Sunday, 21 March 2010

Masculinity, femininity

To better understand what happened over the course of the 21st century, we should clarify the concepts of masculinity and femininity.

People are born, with a few exceptions, either male or female. They are then subjected to profound social conditioning according to what’s between their legs. ‘Masculinity’ is a package of behaviours traditionally associated with males. ‘Femininity’ is the package of behaviours traditionally associated with females. Both act as a kind of template into which human beings must squeeze themselves, regardless of what their true nature might be.

Archaeologists broadly agree that the very earliest societies, accounting for the vast majority of human history, were egalitarian. In the impoverished Stone Age, neither sex had the resources to oppress the other. This changed with the advent of farming, when raising crops (traditionally a female activity) became harder and harder for women with the advent of the heavy plough and much more regular pregnancies. Men had control of the main new source of wealth just as it was revolutionising society. It is from this time that males began to dominate over females.

Masculinity and femininity were creations of this era. Masculinity represented authority, strength, competitiveness. Femininity represented the beguiling, the decorative, the submissive, the housebound.

With the rise of female power, these labels underwent profound change. As women spread into previously male professions, they increasingly adopted ‘masculine’ behaviours: wearing trousers, drinking more, becoming more confident and self-assertive. When women were the majority in politics and the professions, it no longer made sense to refer to such behaviour as ‘masculine’. ‘Masculine’ identity had shifted to mean ‘feminine’ identity — behaviours associated with females.

At the same time, men were under great pressure to change their behaviour. With the woman at the head of the household, it seemed absurd to continue with the machismo of before. Men, pushed out of their jobs by women and relegated to looking after the home, were pressured to take on the feminine role that women had abandoned. Women expected men to be decorative and submissive. ‘Feminine’ was the new ‘masculine’.

The gender inequality inaugurated by the agricultural revolution was still with us, but in a historically unprecedented new form.

Friday, 12 March 2010

The future is female

At the start of the 21st century, a spectre was haunting Europe — the spectre of female power.

Outperforming boys and men in education, elbowing their way into the workplace, and winning more and more financial clout, women were slowly overcoming their traditional fetters. In the 1990s, a new catchphrase was heard everywhere, one that filled males with unease and even dread: ‘the future is female’.

By the middle of the 21st century, that promise had been fulfilled. An extraordinary shift had taken place in society.

Women had become the dominant sex.

businesswomen

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Foreword

This blog is a fantasy. It conceives a world where, in the 21st century, women have become the dominant sex. They run governments and have careers, while men must wear ‘feminine’ clothes, raise children and do the housework. Imagine a complete reversal of traditional gender identities and you’ll get the idea.

As I am heterosexual, I talk about heterosexual relationships. I don’t mean to assume that nobody is bi- or homosexual — it’s just that there’s no point in qualifying everything I say.

But we must know the difference between fantasy and reality, and so must make one caveat. I will say this once at the outset, then hold my peace.

We will be building upon various trends in the real world, such as better performance of females in education, greater numbers of women in the workplace, and so on. It’s fun to exaggerate these, but the alarmists who like to say that women are ‘taking over’ are wrong. To take the US Congress, out of 100 senators only 17 are women; out of 435 representatives, only 74 are women. In 2008, women held only 15.2% of directorships at Fortune 500 companies. Yes, the proportions are increasing, but according to these top indicators of power, women are still very much behind men. In the general workforce, they are often paid a third less than men for doing the same job.

This is why feminism — which believes that women and men are born equal, and should be treated equally by society — is still so very important today.

With that out of the way, let us begin.