The last century saw probably the greatest change in attitudes towards sex and gender in history. By its end, almost every government on earth officially declared the equal right of men and women to choose their own roles in life; at its start, almost none did. The idea of equality between men and women has gone from being a fringe position to being global received wisdom. The fact that those official declarations are often insincere, or that received wisdom is often substantially ignored, shouldn’t obscure the magnitude of this change; if the 19th century (or rather, 1789-1917) was a century of economic revolution, the 20th was a century of sexual revolution.
But what was that sexual revolution? Who made it? Who benefited? What does it leave still to do?
I don’t want to suggest that the answers I’m going to give are definitely true, or anywhere near complete. They’re in a way the drawing together of material I’ve already posted at various times into a comprehensive analysis.
In summary, I would argue that this grand sexual revolution was a revolution led by the sex-class of men without established and guaranteed access to sex, against the sex-class of men with it, in which the most class-conscious layers of the female sex-classes, led by feminists, played a crucial role, but were ultimately betrayed, just as the revolting peasantry and proletariat have been betrayed by the leaderships of the revolutions they’ve made.
This revolution replaced the old system of male dominance, characterised by the rule of older, family-heading men, with a new system of male dominance, characterised by the rule of younger, unattached men.
In a word – it replaced patriarchy with fratriarchy.