Men: Beasts of Burden
A tradesman delivering goods with
a yoke near Broadway, Worcestershire, at the turn of the century.
Source: The Book of the British Countryside (published by Drive Publications
Limited, 1973), which contains the picture of the man wearing the yoke, contains a number
of illustrations that show farming practices over the ages. The illustrations do
show that the heavy and dangerous work was always done by men.
At the resolution provided by this copy of the picture in this document, the detail is
insufficient to show that the woman, who may have been either one of the tradesman's
customers or his wife seeing him off on his daily rounds, is wearing polished dress shoes
and has no fallen arches. The man on the other hand is wearing dirty, worn shoes
that are not polished, and he quite obviously has fallen arches. Although he is
wearing a smile and the woman is not, he must have found his delivery route to be tiring
and painful. Carrying the load under his yoke is certainly not an exercise that
elevates him to the status of oppressor and an imposing figure in the
"patriarchy." Why was he smiling and the woman wasn't?
Isn't it good that men managed to make things a bit easier for themselves by inventing
vehicles and tools through which their burden could be lightened a bit? Isn't it
also good that they invented production methods that allow them now to produce these
vehicles at a cost that people can afford?
We should give our gratitude to all men who selflessly and wearing smiles devoted their
lives throughout history to improve the lot of all of society. Why is it that
radical feminists can't find it in their hearts to do that? Maybe they
aliens from a different planet, as James Gunn, tongue in cheek, suggests in one of his
pieces, The Misogynist.
In 1961 to 1962 I worked in Korea as an advisor to the Korean Ministry of
Communications, under contract by Siemens & Halske, a German telecommunication
equipment manufacturer. During that time I had an opportunity to observe Koreans of
both sexes in the performance of their duties. Yes, it was a patriarchal society and
as related in a message by Prof. Mark Patton, who works there
right now, to a large extent it still is.
The Korean economy was coming out of the ruins of the Korean War. Not only that,
it was also just setting its foot into the industrial era during which it became the
industrial giant it is now.
The heavy work was done by men, not by women, although women took part in many of the
lighter tasks of agricultural work. I took many photographs of people at work.
It fascinated me to observe men carry their loads, not women (women never did heavy
work). There were few carts and far fewer motorized vehicles in use in Korea at the
time. I never even saw a wheel barrow while I was in Korea, but there was a
considerable number of bicycles. Loads were carried on the luggage racks of bicycles
by those people who could afford the latter. Those people who couldn't afford
bicycles carried the loads on their backs. It was always men who carried
them, everything and anything, from pigs (who were first given rice wine to drink to make
them docile) to market, to concrete up the scaffolds at construction sites.
The men who were load carriers moved enormous weights. The base of their
equipment they used to carry it with was an A-frame with shoulder straps that often were
fashioned out of plaited straw. The A-frame was constructed out of a pair of tree
branches that had a smaller branch branching off horizontally toward the back. Those
smaller branches were the base for a platform on which the load to be carried was
arranged. Some of those loads must have weighed far more than a hundred pounds.
The carriers would position their carrying rack on the ground, with the A-frame and a
removable balancing stick forming a stable tripod. They would stack their loads and
then slip into the harness. After that, they would slowly stagger upright and carry
their load to the destination that it took often many hours of walking to reach.
Seoul, the capital of Korea, had in those days (in 1961) few sewers in older
residential areas. Besides, the back alleys of those residential areas were far
too narrow to permit the passage of any motor vehicles, especially not vacuum
trucks. I saw men (never women) with yokes like that shown at the top of this
page, with a pail on each end, carry the night soil out of those alleys and
empty their pails into larger vats mounted on ox-carts that were waiting at their alleys'
The photo of Shorpy (at right) shows Shorpy to be covered with grease. It does
not stretch anyone's imagination too far to figure out what the night-soil
carriers in Seoul were covered with.
Those men were quite literally at the dirty end of the job of living and of being
providers for their families.
In other countries that I passed through on the return trip, rickshaws or tricycles
were used for transportation. Those were also pulled or propelled exclusively by
As I saw those men labouring to move loads within their local economies, I
gained one firm
impression. In addition to being providers and protectors, men in patriarchies
always and everywhere in the world were and still are beasts of burden. There were and are
exceptions in some countries and societies, but it seems that those countries and societies
amount to very much. It seems that where men weren't carrying their load, the
economies never evolved far. Some of those economies never made it out of the stone
As I observed the Korean men carry their loads, I knew that their country's economy was
destined to develop into a world power. The rest is history.
The men who carried and still carry their loads in "patriarchal" societies,
and who often sacrificed and still sacrifice their lives and health in the process of bringing their societies
to greatness, deserve our gratitude. It is comforting to know that there are still
whole societies, largely untouched by the ravages of radical feminism *, who recognize the
sacrifices that men make. As Prof. Mark Patton tells us in his message from Taegu in
Korea, South Korea is one of those societies.
The French language still recognizes to this day the role that men played in doing the
important job of moving the goods. The term for truck driver is le camion
* If the term "radical feminism" (a.k.a. Marxist- or socialist-feminism) is
somewhat new to you, you need to expand your knowledge. After all, radical
feminism, the currently controlling faction of feminism, governs just about
everything that is happening in your life. See,
Carey Roberts column
Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on political correctness. His
best-known work was an exposť on Marxism and radical feminism.
Carey Roberts' best-known work, his exposť on Marxism and radical
feminism, is not necessarily easy to find, but
this link will help with that. (Some of the URLs for the article
series appear to keep changing. For that reason the identified link leads
to an Internet search for the series. The first or second link in the
return list will most likely lead you to the series.)
1999 06 04
2001 01 29 (format changes)
2007 11 16 (re-formated, added photo of Shorpy)