Ending sexism once and for all
In a post-feminist society, in which gender equality is championed and adored in almost all aspects of life, the term ‘patriarchy’ is generally derided as one of many deadly sins. Yet Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Newton made no specific mention of how much this reaction would be reported on in the mainstream western media.
So it is that the oft-forgotten societal force paired with patriarchy still lurks in the shadows, uncared for and unnoticed in day-to-day life: Gynocentrism.
Gynocentrism is a word whispered only in the darkest depths of the internet, where unpopular opinions go to fester and breed. It goes misunderstood and spurned, a word taken to mean “a very vague societal love of women”, which most modern feminists, academic or otherwise, scoff at. But its meaning is far more subtly linked to patriarchy, and its effects far more strongly linked to western culture, than most would ever realise.
It is defined as a dominant focus upon women. A concentration upon and exclusive care for the female. In context, it functions as the chief benefit, and purpose, of patriarchy.
When looking at evolutionary psychology, it is a fairly obvious adaptation for the human species to have made. Rather than hunting using a social group which, to reproduce, must spend 9 months becoming progressively more fragile, uncomfortable and unwieldy, the more versatile sex would take on these roles. This would soon progress to other professions as well; as society got more advanced, it spread to soldiering, dangerous professions, and many ‘outer sphere’ professions.
Whilst the context, conditions, and ethics of these situations would constantly change, one basic exchange would underscore each and every one: The exchange of female freedom for protection.
The installation of a patriarchy, in exchange for gynocentrism. A true deal with the devil.
Yet as modernity has progressed, we’ve seen the vast majority of limits to female freedom lifted. Gender-equal human rights has become a basic facet of western civilization, and the western world has only benefited from it.
Now, prepare to be outraged: Except for men.
Because whilst the patriarchy has been lifted, gynocentrism has not. This may, on face value, seem an affront to feminist readers. “Sexism still exists in so many forms in today’s society”, they might argue, and without meandering off-topic it’s perfectly obvious that sexism does still exist. Not institutionally, however; that’s why institutionalized gender inequality is illegal in the UK and the US.
At the same time, women are beloved. When committing the same crimes, women disproportionately receive lighter prison sentences. In a 2012 study by Sonja B. Starr of the University of Michigan Law School, female arrestees were also significantly likelier to avoid convictions altogether, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.
Likewise, in the American and Canadian education system, boys now rank behind girls on nearly every academic metric of achievement. Many argue that this is because of the ‘feminization’ of the early education system, a system designed to better serve a girl’s style of learning. Rather than practically learning, they sit still in a classroom and talk, suppressing young boys’ inherent rowdiness. They are, as author and academic feminist Christina Hoff Sommers argues, “treated like defective girls”, and these defects are not seen merely metaphorically. At an average diagnosis age of 7, according to healthline.com, boys are three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than females. 12.9% of men will be diagnosed with ADHD within their lifetimes.
Most commonly, these diagnoses come with prescriptions for medications which will force their child to sit still and behave.
In the UK, gynocentrism can still be seen enshrined within domestic violence rates and law. According to Home Office and British Crime Survey statistics, men made up 40% of UK domestic violence victims between 2004-05 and 2008-09. Between 2012 and 2016, there was an 80% rise in reports from male victims. Despite this, only 18 national refuges exist in the UK, none in London, which serve men. According to John Mays of the charity Parity, there are 7,500 provisioned refuge places for women – 60 for men.
This problem isn’t improving anytime soon. It is an unfortunate reality that western culture, and indeed the western media, simply do not care about these issues; gynocentrism still exists in full force. When MP Philip Davies attempted to block a bill calling for the prosecution of British “honour violence”, for the sole reason that it singularly specified it would cover women instead of both women and men, he was heckled by members of the Commons shouting “Sit down”.
This kind of silencing is not unheard of, however. According to the Samaritans statistics report, in 2017, 4997 men in the UK and Republic of Ireland killed themselves. This number is more than 3 times higher than the female statistic of 1642. According to UK Government statistics, by Autumn 2016, there were 4,134 homeless people in England, of whom 88% were men. Likewise in their Fatal Injuries at Work report for 2016/17, it was found that 97% of all fatal work injuries in the UK were men.
Yet when Jess Phillips, MP, laughs in the face of a suggestion that men’s issues should be discussed in parliament on International Men’s Day, nobody is too upset. After all, it’s not like she landed a probe on a fast-moving asteroid whilst wearing a shirt emblazoned with women in bondage gear.
Whilst it is an obviously good thing that the patriarchy and its oppressive nature has been lifted, the work of feminism and egalitarianism is not yet done. Indeed, gynocentrism can still even be an oppressive force for women, forcing them into a protected role even if it has stopped curtailing their freedom. Women are still fighting for a right to serve on the front lines of combat in the armies of the west, providing a chance for feminists, egalitarians and MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) to find common ground.
Although if gynocentrism must be placed within a framework where it oppresses women for anybody to want to take action, it may just be indicative of its own problem. It’s disturbingly easy to forget that on the day that Jess Phillips laughed in the face of men’s issues in parliament, 12 more men committed suicide.
By Josh Matthews