Many of us would have noticed that when women with above average looks post mundane and often pedestrian messages and posts, with greetings like ‘good morning’ or ‘I have skin rash’; many men would be quick to post hundreds of comments, likes or retweets. This is a recurring phenomenon in social media that also gets a few laughs at times and often dismissed as harmless flirtation. But if we scratch the surface of this behavior, it would reveal a few self-destructive facts about men and women. Enter gynocentrism.
According to Wikipedia, Gynocentrism refers to a dominant or exclusive focus on women in theory or practice; or to the advocacy of this.
Gynocentrism probably originates from the fact that since women have the ability to give birth, they are somehow more valuable than men. I am sure it predates the discovery of fire and is essentially hardwired in the gender thought process. It is about any man’s need to protect a woman, thereby protecting the continuation of the human race itself. And it is not just a need to protect ‘a woman’, but the need to protect ‘the woman’ and more importantly, the need to be seen by the woman to be her protector, which is, in a way, the need to ingratiate himself to her, thereby hoping that she will somehow someday return the favour. Women know this instinctively and they rarely shy away from using it for gaining maximum advantage.
An average man is driven by his desire to be adored by women. But what drives him to desperately earn a woman’s acceptance of him as a hero? Within the male mind, there is an ever-present imaginary woman, who he tries to please, and live up to. The woman for whom he tries to become ‘that man’ that he is meant to become, the woman for whom he tries to overcomes adversity, endeavors to earn wealth, fame, power, properties, solves problems and creates systems. Female readers need not get too flattered here. Because when I mean ‘that woman’ it may not be a specific actual woman. Most men think mathematically hence they have an imaginary placeholder woman. Someday some woman might actually take her place, but it is not guaranteed and it is definitely not a permanent position. So the female placeholder becomes observer, admirer, critic, judge and also the reward for any thought or action the man does.
A few years ago, one of my women friends who was an amateur photographer with basic skills posted a photograph taken by her on google plus a few years ago. It was a blurry picture taken from a moving car of some trees on the roadside on a dark day. Needless to say, it looked like a picture that was clicked by accident. A few men started to comment and the praise flowed on the framing technique, picture composition and colour; to which she even started to thank them! At first I thought it was their sarcasm; however, I noticed similar comments on some of her better pictures too by the same men. I made the mistake of pointing it out to my friend that the picture was not actually so much deserving of praise. However, by her response, I knew she did not like me pointing out that the emperor’s new clothes were quite invisible. On the contrary, she gave me a big lecture on my lack of taste in art, my jealousy and my attempts to subdue her talents. This incident made me reflect on many things, about why men indulge in compulsive praise despite the obvious lack of value of the achievements of some women. This also made me recognize the compulsive need of some women who despite the understanding of this deception; crave the praise of men. Dishonesty goes both ways. Sometimes the paths intersect and amplify.
In the early days of my marital cases in court, I had engaged a woman lawyer who was referred to me by a relative of mine. In my ignorance, in those days I used to romantically equate courts with justice. And in my mind, I had built up a fantasy that somehow this woman believes in my innocence and somehow being a woman she would move heaven and earth to get me justice in court. It might have had something to do with the universal motif of justice being a woman, blindfolded and weighing the scales of justice, without prejudice. But I also had a nagging feeling that this was somehow a very cheap sort of feeling that I am experiencing. The family court judge in my case happened to be a man who used to bend over backward to accommodate my wife’s petitions. During an initial counseling session, on a very trivial issue, this judge took it upon himself to reprimand me loudly, displayed heroic anger and suggested to my wife to file a second maintenance petition against me. It seemed to me that he was playing the hero role of being a woman’s protector, a woman who he just met, a woman whose case he has not fully examined, and in fact, a woman with not very pleasing looks either, to say the least! I was forced to compare the display of his own dependency and need of looking down upon a ‘helpless woman’ and be her protector with my own dependency and need of looking up to an ’empowered woman’ to be my savior. It took me some time to realize that I was indulging in the same gynocentric behavior that the judge was exhibiting.
Now I will come to why the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM) needs to guard itself against gynocentric behavior. The MRM is in a unique phase of change having come up through lots of struggle, ridicule, discovery and non-acceptance. But currently, MRM has been grudgingly accepted by and large with people accepting the various issues of men. With this acceptance, we are now experiencing a wave of people, both male and female who will try to capitalize on some issues identified by the movement to ride the wave to instant fame, power and wealth. While it is not exactly unethical for people to seek fame, power or wealth, there is a danger that with fame and power in the wrong hands, the movement’s ideology and achievements will be undermined, diverted or entirely be replaced by something that is insidious or grossly stupid. It is in the interest of the MRM that the torch-bearers of the movement guard against this kind of wave-riding activity. MRM to its credit is very good at identifying misandry, but is slow to recognize gynocentrism. The first step is to train ourselves to recognize and be fully aware of the gynocentric thought process in ourselves. In fact, this awareness should be on MRM’s meditation list.