Of all the issues facing MHRAs, reform of family courts and laws is the most important. If you know my work, you know that most of what I’ve written about over the past nine plus years are the many ways in which family laws and policies conspire to separate fathers from their children. During that time, I’ve come to the conclusion that to reassert fathers’ importance in children’s lives is to strike at the heart of the phenomenon responsible for the anti-male bias that is evident in much of our culture. I refer of course to gynocentrism.
Gynocentrism arises in part from the evolution of sex roles that require males to protect – often at the cost of their lives – females and children. Humans, like other social mammals, are born immature, take a long time to reach sexual maturity and require long periods of nurturing and socialization to become contributing members of society. Human females typically give birth to a single offspring at a time who, until recently, had a good chance of dying before reaching adulthood. And, again until recently, females ran a significant risk of dying in, or as a result of, childbirth. Plus, a single male can impregnate a number of females at a given time. Accordingly, for the species to survive, females and children had to be the favored individuals in any group. That made males their protectors and consequently the disposable sex.
Such is the origin and the persistence of gynocentrism. But now of course the human population is no longer under threat unless it be from too many humans. The species Homo sapiens has survived and thrived and the march of civilization now means that, in most places, females and children are in no serious danger. They therefore no longer require the type of protection from males as before. So MHRAs justifiably question the utility of male disposability. It’s no longer necessary to our survival and, since it’s damaging to men, why not set it aside?
And yet we don’t. For untold millennia our gynocentrism made sense. Now it no longer does, and yet it persists. Even a casual glance at public policy and the everyday news demonstrates gynocentrism to be alive, well and largely unquestioned by the great majority of people. The question is, if it’s no longer necessary, why?
Part of the answer is found in the foregoing. We’ve succeeded in the business of survival due to males’ willingness to protect women and children and we don’t easily abandon what’s worked so well.
But there’s another part to the answer. There’s another cause of gynocentrism beyond the age-old need for males to protect females – the mother-child dyad. Plus, unlike the protection of women by men, it’s one that can be altered because, for perhaps two-hundred thousand years, we’ve been programming ourselves to do so.
When a child is born, its “job” becomes learning how to be a fully-functioning member of society. To do that, it has to learn. For the first and most formative years of its life, the person doing the teaching is mostly its mother. Humans are a bi-parental species, but mothers have always done the lion’s share of hands-on parenting. Even in this era of feminists hectoring women to abandon motherhood in favor of paid work, they still do.
So, for just about all of us, our most basic learning consists of learning to please mother. In the earliest months of life, children learn that the primary parent is the source of all good things – food, warmth, cuddling, etc., and the “serve and return” interaction with parents that’s vital to the child’s well-being not only in childhood, but all its life. That primary parent is usually Mommy. Later on, as the child becomes able to act of its own volition, it learns to comply with mother’s desires. Pooping in the potty comes to be understood to be better than doing so elsewhere. To a huge degree, the child’s life is a matter of learning mother’s wishes and figuring out how to meet them.
That learning is nothing but the building of neuronal structures in the brain that remain with us to the grave. So it’s no surprise that, as adults, one of our strongest impulses is to please women. We give power to women, accede to their wishes almost as a matter of course, because our earliest learning was to do exactly that. Doing so brought us the necessities of life, so, as individuals, we’re powerfully inclined to do the bidding of women.
What else explains some of the truly irrational and self-defeating public policies that we continue to adopt despite science and over two centuries of Enlightenment values that clearly contradict those policies? As but one example, due process of law has been bought with blood over hundreds of years. It is one of the most precious rights we enjoy. At least since the Code of Hammurabi (circa 1750 B.C.) it has been recognized as one of our most valuable defenses against state power. Abandoning it would be catastrophic for individual freedom and the exercise of individual rights. And yet, based on the most transparent falsehoods of feminists, routinely exposed and debunked, we see due process eroded on campus and in virtually every tribunal dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct.
I could add example after example, but MHRAs know the details without my doing so. The point is that these dangerous and nonsensical policies may not have a reason, but they do have a cause – gynocentrism. And part of gynocentrism is learned in the cradle.
It may be simply a coincidence, but the advance of feminism has come, to a great degree, on the coattails of the Tender Years Doctrine that all but removed fathers from children’s care during the first seven years of their lives. Unsurprisingly, feminism promoted the Tender Years Doctrine, despite the fact that increasing the role of mother actually contradicted other feminist goals such as more women in paid work and public life. It may be that the removal of the father from children’s lives and his replacement by a full-time mother has been the sine qua non of feminism.
What if we did what we can to insure that Mom isn’t the only parent around as little Andy or Jenny grows up? What if we reformed family law to bring Dad back into the picture? What if, through our laws and court practices, we informed all and sundry that fathers are every bit as important to children as mothers? What if we required mothers to inform men that they have a child and punished them for wrongs like maternal gatekeeping and parental alienation? What if we did away with adoption laws whose sole purpose is to facilitate adoptions by removing Dad from the legal process? What if we punished paternity fraud? What if we presumed 50/50 parenting time post-divorce? What if parental leave policies treated fathers and mothers the same?
All those reforms would be good for kids, as much social science already tells us. That alone should be enough to have enacted major changes long ago. But they would also allow children, from their earliest moments of life outside the uterus, to identify as important figures both Mommy and Daddy. The biology of human attachment means that infants attach equally to both parents as long as they’re allowed to do so. Learning fathers’ wishes would become as important as learning mothers’. Children would reach adulthood with a balanced view of the importance of each sex. No longer would our most basic learning be confined to pleasing women.
Men come hardwired to be fathers. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have equipped us with the same parenting hormones that women have and receptors on the brain that respond to them to produce parenting behavior. That means that a change in policy on families, far from contradicting our evolutionary tendencies, would correspond to them. Unlike efforts to negate the male tendency to protect women and children, reform of family courts would abet the natural inclination of human males to parent their offspring. As such, change would be both easier to accomplish and more effective.
Needless to say, reform of family laws won’t alone solve our problem of gynocentrism. But it will address one of the two causes of its existence. As such, it’s the most important single thing we can do to right what’s so grievously wrong with our current gynocentric culture.
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