Patriarchy is the oppression of men

Patriarchy is Oppression of Men

We cast others into the roles of agent and patient. Agents do things, patients have things done to them. People prefer to deliver pain to agents, even those agents who act in the benefit to others, than patients. Agents, good or bad, are seen as both capable of enduring more pain than patients and elicit less sympathy when they do so.[1]

This dichotomy divides people into those who can expect to draw upon the resources of society to be protected and provided for, and those who can’t.

This dynamic can also be titled ‘hyperagency’[2]. Hyperagency is the perception that a group of people has more agency than they actually do. Being cast in the role of hyperagent has significant drawbacks for groups so cast and throughout history we can see groups of marginalized people cast into this role as scapegoats. They are seen as having disproportionate influence on society, thus responsible for all of its ills, thus punishment or confinement of the hyperagent group is justified.

Hyperagents suffer from hyposympathy relative to hypoagents. Hypoagents are greatly enfranchised over hyperagents in their ability to expect and demand that others protect them when they are victimized and provide for them when they require it. Hypoagents weild power through the creation and exploitation of hypersympathy. Hypersympathy is an artificially inflated sympathy based on reducing other’s perception of one’s agency.

Hyperagents, on the other hand, are considered the appropriate dispensers of violence on the behalf of hypoagents. Hyperagents are also expected to buffer hypoagents from directly experiencing violence or depredation.

Men, in every society on earth, are cast into the role of hyperagent. They are expected to assume positions of overt power in the family and in the political, legal and financial spheres. This is an expectation of their gender role and one they have to fulfill least they be seen as ‘not a man’ and thus worthless to their families and society.

Needing to be emphasized is men’s lack of agency regarding assumption of the position of hyperagent.

Men are forced to assume the role of hyperagent in various ways. Some men have it thrust upon them as a condition of being male; for example in communities that have a cultural practice of appointing men as heads of households (even though there is evidence indicating that men have less actual control over their households relative to the true head of the home, the woman who has taken him as husband.) Men are also expected to acquire hyperagency through participation in systems that expect sacrifice of emotional and physical health as a cost of participation.

Forcing men into hyperagency as a condition of their gender role enables a vast reserve of vulnerable men—made vulnerable by society’s relative indifference to their suffering and deaths–for society to sacrifice when and where it requires such sacrifice.

Without the perception of male hyperagency, cultivated through cultural rules about ‘heads of households’ and the ‘stronger sex’, there would not be this battery of human bodies to throw into the woodchipper.

This creates a self-reinforcing cycle. Generals exist because there are tens of thousands of privates willing to give up their lives on his order; tens of thousands of privates exist because men have been thrust into the role of hyperagent thus society will turn a blind eye to their deaths; men have been universally stereotyped as hyperagents because Generals are male. But Generals are male because only men are so motivated by the expectation to assume hyperagency that they will endure the emotional strain of sending thousands of people to their death. (Regardless if that emotional strain is lessened by the fact those people are mostly men.)

Men die in war precisely because our leaders are men.

(In fact arguing that excluding women from positions of power is oppression of women when those positions of power only exist because other men are willing to sacrifice their lives to create them seems to be moral slight of hand of the worst sort.)

Far from being empowering, a man’s role as hyperagent is disempowering.

Every cultural institution that casts men into the role of overt hyperagent disenfranchises men as a group emotionally. They become victims of hyposympathy and are incapable of rousing concern from others for their vulnerabilities. (Instead their vulnerabilities arouse contempt and ostracisim.) Simply, the more cultural institutions that presumptively exclude women from the role of hyperagent, the more women are perceived as hypoagents relative to men, the more hypersympathy women receive and the more men suffer from hyposympathy.

In a system, where overt hypoagency benefits women by enfranchising them with hypersympathy, women policing the behavior of other women—including resisting overt political enfranchisement of women as the female founded and lead Antisufferage movement demonstrates– to make sure all women play the role of hypoagent is makes complete sense.

Rather than dupes of the patriarchy, these women are protecting the dynamic that produces the hypersympathy that they then exploit to benefit themselves.

Conversely forcing men into the role of hyperagent represents a real and often deadly loss of empathetic potency. It puts men into an inferior position relative to women when negotiating for sympathy from society at large.

And no one in history ever asked men’s permission before forcing their participation in all of this.


[1] “Moral Typecasting: Divergent Perceptions of Moral Agents and Moral Patients” http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~wegner/pdfs/Gray%20&%20Wegner%20(2009)%20Moral%20Typecasting.pdf

[2] Credit to GirlWritesWhat for coining the term ‘hyperagency.’

About Alison Tieman (Typhonblue)

Alison Tieman (aka Typhonblue) is a Canadian writer and social observer. She is a Senior Contributor and Editor to A Voice for Men, penning superlative works that analyse gender-related behavior in men and women. She also writes for Genderratic, and is a founder and member of The Honeybadger Brigade.

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  • AntZ

    Very true. I have often wished that there existed a technically correct lexicon for the particular dilema that leads to apex falacy and compassionless disdain for the (majority) male suffering compared to (minority) female suffering.

    I must say, there is a part of me that is not 100% satisfied with knowledge. Understanding is a good thing, of course. But most MRAs have a gut level understanding of the workings of perceived hyperagency mediated neglect.

    What I wish we had is … a tool to say all of this, in a single catchy phrase with a memorable jingle to it. I am each day less interested in understanding, and more interested in tools of persuagion. Or tools of abrasive irritation, in cases where the real target is not the perceived (feminist) opponent, but neutral third parties watching the melee. Nothing convinces people of the evil of feminism better than goading one of them to go off the deep end and start saying what he or she really thinks …

    • John A

      I agree we need good slogans, feminism is full of them.

      Facts and logic are important elements of arguments, but rhetoric will win every time. Intellectuals, especially scientists, often fall into the trap of thinking that being right on its own is enough. Facts and logic form part of rhetoric and rarely is some one completely right or completely wrong.

      You made the excellent point that when you argue online is is rarely the bigot or the ally that you interact with that is important – it’s getting the message across to the invisible observers that counts.

      • richbg2

        Feminism Slogan: A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.
        MRM/MGTOW Slogan suggestion: A man needs a woman like a fish needs a hook.

        Would this work? Is it too misogynistic?

      • richbg2

        Misandry/ Sci-fi Slogan

        Dating – Strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

  • DruidV

    Another excellent article TB!!!

  • Raven01

    This does not bode well for soldiers at all.
    “Generals exist because there are tens of thousands of privates willing to give up their lives on his order; tens of thousands of privates exist because men have been thrust into the role of hyperagent thus society will turn a blind eye to their deaths; men have been universally stereotyped as hyperagents because Generals are male. But Generals are male because only men are so motivated by the expectation to assume hyperagency that they will endure the emotional strain of sending thousands of people to their death. ”
    Now imagine for a moment a rad-fem general with limited strategic ability. Given command to up the veejayjay percentage of high level officers. That is a recipe for a “general” that will make old Blood and Guts, Patton look like a teddybear as she secretly delights in feeding all of those “potential oppressors” into a meat grinder.
    The society described seems more inliune with a matriarchy with the men acting as worker drones, warriors and managing the world to best suit the true rulers.

    • Atlas Reloaded

      “Now imagine for a moment a rad-fem general with limited strategic ability. ” So basically, ANY feminist leader. xD

      • Raven01

        Yeah, I was a bit redundant ther wasn’t I.
        I used a rad-fem as an example but, honestly how many women that don’t even consider themselves feminist see men as anything more than a tool to get what they want?

  • Mateusz

    Typhon Blue, you have done it again, taking something everyone thinks they know, Patriarchy Theory, and looking at it from an angle that challenges the conventional wisdom.

    I agree that there is a lot benefit in being seen as powerless, and detriment in being seen as powerful. There are plenty of examples of scapegoats in history. I also feel the most important point is how men never have been asked if they want this role. For all the perceived power, men aren’t given the agency to even decide if they really want this agency.

  • Rper1959

    Great, insightful article TB. Once again clarifying aspects of relations between the sexes.
    I must admit to feeling apprehensive at seeing the title, since I don’t believe that there is any such thing as the “patriarchy” as feminists describe it and frequently they make the claim that “the patriarchy hurts men as well’ although in a trivial way compared to women’s victimhood (hypoagency and hypersymapthy in your terms).

    Suffice it to say cultural norms and expectations that have arisen over time lead to the dynamic you describe despite what you call it.

    Growing up in a large family of nine children, it was clear that my parents considered themselves equal team players, they needed to be for us to survive. My Dad had already done his “male” duty in the pacific in WWII.

    My wife who grew up in the USSR quotes a well known Russian saying ” The man is the head of the house , but the women is the neck!” bout sums it up for me.

    Ps just came across this interesting piece

  • http://www.avoiceformen.com Dr. F


    I love that brain you got there, and for that matter (grey) thanks for sharing it’s thoughts. The last bit here,

    “And no one in history ever asked men’s permission before forcing their participation in all of this.”

    …speaks of an empathy and insight so rare it nearly tips me off my feet.

    Thanks for this one.

    • Strange

      That was my thought too – I’d like to kiss TyphonBlue’s brain!

  • Atlas Reloaded

    WHY…IS IT…that the women that end up on places like AVfM and that are pro-MRM….are always 7 times smarter than ALL feminist women on the internet?? LOL!


    Good article T.B.

    • Free Human Being

      That is true.

    • http://www.bcdads.com bcdad666

      Genuine intelligence, of the kind that labors to peer through the veil of populist belief, is no less rare among men, I’m thinking. Otherwise, no men would work, marry, have children, or otherwise participate in a relationship with a female, sexual or otherwise.

      • Primal

        Yes. Soldiers, in particular, tend not to be the brightest lights to start with. Military training (an oxymoron) is designed to destroy whatever critical thinking skills brainwashed recruits bring to the patriotism party in the first place.

        The other thing to consider is that the issues involved here are quite complicated. Most young men simply don’t have the mental tools or wisdom to sort through the quandaries involved before falling into the ageless trap. It’d be nice were there some common sense alternatives publicly proposed to young men so that they had other options than ‘be all that you can be’.

        • Strange

          Gotta take issue with you a bit – not least because I am a soldier.

          The British Army (that’s the only one I can speak for, but there’s no reason to think it doesn’t apply elsewhere) doesn’t want idiots – it wants thinking soldiers and the training makes no effort to eradicate critical thinking, in fact there are lessons on ethics and so on. Asymmetric warfare is no place for the older tactics – more individual decisions have to be made and modern Armies have to develop their soldier’s decision making skills.

          More and more these days, guys are joining the Armed Forces in their twenties – many of them have some qualifications and they have a bit more life experience behind them than the typical recruit of the past.

          Sorry to go off topic here folks – but couldn’t let this one pass by without a bit of correction.

          No intent to be snotty to you Primal.

          • Primal

            I stand corrected. No personal offense intended. Thanks for your courtesy too.

            It looks like some very positive changes are going on…similar to what happened in the business world as the power was pushed down. However, I’ve got to wonder about the ethics training. Tony Blair took the British Army to war behind Baby Bush…and many people smelled the dead rat even before the war started. Does today’s military training encourage the kind of critical thinking that says ‘my leaders are lying…and I’m going to be forced to kill and die for lies…so I refuse to deploy’…or is todays training focus on being smarter tacticians in dishonest wars? Or I notice no women in combat beside me. How come we men are dying but women aren’t and we have to go home to the likes of hateful Harriet Harperson and her all-women short lists…now taken up by David Cameron too? That’s the kind of critical thinking that would really show the shift you are talking about. I see it occasionally in Israeli F-16 pilots who refuse to drop bombs in crowded Palestinian camps.

        • Colonel Paddy

          I have to second Strange in reply to Primals rabid generalization that soldiers are “thick”. Like Strange I’m a product of the British Army, and have fought along-side blokes from many NATO countries, very few of who where stupid or dim. The days of the barely literate, peasant soldier are long gone in the west. Though the same cannot be said for most countries east of Poland and south of the coast of North Africa.

  • Kimski

    Oh, Typhon, what is to become of you? Here you are, wasting your divine goddess talent granted to you by the sacred Mother Moon, writing articles of brilliant clarity for these creepy, woman-hating MEN(!), when you could have done so much to further the bias and resent of all feminist women in the world.
    /lunacy off.

    On a more serious note:
    You know how I feel about your writing, and with this latest piece you have once again shown me why.
    Excellent points you bring up here.

  • http://none universe

    Pivotal essay. Lots of potential for supplementary material, too.
    Well done TB.

    A novel approach at understanding the micro division of sex roles within the larger macro order.
    Throughout the ages this macro order, run by a minority, appears to exist mainly for clan/national cohesion, commerce and production.
    The majority micro hyper agents offered protection to both people plus the interests of the macro – commerce and production – and were its chief participant in all three.
    Yes, it was mainly men at the helm of the macro but it was mostly men as the micro agent protector who often paid a life’s price for what he was later obliged to do. (“Be a man”).

    During eras when physical strength was key to survival men were biologically suited to fulfill this role. The ruler of clans/communities became the figurehead of organization – patriarch. Tribes, etc., became dependent on such dynamic individuals for leadership.

    Now, if rad and regular femnists agents of social chaos could truly and honestly allow the words of the essay to sink in. Their limited world view might expand somewhat, they could grow-up a little more and give the rest of us some respite from their childish demands.

  • Rad

    I noticed some spelling errors.

    weild –> wield
    Antisufferage –> anti-suffrage
    female founded —> female-founded

    The brackets that come after the period with (Regardless…) instead of before the period is incorrect style. If that is corrected, then “Regardless” should not be capitalized.

    The comma after “In a system,” is superfluous.

    The word “Conversely” near the end of the text is not used properly. Conversely to what?

    There’s some other stuff I’d like to fix too. :(

    • Poester99

      you guys should have a editor@avoiceformen-nspm.com for this sort of stuff, then everyone can participate.

      • Zorro

        I am totally up for that!

    • Zorro

      …and here was me thinking I was the only one with a fetish for grammar, spelling and punctuation.

      Thank Goodness I’m no longer alone in my proofreading ministrations.

      Rad! You and me. A bartender. Some Guinness.

  • B.R. Merrick

    “…empathetic potency…”

    Wow. This is why I read typhonblue. What an eloquent phrase.

    This empathy needs to be developed early on. I submit that it is quite natural when one is exposed to humanity and not coerced. You want potency? Let them see and experience the world and humanity as they are. Otherwise:

    • Poester99

      They’ll be found by a sentient evil ring that will unnaturally prolong their life and drive them insane?

      • B.R. Merrick

        Due to their unnatural lack of empathy, they will take to The Ring like flies to shit, and then become emaciated. Their love for The Ring will compel them to separate themselves even more, emotionally and physically, from the rest of humanity, where they are guaranteed to learn even less about it.

        • Poester99

          yes.. .but will there be jello?

  • keyster

    I think this furthers the Esther Vilar, “Manipulated Man” narrative, which desperately needs to happen, now more than ever.

  • http://forsakeneagle.blogspot.com/ ForsakenEagle

    The great lie of the western world: men are the oppressors of women.

    This was a great analysis of the roles men have been put into under the so-called Patriarchy. I am told time and time again how women were oppressed in the old days. I once thought (when I was a little younger and more naive) women lived in conditions similar to black slaves in America. Nice try, feminists.

    All one needs to do is take off the blinders and see that women have always been protected. Husbands who were caught hitting their wives were rightfully punished, but the opposite was not. Women have always had a right to hit men they did not like without a much needed social lambasting. I once believed women were hit all the time if they were “out of line.” Nice try, feminists.

    Now with the modern society, feminists have found they can exploit their age old ‘hypersympathy’ privilege while leaving men in the role of ‘oppressors.’ Men are still living like always, only without the benefit of a traditional home, wife, and children. Nice try yet again, feminists.

    In a way, the feminist movement can very well be a great thing for young men such as myself. Never before has human sexual politics been so well understood. MRM and MGTOW have given us a better understanding of this quagmire we are born into, and shows us better ways of living without female or societal approval.

    Now before us is the challenge of forcing the society at large to leave our lives so we can live as we (as individuals) can see fit. Of course, the idea of men making their own decisions without the approval of women and rulers frightens them greatly. They NEED us, but we don’t need them. Therefore, they wage this war on us to tear us apart and keep other men in line.

    Forsaken Eagle

  • xtrnl

    Another excellent article, as always, TyphonBlue. I found this article was filled with amazing insight. You’ve found a wonderful way to describe a phenomenon I’ve noticed since I was a child. I called this “the monopoly of sympathy”, that is the tendency, for society to have nothing but sympathy for women in every adverse situation, and none for men in the same situations. Thank you for your analysis, and for articulating this phenomenon so eloquently.

  • Primal

    A little comic relief from the Mouth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI3FqxAJFYs

  • Funcuz

    While there’s nothing wrong with what Typhonblue says , I’m beginning to take note of something that is annoying me .
    To wit , frankly , why are we buying into the idea of patriarchy anyway ? Do we really live in a patriarchal society ?
    I mean to say that , if we once did live in a patriarchy , well , that’s all well and good but how relevent is that to today ? I’m just not seeing any evidence of patriarchy .

    To me , discussing the patriarchy’s role in the oppression of men or women is like discussing the monarchy’s role in it as well . Feminists like it because the very word is intrinsically linked to masculinity and therefore , since all societal ills can be laid down at the feet of men , it makes for a handy strawman .

    This bothers me though because I’m starting to hear a little too much about patriarchy from people who certainly aren’t benefitting in any way from such a system . It seems to me that if all power is concentrated in the hands of men but used only for the benefit of women , that’s no patriarchy and never was .

    Just my opinion though .

  • vklaatu

    This article quite handily summarizes male motivations for chasing status by jostling through the hierarchy. Titles, rank, awards, cash, investments, property, trophy family, trophy spouse, etc. were supposed to be badges and demonstrations that go along with the quest for status that is tied to men’s hyperagency. It’s a biological imperative, club other men any way you can to get the prize, i.e. resources, security, and status, for your children and your mate… hero or zero, win/lose, etc. Not that it’s that simple, but that’s what hierachy is for, to sort us out, and keep us fighting for status.

    The problem with this is that many accomplishments are impossible to quantify or measure, much less reward. Patents, for example, take time to file, books require research in order to be written, and science requires experimentation. These require processes that aren’t very rewarding in the short-term, and they may or may not even benefit from competition, except over long periods of time.

    There’s a faction in the MRM that seems to think that downplaying competition fosters a victim mentality with all the entitlement issues that go with it. I submit to them that traditional hierarchy has been more of a bane to men. Sane, enlightened, self-interest is pursued for the sake of acquiring more resources ought to be rewarded, nobody’s going to argue against that, but paranoia in regards to scarcity has gone on long enough.

    Turning our backs on the culture of hyperagency can make men survivors instead of casualties. I enjoy being productive, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to work myself to death to buy things I don’t need from other men who already have more money than they’ll ever need. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to cater to my ex’s gambling habits. I had to play alpha male in my last relationship to her and her family. It was occasionally gratifying, but frankly I have better things to do with my time and energy. I got tired of all the passive aggressive behavior you find when you get thrust into the role of silver-back to such a group of clueless primates

  • eyesfrontmen

    The analysis proceeds from the assumption that our
    psychology is determined by sociological constructs which determine our
    relationship to each other and the environment. Thus, if we simply change our social inputs, that the relationships will change in ways beneficial to us. What if our status as male and female humans is the result of a psychology that in concert with our biological determinants and the real demands of our need to access resources in an environment that does not bestow them as manna from heaven.
    What is the status of females and children in a world where men do not accept agency as providers and protectors of women and children often at a cost to their own well being? What is the status of men who shrug off this agency or hyper agency in world where women feel no need to prioritize the production and nurture of children? What is the status of such a community or civilization?
    Did virtually all of humanity across time, space and culture arrive at these arrangements erroneously. Did they do so because the men desired to oppress women even at the cost of their own well being? Did women, who even the author admits were not without considerable relationship and social power, willingly submit to this oppression? Or did they through that power in fact impose this oppression of the oppressor?
    The fact is that the societies that accepted these paradigms survived and thrived, and produced civilizations that despite their many ills were clearly advances in the human condition for both men and women.
    We are embarked on a conceptualized future without any evidence of efficacy in experience and lacking any clear validation in science. In fact, science keeps confirming the validity of perceptions gained through that experience.
    As a test, one might ask, are women and men happier and children better off in the midst of this new paradigm? What becomes of a civilization that fails to produce the next generation of humans and raises the few produced in an environment lacking constant attention of the mother and consistent leadership, resources and protection from the father? A leadership which the author acknowledges was often ceded in great part back to the mother. Which sounds an awful lot like people who respected each other for who and what they were.
    What especially is their condition absent the lack of male desire to provide and protect as they sit upon and use a valuable resource base in the face of societies where men accept their hyper agency and women do as well by producing and raising a vigorously growing population?
    The difference between men and women are real and not constructed. The demands of the environment are real. The requirement to thrive and reproduce are real. The biologically determined and consistent psychologies of men and women met the mutually balanced needs of men, women, children and community as determined by the mutual agreements of the adults in the community, male and female. Theories which rely on a negation of reality have little hope of producing happiness.

  • GreenLantern

    So your saying men oppress themselves and oppress women at the same time and women like remaining oppressed? As it looks that way to me. The women who object to more rights for women do it because they are afraid of being put under even more pressure themselves, internalized oppression. Deep down many women fear the backlash from men for stepping out of sex roles, a woman has to be strong and brave to go her own way and not stay inline with expectations, many dont have the option because they have children and they cant take risks which would impact their children. Many women are trapped.

    As far as sympathy for men goes, if they were worth any they would not make a choice between holding women in sex roles or refusing to be civil to them if they dont comply. I give all my sympathy to women, and im grateful to all the women who came before me and sacrificed so much of their lives to change this system for women, ones who took daily abuse of men, getting called names like dyke, ugly and man hater just for wanting to be free from being limited based on the sex they were born just for not wanting to spend life trapped in a marriage having children while he makes all the decisions. By the time a woman gets to know feminism and receives all the backlash from men, sees them change towards her etc, she may well hate them and feel like dating women only, even if she didn’t before.

    Men should start giving sympathy to each other without thinking its somehow gay, or embracing it if it happens to be.

  • The sodomite slayer

    This is a really good article.