Tuesday, May 02, 2006

P is for Pendulum

Reccomended ReadingI keep hearing from well-meaning people that the law's current outrageous treatment of men is 'like a pendulum'. Their comment usually goes like this:

"The law used to treat women really badly, but now the pendulum has swung and has granted more rights to women, and perhaps it has swung too far, and eventually it will swing back."

Well, I have heard it too often as of this point, and am starting to wonder how much truth is in this truism.

Oh, Sure, women didn't have the vote, and couldn't inhereit property, IN THE 1800s, and couldn't own property separately from their husband, BEFORE 1850.

But by 1895, the Gynocracy was apparently in full swing:

Up till quite recently [...] advanced persons, were supposed, as a matter of course, to swallow that conventional lie of modern civilisation – the theory of “woman the victim of man’s oppression.” This dogma, which, like the doctrine of Manchester school, that the ideal of human liberty is attained under the capitalistic regime of free industrial and commercial competition, has dominated the thought of the Anglo-Saxon race for two generations and has been the chief instrument in effecting a revolution which has placed the whole judicial and administrative machinery of the country at the disposal of one sex oppress the other (in all causes, i.e. into which the sex question prominently enters.) Let us look at the present condition of this so-called “victim.”

While under our present marriage laws the wife is under no obligation to maintain the husband, not even though she have money and he be destitute (saving the ratepayer’s right to be recouped for his maintenance in the workhouse) the husband is bound at criminal law to maintain his wife in comfort under all circumstances. Hitherto exception has been made in the case of adultery on the part of wife. Now, in a Bill before Parliament this last reservation is proposed to be virtually abrogated by a “caoutchouc” paragraph which enforces “alimony” where the husband can be shown by his defect or “misconduct to have contributed to the adultery. “

Thus, if a man has ever had a dispute with his wife or even come home late, as in a recent case, he will presumably have, “by defect or misconduct, contributed to the adultery;” just as now if a man ever had words with his wife and raised his voice above its normal pitch or come home late he may deemed to have committed technical cruelty entitling the said wife to separation or divorce with “alimony.”

2. A wife is perfectly free to leave her husband at will, and he has no remedy (Jackson case). If a husband leaves his wife she can compel him to surrender to her a third of his income or earnings, and for desertion, i.e., for leaving her without money, he can be punished with hard labour.

3. A husband is further liable for her debts and her civil delinquencies (torts).

4. A husband cannot obtain relief against a wife for any act, negligence, or language of hers, while for any one of these considerations she can get judicial separation, exclusive rights over the children, if any, and a third of his income or earrings for herself, with so much per head in addition for each child. Thus if a man gives his wife an unfriendly pat on the cheek with his open hand she can get established comfortably for life on the fruits of his labour; if, on the contrary, she smashes his head in with a poker she may be fined five shillings which the injured husband has to pay; and should he succeed in obtaining a separation it is only on, condition of his keeping the virago in comfortable idleness.

A little illustration will bring home to the reader this complete serfdom of the husband to the wife under our marriage laws. A man, not long ago, obtain the offer of employment in America. His wife did wish him to go. Not having any money or work home he insisted. The wife who had money of own, and to whom he moreover gave £25 with promise of more on his arrival at his destination, went straight to the Guardians, had him arrested on board ship at Southampton, dragged before the magistrate, and sentenced to three months hard labour. The sentence was subseqently quashed after the man had been in gaol and was ruined. Most feudal barons would surely have been satisfied with such powers as this over their “villeins.”

At criminal law it is a well-known fact which anyone may verify by the records of the courts that women enjoy an almost complete immunity for all offences committed against men, as such. For assault, perjury, and blackmailing practised on men, women are virtually never even prosecuted, let alone convicted. On the other hard, savage and vindictive laws, savagely and vindictively enforced by judges are dealt out to men for the most trifling assaults or other offences committed against women. In fact it seems that the express aim of the modern political woman and her “Women’s” Associations is to deprive men of the last shred of protection against criminal women with a view of giving the latter every facility for exercising their calling.
Such is the present position of advantage enjoyed by women by virtue of their sex. Such are the facts as opposed to the popular “legend” on the subject. Space forbids my further analysing the present subjection at law of men to women in this article, which is the more unnecessary as I have elaborated the subject in further detail elsewhere.

Given the above, which pretty explicitly sounds a little less bad than our situation today, I wonder:

What, exactly, is the period of this purported pendulum?

-I would have to assume that it has been continuing upwards since 1895, meaning that it will take 111 more years for us to get back to the situation that we had in 1895.

-And perhaps 200 years before we get to a point resembling equal rights for men?

I am sorry, I just don't have that kind of time. What is more the pendulum analogy sounds very patronizing:

-Urging us to 'be patient' with a system that has been out of control for over One Hundred and Eleven years. Justice delayed is justice denied. We need justice in OUR lifetimes.

-Or perhaps encouraging us to see our suffering as some sort of 'payback' for inequities that occurred almost 200 years ago. Perhaps this explains why a female murderer is sentenced on average to ONE SIXTH of the time a male murderer is? NOT.

I am sorry that bad things happened in the past. We are supposed to have left punishing the children for the sins of the father, or in this case, the great-great-grandfather, in the Old Testament.

In the 20th and 21rst Centuries we are supposed to all be treated equally under law. Unfortunately, it just isn't true, and hasn't been for a long time.

My best to you in your struggles.


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Anonymous said...

what makes you think women *ever* had it worse than men? Is it possible that the entire pendulum concept is yet another feminist fiction?

Anonymous said...

Good question as to whether women ever had it worse. Would, for example, women living during the American Civil War days, watching men and boys come home in body bags, or minus limbs, feel that women still had it worse? Unlikely. And that was decades before Bax' piece in England.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment....

Women never had it bad....

Earlier, if you think hard enough you'll see that women were nearly treated as children, the exception being that children were a greater priority.

Thats means you are given all kinds of protections and very few responsibilities......these lack of responsibilities is interpreted as oppression....by that logic aren't children oppressed ? The whole idea of women's oppression is ridiculous.

Now, women are not sane enough to understand their own good just as children.If they were as good as men they would be born as men not women.....this is no joke .

Thats why they were not given powers as men were ....because powers bring responsibilities and if you can't perform them you're just abusing your powers and bringing people under you misery.

With greater responsibilities men were always under the hammer...so do no put your forefathers under any disservice...

Unlike today, they did not have the choice of not protecting their womenfolk and risk your life in the process.They did not have the option of earning wives....there's lot of things.

And they weren't the ones to complain ....it were the women.

I wonder....somehow the women are going to suffer a lot......and the way islam treats them is kind in comparison to whats coming.