The marvellously engineered cane bridges in the Jimi
Manus debacle is a worsening human catastrophe

The anatomy of fear & control in gender relationships

Sophie Monk & Jarrod Woodgate in The Bachelorette
Sophie Monk & Jarrod Woodgate in The Bachelorette


TUMBY BAY - Men are scared of women. Shit scared. They always have been and it lies at the root of how they treat women.

Violence against women is a direct consequence of male fear.

One of the things men particularly fear about women is their reproductive ability.

The ability to bear children gives women enormous power.

If you want to see how this works you can’t go past the reality television show The Bachelorette.

Ostensibly just another piece of puerile crap dished up by commercial television, it beautifully illustrates the primal forces underpinning the relationships between men and women.

Like a bitch in heat the bachelorette, Sophie Monk, has a slavering posse of men begging and fawning at her fingertips.

Who will be the successful alpha male who finally beds her is the foremost attraction of the show.

The show is biology at work in its purest and rawest form. It’s amazing they don’t screen the actual consummation at the end.

Why are men in even the most sophisticated societies so wedded to their biological imperatives? Why do they feel the need to dominate?

Because they have to prove that their genes are the ones women want when they reproduce. Because they need to prove they are worthy of even the most powerful woman.

Why is the drunk in the bar so afraid to go home? And, when he is fully loaded with liquid courage, why does he beat his wife?

Because he is afraid of her and has to hide his fear in violence.

Why do men in traditional societies refuse to eat from a plate of food that a woman has stepped over?

Why do men run a mile at the sight of menstrual blood? Why are they so afraid of contamination that they banish their women to little huts over a sea or in a forest?

Why won’t the Catholic Church condone the idea of female priests? Why does it insist on celibacy in its priests?

Why do apparently civilised men beat their wives when those wives succeed so admirably in their chosen careers?

Is it because if the woman is successful she might discard him and go looking for a new alpha male?

It is an ultimate irony that frightened men seek to induce fear in their women by threatening to beat them. Or in actually beating them.

They are saying, “I am the alpha male, you don’t need to go looking for someone better, if you do I’ll kill you.”

Expressed in these fundamentalist terms it is hard to see how this biological Catch 22 of fear creating fear can be resolved.

The answer, of course, is self-control. The control of primal drives is, after all, supposed to be the mark of a civilised society.

And who has to exercise this control over themselves?

Men, of course. And perhaps women too?

Weak men trying to prove they are strong and strong women trying to prove they are docile is not the way to go.

Just ask Sophie Monk.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Philip Fitzpatrick

There was a well-known Anglican priest in South Australia who became a Catholic priest many years ago Garry, I think his name was John Fleming.

I would think that there is now an imperative to allow the ordination of women into the priesthood and the marriage of priests following the revelations about the sexual abuse of children.

But back to the issue of women's equality - there is a conundrum here for many feminists and that is the fact that strident assertions of equality by women adds to the fear that men hold. And it also probably adds to the fears of conservative women who see no reason to change the status quo.

A good illustration of this latter point are the reactions of some people towards the success of 'My Walk to Equality'. That much of this has been directed at its editor, Rashmii Bell, is unsettling.

I'm not sure how this can be fixed. The more women assert their right to equality the more fear they generate.

This has always been so, witness the derogatory descriptions of feminists as overall-clad dykes, but it is also around in a much subtler form, which is related to the fear I describe.

How you exert your rights for equality with being considered overly aggressive is a real problem.

Garry Roche

Phil writes “Why won’t the Catholic Church condone the idea of female priests? Why does it insist on celibacy in its priests?”

Personally I would not be surprised, or upset, if in the near future the Catholic Church decides to allow the ordination of married lay men. (It already accepts married Anglican priests into its fold.)

I think that eventually the ordination of women to the priesthood will also be accepted.

Phil’s remarks also pose the question about whether we are witnessing a radical worldwide change in female-male relationships in all cultures, even the Islamic culture. Taim bilong ol Meri!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)