Home Egalitarianism Gender Equality and Where Feminism Gets It Wrong

Gender Equality and Where Feminism Gets It Wrong

by Elizabeth Hobson
victorian couple

Gender is not on a spectrum. Gender – as far as how our expectations, treatment and responses to men and women are concerned – is on many spectrums. Our expectations, treatment and responses to men and women are consistently polarized – and yet we are, as Jordan B Peterson is wont to say, “more the same than different”.

So, what impacts do our expectations, treatment and responses have on individuals? What impacts do they have on our societies? And, is there a better way?

The Hypocrisy of Social Response to Male Emotion

Feminists often claim that men suffer from an expectation that they should be Stoic, so far so defensible. However, the movement behind the #MaleTears campaign then goes on (without a shred of intentional irony) to explain that it is other men who enforce this expectation because patriarchy hurts men tooTM.

In reality, as feminist aggression against men who express emotions that challenge feminist ideology shows, masculine Stoicism is largely enforced by women. Masculine stoicism has its place, and sure it should not be men’s only acceptable approach to emotion, but the feminist approach to it is deeply flawed.

Just a few examples include:

  • Overtly deplorable feminist accusations when a man dares to express his grief over his aborted child
  • Attacks toward men who are indignant about reprehensible, misandrist, feminist lies
  • The disgusted cold shoulder when a man displays distress or tears when he expresses anger

Women, on the other hand, are cursed with an expectation of emotional incontinence. It is assumed that women are easily triggered, special snowflakes – and therefore there’s no limit to the acceptable range of emotions that women can show in public.

And they receive social acceptance that validates the emotion, regardless of how inappropriate it is.

#KillAllMen – why, that’s a reasonable expression of fatigue from being a second-class citizen in societies built by men, for men!

False allegations – why, he must have done something to deserve the weaponization of the law and wider society against him!

Premeditated murder – why, women are never malevolent, and when they are they certainly must suffer from battered wife syndrome.

The emotional expectations on men and women are at opposing ends of a spectrum, but they are both equally unhealthy, unhelpful and unenlightened.

Masculine Stoicism Can Actually Be Good

The truth is that, Stoicism can be very useful. Often stability does necessarily need to come from inside us, particularly if we value the rights and liberties of others in our societies. We should not seek to impose our will on everybody else. We should not mandate the endorsement of everybody else for our own identities. We should seek to elevate ourselves rather than to drag down everybody else to our own level.

However, the Stoics of antiquity lived in a time of the most capricious governance, in lands where all could be lost to natural disaster or war, in a place where control over environment and situation was tenuous.

colonial society

Most individuals living in modern societies, on the other hand, are fortunate enough to have the security of the most reliable protection from harms that any human beings have ever enjoyed.

We have the luxury of choices in the ways that we live, when we find ourselves in intolerable situations – we can (usually) change them, with a will. So, living in our emotions sometimes can be a healthy way to assess our circumstances and whether they need to change – and can enable us to benefit from living in full technicolor, for:

“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

Khalil Gibran, On Joy and Sorrow

There is a middle ground, a Taoist-style balance between order and chaos, a genderless pathway that would allow men to express themselves more freely outside of male spaces (where I know they already do) and would strengthen women.

This pathway could liberate and embolden men to self-actualize in societies where their needs are acknowledged and championed – and could encourage women to master their emotions so that they are liberated too, from the wanton dominance of feeling that can lead them to act dysfunctionally.

I Was Once a Misinformed Feminist

Years ago, I misguidedly identified as a feminist because I was misinformed. I believed that women as a class were disadvantaged compared to men.

Outraged, I started to look… And what I discovered was that not only are feminist issues “baseless conspiracy theories, fantasies, lies, delusions or myths” – but that men and boys are facing grievous neglect, discrimination, and scorn in our societies. 


From the baby boy strapped, screaming to the Circumstraint and having an integral part of his genitals needlessly amputated (you know that some of that tissue violently stolen finds its way into Oprah’s face cream?), to the lack of funding for male illnesses, to the agonizing struggles faced by separated fathers in maintaining meaningful access to their children.

The treatment of men and women is on another spectrum – just as converse, and at least as toxic.

In the face of a mind-blowing gender justice gap in the treatment of offenders based on their sex, feminist individuals and campaign groups push for a widening of discriminatory practice.

In the face of fewer men entering university, feminists push for more women in the few subjects where they don’t already dominate.

In the face of 200 fathers losing access to their children in family courts every day, feminists produce misleading and inflammatory reports designed to give the impression that all fathers in battles of access should be treated as potential child-murderers or abusive husbands.

And feminists consistently enjoy much success than other activists in these efforts.

We Live in a Gender Apartheid Society

In terms of rights – in practice moreso than on paper – we live in gender apartheid societies, in the modern world.

Women and girls have bodily autonomy, with protection against the abuse that is forced genital mutilation and control over our fertility; men and boys do not.

Women and girls retain sympathy and dignity when they enter the criminal justice system, men and boys do not.

Women and girls are coddled in education, with “positive discrimination” designed to help them get head; men and boys are treated with contempt, with teachers giving them lower grades just for being male.

Revisionist history and relationships education are designed to shame them.

And most egregiously, children are routinely denied meaningful access to loving fathers because the ultimate losers in a zero-sum gender rights game in parenting are the little human beings that family justice should protect.

This is all nothing short of outright, open, socially-accepted gender discrimination against men.

We Have Failed to Recognize Female Privilege

Sally Nicholl’s book, ‘Things a Bright Girl Can Do’ was published to great acclaim and provoked a national conversation.

things a bright girl can do

It is the story of a wealthy young woman between 1914 and 1918 who is aggrieved that she cannot attend university like her brother, and is instead expected to marry her childhood sweetheart.

While I empathize with the character’s dissatisfaction with her lot; the idea that her brother enjoyed a privilege over and above hers deserves closer examination.

Bear in mind that her brother would have been subject to the draft for World War One. A wealthy, university-educated man would have been potentially part of the officer class who had a 5% higher death rate even than ordinary soldiers.

It’s simply a disgraceful misrepresentation that men were privileged over women in every respect. This simply wasn’t true.

Women have lacked some rights in the past, but they’ve also enjoyed significant privileges. By the same token, men have had some privileges, but also considerable disadvantages and distinct responsibilities women were free of.

civil war scene

Not only did women have the disadvantage of living limited lives – but they had the significant right to life! Not only did men have the disadvantage of a limited right to life – but they had more opportunities to self-actualize if they managed to avoid the wrong end of a bayonet.

Women Enjoyed Protection from Responsibility

A re-examination of the historic financial status of married women provides a similarly foggy picture of which of the sexes were most – and least – privileged. 

Coverture was enshrined in English common-law for centuries, up until the late nineteenth century when it was abolished by a series of Married Women’s Property Acts. What it did mean was that a husband was entitled to control all of a family’s finances, including any money that the wife brought to the table.

What is less often acknowledged is that he was also accountable for keeping his family fed, housed and clothed to a reasonable standard with what means they had – and could be prosecuted for failure to do so. It also meant that he alone was liable for any debts that his wife ran up. And if he couldn’t pay, he could face jail.

She also had a veto on his selling any house that he owned. Who was in the more secure position, it’s difficult to say. 

Coverture represents one of many balances which have reflected social conditions at various times, sensible divisions of labor, rights and responsibilities which facilitated the very survival of the species. Technological advances have rendered the old ways all but obsolete, which is wonderful for all concerned.

What’s sad is that we have rewritten this history and variously demonized or infantilized the participants, based on their sex. Our political and social structures have been (and are being) developed collaboratively by men and women working side by side, hand in hand. Men and women who deserve equal treatment and equal rights.

Sex Discrimination In the Criminal Justice System

Sex discrimination in the U.K. criminal justice system has a long history. For example, flogging as a punishment for female criminals was banned in 1820 but continued for men until 1967.

Presently, men account for around 95% of the total prison population despite only committing 3.4 times more crimes than women. According to William Collins, if men were treated as leniently in the criminal justice system as women are today, 5/6 men in prison would be free.

Factors that explain this disparity include:

  • A greater percentage of convicted men being sentenced to prison
  • Men being given longer sentences on average than women
  • Women being paroled earlier than men (despite being more likely to be disciplined for bad behavior while incarcerated)
  • Women being more likely to have mitigating factors (such as age, dependents, lack of previous relevant convictions and the appearance of genuine remorse) applied to their sentences whereas men are more likely to have aggravating factors (such as presence of previous relevant convictions, the location of the offence, being a member of a group or gang and evidence of some degree of pre-planning or pre-meditation) applied to their sentences.  

In 2018, Justice Secretary, David Gauke announced that plans for new women’s prisons would be scrapped. Instead, women’s centres for rehabilitation will be built to provide women with a range of resources to help them steer their lives back on track within their communities – in line with tireless campaigning from feminist individuals and groups.

Plans to build two new men’s prisons were never questioned, an emblematic symptom of the disparity in treatment of offenders based on their sex, and our collective responses to behaviors by men and women.

Women are somewhat less likely to reoffend after being convicted of a crime (18% as opposed to 26% of men) – and I firmly believe that the favorable treatment they receive in the Criminal Justice System, as well as the more sympathetic attitude taken to them by society in general (which is displayed in media coverage of crimes), are critical factors in explaining this disparity. 

The gender justice gap in the U.S. is, according to Professor Sonja Starr in 2012, six times as great as the racial justice gap, with women siphoned out of the criminal justice system at every stage, ultimately ending up – if they do end up in prison – with 63% shorter sentences. Women account for only 10% of prisoners in the U.S.

Society Has Never Been About Oppressing Women

Human society, as Steve Moxon advises in his book ‘Sex Differences Explained’, is about males competing with each other for access to females, not about men oppressing females.

Men compete with other men through dominance hierarchies that allow them to excel in their field and be noticed by women who then choose the men who show the qualities they most desire.

They act as the genetic filter, with only the most successful having the opportunity to reproduce while less successful combinations of genes are excluded from contributing to the gene pool for further generations (and in this way a positive evolution is driven).

Women, being the limiting factor in reproduction (only capable of producing an average of one baby every couple of years, as compared to men’s boundless ability to impregnate), are a protected “class”. DNA analysis in 2004 by Jason Wilder, Zahra Mobasher and Michael Hammer reveals that ancestrally the majority of women reproduced (80%) whereas only a minority of men did (40%).

The dynamic does not, therefore, disadvantage women: it disadvantages most men, relative to the winners – whilst at the same time driving artistic, technological, intellectual… advances of all kinds, that enrich all of our lives. 

For this reason, Patriarchy theory is half right – men occupy the majority of positions of executive power and prestige. But Patriarchy theory is also half wrong – because they do not execute that power on behalf of men as a class. A more credible theory, in my opinion, is that of Gynocracy – wherein power is executed most often on behalf of women who are set upon pedestals. A situation that clearly disadvantages men but also one that infantilizes (but also advantages) women, and overall drives vertical wedges between the sexes who are built to cooperate and love each other.

Modern Feminism Is Only About Protecting Female Privilege

In his 1913 volume ‘The Fraud of Feminism’, Ernest Belfort Bax identified “two distinct sides” to feminism: An “articulate political and economic side embracing demands for so-called rights”. This was entirely legitimate in the context of the time the book was written.

The other aspect though was “a sentimental side which insists on an accentuation of privileges and immunities.”

In the modern Western world there remain no legal rights afforded to men and not to women – so the modern Western feminist movement can only be and is only concerned with protecting and expanding upon privileges and immunities.

It is time to realize the entirely possible and utterly functional ideal of sex equality. This must begin by discarding feminism; recognizing that our expectations, treatment and responses to men and women are on spectrums – and that these spectrums are not justified, are immoral and are problematic.

It can also be done by recognizing that men and women have an inviolable right to be treated as individuals, not representatives of their “sex classes”.

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