Gynocentrism is a dominant or exclusive focus on women in theory or practice.[1] Anything can be gynocentric when it is considered exclusively with a female or feminist point of view in mind.[2]


The term gynocentrism is derived from ancient Greek, γυνή and κέντρον. Γυνή can be translated as woman or female, but also as wife.[3][4] In ancient Greek compounds with γυνή, the stem γυναικ- is normally used.[4] This stem can be spotted in the genitive case γυναικός,[3] and in the older form of the nominative case γύναιξ.[3] In ancient Greek, no compounds are known to exist with γυνή that start with γυνο- or γυνω-.[4]

The ancient Greek word κέντρον can be translated as sharp point,[4] sting (of bees and wasps),[4] point of a spear[4] and stationary point of a pair of compasses,[4] with the meaning centre of a circle related to the latter.[4] The meaning centre/middle point (of a circle) is preserved in the Latin word centrum,[5][6] a loanword from ancient Greek.[5][6] The English word centre is derived from the Latin centrum.[7] The word κέντρον is derived from the verb κεντεῖν,[4][6] meaning to sting (of bees),[4] to prick,[4] to goad,[4] and to spur.[4] When trying to explain etymologically the term gynocentrism, it is important to consider the ancient Greek κέντρον, with the signification middle point/centre, and not the more obvious ancient Greek word κεντρισμός (mirroring -centrism).


The term gynocentrism has been in use since at least 1897 when it appeared in The Open Court stating that Continental Europeans view Americans "as suffering rather from gynocentrism than anthropocentrism."[8] In 1914, author George A. Birmingham found American social life to be "gynocentric"; it was "arranged with a view to the convenience and delight of women."[9]

Beginning with second-wave feminism in the 1970s, the term gynocentrism has been used to describe difference feminism, which displayed a shift towards understanding and accepting gender differences, in contrast to equality feminism.[10]

Gynocentrism started to appear in the Middle Ages, when society became more and more male-dominated, and the role of women became subservient, who were "treated as delicate creatures to be loved and served by men."[11]

In contemporary society

The Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) community describes themselves as a backlash against the "misandry of gynocentrism".[12][13] According to University of Massachusetts philosopher Christa Hodapp, in modern men's movements gynocentrism is described as a continuation of the courtly love conventions of medieval times, wherein women were valued as a quasi-aristocratic class, and males were seen as a lower serving class. This viewpoint describes feminism as the perpetuation of oppressive medieval conventions such as devotional chivalry and romanticized relationships, rather than as a movement towards liberation.[14] It is the opposite of androcentrism, which is a focus on the male point of view.

J. Lasky has characterized gynocentrism as a potential response to androcentrism, [11] and that gynocentrism has been used as an argument by anti-feminists, who believe that gynocentrism is anti-male.[11]

Gynocentrism takes place within response to domestic violence, where "women’s [domestic violence] victimization is a call to action and a man's [domestic violence] victimization is seen as a distraction and a taboo."[15]

In a 2019 study of Trinidad society published in the Justice Policy Journal, researchers concluded that "gynocentrism pervades all aspects of the criminal justice system as well as society."[16][15]


Christina Hoff Sommers has argued that gynocentrism is anti-intellectual and holds an antagonistic view of traditional scientific and creative disciplines, dismissing many important discoveries and artistic works as masculine. Sommers also writes that the presumption of objectivity ascribed to many gynocentrist theories has stifled feminist discourse and interpretation.[17]

Feminist writer Lynda Burns alleges that gynocentrism is a manification of celebration of women's positive differences—of women's history, myths, arts and music—as opposed to an assimilationist model privileging similarity to men.[18]

However observed in practice, the preeminence of women associated with gynocentric narratives is often seen as absolute: interpersonally, culturally, historically, politically, or in broader social contexts such as popular entertainment. As such, it can shade into what Rosalind Coward called "womanism... a sort of popularized version of feminism which acclaims everything women do and disparages men".[19]

In the 2006 book Legalizing Misandry religious studies professors Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young claim that feminist calls for equality or equity are a subterfuge for gynocentrism.[20] Nathanson and Young state that ideologically, the overriding focus of gynocentrism is to prioritize women hierarchically, and as a result may be interpreted as misandry (hatred of and prejudice towards men).[20] They claim that gynocentrism as a worldview has become de rigueur in law courts and government bureaucracies, resulting in systemic discrimination against men.[20] They define gynocentrism as a form of essentialism as it focuses on the innate virtues of women and the innate vices of men.[20]

See also


  1. ^ Staff writer (2009), "Gynocentrism", in OED (ed.). Oxford English Dictionary - Vers.4.0. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199563838.
  2. ^ Staff writer (2010), "Gynocentric", in OED, ed. (2006). Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198614241.
  3. ^ a b c Kraus, Ludwig A. (1844). Kritisch-etymologisches medicinisches Lexikon (Dritte Auflage). Göttingen, Germany: Deuerlich & Dieterich. OCLC 491993305.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Liddell, Henry G.; Scott, Robert (1940). A Greek-English lexicon / a new edition revised and augmented throughout / by Sir Henry Stuart Jones; with the assistance of Roderick McKenzie and with the co-operation of many scholars. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 630078019.
  5. ^ a b Lewis, Charlton T.; Short, Charles (1879). A Latin dictionary founded on Andrews' edition of Freund's Latin dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 223667500.
  6. ^ a b c Saalfeld, Günther Alexander Ernst Adolf (1884). Tensaurus Italograecus : ausführliches historisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Griechischen Lehn- und Fremdwörter im Lateinischen. Wien: Druck und Verlag von Carl Gerold's Sohn, Buchhändler der Kaiserl. Akademie der Wissenschaften. OCLC 46301119.
  7. ^ Klein, Ernest (1971). A comprehensive etymological dictionary of the English language: Dealing with the origin of words and their sense development thus illustration the history of civilization and culture. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science B.V. OCLC 802030047.
  8. ^ The Open Court, Volume 11 (Open Court Publishing Company, 1897)
  9. ^ George A. Birmingham, From Dublin to Chicago: Some Notes on a Tour in America (George H. Doran Company, 1914)
  10. ^ Nicholson, Linda J. (1997), "Gynocentrism: women's oppression, women's identity, and women's standpoint", in Nicholson, Linda J., ed. (1997). The second wave: a reader in feminist theory (Volume 1). New York: Routledge. pp. 147–151. ISBN 9780415917612.
  11. ^ a b c Lasky, J. (2023). Gynocentrism. Salem Press Encyclopedia.
  12. ^ Daubney, Martin (November 24, 2015). "George Lawlor's story shows how universities have become hostile towards men". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on April 15, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  13. ^ Smith, C. Brian (September 28, 2016). "The straight men who want nothing to do with women". MEL Magazine. Archived from the original on February 14, 2017.
  14. ^ Christa Hodapp, Men's Rights, Gender, and Social Media, Lexington Books (September 5, 2017) ISBN 1498526160
  15. ^ a b Joseph-Edwards, Avis; Wallace, Wendell C. (2020-09-13). "Suffering in Silence, Shame, Seclusion, and Invisibility: Men as Victims of Female Perpetrated Domestic Violence in Trinidad and Tobago". Journal of Family Issues. 42 (8): 1805–1830. doi:10.1177/0192513x20957047. ISSN 0192-513X.
  16. ^ Wallace, W. C., Gibson, C., Gordon, N. A., Lakhan, R., Mahabir, J., & Seetahal, C. Domestic Violence: Intimate Partner Violence Victimization Non-Reporting to the Police in Trinidad and Tobago. (2019)
  17. ^ Hoff Sommers, Christina (1995), "Transforming the academy", in Hoff Sommers, Christina, ed. (May 1995). Who stole feminism?: How women have betrayed women. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 64–73. ISBN 9780684801568.
  18. ^ La Caze, Marguerite (2006), "Splitting the difference: between Young and Fraser on identity politics", in Burns, Lynda, ed. (2006). Feminist alliances. Amsterdam New York: Rodopi. p. 153. ISBN 9789042017283.
  19. ^ Coward, Rosalind (2000), "Introduction", in Coward, Rosalind, ed. (2000). Sacred cows: is feminism relevant to the new millennium. London: HarperCollins. p. 11. ISBN 9780006548201.
  20. ^ a b c d Nathanson, Paul; Young, Katherine K. (2006). Legalizing misandry: from public shame to systemic discrimination against men. Montreal Ithaca: McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. 58, 116, 209. ISBN 9780773559998.