Male Entitlement, Femiphobia, and Gendered Violence: Some Historical Aspects

Stream: Gendered Constructions: Critical Assessment and Tools for Change
Date: Thursday, 12 February 2015
Time: 11.00 am – 12.45 pm


This paper examines an archaic Western trope that is deeply implicated in structural aspects of male entitlement and gendered violence. ‘The seed and the soil,’ first critically discussed by Carol Delaney (1977, 1991), permeates the ancient Hebrew, Greco-Roman, Christian, and Islamic histories that constitute the foundational narratives of Western culture. Via a critical-feminist, interdisciplinary, trans-historical, and trans-cultural approach, I suggest that, while neither necessarily universal nor continuous, variations on the theme of seed-and-soil have been transmitted via oral and written canon in the Western natural-philosophical tradition in much the same way as have other collective notions—of divinity, divinely ordained authority, private property, marriage, and slavery, for example, each of which maintains continuity as a category alongside intra-category variation. The argument goes that the subordination of women has produced powerful taboos on male femininity and that these taboos are non-causally associated with gendered violence. Furthermore, I suggest that taboos on male femininity have produced femiphobia, the culturally constructed fear of being perceived as feminine or of being feminine or feminised. If, as suspected, femiphobia is readily transformed (via projection of disowned feminine aspects) into anger toward and desire to punish the feminine, some femiphobic men may become perpetrators of gendered violence. It goes without saying that not all men are femiphobic and not all femiphobic men perpetrate violence.


Lola Hill (Presenter), University of Melbourne
I am a writer and retired academic and psychologist with a PhD from Monash University. My published work includes four non-fiction books and numerous articles in scholarly, literary, and mainstream journals. My current doctoral dissertation is in Gender Studies at the University of Melbourne.