Couple role playing with dog leash

Unraveling the myths of gynocentric culture

Did female-centered culture begin in the prehistoric era?

This question is sometimes asked by people who feel that gynocentrism has been around for the entirety of human evolution. The answer to that question is of course yes – gynocentrism has been around throughout human history. However it’s important to make a distinction between gynocentrism (that is, individual gynocentric acts, customs, or events) and gynocentric culture (a pervasive cultural complex that affects every aspect of life). We will never be precise enough to make sense of this subject unless we insist on this distinction between gynocentrism and gynocentric-culture.

Gynocentrism:

5.venus-of-willendorfIt’s easy to overstate the import of specific examples of gynocentrism when in fact such examples may be equally balanced, culturally speaking, by male-centered acts, customs, or events which negate the concept of a pervasive gynocentric culture. Here we are reminded of the old adage that one swallow does not make a summer, and that likewise individual gynocentric acts, or even a small collection of such acts, do not amount to a pervasive gynocentric culture.

Individual examples of gynocentrism are sometimes misconstrued as representing a broader culture, as seen in the discussion around ancient female figurines which some people claim are indications of goddess-worshipping, gynocentric cultures. Not only is the import of the female figurines vastly overstated, the quantity discovered is potentially exaggerated according to leading feminist archeologists:

“Quantitative analyses of Upper Paleolithic imagery make it clear that there are also images of males and that, by and large, most of the imagery of humans-humanoids cannot readily be identified as male or female. In fact, no source can affirm that more than 50 per cent of the imagery is recognizably female.” [Ancient Goddesses]

Even if the majority of these figurines had proven to be female, this wouldn’t indicate a gynocentric culture any more than would statues of the goddess Athena, and the Parthenon built in her honor, indicate that ancient Athens was a gynocentric city – which it clearly was not.

Archeologists discovered stencils of female hands in ancient caves, created by the practice of spraying mud from the mouth onto a female hand. Some were led to surmise, without evidence, that those same hands served as authorship of the animals that were also painted on the cave walls. Additionally, these archeologists assumed that the presence of female hand images not only meant that women painted the cave art but that the entire ancient world “must have” consisted of a completely gynocentric culture. These assumptions show the dangers of allowing imagination to depart too far from the evidence.

Further examples of overreach are the citing of fictional material from classical era, such as Helen of Troy (a Greek myth), or Lysistrata (a Greek play) as proof of gynocentric culture; unfortunately these examples are about as helpful for understanding gynocentrism as would be the movie Planet of the Apes to future researchers studying the history of primates.

Gynocentric culture:

A cultural complex refers to a significant configuration of culture traits that have major significance in the way people’s lives were lived. In sociology it is defined as a set of culture traits all unified and dominated by one essential trait; such as an industrial cultural complex, religious cultural complex, military cultural complex and so on. In each of these complexes we can identify a core factor – industry, religion, military – so we likewise require a core factor for the gynocentric cultural complex in order for it to qualify for the title. At the core of the gynocentric cultural complex is the feudalistic structure of lords and vassals, a structure which eventually became adopted as a gender relations model requiring men to serve as vassals to women. C.S. Lewis called this restructuring of gender relations ‘the feudalisation of love’ and rightly suggested that is has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched.
Subservient male
The feudalisation of love was not something seen in pre-medieval times, let alone in the Paleolithic era when feudalism simply didn’t exist. For example, we have not yet seen a cave painting equal to this art from the Middle Ages showing a male acting as subservient vassal to a dominant woman who leads him around by a neck halter.

In summary, it appears everyone agrees that examples of gynocentric acts have existed throughout human history. The question is not whether an act occured but whether or not it was part of a more dominant culture of gynocentrism. The answer sought is not when a gynocentric act was recorded but when the gynocentric cultural complex (GCC) began, on which point there appear to be three main theories:

►Ancient Genesis
►Medieval Genesis
►Recent Genesis

At the moment all evidence favours a Medieval genesis, as there is simply not enough evidence for it in ancient culture beyond scattered examples of gynocentrism. In fact what we do know of classical civilizations appears to favour the reverse conclusion – that these were patently androcentric cultures that held sway globally until the 12th century European revolution.

Source: Gynocentrism and its cultural origins

About Peter Wright

Peter Wright has been a MHRA for 30 years, a Man Going His Own Way for more than 10 years, and is the creator and publisher of gynocentrism.com

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  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Shorter Peter Wright: “Did gynocentrism exist prior to the medieval era. Yes. An all-pervasive cultural mentality of male servitude toward women as our heritage as naked apes? No.”

  • OldGeezer

    The distinction between gynocentrism and gynocentric culture is certainly an important one, but I would argue that distinguishing amongst various areas of human activity may be even more important. Reproductive activities, for example, have tended almost inevitably and quite naturally toward gynocentrism as the female role in that area has almost always been regarded as paramount. It’s “Mother Earth”, not “Father Earth”. It was long thought that the female role determined the sex of the offspring amongst other things, witness Henry VIII and his (in)famous efforts to find a wife to “give him” a male heir … or so the poor misguided chap claimed.

    Other areas of activity have, at least until quite recently, tended to be very distinctly androcentric, most especially those involving protection and provision for the very existence of human society itself. In simultaneously resenting those “male prerogatives” while claiming them for themselves, at least in some controlling capacities of greatest convenience, feminists seek to expand gynocentrism into the cultural generality that it is now become in western society at least.

    • OldGeezer

      … greatly aided by many of those same protective accommodating males, I should add.

    • http://www.genderratic.com/ Jim Doyle

      Reproductive activities, for example, have tended almost inevitably and quite naturally toward gynocentrism as the female role in that area has almost always been regarded as paramount. It’s “Mother Earth”, not “Father Earth”.

      In some cultures. In Peru the sun was considered the life-giving force, and in ancient Egypt also.

      And then again, in ancient Germanic mytholgy (and grammar) the sun was feminine.

      • http://gynocentrism.com/2013/07/14/about/ Peter Wright (Tawil)

        Several cultures had a ‘father earth’ not least of which was the high civilization of ancient Egypt which worshipped Geb the all-nourishing earth god who fertilized the land and nourished all living creatures. His counterpart was the sky goddess Nut. More cultures worshipped a mother earth due to the association of woman’s ability to grow things in her womb (a metaphor for fecund earth), but nurture more generally was not seen as an exclusively female domain. The book Fatherhood Reclaimed gives further examples of nurturing male deities.

        • OldGeezer

          More cultures worshipped a mother earth due to the association of woman’s ability to grow things in her womb …

          Yes. It was merely an incidental observation about the tendency to regard women as paramount in some (most?) reproductive areas of activity. Certainly not totally exclusive of male involvement. The main point was simply that gynocentric culture might also be considered in the context of extending female primacy into a much broader range of roles and activities that were predominantly male during much of the past. It’s arguable either way, no doubt.

          • http://gynocentrism.com/2013/07/14/about/ Peter Wright (Tawil)

            OldGeezer: “The main point was simply that gynocentric culture might also be considered in the context of extending female primacy into a much broader range of roles and activities that were predominantly male during much of the past. It’s arguable either way, no doubt.”

            That definitely appears to be the case, women are harnessing more and more cultural turf with each passing decade – a bit gain from the ancient turf that (as you suggest) was originally centered around the act of childbirth and a various other activities. The situation today looks more like a Mother Earth and Mother Sky both.

    • tallwheel

      Yes. Biology is gynocentric as far as I’m concerned… and biology creates culture, so…

  • http://kevin-wayne.blogspot.com Kevin

    I’ve taken a keen interest in Peter Wright’s work, and have also published his stuff on my own blog, Under The Goddess. More valid research like this is needed! |m/

  • yinyangbalance

    I find it amazing how finding a simple small clay statue of a fat woman can make Feminism conclude that the ‘natural’ place of women is a goddess, and that fat is beautiful and correct as a feminine state of body. Fat Feminism in all its stupidity is very real unfortunately but I digress.

    We have no idea what that statue was all about. For all we know it could have been a comical character to make kids laugh. WHO KNOWS?!?!

    I always find it interesting that History, because its long gone, can turn into something like a splattered piece of art hanging up in a prestigious museum with snobby upturned nose art connoisseurs all bickering about what the splatter means…and then coming to some sort of consensus “yes yes…it must be…yes!” and no one bothered to ask the artist. I think this is also why in the art world, a dead artist is better than a live one…because he/she wont be around to make the connoisseurs and all the other snobby art interpreters wrong. Art mimics life mimics art…or should I say Art mimics History and History mimics Art at this point. Art, like history, ironically becomes the viewers own blank canvas to be whatever they want it to be.

    There really isn’t such a thing as a historian…because they all insert their own twist to history. They are the artist themselves and the consumer of their own art, and they splatter it around like wet paintbrush tainting everyone’s view of the world.

  • http://kevin-wayne.blogspot.com Kevin

    Someone didn’t find Peter’s article to his (?) liking:

    http://radicalcentristblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/nothing-but-rant-a-voice-for-mens-prehistory-fail/

    Feel free to respond, anyone;

    • OldGeezer

      I stopped reading at the point where he claimed to be skipping right over “the myth of a female-centered anything in the modern world.”

      • http://www.avoiceformen.com August Løvenskiolds

        “He” is “HeatherN” and Heather calls himself a Feminazi.

        Heather claims that one cannot draw a direct link between ancient cultures and modern cultures. – “Next let’s look at your question of whether a specific kind of culture “began” in the ancient past.”

        This notion of cultural independence sort of wrecks the entire feminist notion of a continuous patriarchy that has always oppressed women for the benefit of men.

    • Odysseus

      Lol, “HeatherN” wrote, Peter Wright (aka Tawil) ask the question: Did female-centered culture begin in the prehistoric era? Okay, Peter, I’m going to stop you right there… let’s look at the phrase “prehistoric era.” Peter, Peter, Peter.

      The article above by peter states “This question [about the prehistoric era] is sometimes asked by people who feel that gynocentrism has been around for the entirety of human evolution.” So Peter doesn’t ask that question, he says its other people who do.

      Did she even read the article? She came across as a typical know-it-all who knows nothing about medieval gender relations so resorts to strawman argument about the use of the word prehistoric. Typical feminist bluster.

    • http://gynocentrism.com/2013/07/14/about/ Peter Wright (Tawil)

      Meh, she didn’t really tackle the subject matter, so there’s nothing much to respond to. I wish one of these feminists were intelligent enough to respond to the subject matter and provide a real argument worth debating. Not going to happen.

    • Bombay

      Perhaps HeatherN should have paid more attention in English class where she could have learned about countable and non-countable nouns and understand that cultures and culture can be used interchangeably. Perhaps she should ask for a refund on that MS or did she mean she was a Ms.? Yeah, that is the ticket.

      http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/culture_1

      Obviously she lacks culture. LOL

    • Manalysis

      Hi,

      I also wonder, what is “Empirical Rome”, and how does it differ from e.g. “Speculative Rome”?

      M