The Fraud of Feminism/Chapter 3
|←the main dogma of modern feminism||The Fraud of Feminism (1913)
the anti-man crusade
|always the “injured innocent”→|
|London: Grant Richards Ltd pages 51-79|
We have already pointed out that Modern Feminism has two sides or aspects. The first formulates definite political, juridical and economic demands on the grounds of justice, equity, equality and so forth, as general principles; the second does not formulate in so many words definite demands as general principles, but seems to exploit the traditional notions of chivalry based on male sex sentiment, in favour of according women special privileges on the ground of their sex, in the law, and still more in the administration of the law. For the sake of brevity we call the first Political Feminism, for, although its demands are not confined to the political sphere, it is first and foremost a political movement, and its typical claim at the present time, the Franchise, is a purely political one; and the second Sentimental Feminism, inasmuch as it commonly does not profess to be based on any general principle whatever, whether of equity or otherwise, but relies exclusively on the traditional and conventional sex sentiment of Man towards Woman. It may be here premised that most Political Feminists, however much they may refuse to admit it, are at heart also Sentimental Feminists. Sentimental Feminists, on the other hand, are not invariably Political Feminists, although the majority of them undoubtedly are so to a greater or lesser extent. Logically, as we shall have occasion to insist upon later on, the principles professedly at the root of Political Feminism are in flagrant contradiction with any that can justify Sentimental Feminism.
Now both the orders of Feminism referred to have been active for more than a generation past in fomenting a crusade against the male sex—an Anti-Man Crusade. Their efforts have been largely successful owing to a fact to which attention has, perhaps, not enough been called. In the case of other classes, or bodies of persons, having community of interests this common interest invariably interprets itself in a sense of class, caste, or race solidarity. The class or caste has a certain esprit de corps in its own interest. The whole of history largely turns on the conflict of economic classes based on a common feeling obtaining between members of the respective classes; on a small scale, we see the same thing in the solidarity of a particular trade or profession. But it is unnecessary to do more than call attention here to this fundamental sociological law upon which alike the class struggles of history, and of modern times, the patriotism of states from the city-state of the ancient world to the national state of the modern world, is based. Now note the peculiar manner in which this law manifests itself in the sex question of the present day. While Modern Feminism has succeeded in establishing a powerful sex-solidarity amongst a large section of women as against men, there is not only no sex-solidarity of men as against women, but, on the contrary, the prevalence of an altogether opposed sentiment. Men hate their brother-men in their capacity of male persons. In any conflict of interests between a man and a woman, male public opinion, often in defiance of the most obvious considerations of equity, sides with the woman, and glories in doing so. Here we seem to have a very flagrant contradiction with, as has already been said, one of the most fundamental sociological laws. The explanations of the phenomena in question are, of course, ready to hand:—Tradition of chivalry, feelings, perhaps inherited, dating possibly back to the prehuman stage of man's evolution, derived from the competition of the male with his fellow-male for the possession of the coveted female, etc.
These explanations may have a measure of validity, but I must confess they are to me scarcely adequate to account for the intense hatred which the large section of men seem to entertain towards their fellow-males in the world of to-day, and their eagerness to champion the female in the sex war which the Woman's “sex union,” as it has been termed, has declared of recent years. Whatever may be the explanation, and I confess I cannot find one completely satisfactory, the fact remains. A Woman's Movement unassisted by man, still more if opposed energetically by the public opinion of a solid phalanx of the manhood of any country, could not possibly make any headway. As it is, we see the legislature, judges, juries, parsons, specially those of the non-conformist persuasion, all vie with one another in denouncing the villainy and baseness of the male person, and ever devising ways and means to make his life hard for him. To these are joined a host of literary men and journalists of varying degrees of reputation who contribute their quota to the stream of anti-manism in the shape of novels, storiettes, essays, and articles, the design of which is to paint man as a base, contemptible creature, as at once a knave and an imbecile, a bird of prey and a sheep in wolf's clothing, and all as a foil to the glorious majesty of Womanhood. There are not wanting artists who are pressed into this service. The picture of the Thames Embankment at night, of the drowned unfortunate with the angel's face, the lady and gentleman in evening dress who have just got out of their cab—the lady with uplifted hands bending over the dripping form, and the callous and brutal gentleman turning aside to light a cigarette—this is a typical specimen of Feminist didactic art. By these means, which have been carried on with increasing ardour for a couple of generations past, what we may term the anti-man cultus has been made to flourish and to bear fruit till we find nowadays all recent legislation affecting the relations between the sexes carrying its impress, and the whole of the judiciary and magistracy acting as its priests and ministrants.
On the subject of Anti-man legislation, I have already written at length elsewhere, but for the sake of completeness I state the case briefly here. (1) The marriage laws of England to-day are a monument of Feminist sex partiality. If I may be excused the paradox, the partiality of the marriage laws begins with the law relating to breach of promise, which, as is well known, enables a woman to punish a man vindictively for refusing to marry her after having once engaged himself to her. I ought to add, and this, oftentimes, however good his grounds may be for doing so. Should the woman commit perjury, in these cases, she is never prosecuted for the offence. Although the law of breach of promise exists also for the man, it is well known to be totally ineffective and practically a dead letter. It should be remarked that, however gross the misrepresentations or undue influences on the part of the woman may have been to induce the man to marry her, they do not cause her to lose her right to compensation. As, for instance, where an experienced woman of the world of thirty or forty entraps a boy scarcely out of his teens. (2) Again, according to the law of England, the right to maintenance accrues solely to the woman. Formerly this privilege was made dependent on her cohabitation with the man and generally decent behaviour to him. Now even these limitations cease to be operative, while the man is liable to imprisonment and confiscation of any property he may have. A wife is now at full liberty to leave her husband, while she retains her right to get her husband sent to gaol if he refuses to maintain her—to put the matter shortly, the law imposes upon the wife no legally enforceable duties what-ever towards her husband. The one thing which it will enforce with iron vigour is the wife's right of maintenance against her husband. In the case of a man of the well-to-do classes, the man's property is confiscated by the law in favour of his wife. In the case of a working man the law compels her husband to do corvée for her, as the feudal serf had to do for his lord. The wife, on the other hand, however wealthy, is not compelled to give a farthing towards the support of her husband, even though disabled by sickness or by accident; the single exception in the latter case being should he become chargeable to the parish, in which case the wife would have to pay the authorities a pauper's rate for his maintenance. In a word, a wife has complete possession and control over any property she may possess, as well as over her earnings; the husband, on the other hand, is liable to confiscation of capitalised property or earnings at the behest of the law courts in favour of his wife. A wife may even make her husband bankrupt on the ground of money she alleges that she lent him; a husband, on the other hand, has no claim against his wife for any money advanced, since a husband is supposed to give, and not to lend, his wife money, or other valuables. (3) The law affords the wife a right to commit torts against third parties—e.g. libels and slanders—the husband alone being responsible, and this rule applies even although the wife is living apart from her husband, who is wholly without knowledge of her misdeeds. With the exception of murder, a wife is held by the law to be guiltless of practically any crime committed in the presence of her husband. (4) No man can obtain a legal separation or divorce from his wife (save under the Licensing Act of 1902, a Police Court separation for habitual drunkenness alone) without a costly process in the High Court. Every wife can obtain, if not a divorce, at least a legal separation, by going whining to the nearest police court, for a few shillings, which her husband, of course, has to pay. The latter, it is needless to say, is mulcted in alimony at the “discretion of the Court.” This “discretion” is very often of a queer character for the luckless husband. Thus, a working man earning only twenty shillings a week may easily find himself in the position of having to pay from seven to ten shillings a week to a shrew out of his wages.
In cases where a wife proceeds to file a petition for divorce, the way is once more smoothed for her by the law, at the husband's expense. He has to advance her money to enable her to fight him. Should the case come on for hearing the husband finds the scale still more weighted against him; every slander of his wife is assumed to be true until he has proved its falsity, the slightest act or a word during a moment of irritation, even a long time back, being twisted into what is termed “legal cruelty,” even though such has been provoked by a long course of ill treatment and neglect on the part of the wife. The husband and his witnesses can be indicted for perjury for the slightest exaggeration or inaccuracy in their statements, while the most calculated falsity in the evidence of the wife and her witnesses is passed over. Not the grossest allegation on the part of the wife against the husband, even though proved in court to be false, is sufficient ground for the husband to refuse to take her back again, or from preventing the court from confiscating his property if he resists doing so. Knowledge of the unfairness of the court to the husband, as all lawyers are aware, prevents a large number of men from defending divorce actions brought by their wives. A point should here be mentioned as regards the action of a husband for damages against the seducer of his wife. Such damages obviously belong to the husband as compensation for his destroyed home life. Now these damages our modern judges in their feminist zeal have converted into a fund for endowing the adulteress, depriving the husband of any compensation whatever for the wrong done him. He may not touch the income derived from the money awarded him by the jury, which is handed over by the court to his divorced wife. It would take us too long to go through all the privileges, direct and indirect, conferred by statute or created by the rulings of judges and the practice of the courts, in favour of the wife against the husband. It is the more unnecessary to go into them here as they may be found in detail with illustrative cases in the aforesaid pamphlet in which I collaborated, entitled “The Legal Subjection of Men” (mentioned in the footnote to p. 55).
At this point it may be well to say a word on the one rule of the divorce law which Feminists are perennially trotting out as a proof of the shocking injustice of the marriage law to women: that to obtain her divorce the woman has to prove cruelty in addition to adultery against her husband, while in the case of the husband it is sufficient to prove adultery alone. Now to make of this rule a grievance for the woman is, I submit, evidence of the destitution of the Feminist case. In default of any real injustice pressing on the woman the Feminist is constrained to make as much capital as possible out of the merest semblance of a grievance he can lay his hand on. The reasons for this distinction which the law draws between the husband and the wife, it is obvious enough, are perfectly well grounded. It is based mainly on the simple fact that while a woman by her adultery may foist upon her husband a bastard which he will be compelled by law to support as his own child, in the husband's case of having an illegitimate child the wife and her property are not affected. Now in a society such as ours is, based upon private property-holding, it is only natural, I submit, that the law should take account of this fact. But not only is this rule of law almost certainly doomed to repeal in the near future, but in even the present day, while it still nominally exists, it is practically a dead letter in the divorce court, since any trivial act of which the wife chooses to complain is strained by the court into evidence of cruelty in the legal and technical sense. As the matter stands, the practical effect of the rule is a much greater injustice to the husband than to the wife, since the former often finds himself convicted of “cruelty” which is virtually nothing at all, in order that the wife's petition may be granted, and which is often made the excuse by Feminist judges for depriving the husband of the custody of his children. Misconduct on the wife's part, or neglect of husband and children, does not weigh with the court which will not on that ground grant relief to the husband from his obligation for maintenance, etc. On the other hand, neglect of the wife by the husband is made a ground for judicial separation with the usual consequences—alimony, etc. “Thus,” as it has been put, “between the upper and the nether millstone, cruelty on the one hand, neglect on the other, the unhappy husband can be legally ground to pieces, whether he does anything or whether he does nothing.” Personal violence on the part of the husband is severely punished; on the part of wife she will be let off with impunity. Even if she should in an extreme case be imprisoned, the husband, if a poor man, on her release will be compelled to take her back to live with him. The case came under the notice of the writer a few years ago in which a humane magistrate was constrained to let off a woman who had nearly murdered a husband on the condition of her graciously consenting to a separation, but she had presumably still to be supported by her victim.
The decision in the notorious Jackson case precluded the husband from compelling his wife to obey an order of the court for the restitution of conjugal rights. The persistent Feminist tendency of all case-law is illustrated by a decision of the House of Lords in 1894 in reference to the law of Scotland constituting desertion for four years a ground ipso facto for a divorce with the right of remarriage. Here divorce was refused to a man whose wife had left him for four years and taken her child with her. The Law Lords justified their own interpretation of the law on the ground that the man did not really want her to come back. But inasmuch as this plea can be started in every case where it cannot be proved that the husband had absolutely grovelled before his wife, imploring her to return, and possibly even then—since the sincerity even of this grovelling might conceivably be called in question—it is clear that the decision practically rendered this old Scottish law inoperative for the husband.
As regards the offence of bigamy, for which a man commonly receives a heavy sentence of penal servitude, I think I may venture to state, without risking contradiction, that no woman during recent years has been imprisoned for this offence. The statute law, while conferring distinct privileges upon married women as to the control of their property, and for trading separately and apart from their husbands, renders them exempt from the ordinary liabilities incurred by a male trader as regards proceedings under the Debtors Acts and the Bankruptcy Law. See Acts of 1822 (45 & 46 Vict. c. 75); 1893 (56 & 57 Vict. c. 63), and cases Scott v. Morley, 57 L.J.R.Q.B. 43. L.R. 20 Q.B.D. In re Hannah Lines exparte Lester C.A. (1893), 2. 2. B. 113.
In the case of Lady Bateman v. Faber and others reported in Chancery Appeal Cases (1898 Law Reports) the Master of the Rolls (Sir N. Lindley) is reported to have said: “The authorities showed that a married woman could not by hook or by crook—even by her own fraud—deprive herself of restraint upon anticipation. He would say nothing as to the policy of the law, but it had been affirmed by the Married Woman's Property Act” (the Act of 1882 above referred to) “and the result was that a married woman could play fast and loose to an extent to which no other person could.” (N.B.—Presumably a male person.)
It has indeed been held, to such a length does the law extend its protection and privileges to the female, that even the concealment by a wife from the husband at the time of marriage that she was then pregnant by another man was no ground for declaring the marriage null and void.
The above may be taken as a fair all-round, although by no means an exhaustive, statement of the present one-sided condition of the civil law as regards the relation of husband and wife. We will now pass on to the consideration of the relative incidence of the criminal law on the two sexes. We will begin with the crime of murder. The law of murder is still ostensibly the same for both sexes, but in effect the application of its provisions in the two cases is markedly different. As, however, these differences lie, as just stated, not in the law itself but rather in its administration, we can only give in this place, where we are dealing with the principles of law rather than with their application, a general formula of the mode in which the administration of the law of murder proceeds, which, briefly stated, is as follows: The evidence even to secure conviction in the case of a woman must be many times stronger than that which would suffice to hang a man. Should a conviction be obtained, the death penalty, though pronounced, is not given effect to, the female prisoner being almost invariably reprieved. In most cases where there is conviction at all, it is for manslaughter and not for murder, when a light or almost nominal sentence is passed. Cases confirming what is here said will be given later on. There is one point, however, to be observed here, and that is the crushing incidence of the law of libel. This means that no case of any woman, however notoriously guilty on the evidence, can be quoted, after she has been acquitted by a Feminist jury, as the law holds such to be innocent and provides them with “a remedy” in a libel action. Now, seeing that most women accused of murder are acquitted irrespective of the evidence, it is clear that the writer is fatally handicapped so far as confirmation of his thesis by cases is concerned.
Women are to all intents and purposes allowed to harass men, when they conceive they have a grievance, at their own sweet will, the magistrate usually telling their victim that he cannot interfere. In the opposite case, that of a man harassing a woman, the latter has invariably to find sureties for his future good behaviour, or else go to gaol.
One of the most infamous enactments indicative of Feminist sex bias is the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1886. The Act itself was led up to with the usual effect by an unscrupulous newspaper agitation in the Feminist and Puritan interest, designed to create a panic in the public mind, under the influence of which legislation of this description can generally be rushed through Parliament. The reckless disregard of the commonest principles of justice and common-sense of this abominable statute may be seen in the shameless sex privilege it accords the female in the matter of seduction. Under its provisions a boy of fourteen years can be prosecuted and sent to gaol for an offence to which he has been instigated by a girl just under sixteen years, whom the law, of course, on the basis of the aforesaid sex privilege, holds guiltless. The outrageous infamy of this provision is especially apparent when we consider the greater precocity of the average girl as compared with the average boy of this age.
We come now to the latest piece of Anti-man legislation, the so-called White Slave Trade Act of 1912 (Criminal Law Amendment Act 1912, 2 & 3 Geo. V. c. 20). This statute was, as usual, rushed through the legislature on the wave of factitious public excitement organised for the purpose, and backed up by the usual faked statements and exaggerated allegations, the whole matter being three parts bogus and deliberate lying. The alleged dangers of the unprotected female were, for the object of the agitation, purposely exaggerated in the proverbial proportion of the mountain to the molehill. But as regards many of those most eager in promoting this piece of Anti-man legislation, there were probably special psychological reasons to account for their attitude. The special features of the Bill, the Act in question, are (1) increased powers given to the police in the matter of arrest on suspicion, and (2) the flogging clauses.
Up till now the flogging of garrotters was justified against opponents, by its upholders, on the ground of the peculiarly brutal nature of the offence of highway robbery with violence. It should be noted that in the Act in question no such excuse can apply, for it is appointed to be indicted for offences which, whatever else they may be, do not in their nature involve violence, and hence which cannot be described as brutal in the ordinary sense of the term. The Anti-man nature of the whole measure, as of the agitation itself which preceded it, is conclusively evidenced by the fact that while it is well known that the number of women gaining a living by “procuration” is much greater than the number of men engaged therein, comparatively little vituperation was heard against the female delinquents in the matter, and certainly none of the vitriolic ferocity that was poured out upon the men alleged to participate in the traffic. A corresponding distinction was represented in the measure itself by the allocation of the torture of the lash to men alone. It is clear, therefore, that the zeal for the suppression of the traffic in question was not the sole motive in the ardour of the flogging fraternity. Even the Anti-manism at the back of the whole of this class of legislation seems insufficient to account for the outbreak of bestial blood-lust, for the tigerish ferocity, of which the flogging clauses in the Act are the outcome. There is, I take it, no doubt that psychical sexual aberration plays a not inconsiderable part in many of those persons—in a word, that they are labouring under some degree of homo-sexual Sadism. The lustful glee on the part of the aforesaid persons which greets the notion of the partial flaying alive, for that is what the “cat” means, of some poor wretch who has succumbed to the temptation of getting his livelihood by an improper method, is hardly to be explained on any other hypothesis. Experts allege that traces of psycho-sexual aberration are latent in many persons where it would be least expected, and it is, prima facie, likely enough that these latent tendencies in both men and women should become active under the cover of an agitation in favour of purity and anti-sexuality, to the point of gratifying itself with the thought of torture inflicted upon men. A psycho-sexual element of another kind doubtless also plays a not unimportant rôle in the agitation of “ladies” in favour of that abomination, “social purity,” which, being interpreted, generally means lubricity turned upside down. The fiery zeal manifested by many of those ladies for the suppression of the male sex is assuredly not without its pathological significance.
The monstrosity of the recent White Slave Traffic enactment and its savage anti-male vindictiveness is shown not merely, as already observed, in the agitation which preceded it, with its exaggerated vilification of the male offenders in the matter of procuration and its passing over with comparative slight censure the more numerous female offenders, or in the general spirit animating the Act itself, but it is noticeable in the very preposterous exaggeration of its provisions. For example, in the section dealing with the souteneur, the framers of this Act, and the previous Criminal Law Amendment Acts to which this latest one is merely supplementary, are not satisfied with penalising the man who has no other means of subsistence beyond what he derives from the wages of some female friend's prostitution, but they strike with impartial rigour the man who knowingly lives wholly or in part from such a source. If, therefore, the clause were taken in its strict sense, any poor out-at-elbow man who accepted the hospitality of a woman of doubtful virtue in the matter of a drink, or a dinner, would put himself within the pale of this clause in the Act, and might be duly flayed by the “cat” in consequence. The most flagrant case occurred in a London police court in March 1913, in which a youth of eighteen years, against whose general character nothing was alleged and who was known to be in employment as a carman, was sentenced to a month's hard labour under the following circumstances:—It was reported that he had been living with a woman apparently considerably older than himself, whom admittedly he had supported by his own exertions and, when this was insufficient, even by the pawning of his clothes, and whom as soon as he discovered she was earning money by prostitution he had left. Would it be believed that a prosecution was instituted by the police against this young man under the iniquitous White Slave Traffic Act? But what seems still more incredible is that the magistrate, presumably a sane gentleman, after admitting that the poor fellow was “more sinned against than sinning,” did not hesitate to pass on him a sentence of one month's hard labour!!! Of course the woman, who was the head and front of the offending, if offending there was, remained untouched. The above is a mild specimen of “justice” as meted out in our police courts, “for men only”! Quite recently there was a case in the north of England of a carter, who admittedly worked at his calling but who, it was alleged, was assisted by women with whom he had lived. Now this unfortunate man was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment plus flogging. For the judges, of course, any extension of their power over the prisoner in the dock is a godsend. It is quite evident that they are revelling in their new privilege to inflict torture. One of them had the shamelessness recently to boast of the satisfaction it gave him and to sneer at those of his colleagues who did not make full use of their judicial powers in this direction.
The bogus nature of the reasons urged in favour of the most atrocious clauses of this abominable Act came out clearly enough in the speeches of the official spokesmen of the Government in its favour. For example, Lord Haldane in the House of Lords besought the assembled peers to bethink themselves of the unhappy victim of the souteneur. He drew a picture of how a heartless bully might beat, starve and otherwise ill treat his victim, besides taking away her earnings. He omitted to explain how the heartless bully in a free country could coerce his “victim” to remain with him against her will. He ignored the existence of the police, or of a whole army of social purity busybodies, and vigilance societies for whom her case would be a tasty morsel only too eagerly snapped at. If the “victim” does not avail herself of any of those means of escape, so ready to her hand, the presumption is that she prefers the company of her alleged brutal tyrant to that of the chaste Puritan ladies of the vigilance societies. To those who follow the present state of artificially fomented public opinion in the matter, Lord Haldane's suggestion that there was any danger of the precious “victim” not being sufficiently slobbered over, will seem to be not without a touch of humour. Furthermore, as illustrating the utter illogicality of the line taken by the promoters of the Act, for whom Lord Haldane acted as the mouthpiece, we have only to note the fact that the measure does not limit the penalties awarded to cases accompanied by circumstances of aggravation such as Lord Haldane pictures, which it might easily have done, but extends it impartially to all cases whether accompanied by cruelty or not. We can hardly imagine that a man of Lord Haldane's intellectual power and general humanity should not have been aware of the hollowness of the case he had to put as an official advocate, and of the rottenness of the conventional arguments he had to state in its support. When confronted with the unquestionably true contention that corporal punishments, especially such as are of a savage and vindictive kind, are degrading alike to the inflicters of them and to those who are their victims, he replied that criminals in the cases in question were already so degraded that they could not be degraded further. One would imagine he could hardly have failed to know that he was talking pernicious twaddle. It is obvious that this argument, in addition to its being untrue, in fact opens the flood-gates to brutal penal legislation all round, so far at least as the more serious offences are concerned. One could equally well assert of murder, burglary, even abus de confidence in some cases, and other offences, that the perpetrators of them must be so degraded that no amount of brutal punishment could degrade them further. Everybody can regard the crime to which he has a pet aversion more than other crimes as indicating the perpetrator thereof to be outside the pale of humanity.
But as regards the particular case in point, let us for a moment clear our minds of cant upon the subject. Procuration and also living on the proceeds of prostitution may be morally abominable methods of securing a livelihood, though even here, as in most other offences, there may be circumstances of palliation in individual cases. But after crime must surely open out an altogether new principle in jurisprudence, and one of far-reaching consequences. The same remarks apply even more forcibly to the question of sharing the earnings of a prostitute. Prostitution per se is not in the eyes of the law a crime or even a misdemeanour. The woman who makes her living as a prostitute is under the protection of the law, and the money she receives from her customer is recognised as her property. If she, however, in the exercise of her right of free disposition of that property, gives some of it to a male friend, that friend, by the mere acceptance of a free gift, becomes a criminal in the eyes of the law. Anything more preposterous, judging by all hitherto recognised principles of jurisprudence, can scarcely be imagined. Even from the moral point of view of the class of cases coming under the purview of the Act, of men who in part share in the proceeds of their female friends' traffic, must involve many instances in which no sane person—i.e. one who is not bitten by the rabid man-hatred of the Feminist and social purity monger—must regard the moral obliquity involved as not very serious. Take, for instance, the case of a man who is out of work, who is perhaps starving, and receives temporary assistance of this kind. Would any reasonable person allege that such a man was in the lowest depths of moral degradation, still less that he merited for this breach, at most, of fine delicacy of feeling, the flaying alive prescribed by the Act under consideration. Besides all this, it is well known that some women, shop assistants and others, gain part of their living by their reputable avocation and part in another way. Now presumably the handing over of a portion of her regular salary to her lover would not constitute the latter a flayable criminal, but the endowment of him with a portion of any of the “presents” obtained by her pursuit of her other calling would do so. The process of earmarking the permissible and the impermissible gift strikes one as very difficult even if possible.said and done, it is doubtful whether, apart from any fraud or misrepresentation, which, of course, places it altogether in a different category, these ought to be regarded as criminal offences. To offer facilities or to act as an agent for women who are anxious to lead a “gay life,” or even to suggest such a course to women, so long as prostitution itself is not recognised by the law as crime, however reprehensible morally, would scarcely seem to transcend the limits of legitimate individual liberty. In any case, the constituting of such an action a
The point last referred to leads us on to another reflection. If the man who “in whole or in part” lives on the proceeds of a woman's prostitution is of necessity a degraded wretch outside the pale of all humanity, as he is represented to be by the flogging fraternity, how about the employer or employeress of female labour who bases his or her scale of wages on the assumption that the girls and women he or she employs, supplement these wages by presents received after working hours, for their sexual favours—in other words, by prostitution? Many of these employers of labour are doubtless to be found among the noble band of advocates of White Slave Traffic Bills, flogging and social purity. The above persons, of course, are respectable members of society, while a souteneur is an outcast.
In addition to the motives before alluded to as actuating the promoters of the factitious and bogus so-called “White Slave” agitation, there is one very powerful political and economic motive which must not be left out of sight. In view of the existing “labour unrest,” it is highly desirable from the point of view of our possessing and governing classes that popular attention should be drawn off labour wrongs and labour grievances on to something less harassing to the capitalist and official mind. Now the Anti-man agitation forms a capital red herring for drawing the popular scent off class opposition by substituting sex antagonism in its place.
If you can set public opinion off on the question of wicked Man and down-trodden Woman, you have done a good deal to help capitalistic enterprise to tide over the present crisis. The insistence of public opinion on better conditions for the labourer will thus be weakened by being diverted into urging forward vindictive laws against men, and for placing as far as may be the whole power of the State at the disposal of the virago, the shrew and the female sharper, in their designs upon their male victim. For, be it remembered, it is always the worst type of woman to whom the advantage of laws passed as the result of the Anti-man campaign accrues. The real nature of the campaign is crucially exhibited in some of the concrete demands put forward by its advocates.
One of the measures proposed in the so-called “Woman's Charter” drawn up with the approval of all prominent Feminists by Lady M'Laren (now Lady Aberconway) some four or five years back, and which had been previously advocated by other Feminist writers, was to the effect that a husband, in addition to his other liabilities, should be legally compelled to pay a certain sum to his wife, ostensibly as wages for her housekeeping services, no matter whether she performs the services well, or ill, or not at all. Whatever the woman is, or does, the husband has to pay all the same. Another of the clauses in this precious document is to the effect that a wife is to be under no obligation to follow her husband, compelled probably by the necessity of earning a livelihood for himself and her, to any place of residence outside the British Islands. That favourite crank of the Feminist, of raising the age of consent with the result of increasing the number of victims of the designing young female should speak for itself to every unbiassed person. One of the proposals which finds most favour with the Sentimental Feminist is the demand that in the case of the murder by a woman of her illegitimate child, the putative father should be placed in the dock as an accessory! In other words, a man should be punished for a crime of which he is wholly innocent, because the guilty person was forsooth a woman. That such a suggestion should be so much as entertained by otherwise sane persons is indeed significant of the degeneracy of mental and moral fibre induced by the Feminist movement, for it may be taken as typical. It reminds me of a Feminist friend of mine who, challenged by me, sought (for long in vain) to find a case in the courts in which a man was unduly favoured at the expense of a woman. At last he succeeded in lighting upon the following from somewhere in Scotland: A man and woman who had been drinking went home to bed, and the woman caused the death of her baby by “overlaying it.” Both the man and the woman were brought before the court on the charge of manslaughter, for causing the death, by culpable negligence, of the infant. In accordance with the evidence, the woman who had overlaid the baby was convicted and sentenced to six months' imprisonment, and naturally the man, who had not done so, was released. Now, in the judgment of my Feminist friend, in other matters sane enough, the fact that the man who had not committed any offence was let off, while his female companion, who had, was punished, showed the bias of the court in favour of the man!! Surely this is a noteworthy illustration, glaring as it is, of how all judgment is completely overbalanced and destroyed in otherwise judicial minds—of how such minds are completely hypnotised by the adoption of the Feminist dogma. As a matter of fact, of course, the task my friend set himself to do was hopeless. As against the cases, which daily occur all over the country, of flagrant injustice to men and partiality to women on the part of the courts, there is, I venture to assert, not to be found a single case within the limits of the four seas of a judicial decision in the contrary sense—i.e. of one favouring the man at the expense of the woman.
This sex hatred, so often vindictive in its character, of men for men, which has for its results that: “man-made” laws invariably favour the opposite sex, and that “man-administered justice” follows the same course, is a psychological problem which is well worth the earnest attention of students of sociology and thinkers generally.
- Cf. Fortnightly Review , November 1911, “A Creature of Privilege,” also a pamphlet (collaboration) entitled “The Legal Subjection of Men.” Twentieth Century Press, reprinted by New Age Press, 1908.