The below are Fidelbogen’s definitions of gynocentrism and gynonormativism:
January 23, 2013
“Gynocentrism is the practice of placing women’s safety, comfort and general well-being at the center of social or political concern, and structuring life in the objective service of such interests. It extends no further than that, and would NOT include placing the feminine point of view at the center of one’s worldview. That is to say, gynocentrism does not violate the boundary of inner space by requiring a person (male in particular) to think and feel a certain way. In sum, gynocentrism is not totalitarian.
Gynonormativism goes the extra step. Using gynocentrism as a foundation, gynonormativism prioritizes the feminine point of view hierarchically within the culture, on both a political and interpersonal level, and pressures males in particular to adopt a feminine system of values as a component of one’s authentic personality. In this manner, gynonormativism is totalitarian. We would understand feminism as a gynonormative project, while acknowledging that it could not have come into operation without a preexisting base of gynocentricity in the traditional culture.
Gynonormativization is integral to the establishment of female supremacy.”
Though I do not endorse Fidelbogen’s views on gender relations, he is a Men’s Rights Activist, I do think his above definitions of gynocentrism and gynonormativism make sense. Gynocentrism is equivalent to patriarchy while gynonormativism is equivalent to feminism. To rephrase things “Patriarchy is the practice of placing women’s safety, comfort and general well-being at the center of social or political concern, and structuring life in the objective service of such interests.” Yes, that sounds good; that sounds like an accurate description of what patriarchy is. It is certainly what patriarchy is meant to be. Notice the emphasis on doing things “in the objective service” of women. This means that the interests of women are to be served based on the basis of objective criteria, based on what is truly in the woman’s interest, not based on what the woman wants or demands. It is the man that makes the judgments regarding what is in the woman’s best interest. Patriarchy is about male authority in the interests of women; male authority to better meet women’s needs.
There is a vital assumption underlying the practice of patriarchy being focused on women’s needs and women’s interests; that is that the needs of women and the needs of children are aligned. The underlying purpose of elevating women is to provide for and protect and nurture children. If for some reason the woman’s interests and the child’s interest conflict then the patriarchy will side against the woman in favor of the child. Patriarchy is most fundamentally in the service of children, women are elevated in patriarchy due to their association with children.
Patriarchy is gynocentric because men are gynocentric. Patriarchy is an expression of men’s desire and men’s nature. Men are the ones who create and maintain patriarchy and establish the rules of the patriarchal social system. It is therefore obvious and clear that patriarchy is an expression of men’s nature. It is a part of a man’s nature to be enthralled by women, to be in love with women, to find women very interesting, to seek the approval of women, to want to be able to think of himself as being good to women, to be heroic in women’s eyes, to be admired by women, and to control women. To a man fellow men are partners and peers and collaborators and competitors but they are not the basis of a higher calling that a man will direct his energies to. A man will not automatically feel protective towards another man just because he is a man; that is because in an ordinary situation the man is independent and self-sufficient and doing his own thing. When men work together even where there is a definite hierarchy among the men the men will be working together to achieve a common purpose outside of themselves and beyond themselves. When a man interacts with a woman however the man will automatically take on a protective stance towards the woman and will be oriented towards how he can be of assistance to the woman because the man will assume that the woman is in need of his help, guidance, and support. In this sense a man is automatically going to be gynocentric since his orientation is towards the well being of women, not towards the well being of other men.
A social structure should be gynocentric because it is the maintenance and support of the family unit that is a society’s highest priority and women are the ones who are the primary responsible agents within the home. Women are the ones in closest proximity to children meaning that to support the child support first has to be directed towards the woman such that the woman will then use the resources given to her to then support the child. Even though children are the ultimate intended beneficiaries of the patriarchal social system support and priority cannot be directly assigned to the child because the child is incompetent to decide upon their own needs and most of the child’s needs are emotional and social anyways where an adult is needed to provide for these social and emotional needs. If a social system prioritized the needs and interests of men that would make no sense because in that situation resources would be directed towards the sex that had a lower level of contact with children leading to such resources being largely wasted. Only a gynocentric social system makes sense because when resources are directed towards women these resources then effectively and efficiently serve the interests of children.
Things however go wrong when a society goes from being gynocentric to being gynonormative; when a society goes from being patriarchal to feminist. This is because the person who provides the resources has to also be the one who decides how the resources are used so that the incentive to continue providing the resources will be maintained. In a gynocentric culture the man acts on the woman’s behalf, in a gynonormative culture the man acts under the woman’s direction. When a man is acting based on his own values and his own initiative in order to achieve goals he has established for himself then his incentive to provide for the woman is secure and stable. If the man however is acting under the direction of the woman to provide for the woman according to what she wants and according to what her priorities are then the man has only a minimal incentive to provide for the woman because the man’s goals will only be furthered when there happens to be an alignment between the man’s and the woman’s goals. In addition the woman will not know what cost upon the man her demands impose since she is not the one bearing the cost of the benefit she desires. In other words she will not be able to judge how costly what she requests of the man is for the man to provide. There is also a free rider problem where the woman may make demands of the man that yield only a small benefit to her but impose a large cost upon the man simply because to her the benefit is free since it is the man who is providing the benefit. All of these conflicts that arise from the provider of the benefit, the man, not being in control of how the benefit is used leads to the man’s resources and investment in his family being wasted. The man then experiences this wastage of his resources as being abusive to him and in response withdraws from investing in his family in order to avoid being disadvantaged and victimized.
The end result is that the patriarchal system maintains men’s investment in women and in family life allowing for a prosperous society while the feminist system destroys men’s investment in family life leading to family breakdown and deterioration.
Gynocentrism is a natural expression of men’s love towards women and is a healthy positive thing. What is important is that the man retain control of the family situation so that his sense of leadership and purpose within the family can be maintained.