Under His Thumb: Men’s Attempts to Control Women

You see it all over the world: women are kept in their places by the patriarchal societies in which they live.  Not only do they not have as many options and opportunities as men, they are usually the most oppressed. It varies from country to country and culture to culture, but the bottom line is that men are constantly trying to control women.

My husband and I were discussing why this is so and he said that men are hardwired to do all they can to make sure that any children born to their women are actually theirs. I suppose you could also say that women are hardwired to depend on men for support and protection of themselves and their children. So men try to control women and women submit to that control.

Women give up a lot of freedoms in order to have children and be taken care of by men.  They give up their right for equal pay and opportunities in the workplace. They are usually the ones who stay home or work part-time so that they can take care of the children. They are at the mercy of men when it comes to economics: more often than not, it is the man’s status that determines the status of the family.

I know men are “enslaved” by their responsibilities to their wives and children. But that doesn’t negate the fact that men have more control over their lives than women do. From a very early age, they are told that they can be anything that they want to be. But women are taught that they are defined by their sexual identity: they are to be the nurturers, the care-takers, the housekeepers, the hostesses–all adjuncts to what their husbands are.

These conditions are changing. Women have more control over their lives than ever before. They can own property, vote, get credit in their own name, have and raise children out of wedlock, pursue higher education and high-powered careers and obtain birth control and abortions (i.e., they have control over their minds and their bodies). But as we’ve seen in recent years, women are increasingly at risk when it comes to self-determination. To put it more bluntly, strong women (those who control their own lives) scare the hell out of men.

It’s not just their male egos that are on the line, it is also their fear that they may be supplanted and their power eroded. Having power and influence means more to them than keeping  their women happy. Notice the use of the possessive: it is much more common for men to claim ownership over their women than it is the other way around. Women are kept in a state of insecurity because they fear that their hold on their men is tenuous.

But if women would take control of their own lives, they wouldn’t be as insecure and they could enter into relationships as equal partners. This would also relieve men of all the responsibilities that they feel burdened with. That is, if they can overcome their fear of losing control.

23 Replies to “Under His Thumb: Men’s Attempts to Control Women”

  1. What do you mean control your women. You are making it seem like women are your property. Bullshit. This is the crap that has made women take off clothes during summer. They want to be able to be sexual. No one tells men they need to keep their virginity. They can have sex with anyone they want. They have more freedom than women. They are not controlled by this crap of you need to be a virgin. If a man is not a virgin is not a big deal but for a woman that means she is a slut. Double standard much.

  2. It’s because women can get laid whenever they want and men can’t.

    Having a wife is like the only way that you know you gonna get some on regular basis.
    As a men it can take months till you have some casual sex luck, it’s just so dam difficult
    for a guy to get laid without having a relationship.

    Once you have a girl you gonna do everything to keep the girl,
    Women use there independence to exploit there sexs for personal gain.
    they have lots of relationships, use men as taxi, get gifts etc..; free dinner and after this dump the guy,
    and get another sucker to do all the same shit over and over again that’s reality now.

  3. Man this days they think they are man enough just because women have to do what the man says. As for me I don’t think so. My mom loser husbnad thinks he can tell her what do to and puts his hand on her not over my damm dead body. God deosnt like ugly and I call those kind of men gay. Is common sense no matter what women do walk away or leave. Not try to control a women. Is wonderfull when you help eaach other and give love and support. Thank you and god bless

  4. I do not know much about this topic except from personal experience. It seems men that are controlling really have no control in thier everyday life. Most men that are insecure want control, almost compensatig for what they feel they do not have or were they are lacking at, and whoever set the standard of ” WHAT MAKES A MAN” when they were boys has alot to do with it as well. Instead of dealing with what is missing in their life, they find something “weaker” that niether questions or disputes what they have to say. Also a controlling man only goes for certain kind of women, or so I have observed. And most men that control will quickly move on, or cheat because the feeling they get when the goal is accomplished for controlling is met, still leaves them empty. Not only do they feel insecure but almost a “blame” is being placed on the woman for “letting” them behave this way. My advice to any woman that runs into an opressive man is show him as quickly as possible you are worth something other than what they require you to be. Let him know you are a person not an object meant for his pleasure. You may not end up together, but he will respect you. And believe me, getting an abusive man to admit and show you respect is the best feeling, not that it validates you, it just confirms that women are more powerful than they give thierself credit for. And it helps the man out to see a different perspective, granted he is not too culturally or enviornmentally conditioned. Some men are never exposed to self sustaining women that have self esteem or spirit, and are afraid. This is were the control factor comes into play as well. Fear, that should let you know what your made of ladies!

    1. This is an excellent analysis of where the problem comes from and you raise many important points. Also, your advice to women is very wise. Anytime you want to write this up as a guest post, I’d love to put it on the blog!

      1. Who do men reall y think they are. For any woman don’t let a man control you or your life.
        They don’t own you.

  5. There are no strong women…just women more willing to overtly be guided by feelings and women less overtly willing to be guided by their feelings.

    The evidence is here and anywhere feminists vent.

    “Paternity is only an issue in patriarchal societies”
    “Men just care their mate isn’t having sex with someone else”

    These are real attempts to assert facts? OR, to assert things that get other women to say, YEA thats also how I FEEL about it, and reach that most orgasmic of communication plateaus for women….the empathy climax. It drains me just imagining one, and here it is mid afternoon.

    1. I am not a feminist however judging by your comment there are no intelligent and /or literate men, only those with too much time on their hands. Standard American English (SAE) requires that questions be phrased a certain way. Formal education has taught that to most of the women judging by their comments. I don’t fit your stereotype of an empathy seeking feministy however I despise ignorance and couldn’t resist the opportunity to express my discontent with the uneducated but opinionated…the irony is amazing. I will say that fortunately you do not represent the intelligent and/or educated man and there are many out there.

  6. I found the site; http://www.femagination.com/1147/under-his-thumb-mens attempts to control women.
    I am unsure if this site is related?
    I understand the media appears to promote violence in diverse forms, mainstream media, and find this appalling.
    Violence in all it’s forms is not something journalists and news media should be promoting as norm.
    Truth and facts about reality yes, but not rampant, uncontrolled violence.
    I also have in depth knowledge of misplaced violence; misplaced onto girls and women and much about the distortions of paternalistic coecrive control tactics which are a form of ‘violence’.
    When I read the above site (http://www.femagination.com/1147…) I was aware of how widespread violence against girls and women still is, and how laws and differing authorities were not, as yet, focusing as much as they could on the psychological damage as well as other damage this imposes.
    “Coercive control jeopardises women’s freedom in everyday life”
    “Deprivation of rights and resources essential to personhood and citizenship.”
    “There is no counterpart in mens lives to womens entrapment in personal life due to coercive control”
    All three above by Dr. Stark.
    Any one under any one’s thumb or many’s forced control is under a malevolent control which equates with coercive control. Coercive control is malevolent not benevolent.
    The following an addition to this (related to education, formal or otherwise, from my point of view formal education is not synonymous with success, for everyone, and success does not need promotion nor practice of violence, push and shove, head tread tactics or any form of torture toward any person/s for any reason.)
    “The first rule of education should be “Do Not Harm”.
    By Shaun Kerry M.D.
    I have quoted people as I am looking at this subject and finding a lot of resources which aid my further understanding and learning.

    Creative and warmest regards

    1. Sorry it took so long to post your comment! I haven’t been on my game lately.
      Thank you so much for sharing your views and knowledge about this topic. Do you have a blog or article along the same lines? I’d love to see it if you do.

  7. Paternity is only an issue in patriarchal societies, which most post-agricultural revolution (and definitely most post-industrial) ones largely are. That is, where the nuclear family is the unit in which children are raised and the woman is dependent on the man for survival, although he is not dependent on her to survive. So technically, these wouldn’t be hardwired tendencies, but rather, culturally coached ones. In tribal and/or hunter gatherer cultures, raising of children is/was often shared by extended family and community, so there wasn’t the issue of “what’s in this for me if this isn’t really my kid?” (To varying degrees, of course, and with respect to local custom, etc. This has likely changed in the era of modern religions) Indeed, there is evidence that these types of cultures (specifically, true hunter-gatherers, which is different than tribal) are much more accepting of womens’ sexual natures. Unfortunately for us today, humans would have evolved in these hunter-gatherer tribal circumstances, and I believer the true, authentic, sexuality of women is a reflection of this. Unfortunately for post-agricultural revolution women that live in the modern world, we have our true natures rooted in the past, and our realities in the not-so-woman-friendly present. Furthermore, using the argument about paternity to justify dehumanizing and shaming women who step outside the box in accordance with their desires, is just crappy excuse making at best.

  8. Well, men are afraid of losing their women to some other man and having a child with him.

    And also, men struggle with issues of body image as well. Women are looking at pictures of fit, handsome, naked men, especially in women’s magazines, movies, billboards, and TV and they also cruise through porn sites and blogs featuring attractive, fit men with large genitals. When women start looking at other men in front of their spouse or partner, it puts them at risk for physical, verbal, and even sexual abuse. In other words, men control women’s desires and try to make women fall for them and not anyone else. This is what one would call cock-blocking.

  9. I play the role of independent house wife in my family, I work full time, clean the house, and am primary caregiver to our child. I do this because it is my choice and in the beginning our my relationship with my husband he struggled very much with the concept that I wanted him to be a “man” and provide and protect me, but I in no way needed or souly depended on him. It made him feel like I didn’t need him, and thus made him feel he wasn’t doing his job. I feel that a woman should be the one to take care of the house hold needs and if she can handle working and doing all this it’s her choice. If she can handle more power to her. If she can’t she “sacrifices” her own life. Others may see it as a sacrifice I do not. I see it as her making the choice that her children and family are more important to her then a career. It’s all the mind set on what she wants in life, and makes the choices she does. When a guy works 2 jobs to financially support his family is she controlling him to? Is she forcing him to? NO he chooses to support his family and have alittle less personal time. Tis the burden he chooses and a woman I believe sets her burden as well.

  10. Excellent observations, but I think like Hot-Flash… your husband is lyng. The real and only reason that men seek control of women is that they know women’s sexuality makes them far superior to the majority of men’s abilities to satisfy. However that does not prevent them from utilizing every tool at their disposal to control what women do with their vaginas. Men seek ownership of the vagina, and it starts at a very early age even with their own daughters. The link I am giving you is to an excellent article I read recently entitled THE MALE STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL OF FEMALE SEXUALITY. Thinking about it is what led me to your site. Maybe you two can dialogue, because this is an important issue for women.

  11. In all fairness, women don’t like to share either–but they don’t have the power to keep their men that men have to keep their women. It won’t be until women can support themselves as well as a man can that we’ll begin to see a change in what men can get away with.

  12. It is not true that men are hard wired to make sure they are his children at all.

    The issue of who the father was evolved along with possessions, wealth and inheritance which led to the concept of marriage.

    Men do not care how many children they father nor to whom. What men don’t like is sharing. They want to keep the woman they are having sex with all to themselves.

    And you’re right part of it is the fact if she’s sleeping with someone else then that means you are not satifying her. Big ego buster.

    If you cannot control your woman, then what can you control? Nothing!

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