There are numerous causes of gynophobia. It is a common phenomena among males aged 3–18. Researchers found widespread adult gynophobia can be caused by a lack of available resources necessary to increase the population. Gynophobia is sometimes rational, and at other times, irrational.
A subset of gynophobia is caligynephobia, or the fear of beautiful women.
Symptoms of gynophobia include:
- Dread or worry about having to be around or interact with women
- Guilt or shame about the fear of women
- Inability to control or overcome the fear of women
- Intense panic and strong desire to flee when near women
Common childhood heterophobia
Before preschool, girls and boys see themselves as more or less equals. After they are sent to preschool, toddlers are taught to see themselves through a gendered worldview, and they are exposed to more gender stereotyping by adults.
Cooties that are stronger than intra-sexual fear continue all throughout adolescence. All throughout childhood, and with a strong effect size.
Unusual adult gynophobia
Gendered fear usually completely dissipates at around 17 years old. This was proven in a study by Eva H. Telzer and Jessica Flannery which measured amygyla response in children to same-sex vs. opposite peers. Due to the strong effect size of the gendered fear shown in the study, we can assume from this that many, if not most, gynophobic adult incels fail to meet some developmental process and/or set of societal standards that rids them of their fear of the opposite sex.
Some academics have implied that adult gynophobia emerges from an inability or unwillingness to drop gender stereotyping as they age.
A possible counter-hypothesis to this dominant academic insinuation would be that children are not primarily socialized into gender roles, but that socialization brings about a natural, and unavoidable blossoming of pre-determined biological gender roles.
Another counterargument to the above academic insinuation would be that academics haven't proven that gender stereotyping lessens as gynphobia lessens, but rather the gendered fear leaves through other developmental processes, such as an ability to adapt to gender roles continuously imposed by society or biology. If this is true, then gynophobic adults could not adapt to gender roles, whereas men not afraid of women were able to adapt to such roles.
Dr. Brian Gilmartin noticed this to some extent, and proposed eliminated traditional gender roles such as sports as a way to lessen male gynophobia. Blackpillers also notice this and often shout insults at fellow teens and young adults who fail to adopt gender roles, such as, "soyboy", "beta male" etc.
Pretty much all sides acknowledge fear of women, at least, as an adolescent holdover, and often coincedes with other adolescent behaviours.
Greg from alt.sexual.abuse.recovery.moderated Usenet Group
Greg describes his extreme fear of women, which he attributes to being sexually abused as a child. He also describes his gynophobia as causing incel and homosexuality, and recommends people read Alana's Involuntary Celibacy Project. After being rejected by a man, his gynophobia intensified.
Vagina dentata, or the depiction of fearsome, toothed-vaginas, is found in Native American mythology. Among the Chaco Indians, there exists a myth that the first women among the Chaco Indians had toothed vaginas, with which they ate. In this myth, the local men were scared until a man named Caroucho, positioned as the hero of the story, knocks their teeth out.
Possible societal causes of gynophobia
Population expansion limitations
Extreme examples of universal, cultural gypnohobia have been found in the highlands of New Guinea, where widespread anti-masturbation propaganda coincides with notions of, "perilous female sexuality". The anthropologist Carol Ember argues that such fears were likely caused by limited availability of basic resources that would be required to increase the population.
Societal overidealization of women
In ancient mythology, woman is often presented as a vessel bearing all living things and also as a Great Goddess who destroys life. This attitude is somewhat similar to a common fear-eliciting threat modern mothers make to their children, specifically the phrase, "I brought you into this world, so I can take you out".
In ancient religious myths, woman (sometimes depicted as a Great World Tree, pomegranate, poppyhead, mountain, or goddess) literally produces all living things in her womb, and empties them out of herself into the living world. In the "vessel" analogy, the inside of the vessel is unknown, and all body orifices are special zones, each regarded as idols by artistic representation. The historical permanence of woman as body-vessel, has been artistically depicted to elicit fear. For example, the cartoonist Albert Dubout once depicted the Great Goddess as eliciting fear from a short man simply by displaying her large breasts and noting that her breast survived World War II.
Woman as Great Goddess was also depicted as a goddess of death in multiple ancient mythologies.
Ancient Indian mythology
In India, the goddess "Kali the Terrible" is both the mother of all things and a fearsome destroyer. She expresses her destruction through a wide array of female avatars (or "agents"). Kali's avatars and agents are regarded by believers as responsible for serious illnesses such as typhoid fever, whooping cough, epilepsy, delirium, and convulsions. For example, Kali's agent goddess Vasurimala is mythologized as responsible for smallpox and cholera. Believers in the rural Indian town of Cranganore, make symbolic monetary offerings to Kali, to fulfill promises made in fear of being stricken with smallpox or cholera.
Ancient Greek mythology
In ancient Greek mythology, at least 7 female Goddesses are depicted as both nursing mothers and as queens of the dead.
Alleged female hostility toward societal ideals
The author of The Fear of Women, Wolfgang Lederer, makes the argument in his book that gynophobia is partially the result of men and women allegedly having different attitudes toward societally-based morality. He argues that women were mostly absent and also sometimes explicitly excluded from the meaningful aspects of the creation of society. He further argues that this contributes to what he sees as historically-universal female hostility toward societal goals such as justice, goals which exist outside practical and immediate interpersonal affairs. Wolfgang argues that this is not just his idea, but projected into religion through all historical communities that have both a father-deity and a mother-deity, where, he argues, the mother-deity is always morally indifferent.
Because Wolfgang thinks that men have societal ideals, while women do not, Wolfgang argues that 'real' women 'intrude obstinately and necessarily' on an imagined ideal of women that men have of them. He states that this births a male fear that women will forever, or sooner or later, be his disappointment.
Medical diagnostic test for gynophobia
There is an academic/medical diagnostic criteria for gynophobia, but it is mostly discussed in academic papers that are simply not available on the internet. It's called the Survey of Heterosexual Interactions (or SHI Inventory), created by the academic Craig Twentyman and Richard McFall in the 1970s. It's a 20 question diagnostic criteria for heterosexual heterophobia, which of course includes gynophobia. Unfortunately, most readily available references to the survey do not expound on it much. The questionnaire attempts to gauge the fear levels of survey participants at the time the survey participants want to approach a sexual or romantic interest.
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