The Price to Be Paid

Ours is the age of equality between men and women, or so they say. Not a day passes without the media announcing some great achievement by women who have done this or that, conquered this or that field of previously male activity. Today it pleases me to focus on the price women have paid for succumbing to penis envy.

Follow a few highlights:

* Many women now work as hard as men. Fifty years ago, the time when the shift that made it normal and acceptable for married women to obtain paid jobs got under way, many of them started by working part time. Since then, however, the difference in the percentage of men and women working full time has been shrinking. Do you want to see the result? Just look at the bookstores. In them, one volume after another dealing with how to balance work, household and family is becoming a best-seller. As if wishful thinking could lead to a day of twenty-six hours.

* The rising cost of living. Most working women incur expenses non-working ones do not have; such as clothing, transport, help in running the household, and child care. In particular, the last two have led to the rise of entire industries that are worth billions and billions a year. Women who work and pay others to work for them also have the privilege of paying all kinds of taxes (income tax, VAT, social security, employers’ taxes), which otherwise would not have been the case. All this explains why, whereas fifty years ago most middle-class families could live on one salary, today such a blessing has become rare.

* Exposure to sexual harassment. Women who work outside the home are more exposed to sexual harassment than those who do not. Period.

* Difficulty in conceiving. Paid work often means preparing for it by undertaking some kind of academic study, and the years spent on academic study are one reason why the age at which people get married for the first time has been rising until it is currently the highest in history. The outcome: more and more women who live with a partner cannot have children and are forced to turn to artificial insemination labs or adoption agencies instead.

* Estrangement from children who suffer. Historically the fact that women spent far more time with little children in particular meant that mothers were considerably closer to their offspring than fathers were. That, however, is no longer the case; today’s newborn are likely to be handed to the care of strangers within months, or even weeks, of entering this world. At least some studies have concluded that mothers’ employment is “associated with negative child outcomes when families [are] not at risk financially (i.e., when families [are] middle or upper-middle class).” A fortiori, of course, for poor and/or single working mothers.

* Payment of child support and palimony. Half a century ago, for women to pay child support, let alone palimony, was almost unheard of. Such demands indeed, tended to be laughed out of court. No longer. The courts’ bias in favor of women, as well as the fact that most men still make more than most women, means that, even today, far fewer women than men are ordered to make these payments. However, the gap is shrinking.

* Crime and punishment. Starting at the time when Medea, in a fit of jealousy, killed her children to spite her philandering husband Jason but was never put on trial, women have always suffered much lighter punishments for the crimes they committed then men did. To a large extent, that is still the case. A man who killed his children is certain to be denounced as a monster and subjected to the heaviest possible punishment; a woman can expect much lighter punishment as well as sympathy and psychological help. Still, over the last thirty years or so the gap has been shrinking. As is shown, inter alia, by the fact that women’s incarceration rate has increased nearly twice as fast as that of men.

* Military service. Throughout history, in one form or another men have often been conscripted to fight and die for their dear countries whereas women were not. To-date, the only country that made women wear uniform even against their will is Israel. This, however, seems to be changing. At least one country, Norway, now has some form of conscription for women, albeit that it has so many loopholes as to ensure that no woman (or man) should serve against their will. In other countries the possibility of registering women for conscription, though not conscription itself, has become the topic of public debate.

* Declining life expectancy. As far back into history as we can look, men have always outlived women. That was as true in Neolithic times as it was in eighteenth-century Europe. Only after 1800 or so did the situation begin to change; first in Europe and the US, then gradually in other places as well. By 1975-80, in developed countries, women had come to outlive men by 6-8 years. In marches feminism and the idea that women have to work, and endure stress, and smoke, and join the military, just as men do. The outcome? In just forty years, in some of the countries in question, the gap in life expectancy between men and women has been halved.

Has it been worth it? Let women judge.

Military Women Are Not the Cure, They Are the Disease

For about twenty years now, I have been warning whoever would and would not listen about the dangers of feminizing the military. Now, in my own country, the chicks—no pun intended—are coming home to roost. As readers will know, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are the only ones in history to have made women wear uniform even against their will. However, from the end of the War of Independence (1948) to the late 1970s they only did so in a variety of auxiliary Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) that had little impact on the fighting “teeth.” At that point a shortage of manpower generated by the forces’ expansion following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War on one hand and feminist pressures on the other caused the situation to change. Female officers and enlisted personnel increased in both numbers and importance until the IDF was blessed with three small “combat” battalions made up mostly of women. Albeit that they are deployed along the borders with Egypt and Jordan, where hardly a shot has been fired for decades past.

Fast-move forward. For about a month now I have noticed, in Israel’s most important paper Yediot Ahronot, a series of articles about various combat IDF units. How little the public knew about them. How wonderful they were. How important the missions they carried out, and how daring their feats. Which towns provided them with proportionally the largest number of recruits. And so on. Briefly. the kind of stuff you would expect from a military that has difficulties attracting manpower.

Last week, the reasons behind the various publications came out of the bag. What I had suspected all along has now been announced with great fanfare. Year by year, fewer recruits are interested in joining the combat arms. From 2015 to 2016 alone, the figure went down by two percentage points, from 71.91 to 69.8. The decline is less pronounced among women, more among men. Coming on top of the fact that more and more men do not serve in the first place, the IDF has good reason to worry about its ability to fill combat slots as they should be.

Throwing in money apart, several solutions have been proposed. One is to cut down on the training of cadets and fresh recruits so as to free them for tasks such as holding down the Occupied Territories. Another is to dramatically lower physical standards. Should this come to pass, then soldiers previously classified as fit only for desk-bound tasks and disaster relief either in the Territories or in Israel itself will be able to serve in “combat” MOS. For example, by controlling passports and looking for contraband at the various checkpoints leading from Israel to the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Jordan.

The most radical idea of all is to have women serve in the armored corps. But don’t let the slim figure, narrow shoulders, slender arms, and manicured nails of the good-looking girl in the picture mislead you. Over half of a tank’s weight consist of armor, and each of the road wheels shown weighs about as much as she does. As you would expect from such a machine, operating and maintaining it—as by loading ammunition, or swabbing the barrel of the gun, or changing a link in the tracks—is very heavy, and often very dirty, work only a handful of women can do. Should a woman be included in a tank crew, then the outcome will be to increase the burden on her male comrades. Perhaps even more problematic, in the confined space of an armored vehicle privacy is not minimal—it simply does not exist.

Such a system, in other words, can only lead to one of two things or, perhaps, to both. First, there will be another increase in the number of injured, in some cases even crippled, women hobbling about. And of course in claims for compensation of the kind which, even now, amounts to fully four percent of Israel’s entire defense budget. Second, there is going to be a big rise in “sexual harassment” claims; a problem which, as I pointed out in my recent book Pussycats, is currently wrecking not only Israel’s armed forces but those of all other Western ones as well.

More women in the forces are not the cure. They are the disease, or at least part of it. Feminization will inevitably lead, by all signs has already led, to the creation of a vicious cycle. By definition, the more women enter any professional field, institution, or branch of service the fewer men will remain in it. The fewer men remain, the more its prestige and the economic rewards it can command will be compromised. The more its prestige and economic rewards it can command are compromised, the fewer men it will be attract.

This process has been documented many, many times. Often by female researchers who worry, with good reason, about the impact their own growing presence may have on the rewards they can expect in their chosen fields. The best-known cases are those of secretaries (once upon a time, practically all secretaries were male), bank-tellers, pharmacists, book-editors, bakers, psychologists, and “wealth managers.” The ongoing decline in the ability of the humanities to attract students also seems to be linked with the fact that the percentage of female faculty members is them is exceptionally high.

And which IDF combat units do not suffer from a shortage of men? You guessed it: The two elite, entirely male, infantry brigades, Golani and the paratroopers.

Snakes in the Grass

hareem_1Let there be no doubt: Men who talk about women the way Donald Trump does are pathetic. Men who treat them the way he allegedly does are even more pathetic. As Nietzsche wrote, noble is he who respects himself. Which the Donald, whatever his other virtues, clearly does not.

But whether such talk and such behavior should really disqualify the Donald or anyone else from serving as president of the most powerful country on earth is another question. After all, if elected he would hardly be the first ruler in history who had sex on his mind. Julius Caesar was perhaps the greatest commander who ever lived, yet had so many affairs with married women in particular that his own troops called him, “the bald fornicator.” Augustus was as great a statesman as the world has ever seen, yet the historian Suetonius says that at his banquettes he liked to be served by naked girls selected for the occasion by his wife, Livia.

Augustus the Strong (reigned, 1697-1706), the king of Saxony to whom the world owes the beautiful city of Dresden, had so many illegitimate offspring that it was said of him that he took his duty of pater patriae literally. By contrast, Richard Nixon is said to have been faithful to his Patricia. Did that make him a more honest politician?

Thinking about it, perhaps the US and other modern countries would do well to revive the ancient institute of the harem at the White House and its equivalents. In Arabic, a harem is a sacred place that is out of bounds. For example, Jerusalem’s Mount Temple is known to Muslims the world over as Haram-al Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary.

Harems are an ancient institution. One of their functions was to provide relaxation, as in the above image. But they also served a very serious purpose: namely to make sure, as far as possible, that rulers bearing a heavy responsibility—not seldom, including their subjects’ lives and deaths—would at any rate be spared that particular problem. So as to be able to focus on their task instead.

To speculate a little, in a democratic age full of self-conscious, emancipated women entry into the harem can only be voluntary. As, throughout history, it often was; many parents were happy to hand over their daughters to an institution where they would be supported, educated, and taught all kinds of interesting arts. Those sufficiently attractive and sufficiently clever might even rise to take key positions in the empire or kingdom.

It goes without saying that the women should be over eighteen, the age at which they are supposed to be sufficiently mature to vote. They should be made to sign a contract, freely renewable by both sides upon expiration, to stay for so and so long. Some way would have to be found to ensure that they understand what was required of them—these days, too many women, young and old, claim that they just did not. And also to guarantee secrecy. Leaving the harem, the women would receive a generous sum of money and perhaps a bonus as well. You bet that there would be plenty of volunteers—just ask Hugh Hefner.

But that is not what it pleases me to write about today. By one story Victorian women, riding trains through dark tunnels and afraid lest strangers try to use the opportunity to kiss them, were advised to put needles in their mouths. Later things became more straightforward; a woman kissed or groped in public was told to slap her attacker or at least yell at him. And that was that. No damage done, except to the attacker’s reputation. One of those who advocated this strategy was the late Israeli MK Shulamit Aloni (1928-2014). A liberal and a one-time minister of education under Yitzhak Rabin, she was also as proud a feminist as they come.

Since then much water has flowed down the Jordan and, for that matter, the Rhine and the Mississippi. Throughout the world, billions of women have been exposed to feminist propaganda concerning the evils of “patriarchy” and the need to do away with them. Millions have been through “assertiveness” training, and millions more have been “empowered” in so many different ways as to easily fill a library. Countless committees have been created, seminars held, recommendations written, and regulations issued. All in an attempt to make more women hold their own against those wicked tyrants, men.

Enter the Donald’s accusers. Whether their stories are true, as they claim, or not, as he says, does not interest me here. What I do find strange is that, after decades and decades during which the females of the species have been “empowered” in every possible way, the women in question still did not have what it takes to give him what, according to them, he deserved. So dumb are some of them that, at the time, they do not even understand they have been “harassed” or “abused.” Or so they claim.

Miserable creatures! Like snakes in the grass, they spent years and even decades nursing their grievances, real, imagined, or simply invented for the occasion. And waiting for a suitable opportunity. Only then, and only when they had their behinds protected by the likes of the New York Times, did they finally crawl out of their hiding places, screwed up their “courage,” went public, and injected their venom into the presidential race. Or was it just greed and the wish for the fifteen minutes of fame?

And what does going public mean? Whining, of course. About how unable to help themselves they felt. About how humiliating the experience was. About the deep and lasting psychological damage they suffered, the psychotherapy they needed, the compensation they deserved, and so on. If these and other women who come up with similar claims are lying, then they are pathetic. If they are telling the truth, then in some ways they are even more pathetic.

As to what to think of an electorate, now made up mostly of women, that in today’s dangerous world is only interested in what happens from the waist down, make up your own mind.

Frauenparkplaetze

1358I am writing this from Potsdam, the German city (population, 200,000) near Berlin where my wife and I spend part of every summer. Wherever we go, we see designated Frauenparkplaetze, i.e. parking spaces for women. Potsdam and Germany are not by any means the only places that are blessed with them. That is why it pleases me to say a word about them today.

First, who is and is not entitled to use the Plaetze in question is by no means clear. Women driving on their own? Surely. But how about women drivers with male passengers (like myself) in the car? Wouldn’t a situation whereby I get the kind of protection originally designed for women be morally flawed as well as counterproductive? And how about male drivers with female passengers in the car? Are they permitted to use the spaces in question? And don’t old people (again, like myself) deserve protection just as much as women do? No one knows; no one cares. As befits an idiotic regulation which has long turned into a joke and which only a few half-crazed feminists, seeing “discrimination” at every step, give one penny for.

Second, the location of the Plaetze. One often sees, right beside them, spaces for behinderte (cripples). No accident, that, because both categories tend to be located in well-lit areas near elevators or staircases. Are we to conclude that women, by virtue of their sex, are cripples and deserve to be treated as such? Apparently so.

Third, the rationale. The declared reason for having Frauenparkplaetze is because parking lots and building are favored by male rapists eager “to carry out their nefarious schemes,” as the Hebrew phrase, which is used almost solely in that context, puts it so very nicely. Women, so the common view, have weak bodies and, as we shall see in a moment, weak minds as well. Ergo they cannot protect themselves but need to have special measures implemented in their favor.

What applies to female drivers and passengers seems to apply to every other field too. Women need to be protected against male violence at home (never mind that, statistically, in every country where the question has been researched, female-on-male domestic violence was found to be just as frequent as male-on-female violence; see on this the work of the late Murray Straus). Women need to be protected against rape. Women need to be protected against sexual abuse. Women need to be protected against sexual harassment. Including, it seems, being greeted with the words “hey, beautiful” instead of some more conventional way. Women need to be protected against “gazing” “staring,”, and “leering.”

But that is only the beginning. Delicate souls that they are, women need to be protected against “’objectification” and “verbal abuse.” Women need to be protected against cunning pimps who first promise them the earth and then enslave them. Women need to be protected against photographers who promise to turn them into models but do not deliver. Women need to be protected against having their naked pics published on the Net (I hereby formally grant permission to anybody who has a pic of mine to do so; I shall even be happy to provide him or her with one).

Women need to be protected against “economic terrorism.” Women need to be protected against wicked, but charismatic and clever, men who first promise them marriage and then disappear with their, the women’s, money, or turn out to be married already, or both. Women need to be protected against male physicians, psychologists, gurus, university professors, teachers, coaches, and masseurs, all of whom, which God forbid, first cause them to become “dependent” on themselves and then try to “exploit them by having sex with them.

Women need to be protected against their own preference for convicted male criminals (as shown by the fact that such criminals tend to have more offspring than average, mostly because they have more partners). Women need to be protected against the possible consequences of their taste in dress and comportment (they are, it seems, too dumb to understand those consequences on their own). So stupid are some women that they only understand that they have been “raped” years after the event, and often after some lawyer tells them they can make money by suing. Once they do, they have to be protected from confronting their alleged attackers in court and also from having their own names revealed. Women need to be protected against “offensive” speech, including, no doubt, this essay. So numerous are the things women must be protected against that I found it impossible to put them in any kind of logical order. In short, women are seen—and, what is much worse, see themselves—as complete idiots incapable of looking after themselves.

However, there is a catch. Men are physically stronger than women. As the fact that they commit most violent crimes shows, men also tend to be considerably more aggressive and more assertive on the average. By some accounts, this is likely to remain the case not only in our world but even in one where our place is taken by computers. That is why, when the chips are down, only men can protect women against other men; also why, throughout history, countless men have died to protect women whereas the opposite has rarely ever been the case. The more protection women demand and receive, the more dependent on their protectors and the less equal and free they become.

Starting with Frauenparkplaetze, the need for protection on one hand and equality on the other run at cross purposes. The resulting inability of women to decide what they want most—protection or equality—is the main reason why, whatever the common wisdom may say, they will never be equal with men.

Not, should humanity survive that long, in a million years hence.

PE? PE!

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The other day, walking through the Hebrew University library and looking for something interesting to read, my eye hit a tome with the grand-sounding title, The Oxford Companion to the Mind. I opened it; a thousand pages. Edited by one Richard L. Gregory, CBE, MA (Cantab), DSC, LLD, FRS, and published (second edition), in 2004. The volume differs from the better known Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in that it is more than just a list of all kinds of symptoms, real and imaginary. Instead it is a wide-ranging encyclopedia. With alphabetically arranged articles about everything from the way the ancient Egyptians understood the mind to something called the halo effect.

How wonderful, I thought. An opportunity to refresh my understanding of a phenomenon which, as readers know, I have long been interested in: PE (penis envy). Full of anticipation, I turned the pages. What a disappointment! PE is just not there. Yok, as we Israelis, using a Turkish word, say.

Yet that is strange. It is not as if the volume ignores Freud and psychoanalysis. To the contrary, both merit fairly hefty articles. PE apart, Freudian and Freudian-derived ideas do figure in the book. In considerable numbers, what is more. Among them are the Oedipus Complex, the Electra Complex, the inferiority complex, and many more.

I decided to check. On Google.com PE has 422,000 hits. The Oedipus Complex has 431,000, the Electra Complex 159,000, “inferiority complex,” 411,000, and “castration anxiety” 87,400. The figures for Google.scholar are 12,100, 35,200, 2,600 30,900, and 14,800 respectively. On Ngram as of the year 2000, PE figured about as often as “inferiority complex” and far more often than did “Oedipus Complex,” “Electra Complex,” and “castration anxiety.” All in all, PE seems to put on quite a respectable showing. Yet whereas the other three do have entries in the aforesaid Companion, PE does not.

What is going on here? Some claim that there is no way to prove that PE exists. That may be so; however, the same applies to all the rest. After all the methodology, which consists essentially of listening to patients in a room called a clinic that may or may not contain a couch, is always the same. So I decided to do a little historical research.

Before we delve into the topic itself, though, it is important to note that Freud, like many male gurus throughout history, attracted female patients and students as a lamp attracts moths. No wonder, that, since he valued them and treated them like daughters. It was to one of these women, a Viennese society lady, that Freud owed his professorship, a position he, being Jewish, might not have got without her help. To another, Marie Bonaparte, he owed his life. In 1938 it was she who paid off the Nazis to allow him and his family to leave Austria. Thus any idea that Freud hated women, or did not value them, or looked down on them, is so absurd that only half-crazed present-day feminists can entertain it.

Freud first postulated the existence of PE in a contribution to the nature of sexuality he published in 1904. From this point on the concept often came up in his famous Wednesday evening seminars where he and his disciples, both male and female, discussed psychoanalysis. Both the men and the women tended to be highly intelligent. Quite a few of them later attained fame in their own right. None of them was a cretin who simply allowed Freud to overrun him or her.

And how did the women in the company take to the concept? One of the most important, Freud’s own daughter Anna, sidestepped the problem altogether. Not only did she focus on children, but she herself probably died a virgin. The rest were divided. On one side of the debate was Karen Horney. She did not deny the existence of PE; however, she argued that women envied men their penises not because their biology made them to but because the penis stood a symbol for the advantages society conferred on men. In other words, PE, and what she called “the flight from womanhood,” was a consequence, not a cause. For expressing this view, Horney ended up by being thrown out of the New York psychoanalytical society.

Several other female members of Freud’s circle disagreed. One was Hermine Hug-Hellmuth, said to be the most biologically-reductionist among all his followers. Another was Jeanne Lampl de Groot. To her, “the absence of a penis could not be regarded as a matter of secondary and trifling significance for the little girl.” Rather, PE was “a central point [from which] the development into normal femininity begins.” “Woman’s wish for a penis is the consequence of a biological datum that underlies her psychic reaction of feeling inferior and is rock bottom.”

More important than either of those was Helene Deutsch. Good-looking, capable and extremely hard working, her Psychology of Women (1944) was considered authoritative for decades on end, Deutsch was one of the first Austrian women to receive a medical degree. She considered herself, with good reason, as “a leader in female emancipation.” Yet this did not prevent her from explaining that the clitoris was “an inadequate substitute” for a penis. As late as 1998 a female psychotherapist by the name of Maria Torok wrote that “in every woman’s analysis there is inevitably a period in which appears a feeling of envy and covetousness for both the male sex organ and its symbolic equivalents.” Having made listening to women her profession, she should know.

Back to Freud. Then as today, finding out whether we humans are shaped by nature or nurture was a difficult, very often impossible, enterprise. Perhaps that is why Freud, who sometimes hesitated to enter where his followers treaded, never voiced his opinion on the matter. Instead he contended himself with the famous question, “what does woman want?”

I too will leave the question open. I do, however, want to provide some examples of what, in my view, PE is. When women discard skirts and put on trousers, then that is PE. When some women complain (as has in fact happened!) that their daughters are not being diagnosed with ADHD as often as boys are, then that is PE. When women refuse to have children so that they can have a career as men do, then that is PE. When women want to follow men to Afghanistan so they can get themselves shot to pieces for some obscure cause no one understands, then that too is PE.

When some Jewish Israeli women defy a court order and dance with a Torah scroll at the Wailing Wall as Jewish men have been doing for ages, then that is PE. When renowned feminist Betty Friedan says she wants to play in men’s “ballfield,” then that is PE. When the almost equally renowned feminist Naomi Wolf says she wants to see more ads with objects sticking out of “women’s [emphasis in the original] groins,” then that is PE doubled, tripled, and squared. In these and countless other cases, one can only conclude that women do in fact crave “the obvious ‘extra’ that [men] have” (Nancy Friday).

Always imagining men having it better and trying to imitate them. Never, but never, trying to invent something original men have not already done a zillion times and doing it. To quote my wife, perhaps the real reason why PE is left unmentioned in the Companion is because it is not a disease. It is a normal state of mind.

What I Learnt from La-Isha

La-Isha is the largest and most important Israeli women’s magazine. It is affiliated with Yediot, the daily paper and media empire which sells more copies each day than the rest of Israel’s papers combined. My goal in looking at it was to answer Freud’s famous question: What do women want?

laIsha-coverThe issue I am now honored to have in front of me hit the newsstands on 8 May, just before Israel’s Independence Day. It is printed on quality paper, costs NIS 18 (about $ 4.7) and contains 162 pages. Exclusive of advertisements. The front cover shows a young woman wearing heavy make-up and parted lips. Dressed in a tank top, she may be the dream of many young and not so young women; however, she is also just the kind you do not want in the office. Partly because she looks as if she has never done a day’s work in her life; and partly because you have other hobbies besides defending yourself or your company against sexual harassment suits.

Supposing you are young and foolish, or for that matter old and foolish, the one place you might want her is in bed. But even there she might turn out to be the type who considers herself too beautiful to be touched by a coarse male hand and only wants to show you off to her friends.

The rest of the issue does not disappoint. I counted: on the list of contents there are thirty-six major items, excluding numerous minor ones that take up just a few lines. Most major ones are grouped into six categories. To wit, “Health and Happiness,” (how to find a restaurant that will offer healthy food); “Tourism” (beautiful places in Israel to visit; this, after all, is Independence Day); “Consumerism” (how to spend your money buying things); “Style” (no explanation needed; this group contains more items than any other); “Design” (just one piece); and “Mini-Chef” (how to cook). Why is this group is called “Chef,” which in Hebrew is the masculine form, rather than “chefit”, which would be the feminine one? Another case of penis-envy, no doubt. If anyone has a better explanation, I’d be very happy to post it here.

Two articles allow readers to ask questions and receive answers. Interestingly, both respondents are male professors. One is an expert on education, the other a physician. The articles on plastic surgery and the one called “In Bed” are also written by a male physicians. Don’t Israeli women trust women to advise them on their problems?

The longest single article, “Standing to Attention,” is five pages long. Five pages? Can women really read that much? Incredible! Calm down: 90 percent of the space in question are covered by pictures. The article, such as it is, deals with young female soldiers who, while on leave, quickly change into more attractive clothes. Needless to say, not one of them is shown standing to attention. Let alone carrying a weapon of any kind; even penis envy has its limits, it seems.

And then there is the standard weekly fare. A letter from the editor, by her photograph another fairly young and quite attractive woman. “The Letter that Was Never Sent” dealing with the musings—would you believe it—of a young female Israeli soldier who, while riding a bus, shared a seat with an Arab woman in traditional garb.

I shall spare the reader the complete list of all items; instead, let me focus on just a few. A woman named Assi Friedman has discovered an art exhibition dealing with, of all things, flour. As well as an easier way to wipe floors and a particularly good spot for buying milk. There is a column called “In Your Free Time” (no explanation needed); one named “In Bed…” (ditto); one appearing under the heading, “Relationships Are Everything;” and one called “The best-Looking [female] Friends.” The issue concludes with more sagacious advice on physical and mental health as well as the inevitable whoroscope (compliments to Erica Jong, who to my knowledge invented the expression).

Incidentally, all twelve weekly fates being forecast take it for granted that readers are of age. Notwithstanding that Israel has the highest fertility rates in the entire Western world, not one so much as mentions motherhood. It is further assumed that women work, and also that none of them are on pension. Though Israel has one of the world’s longest life expectancies, old women do not seem to count. In other words, the only women who count are those who are adult, are of working age, have a career, and are or expect to be in some kind of relationship. So much for sisterhood.

And then, surprise surprise. To repeat, the normal issue consists of 162 pages. This time, however, in honor of Independence Day, readers also got a special supplement containing 124 pages. Free of charge, the lady behind the counter said. What a treat! The name of the supplement? Stiletto. Precisely the kind of shoe many feminists profess to hate as a symbol of male oppression. The contents? Almost exclusively photographs of young ladies in swimsuits. Including three of Bar Refaeli, the most famous Israeli model whose presence is almost as indispensable as the whoroscope. Currently she is pregnant, a fact that the photographs do not show. Hence they must have been taken some time ago.

Not a single word about such “role models” as Hillary Clinton, who currently stands a good chance of being elected the most powerful person in the world. Not a single one about Angela Merkel who, at the moment, may be more popular in Israel than she is at home. Or about Janet Yellen, head of the Federal Reserve (whom the woman-hating Donald Trump has sworn to fire because, so he says, he does not like her). Or about several female ministers, MKs’ and top-level bankers in Israel itself. Why? Let me guess. Because all these women are quite old. La-Isha readers neither want to see their pics nor can identify with them.

Is that what women really want?

Trillhaase, Or So the World Changes

Visiting an art fair in Cologne, Germany, a couple of weeks ago, I came across an artist of whose existence I had never been aware. He was Adalbert Trillhaase (1858-1936), a retired merchant and amateur painter who did his best work during the late 1920s. Normally he is classified as “naïve.” To me, however, he is anything but; rather, seeing him using crude forms and apparently poking deliberate fun at the world around him, I would call him an expressionist. Another hint pointing in the same direction is provided by the fact that he was close to the much better known Otto Dix, who at one point did a painting of Trillhaase and his family. If so, that would explain why the Nazis, classifying him as a “degenerate” artist, placed him under a so-called Malverbot (prohibition to paint). But this is a point the reader should judge for him- or herself.

trillhaasegerichtThe painting that struck me most carried the title, “A Meeting of the Court.” It shows four judges, each wearing a different expression but all of them men and all of them mustachioed, sitting at the bench. To the left is the scrivener, also a man, who appears be resting from his labors or fallen asleep. There is a male lawyer who has thrown his arm over the shoulder of a woman, presumably either a witness or the defendant. Judging by the number of judges present, the issue at hand must have been quite serious. Completing the painting are five women who form the audience.

Just what stage the proceedings have reached is by no means clear. The lawyer may be leading the woman towards the black volume lying on the table in the foreground, presumably a Bible, in order to make her swear on it. Or what we see may be a recess, or else the woman may already have been convicted. In that case her lawyer may be trying to console her. Or he may not.

Anyhow. The painting made me think, the best thing a work of art can do. First, judging by the way they are dressed, the ladies in the audience seem to be middle class. All five have ample bosoms; obviously the idea that they should starve themselves so as to achieve as slim a figure as possible has not yet occurred to them. Nor is there any reason why it should have. After all, this was the immediate aftermath of World War I. Inflation was gathering steam and many Germans were almost literally starving. Having enough to eat was a blessing, not a shame.

Next, the lawyer. Not only is he male—at that time, female lawyers were almost as rare as unicorns. But he is making the sort of gesture which, today, might cause him to be charged with sexual harassment. And four—four—men sitting in judgment of a single woman? Who has heard of such a thing?

Briefly, what the painting told me was that the world has changed. Follow a few of the changes which, judging purely by what we see, it has undergone:

First, as I just said, in our day and age a court made up entirely of men, mustachioed men what is more, sitting in judgment over a woman would have been all but inconceivable. Except in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and some Israeli rabbinical court, of course. Long before the first judge would have opened his mouth for the first time, such a court would have been condemned for being male chauvinist, incapable of understanding women, oppressive of their rights, and generally unfair and unworthy.

Second, the scrivener would almost certainly have been a woman. A young one dressed very differently from the ladies we see. And instead of writing up the record by hand, as he seems to be doing, she would have used some kind of computer or other electronic gadget.

Third, the lawyer would as likely have been female as male.

Fourth, the ladies in the audience, besides being slimmer-looking, would be very unlikely to wear hats indoors. Interestingly enough, except for the fact that they are spectators what they are doing there is anything but clear. Almost certainly they have cleaning ladies to look after the household. Probably they do not hold paid jobs, or else they would hardly have leisure to attend the court. Yet they do not look as if they are oppressed or discriminated against in any way, do they? To me at any they look quite self-conscious, ready to take on anyone and anything.

What Trillhaase is providing us with, quite unintentionally of course, is a door into a different world that has long since passed away. Like the one in which my late grandmother, who was born in 1893, might have lived in while busy having one child after another (she ended up by having six). Was it worse than the one in which we live today? Or, perhaps, better? Who is to say?

“Not-Hot”

The recent celebration of “international women’s day” gave the Israel Defense Force (IDF) an opportunity to publish some figures as to the number of women serving in its ranks and the Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) in which they do so. What makes the question important is the fact that the IDF is the only army in the world to conscript women. Consequently it has more of them, proportionally speaking, than any other. From 1949 to about 1970 it was also the only one which gave them weapons training, albeit one that was purely symbolic. Foreigners attending the annual Independence Day parades, or happening to meet the women as they went on route marches, marveled to see the combination of cleavage and Uzi submachine guns. One which, for reasons Freud might explain, few could resist.

3As Western armed forces, with the American one at their heads, started expanding the role of women beyond administration (secretaries) and medical services (mainly nurses), from 1970 on, the IDF was left behind. Only in the late 1970s, owing to the vast expansion occasioned by the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, did an acute shortage of manpower lead to a reassessment. The next push was given by American-style feminism which reached Israel in the mid-1980s, not long after peace with Egypt was signed. Since then Israeli feminists have been loudly demanding women’s right to serve in any capacity, combat included. Now that the figures have been published we can answer the question, how successful have they been?

First, the background. The IDF active force, including both regulars and conscripts, numbers 176,000 troops. Of those about 30 percent (58,000) are female. The mobilized force, reservists included, numbers 600,000 (on paper). However, since women in spite of recent changes in the law rarely serve in the reserves, their percentage in it is much lower. According to the figures, the total number of female “fighters” in the regular force is said to be 1,593. All are volunteers; unlike men, who are assigned, women only serve in “combat” if and when they want to. In other words, under 3 percent of female soldiers serve in “combat” units.

Women’s inferiority to men in respect to physical strength, aerobic capacity, endurance and, above all, robustness, is obvious to all. The price is paid by their male colleagues; when a female trainee in a mixed unit breaks down, as often happens, guess who is going to carry her and/or her weapons and pack? But the price women have paid for serving in “combat” units has been much higher. Many of the documents in question are classified so as to avoid angering Israeli feminists, an aggressive and often obnoxious lot, by presenting them with the facts. Some, however, have been published by a former student of mine, Colonel (ret.) Raz Sagi.

The picture that emerges is not pretty. Less than 3 percent of IDF “combat troops” are female. However, over the last few years they, or the lawyers acting in their name, have served 10-15 percent of the suits concerning compensation for injuries suffered while on “operational activity” (whatever that may mean). In proportion to their numbers, women sue three to five times more often than men. Sagi’s book bristles with interviews with young women who served as, or trained for, “combat” MOS and were seriously injured, sometimes for life. Such cases are brought before the courts almost every day.

Now let’s take a closer look at what “combat” actually entails. The largest group, 442 out of 1,593, serve in three mixed battalions named “Caracal,” “Leopard,” and “Lions of the Jordan” respectively. In each of these they form 60 percent of the total. What all three have in common is that they are permanently deployed along the borders with Egypt and Jordan. Those in turn have this in common that, over the last forty years, they have seen hardly a shot fired in anger. The remaining women are divided between “combat intelligence collection” (meaning that they look for all kinds of interesting things after the battle is over), border police (meaning that they stand guard against terrorists, as Hadar Cohen, who was mentioned on this blog a few weeks ago, did), civil defense, and artillery.

It so happened that, a day after I completed this article, I watched a clip of artillery troops on a route march. The men, heavily loaded with equipment of all kinds, sweated, grunted and did their best to keep up. One or two female soldiers were marching along, carrying a much smaller pack and looking as if they were on a lark. Whatever they may have been doing there, clearly they were not being tested as the men were. (You can find the clip on https://www.facebook.com/ynetnews/videos/10154114053990572/.)

Neither the infantry, nor the armored corps, nor the engineers, nor the special units, which between them form the bulk of the IDF’s “teeth,” have any women at all. Scant wonder that, during Operation Protective Edge back in the summer of 2014, out of 66 Israeli troops who died not one was female.

Meanwhile the terminology has been changing. Having just celebrated my seventieth birthday, I can remember the time when the term lohem, meaning fighter or warrior, used to be the highest compliment anyone in Israel could receive. Nine cases out of ten, it referred to a soldier, a male one of course, who actually fired at, and was fired on by, the enemy. Now its female form, lohemet, also refers to all the above units, not one of which are meant to face an armed and trained enemy soldier able to fire back. Scant wonder that, in popular slang, the plural form of lohemet, lohamot, is often explained as meaning lo-hamot, “not-hot.”

Why does all this matter? For four reasons. First, as the term “not hot” implies, in Israel as in all other modern countries armed forces the presence of women has contributed to the decline in the prestige of those forces and, with it, their ability to attract high-quality male manpower. Presumably that is why the “Lions” (arayot, in Hebrew) battalion, in spite of being made up mostly of women, is not called leviot “Lionesses.” Or else surely any proper man would have shot himself rather than serve in it.

Second, in Israel as in all other modern countries that presence has led to “gender norming” and, with it, falling standards which, in case of war, could be dangerous. Third, as the above figures show, too many women who, whether out of idealism or sheer penis envy, volunteer to serve in “combat” units are injured, with bad consequences both for themselves and, since they have to be paid pensions, the defense budget. Fourth, outside Israel quite some people, being misinformed about the true state of affairs, still take the IDF as an example to follow.

But this is 2016, not 1967.

Johnny Has a Hobby Horse

hobbelpaardAs I have written before, I get quite some feedback to my posts. Some praise them, others condemn. Some ask for permission to re-post them on their own blogs, which I almost always grant. I am grateful for all of them, for they make me think. Specifically for one of the last, sent by M. E. in response to “Sickly, Sick, Widowed.” It went as follows:

“About feminism, have you ever wondered/suspected that you are riding a hobbyhorse?”

A hobbyhorse, my correspondent was kind enough to explain, “is a polite way of saying that the rider is not entirely compos mentis… You are making a fool of yourself with your grand theory about feminism. From your title I infer that you are widowed and ailing. This seems to be hinting that what you’re writing is not to be taken as entirely (or at all?) seriously but that can’t be so if you went to the trouble to write a book on this subject.”

Thank God, I am neither widowed nor ailing. Not yet, any rate. But never mind. Twenty-four centuries ago, there was an Athenian named Socrates. He was poor, but not because he did not know how to look after himself. In fact the sources present him as a man who was perfectly able to make money had he wanted to. And so brave in battle that no one dared stand in his way. But instead of exercising these talents he had a hobbyhorse. He used to go around the agorai (public squares) and streets, buttonholing people and asking them to tell him the meaning of such things as justice, beauty, truth, etc. For riding that hobbyhorse he was executed.

Four hundred years ago, there was a Dominican monk called Giordano Bruno. A follower of Copernicus, he argued that the earth revolved around the sun, instead of vice versa. Much worse still, he raised the possibility that the universe might be infinite and have no center. It might even contain other suns with planets with life on them. For riding that hobbyhorse, he was burnt at the stake.

A hundred and sixty-two years ago there was born, in the little known Dutch village of Zundert, a man by the name of Vincent van Gogh. Growing up, he started painting like no one has ever painted before or since. However, the fact that he painted like no one else meant that no one wanted his work. He lived in dire poverty—but for his brother’s support, he would have starved. Frustrated because no one understood what he was trying to do, he became “not entirely compos mentis.” He spent time in various lunatic asylums and at one point cut off his ear, offering it to a prostitute he met in a brothel. At the age of 36 he put a gun to his chest and fired. He, too, rode a hobbyhorse. As he is supposed to have said, what would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?

Fifty years ago there was an American woman journalist named Betty Friedan. As she told me during an interview she gave me in May 2002, she lost her job because she was pregnant. Not once but twice. That made her seethe with anger. Turning her face against the prevailing wisdom of the time, which considered that women’s proper place was the home, she wrote The Feminine Mystique. This hobbyhorse made her world famous. Based on our conversation, though, I suspect that, had she risen to witness today’s feminism which, seeing every woman as a victim, makes a mockery of the equality she sought, she would have returned to the grave as fast as she could.

Briefly, it is hobbyhorses that make the world go round. That does not mean that anyone who rides a hobbyhorse will necessarily turn out to be a Socrates, a Bruno, a van Gogh, or a Friedan. Of course not. For every titan there are a thousand, perhaps ten thousand, dwarfs. Yet it is also true that, but for the dwarfs, the titans almost certainly could never have grown as titanic as they did. Who ever heard of the painters Willem Roelofs? Or of Anton Mauve? Yet in their own time they did their best and enjoyed modest success. More important to our purpose, they were among van Gogh’s earliest teachers and had quite some influence on him. To Mauve he even dedicated one of his own paintings.

Having studied Mars for so long, I became interested in Venus. After all, it was she who required protection, often instigated the enterprises he undertook, and loved him after he had successfully completed them. That is why I devote a considerable part of my time and energy to trying to understand the respective natures of men and women and the relationship between them. Past, present, and, if possible, future. I studied this subject just as I did all the rest: meaning, by doing it my way. Not that of certain others, however learned and however aggressive in pushing their views while trying to ridicule or shut up everyone else.

Nietzsche says that no one grows up until he recaptures the absolute earnestness of a child at play. Like the anonymous toddler in the photograph, I am very proud of my hobbyhorse. The following Dutch rhyme, which I remember from my childhood, sums it all up:

 

Johnny has a hobby horse

Without a purpose, without a cause.

Around he rides, without effect

Quite naked, just like that.

Sickly Sick, Widowed

If feminists are right and women are really oppressed, exploited and discriminated against in countless ways, why do women live longer than men? And why, for every widower in the U.S, there are four widows? Ask any doctor, and chances are that he or she will mumble something about estrogen providing protection for the female body.

The doctors are wrong. True, lack of statistical information makes it hard to calculate the relative life-expectancy of men and women before about 1800. However, other kinds of evidence, such as archaeological remains, church records, and the like do enable us to evaluate the situation in certain communities at certain times. Almost unanimously, studies of the subject point to a single conclusion: from Neolithic times through Greek and Roman ones right down to the end of the eighteenth century, in all known societies men seem to have outlived women.

Since then, what a change! The first two countries in which women started outliving men were France and Sweden just before 1800. As the nineteenth century went on, other Western European ones as well as the United States followed suit. By 1900, the only West European/North American country in which that was not the case was poor, backward Ireland. South and East Europe, both of which were equally poor, followed during the first decades of the twentieth century.

Gender-DetailsAfter 1945 it was the turn of Asia and Africa. By 1990 men still outlived women in only ten countries. The largest one, Bangla Desh, accounted for two hundred million out of the three hundred million people involved. All ten had a per capita GDP of less than one thousand dollars a year. In 2011, according to United Nations figures, the one country where men still outlived women was Swaziland, home to fewer than 1,400,000 people out of about seven billion on this earth. Even there the gap between the sexes was small—about six months—and shrinking.

Has the hormonal makeup of men and women changed? Or are the doctors wrong, and do hormones have nothing to do with the issue? Keep in mind that the change got under way a hundred and fifty years before women started taking estrogen. Also that most doctors know nothing about history; making them think that what they see in the present has always been there in the past too. Hence the second answer seems much more likely than the first.

In fact, two factors account for the process. One is the very great decline in the death rate of women during, or soon after, giving birth. Here it must be pointed out that, until the middle of the sixteenth century, whenever a baby was about to come into the world men were thrown out of the room, if not the house. Child-delivery was the near-exclusive domain of women, midwives in particular. The latter’s ignorance was proverbial.

The first vernacular manual on childbirth was published in 1513. Originally written in German by a male doctor, Eucharius Roeslin, it was translated into many languages and became a European best-seller. The introduction contains the following limerick:

I’m talking about the midwives all

Whose heads are empty as a hall.

And through their dreadful negligence

Cause babies’ deaths devoid of sense.

So thus we see far and about

Official murder, there’s no doubt.

That was the state of the art before male doctors started taking over. To be sure, at that time and for centuries thereafter medical education left something to be desired. However, in comparison with the midwives, many of whom had received no formal training at all, the doctors were geniuses indeed. At least they could read! First in Zurich and then in other European cities, gradually they assumed responsibility for training, examining, and licensing midwives.

Since the universities did not take female students, all doctors were male. Later in the century they themselves started delivering children or at least supervising midwives while they did so. In 1569 a male French Huguenot doctor living in England, William Chamberlen, invented the principal instrument used for the purpose, the forceps. For a century and a half it was kept a family secret.

Even in Europe, let alone other continents, male doctors did not take over everywhere at once. Since doctors cost money, the first to hire them were high-class women. Queen Anne of England (1665-1714) may have been the first royal person to employ a male doctor to help her give birth. Her subsequent decision to knight him led to numerous scurrilous jokes. Progress, though slow, was steady. By 1800 the incidence of so-called peri-natal deaths among mothers had declined to about half of what it had been three hundred years earlier.

Not all women followed the queen’s example. In 1797 the founding mother of modern feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft, then thirty-seven years old, refused her friends’ suggestion that she call a doctor to help her deliver. Trusting to a midwife instead, she died while giving birth to her second child, Mary—who later became famous as the author of Frankenstein.

The second factor that caused the balance in life expectancy between men and women to shift was the industrial revolution. As long as most people made their living in agriculture, both men and women worked in the muck out of doors (though women always did so less than men). The onset of industrial revolution around 1800 changed the situation. Moving to the cities, many men engaged in such trades as construction and transportation, which meant that they continued to work out of doors in all sorts of weather and under all sorts of conditions. Others moved from the healthy countryside into the filthy, noisy factories; others still faced the hardest lot of all by descending into the mines that provided coal for them.

As nineteenth-century English statisticians working for insurance companies realized full well, the more industrialized any district the more women tended to outlive men. Here and there, “progress” actually caused men’s life expectancy to decline. By contrast, contemporary norms dictated that all but the poorest women should not work at all. Even the few city-women who did work outside the home almost always did so indoors as servants, governesses, seamstresses, etc. Unlike men, they were spared both the rigors of the climate and the worst effects of the factories.

Both factors continue to operate today. All over the world efforts to reduce women’s peri-natal death have caused it to decline to a minute fraction of what it used to be even a few decades ago. For men the situation is entirely different. The tradition under which they do practically all the hardest, dirtiest, most dangerous work remains in force; in the U.S, for example, the one job in which there are no women at all is garbage-collection. Female miners, divers, fishermen, miners, and lumberjacks are not exactly common either. That is why, though about as many women as men work outside the home, men are thirteen times more likely to die following an industrial accident than women.

You might think that, since men work in more hazardous occupations than women and have a lower life expectancy, they would and should get more medical attention. If so, think again. In every modern country women receive far more medical attention than men. There is nothing new about this. Ancient Egyptian doctors wrote books on female diseases; but when it comes to male ones all we have is blank papyrus. The situation in antiquity and the middle ages was similar. The term gynecology, women’s medicine, was invented over a century and a half ago. However, to this day my word processor, courtesy of Bill Gates, has never heard of andrology.

Go to any hospital, and you are almost certain to find a women’s ward responsible for treating such diseases as breast cancer, cancer of the cervix, and so on. But the same hospital is almost equally certain not to have a department specializing in men’s diseases. Perhaps because society expects men “to take it,” as the saying goes, men also visit psychologists and psychiatrists far less often than women do. From the time of Charcot and Freud on, but for female patients most practitioners in these fields would have had to close shop. And who pays for it all? Men, of course, by means of their taxes and social security contributions.

Thus a virtuous cycle (for women) and a vicious one (for men) is created. The more money is spent to treat women, the more they outlive men. The more they outlive men, the more treatment they need. For example, as of 2000 in the US out of every three dollars spent on health two were spent to treat women. In the same country three out of every four dollars spent on medical research were accounted for by women’s diseases. Four times as much is spent on finding a cure for breast cancer as on doing the same for prostate cancer. Yet whereas one in eight women will get breast cancer during her life, a man’s chances of contracting prostate cancer are actually somewhat higher (one in six). If that is not discrimination, I’d dearly like to know what is.

In respect to the field of medicine as to so many others, those who invented the myth of women’s “oppression,” “exploitation,” and “discrimination” deserve the Joseph Goebbels Award for deceptive propaganda. As has been said, one can mislead some of the people some of the time. But one cannot mislead all the people all of the time.

The feminist narrative has now misled far too many people for far too long. It is high time that it be exposed for what it really is, the lie of the century.