really bad from society's point of view--an unmotivated
fool, for society needs the man's work and wealth, and if his family no longer
expect him to be a provider he won't work too hard--which is why single men
earn so much less than married men earn.
Ms. Friedan cites a family therapist from Philadelphia, who is worried about
his stake in his family:
"I was working
at one of the big family-training centers in the country," he said. "There
was constant theoretical discussion about getting the father back into the
family. But the way our own jobs were set up, you had to work fifty to sixty
hours a week. To really get anywhere you had to put in seventy hours, work
nights, weekends. You didn't have time for your own family. You were supposed
to make the job Number One in your life, and I wouldn't do that. My life
is Number One, and my family--my job is only to be a good therapist. To play
the office politics and be one of the big guns you had to devote your whole
life to it. I started my own practice where I keep my own hours. Most of
the other family therapists at the center are now divorced.
They are divorced--and
have lost their children and their homes. They were "unsure of their women's
love" because they were economically superfluous. The man with whom Ms. Friedan
spoke knows his wife may toss him out as his fellow-therapists were tossed
out by their wives, and he is in a panic. A generation ago, a man's attachment
to his family gave him the motivation to be a high achiever; today, the
feminist/sexual revolution has made this attachment to his family the cause
of his becoming a panicky underachiever.
Lesbian feminist Susan Cavin proposes using the first law of matriarchy as
a means of destroying patriarchy and liberating women:
of women to tell men who is the "father" of their children; this could be
accomplished by the simple method of hetero-females never sleeping with only
one man for any length of time, but always having two or more male lovers.
This method is based on the assumption that mass high rates of "illegitimacy"
will destroy the patrilineal family, especially its monogamian form.
It would work if
men refused to enforce the Legitimacy Principle. Which is why they must enforce
it--and why they must regain control over their paychecks in order to do
Annex to chapter I