There has been a lot of hand wringing lately about the decline of men that has accompanied the rise of women. Recently, Kelly Parland wrote about it in the National Post and Margaret Wente did the same in the Canada’s most boring newspaper, The Globe and Mail. The basic worry is that while women are increasingly successful in the workplace, they are surrounded by man-childs, who are content to sit around, drink beer and plays video games. Today’s single career woman hungers for real men, who live in the real world and are ready to take on that world every day. Where are they? Not surprisingly, men are to blame. Especially if you read female writers, the proscription is that men just need to grow up.
To see why this analysis is wrong, one needs to ask what changed, i.e. what mechanism is discouraging male ambition that didn’t exist in the past?
To identify it, it must first be recognized that, in a society built around the nuclear family (which is historically not as typical or prevalent as the feminists have led us to believe), women have an important normative role in shaping male behaviour. In other words, boys act in the way that maximizes their chances of getting the girl. In the past, girls wanted breadwinners for husbands because society expended a great deal of psychic energy convincing young women not to be attracted to the antisocial bad-asses that they are naturally attracted to in a state of nature (“good girls don’t go out with boys like that”). But if today’s single women are complaining about all the slackers around them, why aren’t today’s men listening to them the way their grandfathers did?
Answer: because the women doing the complaining aren’t very attractive.
Why aren’t they attractive? Mostly because they are in their late thirties and even older. Members of each sex are programmed to pursue the highest status member of the opposite sex they can get. And for men, female status is based of youth, beauty and virtue (i.e. chastity). The financial status and career prospect of women doesn’t enter into the equation. This is the root cause of the problem facing many lonely career women: they put off marriage until they could no longer can ignore their biological clock, when it is almost too late. Even if they were hot and popular in their prime, that is in the past. And the likelihood that they have had a succession of relationships under their belt by the time they want to settle down only debases their sexual currency further. An 18 year old boy will do cartwheels to get an 18 year old girl; a 40 year old man not so much, especially when a 40 year old cougar with an MBA and a high powered financial job comes calling.
But what about the 18 year old girls? The problem with them is that they are no longer encouraged to seek out responsible providers. Their parents tell them that whatever they do is A-OK as long as they are ‘true to their feeling’s’. In practice, following this nitwit advice results in girls throwing themselves at confident bad-boys while ignoring all the ‘boring nerds’ around them. By the time they figure out that in a knowledge-based economy the computer geek is the alpha and the swaggering scum-bag the omega, they are 40 years old and their influence over men is much more limited.
Look at this dynamic from the male perspective: Female hypergamy demands that women seek out ambitious, powerful, alpha men. The reason a lot of grown men aren’t competing in civilized ways is because that wasn’t the way they got girls when they were growing up. They either strutted about like peacocks from fling to fling, or they became undersexed nerds, invisible to the female species. Either way, both morphed into the middle-age slackers that middle-age career women find so unappealing. The only real winners in this arrangement are those males who can successfully pull off being alpha in both the primitive and civilized sense: basically celebrities (cf Alex Rodriguez) and CEO’s (cf Donald Trump). Unfortunately, celebrities and CEO’s aren’t very common, so a lot of career women end up unsatisfied, except for the occasional torrid affair with a Bill Clinton wannabe.
So there you have the end point of the sexual revolution: a bunch of single men and single women mutually repulsed by each other.
Of course, things aren’t nearly as bad as this description suggests. But to the extent that it isn’t, it is because of the old morality lingering on, in the face of pop culture hostility. It is almost as if an arrangement that evolved organically over a long period of time is superior to one that popped ex nihilo out of the ivory tower.
But nah, that couldn’t be. For if that were the case, it would mean that our intellectuals are full of it.