Sexual “liberation” was never meant for women; it was always meant to free men from responsibility for their actions.
Women are physically more vulnerable than men, which makes sex a very different experience for us. It is always fraught with risk: we could get pregnant, or we could be physically and emotionally harmed in ways we aren’t able to stop.
Sex between men and women is not an even playing field and we should stop pretending that it is.
Establishing trust before entering into a sexual relationship with a man is good self care for women: it’s healthy and it’s smart. And it’s also more human.
I’m not a chimp who goes into heat and mates with whatever male happens to be around.
I am a human being who’s capable of empathy and of establishing deep emotional connections to a sexual partner. I’m not religious and I’ve been in more than a few sexual relationships, but I’ve never cheated on a sexual partner and I have always felt a deep emotional attachment to the men with whom I’ve been sexually involved.
That doesn’t make me old fashioned, it just makes me a human being.
Let’s stop “liberating” ourselves to behave like baboons and start embracing sexual compassion, erotic commitment, and emotional responsibility.
Great comment Penny. With you all the way on this.
Nice aspirations but those days are over.
You can’t turn the clock back. Social media, the internet and the various women’s movements make regression impossible.
I disagree. Any person, resolutely and deliberately, without shouting for attention or marching in the streets about it, can simply choose to live a better life and quietly and firmly follow through with that plan.
Sad that you have such a low opinion of womankind to believe that they do not / cannot have, agency over their desires and their body in the world as you experience it. If your views are gleaned through the lens of the internet/sensation grabbing media then you are way off the mark and maybe more….
My views on female agency are based on reality, the law and, in particular, family court. There are many examples of women avoiding agency when it suits them. I’ll give you an obvious one.
When both men and women have been drinking and both are equally drunk, it’s the woman who is assumed not to be able to consent to sex. No matter how much alcohol he has consumed it is the man who retains agency and responsibility for the act. If the woman later has regrets and reports the matter to the police, or as more commonly happens her female friends report the matter, it is the man who is arrested. In effect, women are to be treated like children.
Many men have told me that ‘all men just want sex from women and no man wants to be committed.’ My married ‘friend’ tells me that he just wants to have sex with women as ‘there’s nothing like the first time.’ There are countless cases of men who claim to desire committed relationships to lull a woman into a false relationship, which is used to emotionally manipulate her, to then run off the day after the first (and sometimes coercive) sexual encounter. Men are then the ones who then say ‘that’s just the way men are.’ Why is such behaviour acceptable? This is the default state of men, which is that they cannot sexually control themselves, so by extension, when both parties are drunk, the same social dynamics can naturally be assumed.
I agree with you for the most part. But I don’t agree with you that sexual liberation was meant for men. It wasn’t. Sexual liberation by feminists was meant for women. However, it mostly did benefit men. It was a feminist backfire.
..better if you had said (instead of …emotional attachment to the men..) the following:
“..always felt a deep emotional attachment to EACH MAN with whom I HAD been sexually involved” ..small point but the latter suggests more strongly it was one at a time! I’m being picky.. I agree with everything you say! Sadly there are only a few of us left!
Congrats, you’ve castrated yourself with highhanded dignity. Maybe it’s to justify your repressed sexuality. My sympathies to whomever you manage to marry. I hope he realizes beforehand he signed up to be a married incel prisoner.
Cannot say I disagree with you….BUT..
Apart from the online scenario specifically, the fact is that women have created the environment we are in and this environment benefits a very few men.
Some basic facts & statistics:
Interactions with women are generally High Risk / Low Reward for MOST men, generally speaking, that 80% that women do not find attractive.
Although I have seen no specific research on this, I have seen lots of anecdotal evidence and spoken with some older women who, begrudgingly, admit that this is true. Two men, one in the 20% and one in the 80% do make exactly the same kind of advance or flirtation and women will respond positively to or ignore behavior from the 20% that they will call creepy or discomforting from some guy in the 80%. In short, advances are not in and of themselves creepy or discomforting but are deemed so or not based on whether the female involved enjoys or desires them. That determination can end the career or social reputation of that guy in the 80% while getting the guy in the 20% laid. Never mind that many women are perfectly prepared to be nasty to the guy whose advance or flirtation they find creepy. High Risk/Low Reward.
Now put yourself in the shoes of one of those guys in the 20%.
Imagine that you are a 34 yr old, 6′ tall, engineering manager pulling down well into 6 figures. Your good looking and have a decent wit. You have money saved and own a home. You regularly take interesting vacations and you are good uncle to your nieces and nephews.
What motivation do you have to settle down or to be monogamous?
For this guy, marriage or even living with someone is very HIGH RISK and with LOW REWARD.
So….Marriage is high risk for our engineer in the 20%.
But what does he get for it? What does she bring that he needs enough to take that risk?
For this he gives up financial autonomy. Women control 80% of household spending regardless of income level.
He gives up personal autonomy. She will largely take control of their social schedule. If he makes plans to go golfing on a Saturday and she already made plans for them to do something else, she will want to know why he made plans without consulting her first, never thinking that she had made plans for him without consulting him, she assumed. And if he says that to her she will get angry and tell him she was going to tell him but had not had a chance. She will feel entitled to set the household rules and priorities. Even if he goes shopping with her she will try to set the types and amounts of food they purchase. God forbid he should want to spend a day flopped on the couch after a long week and she had other ideas unless her plan was also to flop on the couch.
The irony here is that women will say that men do not know how to do all of these things and NEED them when in fact men were doing all of those things successfully on their own before she came along.
So, precisely what is it that women bring to the table that a man in the 20% needs and what motivation does he have to take the risk of settling down with you?
As always, a thoughtful and well argued essay from Mary, for which, many thanks.
The same cannot be said of the title: subs, please do better.
Tells you a lot about the mindset of Unherd’s editorial interns that they can read an article like that and that’s the title they come out with (assuming the URL contains the old title). All it needed was a ‘(and vice versa)’ at the end!
They’re probably graduates of something like communications and have had three of years of being taught how to grab attention by being inflammatory.
edit: yes, that was title. Not sure where the number ‘2’ came from; I tried a few adjustments of the URL, but it kept redirecting here.
The importance of ‘headlines’ is very much under-rated by virtual all media outlets. And I do not know why!!!
So many people have complained about the original title, but those of us who have only just seen the (excellent) essay can only see the altered one. Would some kind person let me (and other frustrated viewers) know what the first title and subtitle were, so we can share the general disapprobation?
The original title can still be seen in the URL for the page, but if you don’t know how to view that, it is “why do men hate women?” I can’t remember if there was a different sub heading.
I thought the title was appropriate to the article. Mary Harrington opened a small door into a very large room wherein the socialist elite has sheltered one of their pet projects, the destruction of family and cultural decency, both of which are fragile at best. Both Kerouac and Greer were flag wavers the key Marxist attack on decency with a goal of destruction of independence to prepare the way for dependence on the state.
Germaine Greer was one of a number of women, some shriller and crazier than others, who asserted that the only reason there are differences in the way women and men lead their lives is sexism. There is no material difference at all between the sexes, and to suggest otherwise, or to suggest that such differences might explain different outcomes, was simply sexism.
Consequently Greer and her cohorts are directly to blame for the situation they now face, whereby it is asserted that as there is no difference between the sexes, then obviously a man can declare himself a woman. It is absolutely on the same continuum, and in a way the only surprise is that it has taken so long to get here.
When 1970s women declared themselves indistinguishable from men, they cancelled themselves. Hope they think it was worth it.
I can think of quite a few women who don’t think that
It’s what the vocal 8% think that counts
Precisely. When will Unherd publish an article pointing this out and making radical feminists accountable for the trans monster they created.
Excellent observation. While many trans imagine they are their opposite, few actually think/speak as their chosen persona would. At least among my gay friends of either sex, their thinking/speaking is quite unlike the thinking/speaking of hetros. Just an observation.
“Why do men hate women?”
They don’t, they love women.
The title is clickbait!
And we love men.
The two people I love most in the world happen to be men (my husband and son) but I do not love men like Hugh Hefner. What a gross pig!
“Women have very little idea of how much men hate them,”
My impression is has always been that it is the other way round
But we all hate Princess Nut Nut don’t we?
Anyone keeping up with current events would probably believe the opposite. Women hating men seems far more likely
Some might be a key missing word.
It is much more complicated than that. You mean men are sexually attracted to women, do you? Many men DO hate women – or at least give a very strong impression of doing so. How otherwise do the often spat out words ‘s**t’ and ‘w***e’, not to mention ‘frump’, ‘witch’ etc arise? There are essentially historically no equivalent terms for men.
It’s at times like this when I realise that UnHerd commentators are overwhelmingly white straight men. Nothing wrong with any of those things, but a less arrogant attitude to social situations they have absolutely no experience of would be rather refreshing.
On the back of the door of the men’s toilets some one has put up a poster that goes on at some length that all men are despicable bastards. I have photographs
There is b****r all chance that there is a corresponding poster on the back of the door to the women’s toilets.
Two points flow form this. First that some woman thought it was OK to put it up and that no one would take issue with it. Second women are generally not prepared to countenance any criticism. You only have to see how they are portray on film and television.
Sexual liberation is likely one of the key drivers of societal decay, while at the same it holds deep within it a mechanism of self-correction.
The story begins with the traditional family, which is the smallest unit of a stable society. The husband goes to work, earns money and “builds” society – streets, buildings, science, industry. Meanwhile, the wife stays at home and “makes” new men, who build society, and new women, who in turn make new men and women. Both have their daily issues to contend with, the husband may struggle with his daily work and his boss, the wife may struggle with the kids if they are very active, or be bored out of her head if they are relatively docile. Either way, both have their jobs and tasks, and both are vital to the stability and prosperity of society.
Now some fool comes along and starts suggesting that women, who are by nature physically weaker than men, are also generally worth less than men. This is apparent by the fact that they have to sit at home and care for the kids, while the men “get to” have a career, which for some reason is the better thing to do. Apparently, as a working man you get all the appreciation, money and freedom you want. You’re the king of the world and can sleep with all the women, and even cheat on your wife if you feel like it. This is new to me personally, but if some blue-haired bozo claims it, it must be true.
Enter the great leveller of justice: feminism. Young women are not only told they can do anything, they’re told that they should. Sleep with all the attractive guys, get all the education, and all the financial success. “Do what we think it is that men do, because it must be better, since they’ve been suppressing us forever.”
So now the young women go out and think that life is about sleeping with as many different men as possible, get as many paper degrees as they can, and make as much money as they can carry home. (Hint: at no time in history was this ever good life advice.)
The results? Young women now select their romantic interests not according to future prospects any longer. Psychological studies show that the things women value in men are resourcefulness, confidence and independence. Why is that? Well, because a man who has a lot of skills, is confident in them and will follow his instincts is going to be a successful man. In the future, that is. It doesn’t take a genius to see that a rich man is rich – the key is finding him before he gets rich, because then you can still create mutual investment. Which man would appreciate a woman who loves him only for his money? How much more of a compliment is it, if a woman deems a man as worthy and believes that he will be successful in the future, so much so that she is willing to invest her time in him? It’s the greatest compliment a man can ever receive, especially if she’s willing to give him her “best years”. Now all those psychological studies are worthless. Women spend their best years extracting all the attention they can out of men: the unattractive ones for when they feel like being spoiled, the attractive ones when they feel like getting some action. Women may complain men treat them as objects – and they are surely right in some cases – but they have, on the whole, come to treat men as objects as well. Further, they have invited objectifying behavior by advertising themselves via visual stimuli exclusively, and identifying with their Instagram pictures. A woman who sleeps with as many different men as possible, even or especially if they are attractive, treats herself as an object. Over time, she comes to feel like an object, but falsely blames men for it.
This leads to everything described in the article: fewer and later marriages, large swaths of men who almost never experience intimacy, women who are deeply unhappy and feel betrayed after their party years. This creates an abyss between the sexes, further, it creates singular people who are unhappy and turn to materialism to fill the eternal void in their hearts. Fewer children are born to build the future, or even keep the state we have in the present alive. Further, these children do not enjoy an upbringing in a stable family with mom and dad: no, everybody debauches around whenever they can, and the only thing they care about is dollars and likes. Everything is to be measured in numbers, everything else is worthless.
The self-correcting mechanism is chaos, plain and simple. The fewer people work for the good of society, the easier it is for the most corrupt to take the steering wheel. This has happened before multiple times, most prominently in the Roman Empire – indeed, there is nothing new under the sun. What generally follows is a collapse of society, wars, strife and chaos, until finally strong, virtuous men manage to unite societies under their banner, and base their prosperity on the family unit and a unified system of laws and beliefs.
In our modern times, once everything has collapsed (however that may look) those men who have had to deal with hardship will take back power. It’s not going to be the guys who get all the (female) attention – they have no strength of character, as they never needed to develop any, and their Instagram posts are not going to build anything. It’s certainly not going to be unhappy “cat ladies” or shallow, immature women. Neither is it going to be “incels” who blame women for all their problems. Instead, it will be a large group of men, who have silently worked for their own betterment, and who by now are so fed up with society that they’d rather see it collapse than partake in it. I strongly believe they are going to be the future good men. The kind of men who listen to people like Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan. The kind of men who have had it with woke culture and won’t, no, physically can’t take it anymore. The men (and women) who believe in a future for humans, not robots, machines and numbers.
There is a new generation of people coming up, and they are going to rise from the pile of garbage we have created like a phoenix from the ashes. Like past generations before them, they will see where we went wrong, and will vow not to make the same mistakes. Let’s hope they can save us – and let’s help them as good as we can. It’s our future as much as theirs.
“Women spend their best years extracting all the attention they can out of men”
You lost me at this point! You sound like Jane Austen.
One of the principal reasons I am addicted to Unherd is the quality and common sense nature of the comments. Thanks Michael, that was truly excellent in my opinion.
I’ve tolerated but never respected any man who cannot sign up to the PPP Club after reaching the age of maturity: but then some guys never really grow up, I guess; and, sadly, some poor women do seem to pick ’em.
A lot of what gets described as hatred towards women is indifference. As to the state of dating, relations between the sexes or just contemporary Western society it’s the obvious end point of liberalism. People are assholes.
An increasing number of people certainly are. I cherish the exceptions, male and female, and worry for my children.
Thank God I’m old and happily getting even older with somebody wonderful: the current dating SNAFU just looks like Michel Houellebecq attempting a downbeat rewrite of “The running man”. I can’t bear to think where it’ll end: where it is, is bad enough.
It’s the emphasis on self fulfilment, pleasure etc that’s valued today. We were much happier when we valued responsibility, perhaps even more so for women. From what I see modern Western women are miserable. Every day women anyhow. I don’t think people are worse now per se.
I read Houellebecq this week!
And I listened to Jordan Peterson’s lecture series, ‘Maps of Meaning’. Extremely thought provoking and probably right on the money in much of what he says.
“A lot of what gets described as hatred towards women is indifference.”
As the last sentence of Ms Harrington’s splendid piece makes very clear.
Not exactly what I meant. I think the lack of compassion is a different matter. I think (lots of) men find most women annoying.
Personally, I think they’re mostly adorable, but incomprehensible
A lot of what gets described as hatred towards women is indifference.
If I the reports that I have come across are accurate, in Japan today a very significant proportion of people of young and youngish people (both men and women) are simply not interested in having anything to do with the opposite sex. It doesn’t seem to be active hostility; rather, assessing the possible benefits as not being worth effort.
Excellent article, terrible headline. I hope it gets changed when you promote it on your social media platforms. Otherwise you can expect a lot of ill-informed comments from people who won’t take the trouble to read the piece, the article deserves better.
As an aside, while dating my future wife, I remember the day that she told me she wasn’t considering having children in the future.
I was floored. I had many nieces and nephews and had a hard time understanding why someone wouldn’t want to experience reliving “new experiences” with their own child – both the good and bad, ups and downs, as they also travelled through this brief life.
We set the topic aside for the future as I loved her and was open to her point of view, and we got married.
Six years after we were married, my wife’s biological clock was ticking quite loudly for her. After talking about our days and trials at work, she started dwelling on the topic of kids and fretted that she may have missed her chance. Why was she so blinded and misled by feminism’s siren-song when she was younger, she would ask.
Just like my wife, her closest friends were all hardcore feminists…one by one they each succumbed to that same biological clock within them that dictated their desires for kids as they grew older.
I had prepared my career to shoulder the financial burden should my wife desire one day to have kids and stay home with them while they were young before she returned to work. Perhaps I was taught from old-fashioned values.
Her friends married strong progressive men who didn’t understand such financial pressures…they expected their feminist wives to shoulder half (sometimes all of) the financial burden as the men pursued jobs that made them “feel good” but had no financial worth.
My wife has started to return to work now with all of our kids in school, but she regularly thanks me for the precious gift of allowing her to stay home with her little ones – those times were fleeting.
Her friends…well, they both work and come home to do the dishes and put the kids to bed as their husbands talk about equality while sitting on the couch playing their video games (after clocking out of their dead-end jobs).
This isn’t the story for everyone obviously, but as an observer and looking back, I would now put my money on hundreds-of-thousands of years of evolution and biology instead of current sociological fads when making life plans. There’s something to be said for wisdom passed down from prior generations and with some choices, there is no do-over.
I’m glad my mom drove home such old-fashioned respect for responsibility even when I didn’t understand the importance until later in life, looking back.
“Her friends married strong progressive men … their husbands talk about equality while sitting on the couch playing their video games”
Sounds your wife’s friends married men-children stuck in perpetual adolescence.
For the most part, the husbands aren’t trying to take advantage…they were brought up on the same feminism fare as their wives – from childhood through college.
If kids weren’t part of the picture, life probably would have continued to be picturesque for both sides: The husband and wife bringing home their salaries such as they were, both enjoying life with no responsibility (or massive expenses) related to kids, plenty of ‘ME’ time for yoga or video games, choosing a career that’s enjoyable and provides enough salary between two people with no real financial strain, etc.
What really changed was biology…the wife ended up wanting kids more than they thought they would (and were taught to) believe…and that they could ‘have it all.’
Since I’m friends with both the wives and the husbands (i.e. it’s really none of my business and I sincerely wish them well as couples), I haven’t asked, but I can imagine the husbands saying that they signed up for a particular mode of life in marriage and that their wives changed the game on them. The wives obviously would have their perspective that the husbands wanted kids too and are now escaping into video-game land and otherwise shirking responsibility, financial and otherwise.
In short, we do a massive disservice to future generations by lying to them about what they will (with high probability) want later in life because of simple biology, and by not sharing how they can prepare for that time.
Yep, pretty much. Fully agree on the analysis. A curious question though is where is this headed now? Will the “progress” pendulum swing back (like it did 40 years ago), or is it still going out?
i was wondering the same thing, Greer and Kerouac ‘s lifestyle / philosophy doesn’t lead to sustainable communities, its self extinguishing (maybe, hopefully). will it eventually die out with that generation?
The way I see it, the turning point last time was the end of the 60s, and by the end of the 70s the right-wing reaction was starting to take hold. This created the heavily fiscally conservative neoliberal movement which dominated between 1980-2000. If things will repeat at similar time-scales again, we should be at the point where the right-wing backlash should start to dominate again. I suspect this time, we are looking at a socially(culturally?)-conservative reaction.
“will it eventually die out with that generation?“
But it might take the whole civilization with it. If not enough children are being born, eventually some other group which doesn’t share those values will displace it.
My sense is that the pendulum will swing back to women (large numbers, not all, of course) concluding that their happiness is founded on marriage and children, and society according high status to full-time motherhood again.
Full-time motherhood may be difficult, though, for those who need – or at least want – two incomes for the household. (All the more so if robotics and artificial intelligence reduce the earning power of more and more of the workforce.)
Point to note: I imagine this issue is largely one for the West, rather than all cultures in the world.
I believe the Scandinavian countries have a pretty good system where both parents work part time so both can dedicate time to bringing up the children, and that being a parent is a high status position in itself. Perhaps we could look towards them again for a better balanced societal structure?
Possibly. But it depends what qualifies as ‘a better balanced societal structure.’
Is the balance to be found in both mother and father sharing parenting equally? Or is it in women being able to devote themselves fully to motherhood, while the father makes this possible by providing resources gained from outside the home?
Many studies (and simple observation) show that women’s choice of husband is often based on his ability to provide resources for the family, in other words his earning capacity, enabling her to be at home concentrating her energies on the children. This being so, men have a natural inclination to earn well – that likely outside the home – (or demonstrate that potential) in order to increase their chances of being chosen by a high-quality wife.
Actually one of the saner human beings alive today
Far from bonkers, but writers usually don’t choose the headlines I believe
That’s some clickbait title!
The article isn’t really about that, as if such a generalisation could ever rationally hold water, but a historic comparison of hedonism and promiscuity of 50 years ago to today.
I’d argue the opposite of the title: never has the general population of men felt so appreciative of women and of the feminine – given how their rights, safety and well-being are under attack from well-organised trans lobbyists.
Another great essay from Ms Harrington. Thought-provoking and insightful. And worth reading twice.
Why the misleading title?
Let’s not forget STDs, they certainly poured cold water on the reality of becoming a successful shagger.
It’s a shame that having children seems to be discussed only in terms of how much they cost and how inconvenient they are. I reckon they represent very good value when it comes to the free education that one gets from parenting the little darlings.
Agreed. For me, my kids are literally the meaning of life.
“…all men cheat, so you might as well hold out for a rich cheater.”
Such a myth, mostly spread by women. Women cheat too, perhaps more.
I would have thought that women cheat as much as men as the man cheating is done in most cases with another woman.
But who initiates it.
Why does that matter? It still takes two to assent to it. We are not talking about rape before the feminists scream.
It matters because no matter what happens women pretend and lodge in history that only men are unfaithful. Women, as usual, wear white and are innocent.
Research in the 1950s suggested that a lot of men cheat a little, and a few women cheat a lot. Of course, the world has changed a lot since then! I suspect, but without any objective evidence, that men are generally genetically predisposed to hunt widely, and women who hunt widely are primarily encouraged by social pressures. Naturally, I expect to be viciously cancelled.
That might have been the case in the 1950s. I’m not sure that holds true in our present society.
Thanks for finally giving the essay a headline it deserves. You’ve done this a few times this past week and one reason I prefer reading sites like Unherd is to avoid intelligence insulting click bait titles.
Here’s some interesting stats
You can find any number of these things on the internet. All indicate rates of infidelity are more or less the same for both sexes, with men just edging it by a few percentage points.
My very limited experience of watching workplace affairs develop is that there is clearly an initial spark. The woman resists for a while, without ever giving unequivocally negative signals (words visibly not matching body language or behaviour.) In short, she stays firmly in the middle of the road, occasionally swerving, but not doing much to avoid being run over. When the inevitable happens, the man (and often alcohol) is blamed.
It seems whatever the issue, it will always be a man’s fault. I suspect this isn’t entirely a result of the modern zeitgeist. It has always been so, to some extent or another.
I just look at the maths. In each heterosexual relationship there is a man and, guess what, a woman. If there are more unfaithful men than women then there must be a lot of busy women.
I wish this writer, and Germaine Greer, and all the rest of the hyper-introspective feminist crew would stop obsessing about sex (and writing about their obsessions) and just get on with their lives.
And by the way, ladies, it’s not some sort of cosmic lawsuit; Women (Goodies) v. Men (Baddies). It’s just people, for God’s sake.
The Female Eunuch left me with the impression that Greer hated being female and feeling pity for her. Far from being the strong feminist she was billed to be she came across as an incredibly sad individual. Her book definitely brought her down off a pedestal.
What freedom for women boils down to nowadays is that we are cash cows. Governments want us to work so that our economic output and taxes paid are greater – but we are still the ones who have to give birth and still do the lions’ share of unpaid domestic chores and caring as well.
“What freedom for women boils down to nowadays is that we are cash cows”; keep going with that thought and you might stumble across empathy for men.
Cash cows, just like men have always been. Welcome to equality.
With over 20 different forms of birth control available for their use, no woman is “forced to give birth.” It’s a choice, and many young women are grateful for that choice.
Unpaid domestic chores are easy to avoid, or at least can be made necessary for only yourself and not others, which seems to be the real issue… simply find the right mate or stay single.
p.s. You get to freely choose your mate so your burdens depend on your choices in life.
It is wonderful to be able to choose, but things are far from equal.
Men do not have to worry about being impregnated. Yes, getting someone pregnant has risks too (i.e. child support, etc.). But they are different from having something growing inside of you body. Childbirth can permanently alter your body and even kill you.
Birth control is often unreliable. There is never a 100% chance of success even when used correctly, and hormonal contraceptives increase the risk of things like blood clots and estrogen-dependent cancers.
Yet there is no form of male birth control that is not sterilization.
Having both would help everyone.It makes no sense to me. With the recent Supreme Court rulings, the fear is even greater if your birth control fails and you are in the wrong state.
“still do the lions’ share of unpaid domestic chores”
Complete nonsense now and was never true to begin with.
It is not nonsense. If women were historically the ones at home, it follows that they historically did more domestic chores at home, with exceptions for things that might require more physical strength/etc. Many domestic chores go hand and hand with childcare.
Look at any form of media over time, such as advertisements for cleaning products.
“And we’re witnessing a steady re-evaluation of past attitudes to sexual liberation, too. It turned out, in practice, that no sooner was sex liberated from reproduction than it was re-ordered to commerce in enterprises such as the Playboy pornographic empire.”
I genuinely don’t believe these are consecutive events! There was contraception before playboy and men collected porn (see art galleries the world over) before playboy. Women have been in men’s harems for millennia, it’s a way of living, pretty putrid and probably cooerced most of the time in history but it wasn’t invented post pill by Hefner.
Yes, but it was likely industrialised after that point.
As you point out, history isn’t a dot-to-dot exercise. It’s more like rivers flowing into each other at confluences. Neo-liberalism in the west was gaining in pace post WW2, sexual liberation was what allowed that to merge with extant, albeit small, sex businesses.
Genghis Khan had six Mongolian wives and over 500 concubines. Geneticists estimate that 16 million men alive today are genetic descendants of Genghis Khan, making him one of the most prolific patriarchs in history.
He’s the winner!
The Genghis Khan phenomenon is all about “reproduction”, not commercial sex though. You’ve undone your own argument.
You can probably count those “men’s harems” on the fingers of one hand. They don’t exist for the other 3.5 billion men in the world.
I made no claims to their popularity, just that Heffner wasn’t the first.
Hefner did not have a “harem”, he ran a successful sex business. Not the same thing at all. Commentators may use the word “harem” when discussing his antics but it is not in reality appropriate.
Thanks for splitting that hair, it was such a useful contribution!
You have put forward an argument which I disagree with and I have argued against it in turn, it is what tends to happen on these comments pages. I don’t think it is splitting hairs.
It is central to your argument that “harems like Hefner ran” existed before The Pill.
If Hefner did not have a harem then your argument makes no sense. Hefner did not have a harem for the reasons I have explained. He ran a business selling sex magazines and running escort clubs. He was married and divorced three times, had two children with his first wife and two with his second. There was no harem.
This is my argument in response to your first and subsequent comments, not splitting hairs.
Your use of contradiction, “Nope”, and sarcasm are not arguments, they are just rudeness.
The harem lived in his mansion. There are hundreds of stories from his many girlfriends about their relationships with him available online.
Your pointless arguing is only worth a nope frankly.
You hate men; a trendy but putrid way of living.
You choose to forget that the vast majority of men work on their families’ behalf and are prepared to die for them.
Wut? I’m disputing the idea that harems like Heffner ran were the result of the pill. How the heck does that mean I hate men. They are a phenomenon observable in history.
They were detrimental to men in fact as the leader that took the most wives deprived men of wives through violence.
Try not to lash out!
And one crucial text for this was Jack Kerouac’s On The Road (1957) – a book that, like The Female Eunuch, celebrated the freewheeling pursuit of passion over the humdrum everyday.
And also a kind of rootlessness and nomadism as the human ideal.
I don’t believe in any of Greers philosophy so can’t comment. I have a marvellous marriage and I am glad that my wife chose to be a housewife and mother of my fine children. I was rather pushing her the other way as I felt financially vulnerable but I am glad she was true to herself in the end.
Once again your brilliance and deep acuity as to the ‘Human Condition’ is sweet, strong, and oh so salient.
I’m Australian and long a kind-of-fan of dear Germaine. Personally though i never read her famed book but met her personally and wrote her several times. She always replied via a Fine Arts postcard! I had studied FA/AH at UQ in Brisbane in the 70’s and begun to grow up after my earlier sorrows.
At 73 now i grieve at the past 40 years especially – how tawdry they look, and how wretched they had been just under the surface. However ‘no worries’ it’s still the same but the urgency to self-correct has become apparent – not by teenage angsts, brattish rebellions and me-centred woes, alone. And, as you say
“the deeper truth that beneath the pervasive tone of cynicism are real humans of both sexes. And no matter how loudly disappointment curdles to bitterness, nearly all in truth still long for intimacy, companionship and (in most cases) kids.
All the very best Mary,
A brilliant essay. One does not have to agree with everything Mary has said to be able to extract lots of value to consider and examine about one’s own point of view. Some have criticized the title given to the piece. In any ways I think it is well chosen. What else would you call it? Humans have always been crazy about sex (in all senses of the word) but the cost of today’s level of craziness has been well articulated by Mary in her essay.
Extremely thoughtful article but without the provocative headline how many would read it?
The author doesn’t normally write the headlines, the subs do.
Haven’t we been down this road many times throughout history? The few examples that come to mind quickly are the ancient Romans and Greeks, but I’m sure there are others. It is interesting that societies that fall into the basic human sin of sexual perversion usually don’t fare very well. But history tends to repeat itself over and over and over.
Another great column from Mary. I am a 45 year old man and can not remember a time when I did not see things this this way. But here’s the thing: I found out later in life (and after marriage) that I am infertile. Now I rather fear the scowls that will be aimed at my wife and our pets, should this ethos become ascendant (as it was with my parents’ cohort in the 1980s). I’ll spend the second half of life being mistaken for a Kerouac, by people I might otherwise like to befriend. Mass society FML!
There are many people who do not have children, for many different reasons. If people scowl and judge, it’s a reflection on their character, not yours. Tests like these can weed a few people out of our social circles, as needed.
Back around 1900, my wife’s grandmother was not afraid to “slap ‘‘em and walk home,” and on one occasion did so for several miles after a young man “got fresh” with her in his buggy. And in older movies you see a lot of slapping. The younger generations of women seem afraid to do this. Guess which generation I think was more liberated and empowered.
The “social infrastructure” has indeed changed and now either childless marriage or else long periods of singledom seems to be the norm. But I don’t lament this fact – the easy availability of knowledge compared to even fifty years ago makes an alternative life in pursuit of deeper fulfillment and wisdom eminently possible. The old nuclear family was a product of specific historical circumstance and far from a timeless universal. And sexual politics have always been quite a shallow affair. The collapse of traditional values is in some respects to be lamented, as it has degraded the culture and much of Netflix is unwatchable and stupid. But at the same time I look forward to the new opportunities technological advancement has opened up, especially in terms of intellectual empowerment and spiritual growth.
Moriaty was based on Neal Cassady who despite being brought up by an alcoholic father and spells in prison managed to cram a lot into a short life, before he got hit by a train. Kerouac was busy too but probably didn’t enjoy life as much as Cassady before he died of alcohol misuse in his 40s. Either way there was not much intellectual hedonism going on – they were both knuckleheads after a good time. Keruoac left under $100 in his estate. The points above are intended to highlight the difference between these guys who were interesting and entertaining people and Germaine Greer.
Kerouac’s celebration and mass marketing of male hedonism was only the beachhead of Marxism’s tactic of divide and conquer. Greer was the shoe on the other foot. Harrington made only preliminary observations concerning what was divided and what was conquered.
What was divided, was what no man was to divide. Man was destined to be one with one woman, and for all on written history, that was the ideal. Infidelity has for very long been considered a destructive act, both in fiction and in real life.
The degeneracy into which we have plunged is solid evidence that infidelity is destructive, not just of marriage, but of family, culture and polity. The cost is incalculable, whether of wealth, health or happiness. It is quite easy to portray the opposite (lie) in fiction. In life, the truth of its destructive power is self-evident to all but the deluded. Hedonism is a false doctrine.
“Women have very little idea of how much men hate them,” wrote Germaine Greer in The Female Eunuch (1970).”
Another feminist lie. Men do not hate women anymore than women hate men. Both sexes however do resent each other at times. That resentment I believe comes from frustrated desire and or love. When a little boy in the schoolyard pulls a pretty girls hair, it’s not because he hates her. It’s because he wants her attention. Grown-ups do the same thing. Not endorsing any kind of negative behavior, but hate is not the source of it.