Female Violence and Man Blaming!

Early Forms of Female Violence in History and Modern and Ancient Practices of Men Blaming: From Public Humiliation of abused Husbands and Charivari in 16th and 17th Century to Modern Institutional Male Shaming Tactics

Wives and husbands cheating on each other as well as verbally and physically abusing each other has been a sad characteristic of human life throughout recorded history. While the tragical phenomenon of the betrayed wife or wife beating has become the center of public discussion, awareness raising campaigns as well as harsh punishment of violent male partners, the other side of the same violent coin continues to be denied {14}, neglected and suppressed although an at least four decade's long research points out that domestic violence shows gender symmetry where men and women abuse each other equally at the same rates {33/34}. Some of the researches as the one conducted by the Harvard medical school shows that, in fact, those are women who initiate most of the abuse, roughly at 75% {31}. One of the expressions and the evidences of the historical widespread of female domestic violence which can be dated back, as we will see, at least to ancient Greece, is Charivari, Skimmington or riding the donkey backwards which is another name for the same phenomenon that at the same time serves as a man shaming and blaming tactic. Thus, being a double-edged sword, in medieval Europe, communities through a shaming ritual called charivari publicly punished men both for beating their wives as well as through the same ritual also publicly punished men for being beaten by their wives.

Moreover, since medieval times, domestic violence against men has come to be largely ignored. Men who are victims of domestic violence are now punished either by denial or by anti – male shaming tactics as well as public mockery through the pop culture, art and mainstream media rather than by the traditional form of charivari {31}. Moreover, historically, this phenomenon was understood within the context of past traditional memes such as the patriarchy or male dominance. However, explained in this way to illustrate how also men suffer and are oppressed by the patriarchy defined as “male dominance over women” is deeply faulty and completely illogical. As we know from both Warren Farrell's as well as S.C. Rogers' research {20}, the patriarchy and male dominance as anything but male domination and governance over women and their subsequent oppression is shown to be both a historical fallacy as well as the product of vicious and heinous myths spread by feminists and some women’s organization. The continuation of this ancient myth of patriarchy, as expressed, for example, by the Charivari, is shown to not only to flame the controversy over the existence of female-perpetrated violence and male victims, a controversy that saw academics who sought to expose such violence being subjected to intimidation and abuse, but also the nature of Charivari itself {13}. In this essay which is an historical meta-analysis and study of the research on female perpetrated violence, DV, Charivari and anti-male blaming as well as shaming tactics, I will show that Charivari as well as female violence in general and specifically against men in the context of domestic life and intimate romantic relationships is not the byproduct of the patriarchy but an embedded feature of the Gynocentric society.

Evidence of female violence in the context of interpersonal, intimate and romantic relationships as well as overall violence can be traced back at least to the Merovingian Era {21). Furthermore, additional evidence from the middle ages and more specifically in the late 16th, 17th and 18th centuries shows that women were not shy and passive as the feminist Gynocentric myth suggests. The fact of the matter is of that women continued to participate in acts of violence and it is evident in the historical record of the many risings, riots or disturbances that occurred in the early modern period. Women were often the initiators of riots and participated in them prominently with vigor and to such extent that the respected historical scholar Thompson reviewing these events had described them in a somewhat less than the usual and calm academic tone. He went on to quote an author writing in 1807 who stated, in comment upon the matter of these disturbances that "Women are more disposed to be mutinous; they stand less in fear of the law, partly from ignorance, partly because they presume upon the privilege of their sex, and therefore in public tumults they are foremost in violence and ferocity. Even in the Elizabethan period, there is reason to believe that women played a similar part in public disturbances. In an analysis of factors surrounding the English Civil War, Underdown (Underdown, 1985b) provided evidence that gender and the role of women was one of the social issues that underlay that eventual conflict and also identified examples of female violence, and concern over it, from historical records of the period {22}. This is important not only for the general or principle understanding of female violence but in this dissertation in terms that women were the driving force behind the anti-male and misandrist practice of Charivari.

Anyway, in reviewing the criminality of women in Surrey and Sussex (two southern counties of England) between 1663 and 1802, Beattie (Beattie, 1975) sampled from 62 specimen years and found that the ratio of male crime to female crime was essentially in line with modern figures if not more. This is stunning both in terms that the tendency to cover up female violence and crime rooted in the concept of hypo-agency always existed but also because it shows that is was less radical and taken to extremity as in our modern misandrist feminist era. At least someone has tried to deal with it instead of constantly minimizing and dismissing female violence. According to the chronicles female violence constituted about one third of all crime and a male to female ratio of 3:1 or greater existed. Although it is difficult to get exact pictures from such retrospective data some clear inferences appear, which are also evident from other historical analyses of crime in general over these periods in English history. In such an analysis figures for the extent of female violent crime such as 18% of the total are found and it is commented that "it is not difficult to find numerous examples of women whose physical strength and courage cannot be doubted" {22}. For women charged with murder, the analysis notes that far from only resorting to methods, such as the use of poison, which might be thought of as a more female method of murder, there was evidence of women charged with using knives to stab, a club or iron spit to strike blows to the head, and a pistol as well as acts involving punches and kicks and throwing a victim out of a window to commit murder. Amongst the cases cited, is a woman charged with cutting her husband's throat in Southwark in 1774 in a fit of jealousy and then "dashing his brains out with a poker" {22}. What is notable is that the murders by women surveyed were rarely against strangers and were much more likely to be against close relatives to the woman which again historically refutes the myth of a patriarchal gendered phenomenon of domestic violence and in that sense supporting from this point of view modern studies such as Murray Strauss.

Moreover, these Surrey victims specifically included husbands, children and household servants. Other historical evidence on murders within the family over a similar period, whilst showing a three to one murder rate of wives by husbands as opposed husbands by wives, do show evidence of wives killing husbands using planned means, such as poisons, whilst men were found to have killed wives often in a drunken rage. Further there was good evidence for a substantial number of beatings by women of their female domestic servants such that domestic bullying and abuse by women was not uncommon. Also, women participated in assaults on neighbors often with their husbands and also occasionally on public officials, such as a constable. Within this, husbands were also recorded as victims and perhaps, in contrast to most evidence, occasionally magistrates were called upon to protect a man. Thus, one case involved a shoemaker who told how his wife stabbed him and another was of a man who was "so severely beaten by his wife that a magistrate committed her to a house of correction for his protection". In 1734, Susannah Hill was sent to the county jail to be tried at assizes because she attacked her husband with a hammer and a hand whip in such a cruel manner he was deemed to be "in danger of his life" from her. However, the data suggested women's assaults within a domestic context were less well reported than were men's and that crime by married women was particularly under-reported. Significantly, however, the cases sampled reveal that 40% women indicted for assaults were married to men of some substance or position in society such as artisans, tradesmen or even in odd cases a gentleman. So, it is difficult to put this evidence of female violence down merely to impoverished, desperate or oppressed women striking out {22}

And there is another feminist myth and factoid busted from an honest historical review and thorough analysis. To paraphrase this truth in other words, we can say that history and modern evidence also coincide in other ways. From Elizabethan times, analysis of social mores and crime indicates that women received more favorable treatment being less likely to be prosecuted and more likely to be found not guilty (even though evidence suggests otherwise) or given less harsh sentences than English men which proves my statement from above that also in terms of general crime there is gender symmetry. Based on the historical concept of female hypo-agency women were just given a free pass. This is also a finding of an analysis of criminal statistics in the 19th century by the British Government's Home Office (Hedderman and Hough, 1994) in which the same is evident and a specific rebuttal of women receiving harsher treatment for killing husbands, as opposed to men killing wives, was proffered. The most apt demonstration of the power of these hypocrite attitudes is shown by the study of Cook and Harris, 1994. The study used a vignette technique, as espoused and used by a UK researcher quoted in the BMA report (Mooney, 1994), to compare subject's responses to a battered wife, battered husband and battered male homosexual scenario. They reported that in nine out of eleven ratings the heterosexual battered male was rated more negatively than the homosexual battered male. Both males were rated less favorably or sympathetically than the battered female, but the stark point is the difference between the heterosexual and homosexual male. The battered heterosexual male, uncovered in this study, is even more despised and discriminated. Nothing could ever say more for the plight of the man suffering violence from his female partner; this prejudice alone explains his relative absence from `official' figures and crime surveys and the denial of his existence in reviews of domestic violence. As previously asserted, the victimization of males by females in domestic relationships is `The Great Taboo' (George, 1994). Whilst domestic violence male-on-female reinforces stereotypes of strong, dominant, aggressive men and weak, vulnerable, passive women, the reverse operates against two taboos; that females can be aggressive and violent and that men can be subjected or dominated by an intimate female. Or as Farrell has pointed out, `female as victim' attracts men (and elicits sympathy from other women) whilst the `male as victim' is repugnant to everyone; men and women. The reality is, however, that domestic violence and abuse, whoever the victim, is never inconsequential and affects the health of both women and men. {27}

So, understanding the historical context and the specific surroundings in which those violent women were operating, now let's go back to the main subject of our Essay. The tradition or ritual of "Charivari", a specific form of abuse and public humiliation of battered and abused husbands as well as explicit male shaming tactic was quite a common occurrence during the I7th and 18th centuries. When it became known in a village that a husband was abused or cuckolded/betrayed by his wife, a mob of villagers would arrange a procession in which they either carried images or statues of the concerned person and the man would have been led through the town riding the horse backwards. Being subjected to this kind of abuse he would then also be escorted with a spontaneous gang of youths making "rough music" by beating tin kettles, pans or any other domestic device that would make a big noise {1}. Although the dictionary meaning of Charivari is given as "a popular ceremony for punishing a man who allows himself to be beaten by his wife" {2}, in reality, the abuse was widened as to include being cuckolded by the wife, being betrayed by her and many more, so often the abuse against the male was a much more serious matter. Often, the cause of Charivari for men was sexual in nature as well as also being a battered husband and so on but not necessarily or exclusively so {3} The Charivaris also exhibited a specific malicious form of ridicule where an old man's sexual prowess was being mocked. The procession also included a serenade of rough music got up to express disapproval in cases of great disgrace and immorality. The mob would assemble in front of the man's houses, equipped with pots and pans, and performs a session of loud music for three uninterrupted nights. Then an interval of the same duration, and a third repetition of the rough music for three nights-nine nights in all. On the last night the images or statues are burnt." Another definition describes the abuse as following: to ride the skimmington or riding the stang! The abuse included the husband being rode behind the woman on a horse with his face to the horse's tail. He held a distaff in his hand, and the woman beat him about the head with a spoon. As the march passed the house where the woman was paramount, each person gave the doorstep a sweep. The custom seems to have been observed in many English countries as well as in Scandinavia and Spain, and to have emigrated to America {4} Other, features of the procession also suggest that Charivari, for instance, also included an intrusion into the private life and the domestic space of the male victim. A male victim of Charivari could be approached not only in the open space, but also when he is at his own home {5}

Although Skimmingtons and Charivaris varied from place to place, as we will see down the discourse below, they all contained similar essentials. The loud music represented the disharmony of a household in which the man wasn't able to hide the abuse by his wife, either by her emotional, psychological as well as verbal abuse, adultery or husband beating. The music was made with everyday household objects rather than musical instruments and pots and pans were universally present. The "riding" of the husband was another common element. In some of the cases the husband was played by a neighbor and he was placed facing the tail of the horse or donkey to symbolize the backwardness of his inability to satisfy his wife and/or keep the whole incident secrete. In some, a "wife," also acted by a neighbor, rode behind the man and beat him with a stick or, in England, with the long-handled ladle used to skim cream that was known as a skimmington. In the end, the real husband was captured to ride in shame throughout the town and the woman to degrade him furthermore. The presence of horns on the male riding the horse and on sticks carried by members of the crowd or worn atop their heads was the universal symbol of cuckoldry. The cuckold-a word derived from the name of a promiscuous female bird-was an object of scorn and mockery throughout European society while in reality female promiscuity and infidelity was praised and institutionalized while paying a lip service in form of the all too well-known myth of the alleged female sexual fidelity as a female Gynocentric dynamic to enslave men even furthermore by raising the women's worth and value. The cuckold was cut of his masculinity; he had lost his "horns," in common parlance. His personal humiliation was a cause for joke and abuse, while the messiness in the conduct of his wife was of no real concern for the community. Thus, in local society, reputation was equated with personal worth, the blame for the wife's transgression and abuse was put on the husband's shoulders and, hence, no one had less reputation than the cuckold. This was among others the reason while among the nobility, duels were fought over the slightest suggestion of a wife's unfaithfulness, while among ordinary folks the raising of the forefinger and pinkie-the sign of horns-initiated clashes.

It is also important to bear in mind that everywhere across mainland Europe and already in the early modern period, the public justified the existence of such social norms where individuals who transgressed social rules in the eyes of the community could be disciplined by a process of humiliation and collective rule to force conformity. 'Charivari' as an example to such traditions involved a noisy rally and were used by communities to expose or punish a wide range of anomalous social expectations or behaviors considered unworthy. Husbands who allegedly permitted themselves to be beaten by their wives were the subject of particularly sharp scorn under the Charivari. It was well documented in the historical documentation with a great emphasis on the ceremonial exposure as is elaborated in many cases. A great part of these records is worthy of examination because it gives us a detailed insight into this phenomenon which was largely chronicled in the English Annals. Much and considerable documentation for such traditions also exists for other European countries. For example, a French record of around 1400 demonstrates that it was prescribed that a beaten husband should be "paraded on an ass, face to tail". Other evidence in the 16th century indicates that essential features of the Charivari enacted at that in that time. For example, Lyon in 1566 under which beaten husbands were punished, went back to, and were derived from, the classical laws of ancient Greece and Rome. Further, there is some evidence which suggests that a social organization amongst young bachelor men, a phenomenon of white knights I will explain below, was important to the process of Charivari ritual wherever used across Europe, including England {16}

English evidence in existence stems from the 16th century onwards and is presented in the form of district chronicles, legal archives, contemporary records, journals, letters and newspapers as well as in literature from at least the 1500s to the 19th Century. These sources show that the Charivari practice was understood and perceived as a folklore right of the laity to supplement the official legal system and that the enactment of this 'folklore right' varied quite considerably from region to region. It could vary in scale from involving just a handful of people to major festivities involving large crowd of people and often occurred at holiday times. All the evidence points to the fact that the great majority of these 'processions' were designed to mock the situation of the battered husband and in this particular instance were most likely to occur at any time of the year, not just at festive holidays {18}. Whilst these humiliations by social convention were unofficial and emanated from popular culture, it is of note that similar public procession type humiliations were also sometimes used by the courts in these times for particular offenders and that these could take a similar form. Thus, the Charivari, and the forms of it used to punish the situation of the beaten husband, represent a mix between the ancient folklore traditions of festivity and a lay social disciplining system with quasi- legal connotations to enforce social conformity and punish, by social humiliation, those deemed errant {17}. As I have showed in on of my researches, the formal authority, whether male or female, stems from the female dominated informal power. It is the same dynamic used by modern courts to justify the discrimination of men, although formally the modern law is neutral or gender free, to enact a misandrist discrimination of men and based on the anti- male and Gynocentric narrative to give the formal written law a completely twisted and perverted interpretation {19)

In essence, Charivari was a practice of loud celebratory abuse in which a community enacted its specific objection to what it perceived the husband's inability to satisfy his wife blaming him then for the wife's violence and more generally exercised a widespread surveillance of male sexuality as well as male specific gender roles. As in all gynocentric power dynamics this community actually consists of young men, typically the single ones targeting at female social approval, and who represent a social principle of female on male shaming that is performed by male "white knights" and who reflect the social dominance of women ruling the cultural formal institutions with informal power behind the scenes. In fact, Charivari was an essential and crucial tool to maintain the taboo, specifically of female on male violence, and in general female violence in all its entirety. In that sense, Charivari represents the gynocentric marriage in a ridiculous and outrageous anti male parody. The husband, against whom the greater part of societal hatred is often directed, is always epitomized as a kind of idiot or a worthless man who isn't deserving of his wife and thus earned the abuse. In this context, charivari is the typical gynocentric reverse of roles within abusive relationships. The abusive wife takes on the role of a victim and the abused men the one of the perpetrators. In a way, it is a predecessor of the modern feminist social shaming when a man, a partner or husband is abused by his wife or girlfriend thus deserving both the abuse as well as the shaming of not being "a real man". Thus, Charivari is a form and a part of Gynocentric misandry.

Moreover, being a part of the Renaissance proto feminist era, were women were gaining even more supreme and elevated status through the Chivalric culture of European Gynocentrism, thus concentrating more and more of both, the formal and the informal power, women have now become the privileged and the exalted sex in all social, societal, cultural, economic, religious as well as any other possible part of human life, thus the break of the gynocentric taboos, both in female on male as well as the female-dominated Gynocentric social order, could be threatened and, hence, the importance of Charivari in the historical context of the Era. However, the same dynamics served also as the root for the creation of the modern-day feminist shaming tactics, taking their origin from the Charivari in order to maintain the order. That these threats were most identified with the sexual demonization of men and its control, while stripping of the husband's masculinity and the general de-humanization of men, was hardly surprising. The image of the none violent female as a victim of patriarchy should have been preserved at all cost. Thus, the image of the female promiscuity and sexual abuse of the husband was turned on its head as pointing to his sexual insufficiency and lack of prowess causing the wife to stray and to cuckold him. As I showed in other researches female infidelity was promoted and institutionalized at least from the time of the Roman Empire (35}. Through the use of skimmingtons and charivari, women attempted to maintain those Gynocentric taboos as well as the oppressive anti male gender roles and norms of sexual conduct.

Although the practice and the use of Charivaris as a form institutionalized male shaming tactics and public abuse exploded in the 16th and 17th century, this feature of the ritual can be traced back to the Greeks and as I said has become over the period of those two centuries one of the most enduring characteristics of modern nineteenth- and twentieth-century in the Western feminist dominated world. The donkey ride which was also tied to other popular observances such as regional and seasonal festivities, and, as an extension of ritualistic inversion, was dramatized in art and literature, which in themselves are the gynocentric feminist heritage of the troubadours, especially in the motif of riding backward on a donkey, was adopted by the pop culture and transformed into the current feminist male shaming tactics ( of what it means to be a real or not a real man) {6}. Especially the French Charivaris shows those clandestine Gynocentric marriage dynamics in which male white knights seeking female social approval the same way it happens in modern society with the feminist VIGILANTE IGNORAMUSES seeking to get laid by women, were performing the dirtiest work and devastating abuse against men for the benefit of women. In the French version, the donkey ride occasionally happened separately from the Charivari and had a broader range of communal and cultural functions, but it could also be a part of a Charivari. French charivaris, especially in the sixteenth century, were often prearranged by the young bachelors of the community. Those single female attention seeking men extorted a routine fine to be paid to the local Abbey of singles. It was a recognized institution in many cities in southern France which gave single men vast control over the male marriage customs. A banquet paid for by the newlyweds, who in Italy were "honored with laughter" or a gift of money to less organized revelers was sometimes substituted for the fine {7}

Even more so, the loss of the ancient actual practice also does not signify the loss of the reason for it or the attitudes upon which it depended in modern society. Clearly, according to Bates (1981) a profusion of legal cases of battered husbands can be found dating from a period when Charivari was not a distant memory up until the time of writing his paper. Cases such as Willan vs Willan (Bates, 1981), Bateman vs Bateman and Calloby vs Calloby and Perowne (Fricker, 1988) have been cited for their legal merit and interest. These legal records of actual cases drawn from the late Nineteenth century up until the Nineteen-seventies are `post-Charivari. However, in one-way vestiges of this former public humiliation continued to spread as misandrist memes in pop and popular culture, the mainstream media, in art, in movies and cinema especially sitcoms, in the dark humor of cartoons, postcards and stand-up comics whereby an effigy of the violent wife and victim husband remained (Saenger, 1963). As a Finish study suggests (the discrimination of men, Pasi Malmi) {25}, misandry in popular culture especially in the internet era is more widespread than the counterpart of misogyny. In this guise, the Charivari was removed from the pointedly personal to a social level, but still conveying the same uncomfortable message, particularly to men. This more modern lay social representation, however, utilized another inversion seeking to portray the dominating wife as the large and sturdy domestic tyrant to her smaller and weaker long-suffering mate to invoke uncomfortable humor. The reality that in real, rather than cartoon, life it was just as likely to be large and sturdy successful men with status outside the home who were the victims of much smaller and supposedly soft, virtuous and feminine women inside the home, was deliberately disguised. Thus, a continuous thread of evidence from modern studies of intimate violence, in which Conflict Tactics Scale studies expose female perpetrated assaults and male victimization (eg. Straus, 1993; George, 1994; Morse, 1995) to the times of the Skimmington can be traced with the latter giving credence to the former and vice versa {26}

British forms of the charivari included variations of the French practice, but omitted the semi-financial contribution to a counterpart of the Abbey of Youth. Payment was exacted directly by the celebrants, often in the form of ale and treats which means that men performing abuse and acting in violence against other men in the name of women had substantial profit or financial benefits. The English version of the donkey ride was called a "skimmington" or "riding the stang." This element was the most common in the ritual performance called "rough music." A battered husband usually being beaten by his wife or perceives as lacking sexual prowess leading to his wife's infidelity, rode on a horse behind his wife with his face to the horse's tail. To compound his humiliation, he was forced to hold a distaff in his hands while the woman beat him over the head with a ladle as I described above {8}. Hence, by the nature and the actual context of the Gynocentric power dynamics, lacking the authority and the means to execute it, the man was left without any ability to prevent his wife's abuse through the position of her informal power, thus this was the clandestine nature of the Charivari phenomenon as exhibited through the practice of public shaming and humiliation of men and husbands. Although, in theory, anyone could be victims of Charivaris, especially in this context, those were men that were targeted as the victims. European charivaris cannot be classified as principally urban or lower-class. Most chronicled charivaris happened in towns. No one class is represented to the exclusion of others, although the nature of the custom suggests that wealthier bourgeoisie-or those who were first among equals-would be most apt to incite community ire. There are few examples of noble charivaris that were not contrived and ceremonial, for charivari victims of high rank had ample means to manipulate the custom for their own needs {9}.

In the bottom line, lacking any power, authority and financial means to subjugate and oppress both women in general and their wives in particular, while historically women not only had the informal power but since the renaissance and the proto feminist time also the formal power to do both of this, the dictum that men should not disclose the reality of their domestic lives served as I showed above not as a means of maintaining the none existing aura of male dominance, which most men didn't have anyway, but to maintain the personal female aura as well as that of Gynocentrism and chivalry, even when the reality of their lives was completely different. From this meme, which dictated that men should not be seen to be the victim of a wife’s vile aggression and abuse (or be known to be cuckolded by her), Charivari punishments arose to enforce both male silence through shame and pushing them even more to except any female whim thrown at them by the wife ("manning up" in modern feminist terms" so that the delusion of patriarchy can be maintained, the gynocentric society can be maintained through that very myth and the taboos of female purity, innocence and lack of violence can be kept. From this Reality arose the notion of male invulnerability, which men have suffered in silence throughout the last gynocentric millennia, so that they could continue to serve women while being also a disposable tool of society rather than to object the shame, exclusion and being the social scape goat for all the humanity's evil - not only regarding the Charivari but everything as a whole.

As we have seen, domestic violence was a common motive for a charivari. However, most Gynocentric Charivaris not only unproportionally targeted men but did it in a bi-directional way. France most charivaris were conducted against husbands who were beaten by their wives; in England many skimmingtons were directed against husbands whose wives had been unfaithful. However, the same Charivari was used also against husbands who beat their wives. The wives of course were never punished by Charivaris as perpetrator who beat their husbands. So not only the battered husband but also the husband who was the batterer and beat his wife could awaken at night to a noisy crowd, dancing in a frenzy around a bonfire outside his door. They would be “a motley assembly with hand-bells, gongs, cow-horns, whistles, tin kettles, rattles, bones, {and} frying-pans.” An orator would identify the wife-beater’s house with a signal chant:

There is a man in this place

Has beat his wife!! Has beat his wife!! It is a very great shame and disgrace To all who live in this place, It is indeed upon my life!!

Sometimes the crowd would carry an effigy of the targeted man to a substitute punishment, e.g. burning. Sometimes the man who physically abused his wife would be abused by the community:

Old Abram Higback has been paying his good woman; But he neither paid her for what or for why, But he up with his fist and blacked her eye.

Now all ye old women, and old women kind, Get together, and be in a mind; Collar him, and take him to the shit-house, And shove him over head.

Now if that does not mend his manners, The skin of his arse must go to the tanners; And if that does not mend his manners, Take him and hang him on a nail in Hell.

And if the nail happens to crack, Down with your flaps, and at him piss. {28}

The practices of charivari varied across time and place. But as we have said no evidence exists of a charivari that targeted a wife who had been beaten by her husband as there were un-endless examples of battered husband who would be later also abused through the public shaming practice of Charivari. If the husband beat the wife, the husband was the subject of the charivari. In contrast, if the husband was beaten by the wife, he was also the subject of the charivari {29}. In practical terms regarding this hypocrite type of abuse and misandrist double standard, a battered husband would be exposed to public ridicule by being paraded in public riding backwards on either a donkey or some kind of distaff. In a very few cases, both the husband and the wife would be paraded, tied back to back. However, the Skimmington was more about punishing the battered husband for failing in his Gynocentric responsibilities of taking every whim and abuse of the wife, not holding to her "standards", meaning demands, whether sexually or otherwise and most importantly lacking to hide the abuse by his wife. As so very well explained by S.C. Rogers in her research "female forms of power and the myth of male dominance" {20}, understanding the it is not a man who rules over the domestic life and the household but the wife, the social reality of the Charivari was a warning to all men not to allow the reality of their domestic life to become public knowledge and so destroy the notion that women were pure, innocent and none violent in their nature and not the alleged myth of being the head of the house which had not corresponding reality whatsoever.” Those Charivaris served a few major functions: they were aimed at maintaining the gynocentric power of women as a collective, both collectively as well as in private and sphere and intimate relationships, they were to assure the female dominance over men, they were about to control male sexuality and keeping gynocentric anti male gender roles in place, but they were also rites of passage to facilitate a change of social order and they were a communal form of public censorship {15}.

Moreover, as such rites of passage, those Charivaris were undifferentiated and stable. They celebrated an alteration in the communal order; they were committed to acknowledging and accepting the reality, not to preventing it. As a form of public censure, they reflected the belief of the community that it had the right and even the responsibility to reinforce custom, or at least to remind the community of custom, by imposing extralegal sanctions on social behavior {10}. So, did the community expect any responses and repercussions from the offender? Normally, none. It was as we said aimed at the victim which used to be a male. In fact, the charivari was not intended to prevent the female on male abuse but encourage the male victim "to man up" in the face of the abuse and not only to silently take as a man but in a way that no one knows it. Offenses against the Gynocentric community standards or power dynamics were addressed only when the offense was so evident that it threatened the myth of male dominance and the taboo of female violence. The infraction itself was thus not so important as the manner in which it was committed. Husband beating, for example, was addressed by shaming the man only when it was habitual, not occasional. Humiliation was the most common consequence of a European Charivari. On rare occasions, death or suicide was the result of such Charivaris. Most charivaris did not have such brutal consequences, but they all left a mark on their victims -a mark which attested to the power dynamics of gynocentric cultures {11}

Charivaris as a practice of anti-male shaming and an abusive public humiliation of husband was also adopted in the USA. Tactics and American customs, particularly those of the Midwest, are less histrionic than the excesses of human and social passion demonstrated by the European models. Here, we can observe masked peasants dancing and chanting in processions with images and statues of a husband being beaten with a spoon while riding backward on a donkey and neighbors dressing up to throw blood on the doorstep of such neighbor. As all of these symbolic and dramatic scenarios appall us and as our modern love of privacy as well as the idealization and our pragmatic views of social relationships are offended by such immoderate community intervention in the matter of personal morality, the more rude part of the ceremony gave way to a more subtle way of shaming as I described above. Despite these differences, the similarities of American Shivarees as well as the modern and the more traditional ones- especially the midwestern Shivaree to their European counterparts are inescapable. When people gathered at the place of the ceremony, they expected the high of a Shivaree, so they created them. The community exercised its self-proclaimed right to participate actively in judging, punishing and the prosecution process. The celebration was not just disorderly horseplay; it bore a resemblance to the cacophonous ritual of the mock serenade with all of the European trimmings. The features were standard: discordant noise, a procession afoot or more recently in vehicles, variations of the donkey ride and the mock chase, waterplay or dunkings, demands for payment in treats, and assorted pranks ranging from pouring salt in the sheets to removing the labels from the cans in the pantry. But, in spite of the family resemblance of their components, shivarees were unique and depended on the particular circumstances and relationships of the participants. Anecdotal accounts of the ritual patterns are myriad. One Kansas observer described a celebration held for a distinguished banker known for his "Shivaree" pranks {12}.

Finally, and in conclusion, if to give the reader some taste of the event and a few more recorded accounts of Charivari than we can refer, for example, to Samuel Pepys' records in his diary, 10 June 1667. He writes there:

“In the afternoon took boat and down to Greenwich, where I find the stairs full of people, there being a great riding there to-day for a man, the constable of the town, whose wife beat him.”

A Frenchman who traveled in England reported in 1698:

"I have sometimes met in the streets of London a woman carrying a figure of straw representing a man, crown’d with very ample horns, preceded by a drum, and followed by a mob, making a most grating noise with tongs, grid-irons, frying-pans, and sauce-pans. I asked what was the meaning of all this; they told me that a woman had given her husband a sound beating, for accusing her of making him a cuckold, and that upon such occasions some kind neighbor of the poor innocent injured creature generally performed this ceremony. [5]

Another example describes a neighbor taking the punitive place in the charivari procession on behalf of the husband. That’s the most probably meaning of the phrase “some kind neighbour of the poor innocent injur’d creature generally performed this ceremony.” The public intention seems to have been to beat in public husbands who were beaten within the home. Having a kind neighbor limited the public beating to material and personal representations. Within the home, men and women abused each other. Public punishment for domestic violence, in contrast, seems to have fallen mainly on men. The academic literature on charivari for a beaten husband has emphasized ideology. A wife beating her husband exposes the unreality of patriarchal ideology. Publicly punishing the beaten husband attempts to protect ideology from reality. Focusing on who are punished — men — focuses on the painful, personal reality {30).


{1} "A Skimmington" in 1618 Author(s): B. Howard Cunnington, page 287, paragraph 1!

{2} "A Skimmington" in 1618 Author(s): B. Howard Cunnington, page 287, paragraph 2!

{3} Robert III's 'Rough Music': Charivari and Diplomacy in a Medieval Scottish Court Author(s): John J. McGavin ", page 151

{4} "A Skimmington" in 1618 Author(s): B. Howard Cunnington, page 287 – 288"

{5} Robert III's 'Rough Music': Charivari and Diplomacy in a Medieval Scottish Court Author(s): John J. McGavin ", page 151

{6} Charivari/Shivaree: A European Folk Ritual on the American Plains Author(s): Loretta T. Johnson, page 373 – 374!

{7} Charivari/Shivaree: A European Folk Ritual on the American Plains Author(s): Loretta T. Johnson, page 374!

{8} Charivari/Shivaree: A European Folk Ritual on the American Plains Author(s): Loretta T. Johnson, page 374!

{9} Charivari/Shivaree: A European Folk Ritual on the American Plains Author(s): Loretta T. Johnson, page 378!

{10} Charivari/Shivaree: A European Folk Ritual on the American Plains Author(s): Loretta T. Johnson, page 379!

{11} Charivari/Shivaree: A European Folk Ritual on the American Plains Author(s): Loretta T. Johnson, page 379 - 380!

{12} Charivari/Shivaree: A European Folk Ritual on the American Plains Author(s): Loretta T. Johnson, page 380 - 387!

{13} The “Great Taboo” and the Role of Patriarchy in Husband and Wife Abuse, MALCOLM J. GEORGE, 18

{14} The Battered Husband Syndrome. S.K. Steinmetz, 499.

{15} The “Great Taboo” and the Role of Patriarchy in Husband and Wife Abuse, MALCOLM J. GEORGE, 15

{16} Skimmington Revisited, By Dr M.J.George F.R.S.A, 6-8!

{17} Skimmington Revisited, By Dr M.J.George F.R.S.A, 6-8!

{18} Skimmington Revisited, By Dr M.J.George F.R.S.A, 6-8!

{19} The Female Origin, Nature, Validity and Authority, Yoav Levin

{20} S.C. Rogers, "Female forms of power and the myth of male dominance"

{21} Defending Female Honor and the Roots of Chivalry in the Merovingian Time

{22} Skimmington Revisited, By Dr M.J.George F.R.S.A, 12-13!

{24} Skimmington Revisited, By Dr M.J.George F.R.S.A, 13-14!

{25}Discrimination Against Men Appearance and Causes in the Context of a Modern Welfare State, Pasi Malmi

{26} Skimmington Revisited, By Dr M.J.George F.R.S.A, 18!

{27} 26} Skimmington Revisited, By Dr M.J.George F.R.S.A, 19-20!

{28} Charivari punished men and women unequally for domestic violence, Douglad Ghoulbie, Purple Motes!

{29} Charivari punished men and women unequally for domestic violence, Douglad Ghoulbie, Purple Motes!

{30} Charivari punished men and women unequally for domestic violence, Douglad Ghoulbie, Purple Motes!

{31} Domestic Violence in Fabliau and Farce, Doughlas Ghalbie, Purple Motes!

{32} Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships with Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence | Daniel J. Whitaker, PhD, Tadesse Haileyesus, MS, Monica Swahn, PhD, and Linda S. Saltzman, PhD

{33} Thirty Years of Denying the Evidence on Gender Symmetry in Partner Violence: Implications for Prevention and Treatment, Murray Strauss!

{34} Gender symmetry in partner violence: The evidence, the denial, and the implications for primary prevention and treatment, Murray Strauss

{35} Empowering Female Infidelity and Legalizing Cuckoldry of Men through the Legal System and the Child Support Policies of modern-day Family Courts, Yoav Levin.



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