Discover more from Maiden Mother Matriarch
The launch of the Maiden Mother Matriarch Substack
Some of you subscribed to this Substack literally years ago. Others only in recent weeks. None of you have ever received much in the way of content, since I set it up just before I joined the New Statesman as a columnist back in 2020, and soon found that I didn’t have time to produce a weekly essay.
Fortunately, however, I had it lying in wait for the launch of my new podcast, Maiden Mother Matriarch, which you will hopefully have encountered already on YouTube.
We’ve just released our sixth episode, in which I interview evolutionary psychologist Diana Fleischman. And we’re also today launching MMM on Substack, including an extended version of this episode which will be available to paid subscribers.
I don’t think anyone expected The Case Against the Sexual Revolution to make much of an impact, but for some reason it did. In the nine months since it was published in 2022, I’ve had many, many hundreds of messages from people who tell me that the book has had a profound effect on them. In particular, I often hear from young women who tell me they had never in their lives come across the facts and ideas contained in the book – not just the basic information about human behaviour and sexuality, but also the moral message.
I don’t think this response to my work is the result of my own brilliance or originality, because nothing in The Case Against the Sexual Revolution is blindingly original (as I pointed out several times in the book itself).
Rather, I think that it came along at an important moment. Almost everyone now acknowledges that our sexual culture is dysfunctional but, until recently, it has been difficult for anyone in a progressive milieu to speak honestly about why it is so dysfunctional, for fear of challenging the progressive narrative of feminist history.
I think often of the young woman who described turning down a miserable opportunity for a hook up because, having read my book, she said she felt “armed with permission” to defend her own sexual boundaries. Why would she need “permission” to do such a thing? Because we have all been lying to ourselves, and to each other, about the true nature of male and female sexuality.
But a war on reality can only be waged for so long before reality starts to reassert itself. There’s a line from David Brooks that I love:
While social repair does not happen at scale, it happens in rooms one by one and those things build up and slowly change norms and norms do scale.
I want this Substack to contribute, in a small way, to that process of social repair.
To that end, I will be hosting conversations with a wonderful range of guests, all of whom have something important and interesting to say about sexual politics: philosophers, evolutionary biologists, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, feminist campaigners, and many more. We launched the Maiden Mother Matriarch podcast in February 2023 and the response so far has been extraordinary, both in terms of the numbers of listeners we’ve attracted, and also the feedback we’ve had. We seem to be doing something right.
I also want to create a place where I can generate conversations with my readers and listeners, including on the subject of my next book, the working title of which is The Case For Having Kids (I promise I’ll stop making ‘the case’ for things after this one!). I get smart and thoughtful messages every day from people who want to engage with my work, via email and on twitter. But twitter is a terrible place to have a proper conversation because its incentive structure is so dysfunctional. So I’d like to offer people the opportunity, not only to engage with me, but also to engage with each other. That’s what this Substack is for.
Why pay to subscribe?
Our intention in the medium term is to make the podcast bi-weekly in order to reach an even bigger audience, and we’d also like to be able to film at least some of our episodes in person, rather than down-the-line. All of that will take money and time. Juggling work and motherhood leaves me very time poor, which means that I can’t throw myself into unpaid work in the way that I could BC (Before Child). A paid subscription therefore makes an enormous difference to me personally, as well as to the MMM project.
If you think what we’re doing is valuable, there are a few ways you can help.
Firstly, thank you so much for signing up for a free subscription, which will give you access to the main event: the classic version of the podcast, which you can listen to on Substack, on wherever else you like to get your podcasts. You’ll also have access to the comment section under every episode, and to the MMM chat community. I’ll periodically drop into the chat to start threads and read everyone’s comments, but you are also welcome to start threads yourself. Think of it as a subreddit, but one less likely to attract haters.
Then, for a monthly fee of $8, or an annual fee of $79, you get access to the extended and ad-free version of the podcast. What I do is spend about an hour chatting to the guest before wrapping up the show for free subscribers. Then we switch the cameras off (I think people are more candid without eye contact!) and spend another half an hour or so talking in a slightly more personal and less filtered way.
Finally, for $159 a year, founding members get all of the above plus the following: access to the locked ‘Ask Me Anything’ chat thread, which does exactly what it says on the tin. You’re free to ask me whatever you like, and I’ll reply in mini AMA episodes of the podcast that are available only to founding members. Whenever I speak at a public event I attract a queue of people who want to privately ask questions afterwards – think of the founding members’ tier as a virtual version of that.
And of course if you’re not able to pay for a subscription, you can still support us by listening to the podcast, subscribing on YouTube, rating and reviewing us on Apple podcasts, and telling your friends and family about the show.
Thank you again,