Male and Female*

As many readers know, I have spent part of my career as a historian doing my modest best to understand the relationship between men and women. The outcome, so far, has been two scholarly books—Men, Women and War and The Privileged Sex. Between them they were published in five languages. As well as numerous articles in scholarly and not so scholarly journals and magazines; some of which I have put on this blog.

That explains why I keep receiving quite a few emails on the topic. Some correspondents call me names, among which a reactionary patriarchal-male-chauvinist-racist-pig-who-does-not-deserve-to-live is one of the more sympathetic. Others, apparently in the belief that anyone who does not accept the feminists’ claims in their entirety must be out of his mind, try to psychoanalyze me. And some simply dispute my views.

The first and second categories I routinely ignore. The third I rather enjoy; to quote Epicurus, what is better than discussing things with friends? If possible, while sitting in a garden (mine is small, but it will do for the purpose) and enjoying a glass of wine. Over the Net, if it is not. As long as it is done in the spirit of inquiry and without rancor.

Sticking to the enjoyable kind, most of them point out how much things have changed. As, for example, with women now forming the majority among students and getting better notes both at school and at the universities. And as with women abandoning marriage, children and household to take up all kinds of careers.

Here, to the contrary, I want to point to a few things that have not changed. Needless to say, all references to men and women apply to averages. Meaning that they say very little about individual people of either sex.

* For reasons unknown, proportionally twice as many women as men visit psychologists, faith healers, etc. What that means about their state of mental health, past, present and future, I leave it to readers to decide.

* Women suffer from penis envy (see my post, PE? PE!, 16.6.2016) whereas men, whatever other problems they may have, do not. As a result, women believe that whatever men are and do is better than what they themselves are and do. Proceeding chronologically, more or less, if men have the vote women must have it too. If men get a higher education, women must do so too. If men drive, women must drive too. If men smoke, women must smoke too. If men are wage slaves, women must aspire to become the same. The more the better! If men go to war, then women must do so too. To use an example from my own people, if Jewish men wear tales, Jewish women must do so too. Or else, they feel, there is something missing from their Jewishness.

* Always imitating men—as Marx wrote, whenever revolution comes women, the ugly ones included, are swept along—rarely do women initiate any important discovery or invention. Even the term feminism itself was coined by a man! That is why, though a minority of dissatisfied and aggressive women were able to inflict the vote on the rest and make them work outside the home, they have contributed nothing new to the solution of the world’s problems.

* It is also why, the more modern and innovative an industry the fewer the women who work in it, especially at the higher levels. Also why, as Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg has just said, men continue to rule the world. Conversely, the presence, beyond a certain point, of women at the higher ranks of any kind of human institute or organization is itself a sign that the institute or organization in question has started to decline and may soon become moribund.

* Women—real women, not emaciated nervous wrecks, desperate not to develop precisely the physical characteristics that distinguish them from men—give birth, whereas men do not. To speak with Nietzsche, the latter are “the infertile sex.” The resulting existential problems do much to account for men’s stronger drive to achieve, as manifested throughout history.

* Partly because they are stronger, physically, and partly because they do not have to take time off for pregnancy, delivery, and lactation, men’s income is considerably greater than that of women. Retirement apart—so many successful men, dying before their wives, leave them their property and their pension—the older people of both sexes are, the larger the gap. Not just in terms of money, but in those of power and fame as well.

* Today as ever, the higher on the greasy pole one climbs. the fewer women one meets. Proportionally more of those one does meet are where they are because they stand on the shoulders of their male relatives, as Sirimavo Bandaranaike (the first female prime minister in history), Indira Gandhi, Corazon Aquino, and Hillary Clinton e.g. did. Or else because they are active in fields, such as modelling, singing, and acting, where men, as men, are excluded.

* Is it necessary to point out that men, apart from being stronger, are also more resistant to infectious diseases that result from dirt entering the body’s orifices? This explains why, at all times and places the hardest, dirtiest, and most dangerous work has always been done almost exclusively by men. As figures concerning industrial accidents show, this continues to be the case today.

* Since women can have far, far fewer children than men, biologically speaking their lives are more precious. Much as feminists cry out for their sisters’ right to become soldiers and fight, no society, on pain of extinction, can afford to lose large numbers of women. That is one reason why men—and, in some nonhuman species, males—keep sacrificing their lives for women; whereas the opposite only happens very rarely. Also why very, very few women have ever fought in war. True, the number of those who did so in uprisings, rebellions, insurgencies, etc. was somewhat larger. However, in all countries without exception it still remains far smaller than that of men.

* Women who have sex with men, being considerably weaker than their partners, put themselves at the latter’s mercy. That, rather than a weak libido, is why they require greater security, both physical and emotional. The difference in strength also explains why, outside the bedroom they are more likely than men to rely on cunning and flattery. If those two don’t work they are also more likely to complain, open the tear-faucet, and show a bit of cleavage.

* Men, producing almost inconceivably large number of spermatozoids each of which is capable of fertilizing an egg, are naturally polygamous; women, producing far fewer eggs but requiring assistance in raising their children, are naturally monogamous. That is why polyandrous societies are rare indeed. Also why attempts, and there have been a few, to set up brothels for women have invariably failed.

Conclusion: Some things have undoubtedly changed. But others, including many of the most important ones, have not. Nor do I see any signs that they will.

 

* Thanks to Mr. Larry Kummer, whose post on this topic made me think. Really think.

Guest Article: Revolutionary Words that Will Forever Change the American Family

By Larry Kummer*

Summary: Sometimes simple insights change the world. Here is one such— part of a quiet revolution already in motion yet still unseen. It will reshape the American family in ways we cannot even imagine.

Marx said that ideology and religion mask our vision of reality (creating what Engels called a false consciousness). Stripping them away so that we clearly see the world leads to revolution. Sometimes all that’s needed are words providing simple insights that change the world. Here are the most revolutionary words since Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat cake”.

“When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make the bad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home.”

— Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) in her best-seller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (2013).

{The “let them eat cake” story is bogus, but came to represent the origins of the French revolution because it captures the exploitive and uncaring spirit of the French aristocracy.}

Sandberg’s advice to young women is rational. It allows women to have fun, then marry nice beta providers — dreaming at night of the Alpha lovers from their past. It’s called “settling”, an anathema to the dreams of the “you can have it all” school of feminism. See the controversial articles about it in The Atlantic: “The Case for Mr. Not-Quite-Right“, “The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough“, and “Reader, Marry Him!“.

Even better than settling: playing the game aggressively

While have fun then settle seems logical but cold, some women play the game more aggressively. Marry, have kids (with a husband providing support during those first few difficult years), divorce after they’re in school, collect child support. This gets the children she wants without the bother of having a husband (after a few years of marriage). The resulting high divorce rates, roughly 80% initiated by wives, makes marriage a risky proposition for men.

Update: less 60% of US adolescents (11, 13, and 15 years old) lived with both birth parents in 2005-06, the lowest level in the OCED. Today probably even fewer do. See numbers at the end of this essay.

Women of Sheryl Sandberg’s generation successfully played this game in its benign or aggressive versions. Settling assumes men’s ignorance or acceptance. But is it rational for men to participate in this game? A woman’s romance looks different to a man aware that she has taken Sandberg’s advice. What if large numbers of young men who are 20 today see marriage as an unattractive or risky proposition — and decline to marry when the women of their generation turn 27 and want to settle?

The use of settling and more exploitive strategies raises an even more disturbing question.

The nature of relations between men and women

“Relations between the sexes have always been difficult, and that is why so much of our literature is about men and women quarreling. There is certainly legitimate ground to doubt their suitability for each other given the spectrum — from the harem to Plato’s Republic — of imaginable and actually existing relations between them, whether nature acted the stepmother or God botched the creation by an afterthought, as some Romantics believed.”

— From Allan Bloom’s great Closing of the American Mind.

Economics has long been the foundation for marriage, providing rational motives for both men and women to marry. The emancipation of women, now accelerating, is washing those away.  After that is gone, what remains as a foundation for modern marriage (i.e., romance, nuclear family, easy divorce)?

(1)  Sex is now easily available.

(2)  The high rate of women-initiated divorces, likely to increase as women become increasingly independent financially, suggests that many women do not need marriage — other than temporarily to help conceive and support children.

(3)  We might already be seeing the third and final nail in the coffin of modern marriage — men losing interest in marriage. As in the frequent complaints about the “Peter Pan Syndrome: A Man’s Fear of Commitment” — “This is when a man is afraid to grow up. They usually put themselves first and do not want to commit to anything. They are unable to face adult feelings and responsibilities.” Also common are women’s responses to these new man, such as “Learn how to make him commit: The Secret Lives of Men”.

A tragedy of our time

The internet has stories. Some are true. Some are fiction containing truth. The good ones speak to us about our hopes, dreams, and fears. Some are tragedies that makes Othello look like the Marx Brothers. Here is one such, a tale of marriage today: “Saving the Best” and the follow-up “Betas in Waiting.” The author gives an analysis that cuts to the heart of the problem.

“…it’s the freedom and genuine desire with which their wives had sex with prior (alpha) lovers; desire that wasn’t based on material provisioning, emotional investment or the logistical hoops women expect their post-Epiphany “good men” to perform to in order to merit their sexual and intimate attentions.

“That’s the disconnect, that’s the con; Alpha Bad Boys get her 3-Way genuine sexual abandon with no investment expected, while he’s got to maintain ‘multiple businesses’ in order to get a prosaic sexual experience with her. The Bad Boys got her sexual best for free, while he’s expected to accept her as the ‘new’ post-Epiphany her… {The wife comments after the divorce on their final fight.}

‘Nothing I could do or say could convince him that these were past mistakes and not reflective of who I am today. He wasn’t angry with me, didn’t call me a slut or anything like that. Never once raised his voice. Part of me wishes he did, although I can’t exactly say why right now.’

“As I mentioned, the expectation is for her husband to accept “who she is today”, yet who she was ten years ago had a more genuine desire for less established, but sexually arousing, lovers.”

Conclusions

Modern marriage, with its complex emotional scaffolding, evolved in a specific social situation. Those conditions lie in our past, as our society evolves into something quite different. The facts are plain and must be faced, however reluctant we are to do so by our wishful thinking and long-standing affection for this institution. Marriage as we know it might play a small role in our future.

American society is already atomized, as the intermediate structures between the state and the individual die. Ties to a region were broken by our mobility. Lifetime employment and unions provided both social and economic stability to Americans; both now largely gone. Many of our social institutions are dying (see Robert Putnam’s powerful 1995 essay “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital“, and the book). Marriage is the most important source of our social capital. Without it we will be just isolated motes.

Life will go on. Perhaps better. Perhaps worse. We will know which by comparison with other nations whose people have taken other paths. We are experimenting on ourselves, guided purely by ideology, with our children as guinea pigs.

* Larry Kummer is the editor of the Fabius Maximus website.

A Modest Proposal

As my readers will know, I have long been interested in the question as to whether women can or cannot, should or should not, participate in ground combat. Not that I have a personal interest in the matter. If some women, driven bonkers by penis envy, insist on entering the most strenuous activity known to man, who am I stand in their way? They want to go to some of the least congenial, most dangerous, places on earth; so let them go to some of the least congenial, most dangerous, places on earth. Their feminist leaders, whom they follow to the end of idiocy (supposing there is such a thing), want them to get killed; so let them be killed. Since they want it so much, they have my blessing.

Still I want to use today’s post in order to sum up, once again, the various problems that such participation gives rise to.

* Recruitment Problems. As countless students, a great many of them female, have noted, no sooner do women join any group, institution or organization than the prestige of the organization in question starts declining. The outcome is difficulties in attracting first class manpower and a loss of fighting power. And so on in a vicious cycle that points nowhere but downward.

* Physical problems. Women on the average only have seventy percent of men’s lower body strength, fifty-five percent of upper body strength. Thinner, lighter bones make them more vulnerable to injuries and stress breaks. Shorter arms make them less adept at stabbing, whereas different elbow and pelvis structures makes it harder to throw objects and run respectively. The movements of many women are hampered by their pendulous breasts. A different anatomical structure makes them more vulnerable to dirt and infection. Smaller lungs and the resulting lower aerobic capacity mean they are less suitable for operating at great altitudes. The last-named problem in particular can also lead to amenorrhea (cessation of the periods) and sterility. As at least one military woman I used to know did develop these problems.

* Training problems. Given the physical differences, training women along with men, and holding them to the same standards, is impossible. Not holding them to the same standard is unfair. The former course will lead to any number of injuries, some of them crippling. The latter will turn women into a liability precisely at the place, and at the time, when such liability can least be afforded. It also means that female soldiers will enter combat without the kind of training their male colleagues have received. Which, of course, is more unfair still. In practice, the outcome is going to be lower standards for everyone. As, to use a particularly ludicrous example, when American and British commanders are ordered to balance readiness against lactation time.

* Problems of motivation. For as long as men have existed on earth, one of their key motives in joining the forces and fighting has always been to prove themselves as men. By definition, a group, or institution, or organization, which also has female members does not allow them to do so. As more women join, men move out. The more men move out, the more the powers that be are compelled to replace them with women. In this way recruiting women often achieves the opposite from what is intended, which is to alleviate a shortage of men.

* Problems of cohesion. For a unit to be cohesive, all its members must be treated equally. The physical characteristics of women, as well as the erotic ties that will necessarily form among men and women living closely together in the same unit, make doing so impossible. Anything else is an illusion. Or why else didn’t the Catholic Church establish co-ed monasteries?

* Sexual harassment problems. The recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have given rise to a new problem: military-sexual trauma. Real or, in view of the possibility of obtaining compensation, fake. Whether a female soldier who is traumatized because a fellow soldier made a pass at her is fit to participate in the most strenuous and most dangerous activity on earth will not be discussed here. As things are, a situation has been created where many male soldiers fear and hate their female colleagues more than they do the enemy—and with good reason.

* Finally, and perhaps worst of all, any male member of the military who so much dares as hint at the existence of these and similar problems will find himself targeted by the thought police and disciplined. As a result the entire military, precisely the organization most dependent on mutual trust right unto death, is built on lies, lies, and more lies.

So far, the facts. Over the years, I have often been asked whether anything could make me change my views on this topic. For an answer, I turn to Karl Popper. Popper (1902-94) was an Austrian-born, Jewish, philosopher who made quite some contributions to his field. Among the most important was the idea that the validity of natural laws can never be conclusively proven; the reason being that, however numerous our experiments, at some unknown time and place there may always be an exception. Accordingly scientific progress, and with it an improved understanding of the world, is achieved by using experiments in order to invalidate “known” laws. In other words, by showing that they are false.

This kind of testing may work fine in the natural sciences, and indeed some scientists have gone on record as saying that, for them, it did just that. However, applying it do the social sciences is much more difficult. There are several reasons for this. First, as the above discussion also shows, there is normally more than one cause behind any effect. Second, cause and effect tend to be so closely intertwined as to be inseparable. Absent an “independent variable,” as the saying goes, tests are often impossible to design and carry out. Third, even if they can be designed and carried out, changing circumstances mean that they can never be repeated in exactly the same form. For Popper that means that most, perhaps even all, social science is not science but literature.

No two wars, no two campaigns, have ever been exactly alike. That is why measuring the performance of gender-neutral units against other kinds is impossible. I do, however, have in mind a modest proposal that could provide an answer. In many technical fields, one of the first steps in validating a new idea is to build a small-scale model and putting it to the test. So let there be formed, by way of a model, some mixed-gender football teams. And let them play both against all male teams and against mixed-gender ones. If they work—if the field is not quickly littered with badly injured female bodies—so should mixed combat units.

Setting up such an experiment, or test, would be easy, cheap, and, if so desired, repeatable. So why hasn’t it been done? Because we take sport much more seriously than we do war; and because everyone knows the outcome ahead of time.

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?