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NCFM Chicago Chapter President Tim Goldich – “Spalling”

March 28, 2022


Is Woman entitled to revenge for the gender injustices of the past?

Ancient gender polarity shows up clearly in ancient art and artifacts of all kinds. Says author Jenifer Neils: “Mirrors, for example, are frequently found in women’s graves or in the hands of women and goddesses in classical art.” For the same reason that women’s magazines often feature a scantily clad young girl on their covers, “Egyptian bronze hand mirrors often feature a scantily clad young girl as the handle.”

nat;ional coalition for men[T]he adornment of the body with elaborate jewellery, clothing, perfumes, make-up and coiffures or wigs was largely a female preoccupation from at least the time of Homer. In the Iliad the poet details at length how the goddess Hera carefully anointed and dressed herself in order to seduce her husband Zeus. Hera’s elaborate toilette is the female counterpart of Homer’s more common male arming scenarios, but whereas the men prepare for war, Hera prepares for seduction.[1]

Of the two, which would you rather prepare for?

Women are obsessed with female beauty for the same reason men are obsessed with male athleticism; both are sources of power and status. Through the use of clothing, makeup, depilatories, skin creams, perfumes, and hair-styles, women have always made themselves look, feel, and smell as different from men as they possibly can. If there were no power in the feminine, women would not have done everything possible to maximize it. Standard gender bias dictates that men were autonomous while women had beautification “forced” upon them within “patriarchy.” But this author recognizes a patrimatrisensus—a male-female consensus in which both sexes were autonomous adults who made choices. And so long as each sex seized power within its realm, the other was compelled to compensate. In part, women wore makeup to “make up for” (compensate for) being female.

One of several ways in which men suffered (and died) in their efforts to compensate, compensate for being male, was in the building of infrastructures that improved immeasurably the quality of life for both men and women. But the primitive construction technologies and techniques of the time took a vast toll in male injury and death.

For example, to tunnel through hard rock, the ancient Egyptians and later the Romans used a technique known as “spalling” or “fire quenching.” “It called for heating the rock face with fire and then rapidly cooling it with water causing the rock to crack. This technique was extremely hazardous for the workers.”[2] Male workers that is. Author/historian Benson Bobrick comments: “The fire consumed the oxygen in the tunnel and the quenching produced scalding fumes and steam. So it was not much fun to be involved in that process. And I’m sure a lot of people perished.”[3] Yes, a lot of male people. “Ventilation methods were primitive, often limited to waving a canvas at the mouth of the shaft, and most tunnels claimed the lives of hundreds or even thousands”[4] of men.

If it had been thousands of female people suffocated, scalded, disfigured, maimed, and killed, you can bet it wouldn’t be so glibly referred to as having been “not much fun.” You can also be sure that it would have been specifically noted as emblematic of female suffering rather than disguised within gender-neutral terms such as “workers,” “miners,” “personnel,” “crew,” “laborers,” “soldiers,” “firefighters,” etc. To measure male disposability and suffering against the relative privilege, safety and comfort of females, to make an actual side-by-side comparison, is forbidden.

Nevertheless, tunnels, mines, damns, temples, aqueducts, irrigation ditches, roads, bridges . . . such major public works improved immeasurably the lives of both sexes but cost only one sex their lives and limbs. The other sex walking about on her Glass Floor enjoyed relative protection from such horrors at the bottom. Most of the respect went to the male sex, but in terms of protection, charity, empathy, and leniency, the “Second Sex” has usually enjoyed “Ladies First.”

It seems to me that each sex fulfilled its end of the bargain and suffered its part and earned its rewards fair and square. History provides no legitimate basis for inter-sex rage or resentment. And there’s no basis for feminism’s claim of unique entitlement to “victim” or reparations for the gender injustices of the past or “righteous” revenge or “The Future Is Female.”


Tim Goldich

Author of – Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politics


[1]  Neils, Jenifer, Women in the Ancient World (Los Angeles, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011) p.17.

[2]     History Channel, Modern Marvels, season 1/episode 17, “Tunnels,”

[3]     Ibid.


NCFM Chicago Chapter President Tim Goldich – Spalling

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