Feminism – at least as we know it today – and its various complex sub-categories of benign and malign forces had its beginnings way back in the 19th century. The religious influences upon men and women had defined those roles for millennia; the assumed inferiority to man and her qualities of “temptress” alongside “feminine wisdom” was the backdrop to the burning of witches in the Middle Ages to the witch-hunts of the 17th century and the stultifying sexual repression of Victorian England.
In the United States, the roles of men and women were already defined before the Founding Fathers arrived and changed Native American lives forever. Long before the UK suffragettes began rebelling against these enforced roles, it was taken for granted that women existed as mothers and wives, a presumption that was both divinely ordained and thus a natural duty. The developing democracy rested on man as the giver or provider and women as the enabler or nurturer. Women were more or less property of the husband with the belief in the sacred mother-child bond and the woman’s natural instinct for child rearing. The physical prowess of the male (imagined or otherwise) determined that the “hunter-gatherer” would do just that.
The inability of the woman to provide for herself was also directly related to the male holding the reins of financial power which precluded any property rights or ability to earn for women. That being so, in early England and America up to the mid-1800s, fathers had sole rights to custody, because custody was closely tied to inheritance and property law. Several early feminist activists of the day, most notably English-born Caroline Norton fought to have these ruling turned in favour of women after being deprived of her own children in the aftermath of divorce.  That changed when the legal principle of the Tender Years Doctrine automatically gave rights to mothers based on what was seen as developmentally sensitive years of 13 and under.
Custody rights were shaped by these gender precepts: the love and emotional support of the mother and the more distant, intellectual, financial provision of the father. These gender roles were sacrosanct in society and in law. Upon the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, the nuclear family was in the process of disintegrating due in part, to fathers having to go further afield to locate work opportunities. The British Empire was the hub of this economic and capitalist revolution which would have serious repercussions for family and community.
Although initially new wealth was created for Western European peasantry due to outsourcing by emerging companies, this soon changed. The majority of middle and working class women worked from home. The American economy for example, relied a great deal on home businesses such as woodwork and textiles. With centralisation came disenfranchisement and disconnection from communities built on these crafts and skills intimately connected with an understanding of the land. Factories replaced a network of cottages industries largely dominated by women and their highly skilled handcrafts. The home traditionally carried by women was replaced with mass production. Women’s domestic duties rapidly disappeared so that rearing children for the majority became their only destiny. Single mothers and young women often had to move into boarding houses close to factories with the consequent lack of sanitation and poorly paid wages that accompanied such a move.
In summary, the gender roles became increasingly defined by economic constraints where the male breadwinners were the benefactors of monetary power. This meant that fathers’ capacity to nurture their children from the masculine polarity was further reduced at the same time the mothers’ foundation for community and cottage industry income was removed.
When set against custody decisions the differences became stark. Since women’s only validation for their existence was now from the maternal role it was seen as horribly cruel to deny the mother what was after all seen as a biological and thus a fundamental right due to this new social prison. The father however, was forced to provide economically for his children without ever having rights to see them. Emotional bonds of mother and child were reinforced while the father’s presence became a purely financial consideration.
Through no fault of his own and from the causes of macro-social forces rather than intrinsic gender pre-dispositions, fathers’ rights in custody battles became increasingly fractured due to the obvious fact that women were indeed spending much more time with their children and thus having the advantage when questioned by the judge regarding “quality time”. By the late 20th century very few fathers now retained children in custody trials. 
The idea that the mothers had an unassailable right to child custody was now firmly entrenched in the legal system. But what made this doubly unfair that with the onset of the World War and its closure, women had rightly become wage earners in their own right therefore taking on the male role as provider and nurturer.  Prevailing views cemented these stereotypes by presuming that unless women were financially destitute and compelled to work it was unnatural and morally wrong, whereas if the man’s career ambitions evolved to the total exclusion of the family unit, functioning as a hotel to be fed and watered, this was somehow understandable and correct, despite the fact that many men so desperately wanted a relationship with the children. At this stage, socio-cultural dictates in general were making it difficult for men to be emotionally in touch with their feelings at all, let alone to express a natural desire that true shared parenting was perhaps healthy and vitally important.
By the 1950s the legal maxim in custody battles was “the best interests of the child” which in practice seldom worked out that way. This did not alter the mythology of women as automatically the best bet for custody regardless of the evidence or circumstances. For decades an almost subconscious aversion to awarding rights to the father developed in the minds of many judges as a matter of principle. Furthermore, large economic shifts in the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s and throughout the chaos of the 2000’s have clearly placed men in general at a disadvantage regarding accessibility rights during and after divorce proceedings.
Large scale fragmentation of the family unit has unequivocally taken place due to the many factors already discussed in this series so far, most obviously due to globalisation as a euphemism of international corporatism and its doctrine of ever greater centralised consumption devoid of social and ecological values. As a consequence, the resulting economic disparity between men and women – while taking account of the many exceptions to the rule – has placed the onus on men to uphold an impossible and singular financial standard usually on a single income and in a highly volatile and shifting global economic market place. Technology and automation is overseeing the demise of traditional work connected to the land. The 9-5 working day with the feminist agenda for gender equality will offer needed rights to mothers but also exacerbate another problem.
A painful and recurring irony has arrived that indicates the divide and rule scenario in operation so favoured of think tanks, the Empire’s intellectual vanguard of change. The dichotomy of men and women’s rights is increasingly reversed in the affluent Western world. Where financial solvency was praised as vital for the support of the family it is now seen as an impediment to proper family cohesion and parenting. Another bizarre twist has taken place. While many women have played the game of “success” under the push for illusory equal rights and juggled the family life with a corporate career; headed companies and donned the mask of the capitalist entrepreneur or boss, in many cases women are repeating the exact same reasons that men lost their custody battles: by being distant from the family and not participating in “quality parenting.” Now that women have got what men had in the corporate world they too are being penalised for precisely the same reasons. 
While some men stay at home and care for the children the gender stereotypes remain. Men are not “house-husbands” they are shirking their manly responsibilities or just “unemployed”. Yet women who work still retain both roles and then complain when it becomes too demanding. The net result is a constant dichotomy that flips between genders creating and perpetuating multiple levels of tension.
In custody cases successful career women have to justify their work role by not assuming the traditional role of mother love. Whereas men the “hunter-gatherers” are forced to justify why they cannot support their family financially and are thereby somehow deficient of masculine genes. This is not a gender issue and never has been. What this represents – as in so many of the issues we have addressed so far – is an issue of reductive economics and the international financial architecture that has been built on exploitation of such depth and profundity that it is little wonder that it has ultimately defined who we are. Behind this wholly exploitative framework is the psychopathic mind that delights in such obfuscation and confusion. These anti-human ways of being allow it to be hidden from scrutiny. It is a shocking indictment of our society that the key benefactor of this descent will continue to be the wealthy Elite.
It is obvious that such a state of affairs does not just happen but results from an integration of Christian ethics with the organisation of Roman legal systems which were progressively adapted into our Western institutions. The human cruelties, indifferences and inconsistencies were also incorporated and laid the groundwork from one Pathocratic Empire to another. Łobaczewski talked about this “Western civilization” and how its degeneration was due to a “serious deficiency” in recognising the signs of decay which inevitably led to evil consequences. This was due to the simplistic appraisal of human psychology upon which the societal structures of law, justice and philosophy were based. The insufficient resistance to evil was easily taken advantage of due to the “enormous gap between formal or legal thought and psychological reality.”  And so it is. We are still sourcing our knowledge and understanding from a juvenile dictionary and total lack of comprehension which has locked in economics, law, justice and just about every other domain in society. Is it any wonder that we are experiencing serious cognitive dissonance concerning the nature and direction our societies are taking?
It is the knowledge that we have an inherited the workings of societies “insufficiently resistant to evil” that can inform our future thoughts and actions on this issue. It will require that we become cognizant of how ponerogenesis plays out in our own lives and how we can best avoid its traps. Learning to see how we can understand this process will mean whether or not we become the scapegoats of this degeneration or the pioneers of its eventual dissolution.
Is gender equality a possibility? It depends on society’s current enforced assumptions about our roles. Equal opportunities cannot be approached when the very fundamentals of our socio-economic systems are skewed. Equal opportunities to be treated civilly and with respect cover both genders. Unfortunately, much as feminists would rail at the statement: men and women ARE fundamentally different – physiologically, neurologically and how we process reality – as a thousand studies have underscored time and again. So, while our conception of gender roles have indeed been enforced and expected, there are natural even timeless differences of masculine and feminine which only truly work when they meet in the middle to create that third force. It is the integration of the dualities while retaining differences which alter reality for the better rather than seeking to displace, out-do or gain ascendency over the other, or even worse to claim “rights” as though women in the Western world are somehow separate from the inculcated pathology of which we are ALL apart.
The inherent assumptions of those in positions of power which mean that women are seen as objects and where they are not deemed worthy of attaining the CEO position does happen. Similarly, men can be ridiculed for being stay-at-home dads or a job as a nurse. The problem is, within these positions are also wider implications denoting much more than mere ignorance or bigotry. It may be that the kind of roles that moderate feminists wish to see cannot be observed in the type of social reality we have right now, for the reasons so far given in this series.
Does that mean we don’t press for change? Or course not, but until we see that such urging of women’s rights without due awareness of ponerology which has our Western societies comprehensively in its palm means that much of the core reasons for seeking gender equality will be as authentic as Live Aid. This is a problem not of female rights against male rights. It is a HUMAN RIGHTS issue against the PSYCHOPATH. All else derives from this. One talks of gender equality immediately assuming that men are not expressing the exact same victimhood. And this where so often white, middle-class, Western female entitlement arrives in much the same way as Jewish ethnocentrism and the reflex assumption from African-Americans that slavery by white traders of the past still demand recompense.
Until we embrace the fact that we are ALL victims of a centuries old evil that resides both in concrete reality and the metaphysics of myths and imagination within our own hearts we will never be free. We must take a grand, bird’s eye view of humanity which has in the modern era all the tools necessary to forge a new awareness of the multitude of horrors we have collectively suffered over lifetimes. That means truly joining together against a common foe and defending ourselves against it. Not by wasting energy on gender issues and spectres of the past. The only thing that will change these issues is SEEING who is stirring the pot of constant division and conflict. That does not mean doing nothing but it does imply that we choose our battle very, VERY wisely.
 Women and the Law of Property in Early America by Marylynn Salmon, Published by UNC Press Books, 1989 | ISBN 0807842443, 9780807842447.
 Family Life in the Nineteenth Century, 1789–1913: The History of the European family. Volume 2. By David I. Kertzer, Yale University Press, 2002.
 Wrightsman’s Psychology and the Legal System By Edith Greene, Kirk Heilbrun, Cengage Learning, 2010. 049581301X, 9780495813019.
 ‘The Mother-Love Myth: The Effect of the Provider-Nurturer Dichotomy in Custody Cases’ by Kalie Caetano The Macalester Review: Vol. 2: Iss. 1, Article 2.
 More Fathers Are Getting Custody in Divorce’By Lisa Belkin, New York Times, November 17, 2009.
 op. cit. Lobaczewski; (p. 48)