In traditional societies men are the guardians of women; men being the guardians of women being pretty much universal say 200 years ago and prior. Men being the “guardian” of women means men take care of women, men protect women, men provide for women materially or financially, and men control women, are dominant over women, tell women what to do, set the terms and define what the relationship of the woman to the man is. This guardianship over women was pretty much universal among traditional cultures though there were different versions in different places; the particular version of guardianship that was practiced in England and later in early America was called Coverture, the married woman being under the “cover”, the protective cover or shielding, of her husband. You can date the particular form of guardianship called Coverture as starting in 1188 with the Tractatus of Glanvill in England and ending in England in 1870 with the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870. The early United States, being founded as an English colony originally, also had Coverture as its form of guardianship over women; Coverture in the United States being ended by state level Married Women Property Acts mostly from 1839 to 1865.
I am in favor of male guardianship over women as a general rule or as a general principle. Social statistics started to decline after 1870 in the United States; pretty much as soon as Coverture was dismantled or undone by the Married Women Property Acts; and social statistics continued to decline relentlessly all the way up to 2010, for 140 years. The big three social indicators that showed endless deterioration starting as soon as the indicator started to be tabulated are the divorce rate (starting at 2.8% in 1867, going up to 50% in 1975), the proportion of married women working (2.2% of white married women working in 1890, going up to 60.7% in 1995), and the illegitimacy ratio or the out-of-wedlock birth ratio (going from 2.0% in 1917 up to 41.0% in 2009). Very encouragingly these fundamental social indicators have been improving since 2010.
The lesson in this? Male guardianship of women works, leads to positive and sustainable very high functioning family life. As soon as Coverture ended that is when the American family started to go downhill; only in the past decade has a rebellion against this never ending social decline begun.
Women gained the right to vote 100 years ago today on August 26, 1920 when the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was certified.
It is an amazing thought, that 100 years ago women did not have the right to vote, that women were officially subordinate to men in terms of politics and the law, and then the transition occurred where it wasn’t so anymore, that at least in terms of voting women were claimed to be equal, to have an equal right and an equal say, as men.
This was the second major blow against the concept of male guardianship of women; the first attack against male guardianship being the Married Women Property Acts, the second attack being women’s right to vote.
Let’s review, what is male guardianship in the first place? Male guardianship over women is that the man takes care of the woman and the man has authority over, is dominant over, the woman; male guardianship is men providing for and protecting women and being dominant over women combined. The thing is, men contributing to women is necessarily tied to or connected to men being dominate over women because you don’t contribute to somebody else without the reassurance or incentive that your contribution to the other person will be used for the purpose the contribution was intended. You give because the gift serves a moral purpose or an emotional purpose that the giver intends. The purpose is men’s contribution to women, the means is men’s dominance or control over women; men are dominant over women in order to enable and motivate men to contribute to women. Guardianship over women therefore is the social principle that best facilitates men’s contribution to women; this being why male guardianship over women is good and why male guardianship over women was the rule in all traditional cultures before feminism got started around 1850.
The passage of Married Women’s Property Acts is seen as the end of the prior existing male guardianship based Coverture system; Married Women’s Property Acts referring to laws enabling married women to own property, enter into contracts, or earn a salary independent of their husband. Another thing I will add, under Coverture a husband had a literal legal obligation to fully financially support his wife; this being referred to as the “Law of Necessaries.”
From 1870 to 1920 the divorce rate went from 3.1% to 13.4%; from 1890 to 1920 the proportion of white married women in the workforce went from 2.2% to 6.3%; this is the social deterioration that had already happened before women were granted the right to vote; already women were 4 times as likely to end up divorced and almost 3 times as likely to have to work while still married than historically was the case before Coverture was repealed by the Married Women Property Acts. This is what set the stage for men to see women as deserving of more independence, more of an independent claim to power, such that having the right to directly participate in politics through voting made sense. Already men were in the process of abandoning women and women couldn’t rely on male support and provision so much anymore; women were seen more as needing and deserving an independent right of assertion and an independent means of claiming power for themselves; therefore women were granted the right to vote. The second major blow against male guardianship of women was at hand.
Of course, worse was to come.
Modern feminism got launched in the 1960s and had gained cultural and legal dominance in the 1970s. This is when “gender equality” as a general principle or a general rule was adopted. The right to vote was a kind of formal political equality but there was no general concept that women either were or should be “equal” to men; women were definitely different from men and it was well recognized that men and women had different natural spheres and it was assumed that the man should be the breadwinner while the woman stayed at home with the kids and definitely the husband was the boss at home within his family and within his marriage; in the 1920s these forms of inequality between men and women were still well in place; but still the premise of formal political equality was established as a new norm to work its way through society and culture and the law starting in 1920 with women’s right to vote.
Now today in 2020 new cultural insanity has recently arrived; now there is the radical denial of gender complementarity or innate important differences between men and women so much so that heterosexuality itself is claimed to not have any important or unique function or meaning; that homosexuality is just as good as or functionally equivalent to heterosexuality. Even the claim that gender is simply an expression of self-identity or self-assertion is being made; that you’re male or female because you say you are, not because of the biological reality of which sex you were born as. Also there is the claim that you can be non-binary, neither male nor female.
Looking back, an interesting progression of social decline can be seen, every 50 years another advancement against male guardianship over women and the resulting weakening / destruction of family relationships between men and women can be seen:
1870 – The end of Coverture after the passage of Married Women’s Property Acts. This is married women being granted the beginnings of power and independence from their husbands; the rights to own property, enter into contracts, and earn money independent of their husbands. This is when the rise in family breakdown; the rise in divorce, the rise in married women working, and the rise of out-of-wedlock births; got started.
1920 – The passage of the 19th Amendment, women’s right to vote, was enacted. This is women being granted formal equality in the political empowerment of voting; women being granted the right to directly influence the process of law making the same as men.
1970 – Modern feminism and the generalized assertion that women are the same as men, that women are equal to men, where “gender equality” becomes a widely applied fundamental principle of how women should be viewed and treated.
2020 – The denial of innate and important differences between men and women or of gender complementarity to a radical degree; to the extreme of claiming that heterosexuality has no intrinsic unique value or purpose, that heterosexuality and homosexuality are equal to each other, and the claim that gender itself is subjective and a matter of choice or expression rather than it being an immutable biological fact.
Now here we are today at the 100 year anniversary of women being granted the right to vote. What a disaster it has all been. This endless campaign against men’s natural and good authority over women and the destruction of gender relations it necessarily and inevitably leads to.