The Empathy Gap

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A number of people have asked me to expand upon what is meant by the “empathy gap”. So here I give my take on the subject. The empathy gap refers to the fact that male disadvantages tend to go unrecognised. Many people, when they first encounter the red pill world are inclined to believe that all that is necessary is to point out the litany of male disadvantages and all will be rectified. A year or two down the road they find out the other half of the truth – that no one cares. This is the empathy gap.

There are two aspects to the empathy gap: how it is manifest and whence it cometh. Let’s tackle the former first. For MRAs there will be little contentious about this, and it is based soundly on fact. There may be greater contention when I discuss the origins of the empathy gap. That you may regard as opinion, at least in part.

Whenever men, or boys, are blamed for their own disadvantage, this is the empathy gap. Consider, for example, boy’s educational failure. It’s the boys’ own fault for being – well, too boyish. This is the empathy gap. When girls did less well it was not perceived as their own fault but a disadvantage imposed upon them and to be rectified. In contrast, no one is to blame for boys’ failure except themselves – so nothing need be done about it.

Consider men’s poorer health and longevity: it’s men’s own fault because they don’t look after themselves, they don’t go to see their GP and they indulge in risky behaviours. Never mind that less is spent on male health research, never mind that the chief medical officer prioritises female health, and never mind that shorter male longevity is air-brushed away. This is the empathy gap.

A society which regards women as disadvantaged in the workplace but simply shrugs its shoulders at the fact that 98% of work related deaths are men might just be suffering from an empathy gap.

A society which reports an incident thus, “172 people were killed, including 22 women” has an empathy gap.

When charities elicit sympathy by exclusively using pictures of women and girls, and universities advertise their wares with pictures only of young women, then you have an empathy gap.

Consider men who are victims of other men’s violence: we are told it is their own fault because men’s violence is a result of the intrinsically toxic nature of masculinity. This is the empathy gap.

The default presumption is that a male victim of female violence must have done something to deserve it. This is the empathy gap.

That 98% of war deaths are men may be regarded as natural by some. But men’s deaths during, or immediately after, contact with the police are six times more common than those of women and this also excites no interest. It is another sign of the empathy gap.

A government which funds research into suicide but directs none of it to identifying the reasons why 78% of suicide victims – men – do so is suffering from an empathy gap.

A society which condones genital mutilation of infants – providing they are male – is a society with a gender based empathy gap.

A society which actively frustrates a putative father knowing whether a child is his, and whose professional “ethicists” support the acceptability of paternity fraud, is a society with an empathy gap.

A society which is unable even to conceive of the possibility of the sexual abuse of males by females is a society with an empathy gap.

A society which incarcerates vastly more men than women, because the criminal justice process perceives men as dangerous but women as vulnerable when the truth is that both are equally socially disadvantaged, this is a society with an empathy gap.

A society whose leaders consider it acceptable to support policies based on the sentiment that “equality does not mean treating everyone the same” is a society with a deeply ingrained empathy gap.

A society in which world leaders go into major virtue-signalling mode over the kidnap of girls but in which the burning alive of boys does not merit a mention, that is a society with a deeply pernicious empathy gap.

A society which separates fathers from their children on a massive scale, and then fails to have any concern for the subsequent distress of these men, even unto death, this is a society with an empathy gap in the danger zone.

When all the power centres of the State devise, promote and implement policies to prevent violence against women and girls, with no regard for men or boys except in respect of their obligation to protect females – when the substantially greater levels of violence suffered by men and boys is ignored – then society has gone beyond the empathy gap and into the realms of explicit discrimination.

A society which takes all the above and calls it male privilege is in the grip of an endemic sexist mindset.

But worse than these male disadvantages is the fact that society refuses to acknowledge that they exist or are of any great significance. Even if their reality is accepted, we are told that we are just indulging in victimhood Olympics and hence no better than feminists. But no. You see, I personally have not suffered from any of these disadvantages – other than the ubiquitous misandry. I am complaining on behalf of others. And if that is not allowed, then all charity is void. And the implicit claim that feminist whinging is on a par with the above issues is false. This perspective is just another manifestation of the empathy gap.

Before proceeding I must correct any impression that I am letting feminism off the hook by blaming “the empathy gap” for the above male disadvantages. What feminism has done is to take a pre-existing empathy gap and exploit it. Feminism has made many of the male disadvantages worse, and, in some cases has been mostly responsible for their creation. Thus, the failure of boys’ in education, the VAWG policies, the ever escalating male prison population and the mincing machine known as the family courts may all be laid squarely at the door of feminism. What the empathy gap has contributed to these issues is to permit them to happen without demur. The empathy gap is the enabler of feminism.

Other male disadvantages existed before feminism. “Women and children first” is the traditional mindset which underlies many of the issues, especially those relating to male death. Where feminism has had an impact in these cases it is generally to make things worse by blaming men for their own disadvantage via the narrative of “toxic masculinity”, the vilification of maleness (see the quotes at the end of the piece). Feminism actively opposes recognition of male disadvantages even when there would be no obvious detriment to their own objectives, e.g., feminists’ angry reaction to demonstrations against male genital mutilation. The reason, I believe, is that they instinctively understand that the power of feminism is largely invested in the empathy gap – and hence they oppose anything which might weaken the empathy gap by recognising male disadvantage.

In short, the empathy gap preceded feminism. Feminism did not create the empathy gap but exploited it. Feminism has raised lack of empathy to the status of totalitarian control.

Now for the speculative bit: how did the empathy gap come about?

My view is that the empathy gap, the idea of male disposability, and ‘gynocentrism’ are all closely related, if not identical, phenomena. However I tend to prefer the term “empathy gap” if only because it sounds less accusatory. One aspect of gynocentrism – and in this context that is the better term – is its relationship with the dawn of chivalry and courtly love in the medieval period. This may be called, perhaps, (one of) the historical enhancements of gynocentrism. However, Peter Wright’s site proposes that gynocentrism is biological and very ancient in our species. From this point, therefore, I explore the hypothesis that the empathy gap is actually evolutionary in origin. The argument goes like this…

The two sexes are not the same: there is a crucially important asymmetry – namely that only females have a uterus. My thesis is that this primary asymmetry is the cause of most of the observed differences in the behaviours of the two sexes.

In evolution the production of offspring to the point of sexual maturity is everything. The rate at which the tribe produces children is directly proportional to the number of mature women. The same is not true of men – in principle. One man could keep 100 women permanently pregnant. This is the tournament model of male sexual competition which is adopted by some species and leads to most males not reproducing, but a few being spectacularly successful. In this evolutionary strategy, fitness is determined by fierce male competition.

But this is not the evolutionary strategy followed by Homo sapiens. Instead Homo sapiens have a very strong tendency to pair bond, in which the male remains in a close relationship with the mother well beyond birth – extending to several births – the nuclear family. The reason why evolution produced pair bonding in humans is not hard to rationalise, though I believe it remains scientifically contentious. The answer lies in the extended period over which human children remain physically dependent on adults. This in turn is related to our No.1 attribute – our big brains. As a result, human children need 12 years or more of being looked after. How could a primitive woman find enough food etc for a string of children for so many years on her own?

The matter is not trivial because primates’ offspring also have a protracted maturation but primates do not pair bond. The degree of evolutionary benefit conveyed by the male being a stable resource provider depends upon the rate of childhood mortality should he not do so, and this will be particular to the ecological niche within which the species in question operates. In the case of Homo sapiens, evolution has decided that it is beneficial for a man to form a long lasting partnership with a woman in raising children. Men have evolved to be happy to do just that because this is how they get to pass on their genes – by maximising the chance of their offspring surviving to maturity. Evolutionary fitness, in the case of male Homo sapiens, is determined by the quality of their pair bonding.

The interplay between the evolution of big brains and pair bonding has been discussed by Fletcher et al (2015). They argue that pair-bonding and male investment might have played a significant role in the evolution of human social intelligence.

The feelings of tenderness towards females which overwhelm a male at puberty are simply what it feels like inside to be the product of this evolutionary strategy. I would emphasise the relevance of words like “tenderness”, “adoration”, “devotion” because these seem to me to be the progenitors of sexual desire, rather than the reverse. We might refer to this psychological state as romantic love. So this is gynocentrism, right enough, but of evolutionary rather than medieval origin. Fletcher et al argue that this psychological state promoted the evolved behaviours of pair bonding and the male instinct to provide resource to the family. Note that “resource” may also include protection, as well as other provisions.

[It would be dishonest to suggest that the evolution of human pair-bonding was scientifically established with confidence – see for example Allison Guy. However, human pair-bonding is certainly an ancient innovation, and the consensus is that paternal investment improves offspring survival, e.g., see Finkel and Eastwick, 2015]

The outcome of the pair bonding instinct is that women feel entitled to control men and have men treat them with gentleness and consideration. Women expect men to sacrifice themselves for their benefit, and men do too. Such expectation and entitlement is evolved behaviour. It is the nature of pair bonding. There is no equality in evolution. So, if this perspective is correct, it is inappropriate to cast over these behaviours a pejorative pall.

Again, though, this does not let feminism off the hook. For feminism has milked the gynocentrism and inflamed the entitlement to pathological proportions. What could be plainer than the egregious Emma Watson’s HeForShe?

It seems to me that no one has yet taken seriously the implications of the psychological asymmetry of the two sexes induced by pair bonding. My hypothesis is that, because the needs of the woman (mother) attains primacy in the motivation of the man, this has led to a ceding of moral authority to the woman. This places the man in a subservient position, maintained, not by any external agency, but purely by evolved psychological inclination. This is surely very familiar to most men in the form of men’s great reluctance to upset women. It is the reason why the word “misogynist” has such power. It is the reason, I believe, why the likes of Karen Straughan and Janice Fiamengo have such influence. In addition to their excellent expositions, the fact that they are women advocating for men confers a moral legitimacy which no man is authorised to possess. And my position is that this moral authority is deeply atavistic, a psychological deferral by men which has coevolved with pair bonding.

All this is speculation, though rather natural speculation it seems to me. However, the above cited papers by Fletcher et al and by Finkel and Eastwick suggest that pair bonding evolved in a spirit of sustaining a deep emotional connection with one’s mating partner, completely opposite to the feminist model of male oppression and dominance. My contention, though, is that men’s transference of moral authority to a woman transcends romantic love and becomes a permanent feature, not only of that relationship but of men’s relationship with women in general.

Women, then, have always been the boss. Didn’t your grandparents know this full well, though they had the tact never to mention it? As for patriarchy, that piece of theatre was ever a fig leaf to hide men’s blushes regarding the true power in the domestic realm. Now there is a perspective which may endear me to no one. But it provides the ultimate condemnation of feminism, which, from this point of view stands exposed as the powerful turning savagely on the less powerful. Feminism is sexism, we know. But feminism is also bullying. It is a misuse of moral authority. Internalise this: in my lifetime feminism has gone from nothing to world domination without fighting any wars or winning any elections. How could this be possible unless feminism’s exponents were already possessed of considerable power?

21 thoughts on “The Empathy Gap

  1. Peter Wright

    I prefer to avoid the term ‘gynocentrism’ because there is a widely held view regarding the origin of gynocentrism with which I disagree. This is the view that gynocentrism originated around 800 years ago with the dawn of chivalry and courtly love. I shall refer to this as the ‘historical’ view of gynocentrism. My hypothesis is that the empathy gap is actually evolutionary in origin.

    You’ve misrepresented that post and website (I assume accidentally) regarding the origins of gynocentrism. The proposition at gynocentrism.com is rather that gynocentrism is biological and very ancient in our species but that there have been varied cultural manifestations expressing that biological impulse in novel ways – through different customs, taboos and social conventions.

    One of those manifestations is what I call a “cultural complex” built of feudalistic concepts, chivalry, and courtly love which had it’s beginning approximately 800 years ago. Said differently *that* manifestation of gynocentrism began 800 years ago…. but I’m not suggesting gynocentrism didn’t exist before that or that gynocentrism is not biologically based.

    It appears you have not read the website in much depth before writing your above piece, or you might have read the following which state there’s a biological reality to gynocentrism:

    Gynocentrism 1:0, 2:0, and 3:0
    https://gynocentrism.com/2016/10/23/gynocentrism-10-20-and-30/

    Definition of gynocentrism
    https://gynocentrism.com/2016/09/10/definition-of-gynocentrism/

    There’s several other articles on the website pointing to the biological underpinnings of gynocentrism but I’ll spare the link spam.

    As I’ve done at gynocentrism.com, I can only recommend you ponder gynocentrism as both biological and cultural, instead of the ‘either/or’ approach you appear to have taken to culture and biology as determinants. What is actually going on between biology and culture (or environment) is a reciprocal feedback loop, one which creates a wide variety of behaviour from ere to era and culture to culture – eg. for example hypergamous behaviours by women might be encouraged in many cultures, whereas in others the same woman might be stoned to death – score zero for the selfish hypergamous gene and one for cultural dictates.

    A great book exploring how biology and culture interact and work on each other is this one by Joseph Henrich:
    The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter
    http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10543.html

    Aside from that misrepresentation of my website, great article.

    Cheers

    Reply
    1. William Collins Post author

      Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I’ve re-written that paragraph. Thanks for pointing that out. If it means our views are much closer than I thought, that’s all to the good.

      Reply
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  4. DollarPound

    They taught me I was sexist, that women had it tough
    However much I bowed and scraped would never be enough
    And all the teachers in the school were women, and they taught
    That men would soon be obsolete – us boys would come to naught

    I tried to go to college, to get a science degree
    They gave a girl a special grant, but hadn’t none for me
    And when I asked if it was fair – was this equality?
    They called me a misogynist, and threw the book at me,

    So I started as a policeman; in raids, I went in fast
    Worked with a woman half my weight, who always went in last
    I was in line for sergeant, they said “you dinosaur,
    We’ve got a quota system now, we don’t need men no more”

    Yes, lookin’ down your nose at men who guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than the wage they’re paid, and that’s starvation cheap
    And talking of glass ceilings, with your quotas and your sneers,
    Is five time better business than puttin’ in the years

    And it’s “check your privilege” and “smash the patriarchy” too,
    But it’s “special grants for women” when the same applies to you
    The same applies to you, girls, the same applies to you
    And it’s special grants for women when the same applies to you

    I found the woman of my dreams, and asked her for her hand
    She stayed my wife for fifteen weeks, then gave me one demand
    She says the kid is mine, but he has different coloured skin
    I have to pay her half my wage, and the court won’t let me see him

    And it’s “women are oppressed” and “all this sexist treatment stinks”
    But it’s “women first” and “help her up” when the boat begins to sink
    The boat begins to sink girls, the boat begins to sink
    When it’s “women first” and “help her up”, the boat begins to sink

    And it’s “women suffer”, “women bleed”, “we want an equal wage”,
    But it’s “be a man” and “grow a pair” when a fire begins to rage
    A fire begins to rage girls, a fire begins to rage
    When it’s “be a man” and “grow a pair”, a fire begins to rage

    And it’s “Men are rapists”, “Men are scum”, and every rotten curse
    But it’s “Sexist pig, misogynist” when we say half as worse
    And it’s “Men are this” and “Men are that”, and anything you please
    And this man’s not your bloody fool – you bet that this man sees!

    Reply
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  6. Fred Neecher

    “In the case of Homo sapiens, evolution has decided that it is beneficial for a man to form a long lasting partnership with a woman in raising children. Men have evolved to be happy to do just that because this is how they get to pass on their genes – by maximising the chance of their offspring surviving to maturity.”
    I think your logic is back to front here. It is because men have been happy to remain with their mate and children that their ‘caring’ genes have been passed on. The practice has worked so far – is all one can say about our “fitness”. Men need to do the same thing today, as (presumably) in the past, because it’s the only way of having any control over the source of fertility, and thus of descendants – not for the sake of genes, but for support in old age and the knowledge that the family/tribe will be sustained into the future. Evolution does not, after all, “decide” anything – it isn’t an agent, just a name for a long process.

    Reply
    1. William Collins

      Of course evolution does not literally “decide” anything. I was merely using anthropomorphic language as a shorthand for “under the prevailing ecological conditions those individuals who formed lasting pair bonds tended to raise progeny to maturity more frequently than those who did not”. Men evolved to be “happy” to form a pair bond because the psychological state of “happiness” is a correlate of the evolved behaviour. Evolution is driven by the behaviour, and “being happy” about it is what it feels like inside to be the product of such evolution. You are inclined to the evolved behaviour because you are happy to behave in that way, and you are happy to behave that way because you have evolved to be. The psychological state is the proximate cause of the behaviour, but evolution is the root cause of both the behaviour and the psychological state.

      Reply
      1. Fred Neecher

        Ah, that’s much clearer. Sorry to appear pedantic, but I find anthropological language to be ubiquitous in all talk about evolution – so much so that I have to wonder how many people actually believe it in those terms. I don’t understand why evolution doesn’t get described as scientifically as, say, physical processes do.
        Sorry. Just my pet peeve.

        Reply
  7. disqus_QL05BqU79X

    Great stuff as always. Quick pick-up on this point: “This is the view that gynocentrism originated around 800 years ago with the dawn of chivalry and courtly love.”

    You’re right in that what we may now look back on as ‘chivalry,’ or deference to the female, is evolutionary (or just plain natural) but its social codification, systemisation and enforcement began 800 years ago. There’s a distinction there. Men will naturally serve and protect the female, but the dutiful role of the knights laid out back included killing men on the whims of a lady claiming peril or slight. It does then signify the birth of the modern police force, which can and does still kill men, directly and indirectly, for the supposed honour of even the worst women.

    Reply
  8. Groan

    Interesting as I relax with some TV. A programme of the “300” found people of Herculaneum. Dying in 79 ad the story of the bodies shows the women children and old people huddled in the town’s boathouses and their men outside the shelters. And after I flick to the BBC news including a report on Nigeria and the awful plight of the many women and girls kidnapped and return to unwelcoming communities. Again in the report I was struck by pictures of a Boko haram attack; the ground littered with the dust covered bodies of teenage boys. Of course no comment at all the these are part of the 5000 “people” killed in the past year.
    Those contorted dust covered teenage boys bodies so disregarded and almost invisible in the report really symbolised the fundamental nature of the disposability of males.

    Reply
    1. William Collins

      Indeed. One such picture of the charred bodies of the boys is here http://mra-uk.co.uk/?p=110. A few minutes ago the Chibok kidnappings featured again in a long piece on Radio 4’s Today programme, including a representative from the BringBackOurGirls campaign. There was also a long piece on the PM programme yesterday. Neither mentioned the wholesale slaughter of boys – and adult men, of course. One of the girls released by Boko Haram was interviewed. She said they had been given the choice to be a slave or to marry one of their captors. She chose the latter and had a son by him. Radio 4 told us that ‘marriage’ meant rape. But the interviewer asked her if she loved her ‘husband’. She said yes. Without doubt these girls have been treated abominably, and I expect many have died, but there appears to be a more nuanced picture here than is immediately apparent. For the boys, though, there is no nuance.

      Reply
  9. John mws

    In regard to women being able to be resource independent, they do not even have to work, to be free of a man. Get a child and the state steps in. All men via taxes or child support(including via paternity fraud) helps pay for child focused welfare that follows the primary carer, which by law or practise massively favours the mother. Feminism has greatly exploited empathy for mothers, and heavily promoted the laws and practises to aid this, a massive factor in the rise of family break-ups. The fact that only the birth mother is automatically assumed by law to be a parent and legal guardian in the UK tells you all you need to know about the growing empathy gap.
    It is not a stretch to say “Father” is almost an obsolete word in a majority of childs’ lives, Fathers are rapidly being relegated to a named sperm donor with an 18 year child mortgage to pay. Men only have the right to control who has access to their sperm left. A recent free NHS sperm bank service for lesbian and single women that was a near total failure shows it can be done. MGTOW can only grow if that is all the feminists leave us to balance the gap.

    Reply
  10. NWOslave

    Since this article speaks about men, probably strait and white, (Yuk). You sir are a misogynist, homophobe, transphobe, islamophobe, racist, anti semitic as well as a host of other social pathologies far too triggering to mention.

    Reply
  11. john

    What is glossed over here is that humans are also animals subject to the laws of Mother Nature, who in her wisdom has declared the female of any species imminently more important to species survival than the male.

    Mother Nature, via DNA programing, endowed all females with the same priorities and in the same order. Herself first, her remaining eggs second, her existing offspring third, and there is no fourth. The industrial revolution and modern technology has freed the human female the from the need to pair bond to achieve her three DNA driven priorities.

    The modern woman does not shepherd her remaining eggs or go to extremes for the welfare of her existing progeny. This leaves only her first priority to be filled – herself. Modern women are narcissism run amok, as DNA tells them to do. It is all really rather simple.

    Reply
    1. Kronk

      …and then ‘agency’ brings us back to the fact that women ARE to be held responsible for their malphesance and all the deliberate lies that they tell for personal gain EVEN at the cost of their own children-

      Reply
  12. Craig Martin

    Holy sprite!
    What an article. Well done sire.
    That was very interesting and well written. I likes a lot.

    Reply
  13. Neil Lyndon

    William: excellent, thought-provoking, as always. The puzzle, to my mind, has always been to understand why such a fictitious faith, based so transparently on falsehoods, should have been found so compelling for so long to so many.
    The speculative answer to my mind (see The Great Terror in NMSW and my speech to Parity in Sexual Impolitics) is that the unprecedented introduction of infallible contraception gave rise to the possibility that pair-bonding traditions and conventions might cease to be relevant and that men might sexually go their own polygamous or promiscuous way. The feminist insistence on male stereotypes was a way of putting men back in their place.
    Why was this found to be compelling? I guess, maybe, because everybody was scared of an unknown future in which masculinity might be unbound.
    All best
    N

    Reply
    1. William Collins

      I broadly agree, though I would put the emphasis on ease of resource availability. The absence of pair bonding in primates, despite their offsprings’ long maturation, is made possible only by the ready availability of resource so that the mother can cope unaided. Thanks to technological and economic progress, and, of course, the pill, for the first time in history the 1960s permitted women, like female primates, to obtain their own resources (i.e., go out to work) without the assistance of the pair bond. So Homo sapiens could regress to the status of primates. As you note, this would raise the spectre of masses of rogue males. It may be that the feminist vilification of masculinity was a cold blooded stratagem to control said feral males, as you suggest. However, there is another side to my thesis. Just as the ancestral pair bond leaves a psychological imprint on men, so also must it affect women in complimentary manner. As well as the more familiar symptoms of entitlement, my guess is that it would leave women with a residual craving for protection – even when there is nothing to be protected from. But this subconscious need for protection would create a tension with the conscious espousal of the ‘strong independent woman’ persona. This would create a need to invent bogey men in order to provide a rationalisation of their fear. So we get toxic masculinity, rape culture, sexual harassment, and the absolute horror of being addressed by unknown men on the street. The craving for protection must needs have a matching monster.

      In short, the psychological impact of the breaking of the pair bond, on both men and women, has been ignored but, I suggest, is responsible for much of the mess.

      Reply
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