Tag Archives: men’s human rights

Mr. Belfort Bax Replies to his Feminist Critics (1908)

Amid the various writers who have favoured THE NEW AGE with their views on the question of Female Suffrage, none have really traversed my original contention, as contained in my first article. That contention was, that occupying as they do a privileged position before the law – not only in itself, but still more in its administration – as against men, women have no just claim to the franchise. That the votaries of Female Suffrage feel this, is proved by the fact that their most serious efforts at arguments turn upon the iniquity of subjecting women to “man-made laws,” their staple policy throughout their agitation being, by dint of lying assertions and insinuations, ceaselessly repeated, to create the impression on the public mind that the existing state of the law and its administration not only does not favour women, but is actually unfair to “the sex.” Now, as I have pointed out, to anyone in the least acquainted with the theory and practice of the English law, there can be no doubt whatever that the latter, in theory and still more in practice, is entirely and without any exception whatever, one-sided and partial to women and against men.

The only correspondent of THE NEW AGE who has really touched the point at issue at all, while admitting the substantial truth of my remarks, confines himself to suggesting exaggeration on my part and observing that our infamous anti-man marriage laws were unjust “not on one side only.” But I must deny the charge of exaggeration, a denial that can be substantiated by illustrative cases galore. As regards the marriage laws, I insist that the unfairness is wholly and solely on one side. But I must here make an explanation. There does exist on paper one slight concession of fairness towards the husband. The divorce law, namely, ordains that an adulterous wife, owing to the fact that by her adultery she can introduce into the family, and compel her husband to support, a bastard child, can be divorced by the husband on proof of adultery alone, whereas for a wife to obtain divorce from her husband (in which case, of course, the above reason does not obtain), it is necessary to prove cruelty in addition to adultery. Now, believer as I am that marriage ought to be an absolutely free union, it is certainly not my case to defend the existing marriage laws as a system. But I do say that, given that system and our present property and family relations generally, nothing can be more reasonable or more equitable as between the man and the woman than this provision of the English law respecting divorce.

Yet when brought to book and challenged to give a concrete instance of the unfairness of “man-made laws “ to woman anent which the woman’s righter is perennially blathering at large, it is invariably this very innocent and natural provision of the divorce law that is trotted out, it being the solitary instance in which the law does not overtly favour the woman at the expense of the man. But I have said that this provision exists on paper merely, and so it does, since in practice it remains a dead letter. For the discrimination in question is now practically abolished, anything which the wife objects to – coming home late at night, going out to a party without taking her with him, holding her hands when she attempts to scratch or bite him – being adjudged technical cruelty by the husband within the meaning of the law. Per contra, the Act of 1895 condones expressly the adultery of the wife, providing she can successfully plead “neglect” (an elastic term) on the part of the husband. So much for this solitary case in which the Feminist, to his horror and indignation, finds that the law does not for once avowedly favour women at the expense of men. But apart from this isolated example, the whole marriage law is one tissue of favouritism to the woman and injustice to the man, as I have already shown.

And yet we find in “advanced” journals tirades like the following: “Any fool, any blackguard, any coward, is wise enough and worthy enough to be allowed a legal and a holy licence to torture and insult a woman. Anything with the title of husband in his pocket may goad and stab and lash and sear the soul of the slave we call a wife” (Clarion, July 17) Unfortunately, the champion liar who can gush forth the mendacious, sentimental slush, of which the foregoing is a sample, does not stand alone. His performance is but part of an anti-man crusade of misrepresentation and falsehood carefully organised and skilfully engineered, the object of which is, and has been, to inflame public opinion against men in the interests of female privilege and of female domination. Feminists well know that the most grotesquely far-fetched cry anent the injustice of man to woman will meet with a ready ear. They well know that they get here fond and foolish man on his soft side. Looking at the matter impartially, it is quite evident that man’s treatment of woman is the least vulnerable point in his moral record. Woman, as such, he has always treated with comparative generosity. But it is, of course, to the interests of the abettors of female domination to pretend the contrary. Accordingly everything has been done to excite prejudice in favour of woman as the innocent and guileless victim of man’s tyranny, and the maudlin Feminist sentiment of the “brute” man has been carefully exploited to this end. The result of two generations’ agitation in the above sense is seen in the existing state of the law, civil and criminal, in which the “Woman’s Movement” has succeeded in effecting the violation of every principle of rectitude towards the male side of the sex-equation. The existing laws connected with marriage which place the husband practically in the position of legal slavery as regards the wife is typical of the whole.

That the present “Votes for Women” movement is only a phase of the anti-man crusade which Feminism has been carrying on for nigh two generations past with the aid of the Press, is shown, not only by the persistent efforts to represent “ man-made laws “ as unjust to women, but by the incidental remarks of Suffragette leaders in which the sex animus is shown, no concealment being made of the intention to use the suffrage for rivetting on man the chains of legalised female oppression. For example, Mrs. Pankhurst recently represented one of the functions of emancipated “Womanhood” to be the handing over of the luckless male to the Female blackmailer by raising the “age of consent” above sixteen!! The allusion made at the same time to the “daughters of the working class “ is a piece of demagogy too thin to deceive anyone as to the venomous sex-spite animating this outrageous proposal.

Again, in the Daily News for July 30 a suffragette objects to a woman being punished for murdering her child, protesting that the father, who had had nothing to do with the crime, ought to have been in the dock in her place!

In the present agitation we see merely the culmination of a Feminist campaign organised with scarcely any attempt at concealment, as I have said, on the basis of a sex-war. But this sex-war is at present one-sided, the man’s case goes by default. There is no sex-conscious man’s party to be appealed to and to engineer public opinion in favour of the claims of the most elementary justice for him, as here is a sex-conscious woman’s party to further any and every iniquitous claim of the female sex. So long as the present state of things lasts, organised determination on the one side and indefinite gullibility on the other, are likely to maintain the ascendancy of the Feminist cult and increase the sphere of female privilege.

It has often been remarked that even if the suffrage were granted, the enforcement of the laws decreed by a female majority would be dependent on the goodwill of men. This observation we are accustomed to find greeted by Feminist jeers. The jeers may be justified for the moment, but the intrinsic truth of the observation remains none the less. So long, namely, as the Woman’s Party can continue to bulldose men as they have done up to the present, so long will they be able to make men obey and enforce their behests, whether formulated directly through the suffrage or indirectly by hoodwinking public opinion as they do now. But when once men get tired of this, when once the reaction sets in and a sex-conscious Man’s Party forms itself, then Heaven help the women!! The anti-man ranting sisterhood do not seem to realise what the position of their sex would be if men took to refusing to act against their “brothers.” They think it the most natural thing in the world for women to talk and act in this strain as regards their “sisters.” The explanation, to my mind, is simple. They instinctively feel that man is more than sex, that he stands for humanity in the concrete, whereas woman stands, par excellence, for sex and sex alone. As I have often pointed out before, common phraseology recognises that while man has a sex woman is a sex. The hollowness of the sham of the modern dogma of equality between the sexes is shown by the fact that the assumption of inferiority is called into requisition without any hesitation when there is anything to be gained by it for the cause of female privilege. The dogma of equality is reserved for pleading for the franchise, for the opening up of the professions, and similar occasions. According to the current theory, while women are fully equal to men in capacity for government, administration, etc., and hence, while justice demands that these spheres should be accessible to them, they are so inferior to men in the capacity to control their actions and to distinguish right from wrong, that it is not to be thought of that they, poor weak women, should be treated with the same impartiality or severity by the law as is dealt out to men. Women nowadays “want it,” not “both ways” merely, but all ways. At least as good arguments may be produced to prove that the apparent muscular inferiority of women to men is not fundamental, as are adduced to prove that the apparent intellectual inferiority is not fundamental. There are plenty of instances of extraordinary bodily strength in women. And yet we never hear these arguments. Why? Because Feminists have no interest, but quite the contrary, in perverting the truth on this side, whereas on the other, their demands require that they shall prove equality – the aim being to ensure for women all honourable, agreeable, and lucrative occupations in life, while guarding them carefully from all rough and disagreeable work and from all unpleasant responsibilities. Hence it suits their book to admit the physical, while denying the mental, inferiority. My constitutional objection to privileged classes extends also to a privileged sex. Hence my (as some deem it, intemperate) zeal in exposing the hollow humbug on which the practical demands of the “Woman’s Movement” rest.

Turning again to the present agitation, it is noteworthy how the evidence as to the numerical strength of the Suffrage movement adduced by its advocates is about on a level with the arguments advanced in support of the general principle of Feminism. A stage army, the vanguard of which probably amounts to some five hundred, which can on occasion, from all England, be raised to ten thousand (among these, girlish youth and innocence being particularly prominent), such is all that has yet been achieved, and such it is that we are asked to regard as representing the public opinion of England. However, one may suppose that the Feminists are so accustomed to their statements otherwise being allowed to pass by default, that they have come to regard the supineness and gullibility of public opinion in these matters as a safe speculation. Hence, at the beginning of the twentieth century the figure of British Womanhood rises up before us, reeking with privilege, and, in alternate strophes, tearfully whimpering and threateningly shrieking that she has not enough, that she wants more! Such, at least is the Womanhood of the Feminist agitation. In concluding this controversy, I can only reaffirm my original position unshaken, and that is, that whatever other arguments there may be for or against “Votes for Women,” certain it is, under any ordinarily recognised standard of fairness and equality, that so long as women enjoy those privileges before the law at the expense of men which they now do, it is unjust that they should be given facilities for increasing, them by the concession of the franchise.

 
Source: New Age, 8 August 1908, p. 287-288

Feminism and The War (1918)

The following paragraphs on the subject of feminism and World War 1 are excepted from chapter XII ‘Concluding Reflexions’ of Bax’s 1918 book Reminiscences and Reflexions of a mid and late Victorian.

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Women War“The principles and propaganda of Feminism were running high in the land up to the outbreak of the war, and though for the time being undoubtedly overshadowed by the great events of the last two years, there is no reason for thinking that Feminism, theoretical and practical, will not reassert itself when the present crisis is over. In my book on the subject I have distinguished between political and sentimental Feminism. The propaganda of Feminism has for its practical object to exalt the woman at the expense of the man. We have had echoes of sentimental Feminism during the war itself, notably, as already mentioned, in the case of Edith Cavell, where we have a woman exalted to the rank of a demi-goddess of heroism, while of the Belgian architect, Philippe Bancq, who suffered at the same time, for the same offence against the German invaders of his country, not a word has been said. Compare the case of Captain Fryatt, whose murder was even more in contravention of the laws of civilized war than that of Edith Cavell, and yet we hear of no streets named after lain and no festivals in his honour! The general theory of sentimental Feminism seems to be that the shooting of one woman non-combatant outweighs the murder of ten men non-combatants. Such divinity doth hedge a female of the human species!”

“The present war is affording a stalking-horse for more nostrums than one The trick is to trace the atrocities and misdeeds of the Prusso-German Government and armies to the absence in Germany of the influence of one’s own particular nostrum. Thus, the Feminist will try to persuade you that the crimes of the German Army are due to defects in the German character, arising from the absence of the cultus of Woman among German men and of the emancipation of Woman in the Feminist sense in the Fatherland. The shooting of Miss Cavell and sundry outrages on women in Belgium and the North of France, we are told, are referable to an insufficient spirit of gallantry or chivalry, i.e. of kowtowing to femalehood, on the part of German men. If female suffrage and female influence generally had been present in German social and political life, it is alleged, we should have had no war, or, in case of war, no “frightfulness,” and above all the sacrosanct sex would have been spared and treated with the due reverential awe which it becomes vile man to show in his dealings therewith. All this sort of talk is, I suppose, swallowed by a section of the British public at its face-value, being, as they are, utterly ignorant of the facts of the case. Either the Feminists who seek to make propaganda for their theories out of the misdeeds of the German Army do not know these facts themselves or they are dishonest in their attempt to snatch an advantage out of the war-feeling of the British public. As having had some considerable experience of Germany and things German before the war, I can answer for it that there has been now for years past as strong a current of Feminist sentiment and opinion in Germany as elsewhere, in all circles claiming to be advanced. The only difference is that in Germany, owing to Militarism with its bloodtax, the incidence of which, of course, fell exclusively on men, the injustice of allowing the sex exempted from the blood-tax to swamp with their votes the male elector who was subject to it came home, perhaps, more to the average “man in the street” than in other countries where the same conditions did not prevail. Books on Feminism had a wide circulation. Women had played a part in political agitation for a generation past, at least, in the largest political party in Germany. There was no sex-bar in the matter of membership of that party, or of the share taken in the life of its organization. There was and is, moreover, so far as I am aware, a special organization existing in Germany for the furtherance of female suffrage and other “planks” in the ordinary Feminist programme, while, morebetoken, one of its most prominent leaders is more violent in her jingoism than Count Reventlow himself. All the talk about the position of the German woman, by those who have never lived in Germany, and do not in most cases even know the language, deserves nothing but contempt. It serves the purpose, however, I suppose, of Feminists and advocates of female privilege in general, for pointing a moral and adorning a tale in favour of their own nostrum.”

8. The Indictment

FEMINISM, or, as it is sometimes called, the emancipation of woman, as we know it in the present day, may be justifiably indicted as a gigantic fraud – a fraud in its general aim and a fraud alike in its methods of controversy and in its practical tactics. It is through and through disingenuous and dishonest. Modern Feminism has always professed to be a movement for political and social equality between the sexes. The claim for this equalising of position and rights in modern society is logically based upon the assumption of an essential equality in natural ability between the sexes. As to this, we have indicated in the preceding pages on broad lines, the grounds for regarding the foregoing assumption as false. But quite apart from this question, I contend the fraudulent nature of the present movement can readily be seen by showing it to be not merely based on false grounds, but directly and consciously fraudulent in its pretensions.

It uniformly professes to aim at the placing of the sexes on a footing of social and political equality. A very little inquiry into its concrete demands suffices to show that its aim, so far from being equality, is the very reverse – viz. to bring about, with the aid of men themselves, as embodied in the forces of the State, a female ascendancy and a consolidation and extension of already existing female privileges. That this is so may be seen in general by the constant conjunction of Political and Sentimental Feminism in the same persons. It may be seen more particularly in detail, in the specific demands of Feminists. These demands, as formulated by suffragists as a reason why the vote is essential to the interests of women, amount to little if anything else than proposals for laws to enslave and browbeat men and to admit women to virtual if not actual immunity for all offences committed against men. It its enough to consult any suggestions for a woman’s “charter” in order to confirm what is here said. Such proposals invaribly suggest the sacrificing of man at every turn to woman. [1]

In the early eighties of the last century appeared a skit in the form of a novel from the pen of the late Sir Walter Besant, entitled The Revolt of Man, depicting the oppression of man under a Feminist regime, an oppression which ended in a revolt and the re-establishment of male supremacy. The ideas underlying this jeu d’esprit of the subjection of men would seem to be seriously entertained by the female leaders of the present woman’s movement. It is many years ago now since a minister holding one of the highest positions in the present Cabinet made the remark to me:–

“The real object, you know, for which these women want the vote is simply to get rascally laws passed against men!”

Subsequent Feminist agitation has abundantly proved the truth of this observation. An illustration of the practical results of the modern woman’s movement is to be seen in the infamous White Slave Traffic Act of 1912 rushed through Parliament as a piece of panic legislation by dint of a campaign of sheer hard lying. The atrocity of this act has been sufficiently dealt with in a previous chapter. [2]

Other results of the inequality between the sexes so effectively urged by present-day Feminism, may be seen in the conduct of magistrates, judges and juries, in our courts civil and criminal. This has been already animadverted upon in the course of the present work, and illustrative cases given, as also in previous writings of the present author to which allusion has already been made. It is not too much to say that a man has practically no chance in the present day in a court of law, civil or criminal, of obtaining justice where a woman is in the case. The savage vindictiveness exhibited towards men, as displayed in the eagerness of judges to obtain, and the readiness of juries to return, convictions against men accused of crimes against women, on evidence which, in many cases, would not be good enough (to use the common phrase) to hang a dog on, with the inevitable ferocious sentence following conviction, may be witnessed on almost every occasion when such cases are up for trial. I have spoken of the eagerness of judges to obtain convictions. As an illustration of this sort of thing, the following may be given:– In the trial of a man for the murder of a woman, before Mr Justice Bucknill, which took place some time ago, it came out in evidence that the woman had violently and obscenely abused and threatened the man immediately before, in the presence of other persons. The jury were so impressed with the evidence of unusually strong provocation that they hesitated whether it was not sufficient to reduce the crime to that of manslaughter, and, unable to agree offhand on a verdict of murder, asked the judge for further guidance. Their deliberations were, however, cut short by the judge, who remarked on the hesitation they had in arriving at their verdict, finally adding:

“Only think, gentlemen, how you would view it had this been your own wife or sister who was cruelly done to death!”

With the habitual obsequiousness of a British jury towards the occupant of the Bench, the gentlemen in question swallowed complacently the insult thrown at their wives and sisters in putting them in the same category with a foul strumpet, and promptly did what the judge obviously wanted of them – to wit, brought in a verdict of wilful murder. The cases on the obverse side, where the judge, by similar sentimental appeal, aims at procuring the acquittal of female prisoners notoriously guilty on the evidence, that palladium of rogues, the English law of libel, precludes me from referring to individually. As regards the disparity in punishment, however, we have an apt and recent illustration in the execution of the youth of nineteen, convicted on doubtful evidence of the murder of his sweetheart, and the reprieve of the woman convicted on her own admission of the murder of her paramour by soaking him in paraffin during his sleep and setting him alight!

Another effect of the influence of Sentimental Feminism, is seen in crimes of the “unwritten law” description, the crime passionel of the French. The most atrocious and dastardly murders and other crimes of violence are condoned and even glorified if they can but be covered by the excuse that they are dictated by a desire to avenge a woman’s “honour” or to enable her to obtain the object of her wishes. The incident in Sir J.M. Barrie’s play of the lady who murders a man by throwing him out of a railway carriage over a dispute respecting the opening of a window, and gets acquitted on the excuse that her little girl had got a cold, represents a not exaggerated picture of “modern justice” – for women only! The outrageous application of the principles, if such you may call them, of Sentimental Feminism in this country in the case of the suffragettes, has made English justice and penal administration the laughing-stock of the world. But the way in which the crimes of the suffragettes have been dealt with, is after all only a slight exaggeration of the immunity from all the severer penalties of the law enjoyed by female convicts generally. This has been carried in the case of suffragette criminals to the utmost limits of absurdity. In fact, the deference exhibited towards these deliberate perpetrators of crimes of wanton destruction is sometimes comic, as in the case of the Richmond magistrate who rebuked the policeman-witness in an arson charge for omitting the “Miss” in referring to one of the female prisoners in the dock: as well as in the “high character” usually attributed to the perpetrators of these deeds of outrage and violence even by certain functionaries of Church and State. They did not speak in this strain morebetoken, when mere male anarchists or Fenians were involved in difficulties with the law due to overzeal for their cause!

The whole movement, it is quite evident, depends for its success, largely, at least, on the apathy of men. The bulk of men undoubtedly do not sympathise with the pretensions of the Feminist agitation, but the bulk of men are indifferent one way or the other. They do not take the Feminist Movement seriously. The bare notion of women, as such, being a danger to men as such, strikes them as absurd. They do not realise that the question is not of the physical strength of women as women, but of the whole forces of the State being at the disposal of women to set in motion to gratify their whims and passions. The idea of a sex war in which women take the field against men, such as represents the inwardness of the whole Feminist Movement of to-day, seems to them ridiculous. The feeling at the root of most men’s good-humoured patronage of, or indifference to, Modern Feminist claims, is roughly expressed in a remark of the late William Morris in replying to some animadversions of mine on the subject:– “What does it matter? A man ought to be always able to deal with a woman if necessary. Why, I could tackle a half dozen women at once for that matter!” This is a common attitude of mind on the subject among otherwise sane and sensible men. The absurdity of it is manifest when one considers that the issue of man versus woman as units of physical strength respectively, is purely irrelevant. It is not a question of the man tackling the woman or any number of women. It is the question of the whole force of the State tackling the man in favour of the woman. The prevalent idea in many men’s minds seems to be that of the State drawing a ring-fence around the disputant man and woman and letting them fight the matter out between themselves, which, to speak the language of the great geometer of antiquity – “is absurd.”

Modern Feminism, tacking itself on to an older tradition which it travesties beyond all recognition, has succeeded in affecting modern public opinion with an overpowering sense of the sacrosanctity of human femality as such. It is not content with respect for the ideal of good womanhood but it would fain place on a pedestal the mere fact of femalehood in itself. This is illustrated in a thousand ways. Thus while public opinion tolerates the most bestial and infamous forms of corporal punishment for men in gaols, it will regard the slight chastisement by the medical head of an institution for mental cases, of a girl who is admittedly obstinate and refractory rather than mentally afflicted in the ordinary sense of the term, as “degrading.”

Again, in order to sustain its favourite thesis, the intellectual equality of woman with man, it resorts, whenever a plausible case presents itself, to its usual policy of the falsification of fact. Take the instance of Madame Curie. When radium was first discovered in the laboratory of the late Professor Curie we were told that the latter had made the discovery, it being at the same time mentioned that he possessed in his wife a valuable aid in his laboratory work. We were afterwards told that the discovery of radium was the joint work of both, the implication being that the honours were equally divided. Now, Feminist influence has succeeded in getting Madame Curie spoken of as herself the discoverer of radium! I venture to affirm that there is no evidence whatever for assuming that radium would ever have seen the light had the late Professor Curie not himself experimented in his laboratory, not to speak of his predecessor Becquerel.

We have seen that Feminists are, in this country, at least, zealous in championing the Puritan view of sexual morality. Many of them, in the vehemence of their Anti-man crusade, look forward with relish to the opportunity they anticipate will be afforded them when women get the vote, of passing laws rigorously enforcing asceticism on men by means of severe penal enactments. All forms of indulgence (by men), sexual or otherwise, uncongenial to the puritanic mind, would be equally placed under the ban of the criminal law! Anyone desirous of testing the truth of the above statement has only to read the suffragette papers and other expositions of the gospel of Feminism as held by its most devoted advocates.

One point should not be lost sight of, and that is the attitude of the Press. Almost all journals are ready to publish any argument in favour of the suffrage or of the other claims of the movement on behalf of women. In defiance of this fact, a prominent Feminist prelate some time ago, in a letter to The Times, alleged among the other so-called grievances of women at the present day, and apparently as in some sort a condonation of “militancy,” that the Press was closed to women anxious to air their grievances! A statement more directly the reverse of the truth could hardly have been made. Open any paper of general circulation – say any of the morning dailies – and you will find letters galore advocating the Feminist side of the question! According to my own observation, they are in the proportion of something like three or four in favour to one against. The fact is useless denying that this sex-agitation has every favour shown it by current “public opinion,” including even that of its opponents. Female “militants” of the suffrage have pleas urged in condonation of their criminal acts, such as their alleged “high character,” which would be laughed at, in the case of men – and yet they whine at being boycotted.

The readiness, and almost eagerness, with which certain sections of British public opinion are ready to view favourably anything urged on behalf of female suffrage, is aptly illustrated by the well-known argument we so often hear when the existence of “militancy” is pointed out as a reason for withholding the suffrage – the argument, namely, as to the unfairness of refusing the franchise to numbers of peaceable and law-abiding women who are asking for it, because a relatively small section of women resort to criminal methods of emphasising their demand. Now let us examine the real interpretation of the facts. It is quite true that the majority of the women agitating for the suffrage at the present day are themselves non-militants. But what is and has been their attitude towards their militant sisters? Have they ever repudiated the criminal tactics of the latter with the decision and even indignation one might reasonably have expected had they really regarded the campaign of violence and wanton outrage with strong disapprobation, not to say abhorrence? The answer must be a decided negative. At the very most they mildly rebuke the unwisdom of militant methods, blessing them, as it were, with faint blame, while, as a general rule, they will not go even so far as this, but are content, while graciously deigning to tell you that, although their own methods are not those of militancy, yet that they and the militants are alike working for the same end, notwithstanding they may differ as to the most effective methods of attaining it. The non-militant woman suffragist is always careful never to appear an anti-militant. Everyone can see that had the bulk of the so-called “peaceable and law-abiding” suffragists, to whose claims we are enjoined to give ear, honestly and resolutely set their faces against, and vigorously denounced, the criminal campaign, refusing to have anything to do with it or its authors, the campaign in question would have come to an end long ago. But no! this would not have suited the book of the “peaceable and law abiding” advocates of woman’s suffrage. Their aim has been, and is still, to run with the “militant” hare and hunt with the “peaceable and law-abiding” hounds. While themselves abstaining from any unlawful act they are perfectly willing and desirous that they and their movement shall reap all the advantages of advertisement and otherwise that may accrue from the militant policy. That the above is a true state of the case as regards the “peaceful and law-abiding” elements in the suffragist movement, which we are assured so largely outnumber the militant section, one would think must be plain to everyone, however obtuse, who has followed with attention the course of the present agitation. And yet there are fools of the male sex who consider seriously this preposterous plea of the injustice of refusing to concede the suffrage to a large number of “peaceable and law-abiding” women who are demanding it, because of the action of a small body of violent females – with whom, bien entendu, the aforesaid large body of “peaceable and law-abiding” women (while keeping themselves carefully aloof from active participation in militancy), do not pretend to conceal their sympathy!

The whole modern woman’s movement is based, in a measure, at least, on an assumption which is absolutely unfounded – to wit, that man has systematically oppressed woman in the past, that the natural tendency of evil-minded man is always to oppress woman, or, to put it from the other side, that woman is the victim of man’s egoism! The unsoundness of this view ought to be apparent to every unbiassed student of history, anthropology, and physiology. The Feminist prefers to see evidence of male oppression in the place woman has occupied in social and political life, rather than the natural consequence of her organic constitution, her secondary sexual characteristics, and the natural average inferiority which flows therefrom. As regards the personal relations between men and women, an impartial view of the case must inevitably lead to the conclusion that whatever else man in general may have on his conscience, no reasonable reproach lies to his score as regards his treatment of woman. The patience, forbearance, and kindliness, with which, from Socrates downwards, men as a rule have encountered the whims, the tempers, and the tantrums of their often unworthy womankind is indeed a marvel. But it is a still greater marvel that Modern Feminism in this, as in other things, should have succeeded in hocussing public opinion into the delusion that the exact opposite of the truth represents the real state of the case. This, however, is a marvel which runs through the history of the controversial exploits of the whole Feminist Movement.

In the foregoing pages we have striven to unmask the shameless imposture which, in the main, this movement represents. We have tracked down one dishonest argument after another. We have pointed out how the thinnest and hollowest of subterfuges are allowed to pass muster, and even to become current coin, by dint of unrefuted reiteration. The Feminist trick of reversing the facts of the case, as, for example, the assertion that man-made law and its administration is unjust to women, and then raising a howl of indignation at the position of affairs they picture, such being, of course, the diametrical opposite of the real facts – all this has been exposed. In conclusion I can only express the hope that honest, straightforward men who have been bitten by Feminist wiles will take pause and reconsider their position. Whatever sentiment or sympathy they may have with the aims of the movement intrinsically, it ought to be not too much to expect them to view with contempt and abhorrence the mass of disingenuous falsehood and transparent subterfuge, which the votaries of Feminism systematically seek to palm off upon a public opinion – only too easily gullible in this matter – as true fact and valid argument.

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Footnotes:

1. This is arrived at by the clever trick of appealing to the modern theory of the equal mental capacity of the sexes when it is a question of political and economic rights and advantages for women, and of counterappealing to the traditional sentiment based on the belief in the inferiority of the female sex, when it is a question of legal and administrative privilege and consideration. The Feminist thus succeeds by his dexterity in the usually difficult feat of “getting it both ways” for his fair clients.

2. There is one fortunate thing as regards these savage laws aimed at the suppression of certain crimes, and that is, as it would seem, they are never effective in achieving their purpose. As Mr Tighe Hopkins remarks, apropos of the torture of the “cat” (Wards of the State, p.203):–

“The attempt to correct crime with crime has everywhere repaid us in the old properly disastrous way.”

It would indeed be regrettable if it could be shown that penal laws of this kind were successful. Far better is it that the crimes of isolated individuals should continue than that crimes such as the cold-blooded infliction of torture and death committed at the behest of the State, as supposed to represent the whole of society, should attain their object, even though the object be the suppression of crimes of another kind perpetrated by the aforesaid individuals within society. The successful repression of crimes committed by individuals, by a crime committed by State authority, can only act as an encouragement to the State to continue its course of inflicting punishment which is itself a crime.

7. The Psychology of the Movement

WE have already spoken of two strains in Modern Feminism which, although commonly found together, are nevertheless intrinsically distinguishable. The first I have termed Sentimental Feminism and the second Political Feminism. Sentimental Feminism is in the main an extension and emotional elaboration of the old notion of chivalry, a notion which in the period when it was supposed to have been at its zenith, certainly played a very much smaller part in human affairs than it does in its extended and metamorphosed form in the present day. We have already analysed in a former chapter the notion of chivalry. Taken in its most general and barest form it represents the consideration for weakness which is very apt to degenerate into a worship of mere weakness. La faiblesse prime le droit is not necessarily nearer justice than la force prime le droit; although to hear much of the talk in the present day one would imagine that the inherent right of the weak to oppress the strong were a first principle of eternal rectitude. But the theory of chivalry is scarcely invoked in the present day save in the interests of one particular form of weakness – viz. the woman as the muscularly weaker sex, and here it has acquired an utterly different character. [1]

Chivalry, as understood by Modern Sentimental Feminism, means unlimited licence for women in their relations with men, and unlimited coercion for men in their relations with women. To men all duties and no rights, to women all rights and no duties, is the basic principle underlying Modern Feminism, Suffragism, and the bastard chivalry it is so fond of invoking. The most insistent female shrieker for equality between the sexes among Political Feminists, it is interesting to observe, will, in most cases, on occasion be found an equally insistent advocate of the claims of Sentimental Feminism, based on modern metamorphosed notions of chivalry. It never seems to strike anyone that the muscular weakness of woman has been forged by Modern Feminists into an abominable weapon of tyranny. Under cover of the notion of chivalry, as understood by Modern Feminism, Political and Sentimental Feminists alike would deprive men of the most elementary rights of self-defence against women and would exonerate the latter practically from all punishment for the most dastardly crimes against men. They know they can rely upon the support of the sentimental section of public opinion with some such parrot cry of’ “What! Hit a woman!”

Why not, if she molests you?

“Treat a woman in this way!” “Shame!” responds automatically the crowd of Sentimental Feminist idiots, oblivious of the fact that the real shame lies in their endorsement of an iniquitous sex privilege. If the same crowd were prepared to condemn any special form of punishment or mode of treatment as inhumane for both sexes alike, there would, of course, be nothing to be said. But it is not so. The most savage cruelty and vindictive animosity towards men leaves them comparatively cold, at most evoking a mild remonstrance as against the inflated manifestation of sentimental horror and frothy indignation produced by any slight hardship inflicted by way of punishment (let us say) on a female offender.

The psychology of Sentimental Feminism generally is intimately bound up with the curious phenomenon of the hatred of men by their own sex as such. With women, in spite of what is sometimes alleged, one does not find this phenomenon of anti-sex. On the contrary, nowadays we are in presence of a powerful female sex-solidarity indicating the beginnings of a strong sex-league of women against men. But with men, as already said, in all cases of conflict between the sexes, we are met with a callous indifference, alternating with positive hostility towards their fellow-men, which seems at times to kill in them all sense of justice. This is complemented on the other side by an imbecile softness towards the female sex in general which reminds one of nothing so much as of the maudlin bonhomie of the amiable drunkard. This besotted indulgence, as before noted, is proof even against the outraged sense of injury to property.

As we all know, offences against property, as a rule, are those the average bourgeois is least inclined to condone, yet we have recently seen a campaign of deliberate wanton destruction by arson and other means, directed expressly against private property, which nevertheless the respectable propertied bourgeois, the man of law and order, has taken pretty much “lying down.” Let us suppose another case. Let us imagine an anarchist agitation, with a known centre and known leaders, a centre from which daily outrages were deliberately planned by these leaders and carried out by their emissaries, all, bien entendu, of the male persuasion.

Now what attitude does the reader suppose “public opinion” of the propertied classes would adopt towards the miscreants who were responsible for these acts? Can he not picture to himself the furious indignation, the rabid diatribes, the advocacy of hanging, flogging, penal servitude for life, as the minimum punishment, followed by panic legislation on these lines, which would ensue as a consequence. Yet of such threatenings and slaughter, where suffragettes who imitate the policy of the Terrorist Anarchist are concerned, we hear not a sound. The respectable propertied bourgeois, the man of law and order, will, it is true, probably condemn these outrages in an academic way, but there is an undernote of hesitancy which damps down the fire of his indignation. There is no vindictiveness, no note of atrocity in his expostulations; nay, he is even prepared, on occasion, to argue the question, while maintaining the impropriety, the foolishness, the “unwomanliness” of setting fire to empty houses, cutting up golf links, destroying correspondence, smashing windows and the like. But of fiery indignation, of lurid advocacy of barbaric punishments, or of ferocity in general, we have not a trace. On the contrary, a certain willingness to admit and even to emphasise the disinterestedness of these female criminals is observable. As regards this last point, we must again insist on what was pointed out on a previous page, that the disinterestedness and unselfishness of many a male bomb-throwing anarchist who has come in for the righteous bourgeois’ sternest indignation, are, at least, as unquestionable as those of the female house-burners and window-smashers. Moreover the anarchist, however wrong-headed he may have been in his action, as once before remarked, it must not be forgotten, had at least for the goal of his endeavours, not merely the acquirement of a vote, but the revolution which he conceived would abolish human misery and raise humanity to a higher level.

In this strange phenomenon, therefore, in which the indignation of the bourgeois at the wanton and wilful violation of the sacredness of his idol, is reduced to mild remonstrance and its punitive action to a playful pretence, we have a crucial instance of the extraordinary influence of Feminism over the modern mind. That the propertied classes should take arson and wilful destruction of property in general, with such comparative equanimity because the culprits are women, acting in the assumed interest of a cause that aims at increasing the influence of women in the State, is the most striking illustration we can have of the power of Feminism. We have here a double phenomenon, the unreasoning hatred of man as a sex, by men, and their equally unreasoning indulgence towards the other sex. As we indicated above, not only is the sense of esprit de corps entirely absent among modern men as regards their own sex, while strongly present in modern women, but this negative characteristic has become positive on the other side. Thus the modern sex problem presents us with a reversal of the ordinary sociological law of the solidarity of those possessing common interests.

It remains to consider the psychological explanation of this fact. Why should men so conspicuously prefer the interests of women before those of their own sex? That this is the case with modern man the history of the legislation of the last fifty years shows, and the undoubted fact may be found further illustrated in the newspaper reports of well-nigh every trial, whether at civil or criminal law, quite apart from the ordinary “chivalric” acts of men in the detail of social life. This question of sex, therefore, as before said, forms the solitary exception to the general law of the esprit de corps of those possessing common characteristics and interests. It cannot be adequately explained by a reference to the evolution of sex functions and relations from primitive man onwards, since it is at least in the extreme form we see it to-day, a comparatively recent social phenomenon. The theory of the sacrosanctity of women by virtue of their sex, quite apart from their character and conduct as individuals, scarcely dates back farther than a century, even from its beginnings. The earlier chivalry, where it obtained at all, applied only to the woman who presented what were conceived of as the ideal moral feminine characteristics in some appreciable degree. The mere physical fact of sex was never for a moment regarded as of itself sufficient to entitle the woman to any special homage, consideration, or immunity, over and above the man. No one suggested that the female criminal was less guilty or more excusable than the male criminal. No one believed that a woman had a vested right to rob or swindle a man because she had had sexual relations with him. This notion of the mere fact of sex – of femality – as of itself constituting a title to special privileges and immunities, apart from any other consideration, is a product of very recent times. In treating this question, in so far as it bears on the criminal law, it is important to distinguish carefully between the softening of the whole system of punishment due to the general development of humanitarian tendencies and the special discrimination made in favour of the female sex. These two things are very often inadequately distinguished from one another. Punishment may have become more humane where men are concerned, it may have advanced up to a certain point in this direction, but its character is not essentially changed. As regards women, however, the whole conception of criminal punishment and penal discipline has altered. Sex privilege has been now definitely established as a principle.

Now a complete investigation of the psychology of this curious phenomenon we have been considering – namely, the hatred so common with men for their fellow-men as a sex – is a task which has never yet been properly taken in hand. Its obverse side is to be seen on all hands in the conferring and confirming of sex prerogative on women. Not very long ago, as we have seen, one of its most striking manifestations came strongly under public notice – namely, the “rule of the sea,” by which women, by virtue of their sex, can claim to be saved from a sinking ship before men. The fact that the laws and practices in which this man-hatred and woman-preference find expression are contrary to every elementary sense of justice, in many cases conflict with public policy, and can obviously be seen to be purely arbitrary, matters not. The majority of men feel no sense of the injustice although they may admit the fact of the injustice, when categorically questioned. They are prepared when it comes to the point to let public policy go by the board rather than entrench upon the sacred privilege and immunity of the female; while as to the arbitrary and unreasoning nature of the aforesaid laws and practices, not being troubled with a logical conscience, this does not affect them. I must confess to being unequal to the task of accurately fathoming the psychological condition of the average man who hates man in general and loves woman in general to the extent of going contrary to so many apparently basal tendencies of human nature as we know it otherwise. The reply, of course, will be an appeal to the power of the sexual instinct. But this, I must again repeat, will not explain the rise, or, if not the rise, at least the marked expansion of the sentiment in question during the last three generations or thereabouts. Even apart from this, while I am well aware of the power of sexual love to effect anything in the mind of man as regards its individual object, I submit it is difficult to conceive how it can influence so strongly men’s attitude towards women they have not seen, or, even where they have seen them, when there is no question of sexual attraction, or, again, as regards the collectivity of women – the abstract category, Woman (in general).

We have already dealt with the Anti-man campaign in the Press, especially in modern novels and plays. This, as we have remarked, often takes the form of direct abuse of husbands and lovers and the attempt to make them look ridiculous as a foil to the brilliant qualities of wives and sweethearts. But we sometimes find the mere laudation of woman herself, apart from any direct anti-manism, assume the character of an intellectual emetic. A much-admired contemporary novelist, depicting a wedding ceremony in fashionable society circles, describes the feelings of his hero, a young man disgusted with the hollowness and vanity of “Society” and all its ways, as follows:–

“The bride was opposite him now, and by an instinct of common chivalry he turned away his eyes; it seemed to him a shame to look at that downcast head above the silver mystery of her perfect raiment; the modest head full, doubtless, of devotion and pure yearnings; the stately head where no such thought as ‘How am I looking this day of all days, before all London?’ had ever entered: the proud head, where no such fear as, ‘How am I carrying it off?’ could surely be besmirching … He saw below the surface of this drama played before his eyes; and set his face, as a man might who found himself assisting at a sacrifice.”

Now, I ask, can it be believed that the writer of the above flamboyant feminist fustian is a novelist and playwright of established reputation who undoubtedly has done good work. The obvious criticism must surely strike every reader that it is somewhat strange that this divinely innocent creature he glorifies should arise straight out of a milieu which is shown up as the embodiment of hollowness and conventional superficiality. If men can lay the butter on thick in their laudation of womanhood, female idolaters of their own sex can fairly outbid them. At the time of writing there has just come under my notice a dithyramb in the journal, The Clarion, by Miss Winnifred Blatchford, on the sacrosanct perfections of womanhood in general, especially as exemplified in the suicidal exploits of the late lamented Emily Wilding Davidson of Epsom fame, and a diatribe on the purity, beauty and unapproachable glory of woman. According to this lady, the glory of womanhood seems to extend to every part of the female organism, but, we are told, is especially manifested in the hair (oozing into the roots apparently). Evidently there is something especially sacred in woman’s hair! This prose ode to Woman, as exemplified in Emily Davidson, culminates in the invocation:

“Will the day ever come when a woman’s life will be rated higher … than that of a jockey?”

Poor jockey! We will trust not, though present appearances do indicate a strong tendency to regard a woman as possessing the prerogatives of the sacred cow of Indian or ancient Egyptian fame!

It is impossible to read or hear any discussion on, say, the marriage laws, without it being apparent that the female side of the question is the one element of the problem which is considered worthy of attention. The undoubted iniquity of our existing marriage laws is always spoken of as an injustice to the woman and the changes in the direction of greater freedom which are advocated as a relief to the wife bound to a bad or otherwise unendurable husband. That the converse case may happen, that that reviled and despised thing, a husband, may also have reason to desire relief from a wife whose angelic qualities and vast superiority to his own vile male self he fails to appreciate, never seems to enter into the calculation at all.

That no satisfactory formulation of the psychology of the movement of Feminism has yet been offered is undoubtedly true. For the moment, I take it, all we can do is co-ordinate the fact as a case of what we may term social hypnotism, of those waves of feeling uninfluenced by reason which are a phenomenon so common in history – witchcraft manias, flagellant fanaticisms, religious “revivals,” and similar social upheavals. The belief that woman is oppressed by man, and that the need for remedying that oppression at all costs is urgent, partly, at least, doubtless belongs to this order of phenomena. That this feeling is widespread and held in various degrees of intensity by large numbers of persons, men no less than women, is not to be denied. That it is of the nature of a hypnotic wave of sentiment, uninfluenced by reason, is shown by the fact that argument does not seem to touch it. You may show conclusively that facts are opposed to the assumption; that, so far from women being oppressed, the very contrary is the case; that the existing law and its administration is in no essential respect whatever unfavourable to women, but, on the contrary, is, as a whole, grossly unfair to men – it is all to no purpose. Your remonstrances, in the main, fall on deaf ears, or, shall we say, they fall off the mind coated with Feminist sentiment as water falls from the proverbial duck’s back. The facts are ignored and the sentiment prevails; the same old catchwords, the same lies and threadbare fallacies are repeated. The fact that they have been shown to be false counts for nothing. The hypnotic wave of sentiment sweeps reason aside and compels men to believe that woman is oppressed and man the oppressor, and believe it they will. If facts are against the idée fixe of the hypnotic suggestion, so much the worse for the facts. Thus far the Feminist dogma of the oppression of the female sex.

As regards the obverse side of this Sentimental Feminism which issues in ferocious sex-laws directed against men for offences against women – laws enacting barbarous tortures, such as the “cat,” and which are ordered with gusto in all their severity in our criminal courts – this probably is largely traceable to the influence of Sadic lusts. An agitation such as that which led to the passing of the White Slave Traffic Act, so-called, of 1812, is started, an agitation engineered largely by the inverted libidinousness of social purity mongers, and on the crest of this agitation the votaries of Sadic cruelty have their innings. The foolish Sentimental Feminist at large, whose indignation against wicked man is fanned to fury by bogus tales and his judgment captured by representations of the severities requisite to stamp out the evil he is assured is so widespread, lends his fatuous support to the measures proposed. The judicial Bench is, of course, delighted at the increase of power given it over the prisoner in the dock, and should any of the puisnes happen to have Sadic proclivities they are as happy as horses in clover and the “cat” flourishes like a green bay tree.

Let us now turn to the question of the psychology of Political Feminism. Political Feminism, as regards its immediate demand of female suffrage, is based directly on the modern conception of democracy. This is its avowed basis. With modern notions of universal suffrage it is declared that the exclusion of women from the franchise is logically incompatible. If you include in the parliamentary voting lists all sorts and conditions of men, it is said, it is plainly a violation of the principle of democracy to exclude more than one half of the adult population from the polls. As Mill used to say in his advocacy of female suffrage, so long as the franchise was restricted to a very small section of the population, there may have been nothing noteworthy in the exclusion of women. But now that the mass of men are entitled to the vote and the avowed aim of democracy is to extend it to all men, the refusal to extend it still further to women is an anomaly and a manifest inconsistency. But in this, Mill, and others who have used his argument, omitted to consider one very vital point. The extensions of the suffrage, such as have been demanded and in part obtained by democracy up to the present agitation, have always referred to the removal of class barriers, wealth barriers, race barriers, etc. – in a word, social barriers – but never to the removal of barriers based on deep-lying organic difference – i.e. barriers determining not sociological but biological distinctions. The case of sex is unique in this connection, and this fact vitiates any analogy between the extension of suffrage to women and its extension to fresh social strata such as democracy has hitherto had in view, terminating in the manhood suffrage which is the ultimate goal of all political democrats. Now sex constitutes an organic or biological difference, just as a species constitutes another and (of course) a stronger biological difference. Hence I contend the mere fact of this difference rules out the bare appeal to the principle of democracy per se as an argument in favour of the extension of the suffrage to women. There is, I submit, no parity between the principle and practice of democracy as hitherto understood, and the new extension proposed to be given to the franchise by the inclusion of women within its pale. And yet there is no question but that the apparent but delusive demand of logical consistency in this question, has influenced and still influences many an honest democrat in his attitude in this matter.

But although the recognition of the difference of sex as being an organic difference and therefore radically other than social differences of caste, class, wealth, or even race, undoubtedly invalidates the appeal to the democrat on the ground of consistency, to accept the principle of female suffrage, yet it does not necessarily dispose of the question. It merely leaves the ground free for the problem as to whether the organic distinction implied in sex does or does not involve corresponding intellectual and moral differences in the female sex which it is proposed to enfranchise; and furthermore whether such differences, if they exist, involve general inferiority, or at least an unfitness ad hoc for the exercise of political functions. These questions we have, I think, sufficiently discussed already in the present work. The fact of the existence of exceptionally able women in various departments, does undoubtedly mislead many men in their judgment as to the capacity of the average woman to “think politically,” or otherwise to show herself the effective equal of the average man, morally and intellectually. The reasons for answering this question in the negative we have already briefly indicated in the course of our investigations. This renders it unnecessary to discuss the matter any further here.

In dealing with the psychological aspects of the Feminist Movement, the intellectual conditions which paved the way for its acceptance, it is worth while recalling two or three typical instances of the class of “argument” to be heard on occasion from the female advocates for the suffrage. Thus, when the census was taken in 1911 and the Women’s Political and Social Union conceived, as they thought, the brilliant idea of annoying the authorities and vitiating the results of the census by refusing to allow themselves to be enrolled, one of the leaders, when interviewed on the point, gave her reason for her refusal to be included, in the following terms: – “I am not a citizen” (meaning that she did not possess the franchise) “and I am not going to pretend to be one.” The silliness of this observation is, of course, obvious, seeing that the franchise or even citizenship has nothing whatever to do with the census, which includes infants, besides criminals, lunatics, imbeciles, etc. Again, in a manifesto of the Women’s Political and Social Union defending window- smashing and other “militant” outrages, it was pointed out that the coal strike had caused more injury than the window-smashing and yet the strikers were not prosecuted as the window-smashers were – in other words, the exercise of the basal personal right of the free man to withhold his labour save under the conditions agreed to by him, is paralleled with criminal outrage against person and property! Again, some three or four years ago, when the Women’s Suffrage Bill had passed the Commons, on its being announced by the Government that for the remainder of the Session no further facilities could be given for private members’ Bills, save for those of a non-contentious character, one of these sapient females urged in the Press that, seeing that there were persons to be found in both the orthodox political camps who were in favour of female suffrage, therefore the Bill in question must be regarded as of a non-contentious character! Once more, a lady, writing a few months ago to one of the weekly journals, remarked that though deliberate window-breaking, destruction of letters, and arson, might be illegal acts, yet that the punishing of them by imprisonment with hard labour, they being political offences, was also an illegal act, with the conclusion that the “militants” and the authorities, both alike having committed illegal acts, were “quits”! These choice specimens of suffragettes’ logic are given as throwing a significant light on the mental condition of women in the suffragette movement, and indirectly on female psychology generally. One would presumably suppose that the women who put them forward must have failed to see the exhibition they were making of themselves. That any human being out of an asylum, could have sunk to the depth of fatuous inconsequent idiocy they indicate would seem scarcely credible. Is the order of imbecility which the above and many similar utterances reflect, confined to suffragette intelligence alone, or does it point to radical inferiority of intellectual fibre, not in degree merely, but in kind, in the mental constitution of the human female generally! Certainly it is hard to think that any man, however low his intelligence, would be capable of making a fool of himself precisely in the way these women are continually doing in their attempts to defend their cause and their tactics.

In the foregoing pages we have endeavoured to trace some of the leading strands of thought going to make up the Modern Feminist Movement. Sentimental Feminism clearly has its roots in sexual feeling, and in the tradition of chivalry, albeit the notion of chivalry has essentially changed in the course of its evolution. For the rest, Sentimental Feminism, with its double character of man-antipathy and woman-sympathy, as we see it to-day, has assumed the character of one of those psychopathic social phenomena which have so often recurred in history. It can only be explained, like the latter, as an hypnotic wave passing over society.

As for Political Feminism, we have shown that this largely has its root in a fallacious application of the notion of democracy, partaking largely of the logical fallacy known technically as a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter. This logical fallacy of Political Feminism is, of course, reinforced and urged forward by Sentimental Feminism. As coming under the head of the psychology of the movement, we have also called attention to some curious phenomena of logical imbecility, noticeable in the utterances of educated women in the suffragette agitation.

_____________________

Footnote:

[1] As regards this point it should be remarked that mediæval chivalry tolerated (as Wharton expressed it in his History of Poetry) “the grossest indecencies and obscenities between the sexes,” such things as modern puritanism would stigmatise with such words as “unchivalrous,” “unmanly” and the like. The resemblance between the modern worship of women and the relations of the mediæval knight to the female sex is very thin indeed. Modern claims to immunity for women from the criminal law and mediæval chivalry are quite different things.

6. Some Feminist Lies and Fallacies

BY Feminist lies I understand false statements put forward by persons, many of whom should be perfectly well aware that they are false, apparently with the deliberate intention of misleading public opinion as to the real position of woman before the law. By fallacies I understand statements doubtless dictated by Feminist prepossessions or Feminist bias, but not necessarily suggesting conscious or deliberate mala fides.

Of the first order, the statements are made apparently with intentional dishonesty in so far as many of the persons making them are concerned, since we may reasonably suppose them to have intelligence and knowledge enough to be aware that they are contrary to fact. The talk about the wife being a chattel, for example, is so palpably absurd in the face of the existing law that it is nowadays scarcely worth making (although we do hear it occasionally even now). But it was not even true under the old common law of England, which, for certain disabilities on the one hand, conceded to the wife certain corresponding privileges on the other. The law of husband and wife, as modified by statute in the course of the nineteenth century, as I have often enough had occasion to point out, is a monument of legalised tyranny over the husband in the interests of the wife.

If in the face of the facts the word chattel, as applied to the wife, has become a little too preposterous even for Feminist controversial methods, there is another falsehood scarcely less brazen that we hear from Feminist fanatics every day. The wife, we are told, is the only unpaid servant! A more blatant lie could scarcely be imagined. As every educated person possessing the slightest acquaintance with the laws of England knows, the law requires the husband to maintain his wife in a manner according with his own social position; has, in other words, to feed, clothe and afford her all reasonable luxuries, which the law, with a view to the economic standing of the husband, regards as necessaries. This although the husband has no claim on the wife’s property or income, however wealthy she may be. Furthermore, it need scarcely be said, a servant who is inefficient, lazy, or otherwise intolerable, can be dismissed or her wage can be lowered. Not so that privileged person, the legally wedded wife. It matters not whether she perform her duties well, badly, indifferently, or not at all, the husband’s legal obligations remain just the same. It will be seen, therefore, that the wife in any case receives from the husband economic advantages compared with which the wages of the most highly paid servant in existence are a mere pauper’s pittance. This talk we hear ad nauseum, from the Feminist side, of the wife being an “unpaid servant,” is typical of the whole Feminist agitation. We find the same deliberate and unscrupulous dishonesty characterising it throughout. Facts are not merely perverted or exaggerated, they are simply turned upside down.

Another statement commonly made is that women’s lower wages as compared with men’s is the result of not possessing the parliamentary franchise. Now this statement, though not perhaps bearing on its face the wilful deception characterising the one just mentioned, is not any the less a perversion of economic fact, and we can hardly regard it otherwise than as intentional. It is quite clear that up to date the wages of men have not been raised by legislation, and yet sections of the working classes have possessed the franchise at least since 1867. What legislation has done for the men has been simply to remove obstacles in the way of industrial organisation on the part of the workman in freeing the trade unions from disabilities, and even this was begun, owing to working- class pressure from outside, long before – as long ago as the twenties of the last century under the auspices of Joseph Hume and Francis Place. Now women’s unions enjoy precisely the same freedom as men’s unions, and nothing stands in the way of working women organising and agitating for higher wages. Those who talk of the franchise as being necessary for working women in order to obtain equal industrial and economic advantages with working men must realise perfectly well that they are performing the oratorical operation colloquially known as “talking through their hat.” The reasons why the wages of women workers are lower than those of men, whatever else may be their grounds, and these are, I think, pretty obvious, clearly are not traceable to anything which the concession of the franchise would remove. If it be suggested that a law could be enacted compulsorily enforcing equal rates of payment for women as for men, what the result would be the merest tyro in such matters can foresee – to wit, that it would mean the wholesale displacement of female by male labour over large branches of industry, and this, we imagine, is not precisely what the advocates of female suffrage are desirous of effecting.

Male labour, owing to its greater efficiency and other causes, being generally preferred by employers to female labour, it is not likely that, even for the sake of female beaux yeux, they are going to accept female labour in the place of male, on an equal wage basis. All this, of course, is quite apart from the question referred to on a previous page, as to the economic responsibilities in the interests of women, which our Feminist law-makers have saddled on the man – namely, the responsibility of the husband, and the husband alone, for the maintenance of his wife and family, obligations from anything corresponding to which the female sex is wholly free.

In a leaflet issued by the “Men’s Federation for Women’s Suffrage” it is affirmed that many laws are on the statute book which inflict injustice on Women. We challenge this statement as an unmitigated falsehood. Its makers ought to know perfectly well that they cannot justify it. There are no laws on the statute book inflicting injustice on women as a Sex, but there are many laws inflicting injustice on men in the supposed interests of women. The worn-out tag which has so long done duty with Feminists in this connection – viz. the rule of the Divorce Court, that in order to procure divorce a wife has to prove cruelty as well as adultery on the part of a husband, whereas a husband has to prove adultery alone on the part of a wife – has already been dealt with and its rottenness as a specimen of a grievance sufficiently exposed in this work and elsewhere by the present writer. Is what the authors of the leaflet may possibly have in their mind (if they have anything at all) when they talk about statutes inflicting injustice on women, that the law does not carry sex vindictiveness against men far enough to please them! With all its flogging, penal servitude, hard labour and the rest, for offences against women, some of them of a comparatively trivial kind, does the law as regards severity on men not even yet satisfy the ferocious Feminist souls of the members of the “Men’s Federation for Women’s Suffrage”? This is the only explanation of the statement in question other than that it is sheer bald bluff designed to mislead those ignorant of the law.

Another flagrant falsehood perpetually being dinned into our ears by the suffragists is the statement that women have to obey the same laws as men. The conclusion drawn from this false statement is, of course, that since they have to obey these laws equally with men, they have an equal claim with men to take part in the making or the modifying of them. Now without pausing to consider the fallacy underlying the conclusion, we would point out that it is sufficient for our present purpose to call attention to the falsity of the initial assumption itself. It needs only one who follows current events and reads his newspaper with impartial mind to see that to allege that women have to, in the true sense of the words ( i.e. are compelled to), obey the same laws as men is a glaringly mendacious statement. It unnecessary in this place to go over once more the mass of`evidence comprised in previous writings of my own – e.g. in the pamphlet, The Legal Subjection of Man (Twentieth Century Press), in the article, A Creature of Privilege (Fortnightly Review, November 1911), and elsewhere in the present volume, illustrating the unquestionable fact that though in theory women may have to obey the law as men have, yet in practice they are absolved from all the more serious consequences men have to suffer when they disobey it. The treatment recently accorded to the suffragettes for crimes such as wilful damage and arson, not to speak of their previous prison treatment when convicted for obstruction, disturbance and minor police misdemeanours, is a proof, writ large, of the mendacity of the statement that women no less than men have to obey the laws of the country, so far, that is, as any real meaning is attached to this phrase.

Another suffragist lie which is invariably allowed to pass muster by default, save for an occasional protest by the present writer, is the assumption that the English law draws a distinction as regards prison treatment, etc., as between political and non- political offenders. Everyone with even the most elementary legal knowledge is aware that no such distinction has ever been recognised or suggested by the English law – at least until the prison ordinance made quite recently, expressly to please the suffragettes, by Mr Winston Churchill when Home Secretary. However desirable many may consider such a distinction to be, nothing is more indubitable than the fact that it has never previously obtained in the letter or practice of the law of England. And yet, without a word of contradiction from those who know better, arguments and protests galore have been fabricated on the suffragist side, based solely on this impudently false assumption.

Misdemeanours and crimes at common law when wilfully committed, have in all countries always remained misdemeanours and crimes, whatever motive can be conveniently put forward to account for them. A political offence has always meant the expression of opinions or the advocacy of measures or acts (not of the nature of common law crimes) which are in contravention of the existing law – e.g. a “libel” on the constituted authorities of the State, or the forcible disregard of a law or police regulation in hindrance of the right of public speech or meeting. This is what is meant by political offence in any country recognising such as a special class of offence entitling those committing it to special treatment. This is so where the matter refers to the internal legislation of the country. Where the question of extradition comes in the definition of political offence is, of course, wider. Take the extreme case, that of the assassination of a ruler or functionary, especially in a despotic State, where free Press and the free expression of opinion generally do not exist. This is undoubtedly a political, not a common law offence, in so far as other countries are concerned, and hence the perpetrator of such a deed has the right to claim immunity, on this ground, from extradition. The position assumable is, that under despotic conditions the progressive man is at war with the despot and those exercising authority under him; therefore, in killing the despot or the repositories of despotic authority, he is striking directly at the enemy. It would, however, be absurd for the agent in a deed of this sort to expect special political treatment within the jurisdiction of the State itself immediately concerned. As a matter of fact he never does so. Fancy a Russian Nihilist, when brought to trial, whining that he is a political offender and hence to be exempted from all harsh treatment! No, the Nihilist has too much self- respect to make himself ridiculous in this way. Hardly even the maddest Terrorist Anarchist would make such a claim. For example, the French law recognises the distinction between political and common law offences. But for all this the bande tragique, Bonnet and his associates, did not receive any benefit from the distinction or even claim to do so, though otherwise they were loud enough in proclaiming the political motives inspiring them. Even as regards extradition, running amuck at large, setting fire promiscuously to private buildings or injuring the ordinary non-political citizen, as a “protest,” would not legally come into the category of political offences and hence protect their authors from being surrendered as ordinary criminals.

The real fact, of course, is that all this talk on the part of suffragettes and their backers about “political” offences and “political” prison treatment is only a mean and underhand way of trying to secure special sex privileges under false pretences. Those who talk the loudest in the strain in question know this perfectly well.

These falsehoods are dangerous, in spite of what one would think ought to be their obvious character as such, by reason of the psychological fact that you only require to repeat a lie often enough, provided you are uncontradicted, in order for the aforesaid lie to be received as established truth by the mass of mankind (“mostly fools,” as Carlyle had it).

It is a preposterous claim, I contend, that any misdemeanour and a fortiori any felony has, law apart, and even from a merely ethical point of view, any claim to special consideration and leniency on the bare declaration of the felon or misdemeanant that it had been dictated by political motive. In no country, at any time, has the mere assertion of political motive been held to bring an ordinary crime within the sphere of treatment of political offences. According to the legal and ethical logic of the suffragettes, it is perfectly open for them to set on fire theatres, churches and houses, and even to shoot down the harmless passer-by in the street, and claim the treatment of first-class misdemeanants on the ground that the act was done as a protest against some political grievance under which they imagined themselves to be labouring. The absurdity of the suggestion is evident on its mere statement. And yet the above preposterous assumption has been suffered equally with the one last noted to pass virtually without protest, and what is more serious, it has been acted upon by the authorities as though it were indubitably sound law as well as sound ethics! It may be pointed out that what has cost many an Irish Fenian in the old days, and many a Terrorist Anarchist at a later date, a sentence of penal servitude for life, can be indulged in by modern suffragettes at the expense of a few weeks’ imprisonment in the first or second division. Of course, this whole talk of “political offences,” when they are, on the face of them, mere common crimes, is purely and simply a trick designed to shield the cowardly and contemptible female creatures who perpetrate these senseless and dastardly outrages from the punishment they deserve and would receive if they had not the good fortune to be of the privileged sex. In the case of men this impudent nonsense would, of course, never have been put forward, and, if it had, would have been summarily laughed out of court. That it should be necessary to point out these things in so many words is a striking illustration of the moral and intellectual atrophy produced by Feminism in the public mind.

There is another falsehood we often hear by way of condoning the infamous outrages of the suffragettes. The excuse is often offered when the illogical pointlessness of the “militant” methods of the modern suffragette are in question: “Oh! men have also done the same things: men have used violence to attain political ends!” Now the fallacy involved in this retort is plain enough.

It may be perfectly true that men have used violence to attain their ends on occasion. But to assert this fact in the connection in question is purely irrelevant. There is violence and violence. It is absolutely false to say that men have ever adopted purposeless and inane violence as a policy. The violence of men has always had an intelligible relation to the ends they had in view, either proximate or ultimate. They pulled down Hyde Park railings in 1866. Good! But why was this? Because they wanted to hold a meeting, and found the park closed against them, the destruction of the railings being the only means of gaining access to the park. Again, the Reform Bill riots of 1831 were at least all directed against Government property and governmental persons – that is, the enemy with whom they were at war. In most cases, as at Bristol and Nottingham, there was (as in that of the Hyde Park railings) a very definite and immediate object in the violence and destruction committed – namely, the release of persons imprisoned for the part they had taken in the Reform movement, by the destruction of the gaols where they were confined. What conceivable analogy have these things with a policy of destroying private property, setting fire to tea pavilions, burning boat-builders’ stock-in-trade, destroying private houses, poisoning pet dogs, upsetting jockeys, defacing people’s correspondence, including the postal orders of the poor, mutilating books in a college library, pictures in a public gallery, etc., etc.? And all these, bien entendu, not openly and in course of a riot, but furtively, in the pursuit of a deliberately premeditated policy! Have, I ask, men ever, in the course of the world’s history, committed mean, futile and dastardly crimes such as these in pursuit of any political or public end? There can be but one answer to this question. Every reader must know that there is no analogy whatever between suffragettes’ “militancy” and the violence and crimes of which men may have been guilty. Even the Terrorist Anarchist, however wrong-headed he may be, and however much his deeds may be deemed morally reprehensible, is at least logical in his actions, in so far as the latter have always had some definite bearing on his political ends and were not mere senseless “running amuck.” The utterly disconnected, meaningless and wanton character signalising the policy of the “militant” suffragettes would of itself suffice to furnish a conclusive argument for the incapacity of the female intellect to think logically or politically, and hence against the concession to women of public powers, political, judicial or otherwise.

Another fallacy analogous to the preceding, inasmuch as it seeks to counterbalance female defects and weaknesses by the false allegation of corresponding deficiencies in men, is the Feminist retort sometimes heard when the question of hysteria in women is raised: “Oh! men can also suffer from hysteria!” This has been already dealt with in an earlier chapter, but for the sake of completing the list of prominent Feminist fallacies I restate it concisely here. Now as we have seen it is exceedingly doubtful whether this statement is true in any sense whatever. There are eminent authorities who would deny that men ever have true hysteria. There are others, of course, again, who would extend the term hysteria so as to include every form of neurasthenic disturbance. The question is largely, with many persons who discuss the subject, one of terminology. It suffices here to cut short quibbling on this score. For the nonce, let us drop the word hysteria and formulate the matter as follows: – Women are frequently subject to a pathological mental condition, differing in different cases but offering certain well-marked features in common, a condition which seldom, if ever, occurs in men. This I take to be an incontrovertible proposition based upon experience which will be admitted by every impartial person.

Now the existence of the so-called hysterical man I have hitherto found to be attested on personal experience solely by certain Feminist medical practitioners who allege that they have met with him in their consulting-rooms. His existence is thus vouchsafed for just as the reality of the sea-serpent is vouchsafed for by certain sea captains or other ancient mariners. Far be it from me to impugn the ability, still less the integrity, of these worthy persons. But in either case I may have my doubts as to the accuracy of their observation or of their diagnosis. It may be that the sea-serpent exists and it may be that hysteria is at times discoverable in male persons. But while a conclusive proof of the discovery of a single sea-serpent of the orthodox pattern would go far to justify the yarn of the ancient mariner, the proof of the occurrence, in an occasional case, of hysteria in men, would not by far justify the implied contention that hysteria is not essentially a female malady. If hysterical men are as common a phenomenon as certain hard-pressed Feminists would make out, what I want to know is: Where are they? While we come upon symptoms which would be commonly attributed to hysteria in well- nigh every second or third woman of whose life we have any intimate knowledge, how often do we find in men symptoms in any way resembling these! In my own experience I have come across but two cases of men giving indications of a temperament in any way analogous to that of the “hysterical woman.” After all, the experience of the average layman, and in this I contend my own is more or less typical, is more important in the case of a malady manifesting itself in symptoms obvious to common observation, such as the one we are considering, than that of the medical practitioner, who by reason of his profession would be especially likely to see such, if there were any at all, however few they might be. The possibility, moreover, at least suggests itself, that the latter may often mistake for hysteria (using the word in the sense commonly applied to the symptoms presented by women) symptoms resulting from general neurasthenia or even from purely extraneous causes, such as alcohol, drugs, etc. That this is sometimes the case is hardly open to question. That the pathological mental symptoms referred to as prevalent in the female, whether we attribute them to hysteria or not, are rarely if ever found in the male sex is an undoubted fact. The rose, it is said, is as sweet by any other name, and whether we term these affections symptoms of hysteria, or describe them as hysteria itself, or deny that they have anything to go with “true hysteria,” their existence and frequency in the female sex remains nevertheless a fact. No! whether some of the symptoms of hysteria, “true” or “so-called,” are occasionally to be found in men or not, every impartial person must admit: that they are extremely rare, whereas as regards certain pathological mental symptoms, common in women and popularly identified (rightly or wrongly) with hysteria, there is, I contend, little evidence of their occurring in men at all. Wriggle and prevaricate as they may, it is impossible for Suffragists and Feminists to successfully evade the undoubted truth that the mentality of women is characterised constitutionally by a general instability, manifesting itself in pathological symptoms radically differing in nature and in frequency from any that obtain in men.

Very conspicuous among the fallacies that have done yeoman service in the Feminist Movement is the assumption that women are constitutionally the “weaker sex.” This has also been discussed by us in Chapter II., but the latter may again be supplemented here by a few further remarks, so deeply rooted is this fallacy in public opinion. The reason of the unquestioned acceptance of the assumption is partly due to a confusion of two things under one name. The terms, “bodily strength” and “bodily weakness” cover two distinct facts. The attribution of greater bodily weakness to the female sex than to the male undoubtedly expresses a truth, but no less does the attribution of greater bodily strength to the female than to the male sex equally express a truth. In size, weight and muscular development, average man has an unquestionable, and in most cases enormous, advantage over average woman. It is in this sense that the bodily structure of the human female can with some show of justice be described as frail. On the other hand, as regards tenacity of life, recuperative power and what we may term toughness of constitution, woman is without doubt considerably stronger than man. Now this vigour of constitution may, of course, also be described as bodily strength, and to this confusion the assumption of the general frailty of the female bodily organism as compared with the male has acquired general currency in the popular mind.

The most carefully controlled and reliable statistics of the Registrar-General and other sources show the enormously greater mortality of men than of women at all ages and under all conditions of life. Under the age of five the evidence shows that 120 boys die to every 100 girls. In adult life the Registrar-General shows that diseases of the chest are the cause of nearly 40 per cent of more deaths among men than among women. That violence and accident should be the occasion of 150 per cent more deaths amongst men than women is accounted for, partly, at least, by the greater exposure of men, although the enormous disparity would lead one to suspect that here also the inferior resisting power in the male constitution plays a not inconsiderable part in the result. The report of the medical officer to the Local Government Board proves that between the ages of fifty- five and sixty-five there is a startling difference in numbers between the deaths of men and those of women. The details for the year 1910 are as follows:-

Diseases

 

Male

 

Females

Nervous system

1614

1240

Heart

5762

5336

Blood vessels

3424

3298

Respiratory system

3110

2473

Digestive system

1769

1681

Kidneys, etc.

2241

1488

Acute infections

2259

1164

Violent deaths

1624

  436

Various additional causes, connected with the more active and anxious life of men, the greater strain to which they are subjected, their greater exposure alike to infection and to accident, may explain a certain percentage of the excessive death-rate of the male population as opposed to the female, yet these explanations, even allowing the utmost possible latitude to them, really only touch the fringe of the difference, with the single exception of deaths from violence and accident above alluded to, where liability and exposure may account for a somewhat larger percentage. The great cause of the discrepancy remains, without doubt, the enormously greater potentiality of resistance, in other words of constitutional strength, in the female bodily organism as compared with the male.

We must now deal at some length with a fallacy of some importance, owing to the apparatus of learning with which it has been set forth, to be found in Mr Lester F. Ward’s book, entitled Pure Sociology, notwithstanding that its fallacious nature is plain enough when analysed. Mr Ward terms his speculation the “Gynœcocentric Theory,” by which he understands apparently the Feminist dogma of the supreme importance of the female in the scheme of humanity and nature generally. His arguments are largely drawn from general biology, especially that of inferior organisms. He traces the various processes of reproduction in the lower departments of organic nature, subdivision, germination, budding, etc., up to the earlier forms of bi-sexuality, culminating in conjugation or true sexual union. His standpoint he thus states in the terms of biological origins:

“Although reproduction and sex are two distinct things, and although a creature that reproduces without sex cannot properly be called either male or female, still so completely have these conceptions become blended in the popular mind that a creature which actually brings forth offspring out of its own body, is instinctively classed as female. The female is the fertile sex, and whatever is fertile is looked upon as female. Assuredly it would be absurd to look upon an organism propagating sexually as male. Biologists have proceeded from this popular standpoint and regularly speak of ‘mother cells,’ and ‘daughter cells.’ It, therefore, does no violence to language or to science to say that life begins with the female organism and is carried on a long distance by means of females alone. In all the different forms of a-sexual reproduction, from fission to parthenogenesis, the female may in this sense be said to exist alone and perform all the functions of life, including reproduction. In a word, life begins as female.”

In the above remarks it will be seen that Mr Ward, so to say, jumps the claim of a-sexual organisms to be considered as female. This, in itself a somewhat questionable proceeding, serves him as a starting-point for his theory. The a-sexual female (?), he observes, is not only primarily the original sex, but continues throughout, the main trunk, though afterwards the male element is added “for the purposes of fertilisation.” “Among millions of humble creatures,” says Mr Ward, “the male is simply and solely a fertiliser.” The writer goes on in his efforts to belittle the male sex in the sphere of biology. “The gigantic female spider and the tiny male fertiliser, the Mantis insect with its similarly large and ferocious female, bees, and mosquitoes,” all are pressed into the service. Even the vegetable kingdom, in so far as it shows signs of sex differentiation, is brought into the lists in favour of his theory of female supremacy, or “gynæcocentricism,” as he terms it.

This theory may be briefly stated as follows: – In the earliest organisms displaying sex differentiation, it is the female which represents the organism proper, the rudimentary male existing solely for the purpose of the fertilisation of the female. This applies to most of the lower forms of life in which the differentiation of sex obtains, and in many insects, the Mantis being one of the cases specially insisted upon by our author. The process of the development of the male sex is by means of the sexual selection of the female. From being a mere fertilising agent, gradually, as evolution proceeds, it assumes the form and characteristics of an independent organism like the original female trunk organism. But the latter continues to maintain its supremacy in the life of the species, by means chiefly of sexual selection, until the human period, i.e. more or less(!), for Mr Ward is bound to admit signs of male superiority in the higher vertebrates – viz. birds and mammals. This superiority manifests itself in size, strength, ornamentation, alertness, etc. But it is with man, with the advent of the reasoning faculty, and, as a consequence, of human supremacy, that it becomes first unmistakably manifest. This superiority, Mr Ward contends, has been developed under the ægis of the sexual selection of the female, and enabled cruel and wicked man to subject and enslave down- trodden and oppressed woman, who has thus been crushed by a Frankenstein of her own creation. Although in various earlier phases of human organisation woman still maintains her social supremacy, this state of affairs soon changes. Androcracy establishes itself, and woman is reduced to the role of breeding the race and of being the servant of man. Thus she has remained throughout the periods of the higher barbarism and of civilisation. Our author regards the lowest point of what he terms the degradation of woman to have been reached in the past, and the last two centuries as having witnessed a movement in the opposite direction – namely, towards the emancipation of woman and equality between the sexes. (Cf. Pure Sociology, chap.xiv., and especially pp. 290-377.)

The above is a brief, but, I think, not unfair skeleton statement of the theory which Mr Lester Ward has elaborated in the work above referred to, in great detail and with immense wealth of illustration. But now I ask, granting the correctness of Mr Ward’s biological premises and the accuracy of his exposition, and I am not specialist enough to be capable of criticising these in detail: What does it all amount to? The “business end” (as the Americans would say) of the whole theory, it is quite evident, is to afford a plausible and scientific basis for the Modern Feminist Movement, and thus to further its practical pretensions. What Mr Ward terms the androcentric theory, at least as regards man and the higher vertebrates, which is on the face of it supported by the facts of human experience and has been accepted well- nigh unanimously up to quite recent times, is, according to him, all wrong. The male element in the universe of living things is not the element of primary importance, and the female element the secondary, but the converse is the case. For this contention Mr Ward, as already pointed out, has, by dint of his biological learning, succeeded at least in making out a case in so far as lower forms of life are concerned. He has, however, to admit – a fatal admission surely – that evolution has tended progressively to break down the superiority of the female (by means, as he contends, of her own sexual selection) and to transfer sex supremacy to the male, according to Mr Ward, hitherto a secondary being, and that this tendency becomes very obvious in most species of birds and mammals. With the rise of man, however, out of the pithecanthropos, the homosynosis, or by whatever other designation we may call the intermediate organism between the purely animal and the purely human, and the consequent supersession of instinct as the dominant form of intelligence by reason, the question of superiority, as Mr Ward candidly admits, is no longer doubtful, and upon the unquestionable superiority of the male, in due course of time, follows the unquestioned supremacy. It is clear then that, granting the biological premises of our author that the lowest sexual organisms are virtually female and that in the hermaphrodites the female element predominates; that in the earliest forms of bi-sexuality the fertilising or male element was merely an offshoot of the female trunk and that this offshoot develops, mainly by means of sexual selection on the part of the female, into an organism similar to the latter; that not until we reach the higher vertebrates, the birds and the mammals, do we find any traces of male superiority; and that this superiority only becomes definite and obvious, leading to male domination, in the human species – granting all this, I say, what argument can be founded upon it in support of the equal value physically, intellectually and morally of the female sex in human society, or the desirability of its possessing equal political power with men in such society? On the contrary, Mr Ward’s whole exposition, with his biological facts of illustration, would seem to point rather in the opposite direction. We seem surely to have here, if Mr Ward’s premises be accepted as to the primitive insignificance of the male element – at first overshadowed and dominated by the female stem, but gradually evolving in importance, character and fruition, till we arrive at man the highest product of evolution up to date – a powerful argument for anti-Feminism. On Mr Ward’s own showing, we find that incontestible superiority, both in size and power of body and brain, has manifested itself in Androcracy, when the female is relegated, in the natural course of things, to the function of child-bearing. This, it can hardly be denied, is simply one more instance of the general process of evolution, whereby the higher being is evolved from the lower, at first weak and dependent upon its parent, the latter remaining dominant until the new being reaches maturity, when in its turn it becomes supreme, while that out of which it developed, and of which it was first the mere offshoot, falls into the background and becomes in its turn subordinate to its own product.

Let us turn now to another scientific fallacy, the result of a good man struggling with adversity – i.e. a sound and honest scientific investigator, but one who, at the same time, is either himself obsessed with the principles of Feminism as with a religious dogma, or else is nervously afraid of offending others who are. His attitude reminds one of nothing so much as that of the orthodox geologist of the first half of the nineteenth century, who wrote in mortal fear of incurring the odium theologicum by his exposition of the facts of geology, and who was therefore nervously anxious to persuade his readers that the facts in question did not clash with the Mosaic cosmogony as given in the Book of Genesis. With Mr Havelock Ellis in his work, Man and Woman, it is not the dogma of Biblical infallibility that he is concerned to defend, but a more modern dogma, that of female equality, so dear to the heart of the Modern Feminist. Mr Ellis’s efforts to evade the consequences of the scientific truths he honestly proclaims are almost pathetic. One cannot help noticing, after his exposition of some fact that goes dead against the sex-equality theory as contended for by Feminists, the eagerness with which he hastens to add some qualifying statement tending to show that after all it is not so incompatible with the Feminist dogma as it might appear at first sight.

The pièce de résistance, however, of Mr Havelock Ellis is contained in his “conclusion.” The author has for his problem to get over the obvious incompatibility of the truth he has himself abundantly demonstrated in the course of his book, that the woman-type, in every respect, physiological and psychological, approaches the child-type, while the man-type, in its proper progress towards maturity, increasingly diverges from it. The obvious implication of this fact is surely plain, on the principle of the development of the individual being a shorthand reproduction of the evolution of the species, or, to express it in scientific phraseology, of ontogeny being the abbreviated recapitulation of the stages presented by philogeny. If we proceed on this well- accredited and otherwise universally accepted principle of biology, the inference is clear enough – to wit, that woman is, as Herbert Spencer and others have pointed out, simply “undeveloped man” – in other words, that Woman represents a lower stage of evolution than Man. Now this would obviously not at all suit the book of Mr Ellis’s Feminism. Explained away it has to be in some fashion or other. So our author is driven to the daring expedient of throwing overboard one of the best established generalisations of modern biology, and boldly declaring that the principle contained therein is reversed (we suppose “for this occasion only”) in the case of Man. In this way he is enabled to postulate a theory consoling to the Feminist soul, which affirms that adult man is nearer in point of development to his pre-human ancestor than either the child or the woman! The physiological and psychological analogies observable between the child and the savage, and even, especially in early childhood, between the child and the lower mammalian types – analogies which, notably in the life of instinct and passion, are traceable readily also in the human female – all these count for nothing; they are not dreamt of in Mr Ellis’s Feminist philosophy. The Modern Feminist dogma requires that woman should be recognised as equal in every respect (except in muscular strength) with man, and if possible, as rather superior to him. If Nature has not worked on Feminist lines, as common observation and scientific research alike testify on the face of things, naughty Nature must be “corrected,” in theory, at least, by the ingenuity of Feminist savants of the degraded male persuasion. To this end we must square our scientific hypotheses!

The startling theory of Mr Havelock Ellis, which must seem, one would think, to all impartial persons, so out of accord with all the acknowledged laws and facts of biological science, appears to the present writer, it must be confessed, the very reductio ad absurdum of Feminist controversial perversity.

I will conclude this chapter on Feminist Lies and Fallacies with a fallacy of false analogy or false illustration, according as we may choose to term it. This quasi-argument was recently put forward in a defence speech by one of the prisoners in a suffragette trial and was subsequently repeated by George Bernard Shaw in a letter to The Times. Put briefly, the point attempted to be made is as follows: – Apostrophising men, it is said:

“How would you like it if the historical relations of the sexes were reversed, if the making and the administrating of the laws and the whole power of the State were in the hands of women? Would not you revolt in such a condition of affairs?”

Now to this quasi-argument the reply is sufficiently clear. The moral intended to be conveyed in the hypothetical question put, is that women have just as much right to object to men’s domination, as men would have to object to women’s domination. But it is plain that the point of the whole question resides in a petitio principii – to wit, in the assumption that those challenged admit equal intellectual capacity and equal moral stability as between the average woman and the average man. Failing this assumption the challenge becomes senseless and futile. If we ignore mental and moral differences it is only a question of degree as to when we are landed in obvious absurdity. In Gulliver’s Travels we have a picture of society in which horses ruled the roost, and lorded it over human beings. In this satire Swift in effect put the question: “How would you humans like to be treated by horses as inferiors, just as horses are treated by you to-day?” I am, be it remembered, not instituting any comparison between the two cases, beyond pointing out that the argument as an argument is intrinsically the same in both.

5. The “Chivalry” Fake

Chivalry

THE justification for the whole movement of Modern Feminism in one of its main practical aspects – namely, the placing of the female sex in the position of privilege, advantage and immunity – is concentrated in the current conception of “chivalry.” It behoves us, therefore, to devote some consideration to the meaning and implication of this notion. Now this word chivalry is the dernier ressort of those at a loss for a justification of the modern privileging of women. But those who use it seldom give themselves the trouble to analyse the connotation of this term. Brought to book as to its meaning, most persons would probably define it as deference to, or consideration for, weakness, especially bodily weakness. Used in this sense, however, the term covers a very much wider ground than the “kow-towing” to the female section of the human race, usually associated with it. Boys, men whose muscular strength is below the average, domestic animals, etc., might all claim this special protection as a plea of chivalry, in their favour. And yet we do not find different criminal laws, or different rules of prison treatment, say, for men whose stamina is below the average. Neither do we find such men or boys exempted by law from corporal punishment in consequence of their weakness, unless as an exception in individual cases when the weakness amounts to dangerous physical disability. Neither, again, in the general affairs of life are we accustomed to see any such deference to men of weaker muscular or constitutional development as custom exacts in the case of women. Once more, looking at the question from the other side, do we find the claim of chivalry dropped in the case of the powerful virago or the muscularly developed female athlete, the sportswoman who rides, hunts, plays cricket, football, golf and other masculine games, and who may even fence or box? Not one whit!

It would seem then that the definition of the term under consideration, based on the notion of deference to mere weakness as such, will hardly hold water, since in its application the question of sex always takes precedence of that of weakness. Let us try again! Abandoning for the moment the definition of chivalry as a consideration for weakness, considered absolutely, as we may term it, let us see whether the definition of consideration for relative defencelessness – i.e. defencelessness in a given situation – will coincide with the current usage of the word. But here again we are met with the fact that the man in the hands of the law – to wit, in the grip of the forces of the State, ay, even the strongest man, were he a very Hercules, is in as precisely as defenceless and helpless a position relative to those in whose power he finds himself, as the weakest woman would be in the like case, neither more nor less! And yet an enlightened and chivalrous public opinion tolerates the most fiendish barbarities and excogitated cruelties being perpetrated upon male convicts in our gaols, while it shudders with horror at the notion of female convicts being accorded any severity of punishment at all even for the same, or, for that matter, more heinous offences. A particularly crass and crucial illustration is that infamous piece of one-sided sex legislation which has already occupied our attention in the course of the present volume – to wit, the so-called “White Slave Traffic Act” 1912.

It is plain then that chivalry as understood in the present day really spells sex privilege and sex favouritism pure and simple, and that any attempts to define the term on a larger basis, or to give it a colourable rationality founded on fact, are simply subterfuges, conscious or unconscious, on the part of those who put them forward. The etymology of the word chivalry is well known and obvious enough. The term meant originally the virtues associated with knighthood considered as a whole, bravery even to the extent of reckless daring, loyalty to the chief or feudal superior, generosity to a fallen foe, general open-handedness, and open-heartedness, including, of course, the succour of the weak and the oppressed generally, inter alia, the female sex when in difficulties. It would be idle, of course, to insist upon the historical definition of the term. Language develops and words in course of time depart widely from their original connotation, so that etymology alone is seldom of much value in practically determining the definition of words in their application at the present day. But the fact is none the less worthy of note that only a fragment of the original connotation of the word chivalry is covered by the term as used in our time, and that even that fragment is torn from its original connection and is made to serve as a scarecrow in the field of public opinion to intimidate all who refuse to act upon, or who protest against, the privileges and immunities of the female sex. [1]

I have said that even that subsidiary element in the old original notion of chivalry which is now well-nigh the only surviving remnant of its original connotation is torn from its connection and hence has necessarily become radically changed in its meaning. From being part of a general code of manners enjoined upon a particular guild or profession it has been degraded to mean the exclusive right in one sex guaranteed by law and custom to certain advantages and exemptions with- out any corresponding responsibility. Let us make no mistake about this. When the limelight of a little plain but critical common-sense is turned upon this notion of chivalry hitherto regarded as so sacrosanct, it is seen to be but a poor thing after all; and when men have acquired the habit of habitually turning the light of such criticism upon it, the accusation, so terrible in the present state of public opinion, of being “unchivalrous” will lose its terrors for them. In the so-called ages of chivalry themselves it never meant, as it does to-day, the woman right or wrong. It never meant as it does to-day the general legal and social privilege of sex. It never meant a social defence or a legal exoneration for the bad and even the criminal woman, simply because she is a woman. It meant none of these things. All it meant was a voluntary or gratuitous personal service to the forlorn women which the members of the Knights’ guild among other such services, many of them taking precedence of this one, were supposed to perform.

So far as courage is concerned, which was perhaps the first of the chivalric virtues in the old days, it certainly requires more courage in our days to deal severely with a woman when she deserves it (as a man would be dealt with in like circumstances) than it does to back up a woman against her wicked male opponent.

It is a cheap thing, for example, in the case of a man and woman quarrelling in the street, to play out the stage rôle of the bold and gallant Englishman “who won’t see a woman maltreated and put upon, not he!” and this, of course, without any inquiry into the merits of the quarrel. To swim with the stream, to make a pretence of boldness and bravery, when all the time you know you have the backing of conventional public opinion and mob-force behind you, is the cheapest of mock heroics.

Chivalry to-day means the woman, right or wrong, just as patriotism to-day means “my country right or wrong.” In other words, chivalry to-day is only another name for Sentimental Feminism. Every outrageous pretension Of Sentimental Feminism can be justified by the appeal to chivalry, which amounts (to use the German expression) to an appeal from Pontius to Pilate. This Sentimental Feminism commonly called chivalry is sometimes impudently dubbed by its votaries, “manliness.” It will presumably continue in its practical effects until a sufficient minority of sensible men will have the moral courage to beard a Feminist public opinion and shed a little of this sort of “manliness.” The plucky Welshmen at Llandystwmdwy in their dealings with the suffragette rowdies on memorable occasion showed themselves capable of doing this. In fact one good effect generally of militant suffragetteism seems to be the weakening of the notion of chivalry – i.e. in its modern sense of Sentimental Feminism – amongst the populace of this country.

The combination of Sentimental Feminism with its invocation of the old-world sentiment of chivalry which was based essentially on the assumption of the mental, moral and physical inferiority of woman to man, for its justification, with the pretensions of modern Political Feminism, is simply grotesque in its inconsistent absurdity. In this way Modern Feminism would fain achieve the feat of eating its cake and having it too. When political and economic rights are in question, bien entendu, such as involve gain and social standing, the assumption of inferiority magically disappears before the strident assertion of the dogma of the equality of woman with man – her mental and moral equality certainly! When, however, the question is of a different character – for example, for the relieving of some vile female criminal of the penalty of her misdeeds-then Sentimental Feminism comes into play, then the whole plaidoyer is based on the chivalric sentiment of deference and consideration for poor, weak woman. I may point out that here, if it be in the least degree logical, the plea for mercy or immunity can hardly be based on any other consideration than that of an intrinsic moral weakness in view of which the offence is to be condoned. The plea of physical weakness, if such be entertained, is here in most cases purely irrelevant. Thus, as regards the commutation of the death sentence, the question of the muscular strength or weakness of the condemned person does not come in at all. The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to many other forms of criminal punishment. But it must not be forgotten that there are two aspects of physical strength or weakness. There is, as we have already pointed out, the muscular aspect and the constitutional aspect. If we concede the female sex as essentially and inherently weaker in muscular power and development than the male, this by no means involves the assumption that woman is constitutionally weaker than man. On the contrary, it is a known fact attested, as far as I am aware, by all physiologists, no less than by common observation, that the constitutional toughness and power of endurance of woman in general far exceeds that of man, as explained in an earlier chapter. This resilient power of the system, its capacity for enduring strain, it may here be remarked in passing, is by no means necessarily a characteristic of a specially high stage of organic evolution. We find it indeed in many orders of invertebrate animals in striking forms. Be this as it may, however, the existence of this greater constitutional strength or resistant power in the female than in the male organic system – as crucially instanced by the markedly greater death-rate of boys than of girls in infancy and early childhood – should, in respect of severity of punishment, prison treatment, etc., be a strong counter-argument against the plea for leniency, or immunity in the case of female criminals, made by the advocates of Sentimental Feminism.

But these considerations afford only one more illustration of the utter irrationality of the whole movement of Sentimental Feminism identified with the notion of “chivalry.” For the rest, we may find illustrations of this galore. A very flagrant case is that infamous “rule of the sea” which came so much into prominence at the time of the Titanic disaster. Recording to this preposterous “chivalric” Feminism, in the case of a ship foundering, it is the unwritten law of the seas, not that the passengers shall leave the ship and be rescued in their order as they come, but that the whole female portion shall have the right of being rescued before any man is allowed to leave the ship. Now this abominable piece of sex favouritism, on the face of it, cries aloud in its irrational injustice. Here is no question of bodily strength or weakness, either muscular or constitutional. In this respect, for the nonce, all are on a level. But it is a case of life itself. A number of poor wretches are doomed to a watery grave, simply and solely because they have not had the luck to be born of the privileged female sex.

Such is “chivalry” as understood to-day – the deprivation, the robbery from men of the most elementary personal rights in order to endow women with privileges at the expense of men. During the ages of chivalry and for long after it was not so. Law and custom then was the same for men as for women in its incidence. To quote the familiar proverb in a slightly altered form, then – “what was sauce for the gander was sauce for the goose.” Not until the nineteenth century did this state of things change. Then for the first time the law began to respect persons and to distinguish in favour of sex.

Even taking the matter on the conventional ground of weakness and granting, for the sake of argument, the relative muscular weakness of the female as ground for her being allowed the immunity claimed by Modern Feminists of the sentimental school, the distinction is altogether lost sight of between weakness as such and aggressive weakness. Now I submit there is a very considerable difference between what is due to weakness that is harmless and unprovocative, and weakness that is aggressive, still more when this aggressive weakness presumes on itself as weakness, and on the consideration extended to it, in order to become tyrannical and oppressive. Weakness as such assuredly deserves all consideration, but aggressive weakness deserves none save to be crushed beneath the iron heel of strength. Woman at the present day has been encouraged by a Feminist public opinion to become meanly aggressive under the protection of her weakness. She has been encouraged to forge her gift of weakness into a weapon of tyranny against man, unwitting that in so doing she has deprived her weakness of all just claim to consideration or even to toleration.

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Footnote:

1. One among many apposite cases, which has occurred recently, was protested against in a letter to The Daily Telegraph, 21st March 1913, in which it was pointed out that while a suffragette got a few months’ imprisonment in the second division for wilfully setting fire to the pavilion in Kew Gardens, a few days previously, at the Lewes Assizes, a man had been sentenced to five years’ penal servitude for burning a rick!!

4. Always the “Injured Innocent”!

WHILE what we have termed Political Feminism vehemently asserts its favourite dogma, the intellectual and moral equality of the sexes – that the woman is as good as the man if not better – Sentimental Feminism as vehemently seeks to exonerate every female criminal, and protests against any punishment being meted out to her approaching in severity that which would be awarded a man in a similar case. It does so on grounds which presuppose the old theory of the immeasurable inferiority, mental and moral, of woman, which are so indignantly spurned by every Political Feminist – i.e. in his or her capacity as such. We might suppose, therefore, that Political Feminism, with its theory of sex equality based on the assumption of equal sex capacity, would be in strong opposition in this matter with Sentimental Feminism, which seeks, as its name implies, to attenuate female responsibility on grounds which are not distinguishable from the old-fashioned assumption of inferiority. But does Political Feminism consistently adopt this logical position? Not one whit. It is quite true that some Feminists, when hard pressed, may grudgingly concede the untenability on rational grounds of the Sentimental Feminists’ claims. But taken as a whole, and in their practical dealings, the Political Feminists are in accord with the Sentimental Feminists in claiming female immunity on the ground of sex. This is shown in every case where a female criminal receives more than a nominal sentence.

We have already given examples of the fact in question, and they could be indefinitely extended. At the end of the year 1911, at Birmingham, in the case of a woman convicted of the murder of her paramour by deliberately pouring inflammable oil over him while he was asleep, and then setting it afire, and afterwards not only exulting in the action but saying she was ready to do it again, the jury brought in recommendation to mercy with their verdict. And, needless to say, the influence of Political and Sentimental Feminism was too strong to allow the capital sentence to be carried out, even with such a fiendish wretch as this. In the case of the Italian woman in Canada, Napolitano, before mentioned, the female franchise societies issued a petition to Mr Borden, the Premier of Canada, in favour of the commutation of sentence. The usual course was adopted in this case, as in most others in which a woman murders a man – to wit, the truly “chivalrous” one of trying to blacken the character of the dead victim in defence of the action of the murderess. In other cases, more especially, of course, where the man is guilty of a crime against a woman, when mercy is asked for the offender, we are pitifully adjured to “think of the poor victim.” As we have seen, Lord Haldane trotted out this exhortation in a case where it was absurdly inappropriate, since the much-commiserated “victim” had only herself to thank for being a “victim,” and still more for remaining a “victim.” We never hear this plea for the “victim” urged where the “victim” happens to be a man and the offender a woman. Compare this with the case of the boy of nineteen, Beal, whom Mr M’Kenna hanged for the murder of his sweetheart, and that in the teeth of an explanation given in the defence which was at least possible, if not probable, and which certainly, putting it at the very lowest, introduced an element of doubt into the case. Fancy a girl of nineteen being convicted, whatever the evidence, of having poisoned her paramour or even if, per impossibile, she were convicted, fancy her being given more than a short term of imprisonment! A man murdered by a woman is always the horrid brute, while the woman murdered by the man is just as surely the angelic victim. Anyone who reads reports of cases with an unbiassed mind must admit the absolute accuracy of this statement. Divine woman is always the “injured innocent,” not only in the graver crimes, such as murder, but also in the minor offences coming under the cognisance of the law. At the Ledbury Petty Sessions a woman in the employment of a draper, who had purloined goods to the amount of £150, was acquitted on the ground of “kleptomania,” and this notwithstanding the fact that she had been in the employment of the prosecutor for over five years, had never complained of illness and had never been absent from business; also that her landlady gave evidence showing that she was sound in mind and body. At the very same sessions two men were sentenced respectively to eight and twelve months’ imprisonment for stealing goods to the value of £5! (John Bull, 12th November 1910).

At this point I may be permitted to quote from the article formerly alluded to (Fortnightly Review, November 1911, case taken from a report in The News of the World of 28th February 1909):

“A young woman shot at the local postman with a revolver; the bullet grazed his face, she having fired point blank at his head. Jury returned a verdict of not guilty, although the revolver was found on her when arrested, and the facts were admitted and were as follows: – At noon she left her house, crossing three fields to the house of the victim, who was at home and alone; upon his appearing she fired point blank at his head; he banged to the door, and thus turned off the bullet, which grazed his face and ‘ploughed a furrow through his hair.’ She had by her when arrested a revolver cocked and with four chambers undischarged.”

Let us now take the crime of violent assault with attempt to do bodily injury. The following cases will serve as illustrative examples: – From The News of the World, 9th May 1909: A nurse in Belfast sued her lost swain for breach of promise. She obtained £100 damages although it was admitted by her counsel that she had thrown vitriol over the defendant, thereby injuring him, and the defendant had not prosecuted her! Also it was admitted that she had been “carrying on” with another man. From The Morning Leader of 8th July 1905 I have taken the following extraordinary facts as to the varied punishment awarded in cases of vitriol-throwing: That of a woman who threw vitriol over a sergeant at Aldershot, and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment without hard labour while a man who threw it over a woman at Portsmouth was tried and convicted at the Hants Assizes, on 7th July 1905, and sentenced by Mr Justice Bigham to twelve years’ penal servitude! As regards the first case it will be observed that, (notwithstanding a crime, which in the case of a man was described by the judge as “cowardly and vile” and meriting twelve years’ penal servitude) the woman was rewarded by damages for £100, to be obtained from the very victim whom she had done her best to maim for life (besides being unfaithful to him) and who had generously abstained from prosecuting.

But it is not merely in cases of murder, attempted murder or serious assault that justice is mocked by the present state of our law and its administration in the interests of the female sex. The same attitude is observed, the same farcical sentences on women, whether the crime be theft, fraud, common assault, criminal slander or other minor offences. We have the same preposterous excuses admitted, the same preposterous pleas allowed, and the same farcical sentences passed – if, indeed, any sentence be passed at all. The following examples I have culled at random: – From John Bull, 26th February 1910: At the London Sessions, Mr Robert Wallace had to deal with the case of a well-dressed woman living at Hampstead, who pleaded guilty to obtaining goods to the amount of £50 by false pretences. In explanation of her crime it was stated that she was under a mistaken impression that her engagement would not lead to marriage, that she became depressed, and that she “did not know what she said or did,” while in mitigation of punishment it was urged that the money had been repaid, that her fiancé could not marry her if she were sent to gaol, and that her life would be irretrievably ruined, and she was discharged! From The Birmingham Post, 4th February 1902: A female clerk (twenty-six) pleaded guilty to embezzling £5, 1s. 9d. on 16th November, £2, 2s. 4d. on 2lst December and £5, 0s. 9d. on a 23rd December last, the moneys of her employer. Prosecuting counsel said prisoner entered prosecutor’s employ in 1900, and in June last her salary was raised to 27s. 6d. a week. The defalcations, which began a month before the increase, amounted to £134. She had falsified the books, and when suspicion fell upon her destroyed two books, in order, as she thought, to prevent detection. Her counsel pleaded for leniency on the ground of her previous good character and because she was engaged! The recorder merely bound her over, stating that her parents and young man were respectable, and so was the house in which she lodged! A correspondent mentions in The Birmingham Post of February 1902 a case where a woman had burned her employer’s outhouses and property, doing £1800 worth of damage, and got off with a month’s imprisonment. On the other hand, the same judge, at the same Quarter Sessions, thus dealt with two male embezzlers: C.C. (twenty-eight), clerk, who pleaded guilty to embezzling two sums of money from his master in August and September of 1901 (amounts not given), was sent to gaol for six calendar months; and S.G. (twenty-four), clerk, pleaded guilty to embezzling 7s. 6d. and 3s. For the defence it was urged that the prisoner had been poorly paid, and the recorder, hearing that a gentleman was prepared to employ the man as soon as released, sentenced him to three months’ hard labour! O merciful recorder!

The “injured innocent” theory usually comes into play with magistrates when a woman is charged with aggravated annoyance and harassing of men in their business or profession, when, as already stated, the administrator of the law will usually tell the prosecutor that he cannot interfere. In the opposite case of a man annoying a woman under like circumstances he invariably has to find substantial sureties for his good behaviour or go to gaol. No injured innocence for him!

There is another case in which it seems probable that, animated by the same fixed idea, those responsible for the framing of laws have flagrantly neglected an obvious measure for public safety. We refer to the unrestricted sale of sulphuric acid (vitriol) which is permitted. Now here we have a substance subserving only very special purposes in industry, none in household economy, or in other departments, save for criminal ends, which is nevertheless procurable without let or hindrance. Is it possible to believe that this would be the case if men were in the habit of using this substance in settling their differences with each other, even still more if they employed it by way of emphasising their disapproval of the jilting of sweethearts? That it should be employed by women in wreaking their vengeance on recalcitrant lovers seems a natural if not precisely a commendable action, in the eyes of a Sentimental Feminist public opinion, and one which, on the mildest hypothesis, “doesn’t matter.” Hence a deadly substance may be freely bought and sold as though it were cod-liver oil. A very nice thing for dastardly viragoes for whom public opinion has only the mildest of censures! In any reasonable society the indiscriminate sale of corrosive substances would in itself be a crime punishable with a heavy term of imprisonment.

It is not only by men, and by a morbid public opinion inflamed by Feminist sentiment in general, that female criminals are surrounded by a halo of injured innocence. The reader can hardly fail to notice that such women have the effrontery to pretend to regard themselves in this light. This is often so in cases of assault, murder or attempted murder of lovers by their sweethearts. Such is, of course, particularly noticeable in the senselessly wicked outrages, of which more anon. The late Otto Weininger, in his book before quoted, Geschlecht und Charakter (Sex and Character), has some noteworthy remarks on this, remarks which, whether we accept his suggested theory or not, might well have been written as a comment on recent cases of suffragette crimes and criminals.

“The male criminal,” says Weininger, “has from his birth the same relation to the idea of value as any other man in whom the criminal tendencies governing himself may be wholly absent. The female on the other hand often claims to be fully justified when she has committed the greatest conceivable infamy. While the genuine criminal is obtusely silent against all reproaches, a woman will express her astonishment and indignation that anyone can doubt her perfect right to act as she has done. Women are convinced of their being in the right without ever having sat in judgment on themselves. The male criminal, it may be true, does not do so either, but then he never maintains that he is in the right. He rather goes hastily out of the way of discussing right and wrong, because it reminds him of his guilt. In this fact we have a proof that he has a relationship to the idea, and that it is unfaithfulness to his better self of which he is unwilling to be reminded. No male criminal has ever really believed that injustice has been done him by punishment. The female criminal on the other hand is convinced of the maliciousness of her accusers, and if she is unwilling no man can persuade her that she has done wrong. Should someone admonish her, it is true that she often bursts into tears, begs for forgiveness and admits her fault; she may even believe indeed that she really feels this fault. Such is only the case, however, when she has felt inclined to do so, for this very dissolving in tears affects her always with a certain voluptuous pleasure. The male criminal is obstinate, he does not allow himself to be turned round in a moment as the apparent defiance of a woman may be converted into an apparent sense of guilt, where, that is, the accuser understands how to handle her “(“Geschlecht und Charakter,” pp. 253- 254).

Weininger’s conclusion is:

“Not that woman is naturally evil or anti-moral, but rather that she is merely a-moral, in other words that she is destitute of what is commonly called ‘moral sense.’”

The cases of female penitents and others which seem to contradict this announcement. Weininger choose to consider them as indicating that the Roman matrons felt sometimes that they were badly treated, that they ought not to endure the bad treatment, and that they ought to take the only means that they possessed of expressing their feelings, and of wreaking vengeance, by employing poison (p.92). Now though it may be said that in this passage we have no direct justification of the atrocious crime attributed to the Roman matrons, yet it can hardly be denied that we have here a distinct condonation of the infamous and dastardly act, such a condonation as the worthy Principal of St Andrews University would hardly have meted out to men under any circumstances. Probably Professor Donaldson, in writing the above, felt that his comments would not be resented very strongly, even if not actually approved, by public opinion, steeped as it is at the present time in Feminism, political and sentimental.

Another instance, this time of direct special pleading to prove a woman guilty of an atrocious crime to be an “injured innocent.” It is taken from an eminent Swiss alienist in his work on Sex. Dr Forel maintains a thesis which may or may not be true to the effect that the natural maternal instinct is either absent or materially weakened in the case of a woman who has given birth to a child begotten by rape, or under circumstances bordering upon rape, and indeed more or less in all cases where the woman is an unwilling participant in the sexual act. By way of illustration of this theory he cites the case of a barmaid in St Gallen who was seduced by her employer under such circumstances as those above mentioned; a child resulted, who was put out to nurse at an institution until five years of age, when it was handed over to the care of the mother. Now what does the woman do? Within a few hours of receiving the little boy into her keeping she took him to a lonely place and deliberately strangled him, in consequence of which she was tried and condemned. Now Dr Forel, in his Feminist zeal, feels it incumbent upon him to try to whitewash this female monster by urging, on the basis of this theory, the excuse that under the circumstances of its conception one could not expect the mother to have the ordinary instincts of maternity as regards her child. The worthy doctor is apparently so blinded by his Feminist prejudices that (quite apart from the correctness or otherwise of his theory) he is oblivious of the absurd irrelevancy of his argument. What, we may justly ask, has the maternal instinct, or its absence, to do with the guilt of the murderess of a helpless child committed to her care! Who or what the child was is immaterial! That a humane and otherwise clear-headed man like Dr Forel could take a wretch of this description under his ægis, and still more that in doing so he should serve up such utterly illogical balderdash by way of argument, is only one more instance of how the most sane-thinking men are rendered fatuous by the glamour of Sentimental Feminism.

In the present chapter we have given a few typical instances of the practice which constitutes one of the most conspicuous features of Modern Feminism and of the public opinion which it has engendered. We hear and read, ad nauseam, of excuses, and condonation, for every crime committed by a woman, while a crime of precisely similar a character and under precisely similar circumstances, where a man is the perpetrator, meets with nothing but virulent execration from that truculent ass, British public opinion, as manipulated by the Feminist fraternity, male and female. This state of public opinion reacts, of course, upon the tribunals and has the result that women are practically free to commit any offence they please, with always a splendid sporting chance of getting acquitted altogether, and a practical certainty that even if convicted they will receive farcical sentences, or, should the sentence be in any degree adequate to the offence, that such sentence will not be carried out. The way in which criminal law is made a jest and a mockery as regards female prisoners, the treatment of criminal suffragettes, is there in evidence. The excuse of health being endangered by their going without their breakfasts has resulted in in the release after a few days of women guilty of the vilest crimes – e.g. the attempt to set fire to the theatre at Dublin. It may be well to recall the outrageous facts of modern female immunity and free defiance of the law as illustrated by one quotation of a description of the merry time of the window-smashers of March 1912 in Holloway prison given by a correspondent of The Daily Telegraph. The correspondent of that journal describes his visit to the aforesaid prison, where he said there appeared to have been no punishment of any kind for any sort of misbehaviour.

“All over the place,” he writes, “is noise – women calling to women everywhere, and the officials seem powerless to preserve even the semblance of discipline. A suffragist will call out her name while in a cell, and another one who knows her will answer, giving her name in return, and a conversation will then be carried on between the two. This chattering obtains all day and far into the night. The ‘officials’ as the wardresses prefer themselves called, have already given the prison the name of ‘the monkey-house.’ Certain it is that the prisoners are treated with all deference, the reason being perhaps that the number of officials is insufficient to establish proper order. While I was waiting yesterday one lady drove up in a carriage and pair, in which were two policemen and several bundles of clothes, to enter upon her sentence and this is the note which seems to dominate the whole of the prison. Seventy-six of the prisoners are supposed to be serving sentences with hard labour, but none of them are wearing prison clothes, and in only one or two instances have any tasks of any description been given, those generally being a little sewing or knitting.”

Again a member of the Women’s Freedom League at a meeting on 19th May 1912 boasted that the suffragettes had a wing of their own at Holloway.

“They had nice hot water pipes and all the latest improvements and were able to climb up to the window and exchange sentiments with their friends.”

She had saved money and enjoyed herself very much!!

Here we have a picture of the way the modern authorities of the law recognise the “injured innocence” of female delinquents who claim the right wantonly to destroy property. Our present society, based as it is on private property-holding, and which usually punished with the utmost severity any breach of the sanctity of private property, waives its claims where women are concerned. Similarly arson under circumstances directly endangering human life, for which the law prescribes the maximum sentence of penal servitude for life, is considered adequately punished by a week or two’s imprisonment when those convicted of the crime are of the female sex. Oh, but they were acting from political motives! Good, and have not terrorist anarchists, Fenians and Irish dynamiters of the Land League days also acted from political motives? The terrorist anarchist, foolish and indefensible though his tactics may be, believes honestly enough that he is paving the way for the abolition of poverty, misery and social injustice, a far more vital thing than the franchise! The Irish Fenians and dynamiters pursued a similar policy and there is no reason to doubt their honest belief that it would further the cause of the freedom and national independence of Ireland. Yet were these “political” offenders dealt with otherwise than as ordinary criminals when convicted of acts qualified by the law as felonies? And their acts, moreover, whatever we may think of them otherwise, were, in most cases at least, politically logical from their own point of view, and not senseless injuries to unoffending persons, as those of the present-day female seekers after the suffrage.