I’d always heard misogyny was based on hatred and/ or fear of women. I admit, though I never denied the existence or extent of misogyny, I was sceptical of the hatred part and outright didn’t believe the fear part. I’d never heard of a man who was genuinely afraid of women, I’d always thought it was only about power & wanting to keep it. However, upon reading Hickman’s book I’m just caught between…
Throughout history men have displayed some WEIRD attitudes and beliefs, not just toward women and the vagina, but even toward their own dicks! No bloody wonder misogyny’s so rampant, and no wonder ignorance of female A&P (anatomy & physiology) went on so long!
First, some hilarious and crazy beliefs relating to the genitals (mostly male):
- In ancient Assyria, it was law that if a woman got into a fight with a man and crushed one of his balls, she’d be punished by having a finger cut off! If she crushed both balls, the punishment was to have both her breasts ripped off!
- Ironically, while the Bible says that if a man’s balls are wounded or his ‘privy member’ removed he won’t go to heaven (Deuteronomy 23:1), Christian men throughout history have been castrating themselves for the sake of God. Examples include the 3rd-century theologian Origen of Alexandria, and a secret sect in 18th-century Russia called the Skoptsy*. In fact, self-castration seems to have originally been part of Christianity and the state of being a eunuch was something of a spiritual ideal, according to Kuelfer.
* The Skoptsy are also known for their women cutting off their breasts for the same purpose: they believed sexual lust was a sin.
- During the Renaissance, women were afraid that stretching their legs too far or doing vigorous exercise would turn them into men.
- Also during the Renaissance, it was believed that all foetuses were originally supposed to be male. Any that were born female had failed to achieve masculine perfection; their bodies didn’t generate enough heat to “thrust” the genitals outward. That came from the ancient Greek physician Galen, who called female genitals mutilated but just guessed God must have had some purpose for that.
Even now I still can’t work out what that purpose is…
- In 1993, a woman in Beijing castrated her husband because a fortune teller told her his ‘inadequate’ penis was the cause of their relationship problems. She didn’t do it out of hate, she simply thought it would grow back bigger and better.
- In ancient Japan there was a legend of a demon who hid inside a woman’s vagina and bit off her husbands’ dicks. She asked a blacksmith for help so he built a metal penis that the demon broke its teeth on. To this day, that metal penis is remembered in the Shinto festival Kanamara Matsuri.
- According to his biographer James H. Jones, Alfred Kinsey (yes, that Kinsey) was well-known for whipping out his bits in front of his staff just because he was so proud of their size – dick and balls. He even used them for his anatomy lessons and demonstrated his personal masturbation techniques.
I wonder if Granny needs to be shown where the glans is…
On a more serious note, it’s quite possible that misogyny in some instances is a reaction to mother-mediated abuse, similar to post-traumatic slave syndrome or post-traumatic stress disorder. PsychoHistory has a lot to say on the relative ubiquity of child abuse & incest and the somewhat-archetypal killer mother/goddess figure, especially during war. Ironically, while children grow up with negative emotions toward their mothers because of all the abuse (including being used as or sold off to be sex slaves), they still want their attention and approval, even to the extent of dying to defend her from make-believe enemies. Hence war and the concept of “motherland”.
It’s fairly clear that throughout much of (Christian European?) history children were ignored/ abandoned by their fathers and hated by their mothers. Yes that’s right, hated. Women were made to feel their purpose was to just be daughters then wives and mothers and nothing else, and children were yet another encroachment on their energy reserves. Not to mention how few rights women had (ie. it’s likely the children were products of rape), as well as the belief in inherited sin, so children were effectively born to be punished. I’m not claiming that’s the be-all-and-end-all of misogyny, I’m just suggesting it’s a possible factor in some cases.
OK, I’m ending this post here. If I don’t I’ll go on for ages! Just a few more weird & funny facts to lighten the mood…
- Throughout history men have feared (yes, feared) women with high sex drives, as if their vulvas were insatiable beasts that would literally eat them alive! Women’s bodies were magical & mysterious enough with periods and pregnancy and whatnot; why have such strong appetites too? In Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley, Mellors described sleeping with his wife as like having a bird’s beak ripping at him!
- Contrary to what people may think, boys can have erections before they’re even born! It happens so often, in fact, that back when he was an obstetrician the sexologist William Masters set himself the challenge of cutting the umbilical cord before the erections happened!
Why are you telling people I used to be an obstetrician?
- Ancient Chinese emperors were required to have 121 women in their harems (1 empress, 3 senior consorts, 9 wives, 27 concubines & 81 slaves) – and have sex with all of them over a course of 15 nights! And yes, there was a secretary keeping count! Which meant they had to have damn good self-restraint with climaxing! Why 121? Because they believed it had magic properties and were obsessed with numerical & calendrical order, which meant there was a specific order to sleep with them in:
Night 1 – empress
Night 2 – all 3 senior consorts
Night 3 – all 9 wives
Night 4 – 9 of the 27 concubines
Night 5 – another 9 concubines
Night 6 – the last 9 concubines
Night 7 – 9 of the 81 slaves
Night 8 – another 9 slaves
Night 9 – another 9 slaves
Night 10 – another 9 slaves
Night 11 – another 9 slaves
Night 12 – another 9 slaves
Night 13 – another 9 slaves
Night 14 – another 9 slaves
Night 15 – the last 9 slaves
(note: The higher-ranking women would be serviced nearer the full moon, when his yang and their yin were strongest)