"The crucial process of civilization," says George Gilder, "is the subordination
of male sexual impulses and biology to the long- term horizons of female
sexuality. The overall sexual behavior of women in the modern world differs
relatively little from the sexual life of women in primitive societies. It
is male behavior that must be changed to create a civilized order."
Untrue. There is a striking difference in the behavior of males in civilized
and in primitive societies--the difference between motivated, productive,
stable males in the former and disruptive or idle or macho or narcissistic
drones, or at best hunters and warriors, in the latter. However the most
essential difference between the two societies is one less conspicuous but
more pivotal: In the civilized society the females accept the regulation
of their sexuality on the basis of the Sexual Constitution--monogamous marriage,
the Legitimacy Principle, the double standard and female loyalty and chastity;
in the primitive society the females reject sexual regulation and embrace
the Promiscuity Principle, a woman's right to control her own sexuality.
The female behavior is more basic, since it determines whether the males
can be motivated to accept a stable and productive lifestyle. The key issue
is not, as Gilder imagines, whether men can be induced to accept the Sexual
Constitution which he imagines women try to impose, but whether women themselves
can be induced to accept it. What causes women in civilized society to accept
it is the knowledge that the economic and status rewards bestowed by patriarchal
civilization can be obtained in no other way.
Sexual regulation may take unsubtle forms--enforced wearing of veils and
chadors, the confinement of women to gynecia, mutilation of female sexual
organs, wearing of chastity belts and so forth. In more sophisticated societies
the control is internalized and leads to feminist complaints such as the
following from Peggy Morgan:
We're really out
of control of our sexuality when we see our desires as dirty and
troublesome....This leaves us open to being controlled from the outside--letting
others (especially men) convince us that we want what they want us to
Here, from John
Dollard's Caste and Class in a Southern Town, is an example of such manipulative
regulation "from the outside"-- males persuading females that they are really
One of the rituals
of the university dances is that of a fraternity of young blades entitled
the Key-Ice. During the intermission the lights are turned out and these
men march in carrying flaming brands. At the end of the procession four acolytes
attend a long cake of ice. Wheeled in on a cart it glimmers in the torches'
flare. Then the leader, mounted on a table in the center of the big gymnasium,
lifts a glass cup of water and begins a toast that runs: "To Woman, lovely
woman of the Southland, as pure and as chaste as this sparkling water, as
cold as this gleaming ice, we lift this cup, and we pledge our hearts and
our lives to the protection of her virtue and chastity."
Peggy Morgan would (correctly) read enforcing.
There can be no civilization without the regulation of female sexuality.
As Dr. Gerda Lerner says in discussing the creation of the system of patriarchal
civilization, "The [ancient] state had an essential interest in the maintenance
of the patriarchal family....Women's sexual subordination was institutionalized
in the earliest law codes and enforced by the full power of the state. Women's
cooperation in the system was secured by various means: force, economic
dependency on the male head of the family, class privileges bestowed upon
conforming and dependent women of the upper classes, and the artificially
created division of women into respectable and non-respectable women." Dr.
Lerner's wording acknowledges the fact, unrecognized by Gilder, that the
Sexual Constitution is a male idea imposed upon females. "Social and ethnological
facts," says Robert Briffault,
afford no evidence
that the influence of woman has ever been exercised in the direction of extending
sexual restrictions and tabus, and of imposing chastity on men....Feminine
morality consists in unquestioning assent to established estimates and
usages....Feminine conservatism defends polygamy and sexual freedom as staunchly
as it does monogamy and morality.
What is true of
the Sexual Constitution is true of civilization itself:
which constitute what, in the best sense, we term civilization [says Briffault]
have taken place in societies organized on patriarchal principles; they are
for the most part the work of men. Women have had little direct share in
Precisely the opposite
of Gilder's view that "civilization evolved through the subordination of
male sexual patterns--the short-term cycles of tension and release--to the
long-term female patterns." "In creating civilization," says Gilder,
male lust into love; channel male wanderlust into jobs, homes, and families;
link men to specific children; rear children into citizens; change hunters
into fathers, divert male will to power into a drive to create. Women conceive
the future that men tend to fell; they feed the children that men
Why, if so, didn't
civilization precede patriarchy and the regulation of female sexuality? This
regulation was the precondition enabling males to create stable families
from which they could not be expelled. The earlier matriarchal pattern is
this: "The women are not obliged to live with their husbands any longer than
suits their pleasure or conscience...." In such a society women, including
married women, are sexually autonomous and the men can do nothing about it.
That's the way women prefer things. When Ann Landers asked her female readers
whether they would, if they had the chance over again, make the decision
to become mothers, 70 percent said no. Alexandre Dumas, in Les Femmes Qui
Tuent, writes that a distinguished Roman Catholic priest had told him that
eighty out of one hundred women who married told him afterwards that they
regretted it. These women were not trying to impose the Sexual Constitution
upon men; they were trying to escape from its control over their own lives.
"In the most primitive human societies," says Briffault,
there is nothing
equivalent to the domination which, in advanced societies, is exercised by
individuals, by classes, by one sex over the other. The notion of such a
domination is entirely foreign to primitive humanity; the conception of authority
is not understood. The ultimate basis of the respective status of the sexes
in advanced patriarchal societies is the fact that women, not being economically
productive, are economically dependent, whereas the men exercise economic
power both as producers and as owners of private property....The development
of durable private property, of wealth, the desire of the constitutionally
predatory male to possess it and to transmit it to his descendants, are,
in fact, the most common causes of the change from matriarchal to patriarchal
In primitive societies
the loose bonds of matrimony permit much sexual freedom and women outside
of these loose bonds enjoy total promiscuity. Briffault again:
In all uncultured
societies, where advanced retrospective claims have not become developed,
and the females are not regularly betrothed or actually married before they
have reached the age of puberty, girls and women who are not married are
under no restrictions as to their sexual relations, and are held to be entirely
free to dispose of themselves as they please in that respect. To that rule
there does not exist any known exception.
Women are promiscuous unless male-created social arrangements compel or induce
them to be otherwise. The truth about the creation of civilization is the
opposite of what Gilder imagines it to be. Despite his belief that "greater
sexual control and discretion--more informed and deliberate sexual powers-
-are displayed by women in all societies known to anthropology," American
women are today more adulterous than their husbands. 77 percent of the female
readers of Glamour magazine approve of women having children out of wedlock.
"Civilized society," says Gilder, "is not more natural than more degenerate
social states. It represents a heroic transcendence of the most powerful
drives of men." Civilized society is far less natural than primitive society.
That's why the Stone Age lasted a million years and civilization has lasted
only a few thousand. Civilization represents a heroic transcendence of the
most powerful drives of women--the imposition upon them of male regulation.
"The female responsibility for civilization," Gilder says,
cannot be granted
or assigned to men. Unlike a woman, a man has no civilized role or agenda
inscribed in his body. Although his relationship to specific children can
give him a sense of futurity resembling the woman's, it always must come
through her body and her choices. The child can never be his unless a woman
allows him to claim it with her or unless he so controls her and so restricts
her sexual activity that he can be sure that he is the father.
Not unlike, but
like a woman, a man has no civilized role or agenda inscribed in his body.
A woman's reproductive mechanism, like a woman's arms and legs, may be used
for civilized or for uncivilized purposes, and the same is true of the man's
reproductive mechanism and his arms and legs. Civilization depends on what
is in peoples' minds, and the "choices" made in women's minds during the
million years of the Stone Age were the same as they are among sexually
unregulated women of today who demand the "sacred right to control their
own reproduction" without male interference. A sense of futurity "always
must come through her body and her choices," says Gilder. But it didn't come
until "The Creation of Patriarchy" imposed male control and largely confined
female sexuality within patriarchal families.
"Depending chiefly on the degree that the wanton male sex drive succumbs
to maternal goals and rhythms," says Gilder,
any society is
capable of a variety of sexual states. Civilized and productive societies
reflect the long-term disciplines of female nature, upheld by religious and
Upheld by male-created
religious and marital codes. Hear how feminist Adrienne Rich feels about
These are some
of the methods by which male power is manifested and maintained. Looking
at the schema, what surely impresses itself is the fact that we are confronting
not a simple maintenance of inequality and property possession, but a pervasive
cluster of forces, ranging from physical brutality to control of consciousness,
which suggests that an enormous potential counterforce is having to be
French contrasts the different way things are done in the matriarchy and
in the patriarchy:
cultures do not work like "masculine" cultures. "Masculine" cultures aim
at success (power, control), are concerned with rules and techniques and
instrumentality. "Feminine" cultures are concerned with affection, bonding,
cooperation, with being and being-together.
and productive societies" are French's "masculine" societies, which, apart
from the wealth they generate, feminists would fain do away with, since they
correctly perceive the current sexual encounter as a "struggle for our
reproductive rights--for our sexuality, our children and the money we need."
The women best able to resist this patriarchal interference, educated career
women, commonly reject the role which Gilder supposes all women to cherish.
"Highly educated women," says Marie Richmond-Abbott,
are more likely
to remain childless than are women with less education...Thus, women who
are highly educated and more likely to have careers are less likely to want
children because of perceived conflict with their work roles.
It is such women
who ask "Where are the men for women like us, men who can deal with women
like us...?" "Are they threatened by our new power--or just afraid that we
won't need them?" What these autonomous women want is not, as Gilder supposes,
to impose their long-term sexual horizons upon males, but to share the male
freedom from maternity and regulation. "They envied their husbands who did
not have to make similar compromises," says Richmond- Abbott.
An article in the December 4, 1988 Los Angeles Times Magazine, dealing with
the lifestyle of six Los Angeles women who "had it all," "the personal stories
of six women who have found success," indicated that the six women had altogether
a total of two children, both offspring of one woman married to a househusband
and employing a full-time live-in housekeeper. A 1985 survey showed that
executive females--of all women those most at liberty to be their true selves
and exhibit "long- term disciplines of female nature" (if they have them)--were
three-fourths divorced or single, and that only 20 percent of them were
in their first marriages (versus 64 percent of male executives who were in
their first marriages.) Ms. Friedan interprets such female independence as
showing that money is a "love-spoiler." She is thinking of men's money as
inhibiting women's promiscuity. From the man's point of view, it is the woman's
money which is the love-spoiler, or at least the marriage and maternity spoiler.
It is the man's aim to integrate love, marriage and maternity into family
life, using the male paycheck as the binder; but these economically and sexually
emancipated women are able to use their own paychecks to avoid such commitment
to marriage and maternity. The birthrate of such women is minuscule, their
divorce rate is far higher than that of economically dependent wives, as
is their adultery rate, otherwise known as "a woman's right to control her
own body." The answer to the question "Where are the men for women like us?"
is that there aren't many, because most men want families--because it is
men, not women, or not autonomous women, who have the long-term sexual horizons.
If men are not deflected from such women by their statistics for divorce
and adultery, they might be deflected by those on coronary heart disease.
According to the Framingham Heart Study, men married to women with thirteen
or more years of education were 2.6 times more likely to have coronaries.
If these women are in addition liberated to work outside the home the men
are 7.6 times more likely to have coronaries.
Men ought to avoid such women as they avoid the plague, the Internal Revenue
Service, nuclear waste and low-density lipoproteins. Understandably, feminists
and house-males hold a different view. Hear one of them, Professor Herb Goldberg:
Finally, the best
insurance against losing everything to a wife in a divorce or custody battle
is the choice of a woman partner who delights in her own separate identity,
has a history of relating to men by taking equal responsibility, does not
see women as victims of men, and has created a fulfilling autonomous life
for herself prior to meeting you.
Worse advice for
a man who wants a family would be hard to find. "Women," says Marie
Richmond-Abbott, and she means elitist career-women,
have been delaying
marriage, getting higher education, and entering nontraditional jobs. They
have come to marriage with their own incomes and ideas of equality. They
want fewer children and demand more power in their families. Women are
participating more in the occupational world and in politics. While it will
be difficult for poor women to follow this pattern, middle-class women who
have established it are unlikely to give it up.
As will be explained
in Chapter IX, these women have climbed the "marriage gradient": their education
and economic independence (both major goals of feminism) put them where there
are few men to "marry up" to. They are less likely to marry, less likely
to procreate, more likely to divorce, more likely to be unfaithful, more
likely to settle for "alternative life styles." Their redeeming virtue, as
indicated, is their low birthrate. "If sex role change is to occur at the
individual level," says Ms. Richmond-Abbott (and you can believe she is working
in her academic grove to facilitate such change),
men and women would
have to socialize their children in a different manner. They would have to
be aware of their own expectations and of their behavior toward their children,
and they would have to monitor the environment in which their children grow
and play so that it is nonsexist.
She offers the
familiar suggestions about non-sexist toys and non-sexist socialization,
so that boys will be encouraged to be nurses, elementary school teachers
and airline attendants, girls to be astronauts, soldiers and policepersons.
Males will vacate the family-provider role to enable females to take it over,
while the liberated women vacate their traditional role as housewives and
mothers, turning these functions over to the lower orders and the pigmented
Speaking of what he perceives as the sexual superiority and greater sense
of responsibility of females Gilder has this:
Her very body,
her whole being, tells her that she will have to make long-term commitments
to children, that her life is not something that runs from moment to moment,
from one momentary pleasure or intrigue to another, but that she is engaged
in a larger purpose that extends into the future.
Why doesn't the
female body convey this useful information to the one and one-half million
women who abort their unwanted pregnancies every year?
Here is an episode from Kate Chopin's feminist classic The Awakening describing
her heroine and her lover and illustrating female resentment over male
"Why have you been
fighting against it?" she asked. Her face glowed with soft lights.
"Why? Because you were not free; you were Leonce Pontellier's wife....Something
put into my head that you cared for me; and I lost my senses. I forgot everything
but a wild dream of your some way becoming my wife."
"Religion, loyalty, everything would give way if only you cared....Oh! I
was demented, dreaming of wild, impossible things, recalling men who had
set their wives free, we have heard of such things."
"You have been a very, very foolish boy, wasting your time dreaming of impossible
things when you speak of Mr. Pontellier setting me free! I am no longer one
of Mr. Pontellier's possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where
I choose. If he were to say, 'Here, Robert, take her and be happy; she is
yours,' I should laugh at you both."
"I love you," she whispered, "only you; no one but you. It was you who awoke
me last summer out of a life-long, stupid dream. Oh! you have made me so
unhappy with your indifference. Oh! I have suffered, suffered! Now you are
here we shall love each other, my Robert. We shall be everything to each
other. Nothing else in the world is of any consequence."
for the next half hour or for the whole weekend or until her husband returns
from his business trip. It is the boyfriend and the husband who think in
terms of long-term sexual horizons and marriage, the heroine who thinks in
terms of the present, who is willing to end it all rather than submit to
being confined by the patriarchal sexual constitution to long-term commitments
to her husband and her children. When, at the end of the book, the heroine
drowns herself in order to escape this trap,
She felt like some
new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never
known....She thought of Leonce and the children. They were a part of her
life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and
soul. How Mademoiselle Reisz would have laughed, perhaps sneered, if she
knew! "And you call yourself an artist! What pretensions, Madame! The artist
must possess the courageous soul that dares and defies!"
Kinsey was radically
mistaken in thinking that women control the moral codes: If they support
these codes, they do so because of compulsion or perceived advantage or simple
conservatism, not because their bodies tell them they have to make long-term
The "intuition of mysterious new realms of sexual and social experience,"
says Gilder, "evoked by the body and spirit of woman, is the source of male
love and ultimately of marriage." Very edifying. But it fails to explain
that where women run things, as in the ghettos, little attention is paid
to marriage or to long-term cycles of sexuality, and instead there are so
many one-night stands, so many children having children. Where men run things,
as in Oriental families, the long-term cycles extend backward to ancestor
worship and forward to education, careers, the family's good name, and care
for the hereditaments and the patrimony. The women Gilder writes about have
long-term sexual horizons because men have socialized them to have them.
Feminist anthropologist Evelyn Reed has people like Gilder in mind when she
the modern puritanical
outlook on female sexuality, and...the reluctance of men in patriarchal society
to acknowledge the independence and freedom of primitive women in sexual
intercourse. That this independence existed cannot be doubted if one reads
the reports of settlers and missionaries; they were quite offended by it.
She cites the
observations made by Father Jacob Baegert on the Indians of southern California
two hundred years ago:
They met without
any formalities, and their vocabulary did not even contain the words "to
marry"....The good padre complained that the women were independent and "not
much inclined to obey their lords," and that after the wedding ceremony at
the mission "the new married couple start off in different directions...as
if they were not more to each other today than they were yesterday...." Worst
of all, they failed to suffer from shame, fear, jealousy, or guilt about
their sexual freedom:
They lived, in fact, before the establishment of the missions in their country,
in utter licentiousness, and adultery was daily committed by every one without
shame and without any fear, the feeling of jealousy being unknown to them.
Neighbouring tribes visited each other very often only for the purpose of
spending some days in open debauchery, and during such times a general
That's the way
it was with savages in California two hundred years ago, and that's the way
it is coming to be in California today. When Marabel Morgan, the born-again
Christian anti-feminist spoke to an audience of women about the importance
of pleasing men in bed, and confessed she sometimes found it difficult because
her husband's sex drive resembled that of a 747 and hers that of a tiny Piper
delivery gave no clue that she saw anything at all odd about this admission,
but many of the women in the audience responded as though she had said something
truly bizarre. As one commented, "The women I know are the 747s--and they're
all griping because the men they married aren't even Piper Cubs. They're
These are the women
who ask, "Where are the men for women like us, men who can deal with women
like us?" There aren't many. "Women like us" turn men off, as Marabel Morgan
tried to explain to them. Their contempt for Mrs. Morgan suggests that they
enjoy turning men off. They might have made out quite well with the Digger
Indian males of two hundred years ago but they should be-- and are--shunned
by males with long-term horizons. Fear of intimacy, according to sexperts,
"is an endemic feature of relationships in the 80s. Sex is perhaps the ultimate
act of intimacy, and people can feel profoundly vulnerable in the letting
go of defenses that it entails. In getting 'close' they may be afraid of
The Morgan quote comes from a review of Remaking Love: The Feminization of
Sex, by Barbara Ehrenreich, Elizabeth Hess and Gloria Jacobs. These ladies,
according to the Newsweek reviewer, think that
The real sexual
revolution...has occurred in the attitudes and behavior of women, and this
revolution has taken place at the behest of women, not of men....[T]he backlash
against sexual permissiveness we're witnessing today needs to be viewed as
a backlash against women's quest for autonomy.
known as the Promiscuity Principle, otherwise known as the First Law of
Matriarchy. What is being rejected is the patriarchal socialization which
led Gilder to suppose women possessed long-term sexual horizons and wanted
men to be sexually responsible just like themselves. The fact is that males,
precisely because it is they who have the long-term sexual horizons, find
such promiscuous women unattractive. Feminist anthropologist Evelyn Reed
understands these things better than Gilder. Paraphrasing Engels, she writes:
It was the drastic
social changes brought about by the patriarchal class institutions of the
family, private property, and the state which produced the historic downfall
of the female sex. In the new society men became the principal producers,
while the women were relegated to home and family servitude. Dispossessed
from their former place in society at large, they were robbed not only of
their economic independence but also of their former sexual freedom. The
new institution of monogamous marriage arose to serve the needs of men of
This freedom, which
Gilder supposed to be the male pattern, is the pattern of unsocialized,
unpatriarchalized females, who view the requirement of chastity and loyalty
as their "historic downfall." Men insist on marriage and female chastity
because this is the only way they can have legitimate children, the motivators
of the wealth-creation Ms. Reed speaks of. Patriarchy and wealth are the
good twins; matriarchy and violence the bad twins. It is the wealth created
by the patriarchal system which reconciles females to renouncing the feminist
Promiscuity Principle and accepting patriarchy's Legitimacy Principle.
More from Reed:
It was only when
their own communal society was overthrown that these former governesses of
society were defeated and sent, dispersed and fragmentized, into individual
households and the stifling life of kitchen and nursery chores.
All this knowledge that we can gain from a study of prehistory will not only
help women to understand their present dilemma but also provide guidelines
on how to proceed in the struggle for women's emancipation, which is again
coming to the fore.
They smell victory.
As S. L. Andreski says of the decline of fatherhood, "one of the most important
changes taking place in our society,"
trend...continues without a reversal we shall have witnessed a turning-point
in the evolution of mankind: perhaps a return to matrilineal descent, which
may have been common before it was replaced by patriarchy at the dawn of
the more complex civilizations.
No perhaps about
it. Patriarchy was the precondition for the more complex civilization.
"It is sometimes imagined," says Gilder,
that the gynocentrism
of many poor black families is a strength--the secret of black survival through
the harrowing centuries of slavery and racism. In a sense, of course, this
is true. In any disintegrating society, the family is reduced to the lowest
terms of mother and child. The black family has long rested on the broad
shoulders and heart of the black woman.
Yet this secret of black survival is also a secret of ghetto stagnation.
It is quite simply impossible to sustain a civilized society if the men are
constantly disrupting it.
Most of the male
disrupters had mothers who undermined patriarchal sexual stability by divorce,
marital disloyalty, or promiscuity. It is the female who initiates the cycle
which culminates in the visible male disruption. Gilder blames the male;
the law imprisons the male; and as crime continues to increase undeterred
by punishment, society imagines it must compensate for the withdrawal of
males from the system by increased subsidization of females--subsidization
which causes them to imagine themselves independent of males and free to
follow the Promiscuity Principle. Improperly socialized women like things
this way because they lack the long-term horizons Gilder ascribes to them.
It is, complains feminist Ellen Goodman, "by and large men who define 'normal,'
even while committing 90 percent of the violent crimes, and waging nearly
all the wars." The violent crimes, she says--those requiring lots of testosterone
and heavy musculature, crimes which are therefore male specialties. There
are, however, crimes which both men and women commit; and if it is desired
to know whether men or women are more virtuous it will be proper to consult
the statistics for such crimes--check violations, forgery, perjury, child
abuse. Ask a supermarket manager whether men or women commit more check
violations, ask a social worker whether fathers or mothers commit more child
abuse, ask a lawyer whether men or women commit more perjury, and you will
learn something about the double standard of morality of which feminists
Male antisociality is typically violent; female antisociality is typically
sexual. The relationship between the two is indicated by Ramsey Clark's statistic
that three-quarters of criminals come from "broken" (read: female-headed)
homes. The way to stop generating these violent male criminals is to clean
out their breeding places--to stop creating female-headed homes.
It is now feminist doctrine that the creation of the female- headed family
need not be preceded by the formalities of marriage and divorce, that all
extra-patriarchal females are entitled to a free ride for violating the
Legitimacy Principle. Feminist Professor Barbara Bergmann wants child support
payments from absent fathers to be "the same for children born out of wedlock
as for children of divorced or separated parents." The woman has all the
rights, the man all the obligations. The female-headed family is to be the
norm, as in the ghetto, with the resulting male disruptiveness serving as
propaganda-grist for further female rejection of the patriarchy.
Here is another assertion of the Promiscuity Principle, from America's wise
woman, Abby Van Buren: "There is only one reason to make love, and that's
because you feel like it." Also: "to marry because you want to be a mother
is a poor reason for marriage." This means getting rid of the patriarchal
Sexual Constitution and returning to the Promiscuity Principle of the Digger
Indians. The existing policy is that such socially sanctioned unchastity
gives Mom title to her children and to her ex-husband's or ex-boyfriend's
paycheck. The biological tenuousness of paternity suffices to establish the
social centrality of Mom's role and to make her economic subsidization
This repudiation of patriarchy implies the repudiation of Betty Friedan's
Sleeping Beauty feminism, which averred that "women have outgrown the housewife
role" and should seek self- actualization in the real world of male achievement.
But most women who hope to liberate themselves by creating fatherless families
will find themselves, like the women of the ghettos, not free to pursue high
status careers but locked in more securely than ever to the hated maternal
functions from which feminism promised to liberate them.
Here is the crux of the Gilder fallacy. "Men," he says, "have no ties to
the long-term human community so deep or tenacious as the mother's to her
child." Check. "Only the woman has a dependable and easily identifiable
connection to the child--a tie on which society can rely." Check. But the
facts cited show that this tie does not create a tie to the husband, not
one which stabilizes the two-parent family. The way to stabilize the two-
parent family (which society needs because it produces better behaved and
higher achieving children) and to prevent the creation of the female-headed
family (which produces most of the criminal class) is for society to maintain
the tie between the child and the father by guaranteeing to him that his
wife cannot take his child from him. It is for the purpose of providing this
guarantee that patriarchal society exists.
As will be more fully explained in Chapter X, the only way for society to
provide this guarantee is to reverse the existing custody disposition in
divorce cases and return to the 19th century practice of awarding custody
of children to fathers rather than mothers.
"The human race," thinks Gilder, "met the challenge of transition from hunting
to agriculture and from agriculture to industry in part by shifting the male
pursuit from game to women." Men had always pursued women. What was needed
to motivate men to accept the "long-term horizons" Gilder writes about was
the assurance that the pursuit of women would lead to the "creation of
patriarchy," a political system based not on a matriline but on the family,
of which the man knew himself to be the permanent head, not liable to be
exiled at the pleasure of the mother. Only such a stable reproductive arrangement
could motivate a man to accept long-term family responsibilities, to commit
himself to a lifetime of work and the creation of wealth, wealth which his
wife would have to know to be unobtainable outside of patriarchal family
arrangements. This is the motivational basis of civilization.
"In this process," continues Gilder, "society became strongly dependent on
the institutions by which the hunter is domesticated--chiefly now the
institution of marriage. In general, across the range of modern life, marriage
became indispensable to socializing the mass of males."
Gilder fails to see that it became no less indispensable to socializing females,
a fact well understood by feminists such as Adrienne Rich, Gerda Lerner and
Betty Friedan, who emphasize women's reluctance to submit to traditional
marriage and their wish to gain its economic advantages for themselves without
submitting to patriarchal constraints.
Gilder is on the mark when he says
The desire of men
to claim their children thus emerged as the crucial impulse of civilized
life. It is chiefly in the nuclear household that the man's connection to
his children becomes central. He is the key provider. His fatherhood is direct
and unimpeachable, and he identifies, loves, and provides for his offspring.
His role as provider then becomes almost as crucial for the maintenance of
the family as the mother's role. He thus can feel equal to the mother within
the family and he can join it without damage to his sense of himself as a
But not only is
Gilder unable to see the reluctance of many women to accept this nuclear
family arrangement, so necessary to men, he is unable to see how it is being
destroyed by a 50 percent divorce rate. "His fatherhood [in the nuclear
household] is direct and unimpeachable," he says. Not for the 50 percent
exiled by divorce. "Marriage became essential to socializing the mass of
males," he goes on. Half of them are no longer the beneficiaries of this
socialization, and the other half realize that the "essential" prop formerly
provided by society's support of the conjugal family is no longer dependable.
The desire of men to retain their children is as much "the crucial impulse
of civilized life" as their desire to procreate them in the first place;
and since neither aim now has society's guarantee, the entire system of male
motivation based on the conjugal family is in process of destruction by women's
unwillingness to submit to its constraints and by society's acceptance of
this unwillingness as a woman's right.
Gilder acknowledges "that economic growth and capitalism depend in crucial
degree on familial and sexual organization" and that "the role of the male
is the Achilles' heel of civilized society," but he imagines that what is
required is simply for men to consent to conjugal family arrangements which
women in large numbers are refusing to consent to. "By the late 1970s," say
Barbara Ehrenreich, Elizabeth Hess, and Gloria Jacobs,
a majority of women--of
all ages--had accepted with pleasure progressive attitudes toward sex....Many
of Cosmo's readers were as sexually satisfied as Redbook's (the median reported
was nine lovers per woman) and a little more brazen to boot: "I have lovers
because sex feels good," said one, and claimed another, "I have lovers because
what else is there in life that's so much fun as turning on a new man,
interesting him, conquering him?" Among Playboy's readers in 1983, young
married wives were "fooling around" more than their husbands....[T]he true
heart of the sexual revolution was a change in women's behavior, not men's.
It may be that
patriarchally socialized women can motivate fathers, but unsocialized women
are the enemies of the patriarchal arrangement, and women, socialized or
not, do little, as Briffault truly says, directly to create civilization
itself. Gilder emphasizes the essentialness of the conjugal family to
civilization; but he cannot see that it is the male who is most motivated
to create and preserve it. He understands that all societies (including savage
societies) are built upon the tie between mother and offspring. But whereas
both biology and experience inform the female that this tie is dependable
in any sort of society with any sexual arrangements, and that accordingly
women need not have the long-term sexual horizons Gilder claims for them,
biology and experience both inform the male that the father- child tie is
precarious and requires him not only to take long-term views but also to
create social structures which will guarantee the legitimacy and inalienability
of his children. Gilder refuses to see that this guarantee has now been lost,
that society is returning to matrilineality, and returning likewise to the
patterns of short-term, compulsive sexuality which Gilder associates with
males but which are grounded in matrilineality and found consistently in
such matrilineal societies as those of the Tongans and the Todas and the
Takelomas and the Mandans and the Montagnais and the Canelas and the Caraijas
and the Nandi and the Masai and the Baila and the Akamba and the Morus and
the Dume Pygmies and the Kadza and the !Kung and the Gidjangali--and the
Gilder quaintly assumes that most marital breakdown results from "powerful
men" abandoning the wives of their youth and lusting after their young
secretaries. A moment's reflection would convince him that there aren't that
many "powerful men," and that high status men have a lower divorce rate than
most other males. Besides which, he ought to know that most divorces are
initiated by, and granted to, women.
"Unless marriage is permanent and sacred," he says, "it becomes an increasingly
vulnerable and embattled institution that collapses before every temptation
and crisis." The way to make it permanent is not by urging men to submit
to women's "long-term sexual horizons" but by ensuring that marriage offers
women long- term economic and status advantages unavailable outside marriage.
The following passage suggests that Gilder never heard of Tawney, that he
supposes capitalism is a Roman Catholic creation, that the present sexual
crisis is not a post-World War II problem but originated in the eighteenth
century, and that a generation ago girls were as promiscuous as they are
Around the world,
social decline and sexual chaos is the universal harvest of reliance on secular,
rationalist moral codes. In two centuries of effort, secular humanists have
yet to come up with a way of transmitting ethics to children or persuading
girls to say No. Without a religious foundation, embracing all the essentials
of Catholic teaching, neither marriage nor civilization, neither capitalism
nor democracy can long survive in the modern world.
The present sexual
anarchy has not resulted from "two centuries of secular humanism"; it has
developed mostly within the last generation (not, to be sure, without
predisposing causes), and it has occurred largely in consequence of government
welfare programs, the pressures of feminism, the 50 percent divorce rate
and society's error in supposing that its props are required for the strongest
link in the family, the mother's role, rather than for the weakest link,
the father's role.
There can be no greater contrast than that between what Gilder imagines women
to think and what women actually do think once they have rejected the patriarchal
socialization men have imposed on them for the last several millennia. Prior
to the imposition of this patriarchal socialization, the relations between
the sexes were governed by the first law of matriarchy: "Women control our
"Some distinguishing features of a woman-centered social system," says Paula
Gunn Allen, "include free and easy sexuality and wide latitude in personal
The 7th century Bedouin poetess Maysun was a woman who knew both the civilized
life of a caliph's wife and the free, wild and matricentric life of the nomad.
In the following verses she lamented how her condition as a wife bound her
to the contract of marriage. She had no yearning (such as Gilder supposes
women to have) to impose this contract or to impose civilization and family
stability on a lawless male. It was a male who imposed it on her and she
didn't like it:
tents I prefer
to ponderous halls
And desert dress
to diaphanous veils.
A crust I'd eat in the awning's shade,
And watched by a dog that barks
not a cat that smiles,
I'd sleep to the wind's time,
not to the tambourine.
A youth's impetuous sword,
not a husband's wiles,
Uncouth slim tribesmen I love,
not corpulent men.
"Women," says Adrienne
have married because
it was necessary, in order to survive economically, in order to have children
who would not suffer economic deprivation or social ostracism, in order to
remain respectable, in order to do what was expected of women because coming
out of "abnormal" childhoods they wanted to feel "normal," and because
heterosexual romance has been represented as the great female adventure,
duty, and fulfillment. We may faithfully or ambivalently have obeyed the
institution, but our feelings--and our sensuality--have not been tamed or
contained within it.
Protests of this
sort are lost on Gilder, who imagines the patriarchally socialized female
is the real thing:
between the sexes gives the woman the superior position in most sexual
encounters. The man may push and posture, but the woman must decide. He is
driven; she must set the terms and conditions, goals and destination of the
journey. Her faculty of greater natural restraint and selectivity makes the
woman the sexual judge and executive, finally appraising the offerings of
men, favoring one and rejecting another, and telling them what they must
do to be saved or chosen. Managing the sexual nature of a healthy society,
women impose the disciplines, make the choices, and summon the male effort
that support it.
Modern society relies on predictable, regular, long-term activities,
corresponding to the sexual faculties of women. The male pattern is the enemy
of social stability.
relies on predictable, regular, long-term activities, corresponding to the
sexual demands of the hated Double Standard, imposed by men over the resistance
of women, as the pattern found in non-modern, non-patriarchal societies shows.
In such societies, as Robert Briffault truly says, and as the condition of
the ghettos and the Indian reservations sufficiently proves, "there is no
original disposition in women to chastity":
[W]hile we everywhere
find chastity imposed by men upon women, it would be difficult to find any
instances of a corresponding imposition of chastity by women upon men apart
from the primitive tabus which have reference to menstruation, pregnancy
of which Gilder writes is that of civilized--patriarchally socialized--women
with economic and status motives for behaving themselves as men wish them
to behave. But even within civilized society, continues Briffault, "Whenever
individual women enjoy...a position of power, far from imposing or observing
chastity, they avail themselves of their independence to exercise sexual
liberty." Then they talk little about the sanctity of motherhood and sound
instead like this:
I have what I call
the "gang boyfriend motif." I have one boyfriend I've had for eleven years.
He's been married twice in that time, and I know and his wife knows we're
both better off not having him full-time. He's my main man. Then I have other
boyfriends, usually out of town, who I see fairly regularly. I also have
one other boyfriend in town, who I really like a lot. They all add up to
one big boyfriend, and all my needs get taken care of.
What Gilder supposes
to be female nature is what Betty Friedan describes as a "mask" designed
to deceive the Gilders of the world:
I protest--on behalf
of women and men and my ever-deepening respect for the power and the glory
and the mystery of human sex. I protest that passionate sexual human love
cannot be experienced if it is divorced from what we really are ourselves.
Those obsolete masculine and feminine mystiques-- the masks we've been wearing
which didn't let us be or know each other. The Biblical word for sexual love
Locked in those iron masks, we finally choke with impotent rage and become
immune to each other's touch.
Referring to the
growing economic independence of women, she says, "We are in a state of
transition now"--transition to a society where women can show how they really
feel, which is this:
the rage underneath the ruffles, which we used to take out on ourselves and
our kids and finally on the men in bed, is out in the open now, scaring us
in its scorching intensity, goading men to exasperation and despair. And
now the men are letting it hang out, too: how they really feel about female
parasites, the dead weights, alimony, the sexual nothingness, the lonely
lovelessness of the manipulated breadwinner.
motivated by economics and a desire for status within the patriarchal system
to assume the masks which deceive the Gilders, but which Betty Friedan and
her feminist sisters see through. Here is one of Ms. Friedan's friends:
I've messed up
my kids, devoting my life to them that way. I've been giving my husband a
very hard time these last few years. All my hostility is coming out. And
now he is a successful lawyer, he has made enough money, he wants to have
a good time. He wants me with him, sailing, skiing, entertaining, and I'm
in school, making up for lost time. I'm alive again. I don't know what's
going to happen to my marriage. My husband is a handsome, successful man.
A lot of women are after him. If I have to choose between my own life and
my marriage, I have to save my life and take the consequences.
It's a safe bet
these consequences will be calculated with an eye on economics and on what
her lawyer tells her she can expect in alimony and child support money from
the divorce court.
What Ms. Friedan says about female autonomy is the same as what Monica Sjoo
and Barbara Mor say, with the difference that Ms. Friedan tells women they
should be ashamed of themselves for not sharing in patriarchal achievement,
while Sjoo and Mor tell women the arena of patriarchal achievement should
When women control
our bodies, our daily lives, our environment, and our goals, we don't inflict
on ourselves the terrible split between motherhood and self-realization that
patriarchy and the nuclear family inflict on us. The split is a structural
one, indigenous to male-dominated environments.
The way to get
rid of this terrible split is by women's achieving "total sexual and reproductive
autonomy" [see page 00 above], autonomy which confers upon women the right
of not being subsidized by, and therefore dependent upon, males. Total autonomy
means abolishing the contract of marriage and men's responsibilities to women.
The "male pattern" which Gilder thinks the enemy of social stability is not
the male pattern in patriarchy but the male pattern in matrilineal societies
such as the ghetto, the pattern where males acquiesce in female promiscuity
("autonomy"), because they have too little bargaining power to do anything
Why should the phrase "the male pattern" be used to designate male acquiescence
in female promiscuity? Why should it not rather be used to designate the
pattern of regulated sexuality imposed by wiser patriarchal males who understand
the relationship between unregulated female sexuality and the disruptive
masculine displays which Gilder perceives as "the male pattern"? "He must
make a durable commitment," says Gilder. Why say he must when, with a 50
percent divorce rate, he cannot?
Even then [says
Gilder] he is dependent on the woman to love and nurture his child. Even
in the context of the family, he is sexually inferior. If he leaves, the
family may survive without him. If she leaves, it goes with her. He is
replaceable; she is not. He can have a child only if she acknowledges his
paternity; her child is inexorably hers.
Dependent on the
woman to love and nurture his child? Not if she can (like Winston Churchill's
mother) afford a nanny, or can (as feminists are trying to do) screw the
government for free child care. If she leaves the family goes with her? Not
in Victorian society, where women like Lady Caroline Norton complained of
the loss of their children following divorce and where J. S. Mill complained
that "they are by law his children." (When the suggestion was made to Mill
that mothers, rather than fathers, should be given the custody of the children
of divorce, he thought the idea had merit, but he refused to advocate it
publicly because he said it was an idea for which the public's mind was
insufficiently prepared to make such advocacy useful.)
Not according to the Corpus Juris, which says, "at common law and under some
statutes, the primary right to the custody and care of minor children is
generally in the father." Not in sixteenth century Germany, where "illegitimate
children, who abounded, were usually taken into the father's home after
marriage." Not in Freud's Austria, where the great psychologist stipulated
in his will that if he died before his children were grown, they should be
taken from their mother and placed in a foster home. Not in Iran, where
father-custody is automatic following divorce. Not in Renaissance Venice,
where, "even in cases of adultery, the wife's lover had to pay for her expenses
if she became pregnant, then had to rear the child, and the wife was returned
to her husband after the birth." Not in Ibsen's Doll's House, where Nora
acknowledges that her husband Thorwald is better able to rear the children
than she is. Not in America in 1848, when the Seneca Falls feminists complained
that women automatically lost their children in the event of divorce, and
when judges made assertions such as this from the bench:
It is a well-settled
doctrine of the common law, that the father is entitled to the custody of
his minor children, as against the mother and everybody else; that he is
bound for their maintenance and nurture, and has the corresponding right
to their obedience and their services.
that the way things have been in the 20th century American matriarchy is
the way they have always been and always must be. "He is readily replaceable;
she is not"? He is replaceable if his paycheck can be taken from him or if
the government will subsidize female promiscuity, illegitimacy and matriarchy
via AFDC. Without these subsidizations, it would be found that a mother-surrogate
is far more easily obtainable (in the form of a paternal grandmother, a
stepmother, a nanny or a housekeeper) than a breadwinner.
"Only a specific woman can bear a specific child" says Gilder,
and her tie to
it is personal and unbreakable. When she raises the child she imparts in
privacy her own individual values. She can create children who transcend
consensus and prefigure the future, children of private singularity rather
than "child-development policy." She is the vessel of the ultimate values
of the nation. The community is largely what she is and what she demands
Her tie to "her"
child is "unbreakable." It is in the American matriarchy, as it is among
the Tekelmas, the Mandans, the Canelas and other savages--whereas the father's
tie in these savage societies is easily breakable, which is why these savages,
like ourselves, have underachieving children. "She imparts her own individual
values"? Either she fails to, or her values are defective, for what she imparts
is the socialization which produces 75 percent of the criminal class.
Gilder gets so swept away by his own rhapsodizing about mothers and maternity
that the logic of what he is dealing with eludes him. He tells of the central
position of women in both home and civilization, of mother-love, of long-term
ties of the mother to her child and their depth and tenacity, of the need
for her to transmit her values to her offspring and of how the success or
failure of civilization depends on this transmission, of her deep moral,
aesthetic, religious, nurturant, social, sexual concerns, which involve the
ultimate goals of human life, of how she is the repository of the ultimate
values of the nation and of how the community is largely shaped by her, of
the existence of a uniquely feminine moral sense rooted in webs of relationships
and responsibility, in intimacy and caring, a moral sense superior to the
masculine one of rules, hierarchy, aggression, lust and abstraction. He assures
us that the mother's tie to her child is the ultimate basis of all morality,
based on the preciousness of life, beginning in the womb and breast, morally
paramount, unimpeachable, and so on and on. What, then, of the fact which
will not go away--the one about three-quarters of criminals coming from
female-headed homes where they reaped the benefits of this superior virtue,
this uniquely feminine moral sense so much nobler than that of the male?
These criminals had the benefits of all of Mom's goodness without any dilution
by masculine influence.
Gilder's answer: "If children lack the close attention of mothers and the
disciplines and guidance of fathers they tend to become wastrels who burden
and threaten society rather than do its work." This is supposed to show the
importance of Mom's influence. It's like arguing that milk will cure scurvy.
The cure for scurvy is not milk but vitamin C; and the analogue of Gilder's
argument is to insist that patients deprived of milk and vitamin C suffer
from scurvy, and therefore they need more milk. The criminal class doesn't
suffer from mother-deprivation. It suffers from father-deprivation. Mom has
stinted nothing--she has given her all to the criminal class. Criminals have
many problems, but mother-deprivation is not one of them.
"In terms of mental and physical disease and life expectancy," says Gilder,
"divorce damages the man far more than the woman":
Divorced men of every age group between thirty-five and sixty- four have
a mortality rate three and a third times as high as divorced women....Divorced
men are three and a half times as likely as divorced women to commit suicide,
and four times more likely to die in an accidental fire or explosion. Murder
claims three divorced men for every divorced woman, as does cirrhosis of
the liver. And, in the realm of more conventional mortality, divorced men
are six times as likely as divorced women to die of heart disease.
Gilder writes as though men and women passed through the same experience.
This is like comparing a female driver and a male pedestrian who experience
the same "accident," and inferring from the resulting injuries that females
are tougher than males. Both parties experience "divorce," but the man
experiences in addition the massive anti-male discrimination of the divorce
court, where he loses his children, his home, his property, his future
income--his role. If wives were deprived of all these things, if ex-wives
were rounded up and jailed on Mother's Day for not subsidizing their ex-
husbands, as ex-husbands are commonly rounded up on Father's Day by clambering
District Attorneys and thrown in jail for not subsidizing their ex-wives,
we would hear something about men's greater ability to survive the trauma
Here, from David Chambers's Making Fathers Pay, is the way the male is handled
in divorce cases. Can one imagine a judge ordering an ex-wife to clean her
ex-husbands's home and then scolding her for failure to do so in some such
manner as this?
The Court: All
right, Mr. Connors, bring up Mr. Neal. (Mr. Neal approaches the bench.)
The Court: Mr. Neal, do you know why you're here?
The Court: I can't hear you.
The Court: Why are you here?
Defendant: Back alimony.
The Court: It's not alimony; I never ordered alimony.
The Court: You were never ordered by Judge Johnston to pay alimony.
Defendant: No, support.
The Court: That's right. You were ordered to pay support for your children,
not alimony for your wife. And that was back in '63, and he only made you
pay ten dollars per week per child. You have five, is that right?
The Court: Do you know how much you're in arrears?
The Court: How much?
Defendant: It's over ten thousand.
The Court: Well, why are you that far behind? Why haven't you paid something
Defendant: Well, I had other bills and trying to make a living myself; I
just couldn't seem to pay nothing.
The Court: Well, what do you mean "other bills"? You knew you had these children.
The Court: These children didn't ask to be brought into the world, Mr. Neal.
How did you expect those children to get food in their little stomachs and
clothes on their back, shoes on their feet, boots in the wintertime? Where
were you working all this time?
Defendant: I had different jobs.
The Court: Well, why haven't you held a steady job? What's your trouble?
I'd like to know.
The Court: Well, then, why haven't you held onto a steady job if nothing's
wrong with you?
Defendant: Just trying to find something that pays more money.
The Court: But you can't do it--
The Court: --going from one insignificant job to another. Were you born here
The Court: You knew that you could make a hundred and fifty, hundred and
sixty dollars in the factory here. Why didn't you apply to the factory?
Defendant: I did. They won't take me back because I got a hernia and I couldn't
pass the test again.
The Court: You got married [a second time] in '65. Did you marry a Flint
The Court: Is she working?
Defendant: No. She can't work; she's a diabetic now.
The Court: You knew you had these five children before you married her. These
are the ones that come first. I don't care about your second wife. But these
children are too small and I'm not going to let them go around in garbage
cans looking for food or something, or to put shoes on their feet. If you're
strong enough to marry a second time and go to bed, you're strong enough
to get a job that will pay and feed these children. You have no business
assuming that responsibility when you had five little tots to take care of.
They didn't ask to be brought into this world, Mr. Neal. You've defied this
court. You think that laws were made for everybody but you. Well, I'm going
to teach you a lesson. Do you have anything to say why I shouldn't cite you
for contempt of Court?
Defendant: (No audible response.)
The Court: Do you have anything to say, I asked you?
The Court: You have nothing to say in mitigation of what you've done to these
Defendant: I know I did wrong.
The Court: Yes. If you would have sent at least ten dollars a week for the
five of them, at least we would have seen that you were making an effort.
You didn't even send a nickel.
Defendant: I did send money off and on, but right to them; I didn't send
it to the court.
The Court: Oh, really, and you expect the court to believe that?
The Court: You're darn tooting I don't believe it. This court finds nothing
wrong with you. Hernia or no hernia, you had no business leaving the Fisher
body when you were building up seniority, fringe benefits, everything. You
take a leave of absence and go to Florida with a new wife. You may have gotten
that hernia at Fisher's for all you know.
Anyhow, the court finds you in contempt of court for violating this
support--violating the judgment of divorce, wherein support was made for
five small children at ten dollars per week [per child]. And that isn't even
enough. The court finds nothing wrong with you, hernia or no hernia. There
are many men who work with hernias; they are physically and mentally able.
If you are capable of remarrying, you are capable then of supporting your
children. You are to be confined to the county jail for one year unless you
come up with half, at least five thousand dollars, and a wage assignment
of at least the current fifty dollars, plus twenty-five dollars on the back.
Let him make two or three telephone calls and see if he can get somebody
to take him out.
Mr. Neal was sentenced
to a year in prison, but got two months off for good behavior.
If Mr. Neal had been more articulate he might have replied to the Court's
invitation to speak in his own behalf as follows:
You say that you
are imprisoning me for contempt of court. You are lying. You are imprisoning
me for debt, in violation of the law which you have sworn to uphold. You
are denying me my right to be tried by a jury of my peers, divorced males,
in violation of Article III, section 2 of the Bill of Rights, which you have
sworn to uphold.
You tell me that I have no business marrying a second wife. If you know anything
about the statistics of sociology, or if you have read George Gilder's Men
and Marriage, you would know that married men earn nearly twice as much as
single men. If you are concerned, as you affect to be, that I earn as much
as possible, you would encourage me to remarry.
You tell me that you care nothing for the welfare of my second wife, and
I believe you; but if I failed to support her, you would be tantruming at
me for the welfare costs she would require of the State of Michigan, and
telling me that you cared nothing for my first wife, and that since she is
not my wife I am not responsible for her, which is true.
You say I have no business assuming responsibility for a second wife. I say
to you, you have no business assuming responsibility for my children, and
that in taking that responsibility upon yourself and placing them in a fatherless
home in the custody of a woman incapable of providing for them, you are
responsible for their poverty. By placing them in a female-headed home you
are placing them where their likelihood of becoming delinquents is several
times greater than if they were in a father-headed home. You destroyed my
family, and you are trying to shift your responsibility for destroying it
onto me by blaming me for the law's incompetence to protect my children and
for the fact that I am unable to support two households with an income sufficient
only for one.
You say that my children didn't ask to be brought into the world. I say to
you that they didn't ask to be taken from a two-parent family where they
were decently provided for by me and placed by you in a one-parent family
where they are impoverished and at greater risk of delinquency and educational
You ask me why I haven't held a steady job. You want to know what my trouble
is. My trouble is that you have destroyed my family--destroyed the system
of motivation which formerly made me a productive, stable and useful member
of society--and are now about to make me a jailbird who can contribute nothing
to society. My trouble is the same trouble as that of tens of millions of
other American males--that you and the other members of your profession are,
by destroying half of America's families, destroying the basis of patriarchal
civilization. My trouble is that you and your fellow judges imagine that
by raging and tantruming at males like myself you can compensate for the
damage you are inflicting upon society by your own weakness of character,
your own lawlessness in refusing to keep your oath of office and administer
justice impartially, and your lack of cognitive skill.
You say you aren't going to let my children rummage in garbage cans. It is
because you placed them in a female- headed home that they are rummaging
in garbage cans. They never rummaged in garbage cans when they were in my
You may imagine that your demonstration of indignation is benefiting the
State of Michigan. It will cost the State between $20,000 and $25,000 to
imprison me for a year. During that time my ex-wife and my children will
be entirely on public welfare. During that time I will earn nothing and will
therefore be withdrawing another $25,000 worth of productivity from the Michigan
economy. My future employability will be impaired once I have a jail record.
I will be paying no taxes for the next year and reduced taxes in the
future--perhaps none at all, since I may find myself driven into the underground
economy, or compelled to leave the state in order to escape your bullying.
Your concern is not, as you pretend, for the best interests of my children.
You never lost thirty seconds of sleep over my children or any of the other
children you placed in fatherless households where they are far more likely
to be impoverished and delinquent. Your concern is to practice cheap judicial
chivalry at my expense and to preserve a mindless legal rule-of-thumb which
will save you the necessity of performing the duty for which you receive
your salary, the duty of administering impartial justice and of thinking
about what you routinely do when you destroy families and place children
in their mothers' custody.
In the Mahabharata,
the ancient epic of India, the character Pandy says, "Women were not formerly
immured in houses and dependent upon husbands and relatives. They used to
go about freely, enjoying themselves as best they pleased....They did not
then adhere to their husbands faithfully; and yet, O beauteous one, they
were not regarded as sinful, for that was the sanctioned usage of the
times....The present practice of women being confined to one husband for
life hath been established but lately." In the early l9th century, a traveller
named De Roquefeuil visited the Marquesas Islands and reported that nearly
every woman there had at least two husbands.
In the 24th century B. C., when civilization was a recent human achievement,
an edict of King Urukagina of Lagash declared that, "Women of former times
each married two men, but women of today have been made to give up this crime."
Made to give it up- -clearly the idea of monandry originated with males and
was imposed on females.
Contrary to what Gilder imagines, there must be something congenial to female
nature in the state of promiscuity which existed in India in the age of the
Pandavas, in the Marquesas Islands in the 19th century, in Lagash before
the time of King Urukagina. What else is to be inferred from the fact that
the most strident and frequently repeated demand of feminists is for "a woman's
right to control her own body"--to abolish the Legitimacy Principle and
re-establish the Promiscuity Principle?
"The right of women to full sexual equality with men," says Ms. Friedan,
"and to the dignity and privacy of their own person must be secured by federal
statute recognizing the right of every woman to control her own reproductive
life." That means a federal law legitimizing fornication for unmarried women
and adultery for married women, a federal law denying to men any rights under
the marriage contract.
"Only economic independence can free a woman to marry for love," says Ms.
Friedan. Men's money may be a "love-spoiler," but women's own money is romance
itself--and isn't necessarily connected with marriage at all. She explains:
"Marriage as an
institution is doomed" is the feeling of many women in the movement for whom
the essence of women's liberation sometimes seems to be liberation from marriage.
"There's no real
economic base for marriage any more," says a learned friend of mine. "When
women needed a man for economic support, and men needed women economically
to run a home, when they needed to have children to secure their old age,
marriage was real then and sex outside of marriage was not sanctioned. There's
no real basis for that now. That's why marriages now are breaking up as soon
as the children get old enough or even before." She illustrates from the
experience of a liberated friend:
She is currently involved with two married men in two different cities. Over
the last week she has seen both, spent two intense days with one, several
with the other, but does not quite know when she'll see either one again.
This has been going on for several years. Neither has any interest in leaving
his wife, nor would she really want to marry either one of them. Other than
the fact that neither is available on weekends, Sundays or holidays, or for
long vacations or dinner every night--her relationship with both is quite
perfect. Marvelously intense conversation, sex, emotion, dinners, letters--more
intense surely than if they were together every day. She is not at all jealous
of their wives.
"What could be better?" asks her married friend. "You can enjoy all that,
the closeness, the emotion, the sex, the fun and games--and you don't ever
have to do the laundry, so to speak, or stop doing your thing to make his
dinner. You live your own life. You only have yourself to think about. How
I envy you!"
Just like Romeo and Juliet. No money worries. No love- spoiling (male) money
to interfere with the fun and games by bribing and buying up women as though
they were property. The woman has her own money (or her husband's) and can
use it to enjoy her sacred right to promiscuity, a right which ought to be
guaranteed by federal law. This is the reality behind what Gilder perceives
as women's long-term sexual horizons, horizons which, however, become long-term
chiefly when contaminated by economic considerations.
The females in primitive societies and in the women's liberation movement
covet a promiscuity which would deny to males a secure family role. By contrast,
patriarchally socialized females in civilized societies accept the Sexual
Constitution (or did until recently), and their chastity and loyalty to their
husbands enable these husbands to be heads of families, a headship motivating
the stable and productive male behavior which Gilder takes to be the primary
difference between civilization and savagery. Both male and female behavior
differ, but the difference in female behavior, consequent upon its regulation
by the patriarchal sexual constitution, is the more fundamental.
Writing of the "creation of patriarchy" in the second millennium B. C., Dr.
Gerda Lerner says:
The class position
of women became consolidated and actualized through their sexual
relationships....[Different groups of women] shared the unfreedom of being
sexually and reproductively controlled by men....Class for men was and is
based on their relationship to the means of production: those who owned the
means of production could dominate those who did not.
It has to be that
way for patriarchy to work. Male status is based on work and the creation
of wealth, motivated by the male's role as head of the family. For this system
to exist it is necessary that society should do what Dr. Lerner complains
of its doing--consolidate the "class position" (status) of women through
their sexual relationships:
It is through the
man that women have access to or are denied access to the means of production
and to resources. It is through their sexual behavior that they gain access
to class. "Respectable women" gain access to class through their fathers
and husbands, but breaking the sexual rules can at once declass them.
The threat of being
de-classed is essential to the system, which would be destroyed by the acceptance
of the Promiscuity Principle. Accordingly, the acceptance of the Promiscuity
Principle is the major thrust of feminism: "Our liberation process consists
in large part in gaining control over our own bodies, which are our own selves,
our own lives." According to Helen Diner, "A free disposition over one's
own person is an original right in a matriarchal society" --and women want
the right restored. Lesbian feminist Susan Cavin insists that "patriarchy
must control female sexuality, or else patriarchy cannot exist....The creation
and maintenance of patriarchy or any other form of male-ruled society is
based on the control of female sexuality."
To recapitulate. Patriarchal civilization is made possible by the regulation
of female sexuality on the basis of the Sexual Constitution. Given freedom,
females do not use their influence to impose this Sexual Constitution on
males but to escape from it, to wreck the hated patriarchal system, as they
have done in the ghettos. Surely it is significant that in the vast feminist
literature dealing with the economic miseries of single mothers and their
children, there is nowhere any suggestion to return to the Sexual Constitution
and the patriarchal family--the only realistic means by which the economic
problems of most single mothers can be solved. The entire thrust of this
literature is to demand alternate methods of improving the standard of living
of female- headed families without going back to the family and the Sexual
Constitution which Gilder imagines them to be yearning for.
Annex to chapter I