Most of the predictions of gynarchy in the early phase of the genderquake came from men, indulging sexual fantasies about all-powerful women who reduced men to being their slaves. In a lurid and often confused imagery, women were dressed in business suits one minute, in alluring negligees and heels the next. Women were goddesses before whom servile men kneeled and worshipped; they lashed the male into submission with whips; or even forced males into changing sex.
This was a variety of male femdom fantasy which some enjoyed taking seriously as the shape of the future. The course actually taken by history was of course different. We must always be able to tell the difference between the fantasy on the one hand, and historical reality on the other.
The same applies to the propaganda turned out by the dominant sex. A good example of this dichotomy can be seen in the 21st century conviction, taken as common sense by both sexes, that women were more intelligent than men.
Neither sex is in fact more intelligent than the other. Society reached a point where the particular qualities required for success were much better supplied by females than by males. Girls outperformed boys in school, not because they were brainier, but because they were raised with a positive ambition to succeed, whereas boys were trapped in an outdated mindset which told them it was uncool and unmanly to stick one’s head in a book. The more girls empowered themselves, the more masculinity was pushed into a cul-de-sac, to the point where it broke and required a massive reinvention.
This did not stop a huge number of scientific studies trying to prove that women must be innately more intelligent.
Right: This science magazine cover from 2053 is typical of the female-ruled era. (Image of woman: Swanky.)
Early on, this simply seemed like a redressing of the balance, a challenging of sexist myths. Later, it became an orthodoxy. Every schoolboy and girl by the 2040s believed it indisputable that girls were mentally superior in almost every way, barring a few characteristics such as boys’ fractionally better spatial ability that stemmed from the ancient past. Only the oppression and lies of male rule had kept girls’ superiority from being discovered earlier; once a level playing had been created, women rose rapidly to their rightful place at the top.
Observation of society seemed to prove these assumptions correct — girls vastly outperformed boys in education, and vastly outnumbered them in university. Women dominated not only business but academia, scientific research, engineering, the arts, medicine and every other intellectual field. (Though for that matter, they also dominated the sporting world too.)
In reality, this was no better than the old sexist myth that men are cleverer than women because on average their brains are bigger. The prejudice had been reinvented, but it was no more true than before. Women dominated because they were the sex that benefited from new social conditions, not because they were innately smarter. But the ‘common-sense’ belief in female superiority was repeated so often that everyone assumed that women were indeed born superior. And with scientific research completely controlled by women, there was no strong incentive for those in a position to debunk it to actually do so.
Another argument popular with the new, female-dominated scientific community was that it was ‘natural’ for men to be the decorative sex, because this was a pattern seen very often in the natural world. Just as peacocks and other male animals put on a splendid show to attract females, so the human male was happier in a pretty dress, makeup and jewels, anxious for the attention of the alpha females around him. Such arguments served to legitimise forcing men and boys into skirts. But a century or two before, of course, men had enjoyed saying similar things about women on equally bogus pseudo-scientific grounds.
All sorts of dubious new movements arose in the wake of female power. Male rule had never really been consciously organised, in the sense of men conspiring explicitly to work out how women could be oppressed. It arose organically out of historical conditions. Because of women’s different history, however, consciously supremacist movements did arise for women. These pursued a variety of ideologies, and in their search for a non-male discourse often drew upon pseudo-pagan mystical conceptions. They preached the victory of matriarchy over patriarchy, the triumph of the Goddess, women’s divine right to rule as embodiments of the eternal creative female principle, etc, etc. They spread unscientific but fashionable theories about how men were dangerously predicated upon violence and abuse, rape and exploitation, and how women must keep them in their place to ensure order.
The most aggressive of these groups, such as the notorious Daughters of Lilith, used straightforward intimidation. They stormed meetings of the men’s rights movement and shouted down men’s hesitant representatives in television studios. This was interpreted by many observers at the time as the advent of an extreme anti-male militancy. But the main goal of these movements, the dominance of women over men, had been achieved, so their more oddball ideas became influential in only the vaguest way. Many women joined the Daughters of Lilith not because they believed in a mystical female destiny but because they believed the very common (and false) argument that men needed to be removed from power so that war, rape, and other evils could be ended. That was no consolation to a would-be male activist afflicted with aching testicles and a split lip, but it showed that these movements were complex and sometimes self-contradictory.
The main thing that kept such sects in check was actual experience. It came as a great surprise to many that with women in charge, wars were still fought, politicians still took bribes, spouses still nagged each other, the inferior gender was still exploited for sex and profit, etc. The era of universal Mother love simply didn’t happen. There was, finally, a revolution in childcare, but not a very enlightened one — childcare was pushed onto men. It turned out that women were in fact human beings and prey to the same temptations and failings and personal faults that men were. This was only surprising to people who had starry-eyed notions about women, notions whose true origin lay in the sexist stereotypes of caring and benign femininity smeared by men across previous centuries.
Right: It was now the male who wore the wedding dress and vowed to obey his wife. Photo: amamitomo
How then may we characterise the relationship of the sexes in the middle to late 21st century? The closest parallel would be to the 1950s. Women at that time had the vote and had entered the workforce to a modest level, and voices were being raised calling for more rights — but women also were urged to play the housewife, draw fulfilment from family and home, and dress in elaborately feminine clothes. Politics, education and popular depictions of heroism remained firmly male preserves, though positive models and opportunities for women did exist.
Reverse the genders and this was broadly the position of society by the 2050s, with the obvious difference that women in the 1950s were on the brink of a great emancipation, whereas men had just suffered their greatest defeat. Boys were raised to play with dolls, to prefer pink, to love dresses and looking pretty, to obey female authority, and to limit their ambitions to being, at best, menial workers such as secretaries or cleaners. During the marriage ceremony it was the man who wore the beautiful white gown and vowed to obey his wife. It was the man who did the housework and was expected to have his hardworking wife’s dinner on the table when she came home.
This was of course a profoundly humiliating fate for the sex that had once boasted of its explorations, inventions and conquests. But it was a far cry from the ranks of kneeling slaves, the husbands strapped in dungeons, the boys raised as sex toys or transformed into females, and all the other lurid imaginings of earlier male fantasy. Although the most remarkable reversal in human history had taken place, the world of the subordinate male and dominant female was, like everyday life everywhere, mostly banal.