Whenever you point out that men rather than women are the disadvantaged and those on the receiving end of prejudice, the first thing you get back – after the blunt denial – is: ‘what about women in Islamic countries?’ Everyone assumes that female face and body coverings (the niqab, etc) are ‘oppressive’ to women and at the behest of men. Yet both of these assumptions are false.
Female Islamic dress codes are cultural practices similar to foot-binding in China and female circumcision (genital mutilation) in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions, in that they are all cultural codification of female intra-sexual competition to secure high mate-value pair-bonded sexual partners. They signal to prospective male long-term partners a commitment not to engage in extra-pair sex.
Bear with me (for just one paragraph) while of necessity I explain this.
The whole point of pair-bonding is to increase the reproductive efficiency of the female by the presence of the male partner dissuading sexual access by low mate-value males. It is not about male control of female fertility as usually supposed. Researchers have been flummoxed by findings that pair-bonding does not prevent the female from choosing to have extra-pair sex. This should not have come as a surprise, because it’s in the female’s interests to have sex with males who have superior genes to that of her pair-bonded partner, and there is nothing much the male partner can do about it – not least because the extra-pair male would be more dominant, and likely would win any physical contest if it came down to this.
But if the male’s job is to keep away lower mate-value males, then he needs to be assured that the female does not have a propensity to engage in sex with any males not too much lower in mate-value than himself; otherwise his job as ‘guardian’ is made much more difficult, and not worth the bargain he struck of trading off (to some extent) his own relative lack of mate-value in return for his provision of a mate-guarding service.
This is how face-body coverings, foot-binding and FGM work. They are widespread fashions among women that aside from their particular cultural manifestation are essentially a unitary biological phenomenon. As with all fashions, they are not imposed but readily adopted as women wish to join the more advantageous in-group and to dissociate themselves from the relative under-dog out-group.
It requires no imposition from without. Yes, of course, men will at the behest of women reinforce such behavior. In being at the civic end of sociality (the locus of their own intra-sexual competitiveness), men are in the position that women will appeal to them to act on their behalf to where necessary help impose uniform female cultural practice. This is not in any respect ‘oppression’ by men. If anything it is a imposition on them by women to which they feel duty bound to accede.
Now, when I’m allowed to get as far as putting across this explanation, the next retort is that even if it is women themselves ‘oppressing’ each other, it is still women being ‘oppressed’, and that therefore we still need to focus on women and not on men as being disadvantaged. Well, leaving aside the question as to why you would wish to intervene in what women choose to do – and also ignoring ‘cultural imperialism’ concerns – the question to be thrown back is why, then, are the workings of male dominance and dominance hierarchy not worthy of intervention on behalf of what necessarily is the large majority of low-ranking and thereby ‘oppressed’ males? After all, political-Left analysis at one time was all about the need to ‘liberate’ the lower, working classes.
Whatever happened to that?
What happened is that the lower, working classes never bought the idea that fighting a class war would change things. Ordinary men could see well enough that ‘the new boss’ would be the same as ‘the old boss’ (as The Who famously remarked), regardless of where he had come from – not least if he had come from within their own ranks. And they could also see that when it came to war they were together with everyone within their own nation and not with their opposite numbers abroad – hardly when they would be the very people facing them across no-man’s land in the opposing trench.
The Marxist ‘progressive project’ never got off the ground, leaving egg on the faces of the intelligentsia who had taken the ethos to heart. In time-honoured fashion, this embarrassment was circumvented by finding a fall guy. The worker. Possibly the most appalling bout of pseudo-science in history then entered the fray by way of trying to provide some justification for this bizarre turn.
The now entirely discredited but once in vogue concept of Freud’s that we are somehow ‘repressed’ was married to an old notion of Engels and Marx about men and women, so that the family was envisaged as an institution whereby ‘capitalist’ values were imposed via its male head. In this way, males, as stereotypically were workers generically, became in effect personae non grata, and all non-males – women – were thereby considered their replacements as the rightful recipients of ‘liberation’ from ‘oppression’. ‘Political correctness’ was born.
From then on there was no question of considering male intra-sexual social dynamics as being at all about ‘oppression’, because males were really ‘non-people’. The only males to be concerned about were ethnic minority males (ethnic minorities like women not being stereotypically workers of old), but there was no concern from the fact of their maleness. In any case, as actually the majority of the population women made the perfect new ‘masses’. There was no need to focus on female intra-sexual social dynamics as having anything to do with women’s social ‘condition’ because by the new perspective their ‘oppression’ was not at the hands of other women – no matter how socially elevated – but by men.
So there you have it. A default assumption that what in fact women do to themselves is instead done to them by men. We see this all the time in the persistent ridiculous ‘size zero’ controversy. Women don’t really want to be super slim, we are told; they would prefer to be size 14. It’s just the all-powerful male fashion industry that is forcing them. Yet the fashion industry is female-controlled, of course; and the reason fashion magazines carry photos of waif-thin models is that this is what their market research reveals is the ideal to which, however unrealistically, their female readership aspires. It is the result of female intra-sexual competition for high mate-value pair-bonded partners.
We live in an era of unprecedented political stupidity where the notion of a particular highly implausible social ‘oppressor’-‘oppressed’ dynamic is unfalsifiable. No amount of evidence, however internally consistent and externally validated, can shift PC-fascist conviction. Not until, that is, the whole edifice collapses under its own stupendous dead weight. And that is starting to happen. We live in times set to be rather interesting.