As the decade ends, I’m still pondering gender. Everything was so different in 2010. No intersectionality. No rape culture. No toxic masculinity. No incels. No need to worry that that cool thing you like is actually a vehicle for oppressing women.
Then came a saying: “gender is a social construct”. It signaled the rise of intersectional feminism as a mainstream ideology. It gained a foothold in online communities like atheism, sci-fi and open source. It entered the workplace as more adherents graduated from colleges teaching it. It took over around the same time the internet took over from real life as the cultural center of mass, and became the lens under which left-wing culture and politics would operate under for the next decade. It’s a form of social constructivism, which says that all differences in outcome between the sexes come from artificial biases in our culture, not the result of any innate differences in average behavior or preferences.
It also gave rise to Woke Capital. Companies serving both children and adults started making overt appeals to Diversity and Inclusion, thanks to well-paid diversity consultants. Even giants like Apple and Intel were swayed. If they couldn’t be slowly convinced from the inside, they’d be pressured from the outside until they did. And they did.
Entertainment also went all in. Some movies were marketed entirely on the fact that women could do what men do, and better. Comic houses dug up their B- and C-list female and PoC superheroes, and some A-listers were simply recast or transitioned. The new Star Wars and Trek erased several decades to pretend someone was the first at something. Daenerys and Cersei took the lead from all the men around them, who mostly stood around being dumb and useless.
But I have to tell you, dear reader, one thing I didn’t see coming at all. Namely that the House of Disney, which just force-fed us Rey, would start handing out “red pills,” and in a Star Wars spin-off of all things. Kylo Ren’s corpse isn’t even cold yet (or so I hear), but all anyone can talk about is Baby Yoda.
Enter the Mandalorian.
For those of you not watching, let’s just take stock of what exactly is on offer.
The Mandalorian is the universe’s most bad-ass bounty hunter. He’s swift, deadly and takes the most dangerous jobs. He barely speaks, he mostly just judges and acts silently. He is faceless because he never takes his helmet off in front of others, and not on-screen until the finale. His warrior code forbids him, and it would shame and exile him permanently if he ever did. When the Mandalorian walks into a room, nobody mistakes him for a nobody.
This is the most masculine of masculine archetypes. It’s all there. The hyper-competence. The lethal risk taking. The stoicism of a rock cliff inside a permanent knight’s uniform. The respect he gets from conducting himself in this way.
But in walks Baby Yoda. When the most manly of men is tasked to kidnap this adorable critter, with its puppy dog eyes and supercritical levels of cute, he can’t bring himself to complete the job and walk away. The crook has a heart of gold after all, and chooses to permanently adopt the baby to keep it safe, which he does without question. It’s a deliberate act of self-sacrifice, in service of higher principles, and it only makes us like him even more.
But if you view this through the lens of intersectionality, this is all Highly Problematic. The lead is a toxicly masculine male, who is so bottled up you may as well put a black label on it. He uses violence to solve most problems and walks around like the entitled male that he is. He doesn’t really give a damn about anyone else, except for the child he assumes ownership of. But he leaves it unsupervised half the time, or volunteers someone else as a nanny, while he’s off being a bad-ass. Yikes.
Cue the modern western woman, a Star Wars fan, the kind with pronouns and Harry Potter in her Twitter bio, who makes occasional snipes at how terrible men are and that they should be cancelled. How does she react?
She jokes that if the Mandalorian, a most dangerous and capable criminal, had a strong financial incentive to kill her, she’d basically roll over and allow herself to get caught, while showing off her best assets. It goes viral and the Mandalorian himself, Pedro Pascal, retweets it to everyone’s delight. Because she wants to have sex with him, and wants him to want to have sex with her. A wealthy male star in an industry which just got over a serial sexual harassment scandal.
So much for western feminism then.
Like all good jokes, it carries more than a little truth. If someone is out to kill you, the only reason you would roll over and play dumb is because you think you can convince them otherwise. That you can charm them despite the price on your head. That’s a female power fantasy wrapped in a submission fantasy, and the script to more than a few romance novels and fanfics.
No, this doesn’t mean women have “rape fantasies.” This is a fantasy of being ravished. It means being so irresistable to her chosen partner that he can’t help himself and loses control, giving her the best sex she’s ever had in the process.
I also think it’s relevant that the video showed a man acting all helpless and flamboyant. If it were a woman in a bikini on a beach, it would have registered more as slutty, and maybe set off those pesky patriarchy detectors. By laundering the gag through a man, that was avoided. But few things are more patriarchal than a woman offering herself willingly to a powerful man, using her body as a prize more valuable than money.
Time then, for the real tough pill to swallow. The patriarchy exists, but it’s mainly the word for the decisions that women make collectively.
Because when the patriarchy wants women to be pretty and wear make-up, that’s the competition between women doing so, which starts with puberty and never stops. When it says women should be housewives instead of building careers, that’s mostly housewives saying it, whose husbands willingly work more when they choose to work less and watch The View. When the patriarchy is more critical of women than men, they forget it’s women who are by far the worst in this, as anyone who has encountered mixed-gender office politics can attest.
I suspect many women have no idea just how drama-free a male-only group can be, or how much of what they consider general culture is really just women’s culture, made by women for women about women. Or at least, about people whom women want to fuck.
None of this gender orthodoxy is new either, it just became mainstream fashionable to adopt it. Intersectionality is from the 90s, and second-wave feminism two decades before that. Almost three generations now have grown into adulthood being taught all about real gender equality, and yet they continued to make mostly the same decisions as those that came before, especially the women. How many of them willingly split the bill on the first date? How many still want a diamond even if they know where those come from? Because the men for their part have certainly stopped doing a great many things, like you know, going to college.
If the patriarchy says men should be providers, who should take charge, build wealth and run the world, it would appear that’s because when men do so, women get horny and reward them for it. When men are needy and vulnerable, it’s a turn off. I should know because I’m a red-blooded gay male, and my kinks are mostly theirs. The only difference is that I’m attracted to the same thing my partners are, so gay men generally have to be masculine in order to attract a masculine mate. The guy in the video above does nothing for me, even if he’s half-naked and very fit, because he’s acting in the least masculine way possible.
The main effect of a decade of intersectionality is that many have forgotten what masculinity actually looks like. By labeling it all as toxic, and telling men they should act more like women, they have been sent entirely up shit creek without a paddle. When those men then discover that being a sensitive butterfly is more likely to make them an emotional tampon in an otherwise romanceless friendship, the result is predictable and widespread resentment.
It’s not actually that hard to explain. In the game of procreation, women are the bottleneck. They have always been the most at risk, due to the vulnerability of a pregnant woman, and the risks of childbirth before modern medicine. Over time, this worked to give women a healthy sense of self-preservation in choosing a mate. Men on the other hand were just incentivized to mate as much as possible, at any cost. Their investment in their offspring was mainly to risk dying to protect them rather than raising them.
In this game, as the gatekeepers, women have two choices. If they are honest about what they want and advertise their needs, they risk being tricked by impostors who know exactly what to fake. But if they are vague about what they want, even entirely misleading, they throw off the impostors, who make fools of themselves. They can just quietly select the ones who demonstrate the right qualities by themselves. This is the game of shit testing between men and women, and it’s a fact of life just like the sun coming up every day.
It’s a complete cliché but it’s true. All they want to tell you is Rule 1: Be Attractive. Rule 2: Don’t be Unattractive.
Telling men to be sensitive is daring them to stop being attractive. Women will swear up and down they’d never be so cruel or heartless, but countless divorce stories from men tell a different story. Unfortunately, while it’s perfectly fine to say humans are irrational creatures, and that men can be pigs, it’s not acceptable to say women can be bitches. But everyone knows it’s true, especially other women.
You might also notice that despite all the concern over the gendered subtleties of patriarchal language, the word “coward” has never received much scrutiny despite the fact that it is implicitly male. Women don’t actually suffer any reputational damage for shying away from conflict, unlike men. You can also observe that sex and body-positive activists often see no problem in calling an opponent a tiny-dicked virgin, because virility derived from male sexual prowess is also not just a social construct.
Gender is not a rigid binary, but it is heavily bimodal. What gender ideologues have done is taken the outliers at the edges, who don’t fit in with traditional gender roles, and made them the default for everyone, as if it was all arbitrary. The fact that they kept arguing over who gets to use which bathroom, instead of just declaring they should all be unisex, should probably tell us something. Namely that it can’t be engineered away.
The reason they’ve been able to monopolize the debate is because women’s needs and survival are considered more important in the first place. This is a cognitive bias, and feminism is the political manifestation of this bias. As a result, Team Women can hijack culture to convince it up is down, that gender isn’t really real, even when it’s their gender role that’s allowing them to do so uncontested. We kinda just let them do it, because to tell them otherwise would upset them (and then demand an apology), and even if we say no, some other thirsty guy will probably say yes.
This does point you to what the solution actually is to all this gender malarky: men need to again be committed to mutual solidarity. It is unlikely this can happen in large groups, because of the high risk of defection in an age of lonelyness. But in smaller, trusted circles, you can absolutely bring back a sense of brotherhood. Which is what Team Men used to look like.
When you rediscover it it’s unmistakeable. As a side effect any women you invite to such brotherly gatherings will notice it too, because suddenly nobody will be thirsting for them, and they will actually have to be witty and interesting to be accepted, just like us. It’s quite funny to watch, because the tempered ambiance of mature testosterone will be pleasant, even refreshing to bask in. You can call your buddy a whore and everyone has a laugh. Remember fun?
So why don’t I tell you what actually makes men attractive. It’s amazing by the way, every time straight guys hear me tell this, they start listening very attentively. Because nobody has ever actually just explained it to them A to Z.
The main thing to realize is that men and women are attractive in entirely different ways. Women’s fashion is all about being a unique, special snowflake. Her goal is to be the most beautiful woman at the ball, who makes all the other girls look frumpy and not up to par. Women are always on the look-out for new trends, new hair styles, new silhouettes, new fabrics, and so on. Skin is also very important: the sexyness of the dress is roughly proportional to how much it shows, up to a certain limit.
Men’s fashion is entirely different. Whereas women have endless looks for any occasion, men rarely have more than one. The obvious lack of variety is not a bug, it’s a feature. The goal is not to show how different you are, the goal is to show that you conform to certain norms. You are not signaling uniqueness, but reliability. The norms can vary from scene to scene, or context to context, but fundamentally the basic principle is always that of a uniform.
Business men dress unmistakeably like business men, and doing so universally acts as a +1 to a man’s Charisma stat. This may be deceptive because any sleazy guy can put on a suit, but what remains is the underlying signal of compliance, which triggers the hindbrain: it is proof-of-work that he’s willing to at least pay the price of admission. A good suit on a good man is easily a +2 or +3, or as one gay friend calls it: gift wrapping for cock.
Important to point out is that a well-dressed man is usually sexier than the same man naked, and this is why showing skin in male fashion is just not very important on its own. Once he takes it all off, he’s the pretty much the same use as any other man, plus or minus an inch or two.
You might say: but what about “bad boys”? Those rebellious types that young women fall for, upsetting the nice guys. Surely they are not signaling reliability? But they are. They are reliably signaling anti-conformity, and it’s only the ones playing the part with verve who win. The right bad outfit, habits and tastes are just as successful in the counter-culture as proper behavior is in the mainstream. Counter-culture rebels just make poor husbands in their 30s, but that’s not important when they’re 20.
If you’re not convinced, consider that every classic male stripper outfit is some variant of a man performing his duty responsibly for the public good: policeman, fireman, pilot, captain, soldier, … That’s what women get off on. These are roles for men who agree to enter service, often laboriously. Their reward is increased authority to go with that responsibility, or in other words, status derived from self-sacrifice.
The often cited kink of “rolled up sleeves” is also in this vein: he’s about to get to work, or just finished, and that’s hot. It’s not that hairy forearms by themselves are particularly irresistible. If he takes his shirt off while he’s sweaty and hot from doing construction work, well, that’s literally a Diet Coke commercial, a product aimed squarely at women.
It’s a mistake to think this means you need to buy a fancy suit and a sports car tho. You’d be losing the shit test again, confusing the things that are obviously marketed to you from what actually works. What you need is to work on yourself and make a bunch of small changes. That’s the hard part, but also the readily achievable part.
(If you don’t need any tips, you can just skip to the end, you handsome devil.)
The torso silhouette is important. This can be discouraging because your shoulders are the deciding factor in this, but clothes can do a lot too. For example, baggie hoodies tend to create a / \ profile when what you really want is | | and ideally \ /. But what’s also important is the core. A well-built man stands like a pillar, hips straight up from his legs, with arms like cantilevers. When they say “dad-bod”, that’s what they mean. It’s not about being chubby or not (that’s a bear), it’s about him looking like he won’t blow over in a hurricane and can possibly pull a cart if necessary. This is generally what gyms are for. Even better is a hobby that actually gets you exercising naturally.
The butt is a common area of error. You want pants that don’t sag behind you, so that you get a nice toosh. Every body is different, so you need to find a brand that works for you. You should also buy new pants if you lose weight, and keep the old ones around until outmoded in case you spring back. Never wear pants that are too tight and uncomfortable, especially if a fashion-conscious woman says they look great on you. Women have a much higher tolerance for dysfunctional clothing because only their look matters, and they can always borrow your jacket, but for a man it is extremely important he feels comfortable because otherwise he can’t act comfortably.
Zooming in on the crotch, you should know that male crotches are magnetic in the same way women’s boobs are. Most men think you can’t see anything because it’s all just fabric, but this is untrue. The trained spotter develops good x-ray vision for such things. But the same way that push-up bras work even if you know they’re there, pants that flatter your bulge are never a bad idea. Pants with a zipper that makes you either look flat or tented should be avoided for extremely obvious reasons.
Oh and btw, if you thought it was weird that was the third item in the list, it really isn’t, just so you know. They just didn’t tell you. Why do you think manspreading was so ‘objectionable’ in the first place? You made them look.
Moving on, one simple way to upgrade is to just get nicer versions of what you already have, and leave the adolescent boy behind. If you don’t have t-shirts without graphics, get some. Get a dress shirt that fits your shoulders, and some dark cotton pants you can swap out for jeans. Maybe get a generic dark sweater that you can wear over it, so you can do fancy without going formal. Get some adult looking shoes and a belt and coat or blazer to go with them.
Avoid the temptation to dress like a comic book character, with highly unique pieces to create your ‘look’. Less really is more. If you do want to stand out, maybe try a shirt or vest with a slightly more military cut, even little epaulets. It works. Trust me. But don’t do camo, that’s trying too hard, just get some nice leather boots instead.
Facial hair is also a big one. Nothing says “boy” like a ratty beard or a sad attempt at a mustache. Know what you can and cannot do, and then do it well. Keep the edges trim, and maintain the sideburns too. Always check in profile, it’s not just about looking good from the front. The same goes for the rest of your hair. Get it cut before it gets to hobo level, and get a barber who knows what they’re doing and can make you look good. Watch the nose hairs, and of course, trim down below too.
If your hairline has started to recede, a word of advice: some barbers are chickens who don’t dare cut a balding man’s head properly. They’ll leave too much on and attempt desperate gravity-defying comb-overs, which look terrible. Find a better one, who knows how to make it work instead of pretending it’s not happening. Your best bet is to use a nourishing shampoo.
If it’s really not salvageable, consider a shaved bald head in a new light. A man willingly gives up having any hair at all, sacrificing a part of himself, to salvage some dignity and self-respect. This absolutely works, we just covered why, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
* * *
To close this off, a word to those who read this and see nothing but misogyny and gender essentialism. Not that they’d read to the end, but y’know.
I’m not one to put people in boxes, because I’m somewhat of a misfit myself. If you don’t feel that the traditional model is for you, by all means, go be someone else. Sexual attraction is complicated and the above are just the broadest baselines, stripped of all nuance. It’s not about individuals, it’s about how men and women broadly behave. The significant exceptions are a minority and don’t change the picture, they merely add color to it.
Some might say I’m using “gender” wrong, but that argument is part of a postmodern game of words. By defining “gender” to only refer to culturally learned behaviors, it implies one is merely drawing a semantic distinction between that and “sex”, the biological side. But the phrase “gender is a social construct” is actually used to imply that all sexual differences in behaviour and outcome stem from cultural biases, an extreme and unjustifiable claim.
The dance of men and women has persisted for millennia, and it cannot just be dismissed as thousands of years of gendered oppression. That’s a retro-active reinterpretation from a luxurious world where most of the constraints on either men or women have dropped away, and women in particular are doing suspiciously well. It has no room for millions dead in trenches, for feudal serfs working fields to the bone, or miners dying of black lung. It also has no room for queens and other influential matriarchs, of which there are plenty. To assume that when women suffer, men are responsible, is simply not justified.
This dance was also not created by culture, because no culture differs significantly from this. Its origin lies in differences in personality and interests, which are measurable in groups, even at an early age. Hence, it cannot be dismantled or smashed. Because that’s actually just the female role talking, drawing resources to itself.
Some people have grown up privileged enough they’ve never had to notice just how different men and women react when the situation actually gets bad. The genius part is that they loudly said it was everyone else who was unaware of their privilege, and got away with it.
But if you don’t tell people the truth, the result is widespread dysfunction. Most will contort themselves into pretzels, taught to feel shame about that which makes them happy.
Perspicacious analysis, cogent summary, and clear presentation. 10/10 would recommend.
No other group of humans on earth has as many resourced dedicated to its comfort and privilege as women in developed countries.
We’re not fucking oppressed.
While I can appreciate the distinction you are trying to draw between ravishment and rape, it is a technicality. It is a bit like saying “He didn’t mug me, I had already decided I was going to give him the money before he pulled out the gun. It was just aggressive begging.”. Someone enraptured into ‘uncontrollable lust’ has become a rapist.
The conformity in men’s fashion is not about signaling reliability, it is about signaling membership. It is way for men to communicate where they are in the social hierarchy. In gross terms, women derive status primarily from the amount of attention they get, men derive status primarily from who listens to them.
I can appreciate the distinction. Though I think the membership you describe is of groups of men distinguished and ranked largely by their ability to provide resources and prosperity. In order to be listened to as a man you must have already proven your worth. Women can skip this hurdle usually.
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It would appear your intuitions are correct. As always, stuff like this goes better with some empirical sources, but from what I’ve seen they prove you correct. Look good and be high status. The low emphasis on game and other cheap behavioral tricks was appropriate.
“In the game of procreation, women are the bottleneck. They have always been the most at risk, due to the vulnerability of a pregnant woman, and the risks of childbirth before modern medicine. Over time, this worked to give women a healthy sense of self-preservation in choosing a mate.
Men’s fashion is entirely different [from women’s]. … You are not signaling uniqueness, but reliability.”
Your discussion of fashion may be true of modern Western culture in particular, but I’m more skeptical about your evolutionary-psychology justification of it, for the simple reason that historically women raising children were able to rely on much more support from their community than they can now. In premodern (or at least pre-Industrial-Revolution) Europe, of course, people often lived in extended families, with grandparents, uncles and aunts, etc. also living with a child and its parents and able to help. This is even more true of the traditional tribal cultures that humans presumably lived in for most of their history, which frequently practice alloparenting, i.e. a child being cared for by the entire tribe including distantly related or unrelated people. (My main source for this is Jared Diamond’s “The World Until Yesterday”, as I haven’t studied the subject much.) To a woman living in such a society, a potential mate’s reliability would be much less important than it is in the modern West, since she could trust that the rest of her tribe would help care for her child even if her mate didn’t.
I think it’s more likely that this distinction in fashion developed as a result of Western gender roles: men did most of the work from which a family’s income came, so a man’s reliability and success became more important to his family’s well-being than his wife’s reliability and success; meanwhile, in the upper-class families which were generally seen as high-status, a mother didn’t need to do much work, since she could afford to hire servants, so she could focus on appearing beautiful and unusual and other competitions for social status among her peers; as a result, reliable success (in men) and beauty (in women) were considered high-status. Since women started to often have jobs only around 50 years ago, and since women are still less likely than men to have jobs (according to the US Department of Labor website at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/data/widget , 49.5% of women and 60.1% of men were employed as of June 2020, and there was a similar gap in 2019 before the pandemic), it’s not surprising that these expectations haven’t changed much.
Then again, this is just an idea I thought of; to be able to tell what actually causes the difference between men’s and women’s fashion, you need to test your hypothesis against the evidence. If the difference is inherent in human nature, you should expect to see it in almost all human cultures (and if you’re using evolutionary psychology to justify it, you’d better be able to refute the objection I made here), but if it’s culture-dependent, you should be able to see it change historically as culture changed. I am by no means competent to make such an investigation, but you should if you want people to trust your explanation over its alternatives.
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>No, this doesn’t mean women have “rape fantasies.”
No, but this does: https://old.reddit.com/r/Rapekink/