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Ozy’s Anti Heartiste FAQ

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Ozy Frantz. I do not necessarily endorse everything it says, but I do contingently agree with a lot of it. Content note for profanity, social justice stuff, manosphere stuff, and graphic descriptions of sex. I trust that any debate this kicks up will be marked by courtesy and good manners on all sides, in a spirit of sincere collaborative truth-seeking – SA]

I. Introduction

A. What is the purpose of this post?

This is the Anti-Heartiste FAQ. It is meant to rebut some common beliefs within the “manosphere” about how human sexual interaction works. I am primarily arguing with the blogger Heartiste, as he is one of the most famous and influential writers within the manosphere, although I do briefly argue with other writers. I am also going to ignore the macro-level beliefs about how human society works, on the grounds that they are mostly derived from these micro-level observations about human sexuality and fall down when no longer grounded in them.

A1. What does Heartiste believe about human sexual interaction?

Men are primarily attracted to women who are young, thin, and hot; this accounts for approximately 90% of men’s criteria for dating women. The other 10% is femininity, sexual voraciousness, and non-promiscuity. Women have a dual sex drive, often referred to as “alpha fucks, beta bucks.” Women are primarily sexually attracted to “alpha males,” who are assholes, conventionally masculine, and popular among other women. When they are young and hot enough to hope to secure commitment from alphas or when they are ovulating and thus capable of having children, women pursue “alpha fucks.” Beta males are generally middle-class or above and do not have alpha male traits. Women seek betas when they are older or less attractive, or when they aren’t ovulating, in order to secure commitment and extract resources. Ideally, women want to get pregnant by alpha males and make betas take care of the child. There are also omega males, who are undesirable to women for any purpose.

B. I am Heartiste, and I don’t actually want to go to all the bother of reading this whole post, I just want to know what your characteristics are so I can direct ad hominem attacks at you properly.

I am 22 years old. I am 5’9″ and my weight fluctuates between 120 and 126 pounds. I have 32A breasts and a waist-to-hip ratio of .7. Pictures are available here. I have had 30 sexual partners. I am polyamorous, which means I openly and honestly date multiple people at the same time. I have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder. I have a degree in sociology and gender studies. I am currently a camgirl, which means I take off my clothes and masturbate for money on the Internet. I live with my primary partner Scott; I am also dating Esther, who when asked to describe herself for this essay called herself a “sad weird fat girl with incredible boobs”.

I am a nonbinary trans person, but I was born with a vagina, a female-typical hormone balance, and as far as I am aware two X chromosomes. I currently possess all of these traits and will probably do so indefinitely. That means I am not a trans woman. I am heading in the totally opposite direction than trans women are. I cannot possibly be transitioning because of my autogynephilia, because if I were an autogynephile I would be like “wow, I fetishize having the body parts I was born with, this is incredibly convenient!” instead of being like “aaaaa! Get them off me!” There has previously been confusion about this, so I am making it as clear as possible.

C. You’re just one of those feminist game deniers who think sex differences don’t exist.

Nope! Actually, I am going to take this FAQ from the POV that game tactics all work exactly as stated by their advocates. What I hope to show is that even if you assume that Heartiste is totally right about his practical advice– if you should neg, qualify, do takeaways, send women ‘gay’ as a response to their text messages, and all the rest– his conclusions about how the dating marketplace works simply do not follow.

In addition, I do actually think that sex differences exist. I think that level of violence, libido, probably certain aspects of sexuality such as getting off on narrative versus getting off on visuals, and probably some stuff with emotions are all inherent, biological gender differences. I am not willing to rule out other differences nor to state that I believe in them.

It is a very boring prediction of feminist theory that the genders behave differently from each other. After all, if you divide children into two random groups and tell half of them to be courageous and half of them to be gentle, one half is probably going to be courageous and the other is going to be gentle. It is tiresome when people (both feminists and antifeminists) pretend that the existence of gender differences proves that these gender differences are not socialized. Over the course of this article, I will highlight legitimate gender differences which I think are probably social in nature rather than biological. Of course, all complex behavior has both social and biological elements: for instance, I will argue that women’s lack of interest in casual sex has both a biological and a social component.

II. Men

A. Beauty

1. Beauty norms have to be inborn on account of it feels like I have no volitional control over my boner. 

First, by the time you have your first boner at puberty, you have already experienced more than a decade of environmental influence. You’ve learned a language, how to walk and use the toilet, fashion, how to maintain a conversation, what interests are approved of in your peer group. Most of those things are now second nature to you. Is it that impossible that you learned a sexuality too?

Second, environmental influence can make things happen that feel like you can’t control them. Music sounds good to you because you’ve learned how to listen to it (just think about your mom saying “that’s just noise!”) but it doesn’t feel learned that it makes you want to get up and boogie. Girls like pink because we’ve associated pink with girls (it was different as few as a hundred years ago), but try to argue with a six-year-old at a toy store. At the extreme end, PTSD is obviously the result of the environment– you need a traumatic event to trigger it– but flashbacks and hyperarousal often feel inevitable and uncontrollable. Indeed, many fetishes are obviously environmental in origin, unless one assumes that genes for fetishes for rubber, stuffed animals, and Catholic schoolgirls lay latent in the genome for tens of thousands of years.

2. But I and my friends all agree who the hottest girls at the bar are.

If I and my friends all went to a bar and started talking about who the hottest girl was, we would probably agree it was a girl with no makeup, a Star Wars T-shirt, and glasses. I suspect this is a sign that friends tend to be similar to each other, not a sign that beauty norms are inborn.

coughcoughtypicalmindfallacycough

3. Are beauty norms a cultural universal?

In China, women bound their feet, crippling them. Love poetry was written about the beauty of the “lotus foot,” which was as small as three inches, and the swaying way a woman walked. (See, for instance, this collection of Chinese erotic poems.) In Mauritania, women are sent to camps where they are force-fed tens of thousands of calories a day in order to become attractively obese. In Renaissance England, women painted their faces white with lead, poisoning them. Oh, and one for the gay men: in ancient Greece small penises were considered heroic and manly and large penises laughable.

It seems to me you have three options here. First, you can agree that beauty norms are to a degree culturally variable, including our own. Second, you can believe that a bunch of people crippled their daughters and wrote love poetry about how beautiful it is just to fuck with Westerners or something. Third, you can say that the Chinese were mistaken for a thousand years about evolution wanting them to get boners for girls with bound feet, and mysteriously 21st-century Americans are the only culture who has figured out the correct evolved sexuality.

2. Oh, so you’re one of those people who thinks that we only believe in beauty norms because the evil patriarchy is brainwashing us, and if we didn’t we’d think that every body is beautiful.

There are actually options between “all ideas of beauty are inborn” and “all ideas of beauty are socially constructed.” For instance, one could say that our ideas of beauty are the product of biology and environment working together. You know, the way every other complex behavior is.

I do think some beauty standards are probably inborn and fairly immutable. Symmetrical faces are not simply preferred in the US and the UK: Chinese and Japanese people prefer symmetrical faces, as do the Hadza hunter-gatherer tribe. (In fact, the Hadza prefer symmetrical faces more strongly than Americans do!) This is some evidence that humans ‘naturally’ prefer symmetrical faces.

Another prominent example is waist-to-hip ratio. Initially, the evidence for WHR as a cross-cultural universal seems pretty slim. Kenyans prefer a .7 WHR, the same as modern Americans. However, Ugandans prefer a .5 WHR, significantly lower than Americans. Malaysians don’t care about waist-to-hip ratio, only caring about BMI, as do the Japanese. Hunter-gatherers seem to not care about waist to hip ratio. However, replications of the latter study suggest that when the hunter-gatherer preference for heavier women is controlled for, waist-to-hip ratio has an independent effect. I personally find the latter study incredibly interesting and think it has a lot of potential to save WHR; however, it has a very small sample size, so take it with all relevant grains of salt. Nevertheless, it provides some suggestion that WHR is culturally invariant. (I would also like to point out that “hunter gatherers like fat women, which confounds tests for WHR and attractiveness designed for thin-preferring Americans” is also a pretty solid point against the Fat Is Universally Hideous hypothesis.)

However, I think most beauty standards are the result of a more complex interaction. (Here is the wild-ass guessing with no empirical backing section.) For instance, men might be attracted to features that are familiar to them, high-status in their culture, or associated with their parents or other people they love. In Song China, women with bound feet are high-status; in modern America, thin women with large breasts are high-status, and thinness indicates other high-status traits such as wealth and free time to attend to one’s health. A similar origin produces wildly different beauty standards. Similarly, men might default to a certain preference– maybe they like brunettes– but this is culturally mutable– if they’re exposed to a lot of sexy blonde women and posters saying Blondes Have More Fun, they’ll start liking blondes. Alternately, the “sexy daughters” hypothesis (a variant of a Heartiste favorite, the “sexy sons” hypothesis): men want their daughters to be beautiful so they can get better mates, so they choose partners who fit the local standard of beauty.

3. Are pretty girls healthier?

Studies do not seem to have found meaningful correlations between rated facial attractiveness and physical health. While the second study has some correlations, they are small and fail to reach significance and are totally hyped by their abstract.

This is very odd, of course, because as I said earlier the evidence points towards symmetrical faces being a cross-cultural beauty standard. There are several possible explanations. Symmetrical faces might indicate health in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness, but industrialized countries have improved health. (I believe one common hypothesis is that symmetrical faces show you aren’t infected by parasites.) Maybe humans like symmetry for other reasons, and that generalizes to sexual attraction. Maybe it’s some other cause (sexy daughters hypothesis!).

Alternately, maybe facial symmetry does indicate something interesting about health, but that’s confounded by all the other factors our culture has incorporated into facial attractiveness. This study suggests that current health and facial symmetry are basically uncorrelated, but facial symmetry is correlated with childhood health. Another study argues that facial asymmetry may be related to developmental instability, which is negative. This is interesting but tentative.

4. Does it make evolutionary sense for men to target pretty girls for casual sex?

Let’s think that you’re a man in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness. Human babies are extremely resource-intensive. It is generally not possible to raise a child by oneself: a woman alone will either realize this and commit infanticide, or risk both herself and her child starving to death. If you are engaging in long-term mating, then you are going to invest resources in the baby. However, if you’re engaging in short-term mating, you’re not. If your child dies, all the effort you put in and risks you took for the the short-term mating strategy are lost. Therefore, men ought to have evolved to be attracted to women with sufficient resources that they could take care of a child: women with doting and wealthy fathers, women with husbands, women who kicked ass so hard at gathering they could feed themselves and a child, women with unique skills at, I don’t know, flintknapping or shamanism or something such that people will give them food. Therefore, in the modern environment, men ought to be into rich or married women and be willing to sacrifice a considerable amount of prettiness for wealth. Only in long-term relationships should they begin to care about prettiness and whatever that indicates, since they can make up for lower resources on the part of the woman. Conversely, women who are engaging in short-term mating ought to be primarily interested in pretty dudes who will pass on good genes to their children.

I am not saying that this is an actually accurate model of how human evolution worked. I am just pointing out that this evolutionary just-so story is exactly as plausible as all of Heartiste’s evolutionary just-so stories and has opposite predictions, and that I feel like the reason that no one is coming up with that model is less related to plausible speculation about evolution and more about “shit, we have to explain why humans are genetically programmed to act the way I do.”

5. Is 95% of what men want in a relationship partner youth, beauty, and thinness?

Man, if that were true why do I keep getting hit on online by dudes who are uncertain about whether my sex is female?

(For the record, I continue to be female-sexed in pretty much every conceivable way. I just felt like I ought to repeat that, because of the amount of confusion in neoreactionary circles about the “what genitals does Ozy have?” point.)

But that is not really excellent evidence! It is possible that most of the dudes who hit on me online are Boner Georg who is an outlier adn should not be counted. (In fact, that is certain.) So let’s look at the studies!

If Heartiste had said that men are more interested in physical appearance, in general, than women are, I would basically have nothing to say here. That seems pretty much correct. However, there is an important difference between “men care about appearance more than women do” and “physical appearance is 95% of men’s criteria in selecting a romantic partner.” The latter is a much stronger claim and not remotely backed up by the evidence.

The most obvious way to find out whether men are 95% interested in physical appearance is to ask them. This study with an extremely large sample size found that men did rank good looks and facial attractiveness as more important than women did. However, across genders, the most important traits were all non-physical: things like intelligence, values, and communication skills.

On the other hand, it seems like asking people to rank their top three traits in a sexual partner is a strategy that will lead to a lot of social desirability bias. Surely if we examine studies that relate to social behavior– speed dating, correlations of attractiveness to how popular someone is among the opposite sex or how liked they are by someone they’re interacting with, experiments that manipulate the attractiveness of a stranger– we will find that the difference is much much larger. Perhaps 95%?

Oh, the sex differences are actually smaller in studies that examine social behavior. That’s awkward.

In fact, this unpaywalled study which examines speed-dating finds that there is basically no gender difference between men and women in how much physical attractiveness affects saying ‘yes’ to someone in speed-dating.

I believe the correct response here is “<3Science<3 has once again dropped to its knees and slobbered the knob of Ozy, vindicating the Ozyan observation that physical appearance is not ninety-five percent of what men care about, you dumb fuck.

Interestingly, gender equality seems to make the gender differences in self-reported desire for a physically attractive partner stay the same, while it makes gender differences in self-reported desire for a partner with a particular personality go down. Which suggests that… men are biologically programmed to claim to be into hot women and not actually be? Or something? Very puzzling.

Again, I am not saying there is no difference between how much men prioritize physical appearance and how much women prioritize physical appearance! There clearly seems to be a difference. What I am saying is that it is not true that physical appearance is 95% of what men care about and 5% of what women care about. That is probably true of Heartiste, but that is not true of all men. I would like to thank Heartiste for making extreme claims and thus making my debunking of them easier.

B. Thinness

1. Aren’t all men in all cultures into thin women?

In addition to Mauritania and hunter gatherers, discussed above, I would like to discuss classical art. Heartiste has said that Rubens is a fatty-fucker so we’re not allowed to use him as an example. Fortunately, a feminist blogger has created a helpful “if classic works of art were photoshopped to look like modern magazine stars” set of pictures, from throughout European art history, without a Rubens in sight.

Now, to be clear, these women are mostly overweight or the thin end of obese. (The BMI Project has helpful examples of what overweight and obese women look like; most people think obese looks significantly fatter than it actually does.) They are not the sort of person that one associates with “fat woman.” However, Heartiste has been more than willing to call Lena Dunham, who is about the same size as those women, “a frumpy, dumpy, plumpy formless flesh entity”. In addition, he tends to use phrases like “the distended porcine holes of these beached whales” to talk about overweight women. So at the very least we have cultures that are really into naked women who look significantly fatter than Heartiste’s boner prefers.

2. Okay, maybe not cross-culturally, but in our culture aren’t all men most attracted to thin women?

Meet April Flores.

April Flores has been in 35 porn films. (Also she is cute as a button, but that is neither here nor there.) You can, if you wish, buy a plastic version of April Flores’s vagina, stomach, and thighs. This means, for those of us at home, that both the “into extremely fat ladies” market and the “into creepily disembodied female body parts” market are large enough, and overlap enough, that it is worth it to porn companies to create a toy directly aimed at it. Or it could be because of the noted political correctness of the industry that brought us Assault That Asian Ass IV.

3. But the only people who are into April Flores are chubby chaser omega dweebs.

So? They still exist.

I suppose you could steelman this argument into “omega dweebs are so insecure they even jerk off to fat women they’re not attracted to.” However, there seem to be many other omega dweebs who are perfectly capable of jerking off to, say, skinny anime girls with breasts the size of their heads (indeed, this is a proverbial omega dweeb thing to do). In addition, the behavior of being so insecure you jerk off to people you’re not attracted to seems quite ludicrous and I would like some evidence that that actually happens ever.

I argue in part IIIA1 that female serial killer chasing is an outlier that doesn’t show anything about female sexuality as a whole. One could make a similar argument about male chubby chasers. However, I notice that BBWs are a healthy section of the porn market, while serial-killer-themed porn-for-ladies has made less of an inroad than porn featuring men with dog dicks.

4. Isn’t being into really thin girls evolutionarily selected for?

In women, being underweight (i.e. having a BMI of less than 18.5) may cause irregular periods, lack of periods, difficulty getting pregnant, and infertility. Heartiste’s range of optimally attractive female BMI is 17.5-21, which includes some underweight women. He considers BMI of 21-24, which is on the large end of perfectly fertile, to be equally attractive to BMI of 16.6-17.5, which consists of women at serious risk of reduced fertility or infertility. This seems an unlikely trait to evolve.

It is true that being overweight or obese is also correlated with infertility. However, one must remember that for most of human history starving to death is more of a concern than death by obesity. Therefore, if anything, it seems that evolution would favor overweight women rather than underweight women– the infertility risk is outweighed by her not starving to death while breastfeeding your child.

D. Sluttiness

1. Are sluts more likely to divorce you?

Scott argues no. Several reactionaries, such as Free Northerner, have presented other charts which purport to show that it is. My position is the centrist “holy shit this data is confounded all to hell.”

Virgins and women with one partner have traditional religious values (being a virgin at marriage is a much more costly signal that you genuinely have traditional values than, say, signing an abstinence pledge or being in a red state). Women with 20+ partners, conversely, probably have libertine values and don’t think divorce is immoral. Women who lost their virginity under age 14 are usually what is more properly referred to as “rape survivors,” and it is not surprising if that’s linked with poor mental health and thus marital instability. Women with more premarital partners are typically older at first marriage, which is linked to stability; similarly, since you typically have sex before or when you get married, women who lost their virginity at a later date are more likely to get married older. I do not have access to the data set, but I predict that if you control for age at first marriage and traditional/libertine values, the predictive value of sluttiness will be basically zero.

In addition, if you are going to be married to someone, you have access to much better information about whether she’d make a good romantic partner for you. You have access to information about her character across a wide variety of situations: you can find out whether she’s kind, generous, loyal, honest. If you are interested in minimizing your risk of divorce, you can see how stable and long-lasting her friendships are, how reluctant she is to leave a relationship, whether she condemns divorce or supports it, and (perhaps more crucially) how often her words about morality line up with her actions. It is trivial to lie about your number of sexual partners. It is not trivial to lie about your entire character.

2. Is it easy to identify a slut?

“It’s Easy to Identify A Slut” is the title of one of Heartiste’s most popular posts. He says that it reveals the secret slut tells that prove that no woman can hide how many people she’s had sex with.

Unfortunately, it mostly seems like advice for identifying a woman who is telegraphing her high sociosexuality as hard as she can. I am not remotely interested in hiding that I’ve had lots of sex partners, but if I were, here is a brief list of things I would not do: go commando; wear cleavage-bearing tops; seem really really good at sex; show off my sex toy and porn collection; talk about sex constantly; implore my partners for kinky sex; brag about how much sex I’ve had (!); have so many sex partners I’m never single (!!); make out with men in bars (!!!); let men snort coke off my ass (!!!!)

I mean, Jesus, Heartiste, what does she have to do to not be trying to hide that she’s a slut, wear a shirt that says “MY BOYFRIEND SAID I NEEDED TO BE MORE AFFECTIONATE, SO NOW I HAVE TWO”?

3. Is it true that some humans are r-selected, which means they’re promiscuous and want to have lots of children, and some humans are k-selected, which means they invest in a few children?

No.

For one thing, r/k selection theory was shown to be a vast oversimplification of life-history evolution forty years ago. For another thing, it applies on a species level, not on an individual level. Humans as a species are absurdly k-selected. How many species can you think of that have young that are totally helpless for their first decade of life? r/k selection theory would argue that we wouldn’t have casual sex, because humans are not remotely r-selected on any conceivable level! Clearly, this is not the case, which ought to make one wonder how applicable this is to human beings anyway.

4. Is it a good idea to hate sluts?

OK, let’s say that marrying a slut increases your likelihood of getting divorced. As much as I hate to point this out, Heartiste, you don’t actually want to get married. You want to have lots of casual sex. And as much as you claim that you think sluts are valuable as good-time girls and virgins are valuable as women to marry and they are both equal, you don’t have any tag on your blog called “Virgins” where you recommend “a stone bold [virgin]… should be shunned by everyone, including the media, to live out her diseased days alone and isolated from normal human contact… what worse fate for the BPD attention whoring sociopathic [virgin] than being utterly ignored?” As far as I can tell, the only result of hating sluts for Heartiste is that he gets to spend a lot of time having sex with women he finds disgusting and gross, which seems like a pretty depressing life choice to me.

E. Femininity

1. Are men more interested in women with feminine personalities than women with masculine personalities?

Depends on the man.

I am going to say “feminine women” and “masculine women” from now on, because “women with feminine personalities” is hard to type. However, I would like to clarify that I am not talking about wearing lipstick or about having feminine facial features, but about possessing gender-congruent personality traits, such as being gentle, tactful, and a lover of children for women and being ambitious, competitive, and individualistic for men.

This study finds that men tend to be attracted to feminine women for romance and androgynous women platonically. That seems pretty plausibly pro-Heartiste.

However, men who believe in traditional gender roles tend to be more attracted to feminine women, while men who don’t tend to not care whether their partner is feminine or not. In this study, men who believe in traditional gender roles prefer feminine partners, while men who prefer either androgynous or feminine partners. Interestingly, this study finds that men who aren’t very masculine prefer women who aren’t very feminine, while masculine men don’t care about femininity one way or the other, suggesting the relevant variable is not masculinity as a personality trait but belief in traditional gender roles. Together, these studies suggest that the cause is not inherent biology: it’s the fact that people who support traditional gender roles tend to be into traditional gender roles in their personal life too.

2. Except that those studies don’t show that men prefer androgynous women: in fact, guys are pretty much okay with feminine women regardless. Maybe men evolved to like feminine women and not believing in traditional gender roles socializes people to like androgynous women, or at least to say that on surveys. 

Except look at women’s preferences in those studies: women consistently don’t like masculine men either. In fact, even traditional women don’t really like masculine men. I think what we’re seeing here is an interaction: traditional men may favor feminine women and, in addition, people with masculine personalities, as defined by the Bem Sex Role Inventory, are assholes and no one wants to put up with them. I mean, do you want to date someone described as aggressive, dominant, and a “strong personality” and as not understanding, sensitive to others’ needs, and compassionate? I don’t. They would probably make me cry all the time, it would be awful.

III. Women

This is an incredibly cheap shot and I feel sort of guilty about putting it in, so: I would like to point out that Heartiste seems to believe some women don’t have leg hair (question 11) and that breasts come in DD and perky without wearing a bra (questions 4 and 5). In addition, he seems to be under the impression that real skinny women carry a Photoshop filter in front of them at all times. Seriously, as someone who can see that kind of body every time I look in the mirror, the “spindly, weirdly proportioned girl” is what actual thin women actually look like. I would propose that Heartiste has perhaps never seen a non-Photoshopped naked thin woman, but perhaps the more charitable explanation is that whenever Heartiste has seen a thin woman naked he has had a Photoshop filter in the form of an erection. (This is not charitable to Heartiste. It is charitable to male virgins, most of whom are totally aware that DD breasts sag.)

So, you know, just be aware you’re taking advice about women from someone who thinks some women don’t have leg hair.

A. Jerks

1. Do women like serial killers?

The Wikipedia list of serial killers lists about 100 serial killers in the United States; let’s double it and say 200 just to bias it towards Heartiste. Let us assume that about one in every two thousand women is interested in serial killers. That means that there are 750 women interested in serial killers for every serial killer. I don’t know about you, but I feel like having 750 women interested in you would put you in a pretty good sexual marketplace position. I also feel like one in two thousand is also a fair estimate of the prevalence of, say, diaper fetishism. Since I do not say that diaper fetishists prove any deep truths about human sexuality, I can also argue that serial killer fetishism doesn’t.

It would be interesting if only women decided to date murderers. However, women are also much less likely than men to commit high-profile murders. The last high-profile female murderer I’m aware of– Casey Anthony– was deluged with marriage proposals from men.

2. What about Genghis Khan?

The most genetically successful man in history is Genghis Khan (actually his grandfather a few generations back). Heartiste has argued in the past that this is proof that women are attracted to violent men. However, I feel like Genghis Khan’s reproductive success is more than adequately explained by the fact that for several hundred years a woman whom a relative of Genghis Khan wished to fuck had a choice between fucking him or being dead. I don’t know about you, but I would fuck a lot of people I wasn’t attracted to if the other option was death.

3. What about women in abusive relationships?

It is true that women are more likely to be hit by their partners, more likely to be raped, more likely to be sent to the hospital due to domestic abuse, and more likely to be murdered. However, a statistically indistinguishable number of men and women– approximately 50%– are victims of emotional abuse in the United States.

That isn’t “women like jerks.” That is “people end up in abusive relationships.” Male abusers are more likely to be violent– but men are more violent in every sort of relationship, from high schools (boys get in fights, girls pull some Mean Girls shit) to crimes (men are far more likely to commit violent crimes). If desiring abuse is a fact about sexuality, it is a fact about everyone’s sexuality.

3a. Maybe men stay in abusive relationships or try to date serial killers because they’re desperate omegas, and women do it because they find that sort of thing attractive.

If women were into murderers and men weren’t, you would take that as evidence that there was some interesting difference going on there. (As you should.) If women and men are both into murderers, then you cannot just decide that there is a gender difference anyway– that men are into murderers because they are so desperate they can’t get anyone else, and women are into murderers because it taps into their deep-seated evolutionary desires. At least, you can’t without solid evidence which Heartiste has yet to actually present: for instance, a study of serial killer groupies which shows that male serial killer groupies are typically less sexually successful than female serial killer groupies. For further elaboration, please see conservation of expected evidence.

3b. Do people stay in abusive relationships because they are attracted to abusers?

No. Let us consider this from two angles: first, let us assume that it is possible to manipulate people. Think about how a really good salesperson can get you to buy something you don’t want. Second, let us assume that abusers are sensible people who don’t want to go through all the bother of finding a new partner every time someone says “holy shit, you just called me a whore, GTFO.”

As a reasonable abuser, you want to make sure your partner will stay. What do you do? Well, you’re charming, kind, and romantic at first, so they get really invested in the relationship. You target people who are vulnerable to begin with, such as a disabled person or an undocumented immigrant or someone without very many friends. You try to make your partner dependent on you (for money, transportation, etc.) so they can’t leave. Rats will keep pressing a button that gives them intermittent rewards (this is the psychology behind gambling and World of Warcraft); you take a similar tack towards giving your partner love and affection. You fuck with their idea of what is normal– if you can convince them that you treat them the way anyone would treat them, or the way they deserve to be treated, or better than they deserve, they won’t leave. You isolate them, both so they don’t have anyone to point out that you’re treating them like shit and so they don’t have anyone to rescue them. You appear sad and broken, so they feel compassion for you and want to keep taking care of you. If worst comes to worst, you threaten to kill them or yourself if you break up with them.

Therefore, staying with an abuser does not necessarily mean you want to be abused. Going back to an abuser does not necessarily mean you want to be abused. It means the abuser is good at abusing people.

Here is a list of reasons people stay in abusive relationships. You will notice “they turn me on” is not on there.

3b. Okay, but some people end up in abusive relationships again and again.

In fact, abuse survivors are a really excellent group to target for our rational abuser! A lot of the traits that make someone a good target for being abused remain the same: if someone is disabled, they are probably going to stay disabled even after they break up with their abuser. Abuse survivors themselves are often pretty vulnerable. Abusers are often very charming and high-status, so when the abuse survivor is like “that person abused me,” a lot of people will go “but she is so nice! Clearly you are psycho and making it up,” which means they lose their entire social group. And if you decide to abuse an abuse survivor, someone else has already isolated them and fucked with their idea of what is normal, so you have to do a lot less work. They practically come pre-abused!

For some people– usually people who have been abused, but not always– abuse is normalized. That means that they believe that all relationships are abusive. This makes them excellent targets for abusers. After all, if you believe the abuse is normal, you are not going to do silly things like “object” or “leave.” In fact, if someone is not abusing them, they may wonder about whether he really loves them. This is very sad, but it is not the same thing as wanting to be abused. If you think all food tastes like Ensure, you are probably not going to go seek out food that doesn’t taste like Ensure. That does not mean you have an all-abiding passion for Ensure.

4. What about women with rape fantasies?

I like thinking about zombies (as a subset of my fondness for thinking about apocalypses). I have a well-thumbed copy of the Zombie Survival Guide. I spend a lot of time working on zombie plans and have several mutually contradictory versions thereof. I played in my school’s game of Zombies every year for three years and won twice.

If I actually had to fight zombies and, by some bizarre chance, managed to not get eaten, I would probably end up with a massive case of PTSD. Guns make a loud noise that makes me cry so I definitely do not want to be a gunslinging zombie fighter. And on a very crucial level, I do not actually want my entire family to be eaten by the living dead. If you decided to feed my entire family to the living dead, I would be really upset.

The same thing is true of my rape fantasies. It is totally possible to be aroused by the idea of being raped without actually having the slightest interest in being raped in the real world, in the same way that it is possible to enjoy thinking about zombie plans without the slightest interest in the destruction of civilization, possible to love first-person shooters without wanting to be a mass murderer, and possible to go to Ren Faires every weekend while appreciating the benefits of modern sanitation. In fantasies, nothing permanently bad happens, you can be as psychologically unrealistic as you like, and everything is ultimately under your control.

Seriously, what kind of incredibly boring person only fantasizes about things they actually want to do?

4a. What if they want to be raped?

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there exist women who genuinely desire to be raped, not in the sense that I want the zombie apocalypse, but in the sense that I want ice cream, backrubs, and lots of notes on Tumblr. That still does not mean it is okay to rape them.

Fifty percent of women who have been sexually assaulted have PTSD, compared to 7.8% in the general population. 94% of women who have been sexually assaulted have PTSD symptoms in the weeks after the sexual assault. This is, incidentally, a higher rate of PTSD than combat soldiers. So the best-case scenario is orgasms, and the worst-case scenario is serious trauma to the point of PTSD.

The next question is: how are you identifying them? If you ask “hey, do you enjoy being raped?” that is fine. But presumably a lot of women who genuinely want to be raped would respond with “no” on account of talking about it ahead of time would make it too consensual. So you have to come up with some strategy for identifying those women. How confident are you that your strategy doesn’t have any false positives? How are you getting feedback on how accurate it is? Remember that women who have been sexually assaulted are probably not going to go up to you and say “hey, you sexually assaulted me.” If you have a false positive, you’re probably not going to know. If it’s something like “she’s wet”… well, remember that vaginas lubricate during nonconsensual sex to prevent tissue damage, and that genitals often act without the consent of their owners. (Remember when you were fourteen and got an erection in math class?)

4b. What about Fifty Shades of Grey?

There are two points here. First, a lot of manospherians are talking about BDSM. Many women are interested in being tied up, or flogged, or called a slut during sex. (Or, to be sure, tying people up, flogging people, or calling people sluts.) This does not mean that they want to be tied up nonconsensually, in the same way that eating chocolate cake does not mean you want to be forcefed cake, or wanting to go to the movies does not mean you want to be kidnapped and stashed at a movie threater. Consent is actually pretty important.

Second, Fifty Shades of Grey actually does depict a lot of nonconsensual sex and abusive behavior. (See Cliff Pervocracy’s excellent review here.) I think this is coming back to the same point that fantasizing about something doesn’t mean you actually want to do it. For instance, Ana is pretty freaked out by Christian stalking her and buying her expensive presents she doesn’t want. However, we the readers know that she is eventually going to be fine with it, that she actually loves him, and that they are going to get together at the end of the book. And it’s pretty romantic to imagine that someone loves you so much that they will overcome any obstacle to show their devotion, even obstacles like “I am freaked out and actually kind of scared by how much you love me.” However, in the real world, there is no guarantee that you are going to be passionately in love with the person stalking you. In fact, in the real world, the opposite of that is usually true.

5. If women don’t like assholes, how come assholes have more sexual partners?

Disagreeable and high-dark-triad men have more sexual partners than agreeable and low-dark-triad men. I used to answer this conclusion with “okay, maybe psychopaths rape people and are more likely to cheat, and people break up with disagreeable and high-dark-triad people thus letting them have more relationships.” But I have recently discovered a far better explanation, namely, that sluts are evil.

I could cite a bunch of studies here, but I really think the Wikipedia page speaks for itself: “Individuals who are sociosexually unrestricted [i.e. sluts] tend to score higher on openness to experience, and be more extraverted, less agreeable, lower on honesty-humility, more erotophilic, more impulsive, more likely to take risks, and more likely to have an avoidant attachment style. Conversely, restricted individuals tend to score lower on openness to experience, and be more introverted, more agreeable, more honest and humble, more erotophobic, less impulsive, less likely to take risks and more securely attached.[12] Individuals who score high on the Dark Triad traits (i.e. narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy) tend to have an unrestricted sociosexual orientation. Higher masculinity [15] and eveningness [16] in women is related to unrestricted sociosexuality. High self-monitoring is also associated with unrestricted sociosexuality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.[17]”

Whew.

It is important to note that only a third of questions about sociosexuality in the most commonly used inventory are about number of sexual partners. It’s possible to have a very unrestricted sociosexuality and be a virgin. That is, this is not primarily measuring how attractive other people find you, it is measuring how much you want casual sex and how motivated you are to have casual sex.

People who are more motivated by casual sex tend to have more casual sex, for a couple of reasons. If you really don’t want casual sex, you’re probably going to turn it down. If you really want casual sex, you’re probably going to put a lot of effort into getting it and lower your standards of sexual partner. And if the people who are most desirous of casual sex are also the most likely to be massive assholes, we’ll see that massive assholes tend to have the most sexual partners. This is not because nice people are unattractive, it’s because nice people, in general, don’t want casual sex.

6. But women don’t like it when you worship them.

Heartiste sometimes describes beta males as “putting the pussy on a pedestal.” They pretend to agree with women even when they don’t; they suck up; they think that a woman is a goddess angel perfection who doesn’t have a single flaw. I agree! This is bad and deeply unattractive behavior. Feminists also do not want you to put the pussy on a pedestal. We have amassed a considerable amount of evidence that putting the pussy on a pedestal leads to gender inequality, the oppression of women, and other things feminists don’t like. I am glad to find some points of agreement here.

However, your two options are not being an asshole or putting her on the pedestal. There is a third option, namely, being a normal fucking human being. Interact with women you want to fuck in basically the same way that you interact with men, or with women you don’t want to fuck. (Possibly with more flirting.) To a certain extent, when you look at what Heartiste actually recommends, he’s recommending this.

It seems possible to me that there are a lot of guys to whom being a normal fucking human being to women feels like being an asshole– they have internalized “you should never disagree with her and do whatever she says and buy her tons of things” to the extent that not doing so feels like being a jerk. In that case, “be more of a jerk” is decent advice. However, you get into the all debates are bravery debates problem here. For every guy who needs to be told to be more of a jerk, there’s another guy who is already an asshole to attractive women and tone it down a notch. Instead of describing which direction to go in, you should describe the target, i.e., “normal fucking human being.”

B. Game.

1. Okay, so maybe women don’t like jerks. But game still gets at universal female sexuality, right?

Not necessarily! Look at the group of women whom PUAs target. By his own admission, Heartiste is primarily interested in twentysomething, conventionally attractive, thin, feminine women, and has very little experience hitting on other ones. But twentysomething, conventionally attractive, thin, feminine women are not a random selection of women. They are probably far more similar to each other than two randomly selected women would be. This is totally fine when you’re talking about getting laid: after all, if you want to have sex with twentysomething, conventionally attractive, thin, feminine women, there is no reason to collect data about fat, butch fortysomethings. However, when you’re making generalizations about women in general– and particularly if you’re making prescriptions about society– it is useful to note the limitations of the data collection.

Game is mostly divided into day game (hitting on female strangers on streets, in grocery stores, in libraries, etc.) and night game (hitting on female strangers in nightclubs, in bars, etc.) The data is confounded two different ways here. First, introverts exist. The usual response of the introvert to a random stranger coming up to them and talking is “maybe if I stand perfectly still they won’t eat me.” Another huge segment of the female population that game may or may not apply to. Second, women who dislike the thing you’re doing will probably notice what you’re doing and disengage fairly quickly. Even the best PUA gets blown out. Roosh V agrees with the same basic concept, calling it a fuck funnel. The women who blow you out or wander away five minutes into the conversation are disproportionately going to be women who are not attracted to the kind of game you’re running.

As far as I know, there is only one study that examines pickup artists’ techniques empirically. A woman’s tendency to find PUA strategies attractive was correlated with her score on the ambivalent sexism inventory. Women who have high levels of hostile sexism– who tend to agree with statements like “Women seek to gain power by getting control over men” and “Many women are actually seeking special favors, such as hiring policies that favor them over men, under the guise of asking for “equality.”– were attracted to PUA techniques if they were highly sociosexual (i.e. sluts). In addition, women who had high levels of benevolent sexism– who agreed with statements like “Many women have a quality of purity that few men possess.” and “A good woman should be set on a pedestal by her man.”– find PUA techniques attractive.

Let’s pause for a moment: “benevolent sexism” is usually interpreted by non-academic-feminists as “sexism that helps women out.” That is not what academic feminists mean when they use the term. “Benevolent sexism” means “the inaccurate belief that women are saintly, pure angels who can do no wrong and should be treated with special consideration by men.” If you replace “benevolent sexism” with “putting the pussy on the pedestal,” that is pretty much what it means. This idea hurts women a lot: to pick an example everyone except Heartiste thinks is bad, a common argument against women’s suffrage was that women were too pure, delicate, and refined to vote. I realize that “benevolent sexism” looks like it means “sexism that helps women out.” I did not name it and I usually use different words for the concept because of exactly this confusion. But this study uses the phrase “benevolent sexism” so now I have to write the long clarifying bit.

Let’s do this in all caps. BENEVOLENT SEXISM MEANS PUTTING THE PUSSY ON THE PEDESTAL, IT DOES NOT MEAN FAVORING WOMEN FOR JOBS OR SOMETHING. Okay.

Women who have high levels of benevolent sexism are women who believe strongly in traditional gender roles. They tend to have more gender-traditional desires in general: for instance, this study suggests that women with high levels of benevolent sexism are more likely to want a gender-conforming partner. Therefore, they’re attracted to men who perform traditional masculinity.

Of course, the causation could go either way here– perhaps benevolently sexist women believe in traditional gender roles because they like traditionally masculine men, or perhaps they like traditionally masculine men because they believe in firm gender roles. Nevertheless, what this suggests is that PUA teaches men to cater to a certain kind of woman by performing the kind of masculinity she finds attractive. This would increase men’s sexual success– after all, there are a lot of benevolently sexist women out there– but it does not necessarily mean that all women are attracted to the trait. Being more attractive to a small group of women, and filtering out the other women quickly, is a good route to sexual success.

And, yes, this does mean that not putting the pussy on the pedestal attracts women who think the pussy should be put on a pedestal. The world is amazing.

2. “Perform traditional masculinity” is a little vague. Why don’t you look at some specific game techniques?

Let us look at the most famous kind of game, the humble neg. Yes, I know negs aren’t all of game, but they’re pretty much the only game technique most feminists have heard of, so I’m using it as an example.  I think, as a feminist, I am supposed to say negs are horrible, evil, and misogynistic, but Scott compared my last haircut to Joffrey Baratheon, so I have literally 0 legs to stand on here. So let’s talk about why women might like negs.

The neg was originally developed by Mystery for use in nightclubs. Let me give you an idea of what nightclubs are like.

Let’s say you’re going to a mall which has a miniature golf rink. You like miniature golf well enough– it’s not your favorite thing to do ever, but you’ve had fun with it before and you’re open to playing some again. You’re out shopping, buying yourself some ties or whatever, and a strange man comes up to you and says, “hey, do you want to play miniature golf?” You think to yourself, “well, that’s kind of weird, and I’m not really feeling it,” then say, “no.” As you’re walking to the next store, another stranger comes up to you and says “do you want to play miniature golf with me?” You’re kind of weirded out, but you say “no, thanks,” to which he responds “Asshole. Like I wanted to play with you anyway.” You are barely two steps away when someone comes up to you and is like “do you want to play miniature golf with me?” Getting really irritated at this point, you say, “no!”

Then imagine another man comes up to you. You say, “I do not want to play miniature golf with you!” He says, “actually, you don’t look like the kind of person I want to play miniature golf with.” You are so relieved that finally someone doesn’t just want to play miniature golf with you that you talk to him. He turns out to be pretty cool, and if you happen to be in the part of the mall with miniature golf in it you might even decide to play a few rounds.

The woman’s hypothesis, when a strange man approaches her in a nightclub (night game) or on the street (day game), is that he is solely involved in this conversation because he wants to have sex with her. Even if she likes sex, that gets really annoying after a while. Negs convey that you are not interested in having sex with her, so she is more likely to be interested in the conversation. Negs are not an inherent trait of women; they are a response to a social condition.

The other thing that negs do is described by a post of Scott’s on this very blog. If you say to a girl “You know why you guys suck? Because you’ve been staring at me for fifteen minutes and haven’t said hi. Weird, and a little creepy,” you are countersignalling. The fact that you came over subcommunicates that you actually like that you are looking at them– in fact, you find it flattering. So you are saying, “actually, we are going to get along so well that I don’t have to be nice to you, because you already know that I like you.” Pulling off teasing early in a relationship signals social adroitness, which is attractive. And this sort of teasing early in a relationship establishes emotional intimacy: because it’s usually reserved for closer relationships, it gives the illusion that the relationship is much closer than it actually is. (Revelations of personal trauma are also good for this.)

Finally, there is a category of negs that no reasonable human being would interpret as an insult. Seriously, Heartiste, love, “You seem really modest. Modesty is a lost art. It’s not a bad thing… usually. Not everyone feels a need to be an exhibitionist” is a neg? Really? I have social phobia and that wouldn’t make me feel insecure. I would feel complimented!

In short, negging women probably makes them more attracted to you, and this is totally explainable without recourse to “because it lowers her self-esteem and women like that because they are crazy mutant aliens.” I am not sure why, with a bunch of reasonable and ethical explanations available, you have decided to go with the one that makes you look like a Sith Lord.

3. I don’t believe it, I think that you should give some more examples of how game works.

Let’s try a takeaway. The proposed explanation is that takeaways make women more attracted to you because it makes her feel low-status and want to compete for her attention. On the other hand, it could be that takeaway is using a very common concept in social psychology, that of scarcity. It’s the same psychology that applies to sales in stores: if this is only available for a limited time, you have to get it NOW. Black Friday does not work because people are insecure about how much Black Friday likes them.

I mean, you can have the explanation where women are crazy mutant aliens and you are Chaotic Evil, or the “women continue to obey common principles of social psychology even when they’re flirting with someone.” Up to you, really.

And, yes, the scarcity effect also works on men. Why do you think generations of mothers encouraged their daughters to play hard to get?

4. I have a good job, why don’t women want to date me?

To quote from a recent Heartiste post:

In a way they exhibit some of the same qualities of those professions—ego, arrogance, and unlimited amounts of cash. In San Francisco, said Violet, “There were a lot of men to date with disposable income who wanted to take women out. It’s just, it was so boring,” she said. “My dating life went from dating artists and writers and going on cheap but exciting dates, to men who thought the ability to buy someone an expensive meal made them interesting.”

Heartiste interprets this as Violet believing that “a cheap date with a man who has that ineffable alpha attitude is far more intoxicating… than is an expensive date with a beta male who plays by the traditional courtship rules.” This is really interesting, because over the course of the article exactly one group of people is described as arrogant, egotistical assholes, the kind of person Heartiste thinks women want to date. That group is the beta males.

This is clearly not “I’m not attracted to him so he’s a jerk.” There are specific details here. The men Heartiste considers beta males talk endlessly about their jobs, show little interest in the person they’re sharing the table with, and assign reading lists before the first date.

It is almost as if when Heartiste complains about women liking alpha assholes, he’s not talking about women liking assholes at all. He is complaining that women prefer charming, poor people with interesting jobs to charmless, rich jerks.

We see this in other places in Heartiste’s writing as well. Heartiste occasionally talks about alpha gifts and beta gifts, in which he points out that girls treasure a recording of a song written for them more than they treasure an expensive diamond bracelet. No fucking shit. You can give a diamond bracelet to literally any girl and it requires nothing other than the ability to fork over cash. However, if you wrote a song for her, it shows you are putting in time and effort and thinking about her when she’s not there (and that you are musically talented, which is sexy). However, for some reason, in Heartisteland, the former is Beta and therefore Nice and the latter is Alpha and therefore Jerkboy.

This is actually pretty common across the manosphere. My favorite examples come from Dalrock’s comment section. For example: “Does [the sexual arousal detecting bra] detect for (and open for) a male prospective partner having one or more of tattoos, needletracks, violent criminal convictions, long hair (preferably unclean), STDs, abandoned bastard progeny, motorcycle ownership, constant use of profanity, and lacks of STEM degrees or current fulltime employment?” I will accept “needletracks,” “abandoned bastard progeny,” and “violent criminal convictions” as being signs of a person you should not date. However, there are lots of people who are emotionally supportive, romantically compatible, and all-around excellent boyfriends who also happen to have long hair, tattoos, and a motorcycle. In fact, I suspect that motorcycle ownership and boyfriend quality are basically uncorrelated traits! This is not talking about women chasing jerks, it is talking about women dating men who have traits coded lower-class and alternative (and, in the case of the last, explicitly being lower-class).

In short, the manosphere needs to stop complaining that women are not golddiggers. I am very sorry that someone lied to you and told you that women are golddiggers. They are not, and it is generally considered to be a good thing to judge potential romantic partners on their personalities and romantic compatibility with you rather than their wallets. And it is generally considered bad behavior to put serial killers and poor people in the same category.

C. Do women have a rationalization hamster which makes them justify their terrible decisions in self-aggrandizing ways?

Yes.

C1. I wasn’t expecting that.

Men also have a rationalization hamster. Everyone has a rationalization hamster. People rationalize. This is not a unique trait to women and proof of their inherent evil, it is a basic fact about humans. If you think you don’t rationalize, it is probably good evidence that you rationalize so well that you don’t notice. Although I disagree with the modular model of human psychology that he espouses, Robert Kurzban’s Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite sums up a lot of the research about rationalization in a readable manner.

C2. But women rationalize more than men about sex.

Probably true! When women are asked their number of sexual partners, it is about half of men’s. When women are hooked up to lie detectors and asked their number of sexual partners, it is about the same as men’s.

However, it’s important to note that in our culture there’s still a lot of stigma against being promiscuous. This might not show that women are more prone to rationalizing in general than men are; it simply shows that women pay a higher price for being honest about their sexuality. (Which is a prediction of feminist theory, by the way.) Men may be more likely to rationalize about something that is more threatening to them, even if it is something about sex, such as whether they’ve been attracted to men in the past.

–yes, this study shows that pretty much all self-report data about sexuality is totally useless. I have used it anyway in this FAQ because it is all I have. However, I would like to encourage people to remember that women are lying fuckers about sexuality and men may or may not be lying fuckers about sexuality and that everything may be indicating not so much women’s actual behavior as what is most high-status. Also, we should clearly replicate every self-report study of sexuality with everyone hooked up to lie detectors.

C3. Does that mean that we shouldn’t listen to women about their sexual preferences and instead look at what they do?

Sort of.

You can certainly look at the data and go “goodness, a lot of women tend to stay in relationships where they are hit.” This doesn’t mean that you should go out and hit women. As unreliable as self-report data is, it is still our best source of information about why people do what they do and what it feels like to experience something. And the data about relationships where women get hit suggests, as I outlined above, that the reason that women stay in abusive relationships is that abusers are rational people who try really hard to make them leave. (It also doesn’t mean that hitting your partner makes your relationship longer. Most women do eventually leave their abusive partners, after all. “Longer than would be naively expected” is not the same thing as “longer than baseline.”) What people do gives you a correlation, but it doesn’t give you an explanation. To get an explanation, you need experiments or self-report data, as flawed as it is. And it is unfortunately impossible to randomly assign women to the Getting Hit or Not Getting Hit condition of a randomized controlled trial, so self-report it is.

D. It is terribly unfair when women have sex with alpha males in their prime and then expect to get married to me when other men had them younger, hotter, tighter, for free.

OK, y’all are really happy about the whole supply-demand model of sexuality, where men exchange resources for pussy and an increase in the supply of pussy lowers the number of resources required to pay for the pussy. The thing you are complaining about is called price discrimination and is a perfectly ordinary part of economic life. Do you complain about how unfair it is when restaurants have discounts for the elderly? Do you mutter darkly when stores stock the expensive food at eye-level so a careless person will pick it up? Do you get angry about bulk discounts? If you are willing to pay a higher price for pussy, then the producer of pussy is perfectly within her rights to attempt to capture the surplus. (If you aren’t willing to pay the higher price, then I am not sure what the harm to you is.)

Your proposed solution is that we implement a pussy price floor. Most economists think that price floors are really bad because they distort the natural functioning of the market. When there’s a price floor below the market equilibrium, the demand for the product (pussy) lowers while the supply increases, and a lot of transactions that would benefit both parties don’t happen. To translate into sexual market terms: everyone gets laid less, a lot of sad women wander around going “please marry me! Please! I am desperate to be married!”, and a lot of dudes do that Men Going Their Own Way thing. …Or, in fact, the exact consequences you guys predicted for not having a price floor. Have you taken intro economics?

Or– and I really hate doing this, because I feel like it’s not in keeping with the spirit of the game– one might point out that marriages are in fact different from prostitution in a few eensy-weensy tiny details. For instance, sometimes men want to date people they’re having casual sex with. (If you ask me, way too often.) You would think that since he was getting the sex for free, he would not want to date her and pay more for it! It is like paying an extra fifty thousand dollars for your car out of the goodness of your heart!

However, one generally gets things from relationships other than sex and resources, such as emotional support, long conversations into the night, spending time with a person you like, affection, the warmth of knowing someone loves you, and so on. It is perfectly possible that most of the time someone has casual sex with someone else, it is because they enjoy having sex with that person but that person has a really obnoxious sense of humor, doesn’t share any common interests with them, talks way too much, or is just romantically unattractive for ineffable chemistry reasons. In this model, the fact that your wife wants to marry you suggests that she likes you better than the people that she had casual sex with, because she wants to talk to you and provide you with emotional support and fuck you, whereas she just wanted to fuck the other guy.

Is it possible that your wife had casual sex with a lot of guys way hotter than you and is now settling for you and secretly seething with contempt about how hideous you are compared with the guys she used to sleep with? Of course! However, I do not think that you should assume that this is true of literally every woman who had sex before she gets married. I would suggest some helpful advice here like “why don’t you meet some of her fuckbuddies and see if they are way hotter than you first?” but then I remembered Heartiste is way into monogamy. (Or, like, monogamy except he cheats.) See, this is an advantage of polyamory. You can totally see that people tend to like their primary partners more than they like their fuckbuddies! In real time!

D1. It is terribly unfair when women follow their tingle to fuck alpha males.

Oh no. Women are fucking people they’re sexually attracted to instead of people they’re not sexually attracted to. How evil. Those monsters. They should clearly distribute sex by sortition instead.

I am sure men have never followed their tingles, except a couple of bullet points ago when you guys were saying that 95% of men’s criteria for selecting a wife was how hot they were.

E.  Do women actually experience significant behavior changes during ovulation?

The truly excellent Bayesian statistics blogger Andrew Gelman has spent a lot of time beating up on the behavior changes in ovulation literature. For instance, did you know that one of those papers defined peak fertility as days six to fourteen of the cycle even though actual peak fertility is between days ten and seventeen? And another one failed to replicate and then claimed that this is because the “women wear red when they ovulate” effect is mediated by the weather and the latter study was conducted in the summer?

I am not saying that it is impossible that women experience significant behavior changes during ovulation, but the scientific literature clearly doesn’t seem to show this. In addition, anecdotally, a lot of women get really horny on their periods, which seems difficult to square with the “menstruation makes women not interested in sex” theory.

F. Are women less interested in casual sex than men are?

In general, women seem to be less interested in casual sex than men are. There are a couple different factors here. First, testosterone seems to increase libido and estrogen seems to decrease libido. Since women usually have more estrogen and less testosterone than men do, as a class they will probably have lower libidos, which probably means they’re also less interested in sex.

Second, the orgasm gap. In relationships, women orgasm about 80% as much as men do. However, in casual sex, women have orgasms about half as often as men do, and a third as often in first-time hookups. While, of course, it is possible to have enjoyable sex without experiencing an orgasm, orgasm is an indicator of sexual satisfaction. Possibly this is related to the sex acts: sex in our culture is defined as penis in vagina intercourse, which usually doesn’t result in orgasms for women, and men receive oral sex about eighty percent of the time in first-time hookups, while women receive it less than half the time. Men, imagine if casual sex meant that you gave a woman head and then she ground against your penis until she came, and if you don’t orgasm tough. I imagine most of you would be less enthusiastic about casual sex too.

Third, we have to consider the findings of my second-favorite study of all time. Clark and Hatfield is a famous and much-replicated study in which an attractive stranger asks women and men to go to bed with them. Men very commonly say yes; women never do. Terri Conley replicated this study as a questionnaire in which she asked people to describe their perceptions of attractive strangers who come out of nowhere and ask them to have sex. It turns out that women think random strangers who approach them on street corners are likely to be dangerous and terrible at sex. In fact, only the perception that the stranger would be a good lover significantly influenced women’s desire to have sex with the person: they were more likely to have sex with a celebrity or a male friend, because both of those are more likely to be perceived as good lovers. Status? Doesn’t matter. Contribution of resources? Doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are capable of getting her off. And– as we see from the orgasm data– men clearly are not stepping up to the challenge here.

IV. Miscellaneous

A. Is Heartiste against pretty lies?

Heartiste’s slogan is “where pretty lies perish.” It’s true that he has a lot of beliefs that are deeply emotionally threatening to some groups. “Men only care about your tits and ass and not your personality, when you turn 30 you will be hideously unattractive, and every sexual partner you have makes you less attractive” is pretty fucking scary to women. However, Heartiste has cleverly managed to not have any beliefs that are upsetting to his readers.

Like, look at Heartiste’s beliefs from a man’s point of view. If you get laid a lot, you are an awesome alpha male and the entire site is about how great you are. One might assume that that means that the site is threatening to men who can’t get laid. However, it offers men who can’t get laid the best possible thing: someone to blame. It’s not your fault that you can’t get laid, it’s the fault of women. Women’s unleashed sexuality is evil and destroying civilization. They are chasing assholes and leaving you be. “You are just so good a person that no one wants to fuck you, those evil bitches” is not actually a particularly threatening statement.

Perhaps there are no statements that are threatening to men! Perhaps all true statements are actually just comfort to guys! However, I would like to offer up a few suggestions for Heartiste to consider in his future explorations of pretty lies. First, examine the following charts from Rational Male. Men’s peak attractiveness is 38, women’s peak attractiveness is 23. Now, look at OKTrends’ charts, which have the benefit of being based on data not from the Journal of Cerebrorectal Studies. Men are primarily messaging women in the 18-22 age range, thus suggesting that that is women’s peak attractiveness and Rollo actually slightly overestimated when women’s peak attractiveness is. But women are primarily messaging men roughly around their own age. This remains true no matter how old she is. Since women as a group don’t seem to have a preference for a single age the way men do, we might as well calculate peak attractiveness by which age men are most likely to date the women they prefer. And the answer is… oh dear… around 20-24.

Sorry, 38-year-old dudes. Young women do not want your old, balding, wrinkled ass. Your peak attractiveness was fifteen years ago.

You can check this by looking at your own social groups. Presumably a lot of 38-year-olds would cash in their attractiveness to date a 20-year-old… but how many late-thirties/early-twenties couples do you know? Approximately none? As for the few such couples, well, I say what Heartiste says when someone brings up a hot fortysomething celebrity: the existence of an outlier does not falsify the general rule.

What other threatening ideas can we think of? One of my personal favorites, as a classicist, is pederasty. Pederasty is extremely common cross-culturally: from Greece and Rome to China and Japan to medieval Islam to Victorian England to modern Afghanistan, as soon as men do not face significant social punishment for fucking a teenage boy they do so. Notice that our culture has a significant “no homo” pressure on straight men. As Heartiste himself says when discussing men having sex with fat women, there is not much reason to shame people into not doing things they weren’t going to do anyway. And a lot of men seem to get absurdly angry about One Direction or Justin Bieber or whoever the latest prettyboy teenager is. Could that be sublimated lust? Hm.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that heterosexual men want to fuck teenage boys. I am suggesting that that notion is deeply upsetting to most men, and supported with evidence roughly as good as the evidence behind many of Heartiste’s claims, and the fact that he hasn’t come up with this idea seems to suggest that he’s avoiding ideas he finds personally offensive and threatening and therefore he should stop gloating about how much better he is than all those other people who avoid personally offensive, threatening statements. If he begins to argue in favor of men being pederasts, then I shall certainly retract my previous statements.

B. I am a confused and lost Return of Kings reader.

I am deeply concerned about several factual inaccuracies on your blog.

First, dating girls with eating disorders is not a good way to get to date someone who is agreeable and goes along with whatever you say. Mentally ill girls, in general, are not good people to date if you want a low-drama relationship.

Second, demisexuals are only sexually attracted to people once they have an emotional connection to the person. While in general sex-positive people tend to use more weird labels and thus be more into casual sex (you’re welcome, by the way) and the indicator you’re looking for are correct, if you are aiming for casual sex on the first date, I highly advise you to avoid demisexuals.

Third, if you want to reduce your rate of false accusations of rape, it would be helpful if you stopped having sex with girls when they say ‘no’ first. I guarantee you that if you try this strategy it will reduce your rate of being accused of rape tremendously. It also seems to me that a girl who says “no” when she doesn’t mean “no” is not going to give you the peaceful, low-drama relationship you’re dating girls with eating disorders for. It seems like it would be wise to filter those girls out by not having sex with people who have said they don’t want sex.

Fourth, I empathize with your desire to date strippers. Stippers are awesome! And it is really easy to think “well, where are strippers? They are in the strip club!” Pretty much every girl in a strip club is a stripper; while some of the girls in a grocery store are strippers, you might end up asking out a non-stripper on accident, and then where would you be? Not dating strippers, is where! Unfortunately, strippers are at work! Their actual job is to make you think that you are going to have sex with them if you pay them money. If you hit on them at work, you will be put into the category “client,” and if you don’t pay for a dance, the category “terrible, timewasting client.” Instead, you should look for strippers in a place where there are a lot of strippers and they are not at work. (Anecdotally, this place is White Wolf games. However, my data on this comes from Portland and it might just be that literally everywhere in Portland is full of strippers.)

C. Okay, where should I get dating advice from?

I sympathize with your problem, O Lonely Men of the World! Most dating advice is really terrible and written by people who think that the world is a just place and nice people are rewarded and you should just be yourself. Worse, a lot of it is written by feminists. Feminists are good at many things, but they are not good at giving men dating advice. Most of the time their dating advice is like “here are the thirty thousand ways that if you hit on someone you are misogynist, memorize them all and you have a chance of not being EVIL.”

I find myself impressed by Eric S Raymond’s Sex Tips for Geeks. Although I disagree with most of the evopsych, it is honest that people are totally shallow and that expensive clothes, lifting weights, and growing out your hair help. A pickup-knowledgeable friend recommends Mark Manson and The Art of Charm. I haven’t read them and can’t vouch, but my friend is a pretty ethical and charming guy.

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555 Responses to Ozy’s Anti Heartiste FAQ

  1. gunlord500 says:

    I liked this essay, but Scott, I have to warn you, the manosphere guys are a…well, rough crowd. Remember how you had to clamp down on a lot of bad commentary from the neoreactionaries a while back? Well, Heartiste and his crew are every bit as bad, if not worse. Feel free to delete this comment, of course, but you may not want to make it known Ozy wrote this. The people she’s critiquing may try to doxx her and harass her (and you).

    On that note, though, would you mind if I passed this article around to some people who don’t like the manosphere that much either? I figure Ozy could use the support, if things go south as I predict.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Every time I publish something criticizing the social justice movement, I briefly consider my own mortality. But I figure the manosphere is less of a worry. It’s not just that I’ve had generally good experiences with (an admittedly carefully selected sample of) them. It’s that them trying to dox Ozy or me would be…going against a social gradient, so to speak:

      “These people, they support the universally-approved cultural consensus that you get fired for criticizing! They disagree with people everybody uses as an bogeyman! Please, stop them!”

      And if somebody actually tried to hurt us, I’m pretty sure the social justice community would massively mobilize in our favor, which would be a really cool feeling, sort of like Luke Skywalker suddenly being able to command the Death Star.

      (if I’m wrong about this, it is probably very useful for my intellectual development to learn that I am wrong)

      • gunlord500 says:

        Haha, that’s a good way of putting it! Guess you don’t have much to worry about then. And hell, if the manosphere guys stir up trouble for you…well, I’m not much for “social justice,” so I can’t speak for that scene, but I’d be happy to mobilize on your behalf. I suppose I’m not one of your closest friends or most prolific, respected commenters, but I rather like you–a lot more than I do the “red-pillers” you’ll be pissing off with this post. :3

        • B says:

          What are you talking about? I come from the red piller side in most respects and I loved this.

          Die, cispillist scum!,!!!,!,! Or something.

          On topic, observations from my largely congruent but oppositely oriented perspective:

          1) I’m not a sexy man and I had huge problems on the SMP front for very long, especially in the years where I constantly wanted to get laid. I think you’ll find that a near constant with dudeball* types. It may not be healthy to hold on to these resentments, but let me tell you, it’s sometimes a struggle not to have them in the foreground even if all is well now. If I had to guess, that Roissy dude is a ugly duckling type, got over it and now all sex is angry sex in that household. It’s sad, but very understandable to me. Esp. since it’s true that sexual attraction in men is indeed mostly extremely youth-and-looks dependent. The resentment that you never got under the skirts in youth is huge with many, and in some way proves that deep down they know that their prime is not ahead of them. It’s suffering in any case, and while I’m not a fan of avoiding truths because they may hurt somebody, the positive glee many feminist and SJW types (who, as Scott with characteristic honesty notes in these very comments, have firm hold of the microphone) display at “white cishet male” pain is repellent (to the point of instinctive “kill them with fire” reactions).

          2) Sexual insecurity is *huge* in many men, as I know personally and from many close friends. But insecurity in men is much more of a turnoff in men than women. That’s a bad dynamic right there.

          3) I believe (largely from introspection) a lot of the anger at the mild-welfarist postmodernist third way consensus by these sexually long-frustrated males (“NEEERRRRRRDS!!!”) is that many bohemian behaviours work very well sexually. Having to actively subsidise the people whose interests worked intensely against yours ever since you cared is infuriating. Note that I’m not saying this in a dismissive way in the sense of “oh they’re just losers”:
          Highly abstract notions of justice are IMO a hustle and a memetic attack in pretty much all cases, and there is hardly anything more legitimate than resenting when the prevailing mores go against your people coming & going.

          4) The real argument against feminism, from a gnonbeliever perspective, is that it doesn’t seem reproductively adaptive. [A similar point is also the weak point of Scott’s arguments against the GotCHas: “But you die anyway!” – I think it’s safe to say that Kipling was aware that people occasionally die. Disobeying Gnon “merely” means that your posterity, your people, vanishes.] Everybody dies, but those that want to die knowing that the ranks of their many grandchildren carry their torch forward have good reason to fear that their daughters become feminists.

          But really, once again, amazing work on the essay, Ozy!

          * Tell me that word is more ridiculous than manosphere. I dare you.

        • BenSix says:

          Tell me that word is more ridiculous than manosphere. I dare you.

          SJWs and PUAs could have quite a contest for “worst jargon”. I’ll admit that “friendzone” is better than “mansplaining”, because it at least refers to an observable phenomenon, but if someone uses words as lame as that too often it is no surprise if people think them unattractive.

        • Julia says:

          “those that want to die knowing that the ranks of their many grandchildren carry their torch forward have good reason to fear that their daughters become feminists.”

          I wonder if women who identified as feminists in 1970 currently have significantly different numbers of grandchildren from other women they went to high school with. I bet it’s somewhat less, but I bet there’s a lot of regression to the mean.

          Thinking of the song “Daughters of Feminists.”

        • RCF says:

          “Mansplaining” refers to an observable phenomenon, it’s just that it’s gratuitously gendered, highly subjective, and different people use it to refer to different things (and perhaps even the same person uses it to refer to different things). Ironically, it’s also basically a tone argument. One of its main functions seems to be to frame every disagreement in which one participant happens to be a woman, and the other participant happens to be a man, as being part of the society-wide institutional oppression of women. An example from http://mansplained.tumblr.com/ : Person A tells Person B that the movie Person B just watched is a bad movie. Person A happens to be male, Person B happens to be female, therefore this is somehow “mansplaining”.

      • Ozy Frantz says:

        Dude, I’ve messed with manosphere people before. Paper fucking tiger. Call me when they can do something more interesting than insult me with “you’re UGLY and a SLUT and you USE FUNNY PRONOUNS.”

        (speaking of funny pronouns: I’m not a ‘she’)

      • Protagoras says:

        To paraphrase David Lewis, the solidarity of the social justice establishment appears less formidable from within. For whatever reason, social justice types generally treat me as an insider, or at worst a trusted ally, and they (or we?) seem a lot more reasonable when not trying to present a united front against outsiders. The kind of doubts you have about the movement come up commonly in internal criticism. The fact that you’ve often noted, that social justice types think you’re on their side despite your best efforts to convince them otherwise, is a result of the fact that you actually sound a lot like at least some of the social justice insiders when we’re talking among ourselves. We would certainly rally to your cause, even though we’re a little hurt that you’re so insistent about not being one of us.

      • alexp says:

        It’s actually entirelly possible to get both the social justice crowd and manosphere to hate and attack you at the same time.

        See Bakker, Robert Scott

    • Fadeway says:

      This as an indirect adhom.

      Anyway, does the manosphere really harass people? I mean actual harassment, not the thing where CH posts a feminist’s picture and says she’s ugly and fat.

      • von Kalifornen says:

        There have been some high-profile cases, although they sometimes seemed to be more generalized 4chan Internet Hate Machine Rape-Threat Cannon in response to perceived threat than coordinated, ideological action by the manosphere. Many have been about women presuming to dictate rules about sexual harassment in spaces the sexist men claim as their own.

      • veronica d says:

        At least one woman, who I don’t want to name because I don’t want to bring the shitstorm to this thread, is dealing with a world of crap right now, including accounts being hacked, nude photos be posted, her address and phone number published, and (she claims) at least one person showing up at her house when her roommate was home and claiming to be from “The Internet” (whatever that means). Oh, and a bunch of her friends who defended her got sucked into it, including people I know face to face. They got doxxed also and had to weather a storm of abusive crap. So, yeah, it’s a mess and really hard for her to navigate.

        But, sure, we can ask how much this is the “manosphere” as such and how much is just 4chan trolls. But then, I’m not sure how much these are separate phenomena. To me it all seems to bleed together into a general mass of entitled manbrats.

        • Taradino C. says:

          In other words, you define “the manosphere” as all people who use the internet, act like jerks, and are male?

        • veronica d says:

          Well, it is this: I believe (but cannot prove) that the borders between these groups are very porous, by which I mean a dude may be into video games and into secularism and hang out on a few MRA-ish forums, etc., etc., etc. In fact, I suspect this is very common. Also, folks move around on the Internet. So maybe a dude spends a year on an incel forum and then moves to an actively hostile red pill style forum, and then maybe a few years later moves back.

          So, lots of movement. Which means some of the dudes creeping on 4chan are the same dudes creeping on video game forums are the same dudes spouting MRA trash in hate filled cesspits, at least enough that a common zeitgeist has formed regarding women and, in particular, outspoken feminists. (Hi! That’s me!)

          So when Rebecca Watson speaks up about sexual harassment in secular spaces: storm of rape threats. When Anita Sarkeesian proposes to make videos about sexism in gaming: storm of rape threats. Lots or rape threats. Lots of terrible men saying the same terrible stuff.

          (Note that similar dynamics happen in SJ spaces. For example, transgender rights activists use very much the same language as sex worker rights activists. This is not accidental.)

        • DrBeat says:

          You’re basically assuming “These people don’t support my ideology. Therefore, they must all be together.”

          4chan has no ideology other than that they enjoy making people upset. The fact that Anita Sarkeesian recieved rape threats doesn’t mean MRAs are responsible, because she identifies as a feminist, it means that 4chan people believed rape threats would make her upset. These threats also do not invalidate the fact that she’s a constant liar and scam artist whose cherry-picked, self-serving “analysis” is absolutely without value, and who uses these threats as a cloak of victimhood to avoid the many, many, many legitimate criticisms of her work. You are just buying into her self-serving damsel posturing.

          Claiming victimhood doesn’t make you morally or factually right.

        • veronica d says:

          But now we’re shifting the conversation. The original question was, has any women actually been harassed? And yes they have. Now we’re moving into the “well it was that faction and not our faction” thing. Which, fine. But you all spout roughly the same misogyny, and the differences are perhaps important within your own tribal fights, but as a woman on the outside it is all one cesspool.

          Keep in mind, there is not a single correct way to categorize social reality. Nor is there a bright line dividing all the various flavors of MRA versus redpill versus bitter incel versus 4chan troll. From my perspective it’s the same basic misogyny.

          And you might say, “No! My misogyny is different.”

          To which I’ll say, “Nah. Not really. Looks pretty much the same to me.”

          Show me why the variation is important. Why should I invest the cognitive resources in distinguishing you guys?

        • nydwracu says:

          Outgroup homogeneity bias says what?

          I was going to fnord your first comment, but it’s pointless — there weren’t enough words I could take out.

        • veronica d says:

          Outgroup homogeneity bias says what?

          Correct. I think I understand you guys exactly as well as I need to. And I want to win.

        • Anonymous says:

          Show me why the variation is important. Why should I invest the cognitive resources in distinguishing you guys?

          Because your current strategy has all the intellectual honesty (and strategic value) of mentally lumping Ozy Frantz and that person who killed Erin Pizzey’s dog into the exact same group?

        • Anonymous says:

          I suspect the world is learning far more useful information about Veronica here than Veronica is learning about the world.

        • DrBeat says:

          But now we’re shifting the conversation. The original question was, has any women actually been harassed? And yes they have. Now we’re moving into the “well it was that faction and not our faction” thing. Which, fine. But you all spout roughly the same misogyny, and the differences are perhaps important within your own tribal fights, but as a woman on the outside it is all one cesspool.

          No, the original question was, have any women been harassed by the group in question?

          You have provided no reason to believe they have, you have just said “They are harassed. I dislike the people who harassed them. I dislike what I call ‘the manosphere’. Therefore they are the same group and the burden of proof is on them to prove they are not responsible for bad things.”

          When you say “you all spout the same misogyny”, you’re just revealing you know literally nothing about the people you are decrying. You are just assuming that because they oppose your ideology, which you define as Good, that they must all be Bad, and interchangeably so.

          4chan aren’t MRAs. 4chan and MRAs have nothing at all to do with one another. 4chan thinks MRAs are losers and whiners because 4chan thinks any sort of sincere belief or desire is “top kek”. 4chan aren’t pickup artists, 4chan mocks pickup artists for being losers and pathetic. MRAs aren’t pickup artists, pickup artists aren’t MRAs. Pickup artists are in fact based in accepting a premise that MRAs categorically reject: that a man’s value is based entirely in his ability to get attention from women, and a man’s efforts must be devoted to getting said attention from women to establish and reinforce his worth as a human.

          You cannot lump together “everyone who doesn’t subscribe to your ideology” as a single group responsible for each other’s actions. You cannot say “My ideology is for something good, so everyone who opposes it must be for something bad,” and then write off everyone who opposes your ideology as being evil misogynists.

        • Xycho says:

          Show me why the variation is important. Why should I invest the cognitive resources in distinguishing you guys?

          To bring things down to your level: you should invest the resources so that we can be bothered to return the favour. Your attitude of ‘all men who use the internet and aren’t avowed feminists are exactly the same’ is a perfect, shining example of why I have ended up with the attitude ‘all people who seriously refer to themselves as feminists are irritating, invested whiners who wouldn’t know a cogent and nuanced political argument if it bit them’.

          Here’s a distinction, since you want one: MRAs act like they hate women. PUAs love women, act like they want to fuck women, but don’t really think of them as people. 4Chan just fuck with people, using whatever levers they can find; if it’s a woman, that’s sometimes rape threats, but that has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with the fact it achieves their objective of making someone miserable. Incels mostly hate themselves, I think; they’re not very coherent.

          Then there’s me. I just wish you’d all stop complaining. To paraphrase a feminist who was pissed at me, my inconvenience at having to listen to you complain is more important to me than your inconvenience at living in a world where you have a significant chance of being raped and murdered. I don’t hate you. I don’t hate anyone; hate is really a very strong emotion, and hence quite risible. I just don’t care, at all.

          So there you go. Lots of very clear distinctions between groups, who all need different approaches if you want to get them on board or out of the way and thus achieve whatever your goals are. It’s worth making the distinction.

          If that didn’t convince you, think of it as granularisation; the male population of the internet is huge, and as a whole intractable. 4Chan is relatively tiny. Pick a target and tailor yourself to it until you ‘win’, then move on.

        • Hainish says:

          “Pickup artists are in fact based in accepting a premise that MRAs categorically reject: that a man’s value is based entirely in his ability to get attention from women, and a man’s efforts must be devoted to getting said attention from women to establish and reinforce his worth as a human.”

          Wait, they do? My impression was that MRAs do accept this premise, but generally wish things were different, rather than trying to win the game (like PUAs do).

        • Anonymous says:

          My impression was that MRAs do accept this premise, but generally wish things were different, rather than trying to win the game (like PUAs do).

          I’d say that MRA stuff is completely orthogonal to PUA, honestly.

          Two of the biggest theoretical elements of “MRAism” are female hypoagency (women are attributed less agency in our society, allowing them to get away with more shit because people blame it on the men around them) and male disposability (men’s lives are considered less valuable, thus completely tone deaf stuff like Hillary Clinton’s “Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.”). They can be true and a man’s value can be based on his appeal to women; they can be true and a man’s value can be completely uncorrelated to his appeal to women. They can be true regardless of whether PUA’s proposed alpha/beta dichotomy is accurate at all.

          The issues MRAs focus on (child custody, alimony, female-on-male DV, gender-based sentencing disparities, male rape victimization, infant genital mutilation, etc) are not really inherently left or right issues. It’s not like feminism where almost all MRAs prescribe to any particular worldview. IIRC: GWW is a libertarian, judgybitch is a reactionary, typhonblue is a progressive, etc (they’re also all women; the MRM has a lot of prominent women, actually).

        • DrBeat says:

          The idea that male worth is predicated on female attention is part of male disposability. Women are inherently valuable and precious; men are not until they have done something to prove or earn their masculinity and thus right to existence. If men’s lives had inherent value like women’s did, then they wouldn’t need the attention of women to give their lives value.

          Someone who isn’t disposable doesn’t need another gender’s permission to be considered a worthwhile human being.

        • veronica d says:

          You have provided no reason to believe they have, you have just said “They are harassed. I dislike the people who harassed them. I dislike what I call ‘the manosphere’. Therefore they are the same group and the burden of proof is on them to prove they are not responsible for bad things.”

          No, I did not say that. I said that these groups have sufficient common grounds in terms of misogyny, and sufficient overlap in terms of membership, including movement of members, that it is useful to me to consider them part of the same overall cultural force. That is not identical to saying “because I dislike them.”

          Which is to say, it is true that I dislike them, but there is more to it than that.

          Now the question becomes this: am I correct that they have sufficient common grounds that it is useful for me to lump them together? I think so. You might feel differently. Fine. There is more than one way to conceptualize our social reality.

          tldr: cognitive shortcuts are useful.

        • veronica d says:

          Your attitude of ‘all men who use the internet and aren’t avowed feminists are exactly the same’…

          I said nothing even remotely like this.

        • DrBeat says:

          I said that these groups have sufficient common grounds in terms of misogyny, and sufficient overlap in terms of membership, including movement of members, that it is useful to me to consider them part of the same overall cultural force.

          You said that based on absolutely no facts whatsoever and revealed you know nothing at all about these groups. Challenged to provide facts, you just restated their assertion that because members move so freely between them (this isn’t true, any more than any other dissociated online groups), and because they spout the same flavor of misogyny (also not true, you know nothing whatsoever about what you are talking about, you are just dismissing it because it doesn’t flatter your ideology). You repeated assertions that are obviously untrue to anyone with the slightest familiarity as if they backed up your case. It is clear the only data point you are using is that you dislike them, therefore they must be the same, and you appeal to other commonalities that do not actually exist because you can’t be arsed to even glance at people who don’t follow your ideology.

        • veronica d says:

          DrBeat,

          Which goes to what I said in the beginning:

          I believe (but cannot prove) that the borders between these groups are very porous

          See the “cannot prove” part? It is there for a reason, which is not because my opinion has no basis, but because I wanted to acknowledge up front that I’m not going to play the “go dig up a million links from this blog and that” game. Which does not mean I lack sufficient experience dealing with these men in these spaces to have formed my opinion. It is that I have not packaged that knowledge in the way you want.

          I am okay with this.

        • Anonymous says:

          Women are inherently valuable and precious; men are not until they have done something to prove or earn their masculinity and thus right to existence. If men’s lives had inherent value like women’s did, then they wouldn’t need the attention of women to give their lives value.

          I… don’t think I quite agree with your conclusions here. (i.e. that male disposability naturally requires the acceptance of the idea that all male value comes from women)

          Suppose that a man is a wildly successful scientist who cures prostate cancer, saving millions of (male) lives. He would have worth for what he has done; but what he has done affects women only tangentially.

          Plus, male disposability still provides much the same predictions if men have intrinsic value, so long as they have a lot, lot less intrinsic value than women. And I’d say that is true: after all, can’t the soul be roused to outrage by images and stories of brutality against men? Does this picture look familiar, for example?

        • DrBeat says:

          I… don’t think I quite agree with your conclusions here. (i.e. that male disposability naturally requires the acceptance of the idea that all male value comes from women)

          I didn’t say that, or at least didn’t mean to. Male disposability does not require the acceptance of the idea that men’s worth is predicated on women’s attention — the idea that men’s worth is predicated on women’s attention requires the acceptance of male disposability.

          Suppose that a man is a wildly successful scientist who cures prostate cancer, saving millions of (male) lives. He would have worth for what he has done; but what he has done affects women only tangentially.

          And yet, if he couldn’t get women to date him, our society would probably still sneer at him, and feminists would claim him “creepy” and “entitled”. Sure, we’d take the cancer cure, but we’d laugh at him. If there was some kind of incident in the news relating to him being unable to get a woman’s favor, he’d be a punchline just like anyone else.

          But you’re right, female attention is not the only arbiter of male worth. It’s just by far the most common.

        • veronica d says:

          DrBeat,

          Setting aside our other disagreement, which seems fruitless to pursue, I’ll say this: I agree that men should not be valued according to their ability to attract women. In fact, if we have any hope of achieving sex-positive, consent-based culture, which my kind of feminism desires very much, then we have to get away from any kind of “status according to who you screw.”

          (And yes feminists are guilty of pushing these buttons, witness the “neckbeard” discourse.)

          (And perhaps you’ll be pleased to know I don’t engage in that myself, nor do I welcome it from my friends.)

        • Andy says:

          The idea that male worth is predicated on female attention is part of male disposability. Women are inherently valuable and precious; men are not until they have done something to prove or earn their masculinity and thus right to existence. If men’s lives had inherent value like women’s did, then they wouldn’t need the attention of women to give their lives value.

          I am confused: are you ascribing these ideas of female inherent worth and male disposability to feminism? Because I tend to see these beliefs more often expressed by defenders of the patriarchy in the form of benevolent sexism (“Women are the more valuable sex because they produce children, thus are far too valuable to be allowed to become cops or firefighters or soldiers or engineers; men are disposable enough to be allowed to do dangerous things for the good of society”) than by defenders of feminism. Then again, my reading runs to the liberal-feminist side, so I’m not read up on the details of beliefs in the PIV-is-inherently-rape or TERF crowds.
          Personally, I believe the sense of self-worth that stays with me whether or not I have female attention comes more from liberal feminism than from patriarchy or the PUA community. The closest analogue on the MRA/PUA side is from the MGTOW, but my impression of MGTOW is that they’ve defined themselves in opposition to women, not making womens’ opinion irrelevant to their lives by cultivating hobbies and interests and measures of self-worth unconnected to their membership in the MGTOW community.

        • Anonymous says:

          I am confused: are you ascribing these ideas of female inherent worth and male disposability to feminism?

          Generally, the things MRAs criticize are either considered to be part of the broader gender norms (i.e. not feminism specifically), or they can cite a specific way in which feminism (has) actively works(/ed) for it. The MRM does not, as a rule, treat feminism as the boogie-man for all social problems (i.e. it’s not the MRA equivalent of kyriarchy/patriarchy). The position towards feminism is hardly affectionate, and it does get a lot of blame (in some areas, more than it deserves), but it’s not as though (many) MRAs sincerely believe that the dismissive attitude towards f-on-m DV is a consequence of feminism, even if they don’t think feminism’s done much to help with it, and has even actively hurt it with some things (Duluth Model, primary aggressor laws that include “size” as a criterion, etc).

          The closest analogue on the MRA/PUA side is from the MGTOW, but my impression of MGTOW is that they’ve defined themselves in opposition to women, not making womens’ opinion irrelevant to their lives by cultivating hobbies and interests and measures of self-worth unconnected to their membership in the MGTOW community.

          Really? I listened to an interview on… what was it, fucking AVFM Radio, I think? With a MGTOW guy. He seemed pretty chill about the whole thing. Just kind of… glad to be free? Having more personal time, more money, etc, because he didn’t bother with dating and women.

          If you’re MGTOW, you’re kind of calling attention to your celibacy, but that doesn’t mean it’s all that you’re defining yourself by.

        • DrBeat says:

          I think it’s kind of hard to even differentiate the harm to men caused by feminism and the harm to men caused by traditional gender norms. Feminism embraces all of the fundamental precepts of traditional sexism so wholeheartedly — men are strong and women are weak, men are threatening and women are fragile, men are disposable and women are precious, men have obligations and women have entitlements, men are foolish and women are wise, men are corrupt and women are pure, women’s emotions are more important than men’s safety, a woman’s suffering is the failure of men to protect her, men have power and women are powerless and men should use that power to serve women and make women happy — that at some level it’s kind of pointless to differentiate the two. That’s why people like Karen Straughn (or maybe it was Alison Tieman, I forget) have taken to calling feminism “the ladies’ auxiliary of the patriarchy”.

          Feminism is made of the same attitudes and ideas that created all of these sexist institutions, plus a gobsmacking helping of selfishness. The only reason feminism itself hasn’t created (most) of the problems facing men and women is because we weren’t calling it that back then. It’s certainly either exacerbating or at least preventing positive change for every single gendered problem men face today in the Western world; while it’s nominally demanding an end to gendered discrimination women face, it’s also demanding that everyone quadruple down on the attitudes and assumptions that lead to that gendered discrimination.

        • Anon says:

          “Feminism embraces all of the fundamental precepts of traditional sexism so wholeheartedly…”

          You’re pulling a serious Veronica here. The thing you’re calling “Feminism” is denoting a specific group of idiot (who are summarily mocked by most people who identify as “feminist”) while connoting everyone who calls themself feminist.

          This is completely identical to mocking PUA in order to dismiss the MRM. These are not the same people. They do not have the same beliefs. They do not have the same goals. They are completely orthogonal to each other.

          If you think people should be more discriminating between clusters in a large group they disagree with, fine. If you think taring all your opponents with the same brush in an intellectually dishonest manner is a good idea, fine. However, If you think that other people should be cautious while you can be a Jackass, you’re just stealing cows.

        • veronica d says:

          At least I try to be honest about this stuff.

        • DrBeat says:

          All of the things I say feminism embraces that are part of sexism are not just because “well they are all feminists and all feminists are the same since I’m not one of them”.

          They are based on the actions of the feminist movement, and the inactions of the feminist movement. It is a specific, sustained, pervasive pattern of behavior.

          When feminists lobby to institute the Violence Against Women Act, based on the Duluth Model of domestic violence that explicitly states all domestic violence is done by men against women out of their hatred of women, and other feminists make no attempt to stop them or oppose them, I am allowed to notice that that happened. When the law expires and is up for renewal, full of sexist language and incentives even though it’s no longer explicitly based on the Duluth Model that still frame domestic violence as something that only happens to women and only provides funding to combat it against women, and feminists appear all over our media outlets decrying the non-renewal of VAWA as part of a “war on women”, and no feminists appear anywhere to oppose these efforts or to say VAWA is horribly sexist, I am allowed to notice that happened. I am allowed to see feminists, as a movement and with little to no effort from other feminists to stop them, claim taht men who do not serve them by changing the law in their favor must hate women and should be shamed.

          When feminists embark on a sustained and concerted effort to suppress domestic violence research that shows men and women commit domestic violence and rape at equal rates, and the few feminists who stand up to them are overwhelmingly decried as “not feminists”, I am allowed to notice that happened. I am allowed to notice the overwhelming message of female victimhood and male threat, that is pushed by feminists, in contradiction to reality.

          When feminists in America become outraged and demand change after a woman is gang-raped in India, and soon after feminist successfully lobby to have the law changed to explicitly define rape as a crime committed by men against women and exclude male victims from being counted or having justice, and no feminists oppose them and no feminists raise their voices in outrage, I am allowed to notice that happened. I am allowed to see that the victimization of a woman caused a great deal of outrage, and the active effort by feminists in the name of feminism to exclude men from being recognized as victims caused no outrage.

          When noted, accepted, lauded feminist Mary Koss is a member or advisor of the UN and the CDC’s task forces on tracking and preventing rape, and uses her position to define men who are raped as women as merely “ambivalent about their own desires”, explicitly excluding them from being counted or seeking aid, and no feminists speak up about this and no feminists oppose this, I am allowed to notice that. I am allowed to see feminist ideology, unopposed by feminists and with no effort from feminists to change it, define women as worthy of protection and men as not really being victims.

          When the absolute, overwhelming majority of all feminist scholarship and feminists demands and feminist narrative over the past 40 years has been focused on making women feel safer, on women’s fear of men and men’s obligation to alleviate those emotions in women, and anyone who dares say that women take responsibility for their own safety, much less mention women have always been safer than men and that this is the primary purpose of sexism, is shouted down and destroyed as an evil woman-hater, I am allowed to see that. I am allowed to see feminists scream about women’s feelings needing to be respected, and silent on men’s actual risk of death or harm.

          When NOW, the largest feminist organization in America, consistently opposes any effort to alter child custody or alimony laws to allow any fairness to men, and lobbies to expand men’s obligations and lower the thresholds at which they are jailed for not meeting them, and feminists do not oppose this and feminists do not talk about this, I am allowed to notice that. I am allowed to see the largest feminist organization in the country treat it as purely natural that men must have obligations to women and must not be allowed to escape them.

          When feminists claim “not all feminists are like that” and claim the destructive actions above are the work of “not real feminists”, but make no effort to oppose them, no effort to undo them, and only acknowledge their existence when directly confronted by them, I am allowed to notice that. When the “radicals” who are supposedly the “fringe” are able to use all of the political power and leverage of feminism and exert all of the influence of feminism in order to accomplish their goals, like the above, I am allowed to see it happen.

          It is not outgroup homogeneity bias that makes me say feminists support sexism. It’s their continued, tacit support of sexism any time it isn’t openly harming women, and the continued “women are victims, women are weak, women must be kept safe from threatening men” narrative pushed by feminists and not opposed by feminists.

        • veronica d says:

          This is the point where I grin huge and tiptoe out the door.

          (I wasn’t trolling, I swear! But when it happens it just happens. Maybe it’s a gift.)

        • DrBeat says:

          …What exactly do you think you’ve won or achieved, or what horrible embarrassing thing do you think you’ve made me reveal about myself?

          Or are you just assuming “long post + opposes feminism = must be a hilarious meltdown”? Because all that was was a list of examples of things feminism has done without feminist opposition that lead me to the conclusion that feminism is an extension of sexism. Are you disputing some or all of those things happened? Because I can get citations. Or are you just assuming that because I oppose your ideology, I must have humiliated myself somehow?

        • Anonymous says:

          “Feminism embraces all of the fundamental precepts of traditional sexism so wholeheartedly”

          Nonsense. They do that only when it’s helpful. For instance, being non-aggressive is useful when claiming women never initiate domestic violence, but not when demanding that women get to high-powered executive jobs, so it only applies to the first. Again, the notion that women were powerless and home-bound only applies when you are passing out guilt based on history — women are free to claim the credit of being movers and shakers. Women’s maternal nature means they are entitled to child custody if they want it, but that they aren’t unwomanly for not wanting it, or for parking the kids in day care. Etc.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          Nonsense. They do that only when it’s helpful. For instance, being non-aggressive is useful when claiming women never initiate domestic violence, but not when demanding that women get to high-powered executive jobs, so it only applies to the first. Again, the notion that women were powerless and home-bound only applies when you are passing out guilt based on history — women are free to claim the credit of being movers and shakers. Women’s maternal nature means they are entitled to child custody if they want it, but that they aren’t unwomanly for not wanting it, or for parking the kids in day care. Etc.

          What both sides seem to not realize (or at least not admit publicly) is that all models are weapons.

          There is no such thing as a social fact which is not weaponizable, and there is no such thing as a weaponizable social fact which is not weaponized.

          This is why politics is the mindkiller, and yet why it’s impossible to avoid politics.

        • Anonymous says:

          Using the phrase “I am allowed” is a pretty bad sign. Repeating it in a litany…yes, your choice “meltdown” is a good word.

        • Anonymous says:

          Using the phrase “I am allowed” is a pretty bad sign. Repeating it in a litany…yes, your choice “meltdown” is a good word.

          I don’t really agree. He put together a coherent case, and while I don’t agree with all the particulars (e.g. it’s no surprise American feminists don’t really give a shit about what happens in India), he puts forward a non-zero amount of evidence for his position, which is more than veronica d can be arsed to do.

          The whole concept of a meltdown is really toxic to discussions when you’re applying it to someone with actual citations.

        • veronica d says:

          DrBeat,

          Oh heavens, look, I wasn’t trying to “win,” as if anyone ever “wins” an Internet debate. Which is what I think you are missing. I was never playing the game you are playing. I am here for interesting conversations with smart people not to lock horns with an MRA! (Raaaaa!) Good grief that sounds tedious.

          Anyway, yeah, politics, mind killer.

          The discourse patterns on the Internet are a curious thing.

        • the meltdown anonymous says:

          I did not introduce the word “meltdown,” toxic though it may be – Dr Beat did. The conversation had not just already become toxic, but had turned to the subject of why it was toxic.

          He put together a explicit case, but he also kept repeating “I am allowed.” Bravery debates are themselves toxic.

        • Hainish says:

          I largely agree with veronica in this case. There’s very little incentive to distinguish among groups who are all spewing the same unpleasantries in your direction.

          I’m also baffled by the fact that anti-feminist rants occur with far greater frequency than anti-anything-else rants. (But, in the next thread, Elmo kills Oscar…and that’s what keeps me coming back.)

        • veronica d says:

          Right. I for one am totally fine w/ DrBeat treating feminism as a unified thing. Fine. I mean, I could say, “go read bell hooks and ignore Sheryl Sandberg.” But why would I say that to him? What is achieved?

          Myself, I’m pretty comfortable with the argument that the measurable hardships faced by contemporary men have two causes: late capitalism and (indeed) the changes in traditional gender roles.

          Regarding #1, I have little to say; economics ain’t my space. Except I don’t think full-on socialism works.

          Regarding #2, well, these changes were needed for women, and we ain’t letting them go.

          On #2, I do think there are potential solutions for men, namely sex-positive, consent-bases cultures. In fact, I’d love to see these ideas spread. They’ve done well in fetish spaces. There is no reason they should be limited thus. On the other hand, men have to want this. They have to stop with the “rah, man!, cuz hunter gatherers!”

          Which seems to be a lot to ask.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          On #2, I do think there are potential solutions for men, namely sex-positive, consent-bases cultures. In fact, I’d love to see these ideas spread. They’ve done well in fetish spaces. There is no reason they should be limited thus. On the other hand, men have to want this. They have to stop with the “rah, man!, cuz hunter gatherers!”

          Which seems to be a lot to ask.

          I don’t think it’s a lot to ask; I abandoned “rah, man! cuz hunter gatherers!” long before I accepted explicitly feminist rhetoric.

          I think what really needs to happen, is that we need to move from “I know X” + “you know X” to “I know that you know that I know X” + “You know that I know that you know X”.

          Put more explicitly: There are plenty of men and women who are totally down with sex-positive, consent-based, responsibly-constructed-identity models of gender/sex/society/{THINGY}. And we need to be able to signal “no, really, I’m a dominant hetero male who has TOTALLY CHOSEN THIS WITH MY EYES OPEN and who only wants submissive females WHO ARE ACTIVELY CONSENTING TO BE MY PARTNERS IN THESE GAMES, you totally don’t have to point your weapons at me because I am 100% on your side!” without the default assumption being that we’re actually redpillers playing some elaborate trojan horse game. Likewise, you need to be able to signal “No, really, I am totally for men having equal rights in relationships and marriage and child-rearing and emotional intimacy assumptions,
          I just happen to want to be ALSO treated with equal respect and I’m having a bit of a hard time with that over here!” without the default assumption being that you’re somehow trying to undermine the entire edifice of Western Society that us brave manly men built for y^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hguyz I think this might be harder than it looks.

        • DrBeat says:

          I was not trying to make this a bravery debate, and if that’s what it came across as, then that’s my bad.

          Repeating “I am allowed to notice” wasn’t a statement about society forbidding me to do so, but the common feminist argument claiming I can’t / haven’t. Every single other time I have had this discussion, without exception, feminists claim that every destructive effort of feminism that I bring up doesn’t count, because that’s “not what feminism is about” and those “aren’t real feminists”. I’m really sick of this evasion, and my response is “You know that I am allowed to look at what you say and do, right? When a bunch of feminists get together, acting in the name of feminism, making destructive demands for the sake of feminism, and other feminists don’t do anything to stop them and don’t do anything to undo the damage, you know I can see that that happened, right? You don’t get to make an argument that says I can’t notice that stuff and that it doesn’t count.”

          So I repeated that phrase as a rhetorical device, not to defy some kind of oppression or claim courage for standing up to something, but in an anticipation of the specific argument that says I don’t get to notice and draw conclusions from those things.

        • Anonymous says:

          I am here for interesting conversations with smart people not to lock horns with an MRA! (Raaaaa!) Good grief that sounds tedious.

          There’s very little incentive to distinguish among groups who are all spewing the same unpleasantries in your direction.

          I know you don’t care, and in fact may be doing it on purpose, but it’s really annoying to blandly state, “yeah, I refuse to talk to you” over and over again. If you don’t want to talk to someone, just… don’t talk to them. Don’t do this, “heh, I’m not going to talk to you” thing, it really is just a way to be a smug and self-righteous troll and contributes nothing to any conversation that could ever be had in any universe.

        • the meltdown anonymous says:

          Dr Beat,
          Accusing your opponents of arguing in bad faith is very difficult to do politely. I imagine the reason most people read this blog is to learn how to do it, or at least to have specific examples to cite.

          By repeatedly doing it, especially in the middle of the object-level argument, it shows that you care a lot more about the meta point and completely overshadows the object level argument. It really doesn’t matter how good that argument is, no one is going to read it; they’ll all jump to the meta. Maybe you should care more about the meta level argument and maybe you need to object level argument on the way, but you should segregate them. Give the one, then the other.

          Instead, it just came across as passive-aggressive.

          And while you kept asserting that they were arguing in bad faith, you never clearly said how. “Not allowed to” is very different from your later “can’t/haven’t.” I don’t want to go into it, but complaining about what you are allowed to do is very unattractive and undermines you much more than if you had, say, repeatedly said “with my own two eyes” (though all my other complaints apply to that).

          More specific is better. If you expect a response of “X are not real feminists”, then a refrain of “X are real feminists” would have been much better. Also, it really tones down the accusation of bad faith. But it is also out of place in this thread. No one here claimed that you were thinking of fake feminists. Instead they claimed that real feminists are diverse. Maybe that’s not true, but it’s a lot harder to argue against.

        • DrBeat says:

          I… was addressing the proposition that “feminists are diverse”. That was the point. That was what all of the “no feminists opposed this; no feminists tried to undo this” bits were about. If parts of your group that exercise political power in your name use it to harm men and enforce sexism, and the rest of your group does nothing to stop it or undo it, but that same “rest of” group DOES do things they believe will actively help women, then “We’re a diverse group!” is not a defense against the accusation your group hurts men. Because, on the axis that accusation is telling us to look at, your group is not diverse: there are people who actively attempt to harm men, and people who don’t care about the harm of men where they would and in the past have cared about the harm of women.

          Feminists often compare “radfems”, which is the label for feminists who do destructive things feminism might be held responsible for no matter how radical their personal interpretation is, to groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, and say that “radfems” are no more representative of feminism than the WBC is of Christianity. This is not an accurate analogy, because Christianity is a diverse group, on the axis that is (implied) to be under scrutiny, that of homophobia; the WBC is not able to leverage the political power of the name of Christianity because other Christians oppose their efforts and deny them that power, so the WBC has accomplished fuckall. The constant, deafening silence from “real feminists”, as I continually pointed to, is the contrast that shows the group isn’t that diverse when it comes to hurting men.

        • veronica d says:

          Ialdabaoth,

          Yeah, I totally hear you.

          I mean, I get personally uncomfortable around men who act domly toward women, except in specific environments, such as within a scene (for those who know what I’m talking about). But that’s just my shit to deal with. Your kink is okay.

          Well, unless someone tries to push this kink on me. Then they’re going to meet fury-girl.

          “Twooo”-doms can fuck off.

        • veronica d says:

          I know you don’t care, and in fact may be doing it on purpose, but it’s really annoying to blandly state, “yeah, I refuse to talk to you” over and over again. If you don’t want to talk to someone, just… don’t talk to them. Don’t do this, “heh, I’m not going to talk to you” thing, it really is just a way to be a smug and self-righteous troll and contributes nothing to any conversation that could ever be had in any universe.

          But I was not saying this. Instead I was saying, “I am not going to have this particular argument in this particular way.” I was more than happy to discuss the basic reasons I feel as I do about the “manosphere.” I was also quite open about my biases. But DrBeat wanted to have a boring, in-the-weeds Internet debate. Which I did not want to do. That does not mean I should shut up and go away. I still had stuff I wanted to say, so I said it.

          Plus I was not only communicating with DrBeat. Others can read this thread. Others can add their thoughts, which they have done.

          I stated above, my goal is to have interesting conversations with smart people. I believe I have done that.

        • Anonymous says:

          I still had stuff I wanted to say, so I said it.

          I’m not trying to make you have a particular conversation, or not have another one. But making the occasional side comment (“let me just tiptoe out the door, HEH”) while refusing to engage someone at all… it doesn’t add anything, and is in fact really fucking annoying to anyone who disagrees with you. It’s basically the equivalent of going “NANANA, I’M NOT LISTENING” in between repeating your opinion.

          Also, even on the level you supposedly want to engage with, you completely ignored the Ozy Frantz v. the person who killed Erin Pizzey’s dog point.

        • veronica d says:

          So your purpose is to register your disapproval with me. Duly noted.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          So your purpose is to register your disapproval with me. Duly noted.

          Is it possible that they aren’t registering their disapproval with you, or even with what you’re saying, but with the way you choose to say it?

        • veronica d says:

          Ialdabaoth,

          Fair point.

          Here’s something I think is maybe telling. If you scroll up and read this mess again, you might notice this: I don’t really ask anyone to do anything, by which I mean, I do not try to shut people down by making demands or any such thing. Instead, I state my case, let others state theirs, and then respond to what interests me.

          And sometimes I tell people, “No, I’m not going to do what you ask. I’m not going to have the argument you want to have. Instead, I’m going to say this…” This seems to annoy certain people. I find this curious.

          (Note, it is not my goal to annoy them. However, people who get annoyed when I say “no” rate low in my book.)

          As an aside, I am quite interested in patterns control and dominance in communication. The applications to feminism are obvious.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          I AM VERY INTERESTED IN CONTINUING THIS LINE OF CONVERSATION. I will now fork to a different subthread.

        • Anonymous says:

          And sometimes I tell people, “No, I’m not going to do what you ask. I’m not going to have the argument you want to have. Instead, I’m going to say this…” This seems to annoy certain people. I find this curious.

          You don’t put it that way at all, and when you say things “to that effect” (I’ll be generous), the way you say it, it comes off very very similarly to people saying, “Oh, I’ve put that guy on ignore” in forums threads.

          When you say things like, “I’m here to have an intelligent conversation with smart people, not to have a mudslinging contest with people like you,” or “heh, get a load of this guy! God, it must be a gift how I get people to post this kinda stuff, anyway, I’m out,” do you really not see how that’s obnoxious?

          You don’t have to talk to me, you don’t have to talk to DrBeat, you don’t have to talk to anybody. You don’t have to reply to people talking about other topics, you don’t have to reply to people talking about the topics you bring up. But replying to people’s posts to tell them you won’t reply to their posts (especially the way you’ve done it) comes off as extremely smug and intentionally inflammatory.

          However, people who get annoyed when I say “no” rate low in my book.

          Out of curiosity, what are you trying to accomplish with this sentence?

        • Sniffnoy says:

          …so I wanted to actually discuss DrBeat’s original point (unsurprisingly I am roughly in agreement with him) but seem to be a bit late to the party, should I maybe just fork the thread?

        • DrBeat says:

          Veronica, people are allowed to get annoyed when you say “no”, if the thing you’re saying “no” to is something like “Wow, that’s a very broad and damaging accusation you made, do you have even the slightest idea what you are talking about, much less any evidence for it?”

          You came in, you made accusations, you wrote people off as evil because they disagreed with your ideology, you showed you had no idea what you were talking about, and you responded “Well I have no evidence of this at all, but I’m still going to say it and treat it as uncontroversially true,” and continued to posture and sneer and victory-dance. And the people calling on you to back up the things you say are the bad guys?

  2. Joe from London says:

    I have a theory that most men prefer slim women partly because dating slim women is higher-status (in most circles) than dating fat women. This would explain why April Flores has market share without negating Heartiste’s point that almost all men prefer to date thin women.

    Would be interested in others’ take on this.

    • Ialdabaoth says:

      That seems incredibly accurate to me. I know that a good deal of the thoughts and fantasies that bubble to the surface when I’m attracted to a woman boil down to “dating her would make me look so high-status” when I dissect them.
      (The remainder boil down to “if I can dominate THAT, that PROVES I have power.”)

      • Buck says:

        thirded

      • namw says:

        Nope. Not at all.

        My fantasies boil down to “making out with such a hot girl would feel great” as opposed to “eeewww, fatty flesh, get it off my skin!”.

        I “feel” status to be a mean to the end of making out with hot, young and in shape girl… not the other way around.

        If you want to eat chocolate, it’s because you anticipate the pleasant taste and satisfaction of hunger. If you want to eat a greater diversity of stuff, it’s because food no longer tastes good if you always eat the same type. Until now I had assumed that every straight man’s sex drive was like that – like the craving for food, so I’m surprised to hear that there are people whose fantasies “boil down” to status and power.

      • chris says:

        “That seems incredibly accurate to me. I know that a good deal of the thoughts and fantasies that bubble to the surface when I’m attracted to a woman boil down to “dating her would make me look so high-status” when I dissect them.
        (The remainder boil down to “if I can dominate THAT, that PROVES I have power.”)”

        1) I’ve never been motivated to date/sex a girl on the basis it would make me appear high-status. I have been motivated not to date a girl on the basis it would make me look low status though, i.e. if I date her, people might think I’m at her level (mate-value wise) and this could harm my reputation and hence my ability to get a more attractive mate.

        2) I have never been motivated to date/sex a woman by the belief that “if I can dominate that, that proves I have power”. The thought seems as alien to me as finding an inanimate object, like a piece of wood, sexually attractive. Until now, I, like the commenter above me, thought all mens sexual attraction triggers worked the same as mine.

        *Of note I ascribe to Heartistian/red-piller ideology, so here’s a little thought experiment, see if that little tid-bit of information changes your perception of my comment above. All of it is true. And if it does change your perception, then that is interesting.

    • Matthew says:

      Can’t speak for others, but imagining a hypothetical situation where I could choose between dating a beautiful but socially awkward woman and a not-so-beautiful but popular woman, I’d take the beauty. So, not really buying it.

      (On the other hand, while I’m not actually an exhibitionist, the “it would be cool to have sex with a beautiful woman where people could see it” thought process has occurred on occasion, and that’s pretty clearly a subconscious status thing.)

      • Ialdabaoth says:

        Definitely. Also, I would *also* take the beauty, but only because I know I can teach a beautiful-but-socially-awkward woman social skills more effectively than I can teach a not-so-beautiful-but-popular woman beauty skills.

        (Primarily because the socially awkward woman is more likely to listen to me.)

        ((Power dynamics are icky, but you take what leverage you can and make the most of it.))

        • Matthew says:

          That’s not my thought process, though. I wish I were less picky. I want the beauty for beauty’s sake; on a conscious level I don’t care about status independent of my ability to find an attractive mate.

          I’m in a somewhat different place from you, even though we’re both doms in our 30s, however. If you look at the picture of me in my absurdly long comment, no one is going to mistake me for low status regardless.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          Sure. In the interest of comparison, here is a similar shirtless pic of me.

      • Harald K says:

        “Socially awkward” doesn’t cut it. You don’t really lose much social status from dating someone socially awkward (as a man, anyway).

        However, imagine dating an attractive Russian woman with poor command of English. Your surroundings would likely whisper “mail order bride” very quickly. That would be a real loss of social status. Would you still be indifferent to that?

        • Matthew says:

          Unfortunate choice of example.

          I met my physically attractive ex-wife while I spent a year working in Russia, and she had a poor command of English when I brought her back to the US.

        • anon says:

          @Matthew – if you chose to date this woman over less attractive girls from the US then I suspect you really do value looks over status.

    • Harald K says:

      There are self-reinforcing norms in this. If someone is seen as unattractive, people assume they must be desperate, so they assume anyone having relationships with them must either be unattractive/desperate themselves, or exploitative scumbags (or maybe both). Vice versa, if people believe you are desperate it can can totally trump other forms of attractiveness. I’ll give an example:

      When I was 18, I got to know two older Filipino women pretty well (they were 25 and 30). They were super nice, the older one was well-educated and really smart too (spoke five languages fluently, among them Cantonese). Women like them are called “Bayanihan” in Tagalog, meaning something like heroes, because they go overseas to work and send money back to their families.

      Now normally nice, good looking, smart and brave as hell women would be considered attractive, right? But the reality for these “bayanihan” is that they really, really could use a permanent residence permit in a western country. And marriage is one way of getting that – practically the only if you, like the younger of the two women I knew, are from a poor family and couldn’t afford higher education. (For some perspective, the older woman was the only one of seven siblings to have higher education, as a teacher. She had supported her family for maybe ten years when I met her.)

      They both had boyfriends from my country. Three guesses about where they lay on the apparent measures of attractiveness scale. You really can’t date a Filipino woman here unless you have nothing to lose socially, or have a very unusual social circle. Because she is seen as needy/desperate, you will be too, if you weren’t already. Sometimes it will work out, low social attractiveness isn’t always deserved after all, among white men either. For one of the two women I knew, it did work out, she married and stayed. But the other moved back.

      That is just one tragic and messed up consequence of self-reinforcing norms of attractiveness.

      • anon says:

        This shadow zone of undeserved perceptions of desperation is where I live. Both in terms of dating and in terms of friendships. Any ideas how I can escape?

        • Robert Liguori says:

          It may just be a countersignaling hack, but I’d recommend trying to consciously make yourself more indifferent (less different?) to status. My own view is that status is not intrinsic to me, but a score in a game society thinks I am playing; if I can acheieve a Feynmenn-like Zen state by pondering the koan “What do I really care about what these people think of me?”, then whether or not I end up changing my score, what I can do is stop letting my score restrict my actions.

        • anon says:

          Nice, thanks. Games are a good tool for motivation, and as you point out that motivation doesn’t have to be taken seriously. I should be using them more often in general, so thank you for that reminder as well.

    • Anonymous Derek says:

      Self-scrutiny has led me to believe I have (at least) two scales by which I judge the physical attractiveness of potential mates, which I call the “captivating scale” and the “trophy scale”.

      The captivating scale is idiosyncratic and highly variable. It includes moderately weird characteristics, and I use Incognito browsing to stop them showing up on my Google search history. People who rank highly on the captivating scale gratify my raw hedonistic impulses.

      The trophy scale maps quite well onto conventional/societal standards of attractiveness. People who rank highly on this scale are people I can point to and say “look what I caught!” I expect this scale is a lot more socially mediated than the previous one.

      I’m quite fortunate in that there’s a reasonable amount of overlap between both of my personal scales, but there are still a reasonable number of people who I find very physically captivating, and yet would be uncomfortable dating because I wouldn’t feel good showing them off. I’m not proud of it, but clearly the ability to show off my partners to other people is important to me.

    • rrb says:

      A male friend of mine was mocked pretty routinely and aggressively for having a fat female fuckbuddy. And I heard that a friend of a friend was too. If this is common, it’d back up what you’re saying.

    • Ryan says:

      This would be the counter argument:

      April Flores is actually not attractive, but as one of the rules of the internet says, if a fetish exists, no matter how small the extent, there is porn of it. What Heartsie describes as the typical features of an attractive woman are in fact the typical features of an attractive woman.

      In any society it’s evidence of high status to have an attractive wife/girlfriend. In American society that means having a girlfriend who is attractive. If in society X it was high status to have April Flores as a girlfriend and people felt sorry for you if your girlfriend looked like Lexie Belle, that should prompt one to look for whatever strange quirk of the culture (or maybe isolated genetic history) has brought about that abnormality.

    • Hanfeizi says:

      While I can’t say I’ve ever been into obese women, the women I dated- and found most attractive to fuck- were often higher on the BMI scale (about 22-24) than the skinny woman I ultimately married (BMI 19). Why? Soft curves and big breasts are great on a 20 year old white woman; but that same woman will look awful at 30. OTOH, a skinny, attractive asian woman at 30 will still be a fairly skinny, attractive asian woman at 50. What I want in my bed and on my arm are two different things – and the reason is status. And depreciation value.

    • RCF says:

      But in Heartiste’s world, don’t men covet high status because it it allows one to date hotter women, rather than the other way around?

    • johnwbh says:

      There was a study a while ago saying that men when looking at porn (presumably privately) tend to prefer average or above average weight women. Which would seem to support the social sexual disconnect you’re suggeting.

      The original data is apparently in their book but heres some quotes and links.

      Q. Do you see a big difference in cultural response to visual stimulation? It has been said that ankles and arms were very stimulating when they were first revealed by calf-length skirts and shorter sleeves in the 1900s. – Quin
      A. We found very consistent results in men’s anatomical preferences across cultures, specifically: chests, butts, feet, and penises. Across cultures, men prefer larger than average breasts to smaller than average ones, overweight women to underweight women, smaller than average feet (women prefer average size feet), and larger than average penises. With the exception of penises, these preferences probably reflect what biologists call asymmetrical fitness. Women with a few more pounds are more likely to be healthy and fertile than their underweight counterparts—if a woman loses enough weight, she will even stop ovulating.
      http://freakonomics.com/2011/05/17/the-neuroscience-behind-sexual-desire-authors-of-a-billion-wicked-thoughts-answer-your-questions/

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/books/review/a-billion-wicked-thoughts-by-ogi-ogas-and-sai-gaddam-book-review.html?pagewanted=all

      it more on the data here: http://discovermagazine.com/2011/jul-aug/05-things-that-internet-porn-reveals-about-our-brains

      • I’ve heard that there’s no pornography specialty of extremely thin women. Anyone know whether this is true?

        • Zathille says:

          @Nancy:

          If you can think about it, then yes. The answer is, heuristically, yes, according to Rule 34 of the Internet.

          I think the real question would be whether this preference is prevalent and how it may relate to Evo Psych and such.

        • chaosmage says:

          Proving a negative?

          The third link in the comment you replied to referred to searches for “skinny” girls. They’re surprisingly rare, but a market does seem to exist.

  3. mjgeddes says:

    Yeah,

    Excellent post.

    I passed through a phase where I was fascinated with the PUA and manosphere sites. I eventually came to realize its (mostly) a load of pseudo-scientific garbage. I even spent a while reading the stuff on the Roosh forum… just a lot of masculine posturing and whining from good-looking douchebags and losers.

    People (both men and women) are attracted to good-looks period (at least for the short-term causal encounters that PUAs want). I concluded that the PUA obsession with ‘alpha’, money, status is nonsense; these things have little to no bearing on sexual attractiveness in the short-term (only for longer-term relationships) . Roissy and the other PUAs get laid because they are (or were) good-looking – but their behaviour is definitely NOT sexually attractive – just the opposite – it’s a turn-off – they got laid IN SPITE of their behaviour, not because of it. LOL.

    This PUA stuff is yet another demonstration that the internet is loaded with loud-mouths pushing all sorts of extremist and bizarre ideologies, and its very easy for the unwary to get sucked in, even very smart people (*especially* very smart people).

    • Joe from London says:

      This seems inconsistent with Neil Strauss, a 5″6 scrawny, balding, unattractive nerd. What brought him the women wasn’t his looks.

      • mjgeddes says:

        You might like to read some of the stuff by ‘aaronsleazy’, his free e-book is a very convincing debunking of PUA:

        http://www.aaronsleazy.com/cms/aaron-sleazy-debunking-seduction-community

        Key points:
        Commercial foundations of the seduction industry
        Why game is not the “great equalizer”
        The disastrous role of Neil Strauss’ book “The Game”
        Why phone numbers and make outs are red herrings for seduction
        The unfortunate marriage of new age and the pickup scene
        A very simple overview of seduction and how it really works.

        The guys that *actually* get many women (like aaron) all agree that PUA is mostly nonsense.

        • Joe from London says:

          Does Aaron claim that Neil Strauss didn’t actually sleep with many women? I am pretty confident both that he did, and that he is not attractive.

          I downloaded a copy of his book and got as far as the third page. Aaron’s debunking of Ross Jefferies is basically “I don’t know anyone who had success with his method, so it doesn’t work. Also, he teaches you how to be warm. Lol.”

        • mjgeddes says:

          Joe,

          Neil did sleep with lots of women, but not because of game. See sleazy’s free e-book (you can downloaded from the link above) for a critique of Neil’s book ; Neil constructed a made-up narrative about his experiences which doesn’t reflect theory.

          Now when I say that attraction is ‘looks-based’, this does NOT mean that a person has to be conventionally handsome to get laid; the theory of ‘types’ says that different girls are attracted to different types of look – the theory of types explains very well why ugly guys sometimes get laid – it’s still looks.

        • Everything you just said about this “aaronsleazy” makes me think, “Ha! What a clever marketing!” (on “aaronsleazy”‘s part).

        • Sniffnoy says:

          Ugh. “Sleazy” is right. I’m no fan of PUA but, well, I have at least three problems with this:

          1. He seems to be presenting PUA in the most ridiculous way possible. Maybe he’s right, but this sets off my strawman (or tin-man) alarms.
          2. He’s even more fixated on having as much sex as possible than the PUAs are! He considers kissing to be worthless if it doesn’t lead to sex, for instance.
          3. His own guide completely skips over what I would consider to be the primary hard part (how to “make the interaction sexual” without being evil or creepy).

        • Aaron says:

          I can’t think of any worthwhile manosphere writers that consider game an “equalizer”. Then again if someone has a political-cultural axe to grind then the natural rebuttal is that there are no worthwhile manosphere writers *applause light*. At any rate virtually nobody following game thinks of it as an “equalizer”, merely that being more assertive and less eager to please will increase your range of options.

    • Hanfeizi says:

      It’s a numbers game. All just sales. They make up for charm by quantity and persistence.

  4. nydwracu says:

    So… Heartiste’s theoretical apparatus sucks, but his practical prescriptions are generally accurate, and often able to effectively correct common mistakes?

    (I would add that it ought to be generally obvious where his practical prescriptions fail, but no one can be that optimistic.)

    • Oligopsony says:

      So… Heartiste’s theoretical apparatus sucks, but his practical prescriptions are generally accurate, and often able to effectively correct common mistakes?

      On the Bravery Debate Hypothesis, that it would do so is an antiprediction.

      • nydwracu says:

        The common objection to game is that it’s not useful — in fact, that it’s directly counterproductive toward the stated goals of its practitioners, that it does the wrong things.

        If the well-thought-out, epistemic-rationalist objection is that it does the right things for the wrong reasons, then that’s evidence that it does the right things, no?

        And, since game cares more about instrumental than epistemic rationality, that means game wins at its own game.

        (This anti-FAQ is, of course, written for an audience that generally cares more about being right than winning. But it’s possible to swallow the rhetoric and memorable statements as rhetoric and memorable statements, without actually believing them.)

        • Ashley Yakeley says:

          And, since game cares more about instrumental than epistemic rationality, that means game wins at its own game.

          This reminds me of Nietzsche’s comparison of “Will to Truth” (which he was suspicious of) with “Will to Power”. I have a theory that Red Pill etc. either unwittingly borrows from or has rediscovered certain elements of Nietzsche’s thought, for example, the concept of “frame” is very similar to his concept of “perspective”, basically an interpretation of the world that typically best suits one’s needs, and necessary for any truth. (Not to mention Nietzsche’s attitudes to women.)

        • nydwracu says:

          I think I once saw a post from the PUA-sphere making those comparisons explicitly. Googling ‘nietzsche PUA’ turns up a few results along those lines, but none look like the one I think I once saw.

          (One of them also mentions Spinoza. That must be some interesting reasoning.)

    • Nick T says:

      Some are generally accurate. Some are accurate in certain contexts or for certain goals, but people often overstate their applicability and/or treat contexts and goals other than the ones they’re interested in as contemptible. (I recall that I’ve seen you complaining about this.) The kind of game that focuses on picking up sexist slutty women in clubs etc. wins at its own game, yes, but that’s a pretty specific game and winning at it isn’t necessarily good for you.

      I’m not sure which way his practical prescriptions fail you’re thinking of, but it seems to me that a lot of the important parts are only obvious given social and emotional experience and maturity, which no one starts out with and which people who need game are less likely to have.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      I mean, I was explicitly working from the premise that game works (mostly because I didn’t want the FAQ to descend into an unproductive shouting match about whether Heartiste is making up his girlfriends or not).

    • This is my reading of the post as well, and indeed it fits with my personal experience. But I left a much longer post along these lines below.

  5. Matthew says:

    I’m going to stipulate here that Ozy covered the science competently, and I’m purely talking from personal anecdote here. To begin with, I’m going to similarly establish where I’m coming from, dating-wise. I’m 36 +/-1. On the down side, I have sole custody of children from a very unwise marriage. This is not popular with women in either their twenties or their thirties, even though my children are not in the constant-monitoring age range any more. On the plus side, you’ll have to take my word for it that my face is of above-average attractiveness, but the rest of me looks like this. I also have a black belt, and in contexts not involving attractive women, my self-confidence is fairly high. Psychologically, Scott pretty much described me to a tee in this post (except for the Machiavellian phase).

    I don’t have much opportunity to meet women spontaneously, so my dating experience is almost entirely from online. I started dating again in July 2012, and if I count correctly, I’ve had about 26 first dates from OKCupid, 2 from Match, and 2 from offline since then. From there, I had 3 second dates, and one 5th date. The youngest woman I’ve gotten a date with was 19 (I was 34 at the time), and I’ve had at least a half-dozen dates with women 24 or younger. So I don’t have trouble getting dates, despite being really picky. And yet, the more awesome I think the woman is, the more it inevitably ends with her (sincerely) expressing a desire for friendship but telling me she just doesn’t feel a romantic connection. And in the specific case of the girl I dated in December-January that totally broke my heart, despite actually being a Social Justice-y feminist, explicitly told me that she had been cheated on in every relationship she had been in, because she tended to go for alpha males. Meanwhile, I was apparently too emotionally fragile. (In case anyone is curious, she not only looks like this; she’s a girl geek. Skeptics — bite me.) I really don’t want to believe any part of the PUA stuff, and I continue to believe it doesn’t accurately describe all women, but it’s getting hard to believe that it doesn’t describe any of them.

    As far as male preferences go, I probably shouldn’t generalize from my own example, because although I’m not kinky in a costumes-and-toys way, I’m extremely sexually dominant, so my preference for younger women is not necessarily typical. But in my own experience, peak female physical attractiveness is 20-23; however, the two women who have al-fulani’d me were 30 and 29, so awesomeness as a person appears to peak closer to my own age (but still younger).

    Along with youth (I’m especially fond of large eyes. No, I don’t think this is the baleful influence of Disney), I also like athleticism. On the other hand, I actually find really large breasts unattractive. I’m going to be skeptical of any theory that says the preferences I share with a lot of other people are culturally induced while the unusual ones are innate — that seems to prove too much. I will acknowledge that I developed a previously-lacking preference for quantity and size of tattoos because of the positive association with the girl mentioned above, so there is some malleability of preferences.

    As an aside, I’m a purely hetero male, and I find the thought of sex with an extremely unattractive woman just as disgusting as the thought of sex with a man. I’m wondering how much of an outlier this makes me.

    ETA: I should probably clarify that I don’t read the Manosphere and have never attempted to employ PUA tactics. Unless you count things like making occasional physical contact as a PUA tactic.

    • Deiseach says:

      Okay, I’m going to be a bitch here, but you’re dating women who are too young for you. 19-24? They’re not interested in settling down, particularly with a man who already has kids (and men do this in the other direction, too). And as Ozy pointed out, they’re going to be more interested in men in their own age range.

      Have you tried dating women in their 30s? If they’re ‘too old’ for you, consider that you’re in your 30s as well and may have more in common with more mature women who have gotten a lot of the ‘go out clubbing and get laid’ out of their system, may have achieved a certain level of satisfaction in their careers, and are now ready for a longer-term commitment.

      • Elizabeth says:

        I largely agree. Most women in my age bracket are nervous about dating older men in a serious, monogamous fashion, because serious monogamous dating is often a path towards marriage, and they don’t want to spend their future with someone who’s chronologically ‘off’ from them. That would mean ‘missing’ the decade they’d have with a same-age partner of learning how to not be a college kid, considering whether marriage/kids is right for them, etc. It looks like age-difference dating works a lot better with polyamory.

        Also: you can be seriously sexually dominant with a preference for same-age or older submissives. The two are unrelated.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          *nod* yeah, this can be a problem. I’ve tried to resolve it by advertising myself more as a mentor-relationship than as a path-towards-marriage relationship (and by being explicitly poly); “why not date me for two or three years and I can help you figure some things out while we wait for boys your age to mature a bit” has been a positive selling point in the past (and hopefully will be again, once I’ve got some of my shit back together).

      • Matthew says:

        I would actually have said you’re not being a bitch, except you didn’t read my post carefully enough, so I’m criticizing you for skimming badly:

        1. 30 dates, of whom 6-7 were 24 or less and only 1 was 21 or less. So 80% were formula-compliant (as in > (1/2)A+7 ). I haven’t ignored women my own age. I noted the younguns mainly as evidence that my problem is not physical attractiveness. (I actually have a better success rate getting dates with 20somethings than 30somethings; it’s not clear why. Possibly because most 20something men act like douchebags. Take that, PUA.)

        2. Did you miss the paragraph where I said that maximum physical attractiveness was at 20-23 but maximum overall awesomeness seemed to be at 28-30?

        But in general, telling me “prefer older women” isn’t helpful advice, any more than telling a gay person “life would be easier for you if dated the opposite sex” would be.

        • anon1 says:

          The age formula is about whether the age differential makes it creepy or possibly exploitative to date them, not about whether it’s likely to reduce long-term compatibility.

          Personally (as a 20-something woman) I might enjoy a fling with someone older, but I’d be very nervous about a longer-term relationship where I’d be the (comparatively) naive, inexperienced person who probably loses all the arguments.

        • Matthew says:

          Inconveniently for me as a 30-something, I spent most of my adult life in an abusive marriage that doesn’t really deserve the term “relationship,” so my actual amount of relationship experience is more comparable to most early 20-somethings than to my female peers. I am acutely conscious of this when hitting on 30-something women.

  6. Oligopsony says:

    Feminists are good at many things, but they are not good at giving men dating advice. Most of the time their dating advice is like “here are the thirty thousand ways that if you hit on someone you are misogynist, memorize them all and you have a chance of not being EVIL.”

    This is actually good dating advice, just not comprehensive dating advice.

    • blacktrance says:

      Agreed. Not being evil is a good first step towards mutually enjoyable dating.

      • Sniffnoy says:

        I agree with the denotation here but strongly object to what I infer to be the connotation? (Namely, that your generic feminist-giving-dating-advice is a reliable source about what constitutes evil and that where correct they can describe it in an unambiguous and understandable fashion rather than a vague and scrupulosity-inducing one.)

        (I realize I am repeating myself, but then, so are you. 😛 )

    • I disagree. In the kind of people who go looking for dating advice, taking this idea to heart is likely to create self-sabotaging scrupulosity. The people who actually need to hear this will never get it from a feminist dating advice site because they’ll never visit a feminist dating advice site in the first place.

    • Nornagest says:

      I think I largely disagree, with caveats. On the one hand, coming off as threatening is deeply unattractive, so if you’re a hetero guy it can be useful to know about the approaches women are likely to find threatening, which aren’t always obvious from a male-socialized perspective. On the other, though, feminist treatments of this topic are usually highly combative and grossly over-broad, to the point of being self-contradictory. Your average socially tentative guy is going to read them and be left with an immense gray area within which he’ll be constantly second-guessing himself, which is probably attractive to someone but isn’t exactly a successful strategy on average. Particularly when it comes to initiation or escalation, which our culture largely relegates to guys.

      I gather this is partly due to feminist advice assuming context which is obvious from a female-socialized perspective. Typical mind fallacy strikes again!

      • Sniffnoy says:

        Exactly.

        (OK, not literally exactly, one could say more, but I think I’ve talked about this enough times by now.)

      • veronica d says:

        So I’ll chime in as a woman and a feminist (who can sometimes be blunt or even, I daresay, “combative”), I want to hook up with men (some of them, sometimes), and I don’t mind if they let me know they like me. On the other hand, I don’t want to be pestered, or have it happen at inappropriate times, or relentlessly from every lonely rando in the room (sorry guys, I’m not here for you), on and on.

        This is not a new topic. I am not saying new things.

        Thing is, sometimes riding along on the subway, I’m thinking about math. When I am thinking about math, I want to be left alone.

        “Well how can I know that?” the lonely guy asks.

        Plenty of articles out there will help you navigate this stuff. It’s a skill. Learn it.

        But reading the threads on this topic (ad nauseam) I’m convinced there are a fair number of men who don’t really care to learn, who think I owe them a shot, and are going to take a shot at me no matter what.

        Which, nope!

        And the kind-hearted, lonely geek guy who just cannot get it!, dunno what to do about him. But really, compared to the number of actively hostile men, he is hardly a blip on my radar.

        I got my own problems, hon.

        (Oh, and this isn’t directed at Nornagest. I was just riffing off his comment.)

        • Nornagest says:

          I get your motivations. I really do. And I get that this isn’t dating advice so much as just venting, so I can’t criticize you for failing to speak to your audience. But the context here is dating advice, and specifically what counts as good dating advice, so let’s talk about that, shall we?

          As it happens, in my younger and less confident days I did read a good number of feminist-oriented dating articles, probably including a few of those you mentioned. Ozy’s characterization of them is a slight exaggeration, from what I remember, but not much of one; the bit about the thirty thousand ways not to be misogynist is on point.

          This, as it turns out, is unhelpful.

          Hetero men reading dating advice are, almost by definition, not going about their love lives in a way that works for them but hurts others. They do not need to be told what not to do in a library of highly specific situations. They do need to build a general procedure for presenting themselves in an attractive way, for overcoming any unrealistic expectations, toxic memes, or confidence issues holding them back, and, yes, for figuring out when and how it’s appropriate to approach women — and this is precisely what feminist dating advice doesn’t provide.

          For example, everyone has a unique and highly contextual set of criteria under which they’re willing to be approached. The articles I read generally described the authors’ pet peeves without qualification, in terms similar to your story about math. Only a few mentioned that these vary person-to-person, and none that I recall gave any advice for figuring out which apply in a given situation — which renders them little more than anecdote, and inspires little besides uncertainty.

          Turns out that the solutions to one’s own problems don’t work too well as the solutions to others’ largely orthogonal problems. Who’d have thought?

          (Lest I be accused of mentioning only the bad, though, I will say that sex-positive feminist dating advice tends to be good with nonstandard approaches to sexuality, and with approaching health issues productively. But both of those matter most as part of an existing relationship, so they’re not too visible to your average frustrated chump.)

        • veronica d says:

          Nornagest,

          I agree; nothing you say seems off-base to me. And I have seen feminists try painfully to give dating advice (include me on a couple of occasions) and it does not work very well. Not sure what to do. These days I say, “I don’t know. Can’t help you.”

          I think there are really two topics here: 1) women trying to make space for themselves in traditionally male areas, and 2) awkward men (and some women) trying to figure out how to get dates.

          Look at it this way, elevatorgate wasn’t really about an awkward sexual advance in an elevator. It was about how a misogynistic community responded to a woman who wanted to talk about an awkward sexual advance in an elevator from her point of view.

          Actually, looking at what I just wrote, I guess there are maybe three conversations: 1) women talking among themselves about how to deal with creeps (actual creeps, not the occasional awkward-Joe), 2) women talking with men about how to make these spaces better for everyone, and 3) awkward dudes figuring out how to get dates.

          I can talk about #1 and #2. For #3, I got nothing.

    • Bugmaster says:

      As far as I understand, the feminist position is that, since men enjoy lots of power and privilege in our society, any dating procedures that are initiated by a heterosexual man inevitably include an element of coercion. Therefore, the feminist advice for dating would be something along the lines of, “wait until a woman asks you out; once she does, obtain explicit verbal consent at every stage of the process”.

      • Ozy Frantz says:

        …no?

        The position most similar to what you’re describing is some radical feminist thought on sexuality (e.g. Catherine MacKinnon), who mostly wound up recommending lesbian separatism. Social justicey feminists are not radical feminists. Even social justicey feminists who are pretty awful at dealing with socially anxious heterosexual men tend to be okay with men asking women out: see e.g. this.

    • Deiseach says:

      I think that may have a bearing on the “attractive stranger” experiment Ozy motioned; I think that while the majority of women would say “No”, it may not be so much that the reason is “Because women are not as interested in casual sex as men” as that “You just walked up to me on the street and asked me to come home with you right now – OF COURSE I SAID NO, YOU COULD BE SOME CRAZY SERIAL KILLER WHO WILL RAPE, TORTURE AND MURDER ME!!!”

      The unfortunate truth is that women do tend to get murdered by attractive strangers who come up to them in the street in daylight in greater numbers than men. Gentlemen, let me ask you: how many of you would entertain the possibility that an attractive female who says she wants to sleep with you is in reality planning to kill you in a hideous and prolonged manner should you get into her car/van/apartment?

      • Hainish says:

        Well, of course. I had assumed that anyone else would come to the exact same conclusion after a few seconds of thought. (Typical mind fallacy?)

      • RCF says:

        On the other hand, I would seriously entertain the possibility that a woman who randomly walks up to me and asks me whether I want to have sex with her is performing some sort of experiment. Really, if a woman were to walk up to me and without any sort of flirting or anything say “I would like to have sex with you”, “She wants to have sex with me” would not be my leading hypothesis.

      • Anon says:

        Also, it seems like many women tend to assume that dudes who walk up and ask them directly about sex are not actually going to be good at sex. There are definitely studies showing that (straight) women are more likely to have orgasms in relationships than in casual hook-ups, and also that (straight) dudes are more likely to try to please long-term sexual partners than one night stands.

        Safety concerns probably also play a part in this for most people, but I don’t think they’re the whole picture.

  7. JayMan says:

    See also my post:

    “Manosphere” Community Beliefs: Truths and Nonsense | JayMan’s Blog

    Note it’s important to take my criticisms only as an expression of expediency on my part. There are many interesting points made here, quite a few of which I agree with. However, for the purpose of saving time, I’m going to focus primarily on the points I believe are incorrect.

    Throughout this post you’re making a plea for the existence of “environmental influences” without actually presenting any evidence that they in fact exist.

    Indeed, the case may be worse off for the “environment” that is commonly acknowledged.

    See:

    “Squid Ink” | JayMan’s Blog

    After all, if you divide children into two random groups and tell half of them to be courageous and half of them to be gentle, one half is probably going to be courageous and the other is going to be gentle.

    Are you sure about that?

    It is tiresome when people (both feminists and antifeminists) pretend that the existence of gender differences proves that these gender differences are not socialized.

    There’s no evidence that they are, and plenty of evidence that they’re not.

    Music sounds good to you because you’ve learned how to listen to it (just think about your mom saying “that’s just noise!”)

    Again, there’s no evidence for that. Is it a random accident then that siblings growing up together end up liking different types of music?

    At the extreme end, PTSD is obviously the result of the environment

    …an environmental trigger. But it takes a heritable phenotype to develop it in response to these triggers.

    Indeed, many fetishes are obviously environmental in origin, unless one assumes that genes for fetishes for rubber, stuffed animals, and Catholic schoolgirls lay latent in the genome for tens of thousands of years.

    Why not?

    Heritable ≠ selected for.

    If I and my friends all went to a bar and started talking about who the hottest girl was, we would probably agree it was a girl with no makeup, a Star Wars T-shirt, and glasses. I suspect this is a sign that friends tend to be similar to each other, not a sign that beauty norms are inborn.

    Except it’s not just friends who agree. Certain aspect of beauty are agreed upon by different peoples around the world.

    It seems to me you have three options here. First, you can agree that beauty norms are to a degree culturally variable, including our own. Second, you can believe that a bunch of people crippled their daughters and wrote love poetry about how beautiful it is just to fuck with Westerners or something. Third, you can say that the Chinese were mistaken for a thousand years about evolution wanting them to get boners for girls with bound feet, and mysteriously 21st-century Americans are the only culture who has figured out the correct evolved sexuality.

    You forgot option four: that genetic differences between groups contributes to between-group differences in beauty.

    In women, being underweight (i.e. having a BMI of less than 18.5) may cause irregular periods, lack of periods, difficulty getting pregnant, and infertility. Heartiste’s range of optimally attractive female BMI is 17.5-21, which includes some underweight women. He considers BMI of 21-24, which is on the large end of perfectly fertile, to be equally attractive to BMI of 16.6-17.5, which consists of women at serious risk of reduced fertility or infertility. This seems an unlikely trait to evolve.

    Truth be told, we don’t have a good idea on the fertility of women of different levels of BMI. This is become most such studies come from women seeking fertility treatment – which is hardly representative of women in general.

    Unfortunately, it mostly seems like advice for identifying a woman who is telegraphing her high sociosexuality as hard as she can.

    That doesn’t mean it’s not useful, statistically. Of course, I’m not claiming that it is.

    For one thing, r/k selection theory was shown to be a vast oversimplification of life-history evolution forty years ago. For another thing, it applies on a species level, not on an individual level. Humans as a species are absurdly k-selected.

    Yes, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t individual and group-level variation in life-history strategy despite the fact that humans are generally a slow life-history species.

    3b. Do people stay in abusive relationships because they are attracted to abusers?

    No.

    Actually, that seems like a likely claim.

    Of course, the causation could go either way here– perhaps benevolently sexist women believe in traditional gender roles because they like traditionally masculine men, or perhaps they like traditionally masculine men because they believe in firm gender roles. Nevertheless, what this suggests is that PUA teaches men to cater to a certain kind of woman by performing the kind of masculinity she finds attractive. This would increase men’s sexual success– after all, there are a lot of benevolently sexist women out there– but it does not necessarily mean that all women are attracted to the trait. Being more attractive to a small group of women, and filtering out the other women quickly, is a good route to sexual success.

    Probably.

    Fairly good takedown of Heartiste’s stuff. You’ve seen more than a few criticisms by me. I especially like how PUAs don’t recognize how self-selected everyone in their world (all sides of it) is.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      I suspect a lot of our differences come down to you having a much lower prior for “caused by the environment” than I do.

      The Robber’s Cave Experiment shows that dividing children into two random groups causes them to change their behavior and define themselves against the other group, so it seems implausible that doing that and then explicitly telling them the correct sort of behavior would not do that.

      Siblings growing up together often have different friends groups. I like emo and my sister likes musicals; in middle school, I was an emo kid and my sister was a theater geek. In general family of origin seems totally unrelated to anything. 😛 Don’t you like Judith Rich Harris?

      It seems very complicated to code, in proteins, the concept of “Catholic schoolgirl.” And that would seem to imply that some people have codes for, say, Zoroastrian schoolgirl, Juche schoolgirl, or Some Religion That Will Be Invented Two Thousand Years from Now schoolgirl, which implies a truly bizarre amount of our genome that only codes for fetishes that are culturally impossible to possess. (Maybe that’s what junk DNA’s for.) If you are suggesting instead that there’s a code for, oh, “young innocent religious person,” and an American would get into Catholic schoolgirls and a Roman into Vestal Virgins, that seems more plausible, but still leaves room for plenty of environmental influence (in the fact that the American gets off on plaid and the Roman on… whatever Vestal Virgins wear).

      It is true that genetic differences in groups could have an effect. However, modern Chinese people do not seem to have any abnormal preference for small feet, and since the Renaissance people of British descent have transitioned from a preference for paleness to a preference for tans.

      Do you have a source about underweightness and fertility? Anecdotally, being underweight screwing with one’s periods seems true and it seems very implausible that underweightness would mess with periods but not fertility.

      Indeed, but Heartiste’s claim is that it’s easy to identify a slut who’s trying to hide her sluthood (i.e. someone who wants Heartiste to marry her). Which is evidence he has yet to show.

      Indeed, and I would be interested to see that argument, but I don’t know very much about the science of life history and thus am incapable of writing it myself. 🙂 It seems plausible that using an oversimplified species-level model is unlikely to be enlightening, however.

      • Nornagest says:

        Maybe that’s what junk DNA’s for.

        Heh. Hundreds of millions of seemingly unused base pairs all coding for yet-to-be-invented schoolgirl fetishes? That sounds like something Douglas Adams would come up with.

      • Alexander Stanislaw says:

        Ozy, none of this moves us any closer to the claim that environment is the primary reason why men and women differ with respect to various personality traits. That claim is completely orthogonal to differences between siblings, differences in group identification, and differences in subcultural memes.

        I’ve yet to see good relevant evidence backing up the social construction of gender differences. On the other hand gender differences remain stable as gender equality increases. For example in mental rotation. And also Big Five Personality traits.

        • Mary says:

          Also, monkeys show the same differences between which toys boys and girls like to play with. Less pronounced, but then, that could just indicate that the factor is more pronounced among humans. Humans, after all, talk. This allows division of labor, and all societies divide labor by sex. Naturally, this would increase differences.

      • Matt C says:

        > It seems very complicated to code, in proteins, the concept of “Catholic schoolgirl.”

        Yes, but that is not what having a gene that disposes you to fetishize Catholic schoolgirls means.

        When people are talking about a gene that is “for” something, they mean the person with that gene is more likely to something than a person without it. (Not only people, of course, but let’s talk about people here.)

        In The Selfish Gene there’s a little discussion about whether you can have a gene for tying shoelaces. Sure you can. There’s lots of them. Genes that change fine motor control, genes that change attention span, genes that change spatial awareness, all of these will have an effect on tying shoelaces.

        This doesn’t mean that everything about a dude’s boner is strictly determined by his genes. Far from it, I would say. But things like PTSD and fetishes, that you consider to be obviously environmental, can reasonably and usefully be discussed as also having to do with genetics.

      • JayMan says:

        I suspect a lot of our differences come down to you having a much lower prior for “caused by the environment” than I do.

        Well, to be clear, I don’t have “priors” (in the sense of prior beliefs); I have prior knowledge.

        Some people claim I am a “genetic determinist”, which of course is patently thing to say, as that is a silly position. My thoughts on that matter are captured by these two tweets:

        https://twitter.com/JayMan471/statuses/437680788272730112

        https://twitter.com/JayMan471/statuses/444550572922785792

        I don’t give much to most environmental influence for a simple reason: there’s little evidence for much of it. Most studies claiming to show some “environmental” impact are methodologically horrible, to say the least. Indeed, broadly, there are many good reasons to think that there isn’t a whole lot the “environment” (specially, differences in environment between different people) actually does.

        The Robber’s Cave Experiment shows that dividing children into two random groups causes them to change their behavior and define themselves against the other group

        Um, no. The Robber’s Cave Experiment, first of all, had a tiny sample. Time has been unkind to small psych experiments (replication distress, for one). Second, even within the experiment, the groups weren’t sorted randomly, nor were the differences that emerged between them the result of coaching by the experimenters; they emerged spontaneously within the groups, apparently thanks to their pre-existing personalities.

        so it seems implausible that doing that and then explicitly telling them the correct sort of behavior would not do that.

        Not at all. You don’t see this as a bridge too far? Judith Rich Harris has a nice write up on the RCE in The Nurture Assumption. They had a hard time performing the experiment the way they want because of the differences that emerged in the groups, and the anti-outsider sentiment that emerged.

        All the experiment showed (if that) is that people respond to their circumstances (in certain ways) – which we knew beforehand.

        Siblings growing up together often have different friends groups.

        There is little to no evidence that that has anything to do with the lasting differences that emerge between siblings. Broadly, evidence for peer influence is weak. When explicit tested, most studies find that peers don’t influence kids; rather, child self-sort into groups with like-minded people based on their pre-existing characteristics. In other words, birds of feather flock together.

        The few studies that do seem to show unambiguous peer influences don’t show much contribution to last differences. For example, smoking initiation appears to driven by peers, but not smoking persistence. That’s genetically mediated. One can see a peer impact on initiation, since peers affect opportunity. But that doesn’t seem to contribute much in the long run.

        I like emo and my sister likes musicals; in middle school, I was an emo kid and my sister was a theater geek. In general family of origin seems totally unrelated to anything.

        Have you seen any behavioral genetics? :p Or for that matter, the work of Gregory Clark?

        See:

        The Son Becomes The Father | JayMan’s Blog

        It seems very complicated to code, in proteins, the concept of “Catholic schoolgirl.”

        One might think that the whole set of religious and political beliefs would be hard to “code” in the brain (as if coding for a brain itself wasn’t hard enough to fathom). But yet, somehow, they are, to some extent (see above post on heritability of political and religious views). Does embracing…

        And that would seem to imply that some people have codes for, say, Zoroastrian schoolgirl, Juche schoolgirl, or Some Religion That Will Be Invented Two Thousand Years from Now schoolgirl

        …require deep precise specification in the genome? No. All they require is that they are appealing to certain heritable temperaments.

        Turkheimer cooked up the First Law of behavioral genetics (“All human behavioral traits are heritable”) for a reason.

        It is true that genetic differences in groups could have an effect. However, modern Chinese people do not seem to have any abnormal preference for small feet

        Men do seem to have a preference for smaller female feet, however. See my post “Keeping It Real…” on all that.

        and since the Renaissance people of British descent have transitioned from a preference for paleness to a preference for tans.

        Have they? The attractiveness of tanning isn’t all that clear. It nonetheless is confined to Europeans only, which itself is interesting.

        Do you have a source about underweightness and fertility?

        Unfortunately no. Might point was that we don’t know how BMI impacts fertility, either way, because we have no information from representative samples.

    • Alexander Stanislaw says:

      Full disclosure. I am not a hard genetic determinist like Jayman and I think that genetic determinism is often the result of a misunderstanding of statistics (perhaps Jayman can convince me that is not the case here).

      In particular consider two dummy problems. P is the parental contribution to an individual’s measurable characteristics and it is an additive function of behavior and genes.

      P1 = C1 + G1
      P2 = C2 + G2

      C is a constant parenting term that differs between populations 1 and 2 and G is a variable genetic term and that varies between and within populations. Since the G term is the only source of variance this trait is perfectly heritable. This does _not_ mean that the environment is unimportant. It could even be the case that environment is the only source of differences between the two populations even though the heritability is high.

      Here is another dummy problem.

      P1 = C1 + 0*E1 + G1
      P2 = C2 + 0*E2 + G2

      C is an constant parenting term. E is a variable parenting term that does not affect the parental contribution to the child’s outcome. G1 is a variable genetic term. Since E is the only source of parental variance, the shared environment term is zero and the heritability is 1. Yet again it does not imply that parenting is unimportant – it could still be the case that the constant parenting term is the only source of difference between the two populations.

      Oh also, zip code is heritable – hopefully we agree that zip code is not a partially genetic trait.

      • Douglas Knight says:

        Everything is heritable, but…why did you choose zip code? Did you get it from Shalizi? Do you notice that he gives it as an example of how you can mess up if you make stupid assumptions about environment, not as an example of how you can mess up with conventional approaches? namely, if you assume there is no such thing as shared environment.

        First, let’s consider zip code at age 10. If you do a normal study and compare identical twins to fraternal twins to siblings, you will find negligible variance between types of twins. In particular, no difference between identical and fraternal twins, suggesting no genetic component. Maybe you’ll conclude it’s all shared environment. You might be nervous about concluding things when there is no variance at all. A few pairs of siblings will have different zip codes because they moved in the right window, from which you will conclude shared womb effects. This is an error, but it’s not an error in favor of heritability.

        Now consider adult zip code, which is what Shalizi does. I know a pair of identical twins that lived together at times. If (as he suggests) you just look at identical twins, you will conclude that zip code is heritable. This is ignoring shared environment. I also know siblings that lived together. So if you attempt to account for shared environment, as above, by comparing identical twins to fraternal twins to siblings, most of the heritability goes away and gets replaced by “shared environment.” If the siblings live where they grew up, that is the correct. If the siblings have moved away together, it’s probably because they like each other, which is may or may not be well-described as “shared environment,” but, again, it is not an error in favor of heritability. I suspect that identical twins will share zip codes a bit more than siblings. This will be ascribed to genetics. Partly this is really because they have greater affinity and the ascription is misleading, but partly is because they like the same places for genetic reasons. But in any event, I doubt the heritability will be large.

        Shalizi’s example ignores shared environment because it is predicated on not knowing pedigree and detecting relatedness genetically. That was not a common form of experiment back then, but as genetic testing becomes cheaper, it becomes more common. A GWAS for zip code would detect many traits that are really markers for extended families or races. For example, Swedes cluster in Minnesota. Of course, what’s really happening is that people stay where they’re born, a very simple environment effect. (Plus, originally, immigrants sought out their fellows, a more complicated environmental effect.) So, yes, this error can happen exactly as he said. It can; it will; but it probably hasn’t happened yet! Certainly no one has invoked GWAS on this post.

        • Alexander Stanislaw says:

          You understand this topic much better I do so I accept this correction. Yes I got it from Shalizi and it wasn’t intended as a severe critique of heritability, just a way of showing the difference between “explained by genes” and “caused by genes”. But if most study designs can avoid this problem then okay.

          Was the rest of my comment correct? Obviously I don’t expect the real world to obey those models. I just wanted to show that very high heritability + group differences do not demonstrate that the difference is genetic. And that zero shared environment does not imply that the differences in parenting don’t affect children (because the significant differences might occur between populations). I’m sure studies can get around these problems, but just the shared environment and heritability numbers aren’t enough.

        • Mary says:

          Actually there will be variance at age ten. Sometimes the children of divorced parents will live with different parents. Sometimes one or the other will live with other relatives.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          It is true that parenting may vary between groups, making it hard to distinguish inherited genes from inherited parenting. If by “groups” you mean races, then the types of studies I mentioned will attribute the parenting styles to genetics. But adoption studies should distinguish between these hypotheses. Adoption studies have a lot of problems and should not be taken to produce precise answers, but they do address this question. However, if the “groups” are sexes, they are caused by the child, not the parent, and are not reassigned by adoption. In fact, the non-adoption studies I mentioned don’t make a lot of sense here, either.

          The difference between the first and second model is certainly true: that many parental differences people care about don’t matter.

          Another scenario is that racial differences are due to shared environment that is not parenting, but comes from society, and cannot be studied by adoption. This requires society to be able to distinguish the groups and thus is more plausible with black-white than jew-gentile differences. Moreover, it is even more plausible for sex differences.

        • JayMan says:

          Douglas Knight says:

          Another scenario is that racial differences are due to shared environment that is not parenting, but comes from society, and cannot be studied by adoption. This requires society to be able to distinguish the groups and thus is more plausible with black-white than jew-gentile differences. Moreover, it is even more plausible for sex differences.

          This is technically correct. However, every attempt to find such effects has failed.

          Occam’s Razor would suggest that they don’t exist.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          Yes, Jay, that qualitative response is quite reasonable. However, it is not possible to go further and make a quantitative claim like “E=0,” at least not for sex differences (which is the topic here). To measure E you must make assumptions about who is subject to shared environments, just as you must make assumptions about who is related if you want to measure H. (which is Shalizi’s point)

          I wrote out several scenarios because Alexander wrote down formulae without any context. I couldn’t even tell if the groups were races or sexes. The formulae are all technically correct in all cases, but details of the world matter for the question of what types of experiments allow you to measure the coefficients.

      • JayMan says:

        Perhaps it’s easier to use standard behavioral genetic methods, which partition the variance thusly:

        A = additive genetic variance
        D = non-additive genetic variance (D for “dominant”)
        C = shared (common) environment impact
        E = what’s left.

        This is done in behavioral genetic studies such that A + D + C + E = 1.

        As it turns out, empirical observations generally find:

        A + D ≈ 0.75 (minimum)
        C = 0
        E ≈ 0.25 (or less)

        These are to population-level variance. They are not separable in individuals, no more so than the contribution of length and width to the area of rectangle is separable in a given rectangle.

        This of course the differences between individuals within a group. The differences between groups is another matter. The evidence however is seeming to show that the nature of between-group differences is similar to differences within a group.

        The environment does appear to be important to differences within the same group at different times. How this works and its implications elsewhere is poorly understood at the moment.

        • Nick says:

          “The evidence however is seeming to show that the nature of between-group differences is similar to differences within a group.”

          Interesting. Do you know of any good references for this? I’ve not delved into the literature too deeply but I was under the impression this wasn’t the case (though papers that come to mind might be a bit dated; e.g. “The Heritability Hang-up”). Thanks!

        • JayMan says:

          @Nick:

          Rushton’s and Jensen’s paper on the matter is a good place to start, top of the list here.

    • anon1 says:

      There’s a whole big cultural *thing* of finding existing gender differences and deciding that that’s attractive so let’s double the difference and make it mandatory. Genetics shaping environment. Here’s an example that’s really clearly environmental: On average, women have less body hair than men. That doesn’t mean the fact that most American women have completely hairless legs and armpits is genetic.

      Suppose women in a state of nature (whatever that means) are, on average, 25% more nurturing than men, and men are, on average, 25% braver than women. Why *wouldn’t* culture encourage male bravery and female caring? And if it did, wouldn’t you expect that women might end up on average 50% more nurturing than men, and that men might end up on average 50% braver than women?

  8. Joe from London says:

    >>Why do you think generations of mothers encouraged their daughters to play hard to get?

    Generations of mothers also encouraged their sons to pay for dinner, which is discouraged by PUAs. (we seem to agree that following much of their relatively normal advice likely increases your chances of a date). I’d be interested to see the math on whether scarcity is more effective on men or on women.

    My bet is on women. I think het men are more concerned with their partner’s appearance than het women are. To the extent that someone seems more desirable because of his scarcity, his non-appearance characteristics will be perceived more positively. So if men’s non-appearance characteristics are more important than women’s, we would expect the scarcity effect to work more strongly on men.

  9. Mary says:

    One look at why women stay with abusive partners, from a doctor who was consulted by such a woman approximately once a day for the length of his career:

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/9_1_oh_to_be.html

    • Ialdabaoth says:

      Even when he says true things, he can’t help but say them with the most punchable-sounding mouth ever.

    • Multiheaded says:

      stop linking this piece of shit

      dear god

      • Nick T says:

        I’ve linked that article for its concrete observations and the part of its analysis that sticks close to them; are your problems with that, or just with its attribution of the problem / optimism about sexual conservatism?

      • ShardPhoenix says:

        Hah, when I saw you hated it so much I figured it must be rather good – and I was right.

      • The Anonymouse says:

        Multi, you have more power than you suspect. I, too, scrolled right past the link until you lamented it, upon which I immediately clicked and read it.

        And it is pretty good.

      • jaimeastorga2000 says:

        I was going to skip past it, too. I have a very positive opinion of Dr. Dalrymple, but I wasn’t feeling up to reading another one of his articles until I saw Multi’s reaction. Then I read it.

        I’m glad I did.

      • James Miller says:

        Why do you dislike it?

        • anon says:

          I saw all the people backlashing against Multi’s opinion, and I read it too because I disagree with Multi fairly often as well. Surprisingly, however, I agree a lot with Multi about this article. The author came across as both smug and stupid to me.

          I disliked it mainly because Dalrymple doesn’t go to any effort to consider alternative explanations for his observations. He usually provides only one argument for each claim, and those arguments are often weak. The overall pattern looks like he’s grasping onto the first idea he has and then taking it as an indisputable “truth”, then is using that “truth” to justify other weak arguments.

          Also, I’m sometimes skeptical of his observations. For example, I think he’s arrogant to assume that the nurses are all wrong and he is right, that the nurses are just poor sensitive women who can’t think rationally about abuse because it’s too scary.

        • Mary says:

          Please be more precise. Which observations should he have considered alternative explanations for?

        • anon says:

          All of them, frankly. But if you’re looking for a specific example, take his disregard for the nurses’ opinions.

        • Mary says:

          You mean the nurses who are shocked and horrified at the suggestion that a man is a batterer even when he is, in fact, a batterer?

        • (Another) Anon says:

          But the nurses aren’t actually, as far as I can tell from this article, refusing to admit that the dudes are batterers. They’re only refusing to admit that the dudes are batterers *based solely on their appearances,* without actually knowing any background information about them. Dalrymple’s argument is explicitly that you can tell who is a batterer from a single look: “I no longer analyze the clues and deduce a conclusion: a man’s propensity to violence is […] immediately legible in his face and bearing.”

          This is a different situation from the one you are describing. For instance, all of the “signs” Dalrymple describes (shaved head, obviously broken nose, simple tattoos on hands and arms) are also things that mark the dudes in question as being lower class. And this isn’t me reading into the article, either: he explicitly states that it’s the success of the sexual revolution in “the lower reaches of society” that leads to the domestic violence he’s observed.

          Based on his assertion that 70% of his male patients are perpetrators of DV, we can predict that he’s unusually likely to be right if he guesses someone is a batterer just because of the sample he’s using. And, even given a sample that seems especially prone to DV, Dalrymple only asserts that he can identify abusers with “a fair degree of accuracy.” This suggests that he is not actually very good at identifying abusers: he’s just drawing from a sample that contains more abusers than the general population (and that also seems to include more lower class people). In a sample with a more normal distribution of socioeconomic status and DV, it seems unlikely that Dalrymple’s predictive power would be that good. Of course, he hasn’t given us his exact percentage of correct guesses, so we can’t predict exactly how bad his heuristics are.

          On the other hand, there’s probably a large population of tattooed dudes with shaved heads who aren’t batterers that he isn’t interacting with because they aren’t in his hospital unit. Maybe the nurses have been interacting with some of them.

        • (Another) Anon says:

          Although, actually, I looked though the article again for the numbers he gives for violent patients, and they aren’t internally consistent. In one place he claims it’s 70% of 1,300 patients per year (4550 over 5 years), and in another it’s “at least 2,000” over five years. So he’s either not checking his numbers or he’s making them up.

        • Mary says:

          Against your claim, I will put another of his

          “She knew perfectly well the consequences and the meaning of what she was doing, as her reaction to something that I said to her—and say to hundreds of women patients in a similar situation—proved: next time you are thinking of going out with a man, bring him to me for my inspection, and I’ll tell you if you can go out with him.

          “This never fails to make the most wretched, the most “depressed” of women smile broadly or laugh heartily. They know exactly what I mean, and I need not spell it out further. They know that I mean that most of the men they have chosen have their evil written all over them, sometimes quite literally in the form of tattoos, saying “FUCK OFF” or “MAD DOG.” ”

          http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_4_oh_to_be.html

        • Anonymous says:

          Another, I think you are misreading that passage. He does not predict anything from a shaved head. It is merely that a closely shaved head lets him see scars from fights. Also, I don’t think the “blue tattoos” were literal, but were bruises. The three cues are brought together in that sentence because they are measures of recent and cumulative violence. The following sentence is different.

          The 1300 patients are suicide attempts in the toxicology ward. They are only half male. Half of your number is somewhat over 2000. So that’s consistent. But I’m not sure it’s comparable at all: does he treat everyone in the toxicology ward? does he treat men otherwise?

          And he doesn’t say that 70% of his male patients are batterers, but that 70% of suicide attempts by males follow battery. (and 70% of suicide attempts by females follow receipt of battery).
          He does give one base rate: each year 20% of females go to casualty for DV.

        • Mary says:

          ” For instance, all of the “signs” Dalrymple describes (shaved head, obviously broken nose, simple tattoos on hands and arms) are also things that mark the dudes in question as being lower class.”

          Come to think of it — this argument appears to be, “Well, he SHOULDN’T be able to predict it from those traits.”

          Nothing can argue with success in predicitons.

          • Another says:

            Anonymous–you’re right, I did misread the numbers passage as “1,300 male patients,” when actually the men are “just over half of that number.” I did actually see the bit about 70% of male suicide attempts (as opposed to all his patients) being batterers, but since he writes that 98% of the patients he sees are in his ward because they’ve attempted suicide, and “just over half” of his patients are male, his pool of male patients who are batterers should still be around 70%, give or take a couple percentage points.

            All of which seems to support my point that being able to pick out a batterer “with a fair degree of accuracy” in a sample size that is 70% batterers is not actually a great advertisement for one’s ability to pick out batterers in the general population.

            I think your point about the shaved heads is debatable–yes, closely cropped hair will let you see scars, but frequent fighters with long/longer hair could just as easily have scars on their arms, hands, or faces, and yet he’s particularly focused on the shaved heads. I think your interpretation of blue tattoos is entirely wrong–he writes about them in the same sentence as “relaying messages of love, hate, and challenge,” which suggests to me that he’s talking about about actual tattoos in the vein of the biker-y “love/hate” across the knuckles. I don’t see why he would say “tattoos” when he actually meant “bruises.” The rest of his writing is a little overwrought, but not quite that much.

            Mary, you seem to have misread my comment. My point is not that he “shouldn’t predict it from those traits,” but that from the information he gives about who his patients are and what he thinks abusers look like, he’s clearly not using a sample that’s representative of the general population. According to the numbers that he gives, men who have attempted suicide by overdose–the vast majority of his patients–seem to be far more likely to be abusers than men in general. Based on his descriptions, patients who have attempted suicide also seem to be more likely to be lower class, although he doesn’t give specific statistics re: the socioeconomic status of his patients. But because he’s basing his predictions only on people he sees in his ward, we don’t know if 1) there is a population of lower class men with cheap tattoos, etc, who haven’t attempted suicide and aren’t abusers, who he hasn’t come into contact with and probably won’t, and 2) there is a population of abusers who haven’t attempted suicide, who don’t look like the abusers he is describing. It seems both possible and likely that there is a confounding variable that skewing his predictions. And, as I said before, if 70% of his patients are abusers, he doesn’t have to be that good at actually recognizing signs of abusiveness for his predictions to be right most of the time.

            Sorry if that’s repetitive, but randomizing your sample is ~important~ if you want to make claims about the general population, which Dalrymple clearly does.

            As for the passage you’ve quoted from “The Frivolity of Evil,” I’m not entirely certain how that relates to the issues with Dalrymple’s method that I’ve noted. I’d appreciate it if you could elaborate on your thoughts.

          • Mary says:

            But he didn’t make any claims about the general population. He asserted that he could tell when his patients were violent, and that the nurses who saw the same evidence refused to generalize.

          • Another says:

            Yes, he does claim to be able to read signs of violence in men in general: “a man’s propensity to violence is as immediately legible in his face and bearing as any other strongly marked character trait.”

            There’s nothing in the entirety of that paragraph that states that he believes his conclusions only apply to his patients–to claim that he meant that even when he didn’t say it seems disingenuous.

            Furthermore, he suggests, in this essay and others, that if his female patients bring prospective boyfriends to him he will immediately tell them if they are violent–this despite the fact that these new boyfriends presumably won’t be his patients. So it seems quite clear that he does think his predictions are valid for the general population.

    • lmm says:

      Do continue to link this stuff. I may not agree with Dalrymple but he’s more polite, thoughtful and coherent than a lot of our links, and the article was interesting.

    • Salem says:

      Agree with the above; please keep linking to this kind of thing (where relevant). When those who disagree can only muster invective, it speaks volumes.

    • Harald K says:

      Yeah, I guessed without looking who that was. Dalrymple has an good ability to observe, and a horrible ability come up with completely non-sequitur right-wing solutions from what he sees.

      He is articulate in his descriptions of social misery, but if he were even remotely right about the solutions, there would be more social misery in Stockholm than in Mumbai.

      • Mary says:

        ‘He is articulate in his descriptions of social misery, but if he were even remotely right about the solutions, there would be more social misery in Stockholm than in Mumbai.”

        http://www.city-journal.org/html/9_2_oh_to_be.html

        • Anonymous says:

          It does not appear to occur to him that the Western people who require urgent medical help are a self selected group, while their 3rd world counterparts are not.

      • Mary says:

        Incidentally, what are your credentials for knowing what the relative misery of Stockholm vs. Mumbai?

        I offer this as the reason why this is important:
        http://www.city-journal.org/html/10_4_oh_to_be.html

        • Harald K says:

          Those were just examples. But I don’t believe for a moment that “I don’t care for the future” nihilism is less common in the third world. It is certainly not more common where I live.

          I live in a part of Oslo dominated by what you would call council housing, and non-western immigrants. Norway’s welfare state is a lot more generous than the British. If the welfare state was the explanation for social misery, this would be a hellhole. It isn’t.

          Britain’s welfare state set out to rob people of hope. Really, the policies of Thatcher towards the unions was one of deliberate humiliation and slumification. It isn’t the welfare state which creates social misery, it’s multigenerational, successful class warfare.

          But this has got damn little to do with Heartiste, so let’s cut it there.

        • Anonymous says:

          The patterns of abuse/meaningless/etc that he writes about sound very similar to the same thing in the United States mentioned in “Arrest Proof Yourself,” specifically what the author calls “jits” (short for jitter bugs). Jits don’t know how to keep to a schedule, they leave if their woman gets uppity, they get into loud arguments, they sleep all day and party all night, etc. They are effectively incapable of gainful employment and equally incapable of avoiding jail time.

          The United States does not have nearly the welfare state of the UK, but this same “type” occurs in both countries, suggesting that it’s not purely a result of the UK being a socialist liberal hellhole that drains all dignity from the human spirit.

  10. Ialdabaoth says:

    (Anecdotally, this place is White Wolf games. However, my data on this comes from Portland and it might just be that literally everywhere in Portland is full of strippers.)

    *takes out notepad*

    Port…land.

    *circles word repeatedly*

    • Anonymous says:

      Even Time agrees.

    • Auroch says:

      I live in Portland. I know several strippers, and we have a higher density of strip clubs (mostly pretty well-staffed and well-attended) than any other city, last I checked. Though I’d guess that North Dakota oil-drilling boomtowns would at least give it a run for its money.

      In short: Can confirm. Dream of the 90s includes strippers.

    • The Anonymouse says:

      There are many, many hot girls here in Portland. It is wonderful if you love nerd girls.

      There are also many, many annoying things about this town. I would start with bicycles, men with ironic facial hair, and layabouts. (Portland is, after all, where young people go to retire.) But lack of beautiful ladies is not one of them.

      • Hanfeizi says:

        Six months in Portland was just about the worst dry spell of my adult life. There might be some pretty ladies there; but there’s also an overabundance of eligible young men.

        • Hainish says:

          Yup, the Pacific Northwest is known to have a higher-than-average ratio of men to women. (It’s the opposite situation in the /Mid-Altlantic/Northeast.)

    • Have lived in Portland, and can also confirm strippers. Has to do with Oregon state law regulating bars and strip clubs, and maybe an Oregon State Supreme Court case or two IIRC.

  11. What I heard about menstrual cycles and desire in women is that at the more fertile times women want good sperm more. The paranoid corollary is that if you’re getting sex more during her infertile times then she’s a step away from being repulsed by you.

    Even though I think the main claim is intuitively credible, there are so many alternative explanations for a woman wanting (or not wanting) sex that I’d feel silly worrying.

    Meta-level: consider that most people are practicing beliefs that lead to effective approaches (or consolation/excuse for not approaching). The prevalent beliefs and popular sites must have either helped people when put into practice, or entertained+consoled them. Additionally, there’s a desire to feel like a winner vs. your opposite-sex same age cohort now that you’re 38 when you were on the bottom end of the marketplace when you were 16 losing out to that 20 yo college man.

  12. Matthew says:

    A possible component of whatever story there is about the relationship between premarital promiscuity and divorce is that the promiscuous are probably more likely to be taking hormonal contraceptives, which flips the MHC preference. Intuitively, though, that makes it seem like promiscuous people should be less likely to divorce, since they’re not the ones switching to the pill when they get married.

  13. nydwracu says:

    In Renaissance England, women painted their faces white with lead, poisoning them.

    This is probably an extreme manifestation of a universal. Peter Frost’s big idea is that there’s a universal attractiveness-norm toward darker men and lighter women. (Yes, tanning, but no one said universals can’t be overridden by particular applications of meta-universals / “more complex interactions” — and besides, the conversations I’ve had suggest that at least the people I’m likely to talk to about this don’t actually think it’s attractive.)

    Which suggests that… men are biologically programmed to claim to be into hot women and not actually be?

    Sure. You land a 10, you’re high-status. You don’t care about landing 10s, well, obviously you’re just rationalizing your low status.

    In practice… is there a term for the opposite direction of the halo effect? Whatever it’s called, that takes care of it: you end up thinking whoever you’re dating is more attractive than they actually are.

    I would like to thank Heartiste for making extreme claims and thus making my debunking of them easier.

    Making extreme claims could make sense if Heartiste’s goal is practical influence — cf. wet bias, misreporting of to-hit in Fire Emblem. People seem to be bad at understanding percentages in ways that writers can compensate for by exaggeration.

    (Many of Heartiste’s claims seem to be along the same lines: rhetorical jabs optimized for effect or memorability rather than being true. Like the serial killer thing. Instrumental vs. epistemic rationality.)

    Fortunately, a feminist blogger has created a helpful “if classic works of art were photoshopped to look like modern magazine stars” set of pictures, from throughout European art history, without a Rubens in sight.

    More complex interactions. It’s not true for all cultures (Mauritania, Polynesia IIRC), but that’s probably because of factors that don’t obtain here — but that argument is common enough that you’ve almost certainly heard it already.

    Also, some of those paintings are fairly recent, and, without knowing much about art history, it seems plausible that they could be in “épater la bourgeoisie by making ugly things!” territory. They’ve got Modigliani in there. In addition to being a worthless, vile hack with no redeeming value at all, Modigliani is not exactly representative of Western art history.

    Except look at women’s preferences in those studies: women consistently don’t like masculine men either. In fact, even traditional women don’t really like masculine men. I think what we’re seeing here is an interaction: traditional men may favor feminine women and, in addition, people with masculine personalities, as defined by the Bem Sex Role Inventory, are assholes and no one wants to put up with them. I mean, do you want to date someone described as aggressive, dominant, and a “strong personality” and as not understanding, sensitive to others’ needs, and compassionate? I don’t. They would probably make me cry all the time, it would be awful.

    Typical mind fallacy and so on.

    Also, the Bem Sex Role Inventory isn’t necessarily representative of the type of masculinity that is to be aspired to. If you compared people who are aggressive, dominant, not understanding, etc. with both people who are passive, submissive, understanding, and so on and people who are aggressive, dominant, but understanding, what do you think the results would be?

    First, introverts exist. The usual response of the introvert to a random stranger coming up to them and talking is “maybe if I stand perfectly still they won’t eat me.”

    Something about cocooning, something about high- vs. low-trust societies, something about subcultures, the introvert/extrovert thing is something I’ve felt like attacking for a while but y’all ought to be able to fill in the blanks by now

    I mean, you can have the explanation where women are crazy mutant aliens and you are Chaotic Evil, or the “women continue to obey common principles of social psychology even when they’re flirting with someone.” Up to you, really.

    Waiting for someone to read that line and start a socpsych game blog. what have you done, what horrors have you unleashed

    This is really interesting, because over the course of the article exactly one group of people is described as arrogant, egotistical assholes, the kind of person Heartiste thinks women want to date. That group is the beta males.

    Arrogant, egotistical assholes aren’t arrogant, egotistical assholes.

    Writing that men should act like arrogant, egotistical assholes is an effective way of getting across the point that they should signal high status. If they actually come off as arrogant, egotistical assholes, they’ve failed at that: “arrogant, egotistical asshole” implies “signals higher status than he actually has”. Thanks to the wonders of slave morality and the crab-bucket effect, low-status men will generally read high-status men as arrogant, egotistical assholes, even when they’re just high-status — and Heartiste writes for an audience of low-status men.

    But women are primarily messaging men roughly around their own age. This remains true no matter how old she is. Since women as a group don’t seem to have a preference for a single age the way men do, we might as well calculate peak attractiveness by which age men are most likely to date the women they prefer. And the answer is… oh dear… around 20-24.

    Women messaging men at all — especially for casual sex — is an outlier, so one would expect it to throw bizarre data.

    There was a study that made its rounds in some corner of the blogosphere sometime over a year ago: women have more sex in college than men, the numbers don’t add up, so who are they having sex with? Answer: men too old for college. This fits with my anecdotal observations: all the men I knew in college who were in relationships were in relationships with women at the college, but some of the women I knew in college who were in relationships were in relationships with men who didn’t go there. And when one half of the relationship graduated before the other, it was the man.

    (Even more anecdotally, I once knew someone who was interested in me until she found out I was one or two years younger than her. Actually, that happened twice, but the other time, she only found out afterwards, and stopped caring after a week or two.)

    • lmm says:

      >Something about cocooning, something about high- vs. low-trust societies, something about subcultures, the introvert/extrovert thing is something I’ve felt like attacking for a while but y’all ought to be able to fill in the blanks by now

      Nope. Please expand.

      • Alexander Stanislaw says:

        I’ve never read his/her blog but here is a try. Introversion is less a function of the person and more a function of how comfortable they are in their environment. Hence if I take two similar people then one can be very introverted when in a low trust society, but the other might be very extroverted when in a high trust society or within their own subculture (subcultures are like mini-societies in some ways).

        I think this is probably true, but introversion is heritable (I think around 0.5). Both environment and genes matter … like almost everything.

        • Mary says:

          Actually extroversion and introversion can be detected in the cradle. Present both babies with a stimulus. The one that reacts more weakly, or not at all, will be the extrovert.

          Naturally, being more sensitive will cause people to be less comfortable in a lot of over stimulating environments, but it’s the result, not the cause, of introversion.

      • nydwracu says:

        I don’t buy that the introvert/extrovert dichotomy is innate, or even fixed.

        Compare Agnostic’s cocooning-cycle theory, or Putnam on diversity: introverted traits can be caused by external circumstances.

        “Maybe if I stand perfectly still they won’t eat me” unpacks — at least IME — to “I cannot predict this person’s actions or motivations and I would prefer not to interact with a potentially dangerous unknown”. If it gets easier to predict others’ actions or motivations (if those others are all of the same culture as yourself, for example) or if the likelihood of unknowns being dangerous is lower (i.e. if the society is more high-trust), then those conditions are less likely to obtain.

        People in divergent subcultures are more likely to be introverts. Why? This model predicts that it’s because there’s likely to be larger cultural distance* between divergent subcultures and a random person outside the subculture who interacts with them than there is between two random people outside the subculture.

        It’s important to separate this from status concerns: people can also act introverted because they perceive themselves as too low-status to initiate interaction, and people who do so can join a divergent subculture where they won’t feel so low-status. (Subcultures also have the advantage of being smaller, and having smaller cultural distance inside themselves than the set of people not in any subculture.)

        * Cultural distance = norms, unspoken agreements, status systems, etc. — I can’t express this concept very well yet but hopefully you get the idea. Larger cultural distance means it’s harder to understand what the other person is doing, to predict their actions, and so on, so interacting with them contains more unknowns and takes more effort.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      Femininity/masculinity of personality is usually studied with BSRI, so the data on non-asshole masculine dudes is somewhat limited.

      Twenty to twenty-five is mostly men too old for college; the data doesn’t really contradict.

    • coffeespoons says:

      Also, some of those paintings are fairly recent, and, without knowing much about art history, it seems plausible that they could be in “épater la bourgeoisie by making ugly things!” territory.

      If my memory serves me correctly (it’s a long time since I’ve been to an art gallery), women with those sorts of figures are pretty common in renaissance art, and I’m pretty sure they’re mean to be attractive, or at least not unattractive.

    • BenSix says:

      Many of Heartiste’s claims seem to be along the same lines: rhetorical jabs optimized for effect or memorability rather than being true. Like the serial killer thing. Instrumental vs. epistemic rationality.

      One thing to remember about “game” bloggers is that if they are at all talented at telling women the kind of things they want to hear before going to bed with them they might well be talented at telling readers the sorts of things they want to hear before vising again; promoting them on social media; buying their books et cetera.

    • anon says:

      That stuff you said about darker skinned men being more attractive sounds like a pseudoscientific racist dog-whistle to me. You didn’t even provide any evidence supportingthe theory, you just mentioned the theory’s existence. Seems irresponsible at best, evil at worst, trollish at most probable.

      • nydwracu says:

        Peter Frost has a blog. Peter Frost’s blog is in the first page of both the Google and DuckDuckGo results for ‘Peter Frost’, so you could have found the blog in less time than it took you to write that comment. The reason I mentioned Peter Frost is to make it clear who developed the idea, so people could search the name and find the blog. Given that the bio on Peter Frost’s blog contains the sentence “I’ve published mainly on sexual dimorphism in human skin color and on the evolutionary origin of European hair and eye colors”, it’s not even ambiguous which Peter Frost I’m referring to.

        • Geirr says:

          I approve wholeheartedly of this comment. Rarely can someone so thoroughly yet politely make another person look like both a weasel and an idiot.

        • RCF says:

          So, it’s okay to make evidence-free claims, as long as you include enough key terms that someone can embark on a research project searching for what evidence you might be basing your claim on?

        • nydwracu says:

          Many smart people have put many workdays into making multibillion-dollar companies that make that okay — and if you think a research project is something that can be done in the time it takes to make a pot of coffee, someone ought to have a word with your teachers.

      • anon says:

        My complaint wasn’t about whether it’s difficult to find the ideas you mentioned. My complaint was about accountability – it’s bad to mention theories but not any of their justifications.

        Is Geirr a sockpuppet of yours? I’m having a hard time believing anyone would perceive me as a weasel or your reply as responsive.

        • FWIW: I found your comment weaselish, nydwracu’s reply beautiful, and Geirr’s comment hilarious.

          I think my problem was that you complained that what was clearly a set of short notes on lots of topics, with enough context to trivially google more information, didn’t maintain the standards we normally expect here for single-issue comments.

          Which made it seem like you were more interested in prescribing spoon feeding than the presentation of potentially interesting ideas.

    • Mary says:

      “Peter Frost’s big idea is that there’s a universal attractiveness-norm toward darker men and lighter women. (Yes, tanning, but no one said universals can’t be overridden by particular applications of meta-universals / “more complex interactions” ”

      More likely — money.

      When most people are agricultural, a tan means she’s a peasant. When most people work in offices or factories, a tan means she’s gone to the Rivera for a holiday.

      Nowadays, it’s flapping around free because either can be obtained by someone of limited means. Other factors have to come into play to determine which will win. However, the much longer reign of fair (meaning both its meanings at once) may mean a selection for it has been engrained.

  14. Awesome post.

    Question about this:

    > I would also like to point out that “hunter gatherers like fat women, which confounds tests for WHR and attractiveness designed for thin-preferring Americans” is also a pretty solid point against the Fat Is Universally Hideous hypothesis.

    It seems to me that this requires some definition of ‘fat’. Do hunter-gatherers prefer women who are not as thin as the average Western supermodel, say with BMI in the high end of the 20-25 range? Or do they prefer women who are genuinely obese, with BMIs north of thirty? Or even morbidly obese, with BMIs over 40? In short, does their supposed attraction for fat women extend even to what WEIRD people consider ‘fat’?

    • Nornagest says:

      I don’t know anything about preferences in hunter-gatherers, but I’ve never seen anyone sexualized that I’d consider morbidly obese in Renaissance or Baroque art. Titian’s Danae would probably fall into “overweight but not obese” by BMI standards, while the female figure in his Venus and Organist looks closer to obese to me. On the other hand, thinner women weren’t unknown in Renaissance or Baroque art either; see for example Venus and Adonis or Venus at her Mirror.

      I think the most natural conclusion is that a wider range of body type preference was normative during the period, but not necessarily a heavier one.

  15. rsaarelm says:

    while serial-killer-themed porn-for-ladies has made less of an inroad than porn featuring men with dog dicks.

    Try reading paranormal romance sometimes while mentally substituting “serial killer” for “vampire”.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      I feel like Serial Killer Nobly Struggling Against His Urges To Kill People is a slightly different category than Serial Killer Who Is Totally Fucking OK With It.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hannibal.

      • Ialdabaoth says:

        Which side do you feel Dexter fell on?

        • Nornagest says:

          Dexter’s schtick, bar a few regressions, is “only kill people who had it coming by some reasonably objective measure”, which if I recall correctly is how Lestat got his kicks as well; Dexter accomplishes this by means of a magic police database and an unrealistically huge number of other serial killers running around, while Lestat had the advantage of mind reading.

          I’d say he counts.

  16. Samuel Skinner says:

    “Girls like pink because we’ve associated pink with girls (it was different as few as a hundred years ago), but try to argue with a six-year-old at a toy store.”

    What is the source for that? I’ve heard conflicting claims for that, which leads me to think it was just a couple of cases blown out of proportion.

  17. Namw says:

    About the BMI and the women in ancient paintings:

    The problem is that the BMI isn’t such a reliable indicator of whether one is fat. A fat person is one who is too fat for their body type. A person might have a high/low BMI because they are fat/undernourished, or because they have a thick/thin body type. Some of the women in the ancient painting have a thick body type, but they are not fat.

    • “too fat for their body type” is a confusing phrase. How do you know that the women in ancient paintings aren’t women with a thin body type who are too fat for their type? How do you magically tell what a person’s innate type is?

      • Elizabeth says:

        “Magically” isn’t helpful.

        Some fat people have trouble moving around, visibly have joint problems, have lots of fat going in a surprising direction etc. There’s a part of my brain that notices these factors and some others I’m not thinking of right now, and thinks of people who have lots of such factors as “too fat for their body type.” It’s totally a possible observation to make, just conceivably not an accurate or useful one.

      • namw says:

        Fom wikipedia:

        “BMI also does not account for body frame size; a person may have a small frame and be carrying more fat than optimal, but their BMI reflects that they are normal. Conversely, a large framed individual may be quite healthy with a fairly low body fat percentage, but be classified as overweight by BMI. Accurate frame size calculators use several measurements (wrist circumference, elbow width, neck circumference and others) to determine what category an individual falls into for a given height.”

        In addition, “natural” fat is distributed differently form excess fat. Excess fat tends to end up disproportionately around the waist, ruining the hourglass figure (and the women in old art always have the hourglass figure).

        There is another thing which is probably more important. People in the past were shorter than we are today. Failure to takes this into accounts makes us overestimate the BMI for the women in the old art.

        (the formula for the BMI takes into account that taller people are supposed to look proportionately more slender, that’s why the height in the denominator is only squared insted of cubed).

        • Nornagest says:

          The BMI isn’t a perfect measure by any means, but it’s a lot more accurate than the Internet would have you believe.

          For example, I’m roughly +2 sigma in terms of height and in pretty good shape. These are exactly the conditions the BMI wasn’t designed to cope well with, and the error should be in the positive direction, so the BMI should rank me as overweight, right? Well, no. My BMI is 22, while it’d probably be closer to 19 or 20 if I was of average height. That’s not a huge shift.

          People in the Renaissance and Baroque were shorter than they are now, but they weren’t two sigma shorter. (You might get the opposite impression from the tiny suits of armor you see in museums, but they exaggerate the trend because armor in odd sizes survives longer — these weren’t pure art objects, they were expensive martial tools and they got reused if people could fit into them.) I very much doubt we’d get a substantially wrong impression of BMI from Baroque art. To say nothing of the fact that BMI is a proxy and we actually care about body composition — which we can estimate more or less directly when we’re looking at a nude.

        • namw says:

          To Nornagest:

          Well, personal example for personal example, my height is average, yet for years when I was younger the BMI index claimed I was “underweight”, which was not believable because I have always eaten impressively large amounts of calorie rich food, and never actually looked malnourished. Today in my 30’s I’m on the border between normal and underweight (I just checked), and I bet it can go underweight again with day-to-day fluctuations.

          “To say nothing of the fact that BMI is a proxy and we actually care about body composition — which we can estimate more or less directly when we’re looking at a nude.” —- in most cases the models in ancient art don’t look out of shape to me, and that is actually my chief point.

          Ozy uses a BMI visual reference to draw the equivalence between women in ancient art and Lena Dunham, who Heartiste deems ugly. I’m attacking both that equivalence and BMI in defense of Heartiste (even though I don’t support him in general). Ancient art models don’t *look* like Lena Dunham to me.

        • namw says:

          To Nornagest:

          Oh I forgot to say, there’s a misunderstanding here – I’m NOT saying that BMI is less accurate for people whose height is different from average. I AM saying that if you try and guess BMI from a picture, a mistaken estimate of height will throw you off.

        • Matthew says:

          @Nornagest, re: BMI accuracy.

          There are definitely exceptions. I’m 5’10”, so less than +1SD of the average adult male. At a weight of about 216, my BMI is 31.

          I am ~10% body fat.

        • Anonymous says:

          @Matthew:

          Not to be an ass (I say as I’m about to be), but where are you getting the 10% from? Things like BIA and calipers are notoriously unreliable, but if you’d gotten a DEXA scan or hydrostatic test I’d be a lot more likely to believe it. From your picture and lifts (assuming 1rms) I’d have guessed 15-20% BF (though of course visual estimation sucks too), closer to the higher end.

        • Matthew says:

          Last year, on one of those scales measuring electrical resistance, I was 12.7% fat. I’ve gained 20 pounds of muscle since then.

          Annoyingly, I have the ribcage of a gorilla, so I’ll never look thin.

    • Sniffnoy says:

      This might be a coherent criterion of fatness, but I think Ozy has demonstrated that it is not the one that Heartiste is using.

  18. Sniffnoy says:

    I like this and am going to nitpick it now. OK actually just one nitpick:

    However, I would like to clarify that I am not talking about wearing lipstick or about having feminine facial features, but about possessing gender-congruent personality traits, such as being gentle, tactful, and a lover of children for women and being ambitious, competitive, and individualistic for men.

    “Wearing lipstick” is not a personality trait as such but it is a behavior so it seems possibly misplaced here?

    (Also you might want to fix the numbering in IIA, it currently goes 1 2 3 2 3 4 5. Also IIIB1 is missing bold.)

    Also:

    I find myself impressed by Eric S Raymond’s Sex Tips for Geeks. Although I disagree with most of the evopsych, it is honest that people are totally shallow and that expensive clothes, lifting weights, and growing out your hair help. A pickup-knowledgeable friend recommends Mark Manson and The Art of Charm. I haven’t read them and can’t vouch, but my friend is a pretty ethical and charming guy.

    Yes but see without a known feminist directly vouching for them there is no way to know that they are not suggesting things that are secretly evil. (Well, or if they take pains to seriously address the scrupulous-feminist point of view and point out why it’s mistaken in extreme detail. Mark Manson, from one of the things I’ve read on his website, at least recognizes that the problem exists, but while I haven’t read his book, I get the impression he either doesn’t take it seriously enough to give it a thorough rebuttal, or mostly regards it as off-topic to what he writes.)

  19. Chip says:

    This is the first time ive ever read something about this sort of thing and I got a kick out of it. Everyone has a bizarre perspective of relationships because they have a bizarre perspective of themselves, I guess its just easier to externalize your internal dilemmas if your e lost and confused

  20. Drew says:

    That was the most cleverly-written piece on MRA stuff that I’ve ever read.

    Well done.

    • Harald K says:

      On redpill/PUA stuff. There is a difference. But I agree, this was funny.

    • DrBeat says:

      This has nothing whatsoever to do with MRAs, what they believe, or what they advocate for.

      The concept of the “manosphere” and what is lumped into could be seen proof of MRA points on its own. Despite being completely different in method, beliefs, and goals, the mere belief that men are people who have needs in and of themselves is enough to lump them all together into the same undifferentiated “fringe group”.

      • Nick T says:

        “Feminism” is very often treated as a monolith as well, though much less as fringe.

        • DrBeat says:

          In my experience (as someone who is anti-feminist not because he opposes equality but because feminism is wrong one hundred percent of the time) “feminism is not a monolith” is trotted out only when it looks like feminism or feminists might be held responsible for the things they say and do. If “feminism is not a monolith” actually applied honestly, feminists wouldn’t assign “feminism” as a whole with the credit for the positive interpretations of all the things it did, even those accomplished by people they would otherwise claim are “not real feminists”.

          “The manosphere” does not claim a common ideology, feminism does. Nor does “the manosphere” leverage the existence or actions of other opposing parts of “the manosphere” for political power and social credit as if they were a united front. Yeah, there are lots of different feminisms, but all of them are wholly and irreversibly corrupted in the same way by the same idea for the same reason.

        • Sniffnoy says:

          I certainly can’t agree with the last sentence (as a kind-of-feminist myself), but the rest of DrBeat’s comment expresses pretty well what I was about to post.

        • Ozy Frantz says:

          Outgroup homogeneity bias.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t think “radical feminism” and “liberal feminism” and “sex-positive feminism,” etc, getting all lumped together is quite the same as MRAs and PUAs/TRPers getting lumped together.

          MRA issues are social (primarily legal) issues: unfair divorce courts, sentencing disparities, biased school system, etc.

          PUA/TRP issues are primarily: how to get one’s dick wet, how women are all big sluts for strong men, how marriage is the best thing ever for women (but they keep on avoiding it, the fools!), etc.

          There’s a little bit of overlap, but they really are two separate communities with very little in common. I doubt they even share an origin.

        • Mary says:

          Feminism is definitely not a monolith. Indeed, feminism is not even coherent. (Do children belong with their mothers? Are we talking about child care or child custody?)

        • Hainish says:

          Childcare should be split more equitably, and custody should generally favor whichever parent (if any) is primarily responsible for childcare. Those aren’t contradictory statements.

        • Mary says:

          Moot point, since that’s not what the feminists argue for.

          There are feminists who can get indignant that a woman asks for more child support payments for the child care, and the man suggests he take custody because his job takes less time. How outrageous to let the man have custody just because the woman is parking them in day care for eighty or more hours a week!

        • lmm says:

          I think it’s different feminists rather than individuals being incoherent. But from the outside it’s just as frustrating. It would be really helpful if there were some kind of feminist catechism that gave the official view on a bunch of issues, because as it stands I end up answering most questions with “well, it depends what you mean by feminism”.

        • I have seen feminist catechisms before. The problem is that no catechism can really claim to represent more than a fraction of the movement, and so can readily be disavowed by your interlocutor.

        • Mary says:

          When it’s individuals who differ from each other or individuals who are personally incoherent, moot point for whether “femisism” is incoherent.

          Incidentally, it’s also false. I have read individual feminists whose feminist principles shifted like a weather vane depending on what they wanted. A feminist discussing personal appearance who was prepared to accept cosmetic surgery as her right, but was equally certain that feminists could “draw the line” on how high a high-heeled shoe you could wear on the grounds that the higher one could cause harm — in the same essay.

  21. Jiro says:

    Picking at a few random items:

    Conversely, women who are engaging in short-term mating ought to be primarily interested in pretty dudes who will pass on good genes to their children.

    You’re presenting this as a just-so story that points in the opposite direction, but I don’t think this points in the opposite direction at all. Instead, it seems to agree with Heartiste about attraction to alpha males.

    In fact a lot of what you say seems to agree with him, just with less extremeness. Game does work, just some of the conclusions are wrong. Men are more interested in physical appearance, just not as much as he says.

    Indeed, many fetishes are obviously environmental in origin, unless one assumes that genes for fetishes for rubber, stuffed animals, and Catholic schoolgirls lay latent in the genome for tens of thousands of years.

    That doesn’t follow. The fact that people like to eat candy is not environmental, even though there are no genes for liking candy. There are, however, genes for liking sweet things, and candy is a superstimulus. Fantasy Catholic schoolgirls are young, in a situation where other people have power over them, and are outwardly sexually repressed.

    Aren’t all men in all cultures into thin women?

    Is there any significant sized group who believes this other than Heartiste? Sure, it’s an “anti-Heartiste FAQ”, but you’re trying to rebut “common” beliefs. Most people who have spent any thought on the subject know that there are cultures that like fat people because to be fat in that culture you have to be rich. It’s the same reason as to why societies have different balances between liking tanned and pale skin–tans used to be associated with poor laborers and pale skin with having lots of leisure time and now that is no longer true.

    Do women like serial killers?

    Someone already pointed out the popularity of vampire fiction.
    Vampires also have the double whammy of being older (and without having diseases of old age), which it sounds like Heartiste thinks women are attracted to.

    • Randy M says:

      “Most people who have spent any thought on the subject know that there are cultures that like fat people because to be fat in that culture you have to be rich. ”
      This is not something that is proveable by logic; it is not axiomatic that men are aroused by wealth (nor is it for women; evo-psych justifications can be explanatory, but not as far as predictions go, they are hypothesis, not law or even theory.)

  22. Alex Mennen says:

    I just read a few of Heartistle’s blog posts, and they seem to be about the quality of a typical youtube comment. I’m curious why you think he’s worth engaging with instead of just ignoring.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      Because I have internalized an Inner Heartiste and when I internalize ideas that are bad for me everyone gets to read my long and tedious explanations about why they’re wrong.

      • coffeespoons says:

        I also read too much Heartiste and internalised an Inner Heartiste. I’m really glad to see a takedown. I would have tried to do something like this myself except I a) never blog anymore and b) would find it difficult to deal with being called ugly, fat etc if Heartiste fans came across it (I am female and closer in looks to the average looking women depicted here than to the apparantly super hot ones).

        Thanks!

      • anonymous says:

        I have internalized an Inner Heartiste

        I know that feel, bro.

        In this study, men who believe in traditional gender roles prefer feminine partners, while men who prefer either androgynous or feminine partners.

        Missing word?

    • JK says:

      Heartiste’s posts were great for the first couple of years when he blogged under the name Roissy — at least that’s my recollection. The quality of his writing has deteriorated a lot in recent years, and much of it now consists of tiresome far-right talking points (he used to be largely apolitical). Some say it’s not even the same writer anymore.

      • subforum says:

        The abrupt decline in prose style occurred immediately after the original “Roissy” was doxxed. I believe with near-absolute certainty that the current “Heartiste” is a different writer.

  23. SanguineEmpiricist says:

    I wonder where this will go.

  24. Vladimir Slepnev says:

    Wow, Ozy is really good at writing.

    • Amanda L. says:

      Yeah, Ozy and Scott apparently share a talent for thoughtful, clear, and witty writing. Halfway through this I was like “ok, I can see why these two are dating.”

  25. Anonymous 3 says:

    This is a pretty good FAQ. Heartiste is full of hasty generalizations, typical mind fallacy, and confirmation bias. He also falls prey to cynical bias. He is more of a comedian than a truth-seeker, but unfortunately some of his audience takes him seriously.

    Your section on “sluts” looks solid (I’ve never understand why some manosphere guys inside on using number of sexual partners as a proxy for faithfulness instead of actual personality traits and relationship history).

    While Heartiste exaggerates sex differences, you may be downplaying them a bit too much (even though I noticed you acknowledging some sex differences, which is great). Specific quibbles:

    – Good job noticing the solidness of men’s preferences for lower WHR.

    While it’s possible to point to particular tribes or historical societies that had differing beauty standards, how do we know that these just aren’t exceptions? This review claims that there is high agreement both within and between cultures about beauty: http://jonathanstray.com/papers/Langlois.pdf

    As Jayman also points out, different populations might have different beauty standards because they have different genes, not because there is a cultural component to beauty.

    – Yes, some women being attracted to serial killers does not prove that women in general go for assholes. But it does show us something about the preferences of women in general: specifically, the preference of most women for famous men, and the preference of some women (perhaps a large minority) for Dark Triad traits.

    – Yes, some women staying in abusive relationships doesn’t prove that women in general go for assholes. But surely it’s plausible that at least some women go for assholes, which could be a factor in why they stay in an abusive relationship? I would suspect that abuse survivors are not a monolith, and some of them might find at least some assholish behavior by their partners attractive. (Of course, this doesn’t meant that they deserve the abuse.) Is it also so hard to believe that a minority of women screens for Dark Triad traits, which might be found more often in abusive men?

    – I think we should consider the possibility that men with Dark Triad traits have more sexual partners because they are more attractive (to at least some women), not just because those men are more motivated. This doesn’t necessarily mean that women are attracted to the Dark Triad itself; it could be through a correlated factor like risk-taking (which some women find attractive) or extraversion (which women also find attractive).

    – As for the study on how women respond to pickup: first, it is self-reported, which makes it limited (remember, many PUAs claim that women’s self-reports don’t match up with their behavior). Second, it found that women with more traditional ideas about gender responded better to pickup. This means that if most women are leaning towards the gender traditional persuasion, then pickup is attractive to most women. Clearly Heartiste is wrong about all or most women, but if say, even just 25% of women are attracted to pickup behaviors, then that would be a really significant fact and very useful practically.

    – As for takeaways and scarcity, yes, these are general principles of psychology that also apply to men’s behavior. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t sex differences. It’s perfectly plausible that women and men respond differently to takeaways, scarcity, and “hard to get.”

    – Does Heartiste really claim that it’s “unfair” that “women have sex with alpha males in their prime and then expect to get married to me when other men had them younger, hotter, tighter, for free”? My impression is that he considers this female behavior to be self-serving, and justifies men being corresponding self-serving about their own mating goals.

    – The Conley study isn’t very good. She is right that the original Hatfield&Clark study over-estimates sex differences in propensity for casual sex with strangers. But her finding that men have to be Johnny Depp for women to strongly consider them for casual sex is actually quite consistent with the idea of sex differences in sexual psychology.

    – OKTrends does show that men peak later, though not as late as 38. The chart on “portion of the dating pool interested in the person” seems to show that men’s widest appeal is at 25-30, while women’s is at 21-25. And women date up in age. Based on the charts, young men have around half the options of young women during the early 20s. These sex differences are whoppers which help explain why some young men are so resentful and get into pickup.

    The general pattern here is that Heartiste takes plausible sex differences, exaggerates their magnitude, ignores within-group variation, and then passes them off as facts with clearcut practical implications. He seems to exaggerate for rhetorical effect, but this tendency leaves his audience unclear about which claims he intends seriously. It’s also an excellent example of motte-and-bailey (“I was just exaggerating for effect” is a great retreat when challenged).

    Yet even when Heartiste’s strong theses are wrong, there may still be plausible weaker versions of those theses, and a lot of his ideas are still open questions. The truth is probably a lot more complicated than either Heartiste or his critics realize.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      Women with high Dark Triad also have more partners, which seems to suggest that Dark Triad or correlated traits is attractive to everyone or that they are more motivated (by conservation of expected evidence).

      And, yes, manosphere dudes complain about how unfair it is a lot and how they will SHOW THOSE WOMEN by NOT MARRYING THEM.

      • Deiseach says:

        Let’s say we have two men: Joe and Bill. Joe is the love ’em and leave ’em type. A different girl every night of the week. Joe can pull any bird he wants, but he drops them as soon as they’ve dropped their knickers for him.

        Meanwhile, poor old Bill can’t get the girls – or the girls he can get are only interested in long-term relationships, or marriage. But Bill wants to be like Joe! Bill wants to be a Casanova, a heart-breaker!

        Now, it could be that Bill is Just Too Nice and women are all bitches. Or it could be that Joe’s conquests are interested in Joe the same way he’s interested in them: sure, he’s attractive, he’s charming, he’s good for a fling – but he’s not husband material.

        If you want a good time, you go out with Joe precisely because you know he’s not the marrying type. You go out with Joe because you want good sex and no emotional entanglement. You’re young, free and single and you’re only looking for a bit of fun. If joe showed any sign of being seriously interested in you, you’d run a mile because sure, he’s charming and attractive and good in bed, but he’s shallow, untrustworthy, and unreliable.

        If it’s okay for Joe to sow his wild oats but not want to marry Sally or Jenny, I see no reason why Sally or Jenny can’t make use of Joe the same way he is making use of them until they’re ready for Bill.

        • Jaskologist says:

          But can you see why Bill thinks he’s getting a raw deal, and would want to be more like Joe instead? Understanding that is crucial to understanding PUAs like Heartiste.

        • Anonymous 3 says:

          I think this is a plausible account. Many young women are often looking for a good time with an exciting guy Joe rather than a long-term relationship with a stable guy like Bill.

          Here’s the problem:

          – Society lies about this situation, telling Bill that women are looking for LTRs with guys like him. When he finds out that this isn’t the case, he is understandably annoyed.

          – If Bill asks a woman about her desires, she will often describe what she wants in a long-term mate. She may not mention that she isn’t always looking for a long-term mate.

          – When women get hurt from being dumped by guys like Joe, they will often complain to guys like Bill.

          To me, there is nothing wrong with women wanting to sow their wild oats during youth. The main problem is society lying about it (probably due to outdated Victorian views of female sexuality), which sets up a lot of young men for a nasty surprise.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          And sometimes Bill thinks he’s getting a raw deal, DOESN’T want to be more like Joe, and wishes that Joe wasn’t going around causing psychological and physical damage to all these girls before they’re ready to settle down with Bill.

      • Steve Johnson says:

        Women with high Dark Triad also have more partners, which seems to suggest that Dark Triad or correlated traits is attractive to everyone or that they are more motivated (by conservation of expected evidence).

        Women’s partner count is not a good indicator of her attractiveness – the limiting factor on women’s partner count is how often she chooses to say yes.

        Men’s partner count is a good indicator of his attractiveness.

        “conservation of expected evidence” is a ridiculously pompous way of saying “if we assume men and women are the same, then we can conclude that men and women are the same”.

        • Steve Johnson says:

          “Men’s partner count is a good indicator of his attractiveness. ”

          Should read “A man’s partner count is…”

  26. Army1987 says:

    I am 5’9″ and my weight fluctuates between 120 and 126 pounds.

    For the benefit of metric readers, that’s 1.75 metres and between 54 and 57 kilograms.

    After all, if you divide children into two random groups and tell half of them to be courageous and half of them to be gentle, one half is probably going to be courageous and the other is going to be gentle.

    You might want to link to The Robbers Cave Experiment here.

    You can give a diamond bracelet to literally any girl and it requires nothing other than the ability to fork over cash.

    I’m glad that in your social circle the ability to fork over enough cash to buy a diamond bracelet is no big deal, but that’s not the case everywhere, so check your privilege. Many people would have to work their ass off for months to earn that kind of money. (But I mostly agree with your conclusions.)

    • Yes, but those people are unlikely to give diamond bracelets. I think Ozy is referring to a very wealthy men who give expensive gifts to show off wealth rather than out of genuine generosity. If a poor person gave me a diamond bracelet, I would probably be extremely touched but also incredibly guilty and tell them that it was too generous and they should take it back to the shop. I would be confused as to why they thought a diamond bracelet is a thing I would actually want, but the effort involved would be sufficient proof they actually cared about me for me to be touched.
      If a very wealthy person gave me a diamond bracelet, I would roll my eyes. (I mean someone sufficiently wealthy that that kind of money is no big deal for them.) I would think that they were trying to show off, that they thought having money made them better than everyone who makes less money than they do and that they have no idea what kind of stuff I actually like.
      I don’t know how typical my reaction is though.

    • Deiseach says:

      For the benefit of metric readers, that’s 1.75 metres and between 54 and 57 kilograms.

      And for the benefit of those of us who still think in Imperial measure, that’s between eight and a half and nine stone 🙂

  27. Some guy says:

    Another big problem with Heartiste’s evolutionary just-so stories: the women he targets are almost universally under the influence of alcohol, which significantly changes female mating behavior and was not present in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness.

    On an unrelated note, I’d love it if SSC readers could give me advice related to my current dating situation. Like many SSC readers I’m highly geeky/analytical/etc. and am interested in dating women who think the same way (to the greatest extent that’s possible for me). A lot of these women are socially anxious introverts. I’m fine with dating introverts, but I find them harder to befriend and make connections with. I’ve been told that I’m a good-looking man with a very masculine face (exactly the kind of man that Heartiste predicts should have lots of sexual success). I’m also pretty confident and comfortable approaching women, but asexual to a large degree. The problem I keep running in to is that I either (a) come on too strong and creep women out or (b) come on too weak, and women who are attracted to me become insecure and play games with me. Once a girl starts to play games with me and deliberately acting frosty I have no strategy for recovering from that. It’s also a big turn-off for me because I’m attracted to women who are kind, honest, and open. So basically I want to get better at telegraphing warm, friendly interest and building emotional connections with women and convincing them that I actually like them so they let their guard down. At least, that’s what I think I need to get better at.

    • ckp says:

      Re: alcohol:

      Humans have been drinking alcohol for at least 10,000 years, enough time for some populations to develop adaptions to metabolize it better. Makes me wonder if resistance to seduction under the influence has evolved or is currently evolving.

      • lmm says:

        Nonresistance might be more evolutionarily optimal.

        • Anonymous says:

          If that was the case, then presumably that would still be true even when not drunk, so it still makes sense to not have alcohol affect things.

        • Fadeway says:

          The point of alcohol is to give you an excuse for doing things you’d like to do but normally would be socially punished for. If it didn’t uninhibit you or if you were uninhibited all the time, that advantage is lost.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think there’s a theory that asian people’s vulnerability to alcohol is this?
        That is, to prevent alcoholism*, a mutation arose due to which ingesting alcohol quickly becomes unpleasant :-/

        *I apologize for pretending evolution has a purpose, this is all metaphor

    • > Like many SSC readers I’m highly geeky/analytical/etc. and am interested in > dating women who think the same way

      I don’t think you are, actually.

      Let me rephrase that: you shouldn’t be, because I think I know why you decided that and have a better heuristic. After having heard statements like that many times, I have a theory, which in comically oversimplified just-so terms goes like this:

      (scene: outside English class in high school)
      Nerd: Hey Susie, how’s it going? You want to maybe, um, go get ice cream after school?
      Popular girl: Get away from me you disgusting nerd!
      Nerd: Wow, that was unpleasant. If I can find a girl who’s also a nerd, she won’t find nerds repellent and she’ll be nice to me!

      My suggestion, which, surprisingly, remarkably few of the people using the above heuristic seem to have considered, is to instead select for girls who don’t hate people with different personal interests. Turns out you can be quite happy dating an English major or actor or whatever who, even if she doesn’t care for BSG or C++, gets that you like it and is cool with you spending time on such things so long as you don’t take away her Shakespeare/Chekhov/whatever.

      • Anonymous says:

        not the person you were replying to, but just wanted to say that your theory is false for me and I would predict it is false for most who think that way.

        I could probably be happy dating an english major or actor, but that is because I have wide ranging interests. What is indispensible is someone with a minimum level of intelligence so they can understand what I say/jokes I make, an amount of rationality such that drama is low and intellectual curiosity enough to be interesting to talk to.

        I have not seen these things in the ‘popular’ people and consequently would not enjoy dating them

    • Harald K says:

      Alcohol changes behavior very little apart from cultural conditioning; it slows your reaction time and slows your thinking. But it doesn’t make your thinking go down paths it otherwise wouldn’t. Its disinhibiting effect, aggression-inducing effects etc. are all very culture and context-dependent.

      The cultural niche of the “thing that reduces inhibitions”, though, is more widespread. Sometimes it’s alcohol, sometimes it’s something else, but people seem to need social rituals that let them act with less accountability (and less self-scrutiny).

    • How sure are we that alcohol wasn’t seasonally available in the ancestral environment? Animals get drunk on fallen fruit that’s fermented.

  28. Salem says:

    I am amazed that you view the Conley study so highly. I previously wrote about it on lesswrong as an archetype of junk, motivated science! For a critique by someone far more qualified than I, see Aaron Sell here.

  29. JK says:

    That’s tl;dr for me but in general the idea that there is one stone-age environment of evolutionary adaptedness for all human populations is BS. For a behavior or preference to be genetically grounded, it does not have to be universal.

  30. blacktrance says:

    Imagine one guy moved to a new town and bought a bird feeder, filling it with seeds, which attracted ants to his house. Curious, he put up additional bird feeders, which attracted even more ants. “Most insects here are ants”, he concluded, “And ants are terrible.”
    Another guy moved to the same town, and planted some flowers in front of his house. This attracted the attention of bees. The guy was curious and he planted some flowers in his backyard, which attracted more bees. “Most insects here are bees”, he concluded, “And bees are great.”
    This reminds me of dating advice.

    The thing PUAs underestimate is the principle of “What you get out of it depends on what you put in it”. If you act like a jerk, the people who’ll be interested in you will unsurprisingly be either more tolerant of jerks or even prefer those traits. If you’re nice (not to be confused with Nice GuyTM), the people who’ll be interested in you will like niceness. Presumably, the kinds of people who like niceness are themselves more likely to be nice, which is a desirable trait. Being a jerk and then being cynical about women liking Dark Triad traits is like being the guy who attracts ants to his house and then complains about it.

    It’s also a crazy thought process if you think about it – “Women are undependable and have bad personalities! Let’s get as many as we can!” If PUAs and redpillers were right about women (which they aren’t), celibacy would be much more appealing and widespread.

    • anon says:

      I like the sound of this principle a lot. It sounds useful and easy to apply. Do you have any actual evidence supporting its existence, though, other than the Aesop tale?

      • blacktrance says:

        Personal experience, both in my own dating life and from observing others. I observed guys with traits I don’t like start relationships with girlfriends with related traits I don’t like, and guys with traits I like start relationships with girlfriends with related traits I like. And I myself have a girlfriend.

        It also makes sense a priori – P(person who likes you also likes Trait X|you have Trait X) > P(person who likes you also likes Trait X|you don’t have Trait X).

    • nydwracu says:

      If you act like a jerk, the people who’ll be interested in you will unsurprisingly be either more tolerant of jerks or even prefer those traits. If you’re nice (not to be confused with Nice GuyTM), the people who’ll be interested in you will like niceness.

      If you act like a jerk, the people who’ll be interested in you will unsurprisingly be drawn from the large_number% who either are more tolerant of jerks or prefer those traits. If you’re nice, the people who’ll be interested in you will be drawn from the small_number% of people who like niceness.

      Also, if you tell men to act like jerks, they’ll act extroverted and high-status, whereas if you tell men to act nice, they’ll act like betas. Extroversion and high status is more attractive than introversion and low status to most people; beta traits are unattractive to most people.

      A lot of arguments against PUA take that form: confusing how readers in the target audience will take a word with how the arguer takes the word.

      • blacktrance says:

        The other PUA mistake is treating attraction as a homogeneous and unambiguously good thing. Maybe if you act like a jerk, you’ll be attracting from a higher percentage of people – but so what? The attraction of people who like jerks has a value of zero if you yourself aren’t a jerk, and could possibly even have negative value, as it’s attention from unwanted people. Attracting people with traits you don’t like doesn’t matter, even if you can attract a lot of them, because the people of interest have the traits you like.

        If you attract 1 person with traits you like and 0 people with traits you don’t like, that’s very good. If you attract 0 people with traits you like and 100 people with traits you don’t like, that’s bad and potentially worse than attracting no one at all.

        • nydwracu says:

          “Attraction is a homogeneous and unambiguously good thing” and “attraction doesn’t matter at all unless you can attract someone with traits you like” are both wrong.

          Attraction isn’t homogeneous and unambiguously good, both because not all people are intrinsically as attractive and because some people’s attraction gives more of a status boost. (Sometimes someone’s attraction to you can even make you take a status hit.)

          But “traits you like” isn’t all-or-nothing. If you have a hundred people attracted to you, the odds are very good that some of them will be at least tolerable. If you only have one person attracted to you, scarcity effects kick in and you fuck up. Also, the status boost that comes from having a hundred people be attracted to you may be useful even if you aren’t very interested in any of them: maybe you’re Heartiste and you’re just looking for casual sex, maybe you can reap the benefits of preselection, maybe you can use their attraction to you to get social capital that you can put toward finding people you’re interested in and getting them attracted to you, and so on.

        • blacktrance says:

          “If you have a hundred people attracted to you, the odds are very good that some of them will be at least tolerable.”

          When it comes to relationships, tolerable is a low bar – too low. Tolerable isn’t good enough, they need to be great. If you’re looking for casual sex, you can get that without acting like a jerk, and if you’re looking for a relationship, faking traits is actively counterproductive.

          I’m also skeptical of the value of looking for partners by raising your status by having lots of people interested in you. If you see a hundred people whose tastes are different from yours in a similar way (e.g. you don’t like jerks and they do), them liking someone is evidence that you shouldn’t look into that person more.

        • nydwracu says:

          When it comes to relationships, tolerable is a low bar – too low. Tolerable isn’t good enough, they need to be great. If you’re looking for casual sex, you can get that without acting like a jerk, and if you’re looking for a relationship, faking traits is actively counterproductive.

          If you can get the same amount of casual sex without acting like a jerk as you can by acting like a jerk, then either everyone who has bought into PUA was suffering from a collective hallucination or you’re using ‘jerk’ to refer to a different concept than they are.

          Faking traits can be useful toward method acting: to consciously modify your own behavior, you have to fake it until it becomes so natural that you’re not faking it anymore.

          I’m also skeptical of the value of looking for partners by raising your status by having lots of people interested in you. If you see a hundred people whose tastes are different from yours in a similar way (e.g. you don’t like jerks and they do), them liking someone is evidence that you shouldn’t look into that person more.

          This assumes that people align naturally and perfectly into groups with completely correlated interests, which is false.

          If those hundred people like someone for the sole reason that they’re a jerk, and you don’t like jerks, then you shouldn’t look into that person more. But if those hundred people like someone for many reasons that are based on underlying criteria, some of which you share and some of which you don’t, it doesn’t necessarily say anything about them — and if those hundred people like someone for reasons that you don’t have access to, how different would they have to be from you for you to know that the judgment of those hundred people has zero or negative correlation with your own judgment?

          My guess is that you’re intuitively grasping at some sort of subcultural thede-dynamic principle where someone who signals/associates in ways elthedish (elthedish as in inimical, not as in foreign) to a thede you identify strongly with takes a major attractiveness hit to you for it. This does happen, but I’d be surprised if it turned out to be as relevant as you claim: can subcultures be that tightly bonded without the major factor becoming whether or not the person in question can signal/associate thedishly from the perspective of that subculture? But that guess could be wrong.

          (To explain that last paragraph: say you have the nerds, the goths, and the preps, three totally separate and insular groups, there are many more preps than nerds and goths combined, and no one who’s not a prep likes preps. If you’re a nerd, maybe someone who’s liked by many of the preps will seem less attractive to you for it — but isn’t it more likely that anyone who isn’t a nerd will seem less attractive to you for it?)

          The problem with those last two paragraphs, of course, is that they assume what you seem to be implicitly claiming: that people align naturally and perfectly into groups with completely correlated interests. In reality, people don’t divide so naturally into groups like that: they have membership in multiple groups, and varying levels of insularity/thedishness, and the groups themselves have varying levels of insularity/thedishness.

        • blacktrance says:

          If you can get the same amount of casual sex without acting like a jerk as you can by acting like a jerk, then either everyone who has bought into PUA was suffering from a collective hallucination or you’re using ‘jerk’ to refer to a different concept than they are.

          PUA techniques teach people to act confident and to act like a jerk, and bind the two together tightly. The former helps one find casual sex, but the latter isn’t necessary (it may be helpful with certain people and detrimental with others).

          Faking traits can be useful toward method acting: to consciously modify your own behavior, you have to fake it until it becomes so natural that you’re not faking it anymore.

          The problem is, when someone becomes attracted to you because you’re faking your traits, they’re not actually attracted to you, they’re attracted to the person you’re pretending to be. And either you have to keep up that facade, which can be tiring and is definitely detrimental when it comes to relationships, or you start acting normally and risk them losing interest. Being consistently authentic avoids this problem.

          This assumes that people align naturally and perfectly into groups with completely correlated interests, which is false.

          That’s an exaggeration of my claim. People don’t align perfectly into groups with completely correlated interests, but there are clusters of people with correlated interests. Someone who shares one of my preferences is more likely to share more of my preferences. Consider some subculture, e.g. Redditors. If Redditor A observes Redditor B liking something, he updates his probability of liking it, and if he sees that enough, he may consider looking into it. But if the same Redditor A observes Soccer Moms or Stereotypical Teenage Girls like something, he will update towards him not liking that thing.

          Also, even when a lot of people liking A induces B to get to know A better, at that point B is judging according to their own preferences, and if B doesn’t like jerks and determines A is a jerk, A falls by the wayside anyway.

        • Oligopsony says:

          I would actually guess that being a jerk is almost always a better individual strategy for almost everything.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          Well, “being a jerk” is really just “successfully exploiting externalities”

        • Randy M says:

          “The problem is, when someone becomes attracted to you because you’re faking your traits, they’re not actually attracted to you, they’re attracted to the person you’re pretending to be. And either you have to keep up that facade, which can be tiring and is definitely detrimental when it comes to relationships, or you start acting normally and risk them losing interest. ”

          This isn’t all or nothing, though. Maybe you are focusing on one set of traits to present, rather than another that you erroneously believe to be helpful, both of which you have or are capable of developing.

          Also, generating an initial spark of attraction may require traits that aren’t required–or required as much–to maintain it. See Athol Kay’s writing, for example. (Actually, if Ozy hasn’t read him she may be interested to do so.)

        • Army1987 says:

          I would actually guess that being a jerk is almost always a better individual strategy for almost everything.

          Except when people can retaliate against you for being a jerk.

          • But retaliation isn’t necessarily going to hit you (even in statistical aggregate.) One real problem in the general family of do-women-date-jerks discussion: it’s remarkably common for jerk-ish behavior from high status (if you will allow me the term for concision) alphas to cause retaliation…to fall on low status betas. That is, if you’re sick of men not respecting you in X way and are primed to get angry about it, it’s a lot psychologically easier to interpret a low status man’s action as a form of X and go off on him about it, as opposed to confronting a high status man who actually did X.

            This is one of the behaviors that bothers me the most: I get to do the time even if I don’t do the crime.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          in which case, being a jerk consistently is a good signal that you’re powerful enough that people can’t retaliate against you successfully.

        • Matthew says:

          @Iadabaoth

          So what you’re saying is, I should go to bars and beat up PUAs until they stop being jerks?

          The beatings will continue until morals improve.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          One real problem in the general family of do-women-date-jerks discussion: it’s remarkably common for jerk-ish behavior from high status (if you will allow me the term for concision) alphas to cause retaliation…to fall on low status betas. That is, if you’re sick of men not respecting you in X way and are primed to get angry about it, it’s a lot psychologically easier to interpret a low status man’s action as a form of X and go off on him about it, as opposed to confronting a high status man who actually did X.

          This very strongly matches my experience.

        • RCF says:

          “Well, “being a jerk” is really just “successfully exploiting externalities” ”

          No, people use the term “jerk” to refer to people that are creating negative externalities, regardless of whether the jerk is benefiting. In fact, the less of a benefit a person receives, the more jerkish their actions are perceived as. For instance, if one of your neighbors is doing home improvements, and the other is playing loud music, you’ll probably be more tolerant of the one doing home improvements, even if they’re making more noise.

        • nydwracu says:

          PUA techniques teach people to act confident and to act like a jerk, and bind the two together tightly.

          What do you mean by ‘jerk’?

          When PUAs say ‘jerk’, I interpret that as referring to a type/behavior-pattern the author assumes to already exist in the reader’s mind, and assumes to have been formed by the process of resentment.

          The slave sees the master and decides he must be evil; the beta sees the alpha and decides he must be a jerk.

          The problem is, when someone becomes attracted to you because you’re faking your traits, they’re not actually attracted to you, they’re attracted to the person you’re pretending to be. And either you have to keep up that facade, which can be tiring and is definitely detrimental when it comes to relationships, or you start acting normally and risk them losing interest. Being consistently authentic avoids this problem.

          I agree with Randy M’s comment, but there’s also a third option: you keep up the façade until it stops being one. “Fake it til you make it”, “there’s no acting but method acting”, and so on.

        • blacktrance says:

          What do you mean by ‘jerk’?

          The most prominent example is negging. Other traits include negative and untrue beliefs about women, e.g., to quote one PUA book, “Women… are entirely sexual creatures. They do not respond to your intellectualism. They do not respond to your genius. They only respond to sexuality.” Treating women as a black box (object) where you act in certain ways and have a certain mentality and get sex as an output, rather than treating them as people. Etc.

        • suntzuanime says:

          I’m sorry, but manipulating someone for personal gain is treating them like a person. That’s how people treat people, and I’m sorry if you’re naive enough to think otherwise.

          Expecting someone not to be manipulative in the pursuit of their goals, that’s what’s not treating them like people.

        • blacktrance says:

          Either you’re being unrealistically cynical, or you’re using a much more inclusive meaning of “manipulate” than I am.

        • Anonymous 3 says:

          blacktrance:

          “Women… are entirely sexual creatures. They do not respond to your intellectualism. They do not respond to your genius. They only respond to sexuality.” Treating women as a black box (object) where you act in certain ways and have a certain mentality and get sex as an output, rather than treating them as people. Etc.

          Yes, it’s wrong and misogynistic to claim that women in general don’t respond to intellect, while men in general do. Yet there is nothing inherently wrong with treating others like a black box.

          In fact, treating others like a black box is a highly appropriate response when you don’t understand their psychology to be able to generalize from your own. Sure, they are human, you are human, so there is some overlapping psychology. The problem is that you don’t know which parts are similar and which parts are different. As long as they are sufficiently different from you, you have treat them as a black box and build a new model of them, or else you will fall prey to typical mind fallacy all the time.

          I would argue that some male frustration or boorish behavior is due to the typical mind fallacy: “If I want sex in this circumstance, she will, too!”, “If I’m comfortable with this, she will be, too!”

          Any sufficiently large gap in psychology will cause inscrutability between people. I would argue that sex differences in personality (minor-moderate) and sexual attitudes (large) are even to create black-boxiness between most men and women in dating. The only potential exception is people with androgynous, like some nerds, where sex differences are lessened.

          As for intellect, keep in mind that some PUAs are highly intelligent, especially the gurus. If a male introvert with 130+ IQ goes to a bar and talks to a female extravert with 110 IQ, that’s going to be gigantic difference is psychology on top of the sex differences. No wonder so many PUAs jump to the understandable (but wrong) conclusion that women lack intellectual interests.

          If educated society would stop lying about sex differences in psychology, I think a lot of PUAs would be less alienated from women and engage in less reverse stupidity about sex differences.

        • Sniffnoy says:

          But people are black boxes! Well, OK, they are apparently not black boxes in the sense blacktrance means, but I think this is because blacktrance is either using a nonstandard notion of “black box” or sneaking in connotations to the phrase.

          That is to say: You can’t see people’s inner workings, and they do, like anything else, probablistically transform inputs into outputs! This implies absolutely nothing about how you should treat them, though. We care about other people’s well-being, autonomy, etc.; there’s nothing contradictory about this if you don’t sneak in connotations to “black box”.

          (If you insist that black boxes be stateless, or that the be deterministic / have no inputs for the outside world (excuding you) then obviously people are not black boxes. But that’s a separate matter.)

          For that matter, I think it’s worth pointing out that “treat people as people, not objects” is useless, unactionable advice. Presumably people already think they are treating people as people! If someone does something wrong and you just tell them they failed to treat someone else as a person, they’re not going to have any idea what they actually did wrong. Especially as people differ from inanimate objects along a whole number of dimensions!

          Mind you, occasionally you do see breakdowns of what it means to “treat someone as an object”, but these tend have the problem of not actually being tested against reality and having easy counterexamples (e.g. the muddy people photo). Something better is really needed here.

          (I say this with that caveat that, last time this came up and people pointed me to Nussbaum’s article on the subject, and I said “How does this get around the ‘muddy people’ objection?”, but then I noticed it doesn’t necessarily say that all these forms of objectification are wrong, so that isn’t necessarily a counterexample, and I said I would have to actually sit down and read it in detail but I never actually did. Still, if you’re saying “treat people as people, not objects”, that would at least appear to imply that treating people as objects is always wrong.)

        • blacktrance says:

          The difference between treating someone as a person and as an object in this context is that treating them as an object would be approaching them with a mentality of “I don’t care about them, but if I do X they’ll do Y, and I want them to do Y” where X is something bad, and then acting accordingly – well, that’s not a perfect description, but I hope you understand what I’m getting at.

          Edit: To put it a different way, there is a way for humans to interact with each other when they want a personal* benefit from interacting with each other. PUA discourages such interaction, and instead advocates for treating women in an impersonal and demeaning way.

          *For lack of a better word. In this context a personal benefit is a benefit derived from interacting with that person as such, or from that person’s well-being, as opposed to not caring about them but liking something they do for you. The benefits derived from friendship and from good relationships are examples of this.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          It would seem that mapping X->”punish crimes” and Y->”obey the law” might get at many anarchists’ and libertarians’ objections to large legal systems.

        • Sniffnoy says:

          Blacktrance: Sure, I don’t think we’re in disagreement on the substance here. I just think summing that up as “don’t treat people like objects” is both unhelpfully ambiguous, and, due to its particular history, also potentially scrupulosity-inducing for a lot of people.

      • Ialdabaoth says:

        I’m sorry, but manipulating someone for personal gain is treating them like a person.

        What’s your damage, Heather?

    • B says:

      The whole “nice guy” thing is absurd on all sides anyway, both the people who are self pitying “nice guys” and those who pompously note that “nice guys” are “not nice”. Being called nice really means one of two kinds of nothing:

      1) You’re bland and “nice” is a nice & bland thing to say about bland people.

      2) The woman finds something about you repulsive but doesn’t feel it’s socially acceptable or even worth the effort to explain what it is.

      Database people have a word for nice, it’s NULL.

    • Harald K says:

      If PUAs and redpillers were right about women (which they aren’t), celibacy would be much more appealing and widespread.

      Well, that’s what MGTOW is all about. But no one denied there was a social cost to not seeking women’s affection, approval and admiration.

  31. JK says:

    When you study how important men versus women find physical attractiveness in the opposite sex, you must remember that according to OkCupid data, women find 80 percent of men below average in attractiveness, while men think that female attractiveness is normally distributed: http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-looks-and-online-dating/

    • That is a remarkable result. I’m still digesting it. Also, looking at those pictures of “below average” guys, I would be tempted to despair if I weren’t already married.

      • JK says:

        It is remarkable. Unsurprisingly, the results also show, using real behavioral data, that contrary to what Ozy argues men find physical attractiveness much more important than women.

      • Earnest_Peer says:

        Side fact to note here: Those four are not randomly selected. They are the founders of OKC.

      • Matthew says:

        Interesting. I’m hetero male, so my opinion isn’t really relevant, but I think the two “average” men are better looking than the two “hot” men.

        Of the women, I consider roomtodance very attractive, ElleSC somewhat attractive, and the other two not particularly attractive. Apparently my preferences are totally out of whack from the modal OKC viewer at the time.

      • Creutzer says:

        The result is actually not so shocking, I think. I make sense of it thusly: physical appearance is a much smaller factor in male attractiveness to women than the other way around, so in order to appear very attractive to a woman based on looks alone (which is what this measures), you have to be really exceptional.

        (I take it that nobody here finds it surprising that people use “average” in a way that doesn’t mean “average”.)

  32. Roe says:

    Nicely done, Ozy. A couple of modest criticisms:

    On sociosexual unrestrictedness: “less agreeable, lower on honesty-humility, more erotophilic, more impulsive, more likely to take risks, and more likely to have an avoidant attachment style” would also, intuitively to me, correlate with divorce risk.

    I would suggest some helpful advice here like “why don’t you meet some of her fuckbuddies and see if they are way hotter than you first?”

    How am I supposed to find this out if “lying about your partner count is trivial”? Another way of putting it: lying about your partner count is really, really not trivial. Your partner count is in part a reflection of your values, and it’s important to be honest about your values.

    I agree that some of the PUAs are really weird and self-contradictory about promiscuity – but some men really do have an anti-promiscuity preference.

    On serial killers & bad boys:

    I’ve noticed a shortage of older-male-virgin fetishists among women. There’s a guy who wrote an article for Salon recently about been a 33-year-old virgin – he seemed like a decent guy. I don’t think he got many letters offering to deflower him – if he did, you’d think he’d have written a follow-up. I did see lots of women say stuff in the comments like “Aw, don’t worry, you’ll find someone” (subtext: not me) It’s certainly too much to say that all women are hybristophiliacs, but it sure seems like the curve skews that way.

    Regarding the Conley study, “celebrity” doesn’t indicate high status?? Really?

    Lastly: second the Mark Manson recommend. He’s got a really authentic approach to dating advice.

    • I think by trivial Ozy means “trivially easy” I. E. saying “oh I only slept with one guy ever, we were engaged and then he left me and broke my heart” is easy. Concealing your entire personality requires constant vigilance.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      I am not clear why “women don’t like older male virgins” implies “women are interested in men who commit crimes.” It seems like there is a quite large non-criminal non-virgin male population.

      I believe the Conley study’s intention was to control for high status via including a ugly but clearly high-status man, Donald Trump.

      • Roe says:

        Re: Violence

        Granted – that was not exactly an airtight syllogism. But the sheer contrast of a badly failing strategy of niceness and decency, contrasted with a strategy of violence that should fail, but doesn’t, speaks to this point:

        The male capacity to do violence has something to do with female sexual attraction.

        Which is an ugly thing, if true – but is a different claim than “women love serial killers” – since violence can be done in the service of protecting family or tribe, which would make hybristophilia an extreme case or a misfiring of an adaptation (as opposed to a random fetish).

        There are some suspicious indicators of this – physical sexual dimorphism didn’t come from nowhere, and romance novels (Harlequin, not 50 Shades) very often have love interests that are prone to violent conflict, or are at least called upon to protect the heroine with violence.

        Hopefully I’m not making too radical a claim here – and of course violence sucks and shouldn’t ever be used in this way by anyone in real life.

        re: Conley

        Thank you for explaining.

      • Ozy Frantz says:

        Roe: There is selection bias here. Presumably, nice, decent men whom people have sex with do not write in to Salon to complain about being virgins. In addition, it is possible (in my experience with adult male virgins, probable) that he has other major factors that interfere with his attractiveness, such as being very conventionally unattractive or very shy.

    • Deiseach says:

      Or it could be that women don’t think about “deflowering” in the same way that men do, don’t fetishize it, fantasise about being the first one, the one to take your virginity?

      Slogging through all this makes me so glad God, evolution or random chance made me asexual. If women sleep with you, they’re sluts. If they don’t sleep with you, they’re frigid bitches and too ugly to get laid. ‘Nice Guys’ think that being a nice guy means you politely asked a woman for sex so she is obliged to respond in the affirmative, and if she doesn’t, she’s a fat frigid ballbreaking feminazi ugly bitch who can’t get laid anyway. Meanwhile, men who sleep with a lot of women are not sluts or devalued because of their sexual promiscuity, while devaluing women who do sleep with them for their sexual promiscuity.

      I am so glad to be observing, not participating, and feel free to call me an ugly frigid fat bitch who probably can’t get laid anyways if that makes you feel better.

      • Anonymous says:

        Most don’t, some do.

        If you read up on the ideas of the small-vocal-minority-of-hurtful-guys, and they in turn call you an ugly frigid bitch, in what sense are you not participating? It looks like you’re playing a different version of the game than most people do. Is it good because you’re not enjoying yourself, and are therefore not forced by incentive to stay in the game?

        • Deiseach says:

          I consider I’m not participating, but rather offering commentary.

          (a) I don’t seek out these kinds of men versus women fights. Ozy posted on here and I’m responding with various responses as they strike me. I don’t know any of the persons or their views mentioned and I’m not rushing off to seek them out online and get into slanging matches with them.

          (b) I don’t participate in this in real life; that is, I don’t care if men/women/Martians find me attractive according to whatever physical norms of the society are in the ascendant at the time (e.g. I have NEVER worn lipstick because when I tried it as a teenager I hated how it felt on my mouth. Even if you’re supposed to ‘dress up’ for a job, which for women seems to mean ‘wear makeup’, I’ve never done so.) I’ve never been on dates, I’ve never sought the attention or approval of potential mates, and I’ve refused the few advances that have been made to me.

          If you really want the Sad, Sad Story of My Sad, Sad Life, why, I’ve never even gotten a Valentine’s card! Oh, I am weeping over my keyboard right this second about it (not).

          In sum, all this “have sex/don’t have sex/ you must have sex/this is how you get sex/women who have sex are sluts/women who don’t have sex are prudes/men are being manipulated by the evil bitches/men need sex women must give them sex” foofaraw seems as ludicrous to me as the concerns of the Little-Endians and Big-Endians in “Gulliver’s Travels.”

          All this game and status and signalling and ‘having a fit bird proves you’re an alpha’ is so far away from anything that concerns or interests me, I have no understanding of it. I understand “Do you like this person?” I understand “I’m so horny I’d get up on the crack of dawn”. I don’t understand “I want to fuck you but I don’t want to be interested in you and if you want me to be interested, you lose and I win and if you don’t want me to be interested, you lose and I win” nonsense. You want sex, have sex if you can get it, but why make such a big deal out of it as proving you’re somehow superior to the rest of those losers?

        • Hainish says:

          Deiseach, I think you’ve more or less described how feminists view PUA.

        • BenSix says:

          You want sex, have sex if you can get it, but why make such a big deal out of it as proving you’re somehow superior to the rest of those losers?

          Because for many people at least half the fun of sex is in proving that one can get it – and to higher standards of quantity and quality than one’s peers.

  33. Alex R says:

    I gotta admit, I saw “Mauritania” and read “Malnutria”. I’m sufficiently amused that I’m sharing.

  34. Grimbaud says:

    “first boner at puberty”
    Minor point, but guys get boners way before puberty, even as babies.

    • oldman says:

      Very glad someone wrote this – when I read that I had a moment of “Oh right, was that just me?”

      Enjoyed the FAQ though, well done Ozy

      • B says:

        If you’re only thinking “times I remember” you’re still thinking *way* too old. “Babies” is totally literal there. Diaper changes become real challenging the second they’re coordinated enough to grab themselves.

    • no one special says:

      Not that my personal view of you should matter, Ozy, but I lost a great deal of respect for you when I read that sentence*. If you said, “that was a joke, dur,” you would probably get 99% of it back.

      *Previously, I had noted you as one of a very few named feminists who had a clue on men’s experiences. This sentence marks you as, in fact totally clueless, making me despair that feminism, in the large, can ever be expected to consider men’s perspectives**. That’s totally unfair, but it’s like, if even the most sympathetic outlier feminist is this clueless, how can we ever expect the main body of feminists to come around.

      **This is important for the “feminism is about equality” types. If the reader is a “advocacy for women”-type feminist, than this concern doesn’t apply.

      • RCF says:

        That’s a rather harsh reaction to a woman* being unfamiliar with the penises of prepubescent boys. If Ozy were one of those feminists that treat men being unfamiliar with women’s experiences as being insensitive louts, I would understand a charge of hypocrisy, but I don’t see this as being something that it is unreasonable for a woman to be unaware of.

        *In this context, Ozy’s plumbing, rather than self-identification, is the relevant issue

        • No one special says:

          I’m really concerned about this answer, because I feel like I’m now talking about Ozy as though they aren’t here. I apologize, Ozy.

          If my mother had said something stupid like that, I would be unsurprised by her cluelessness in the ways of the penis, as she does not have one. Ozy, however, ran a blog discussing men’s issues from a feminist perspective (http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/,) thus I expect them to do better than my mom, despite lacking a penis. Basically, I assume that if you’re going to talk about men for an extended period of time, you’ll know a little better.

          As the issue was Heartiste’s, and not Ozy’s, I must adjust my expectation that writers who focus on men would understand how an erection works downward, but P(understands penis|writes about men’s issues) = P(understands penis|writes about men’s issues + is a feminist).

          At this point, I feel like I ought to apologize to Ozy for even bringing this up in the first place, let alone for the amount of precision with which I’ve broken it down. I’m sorry Ozy, I clearly have some kind of problem.

        • Wait, wait. Ozy ran http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/? That was, like, one of the only feminist blogs I ever read that wasn’t a continuous stream of *headdesk*. My opinion of her was already pretty high, but now I have to update my priors on “Ozy is a cool person” again.

        • Matt C says:

          If you (or anybody) have other feminist blogs that aren’t *headdesk* (if not sure, guess at Scott Alexander’s reaction here), I’m interested and would like to take a look.

        • Hainish says:

          Matt C: Alas, A Blog?? (I know the most recent posts aren’t *explicity* about feminism in the narrow sense.)

        • Matt C says:

          Yup, thanks Hainish.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      I would like to point out that the idea of one’s first boner coming from puberty is Heartiste’s and not mine.

      • no one special says:

        Then I retract my concerns completely, and reassign all the “oh my god how can anyone be so clueless”-points to Heartiste. Not that that changes my opinion of him much. Can’t really go lower.

        (And thank goodness.)

      • RCF says:

        That’s not how it was presented.

  35. BenSix says:

    Is the allegiance between the PUA crowd and the neoreactionaries an example of two despised groups finding common cause? That would make sense. But an ideological affiliation would seem to be hard to sustain given that the deflowering of as many young women as one’s overindulged libido can manage is about as far from traditional values as a man can get without actually being John Waters. I mean, I’ve seen one of the Return of Kings guys citing Poland as some kind of fornicator’s paradise. Does he not think that social liberalism and consumer capitalism have done enough to rip up its cultural landscape without sending across a bunch of desperate lechers?

    • Andy says:

      This occasionally confuses me too. My hypothesis is that for many neoreactionaries, male promiscuity is not a problem as much as female promiscuity. I remember this being an undercurrent in many Jim-comments.
      I think this is a common idea to Western patriarchy, and can be summed up as “boys will be boys and sow wild oats and seek out women to deflower, and as long as it’s not my slut daughter they’re deflowering, this is fine.”
      OTOH, I do not read much neoreactionary stuff, especially from the religious-traditionalist side, so I may be wrong on this. My source is a number of comments from Jim et al.

    • NRx’s often complain about the promiscuity of Heartiste and the rest of the PUAs. The affinity between NRx and Game is purely at the level of critique; they have directly opposite ideas about what they should do now.

      • BenSix says:

        Fair enough. I can’t have read those particular comments.

        (One’s intellectual convictions and private conduct can be at odds, of course. Oakeshott was a great conservative and something of a Casanova.)

    • Anonymous says:

      I would say that there is overlap, but not allegiance. The main thing is that neoreactionaries point to PUA as an item on a list of hard truths that they are willing to acknowledge that others are not.

      Roissy/Heartiste does take the position that 1950s dating styles would be generally better for both men and women. But given the current situation, he chooses to defect and further erode the commons. Reactionaries do not advocate that. They advocate using PUA to get married early, usually because they value things other than hedonism. Some say they judge that even by the standards of hedonism marriage is a better choice. A few recommend avoiding PUA entirely for fear of corruption.

      Return of King’s About page claims that it “aims to usher the return of the masculine man.” That is, it claims that its advice is good for the individual, but also that everyone took its advice, it would have an overall reactionary effect. As you say, that does not seem to match the content. I don’t think anyone takes it seriously.

      • nydwracu says:

        This. Some of it is also opposition to progressives, who oppose PUA on the extremely principled and intellectual grounds of LOOK AT THESE DISGUSTING FUCKING SHITLORDS WHO TALK ABOUT RAISING THEIR STATUS WHERE OTHER PEOPLE CAN HEAR THEM. PEOPLE WHO SIGNAL LOW STATUS ARE FUN TO CURBSTOMP.

        Also, RoK is outrage-fueled clickbait and it is not to be taken seriously.

        • DL says:

          Is it a NRx tenet that this status-policing behavior is something characteristically progressive? It’s exactly the sort of thing Hanson would say, with the exception that Hanson would call it universal human behavior rather than attributing it to his enemies.

        • Status policing of this sort is by no means limited to progressives, but NRx is fond of pointing out how progressive moralizing is frequently just status signalling. As is SA, for that matter.

          ETA: That is, Scott frequently points out the posturing of progressive moralizing, not that Scott himself frequently engages in status games.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          > LOOK AT THESE DISGUSTING FUCKING SHITLORDS WHO TALK ABOUT RAISING THEIR STATUS WHERE OTHER PEOPLE CAN HEAR THEM. PEOPLE WHO SIGNAL LOW STATUS ARE FUN TO CURBSTOMP.

          Which is of course exactly how the PUA guys talk about betas and omegas.

          Aren’t dominance hierarchies wonderful?

        • Randy M says:

          I don’t think PUA’s deride “betas” for trying to raise their status. They deride them for trying to do so poorly, for not noticing that they have been convinced of delusions.

        • Viliam Búr says:

          Which is of course exactly how the PUA guys talk about betas and omegas.

          What?! I thought that it was the very idea of the whole movement that “betas” don’t have to remain “betas” forever.

          I don’t follow this topic these days, so maybe now there are many bloggers on the internet who are just: “I am the mighty alpha, read my stories about my awesomeness, and don’t forget to also buy my book”. But in the early days, it wasn’t about bragging, it was about helping other men.

          Everyone knew that some men were good at seduction, seemingly even without trying; those were called “naturals”. But that was not the important part, it was just the fact about the world; the “naturals” were there to study, not to admire. The game was about starting from the position of “beta” and changing yourself, improving yourself and gaining skills you believed were impossible for someone like you. The first PUAs happily described themselves as former “betas”, because it showed the progress they made. Their talk about “betas” was like: “Yeah, I used to be there, too. And I was frustrated and unhappy. And then I changed, and my life improved dramatically. And you can do it, too.”

          Maybe this change is a consequence of changing economical incentives. The first PUAs made money by teaching guys how to improve themselves. People like Heartiste make money by producing clickbaits; and they probably have a thousand times greater audience, because reading insults is easier than changing yourself.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          That seems depressingly accurate. Also, note that you’re focusing on how betas (used to be) treated. Omegas have ALWAYS been treated as abuse-monkeys.

        • Viliam Búr says:

          Note: Different people use different definitions of words. I think I have seen these:

          The early PUAs used “alpha” to describe a dominant leader, and every other guy was just, uhm, not an “alpha”. (In online discussions, an acronym “AFC = Average Frustrated Chump” was used.) Connotationally: there was no special category for losers; everyone started as a loser, and many guys remained there for their whole lives; you could get out of there by having a lucky personality and/or childhood, by learning the hard way, or by learning from the PUAs. If someone used a word “beta”, it meant the leader’s right hand, i.e. someone quite dominant, just not the most dominant. Anyway, this was not important; the goal was to become an “alpha”.

          Then, there was a social theory, which is probably called Red Pill these days, where “alpha” was a leader (pro-social) or a thug (anti-social), “beta” was an ordinary productive citizen, and “omega” an unproductive loser. The theory was that the civilization is based on a social contract among men, called patriarchy, where “alphas” were prevented from taking all the property and women. In exchange for producing value, building and maintaining the civilization, “betas” were rewarded by some status and sex. Specifically, monogamy meant than although women naturally preferred “alphas”, most of them had to settle for “betas”. Thus a hard-working “beta” had a realistic chance of having a family, which motivated them to work hard. However, recently this social contract was broken by female equality and sexual liberation; so now women form voluntary harems around the “alphas”. The “betas” are left sexually and socially frustrated; their former bargaining power of being a decent citizen able to provide for a family means nothing today; the money will be taken from them by the state (a surrogate alpha male) in form of taxes and given to single mothers who have children from the “alphas”. There is a lot of inertia, but gradually the “betas” start feeling they have no stake in this society; which can ruin the society, because all the things “betas” historically did for their families and children, don’t make sense for them now. Thus, ironically, feminism may ultimately lead to a collapse of society, replaced by a more primitive society where women will probably lose all rights they have gained in our civilization. (This is a Moloch-like outcome that no one really wants, but the current political narrative makes it impossible to coordinate against it.)

          Then, there is a huge audience of internet simpletons incapable of such complex analysis, for whom simply “alpha” = a cool guy, “beta” = a boring guy which has a hope to improve, and “omega” = a loser; or, if having even three categories is too nuanced for them, simply “alpha” = a cool guy, and “beta” = a loser. (This may be Heartiste’s audience.)

          Then, there is Athol Kay, who speaks about “alpha” and “beta” traits, as two orthogonal concepts; “alpha” traits = dominance, “beta” traits = civilized behavior. For short-term dating, men only need the “alpha” traits, but for a successful marriage they need both.

          TL,DR: The word “beta” can have completely different meaning when used by different PUAs. It could mean “the second most dominant male in the group”, or “a loser”, or “a civilized person (regardless of how dominant they are)”.

        • Andy says:

          Then, there was a social theory, which is probably called Red Pill these days, where “alpha” was a leader (pro-social) or a thug (anti-social), “beta” was an ordinary productive citizen, and “omega” an unproductive loser.

          …that is incredibly nutty. Is there a manifesto where this is all written down with supporting evidence or is it just the aggregation of lots and lots of conversations and headcanons?

        • Jaskologist says:

          I don’t know if there’s a proper manifesto, but Viliam’s headcanon matches mine. Note also that Athol Kay’s view of alpha/beta is quite compatible with the red pill description of those terms, or even Heartiste’s. Heartiste would simply say that he’s not looking for a long-term relationship, so cultivating beta traits wouldn’t help him (and indeed would harm him, since being seen as having long-term potential would cause girls to slow down the sexing). He’d probably also say that you’re a fool to look long-term, given the odds of her divorcing you and the associated liabilities.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          He’d probably also say that you’re a fool to look long-term, given the odds of her divorcing you and the associated liabilities.

          That also strongly matches the specific strain of redpill theory that I’ve been most exposed to. The attitude basically seems to be “Western civilization is fucked anyways; you may as well party now while you have the chance, because anything else you might want to do has been ruined by Feminism.”

        • Jaskologist says:

          I think the various groups in the manosphere are largely in agreement about the theoretical underpinnings, as laid out by Viliam. What differentiates them are the very different “oughts” that they draw. PUAs are basically hedonists, taking advantage of the situation even while recognizing that they’re making it worse overall (for other people) (Heartiste seems quite aware that he is parasite, and tends to pose as one that is laughing at its host for being foolish enough to allow it). Many of them expect the system to ultimately crash and be reborn back into patriarchy (because darwin), but they don’t really expect to be there for that, or at least to have any meaningful ability to prevent it. Eat, drink, and bang sluts, because tomorrow we die.

          MGTOW seem to think that if they can’t get the romance they were raised to expect and a woman who will love them for who they are, it’s not worth bothering at all, so they’re just dropping out.

          The Christians reject the PUA “solution” because it is immoral (though not necessarily any worse than the girls who fall for it), and are concerned with how to fix the mess we’re in. As a bonus, they see in the female desire for dominance a vindication/explanation of the Biblical model of wives submitting to their husband.

          (MRAs are orthogonal to this; there can be overlap, but one hardly needs to believe that women prefer dominant men or in alpha/beta characteristics to think laws are terribly biased against men. Even a belief that men and women are the same will get you there.)

  36. whatever says:

    Maybe Scott overhyped your blog a bit but I’m a little disappointed.

    First, you don’t address Roissy/Heartiste’s arguments but some sort of generalized version of them. In Men/Beauty/3. you denote differences between American and Chinese cultures. That’s an interesting debate on its own but racial differences are like Roissy’s second favourite topic and he would rather exaggerate than deny them.

    BTW, ad Men/Beauty/1. When wolves kill a farm animal, you wouldn’t mock a gene for killing farm animals, nor think that wolves must have seen the farm on tv when they were cubs. We understand that it may be a creative expression of some other drive. Same with school girls: it may be a purely genetic drive for transgression that used to find its expression in nuns but religion has been largely torn down so now — school girls. People value clear, unblemished, healthy skin, it’s an attractive trait, hence makeup, hence maybe oil porn, hence maybe latex porn as the final abstraction. Or maybe we just like to project and detailed features get in the way. Or not, but either way you went for a straw man here.

    Second, you overstate disagreement. In Men/Thinness/3. you conclude that omega dweebs chubby chasers exist and they’re a sizeable chunk of porn consumers. A few years back, before going into race wars, mocking herbs, losers, and dregs of humanity was a mainstay of Chateau. No one was denying their existence. Roissy has a pretty clear hierarchy of men in terms of their attractiveness to women with “psychopathic hedge fund white collar criminal” at the top and, even if BBW maintained a 15% of the market (I doubt it), that’s a reasonable chunk of normally distributed population that would be at the bottom (std+ below mean).

    You’re also missing the artificiality of porn. Why is the “girl next door” popular? Perhaps guys think they could score with her with a little luck? They know she’s not *that* hot. Wouldn’t it be reasonable that omegas would also adjust their expectation and that those expectations would extend to porn?

    Third, some of your arguments only look good on paper. In Men/Sluttiness/2. you devise a simple plan for sluts to avoid detection. Sounds easy enough. Yet look at poker players: why are they wearing caps, and sunglasses? Couldn’t they just… control their tells? For once, they’re at least aware that they might not be aware of all their tells and not every slut is reading heartiste. Even if they are, it’s difficult to suddenly change a large number of tiny habits in your life without slipping. Not talking about sex is easy for someone who usually doesn’t talk about sex. Try not telling people you meet your top five favourite jokes, or not putting your hand on other people’s shoulder, or whatever else you do normally in social interactions. And then keep that up over weeks of dating, add alcohol… It’s not as easy as you paint it.

    Fourth, you missed the duality of that blog. In Men/Sluttiness/4. you express your surprise for why Roissy would hate sluts or encourage others to hate sluts when they’re his bread and butter. But pillaging through sluts is his response to the state of the modern world, the state he doesn’t necessarily approves of. That’s why his practical advice on how to lead one’s life seems disconnected from his social commentary.

    Sixth, serial killers (Women/Jerks/1.) are another end-of-scale issue for heartiste. He picks the most reprehensible men and shows that they still do better with women than beta nice guys, despite the social condemnation, despite the prison bars. The argument isn’t that they’re super popular (though some are) but they should be completely shunned, yet aren’t.

    The critique of game is even weaker than the rest. You twist the language more than you argue ideas.

    Introverts are not necessarily shy or easily intimidated (maybe there’s a correlation). Daygamers measure their success in lays, not having the girl listen to their monologue while still (Women/Game/1.) Benevolent sexism is not the same as putting pussy on a pedestal. There’s a chasm between acknowledging that women are weaker, helping them out sometimes with heavier stuff and hanging on your gf’s every word. You can do one while maintaining a strict policy of never even considering women’s opinions, they’re completely different. On the other hand, you later switch gears and conduct a talmudic dissection to distinguish being high status and being scarce (in demand). Which occupations are high status? Later (Women/Game/4.), you once again lose the ability to discern meaning and assume that Violet and Heartiste mean the same thing by “selfish” where they clearly don’t.

    And yeah, custom-written song is obviously a memorable (Women/Game/4.) gift and everyone would agree. Nothing to see here, move on. But that’s not the gift Roissy truly recommends. He’s pretty clear that you should “be a Skittles man” http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2009/05/19/be-a-skittles-man/ which is the post that gets referenced a lot and is actually characteristic of Chateau flavour of game. Little effort and little money.

    Finally, Scott really gave reactionaries a fair shake, to the point where they use his description, while you misrepresent Heartiste almost from the beggining. For example, in the introductory point B. It’s true that Roissy’s articles are full of ad hominems, put downs, and just insults. But they’re an addition rather than a replacement for the argument. He insults people while debating them not instead.

    There’s also a fair bit of nit picking in this article and charitable explanations don’t sound all that charitable. Given a choice between “mad” and “writing poetry”, you consistently lean towards mad.

    • Jaskologist says:

      I agree that this post could have used more steelman, and less “socratic dialog with an incredulous moron.”

  37. Happy Rationalist says:

    I consider the knowledge I’ve gained from Heartiste so beneficial, that I would like to prevent other people from both discovering and using that knowledge as it would decrease my advantage. This conflicts with my desire to discuss and share knowledge.

    I did not find this FAQ convincing. The arguments are weak, and attack points which are not important. The main principles of abundance, irrational confidence, and aloofness, are not addressed at all. Those may not sound controversial compared to claims that women fantasize about serial killers and rape, but they lead to even darker conclusions. I have, however, slightly changed my views on promiscuous women based on this FAQ and some of Scott’s writings, now believing them to be slightly more suitable for more than one night stands.

    Few critiques of Red Pill-beliefs come from people who have experience and who can offer alternate strategies. Mark Manson is the closest example, but his writings are simply Heartiste’s principles under a more moderate, socially acceptable attire. Reading this critique, I immediately received the impression that it’s not based on the experience of someone who has success with beautiful women or knows what that entails. The included studies too, are worse in quality than what even Heartiste cites, and his scientific rigor is not commendable to begin with.

    The statements that personally irk me the most, are claims that these strategies only work for laying club floozies. I apply game and its principles especially to relationships with intelligent women, including ones who identify as rationalists. I constantly make predictions about these women’s behavior on PredictionBook in order to assess the validity of my beliefs. These are calibrated nearly perfectly, with only a hint of underconfidence.

    • Deiseach says:

      Okay, can someone address promiscuous men? Why should or would non-promiscuous women consider promiscuous men as potential husbands, given that they’ve demonstrated slutty behaviour in the past and there is no reason to think they’ll magically change once married?

      If you or any other man has had many ‘one night stands’ with slut women, why should I or any other non-promiscuous woman think of you as other than shop-soiled and not worth investing time and energy in? Your slutty genes might be passed on to my potential daughters, rendering them sluts and so unmarriageable in their turn!

      • lmm says:

        Not that I believe this stuff, but the answers seem pretty obvious.

        > Why should or would non-promiscuous women consider promiscuous men as potential husbands, given that they’ve demonstrated slutty behaviour in the past and there is no reason to think they’ll magically change once married?

        The lose condition is that you put in effort and raise someone else’s kid. That’s not a danger for women, for obvious reasons. So why do you care if your man’s seeing other people?

        >Your slutty genes might be passed on to my potential daughters, rendering them sluts and so unmarriageable in their turn!

        If sluttiness is what varies. But this article is claiming or assuming that what varies is more like “support for traditional gender roles”. In which case the way to have non-slutty daughters is to have them with the men who most embody traditional masculinity.

        • Deiseach says:

          You don’t think it’s a danger for women to “raise someone else’s kid”? You don’t think, for example, stepchildren? Illegitimate children being taken in as fosterlings? Men paying allowances to maintain and keep their children by other women as detracting from the assets for one’s own children?

          All of which, by the way, are historically real things that happened – I can tell you of an example of a local landlord who was a lecher, and reduced his estate by parcelling off land and presenting it as dowries for his mistresses when they became pregnant, so as to make them marriageable and attractive to other men to marry (and raise his child as theirs).

          And why are men’s sluttiness genes somehow magically different to women’s sluttiness genes? Even if we accept the contention that a “traditionally masculine man” is one who sleeps with as many women as he can before marriage, and so comes experienced to the marriage bed to deflower his virgin bride, why should the expression of his genes not affect his daughters? If he passes on his blue eyes to his girls, may he not also pass on his “Phwhoar, I’d fancy a ride and a rasher with that fine thing!” tendencies as well?

        • Matthew O says:

          The danger to women who are married to a “slutty” husband is that the husband will inevitably have to divide his financial resources, time, attention, and love between his wife and his mistress(es). If a husband just cheated once with a random woman and never did it ever again, then it would not matter in the big scheme of things…BUT, the type of man who will cheat once is also probably the type of man who will cheat many times and start to divide his attention and resources between you and those others.

        • Hainish says:

          “So why do you care if your man’s seeing other people?”

          Not that I believe this stuff either, but I think it’s because your man would be diverting resources away from you/your offspring.

        • lmm says:

          @Deiseach

          I thought we were talking about practical advice rather than history. You’re right that the proportion of family income that goes towards the husband’s illegitimate children is nonzero, but it’s much smaller than the proportion that goes towards the wife’s illegitimate children. And so sluttiness is a factor to weigh in the balance when considering a prospective husband – all other things being equal you’d prefer one who wasn’t – but it’s much less important than it is in a wife.

          I feel like the whole premise of this article is that the “traditional gender values quotient” is a real thing that we can meaningfully compare between men and women. If you have a model in which it isn’t – in which people just have x level of aggression and y level of sluttiness and we define them as gender appropriate or inappropriate ex post facto – then, well, great, that’s a perfectly reasonable model, but I think we’re no longer in the same context.

          (One would hope there are studies that will tell us one way or another – are there? Is male sluttiness inherited by daughters?)

        • A slutty partner is more likely to transmit an STD.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          I’d be very curious to know the relative STD risks on:

          – an openly slutty partner who is known to usually take good anti-STD precautions

          vs.

          – a partner who signals non-sluttiness.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      My primary argument in the section about selection bias is that attractive, feminine twentysomethings are not actually all of women and evidence suggests that game works for women who believe in traditional gender roles, not necessarily for all women. I am not sure why you predict that I would believe that intelligent women and rationalists cannot be attractive, feminine twentysomethings who believe in traditional gender roles.

      • Xycho says:

        I would believe that, if it were presented as true by someone whose data analysis I trusted. Certainly finding such a person has so far proven damned close to impossible – if anything, it appears that the {intelligence, rationalism, adventurousness} conversationally interesting trait block is anticorrelated with the {submissiveness, patriarchy-and-traditional-gender-role-compliance} sexually interesting block. I have a mid-sized crowd of very entertaining female friends who I will never attempt to date because they’re smart enough to be feminists.

        From an external perspective this is probably an argument in favour of feminism, since it is (data set of one, admittedly) effectively protecting interesting and intelligent women from intelligent but predatory men.

      • lmm says:

        By the agreement theorem you would expect other rationalists to have the same opinion of traditional gender roles as yourself. And you don’t act like you support them.

        • Oligopsony says:

          Actually-existing “rationalists” are, like everyone else, irrational and mistrusting of each other, and endorsement of traditional gender roles isn’t even propositional, though it may be influenced by propositional judgments.

    • coffeespoons says:

      The main principles of abundance, irrational confidence, and aloofness, are not addressed at all.

      Could you expand on this please? I have read Heartiste a bit, and I’ve mostly spent my time internally debunking the outrageous claims (“women love serial killers”, “all men find non-thin women gross”). I really don’t want to go back and read anymore as I find reading it pretty difficult (as I’m in some of the groups of people that heartiste attacks).

      • jaimeastorga2000 says:

        An abundance mindset means always keeping in mind that there are tons of women all around you, many of them more attractive than whatever woman you are dealing with. This means that you don’t waste your time on advances that aren’t working, you have no qualms about stepping out of a woman’s life (which, per game theory, gives you the advantage in negotiations), etc…

        Aloofness means detachment and lack of caring; showing that you aren’t desperate. For example, replying to a carefully written message with a single, misspelled, uncapitalized word signals aloofness, as does ignoring calls, etc… Goes hand-in-hand with the abundance mentality; if you know that there are hundreds of girls out there, you won’t care much about this one.

        Irrational overconfidence means that the more confident you are, the more attractive you will come across to women, even if your confidence is unwarranted. Therefore, the optimal strategy is to be irrationally confident in yourself.

        • coffeespoons says:

          Thanks!

          However, I am pretty sure I have heard about those things before from non-Heartiste sources (Neil Strauss’s book I think, and also random LW comments). Different terminology was used though – outcome independence seems to be a mixture of aloofness and abundance mindset, and I’ve encountered irrational overconfidence in non-PUA places. I’m pretty sure there are more pleasant sources than Heartiste for this stuff.

        • Ozy Frantz says:

          I don’t disagree that abundance mentality and irrational overconfidence are helpful for dealing with women (and men! Gosh, getting laid was so much easier once I adopted an abundance mentality), so why would I bother putting them in a FAQ about the things I disagree with?

        • Andy says:

          why would I bother putting them in a FAQ about the things I disagree with?

          Funging against PUA dating advice with helpful non-PUA dating advice, or taking the best parts of PUA and merging them with feminism to produce pieces of reasonably kinda-feminist dating advice? Abundance mentality, combined with a recognition of womens’ agency and ownership of their own sexualities, seems just right for this.

  38. Princess_Stargirl says:

    My own advice to men struggling to get sex: Don’t bother with PUA/Redpill if you can stand the idea of bodybuilding instead. Bodybuilding is defintiely easier than PUA and probably easier than following redpill. And unlike PUA/Redpill it almost always actually delivers what many people are looking for.

    I am going to assume most men’s goal is to get reliable sex from a woman they like and find attractive. If they are in a relationship they want a pleasant one. In theory some men might not even want to date casually but reading the redpill forums has suggested to me most redpillers are fine with relationships (some prefer casual other monogamous). Surely most men outside the redpill are fine with casual relationships and most want long term?

    I have never met a single man who was genuinely built and even someone cut who had any trouble getting women. Not even once. My sister is a bodybuilder and a huge portion of her are men who body-build and none of them have issues getting sex. I understand there is considerable debate on what percentage of men can build significant muscle (or lose weight) without heroic effort. And I know not all women like “jacked” guys. But I would estimate at least 30% of women in basically every group (explicitly thinking of female PHDs in computer in science, math, economics, physics, bio – and this group is likely on the low end) find muscular guys extremely hot. So if you manage to get sufficiently built you have probably have tons of options no matter what your “type” of girl is.

    There are other advantages. Bodybuilding gives results almost continuously. You do not have to wait until you can bench 250 to see any social results. Most importantly bodybuilding does to require ANY changes to your personality. I admit bodybuilding is very hard work but in my experience t has never failed to work, even men I know who are 5’3” and 5’4” have girlfriends they (and “society”) consider very pretty. Also while weightlifting will not always get you a specific girl, nothing will.

    For contrast here is my take on PUA/Redpill:

    The “classic” PUA advice is to approach an incredibly high number of women per week while facing rejection after rejection. I imagine only a tiny percentage of men could force themselves to do this, even if they thought it would work.

    I am not really sure how well the “redpill” dating actually works overall. I think it does have some valuable stuff in achieving the above goal. Much of the advice leads to being non-boring and non-clingy which I do think the vast majority of women prefer. I honestly do not know how effective much of the more controversial stuff “works.” However the standard redpill response to any relationship problems is “get more plates to spin.” This does seem unrealistic. Most men do not want to try to constantly be casually involved with 3-4+ women.

    Help wanted: Commenter below suggests maybe bodybuilding is not the best choice for the general case. If someone has a similarly effective way to attract people without changing your personality I would to hear it and pass on the advice. Only other condition is the plan cannot require heroic or extraordinary effort (as defined on lesswrong). Hard work is fine however.

    • Anonymous Derek says:

      The advice of developing oneself along a socially/sexually desirable axis seems pretty solid. Bodybuilding probably is easier than some ludicrously demoralising PUA programme, but I would question whether bodybuilding is the best choice in the general case.

      • Princess_Stargirl says:

        I would personally appreciate any advice you or other people have. “How to get girls” comes up in conversation very frequently. I really wish I had better advice to give people.

        Any suggestions you have will be appreciated. (also asking for suggestions in my original post).

        • Anonymous Derek says:

          There’s a serious risk of Other-Optimising here. I know what works for me. I’ve observed what works for some other people. I’ve put in a lot of thought on the subject, but I don’t have a coherent theory on ‘getting girls’. Attraction is messy and complicated. No advice is going to be applicable to everyone, and some people have serious obstacles to finding partners that may require considered intervention.

          That said, here are a list of things that I would throw out to arbitrary advice-seekers.

          – Try and develop good posture. It will make you look taller, more confident, and less like a fifteen-year-old.

          – Be positive. Talk about things you like, that are fun, and that bring people joy. When you like things, say “I like that.” Try not to complain about things. Positivity is sexy. Sullen, brooding misanthropes are attractive in fiction and fantasy, but they’re lousy to be around.

          – Learn to dance. Seriously, take a few dance classes and develop general body-awareness. The bar for people finding you “a good dancer” is ludicrously low. (side-note: partnered dance classes are usually oversubscribed by women, who you get to socialise with and [appropriately] touch. You’re welcome.)

          – Practise flirting with “disqualified” groups. For example, if you’re in your twenties, practise courtesy-flirting with married women in their forties and fifties. They know you’re not serious, and they’re way better at it than you.

          – Appreciate the arts, even if it’s just a little bit. This is especially important if you’re of classic STEM-nerd stock, as it will make you come across as a more well-rounded person. Find some poets you like. Find some paintings that evoke emotional responses in you. Develop some opinions on historical artistic movements. (side-note: museums and galleries make excellent first- and second-dates. side-note #2: erotic poetry is surprisingly potent stuff)

          – Get comfortable talking respectfully about attraction and sex and relationships with a lot of different people. Talking about sex is an on-ramp to flirting. If you can treat it like just another topic of conversation, this will be a massive help in your glorious future flirting career. This is a bit of a high-risk piece of advice. You don’t want to be that weird guy who talks about sex all the time. As a good starting point, if you have close friends, consider asking them what they find attractive in others. Try and figure out how well you think you need to know someone before asking this question.

        • nydwracu says:

          Appreciate the arts, even if it’s just a little bit. This is especially important if you’re of classic STEM-nerd stock, as it will make you come across as a more well-rounded person.

          And know what sorts of art to appreciate.

          In my experience, poetry and whatever that style of painting is that always has dark clouds and flying naked babies. And it could help to read Kierkegaard, the existentialists, or, for some reason, Ayn Rand. (I am not making this up. I have met many Rand fans, and only one was male.)

          Also, it’s easy for this to backfire. If she asks about art and you end up talking about Marinetti, Mishima, or Chesterton, or if she asks about books and you mention Deleuze, HPMOR, or Nietzsche, you’re fucked.

          (Nietzsche is the worst possible option, because then she’ll start talking about Nietzsche, and if you know anything about Nietzsche, you know that no one but yourself can read Nietzsche without horribly misinterpreting him.)

          If you can’t force yourself to genuinely cultivate useful interests, well, go learn to do that, because this world is hell.

        • Andy says:

          I’ll add to this with a counterintuitive one:
          Be prepared for rejection.
          Much of the evil I have seen from men seeking women comes after rejection. From the “well, I wouldn’t fuck you anyway” to stalking to rape threats to rape, men are not programmed by patriarchy and machismo culture to take rejection well.
          PUA does a decent job of this, but in a horrible way – telling guys to move on (which is good) but insulting and demeaning women, which isn’t good for guys’ perceptions of women as complex people with agency and their own will.
          When asking for dates, I usually clearly labelled a request as a request for a date, AND appended “…but if you don’t want to, that’s okay” to date requests. I don’t think it increased my percentages of dates, but it allowed me to be friends with women who had rejected me – without pining for them on my part, I accepted that romance with them wasn’t possible.
          Then again, I was seeking a long-term monogamous relationship, not casual sex, and the strategies are generally completely different. But I wouldn’t be surprised if signalling being okay with rejection helped many low-status dudes at least a little.

        • B says:

          I’d like to second sports, and weightlifting in particular. Apart from the obvious impact on looks, it seems to just feel really good to many guys, YT included. Being obviously comfortable with yourself is sexy.

          I think even being pretty jacked isn’t a turn-off to girls IMObservation by itself as long as it isn’t grotesque, it’s more that it (reasonably) is received as having skewed priorities in life.

    • Aaron says:

      Good post but your advice (and self improvement in general) is already a major component of the manosphere/game community. Looks Count by Rollo Tomassi is as good an entry on the subject as any. That each gender is generally drawn to its opposite, that men are attracted to femininity and women to masculinity, is very much in line with manosphere wisdom.

    • Matthew says:

      Weightlifting helps get dates, and it improves self-confidence, but for me, it hasn’t led to relationships or sex yet. You can see how jacked I am in the link in my long comment up-thread. I’m 5’10”, can bench 280, squat 375, deadlift 400, and run a 7 minute mile, but still alone, so far.

    • Lemminkainen says:

      I would say that improving your wardrobe is even faster and easier than bodybuilding is, and also doesn’t require major personality changes. Basically, you need to have a fashionable person who likes you take you shopping, and be willing to listen to their suggestions.

      Because most men are terrible at fashion (except in cities like New York, most don’t really do better than unflattering, ugly t-shirt/baggy jeans/ratty flip-flops in their day-to-day routine), dressing well offers you an enormous advantage. I think that for most guys, it’s actually the lowest-hanging fruit in the dating/casual sex optimization game.

    • Some guy says:

      Another advantage of bodybuilding: it’s good for your health (better immune system, longer life). I’m getting sick significantly less frequently since I took up weightlifting.

      • Matthew says:

        Yep, the only time I’ve gotten a symptomatic-level sinus/nasal infection since I cut out junk food and started exercising 5+ times a week several years ago was after doing the Tough Mudder’s Arctic Enema on a cool day.

        There was a comment somewhere in the skyscraper or one of the other “is civilization declining” threads arguing that the lack of a cure/vaccine for the common cold was an example of declining civilizational progress, and I forgot to argue there that we do, in fact, know how to prevent rhinovirus infections, at least in adults old enough to exercise. Healthy lifestyle = few to no colds.

    • Viliam Búr says:

      I think this a very good advice.

      I also admire the contrast of how okay and uncontroversial it is to tell men that some of their body shapes are more attractive than others. No one is going to throw a tantrum, or start a motivated research of medieval painters, exotic tribes, sexual fetishes, or anything else to prove that you got it all wrong.

      • Andy says:

        I also admire the contrast of how okay and uncontroversial it is to tell men that some of their body shapes are more attractive than others.

        IMO, it’s neither okay nor uncontroversial to say this, because it assumes that there’s a single standard of male attractiveness to women. A quick survey of Tumblr pretty conclusively defeats that assumption – you’ll find people oohing and aahing over chubby guys with bellies, bodybuilders, and Benedict Cumberbatch, who is emphatically neither. There’s women who loooooove beards and women who can’t stand them. More useful advice seems to be “find women who appreciate the shape your genes coded into you” rather than setting a single standard of “THIS IS ATTRACTIVE, BE THIS” which is much more difficult for those who haven’t won the genetic lottery.
        Like… I’m a stick thin weedy pale nerd, and somehow my girlfriend still finds me attractive. It’s almost like she’s an individual with her own sexual preferences rather than the Platonic Forms of women who are conjured in dating advice!
        Second, when I get access to my school databases, I’m going to run a search for papers on characteristics of male sexual attractiveness and see what I find. Anyone want to suggest search terms?

  39. Deiseach says:

    Random comments on this as different parts strike me:

    Re: the Alpha/Beta/Omega male stuff, Tumblr informed me that the wolf pack research all this was based on is out-of-date and was flawed. So here’s a link to a modern paper that says, basically, all this ‘Alpha males dominance’ stuff is bobbins.

    Re: perky large boobs – not unless they’ve been surgically enhanced, they don’t. I speak as the possessor since age eleven of a large bosom which requires “firm control” brassieres not to end up around my navel.

    Re: leg hair, possession of – yes, some women don’t have leg hair. This happens (a) in and around menopause, when leg and arm hair becomes finer or even stops growing (b) because of circulatory problems e.g. venous insufficiency in the lower extremities – if you had normal leg hair growth, you’re still relatively young, and your leg hair vanishes, get that checked out!

    • anon says:

      …this whole “perky, large boobs do not exist” thing is really confusing me. I have (natural, non-surgically-modified) DDD breasts, and they are perky enough that I don’t bother to wear a bra. I’m in my mid-twenties now, and my boobs are getting steadily saggier, such that I expect to need a bra within a couple years. But I don’t currently. And I didn’t fail the pencil test until I was 23.

      I mean, this doesn’t really matter. It’s just weird to see multiple people on the internet claiming that my body type literally doesn’t exist.

      • coffeespoons says:

        Do you have a small back size (e.g. 30 or so) because 30DD = 34C in terms of actual breast size. I’d say perky 34C breasts are relatively common.

      • Deiseach says:

        I think it depends on body type and ratio of fat to muscle tissue. Once puberty started with me, the resulting ‘puppy fat’ hit fast and hard, and I needed a bra. As ever, YMMV!

        But I do think that breast implant surgery becoming more common has helped perpetuate the idea that large, firm breasts on an otherwise small, thin frame is somehow more ‘natural’ or ‘the way women should be’ in order to look attractive; that is, if you have a large frame and large breasts, as I saw somewhere, “Big breasts don’t count if you’re fat”.

    • Jaskologist says:

      Lots of women don’t have leg hair; this achieved via a process known as “shaving.” Which 11 even specifically mentions.

      • Ozy Frantz says:

        Specifically, 11 says “I have to shave my legs daily” = 0, implying that the women who get the +1 point do not, in fact, shave their legs daily.

        • coffeespoons says:

          Maybe women who fair hair get the +1 point? I don’t have to shave my legs daily – hair only becomes visible after a week or so.

        • Jaskologist says:

          I think you’re being way over-literal here. You might as well say that 24 means he thinks the only two kinds of underwear are sexy lingerie and ripped, stained granny panties.

        • Sniffnoy says:

          It’s worth noting further here — I was going to suggest that, to be fair, he might just be talking about rate of leg hair growth. But on actually reading the question, it deals with where you have hair, and does indeed imply that some women simply don’t grow leg hair.

    • Anonymous says:

      The beliefs about wolves were confused, so their extension to dog training was probably a mistake (but questions about dog training should be addressed empirically).

      But the general idea does not come from wolves. Dominance hierarchies are incredibly common, though also quite diverse. All apes except the solitary gorilla have dominance hierarchies.

      • Deiseach says:

        Sure, but I never see the dominance hierarchy of primates used. It’s always “wolf pack model” and that is bobbins, as has now been demonstrated.

        I suppose it’s more flattering to the vanity to think of oneself as a fierce, vicious predator than as a chimpanzee?

        • I wonder if, more specifically, that people prefer to think of themself as a captive wolf than a free chimpanzee.

          Note that this is merely a thought that occurred to me while reading the article, because of the fact that the family groups described in there are basically atomic and if anything the captivity scenarios described sounds more like urban living to me – I’m not sure if it’s right, and not sure if it’s useful even if it is right.

  40. 3. Are beauty norms a cultural universal?

    Tin Man. The argument isn’t “all beauty standards are everywhere the same”, but rather “There is a biological baselane which cultures have limited ability to modify.” cf. cross-cultural evaluations of the most beautiful faces.

    Next section basically admits this, but now I don’t see why you think this is a counter-argument. I agree with everything you say, but I see myself as essentially agreeing with Heartiste.

    5. Is 95% of what men want in a relationship partner youth, beauty, and thinness?

    This is definitely 95% of what Heartiste wants. Typical mind fallacy.

    B. Thinness

    I basically agree with you here.

    The most attractive silhouette to me is about 5 on this chart (which is, not coincidentally, what my wife looks like), and the ones below 4 are actively unattractive to me, while I’m guessing that Heartiste normally wants a 2 or so. And in the Flickr set you gave us, all of the most attractive women are “overweight”. So obviously there is a lot of variation here.

    Women who lost their virginity under age 14 are usually what is more properly referred to as “rape survivors,”

    [citation needed]. And to be clear, what you seem to be claiming is that an absolute majority of sexual liasions with women under the age of 14 are rapes, which I find unbelievable.

    (I’m skimming the next few section, since you’re getting into stuff that I care less about and don’t want to read in detail because I don’t actually like Heartiste.)

    But I have recently discovered a far better explanation, namely, that sluts are evil.

    And this is what we conservatives have been trying to tell you ALL ALONG.

    (Alternately: Heartiste and the sluts totally deserve each other.)

    6. But women don’t like it when you worship them

    You are putting a whole bunch of weight on the concept of “normal fucking human being”, and this needs to be called out. You assume that there is a single baseline of “normal”, and that it’s easy for men to find out what “normal” is and to treat women according to “normal”, and that this is so easy that just saying “be normal” is actually a solution to the problems of men interacting with women. This is just ten kinds of wrong and you really ought to know better. You of all people ought to know something about not being a normal fucking human being.

    I was one of those guys who needed to learn to be a little more of a jerk, but I’ll come back to this topic later.

    The other thing that negs do is described by a post of Scott’s on this very blog.

    This is a very succinct and accurate description of why negging works. I don’t know why you think this is a counter-argument. (Okay, at the end of this section you describe a theory of why negging works which is different from yours, but which is also an obvious tin man.)

    3. I don’t believe it, I think that you should give some more examples of how game works.

    This whole section does the same thing as the last section. You assume that Game is a bizarre alternate theory of the female mind, when I’ve always understood it as “applied social psychology for the purpose of getting laid”. So you’re giving me even more reasons to use game, not a reason to reject it. I dunno, maybe Heartiste is different.

    Men also have a rationalization hamster.

    Absolutely. I’m confused as to why you think this is news. More about this later.

    D1. It is terribly unfair when women follow their tingle to fuck alpha males.

    Now you’re just making fun of men who have problems getting laid. That’s lovely. I mean, their complaint is really stupid, but I’m not finding your response a whole lot better.

    C. Okay, where should I get dating advice from?

    Finally a section that I wholeheartedly agree with. For those already in long-term relationships, I heartily recommend marriedmansexlife.com. Heck, it’s probably even applicable to those who aren’t yet in relationships. And here’s where I return to some of the things I mentioned above: reading and applying the principles that Athol Kay (author of marriedmansexlife) made a big difference in my marriage, and not just in the sex part of it. It basically resolved some long-term emotional problems, and the key for me turned out to be the maxim “Be slightly mean.”

    This is one of the things you snarled at above, but it must be defended. The truth of the matter is that men who are normally socialized, who see themselves as nice, decent people receive tons of social messages telling them to fawn over women and basically none telling them to be mean or indifferent to women. Seriously, when have you ever seen someone telling men to be less considerate of women except on Game blogs? So, like most guys, I thought that the way to get women to like me was to be endlessly pliant and supplicating, and that if this wasn’t working then I needed to be more pliant and supplicating. Kay turned me around on that. Women appreciate men who are considerate (Beta Game) only when those qualities are contrasted with other qualities of confidence, assertiveness, and all of the other Alpha Game attributes. So instead of bowing to her every need, I starting refusing to do things for her if they was no good reason she couldn’t do them herself (ie. smacking down her Fitness Tests), and when I felt pushed around I pushed back and called her a bitch. (I only had to use the b-word once. It was enough.)

    This was an enormous improvement in our relationship. Much to my surprise, our arguments were resolved much more quickly when I was blunt and assertive rather than accomodating and forgiving. And as for the sex itself, it turns out that I got laid a lot more (and we both enjoyed it better) when I was forthright and aggressive instead of lighting candles and making puppy-dog eyes.

    (I think some of your complaints about this technique are an instance of the typical mind fallacy. You might be the kind of person who assiduously avoids conflict. But my wife herself has an assertive and independent personality, and the winning strategy with her was to overmatch her assertiveness.)

    This is not a defense of Heartiste himself, but rather of Game in general. Game worked for me in my marriage where conventional marriage advice did not, and a big part of what worked was the stuff that you dismiss. Furthermore, I’m really, really angry at your suggestion that guys just be “normal fucking human beings” with their SOs or romantic interests. Being a “normal fucking human being” is exactly what didn’t work. In fact, the advice to “be normal” is entry #1 in the list of terrible dating advice that feminists give. The thing that makes Game useful for geeky, introverted, or otherwise socially inhibited guys is precisely because it tells them specific techniques and behaviors that they can apply. No FAQ which purports to address Game can possibly be complete without looking at why guys to to Game and what they get out of it.

    (There could be more here, but this is long enough already.)

    • Deiseach says:

      Re: sex with minors. Statutory rape. The whole point of which is, that the person (male or female) is too young to give consent, as their mental capacities are immature and underdeveloped.

      This is why people under the age of twenty-one are legally minors and need co-signers (such as their parents) to guarantee their loans etc. Debt is not legally recoverable from a minor.

      Two fourteen year olds having sex? Debatable. Eighteen, nineteen, twenty, thirty year old having sex with a fourteen year old (genders of either party don’t matter)? RAPE. Not even if the child thinks they want it, is begging to have sex, thinks they are in love, thinks they are mature enough. Not even if Classical Roman fourteen year old girls were married to forty year old men.

      NO. One of you is supposed to be an adult and thus able to think with your brain, not your dick/vagina.

      Re: assertiveness in the bedroom. Some women like assertive partners, some don’t. Some men like assertive partners, some don’t. Your wife may like it if you do the pursuing and sweeping off her feet, good for both of you so long as you’re mutually enjoying it.

      Were I your wife, it would be otherwise (be very glad I’m nobody’s wife). And my conservative rural Irish Catholic mother would have punched your lights out for calling her a bitch.

      • Statutory rape is a legal fiction which is used to justify criminalizing consensual sex acts. Now, I’m completely in favor of criminalizing some categories of consensual sex acts, including sex with minors, so I don’t have a problem with this on legal grounds. But any rape statistic which includes statutory rapes as a non-trivial portion of the sample is equivocating about the meaning of “rape” in a way that’s deeply misleading.

        • Taradino C. says:

          I think calling it statutory rape is Worst-Argument-In-The-World-by-fiat: intentionally redefining the word for nonconsensual sex in order to transfer its connotation to a different act, defined by something other than consensuality, to which even enthusiastic consent is not a defense.

        • Mary says:

          Pedantically, I point out that what in fact happened was that the word got redefined in a manner to allow consent as a defense in case of a competent adult woman. Under Roman law, “she consented” was not a defense, adult or child.

        • Deiseach says:

          Well, now. Funny you should say that. Few years back, we had an Attorney General in my country who favoured overturning the notion of statutory rape because it was ludicrous to criminalise a 15 year old boy having sex with his 14 year old girlfriend and how could you prove mens rea anyway? If a 14 year old says she’s really 16 or 17, how oh how are you to know any different?

          So he got the law declared unconstitutional, despite warnings that this might have unintended consequences. Nonsense, quoth he, real criminals who really raped underage girls would not take advantage!

          First thing that happened? Guy serving a sentence for raping a 12 year old girl challenged because if the law was unconstitutional, then he shouldn’t have been arrested and charged and convicted as the offence did not exist.

          Our government of the time had to hastily fudge something together to make it possible to keep those kinds of offenders locked up.

          • Taradino C. says:

            @Deiseach:

            Nonsense, quoth he, real criminals who really raped underage girls would not take advantage!

            First thing that happened? Guy serving a sentence for raping a 12 year old girl challenged because if the law was unconstitutional, then he shouldn’t have been arrested and charged and convicted as the offence did not exist.

            This doesn’t quite add up. If he “really raped” a 12 year old girl, why would overturning the statutory rape law let him challenge his conviction? There are still other laws against rape, right?

            I see a few explanations:

            1. He did not, in fact, “really rape” anyone. He was charged and convicted for a consensual act, under an unconstitutional law, and if not for that unconstitutional law there would’ve been nothing to arrest him for. In this case, releasing him is the just outcome.

            2. He did, in fact, “really rape” an underage girl, but there wasn’t a strong enough case to convict him of the “rape” part, so instead he was tried and convicted for the “underage” part; if not for the unconstitutional law, the prosecutor could’ve have charged him with rape, but may not have gotten a conviction. In this case, convicting him on an unconstitutional technicality may seem like a good object-level outcome, but, well, is that really the justice system you want? I kinda prefer the “beyond a reasonable doubt”, “better to let 10 guilty men go free than hang 1 innocent” kind of justice.

            3. He did, in fact, rape an underage girl, but the prosecutor only decided to charge him with the “underage” part rather than the “rape” part. This points to negligence on the prosecutor’s part, and again, unless we want to have a justice system based on railroading people we really don’t like, I think the best outcome you could expect there would be to have another trial for the crime he actually committed (although double jeopardy might pose a problem).

          • Anonymous says:

            “3. He did, in fact, rape an underage girl, but the prosecutor only decided to charge him with the “underage” part rather than the “rape” part. This points to negligence on the prosecutor’s part…”

            Can you actually charge someone with both statutory rape and “real” rape? WRT the same sex act?

          • Mary says:

            Yes. Polanski was charged with both but plea-bargained down to one — and then bolted when he realized the sentence for that one might not be lenient.

      • Taradino C. says:

        Statutory rape. The whole point of which is, that the person (male or female) is too young to give consent, as their mental capacities are immature and underdeveloped.

        This is an interesting assertion – it’s widely believed, but there doesn’t seem to be any concrete evidence for it. If the concept has any meaning, it must be awfully subjective, since ages of consent vary so widely across states and countries(*).

        One would expect the logic to go something like this:

        1. We know that in order to give informed consent, a person’s brain must possess function X.
        2. We know that a majority of people above age N exhibit a certain pattern of brain activity under fMRI, and a majority of people below age N do not.
        3. We know that brains which do not exhibit that pattern of activity are unable to perform function X.
        4. Therefore, we know that a majority of people below age N are incapable of giving informed consent.

        But in reality, each one of those steps is hazy.

        There is no consensus on which mental characteristics are needed to give informed consent, or whether that set of characteristics differs between consenting to one act and another (e.g. choosing what to eat for breakfast / choosing which colleges to apply to / signing a cell phone contract / having sex with someone your own age / having sex with someone older / signing a 1 year lease / signing a 30 year mortgage).

        There is no clear evidence that the 50% dividing line in possessing any such characteristics is anywhere near the legal ages of consent, nor is there consensus as to what that dividing line should be.

        There is no consensus as to which characteristics are possessed by which age groups or to what degree. The most concrete evidence is medical imagery, but there’s no clear link between age-correlated fMRI variation and an inability to do any specific high-level mental tasks; all the interesting results showing age-linked cliffs in mental abilities are in small children (e.g. object permanence).

        To actually rationalize this concept, I think it’d be best to start with step 1, by setting out a list of traits which someone must possess in order for their consent to be meaningful and informed. Unfortunately, it’s hard to come up with any that don’t exclude a large number of adults or include a large number of minors. Any thoughts?

        (* Either that, or teenagers in states like California might really tend to possess different mental faculties than their counterparts in states like Washington! Setting out a rational basis for determining who can consent would let us know whether that’s the case.)

        • Nornagest says:

          Either that, or teenagers in states like California might really tend to possess different mental faculties than their counterparts in states like Washington!

          This actually wouldn’t surprise me, but I’d expect it to be a(n indirect) consequence of age-of-consent laws, not a cause of them. The way teenagers approach sex, and the rate at which they develop a mature approach to sexuality, is shaped to some extent by how taboo it is, and making something illegal does tend to make it more taboo.

          (That isn’t to say that they’re not having sex. A substantial fraction of my peers certainly were when I was a teenager in California, though I expect I should be adjusting downward from what I remember to account for various biases. I even remember one case where statutory came up as an issue, although there was only a two-year age difference, which I didn’t find very squicky then or now.)

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          YES. THIS. I will continue repeating this statement:

          “We desperately need to have an adult conversation about our sexual mores, and I’m terrified that no one over the age of 12 is mature enough to handle it.”

        • Deiseach says:

          I have been given to understand (in the course of typing up a thesis for a Masters in Psychology for Counselling in Education) that there have been various studies done demonstrating the immaturity of the brain as regards the development of various structures in teenagers, and indeed, that our forebears were more on the ball than we knew when they said “Your bones aren’t settled until you’re eighteen”.

          That physical development of the body and brain continues until full maturity sometime in the early 20s, and that fluctuating hormonal levels contributing to impulsiveness and lack of control and exercise of foresight and judgement of consequences is part of the flux of the teenage brain, so that the storms of adolescence are not wilful defiance but reactions over which the teenager has little to no control.

          But of course, if you think we should permit 14 year olds to take out mortgages and assume all the adult responsibilities, including being solely responsible for their own care and maintenance, and that parents have no obligation to look after them, house them, or ensure they come to no harm because if they can physically get pregnant, they are adult mentally and emotionally, I will entertain the notion.

          • Taradino C. says:

            @Deiseach:

            there have been various studies done demonstrating the immaturity of the brain as regards the development of various structures in teenagers […] physical development of the body and brain continues until full maturity

            Right, that’s what I summarized as point 2 above, but several crucial elements are still missing.

            What you’re saying is roughly analogous to “Since people keep growing taller until their early 20s, no one under 15 is capable of dunking a basketball.” It relies on unstated, untested assumptions about the relationship between age and height, and between height and basketball ability. If you want to make a statement about the minimum age to dunk, you have to establish what are the criteria for dunking, and then determine who meets those criteria — not just show a vague correlation between age and something basketball-related and then pick an arbitrary number.

            So, what are the criteria for giving informed consent in general? I think they boil down to: you have to know what you’re about to do, you have to know what the potential consequences are, and you have to agree to it in light of that knowledge. But perhaps you have a different idea.

            What are the criteria for giving informed consent to sex? Are they different or just more specific? Anyone who’s taken a middle school health class understands the consequences of sex in some sense — if you ask, they can tell you about pregnancy and STDs and how to avoid both of them — but is there some deeper form of understanding they also need to have?

            Then once we’ve established what those criteria are, how do we determine who has them? What does studying the development of brain structures actually tell us about whether a person understands the consequences of an act he’s about to take part in? If quizzing someone about the consequences of sex isn’t enough to prove that they understand those consequences, what is?

        • Mary says:

          Would you agree that four-year-old do not have the capacity to consent?

          If not, well, any given dividing line will necessarily be arbitrary, but that there has to be a dividing line somewhere is not arbitrary.

          • Taradino C. says:

            @Mary: Drawing a dividing line based on age is an arbitrary decision in itself, unless the thing you want to divide is perfectly correlated with age. Would you agree that there exists some age N at which some N-year-olds have the capacity to consent and others don’t? If so, then age might not be the right way to measure ability to consent.

            Put another way: how do we know age is even the right thing to measure? Why not draw the line at 130 pounds, or 5’4″ tall?

            If we know enough about the ability to consent to say that age tracks it better than weight or height, that must mean we have some other way to measure ability to consent which we can compare to age. Except no one ever puts it into words. I suspect most people don’t even think about it that far, because by the time they start caring about politics, the age is already long behind them, and there’s a lot of social risk attached to taking any stance on these laws that isn’t sufficiently “tough on perverts”.

            We don’t always need arbitrary dividing lines. For instance, most adults are better drivers than most four-year-olds, but we still use an expensive and time-consuming process to determine which individuals are allowed to drive. We use another expensive and time-consuming process to determine whether an individual is guilty of a crime, instead of relying on statistical observations. We use yet another process to issue hunting licenses instead of assuming that anyone who grew up in the country knows how to handle a gun, and so on. I think that’s the right way to make decisions about legal rights and privileges: to treat people as individuals instead of statistics.

        • Mary says:

          Except that we want a legal standard. Anything but age-based would be immensely labor-intensive, evaluating the kids one by one over and over again, and subjective, and many other undesirable things in a standard.

          • Taradino C. says:

            Except that we want a legal standard. Anything but age-based would be immensely labor-intensive, evaluating the kids one by one over and over again, and subjective, and many other undesirable things in a standard.

            Like I said, though, we already do individual evaluations for other things. It’s not all that expensive in the grand scheme of things, and more importantly it’s the right thing to do.

            Don’t you think we should be at least as careful to get an accurate measurement before locking someone up as a sex offender as we are before granting a driver’s license or hunting license?

            As for “subjective”, well, that’s only if the definition of the ability to consent to sex is subjective. But if the ability to consent really is a fleshed-out concept — rather than a vague gut feeling lawmakers use to lock up people they consider weird — then we ought to be able to measure it at least as objectively as we can measure e.g. driving skill.

        • Mary says:

          But your example of a driving test and gun licensing still has age requirements. And are much simpler than your trial requirement.

          As for crime, we can do that because only a small fraction of the population is tried. The labor intensive process would certainly break down if any appreciable fraction of us were on trial.

          • Taradino C. says:

            But your example of a driving test and gun licensing still has age requirements. And are much simpler than your trial requirement.

            Those age requirements are superfluous, and they serve no purpose other than to prevent capable minors from obtaining the licenses. Feel free to mentally substitute something else that isn’t age-restricted if that will clarify the point: for instance, even though most people graduate high school around age 18, we don’t give a diploma to everyone on their 18th birthday.

            As for simplicity, I disagree. Getting a driver’s license is often a multi-day process involving a written exam, a demonstration of several driving skills on open roads, and some minimum number of hours of experience with a driving instructor. There’s a whole industry devoted to teaching people to pass that test. And every single driver must pass it.

            In contrast, under the definitions of informed consent I’ve seen, demonstrating the capacity to give informed consent shouldn’t take more than an hour, and (unless you’re imagining some kind of consent licensing system) it would only need to be done when someone has been charged with rape. I’m not sure what problem you’re seeing there. Just how difficult do you believe it is for someone to show that they know what sex is and they want to have it?

            As for crime, we can do that because only a small fraction of the population is tried. The labor intensive process would certainly break down if any appreciable fraction of us were on trial.

            I hope you’re not implying that if more people were on trial, it would be acceptable to determine guilt based on dubious statistical claims instead of proving each case beyond a reasonable doubt!

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m arguing realities, not principles, about trials. As it is, even the fraction we try now often results in a clogged and lethargic system.

      • Leo says:

        “Eighteen […] year old having sex with a fourteen year old (genders of either party don’t matter)? RAPE. Not even if the child thinks they want it, is begging to have sex, thinks they are in love, thinks they are mature enough.”

        This describes my first relationship. It’s been eight years, and I’ve never once regretted that decision. I try not to make too much noise about that in statutory rape discussions, since this may be a rare case (and, despite the age difference, we were effectively peers) and may lead rape survivors to doubt their own trauma. But here you’re making an explicit universal claim.

        Now, people can deny they’ve been raped, when they were; if you believe I’m in this case, I’d be interested in a defense of that claim. But you can understand that I do not appreciate hearing my first love called a rapist.

        • Deiseach says:

          Yes, I’m sure you were in love (or thought so, at least) when you were fourteen. I also think that they, as a legal adult, should not have had sex with you.

          How much contact do you now have with this person? Suppose they were twenty-five or thirty, instead of eighteen? What of the cases that do happen of schoolgirls (and more rarely schoolboys) who fall in love with a teacher and run off with them?

          My point is that at this particular stage of human development, a few years’ difference in ages means a vast deal of difference. Have you never seen this in school, when you are in Sixth Year (that is, in American terms, 17/18 years old) and the new lot of First Years come in (12/13 years old)? And they look tiny and so young to you?

          You may have been a very mature fourteen year old and your partner a relatively immature eighteen year old, so that your mental areas of engagement were much closer. I still don’t think he/she should have slept with you. The onus is on the older person to act maturely and for the best interests of both, and having sex is not always in the best interests of both.

          I am going to do the annoying adult thing of saying that just as I wouldn’t trust the judgement of a 14 year old on going to school, staying up late, drinking, or borrowing money, neither would I trust the judgement of a 14 year old on “But I love this person we are meant for each other I’ll die if I don’t have them”.

          There’s a reason “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragedy, and a large part of it is precisely that they were 14 and 16 and had no common sense.

          You successfully avoided pregnancy, STIs and any emotional trauma? Congratulations, but I still don’t think that your first love would have been any worse had it remained sexually unconsummated.

          But it’s your life.

        • Mary says:

          “There’s a reason “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragedy, and a large part of it is precisely that they were 14 and 16 and had no common sense.”

          Eh, nah. What could either of them have done that would have ensured their safety? It could as easily have been Romeo who died instead of Mercurio. Juliet perhaps would have been a little safer, but in that city, there was really no such thing as safety.

        • Ialdabaoth says:

          A pair of facts:

          1. I did not begin puberty until 17, and did not finish puberty until 21.

          2. At age 13, I was known as a font for sexual and relationship advice, ESPECIALLY regarding safety and respect for one’s self and one’s partner.

          Age, physical maturity, and emotional maturity do not necessarily correlate.

        • Princess_Stargirl says:

          My mom’s first sexual experience was also “statutory rape.” My mom has no regrets or trauma related to this relationship.

      • Ozy Frantz says:

        Regardless of the debates over statutory rape, all that is needed to make my point stand is that people who lose their virginity at eleven or twelve will be far more likely to have sexual trauma that interferes with their ability to have a stable marital relationship than those who lost their virginity at, say, sixteen.

        • I agree that that’s the narrowest possible reading of your claim. However, it still cashes out to two possible assertions: either a majority of sexual encounters before the age of 14 are rapes, or being sexually active before 14 greatly increases your likelihood of being raped later. I find the first doubtful, and the second, if true, to be an excellent reason not to be sexually active that early. Both assertions still need corroboration.

        • lmm says:

          There’s a world of difference between 11 and 14, and I still want a cite; I have more than one friend who had sex at 13 or 14 (with similar-aged partners) and grew up into, as best as I can tell, a happy and well-adjusted adult.

      • Randy M says:

        The question is numbers; do most 14-17 year old non-virgins lose their virginity to someone some years older than them? If so, Ozy’s characterization is at least legally correct in implications; otherwise, Mai’s objection is fair. You seem to be implying that Mai’s objection was because he secretly finds it hard to control himself around ninth graders, which I don’t think is fair.

        “Re: assertiveness in the bedroom. Some women like assertive partners, some don’t.”

        Again, numbers. Arguing based on n=1 is bad enough, but you have already placed yourself in a sexual minority by your own estimation.
        The question is, of the men who go for relationship advice, would more of their wives or potential mates prefer more assertive/aggressiveness or less, on average?

    • Sniffnoy says:

      You are putting a whole bunch of weight on the concept of “normal fucking human being”, and this needs to be called out. You assume that there is a single baseline of “normal”, and that it’s easy for men to find out what “normal” is and to treat women according to “normal”, and that this is so easy that just saying “be normal” is actually a solution to the problems of men interacting with women. This is just ten kinds of wrong and you really ought to know better. You of all people ought to know something about not being a normal fucking human being.

      I was one of those guys who needed to learn to be a little more of a jerk, but I’ll come back to this topic later.

      So there are parts of this I agree with but also think you are being a bit unfair.

      I agree that the mistaken assumption of an “obvious” baseline of “normal” is a common feminist failure mode. Frequently they say to treat someone you’re trying to (have sex with/date/whatever) just as you would anyone else, completely missing that this would entail, y’know, not doing that.

      On the other hand, in this particular case, Ozy is explicitly talking about a particular axis (mean/nice), and “normal” here is defined relative to how you act towards everyone else. I agree that the latter is a problem when it’s meant to encompass the whole thing, but I think it’s fine for specifying a target on that one axis (and possibly other axes).

      (And even if it’s possibly too vague to be helpful, it’s at least a relief seeing someone giving a target to hit, rather than a direction to always be pushing in, or a double-bind of contradictory restrictions…)

  41. Deiseach says:

    I’m laughing at the “lack of a STEM degree” as being an unattractive trait or a warning sign that “this guy is a loser”.

    Terribly sorry, Professor Niall Ferguson! You are obviously a low-status lowlife to whom no respectable or responsible woman should ever give a first, let alone second, look! An Arts degree? Ah, lay me on the chaise-longue while you waft hartshorn beneath my delicate nostrils to bring me round from the shock!

    (Note: I do not cite Niall Ferguson because he’s someone whom I personally find appealing, but my beef with him is on historico-religious-political grounds, not because he’s a historian instead of a quantity surveyor).

  42. Quite Likely says:

    If this post wasn’t filled with links to the works it’s responding to I would have thought it was strawmanning the ‘manosphere’. As it is I’m just sad that it’s necessary.

    Also, I know this wasn’t really the point, but what’s the deal with Ozy’s sexuality? If she was born a woman, presents as one now, and plans to continue doing so indefinitely, why do people say she’s trans? It seems like it wasn’t just a misunderstanding, but I don’t know what else it could be.

  43. Well-Manicured-Bug says:

    There’s one just-so-story here that is so ridiculous that I wouldn’t even dream of writing something like it even for fun. The writer says ver just-so-stories are just as plausible as that of this person, Heartiste. I don’t know who that is, but if his just-so-stories are as ridiculous as the one presented here, I think I’m going to read them for fun.

    The just-so-story I have in mind is “Therefore, men ought to have evolved to be attracted to women with sufficient resources that they could take care of a child: women with doting and wealthy fathers, women with husbands, women who kicked ass so hard at gathering they could feed themselves and a child, women with unique skills at, I don’t know, flintknapping or shamanism or something such that people will give them food. Therefore, in the modern environment, men ought to be into rich or married women and be willing to sacrifice a considerable amount of prettiness for wealth.”

    Really? Is this the sort of thing this guy’s saying?

    Anyway, even if the ideas about beauty are culturally/socially influenced (they most certainly are), there’s a line I don’t think I’d ever be able to cross no matter where I was born.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=ugly+women&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=-Q32U9uHI8bloATZlYDACQ&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ

    EDIT: I take it back. That blog actually seem exactly that stupid.

    • Oligopsony says:

      Anyway, even if the ideas about beauty are culturally/socially influenced (they most certainly are), there’s a line I don’t think I’d ever be able to cross no matter where I was born.

      I have no particular interest in the object-level question at stake here, but at the level of form this type of argument is epistemic garbage.

      • Well-Manicured-Bug says:

        You’d still find it plausible that the majority of people in the world would not find those women sexually attractive, wouldn’t you?

  44. James says:

    Ozy, this is a great piece of work! Well done. I’m a man whose attractions deviate a little from the cultural norm in terms of both body type and personality, so I was interested in the parts on the extent to which those things are inborn, cultural, or some complex interaction of the two. And it’s nice to see those pictures of you. Your hair looks good short.

  45. The Anonymouse says:

    Scott: BTW, the new system with the colored boxes around new comments is quite helpful and time-saving. Thank you.

    • anon1 says:

      Seconded!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just a minor note: it would be even better if you made it so that the colored text blocks had some unique text somewhere (like, say, “[New]”), because then I could CTRL+F them rather than scrolling through the page and stopping every time I see green.

      (Or maybe there’s some other, better way already, and I’m just an idiot)

      • Matt C says:

        Try clicking on the [-] in the upper right corner (the one followed by “3 comments since 8/23/14 or similar”).

        When I do that I see an overlay of recent comment name/dates, which when clicked on, navigate me to the actual comment in the page.

  46. @JohnWBH says:

    For both good non-creepy dating advice and interesting further reading on this topic I’d recommend Clarisse Thorn’s “Confessions of a Pickup Artist Chaser”

    [Meta] The comment highlighting is super helpful

  47. ivvenalis says:

    Scott, you really, really need to put a table of contents on these anti-X FAQs.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Oh, and one for the gay men: in ancient Greece small penises were considered heroic and manly and large penises laughable….Pederasty is extremely common cross-culturally

    The second point is a rebuttal to the first. The Greeks (as a whole) were not gay in the way we think of today, so it’s no surprise that their standards were different.
    (Though if you dropped the gay qualifier on the first part, it is more convincing: straight men today do like to portray themselves with large penises.)

    • Well-Manicured-Bug says:

      Old men writing love poetry to younger men seem pretty gay to me.

      • Deiseach says:

        Different view of what constituted (what we would nowadays call) “gay”. The Romans were brutally practical on this; if you were the one doing the penetrating, it didn’t matter if the one you were penetrating was a boy or a girl, you weren’t gay. Men (especially adult or older men) who liked sex with other men exclusively, particularly those who bottomed, were excoriated as effeminate and queers and fags even by men who boasted of fucking boys themselves (see the poetry of Catullus).

        The Greeks were more high falutin’ about it; this whole thing about slutty women makes me wonder, in half-seriousness, why they don’t adopt paederasty à la Grecque ?

        Women for marriage and the duty of siring heirs to the name, but men for the emotional and intellectual fulfilment that women are incapable of inspiring or sharing; women for the animal instinct of reproduction, but men for genuine disinterested love (and sex without refusal or playing games or trickery)?

  49. Phylingual says:

    In fact, this unpaywalled study which examines speed-dating finds that there is basically no gender difference between men and women in how much physical attractiveness affects saying ‘yes’ to someone in speed-dating.

    This meta-analysis of actual attraction found no sex difference in correlation of looks with attraction. Though this is not very congenial with the social role theory of mate preferences either, and implies that any differences (say, leadership) that we find in speed dating studies is likely to reflect immutable differences.

    Again, I am not saying there is no difference between how much men prioritize physical appearance and how much women prioritize physical appearance! There clearly seems to be a difference.

    A new hypothesis: Perhaps the sex difference in stated preferences for looks is also related to whether looks are sufficient for attraction, whether or not it reflects differences in correlation with actual attraction. Looks can be necessary and sufficient for men, while more commonly necessary but not sufficient for women. Namely it is more common for men for a certain level of looks to be sufficient to trigger desire to have sex, while women need some other secret sauce like, say intelligence, humor or compatibility for them to have sex with someone.

  50. Emile says:

    I’m a bit surprised at Heartist’s emphasis on thin girls – I find plump girls attractive (or at least, it’s not a point against them), and I expect a lot of men to feel the same; I’ve often heard that women overestimate how then men’s “ideal woman” is (and then aim to be even thinner than that).

    Also! my standard go-to advice for dating advice from women is Not the Way to Get Laid, by the awesome Leslie Fish.

    • Nornagest says:

      I’ve always thought it’s pretty obvious that the feminine standard of thinness has as much or more to do with intra-gender signaling than it does with optimizing for what’s most attractive to most guys. Compare the average body type in Cosmopolitan to the average body type in Playboy; granted, girlie mags do tend to specialize, but I don’t think you’ll find one casting a wider net than the latter, so I do think it’s a fairly good indicator of average guys’ preferences.

      Granted, some guys do prefer thinner women. Heartiste appears to be one of those guys.

      (WordPress ate an earlier version of this comment; hopefully it won’t spit it out and generate a dupe.)

      • Matthew says:

        My understanding is that the ideal of female beauty in the magazines for women reflects the influence of gay men whose ideal is androgyny on the fashion industry.

        That being said, some of us who are hetero really do prefer thin women. I find April Flores appallingly unattractive. Here are examples (first is definitely safe for work, second is probably safe for work) of porn stars I would rate as 10s:

        First place

        Runner-up

        • Amanda L. says:

          What kinds of magazines are you referring to? I’m curious, because the girls you linked are definitely as thin (or thinner) and androgynous (in terms of small breasts, at least) as the women I see on magazine covers.

          This is a fairly typical magazine cover for example: http://www.lucywho.com/p17816778/rachel-bilson-instyle-magazine-cover-thailand-october-2011/

        • Matthew says:

          @Amanda

          What I’m disputing is the claim that all hetero men prefer the models in men’s magazines to models in women’s magazines. I don’t consider the porn stars I linked androgynous, however. There’s no gender amiguity there; that’s the essence of feminine beauty to me. Thin/B-Cup >>>>> Reubenesque/D-Cup.

        • Anonymous says:

          @Matthew:

          I do not doubt that there are men who prefer the stickbug-looking models from conventional fashion magazines. There are all sorts of types different people are attracted to.

          For my money, though, the two ladies you posted are a haircut away from looking like awkward gangly teenage boys. The second, moreover, screams “unhealthy” as strongly as if she had a chancre on her face or had just been liberated from Belsen.

          Admittedly, I imagine you would have a similarly-strong reaction to the type of women I am attracted to. Hey, less competition for me. 🙂

        • Emile says:

          (I seem to have about the same tastes as Anonymous above, I’d rate April Flores as above the two pictures you linked (or maybe tied with the first one, who does have a very cute face))

          (Is the objectifying? Is it Bad? I sort of assume porn stars are okay with a bit of objectification.)

  51. Anonymous says:

    I’m disappointed to say that I disagree with a ton of things in this article, because I’m generally on the same “side” of the debate as you – as in, I think Heartiste is a misogynist jerk, and I think feminism is generally right.

    -boys experience erection before puberty. I’ve read they experience it in the womb. Personal experience tells me boys experience sexual attraction before puberty too. I distinctly remember the exact moment I first experienced an erection directly caused by sexual attraction towards a friend of mine when I saw her changing, because it was really weird. Subsequently I started seeking out the stimuli that caused the arousal – seeing or touching exposed skin and/or the act of pinning someone down would trigger it. I was five.

    -Women binding their feet artificially makes them submissive and makes their bodies sway in a manner that exaggerates feminine walking style. Western high heels do similar things. The attraction towards submission is the biological thing, though it may manifest differently.

    The Greeks didn’t think small penises were manly, they thought large penises were vulgar and uncouth. Many cultures have a dichotomy between “effeminate, affluent, civilized, refined, androgynous, undersexed” and “masculine, poor, barbaric, sensual, rough”.

    -The seducto-sphere aims to describe typical human minds. Typical mind fallacy is not a valid counter.

    -Um, obviously, if you’re truly engaging in short term mating, it makes sense to just have sex with everyone possible, since it costs you virtually nothing. But I don’t think Heartiste would disagree that women seek out pretty men for short term mating, if you switch “pretty” to “attractive” to strip it of its feminine connotations.

    -I know men with virtually no leg hair, so you’re just wrong that there are no women that have no leg hair. It’s not that uncommon, especially in some East Asian, AmerIndian, and African populations. You’re really jumping the gun here with bold statements like “all women have leg hair”.

    – the general claim is that women are sexually submissive, not that they want to be raped. Many rape victims feel sexually aroused when being raped, a fact which makes the rape even more traumatic for them. Involuntary sexual responses to coerced sex does not, at all, mean that women want to be raped, but it does mean that female sexuality often responds to that sort of power play.

    -Arguably, low expectancy of arousal during casual sex is an awful lot like not enjoying casual sex. I like the idea of casual sex in theory, and if I got off during casual sex I’d do it more often, but in actual fact when I actually do it casual sex just feels nervous and uncomfortable. But like you said, in a particular case, if I think I’ll get off, I’ll be up for it. To me, this all adds up to “does not enjoy casual sex”. You’ve seen the sociosexuality literature, you know this. The statement “Women enjoy casual sex as much as men, but they don’t think that they’ll get off during casual sex, and they’ll have sex if they think they’ll get off” is a lot like saying “children like vegetables as much as adults, but they don’t think vegetables will taste good. If they think a particular vegetable will taste good, then they will, in fact, eat it”. Also, when you say Men, imagine if casual sex meant that you gave a woman head and then she ground against your penis until she came, and if you don’t orgasm tough. I imagine most of you would be less enthusiastic about casual sex too,” you severely underestimate the average male libido and psychology.

    There’s a few more nitpicks, but …to conclude, Heartiste, the manosphere, and theredpill are not right…but I don’t think your takedown is right either.

    • Leo says:

      You misunderstand “typical mind fallacy”. This is the fallacy whereby, when attempting to describe a typical mind, you describe your own mind and assume it to be typical. Heartiste &co could not be accused of typical mind fallacy if they spoke only for themselves.

    • DL says:

      “The seducto-sphere aims to describe typical human minds. Typical mind fallacy is not a valid counter.”

      The typical mind fallacy is the assumption that your mind is typical — that is, that other people are more like you than they actually are. In a slightly generalized sense, it’s the assumption that the minds of people-in-general are more similar to the minds of people-you’re-familiar-with than they actually are.

      It’s not “but what about the outliers,” it’s “your sample was small and non-random.”

  52. Rob says:

    I followed that link to Eric Raymond’s page and came across this quote

    “Some men have this down well enough that they can make eye contact with a woman they’ve never met before, smile, say “You’re very pretty.” and make her smile back. Try this sometime. The self-confidence required to pull it off is attractive to women — if you sound sure of yourself when you do it, the response you get may surprise you.

    Cathy: Try this on a stranger in an elevator, if you must, to minimize the fear level.”

    O_O minimise the fear level for whom?

    Edit: Another quote:

    “Cathy: “Try to have a smile in your voice — you want it to radiate relaxation and pleasure. If that’s too vague, think about the way a good trainer talks to a horse.”

    Ok now I think Cathy is just trolling. Having trouble talking to a woman? Talk to her like you would a horse! Give her a sugar cube!

  53. nameless says:

    I found this piece pretty good, but I was disappointed that you don’t address whether categories like “alpha” and “beta” or “slut” and “pure” or whatever correspond to reality. My hypothesis is that they don’t and are just characters in a big crossover universe of just-so stories. My other hypothesis is that, in possibly-sexual social interactions, subjective levels of attraction between actors *dominate* all other factors, even status considerations.

    • Matthew says:

      I think it’s safe to say that “slut” and “pure” are not useful categories. Dominance rankings is a more complicated question. I think it’s pretty clear that dominance comparisons are real, but status is contingent and contextual, not a question of discrete categories.

      I’m shy with women, though getting better at it. On the other hand, I could intimidate the hell out of most men if I wanted to. I won’t be losing any staring contests. Unless it’s with my boss, because I like my job. Or with my sensei, because I like my elbows only bending in one direction. It’s like physics — everything depends on your frame of reference.

      • nameless says:

        Yeah. However, I think (certainly I don’t *hypothesize*, peace be upon the prophet Popper, but I don’t have an argument formulated for this proposition, or more importantly, $100000 in grants lined up to do a dubious sociological survey that will come out saying whatever I want it to say) that despite their names being taken from animal ethology, those categories really aren’t that meaningful as used by the Greater Manosphere. Anecdotal as hell, but – I certainly don’t have any “alpha” traits (well, not with people I’m not already close to – shyness is probably my overriding personality trait), and I *definitely* have no “beta bucks”. So why have women been throwing themselves at me since I was a teenager? (I know why, for the record – my face, hair, and body type are attractive to a wide subset, and my generic shy friendliness in social situations doesn’t do anything to negate the high baseline. Gay men have been throwing themselves at me too for the same reason, though their social technique is usually more refined and they tend to exit gracefully before a lack of interest.)

        I think the real “pretty lie” is the deep-seated belief that women are virtuous emotional creatures incapable of judging people by their looks, held even by people who try to reject female virtue. Turns out women are just humans after all.

        • Anecdotal as hell, but – I certainly don’t have any “alpha” traits…. my face, hair, and body type are attractive to a wide subset,

          What? Having significantly above-average attractiveness is an alpha trait. You may not have the alpha personality, but every discussion of alpha that I’ve ever read includes general attractiveness as a major component, if not the major component. Furthermore, if you’re getting a lot of female attention and reacting to that attention with shyness or diffidence, you’re exhibiting preselection and abundance mentality. The only alpha trait you’re not displaying, it appears, is “being a jerk”, which you can easily go without if you have everything else working for you.

        • nameless says:

          That’s fair enough. In that case, why aren’t we just saying “attractive” and “unattractive”?

        • nydwracu says:

          In that case, why aren’t we just saying “attractive” and “unattractive”?

          Because that’s easy to misread as “physically attractive/unattractive”.

        • nameless says:

          Alright, I guess since I’m taking the position that physical attractiveness is the most important factor, it would be unfair of me to insist my opponents use those terms like that.

  54. Wing says:

    This was fine, though I prefer Scott’s writing, both topic and style. That is to say nothing of quality or ability, it just wasn’t for me.

    One major objection: Some women have no leg hair. My grandmother once told me she never grew any body hair. I almost barfed when I heard this, because thinking of your hairless grandmother isn’t pleasant. The fact that she has no razor or shaving cream in the bathroom of her house supports her claim, though doesn’t prove it. She could use self waxing kits I suppose, but lives in an area with such low population density that it’s extremely unlikely that there is a waxing center within 2 hours of her house.

    FWIW My father also has no hair on his legs or arms, and mine is exceptionally light. I have dark hair, it’s not a matter of darkness. My grandmother is about 87% norwegian and 13% american indian (Navajo).

  55. Well-Manicured-Bug says:

    I love it how people here, as well as in LW, (and apparently in lot of other places where they think objective knowledge is possible) start their comments with “my hypothesis is that…”, and “I have a theory that…”, knowing full well that they’re never going to make a serious attempt to test them. There must be a term for this.

    • Ialdabaoth says:

      In the interest of accuracy, then, in the future I’ll try to replace those phrases with “I am currently testing a theory that…”

    • Oligopsony says:

      Knowledge production and discovery is a primarily social practice. Formal science, if that’s our model, certainly doesn’t demand that the tester was the one coming up with the hypothesis, and formal science is strictly stricter than whatever it is people think they’re doing here.

      • Well-Manicured-Bug says:

        Which is why people should probably stop calling their speculations hypotheses and theories. Most of these are testable, but testable only in the sense that it’s possible to test whether there’s a chocolate bar somewhere inside the sun. They won’t be given a dime if they actually wanted to do these experiments.

        False rigor and testability. Just like Deepak Chopra, although the stuff people say here are not complete bullshit.

        • Aleph says:

          Calling proposed explanations “hypotheses” is just *such* strong evidence of epistemic shortcomings that it makes us Deepak Chopra? Seriously, buzz off. That’s literally what “hypothesis” means.

        • Well-Manicured-Bug says:

          Usually those that are not rigorous enough are called speculations. But I have a hypothesis that you are not going to agree.

    • nameless says:

      What word do you suggest I use for provisional, not-thought-out ideas that I’m floating to invite discussion, so as not to arouse the ire of the Holy Priesthood of the Scientific Method and its prophet Popper?

    • Scott Alexander says:

      It’s even worse than you think! Some people will say “I bet that…” without wagering any actual money!

    • Alexander Stanislaw says:

      I dislike that you are (unwittingly) punishing epistemic modesty. Saying that “My working hypothesis is … ” is much preferable to saying “I think that … ” since it demonstrates that you are willing to update your model of the world. On most blogs and forums, people are not willing to subject their ideas to falsification – they are more likely to assert things. If you want people to replace this with “I would speculate that …” then okay, the meaning is fairly similar in casual parlance.

  56. mjgeddes says:

    A key point here is the Heartiste/PUA claim that looks are much more important to men than to women. Far too many people buy into this, in fact, it seems to be a major ‘urban myth’ of dating . There is simply no scientific basis for this claim.

    Yes, woman SAY that looks are less important to them, but such self-reported studies are worthless, since what people say and do are often two different things, as surely we all know.

    In fact, the science points to the exact opposite conclusion of popular dating mythology- looks are actually MORE important to women than to men! Women are MORE picky than men – The OKCupid data supports this – 80% of men are classed as ‘physically unattractive’ by women! Think it through.

    So, I think Ozy has not fully realized the importance of looks, and is perhaps to quick to buy into the popular PUA myth that looks are less important to women. However I do agree with Ozy that environmental factors play a substantial role in attraction, and this is overlooked by PUAs.

    To sum up, I think short-term sexual attraction is mostly a function of (a) looks, and (b) environmental factors. These things have little to do with ‘game’, and so I think PUA ‘game’ tactics really only play a minor role at best. Where they work at all, it is simply as Ozy points out , they are simply exploiting general features of psychology which have nothing to do with sex differences , or they rely on particular environmental factors present in the night-club/bar scene (again, nothing to do with sex differences).

    • AC says:

      “looks are actually MORE important to women than to men” doesn’t follow from the OKCupid data. If women rely on personality and behavioral signals in IRL situations to score the attractiveness of most men above zero, and online dating strips away those useful signals leaving primarily physical appearances, it’s easy to see how that would skew the distribution as found by OKCupid.

  57. Chris H says:

    Ozy,

    To reinforce your point on the social cues which influence views of attractiveness, have you heard of the book Women with Mustaches, Men Without Beards? It’s a book on gender in 19th century Perisa which discusses the phenomenon where the ideal woman was one who actually had hair on her upper lip and was essentially indistinguishable from a teenage boy. This idea directly contradicts a stance I’ve encountered among PUAs that what men find attractive in women is that which highlights them feminity (stuff like no hair on face, big boobs, long hair, etc.). Looking insufficently like a young male was a problem in attracting male attention. The author then shows in documents how the Persian government started a campaign against those ideals because it made Persia look weird and backwards to Westerners. Thus some (though probably not all) of the homogeneity of beauty standards in the world today is just because of wanting to emulate the powerful West. While I doubt most hunter-gatherers are paying attention to what Westerners think is beautiful, most cultures connected to the world economy are.

  58. suntzuanime says:

    It seems you’ve already been corrected about the “all women have leg hair” thing, but really, you should have known better.

    Also, I don’t know if this is a particularly Heartiste thing because I get the manosphere at a couple of degrees of remove, but the most interesting part of the manosphere model of intersexual relations to me is the “shit test” where a woman behaves in an unreasonable way towards a man to try to gauge his social status by whether or not he’s willing to call her on it. I would have been interested to see that addressed.

  59. Mike says:

    Hey! I wanted to post a clarification, since it seems Ozy misunderstood something. In the section about peak attractiveness, Rollo’s chart is meant to show peak RELATIVE attractiveness. In other words, if at 21 years of age a man regularly dates women of the same age who are about as attractive as him, by age 38 (provided he works on maximizing his potential) he’s likely to be dating women who are better looking or younger than him. (or both) It’s meant to show when either sexes will have the best options available to them, in a relative sense. Not that 21 year old women all love 38 year old men. Carry on!

    • mjgeddes says:

      Rollo’s chart is definitely not correct and its yet another example of keyboard jockey’s in the manosphere making stuff up day-in and day-out. OKCupid has extensive data on this, and they’ve clearly proven that peak relative attractiveness for men is between the ages of 25-30.

      • Anonymous 3 says:

        While you are correct that Rollo’s chart is an illustration of an idea, not data, the OkCupid data comes from a sample that skews young and is hardly the last word on the subject.

      • Mike says:

        I don’t think OKCupid’s data proves what you think it does. Internet dating doesn’t necessarily 100% correlate with meeting a s/o in real life.

      • nydwracu says:

        Possible confounders around creepiness. Does perceived creepiness of OKCupid membership increase with age?

  60. goocy says:

    I read the whole thing (occasionally skipping a few parts), and it was very well written.

    You (and especially the part about their limited target selection) settled the whole PUA issue for me. Thanks for that.

  61. Leo says:

    There are two 3b s.

  62. All in all, a well-written article which pulls its punches. I find myself vaguely uncomfortable saying that Ozy gives me some hope in humanity… or at least the idea is pleasing that there are people in the world who disagree with me who aren’t just totally ignorant of the ideas which inform my conclusions. I’ve long had my problems with Heartiste’s methodology, and though I tend to agree with many of his conclusions and find his advice sound for increasing a man’s attractiveness to women and his own esteem, there is room for nuance in interpreting what the data means. A lot of correlation-causation confusion by feminists and manospherians alike.

    One final comment… this corner of the internet is really weird. Hello Ozy.

  63. Mushyrulez says:

    If it ever helps, replacing benevolent sexism with its abbreviation ‘BS’ clarifies its connotation somewhat.

  64. Deiseach says:

    Just remembered what all this “how to pull the birds” instructions reminds me of; back in First Class when I was seven, and the boys used to sharpen popsicle sticks (that’s what you Americans call them, correct?) off the wall until the ends were pointy and sharp, then chase after the girls. The girls, for their part, screamed and ran away in fear of being jabbed by the sharp, pointy sticks.

    Sorry to burst any bubbles here, gentlemen, but none of the girls were actually scared of the boys, this was just how the game was played. Had any of the boys really tried jabbing one of the girls, not alone would she have hit him, the other girls would have helped her.

    I never played this game, firstly because I was slow to understand the rules – why would I run away? I’m supposed to let them chase me? It means I like them? No, makes no sense to me – and secondly because the first boy that tried it on me was smaller than me. I remember thinking “If he tries jabbing me with that thing, I’m going to beat the crap out of him”. This doesn’t mean I would only have beaten up smaller boys; if one of the bigger boys had tried it, I would have beaten them up as well (I didn’t physically beat any of them up; I used intimidation on the bigger guys to get them to lend me their comics by getting right up in their personal space and telling them “You’re going to lend me that when you’ve read it, right?)

    No, it was the expectation on his part that I’d run away that baffled me. I wasn’t scared of him, why would I do that? And I knew none of the other girls were scared either, so it made no sense to me (until the whole ‘it’s meant to show he likes you and you like him’ thing was explained to me).

    I didn’t play those dominance games when I was seven, and I’m still not interested in playing them now. And as far as I can tell, that’s what all this is about: not sex (as pointed out on a comment on another post here, if you want orgasms, masturbation and prostitution will achieve those for you) but conquest: proving you’re the Superior Alpha of the pack.

    And I think that is why there is this contempt for sluts: sluts make it too easy. If a slut will sleep with you, or a Beta, or even an Omega, or anyone who asks, or because she wants sex herself, where is the proof of your superiority? It’s pushing on an open door.

    Only proper resistance overcome by your Alpha attitude and superior game-player skills proves that you are a conqueror and a superior pack Alpha! So sluts get you sex, and help rack up the all-important notches on the bedpost, but they still don’t give you the proper thrill of conquest that a real, virtuous woman whom you coerce/cajole into bed by deception does!

    • Anatoly says:

      Only proper resistance overcome by your Alpha attitude and superior game-player skills proves that you are a conqueror and a superior pack Alpha! So sluts get you sex, and help rack up the all-important notches on the bedpost, but they still don’t give you the proper thrill of conquest that a real, virtuous woman whom you coerce/cajole into bed by deception does!

      Or, as Alexander Pushkin put it in his 1830 poem (tr. from Russian):

      “NO, NEVER THINK”

      No, never think, my dear, that in my heart I treasure
      The tumult of the blood, the frenzied gusts of pleasure,
      Those groans of hers, those shrieks : a young Bacchante’s cries,
      When writhing like a snake in my embrace she lies,
      And wounding kiss and touch, urgent and hot, engender
      The final shudderings that consummate surrender.

      How sweeter far are you, my meek, my quiet one,
      By what tormenting bliss is my whole soul undone
      When, after I have long and eagerly been pleading,
      With bashful graciousness to my deep need conceding,
      You give yourself to me, but shyly, turned away,
      To all my ardors cold, scarce heeding what I say,
      Responding, growing warm, oh, in how slow a fashion,
      To share, unwilling, yet to share at last my passion!

      The more things change…

    • Ialdabaoth says:

      Precisely so. Virtuous women are a positional good, that men use to signal their relative status to each other with. High-status men are a positional good, that women use to signal their relative status to each other with. This is a finely balanced social game, and sluts are defectors.

      (This is part of why women tend to be more interested in punishing sluts than men are; a woman who is forward about her desires disrupts the female side of the status game more than the male.)

    • Steve Johnson says:

      And I think that is why there is this contempt for sluts: sluts make it too easy. If a slut will sleep with you, or a Beta, or even an Omega, or anyone who asks, or because she wants sex herself, where is the proof of your superiority? It’s pushing on an open door.

      Ridiculous.

      Men are put off by sluts for the same reason people are put off by rotten food or sewage. Since pair bonding exists sluts are super dangerous to your genes. [You would also expect to see that in races where pair bonding is weaker the aversion to sluts is correspondingly weaker but we’ll leave that aside for now.]

      Beyond pair bonding since everyone knows that sluts are repulsive those who engage in long term relationships with them do lower their own status. “Ha! It’s those men who want to show off so that’s why they pretend to not like sluts!” – nope. A man who is in a long term relationship with a repulsive woman is showing the biggest flag that women have to find a guy sexually repulsive – desperation. Women know that sluts are repulsive to men and they know what’s attractive to men. Not consciously (of course) but just as a nagging sense that a guy with a pretty girl on his arm is suddenly more interesting – women are spectacularly bad at figuring out their own motivations.

      “Oh but what about the guys out there who have sex with dozens of sluts – are they looked on as desperate losers?” No. A guy who has sex with lots of women isn’t desperate – in fact, he’s showing the opposite. He’s showing that he’s capable of having sex with lots of women without actually bonding with them. Emotional unavailability is extremely sexy to women (and infuriating too – like most traits that women prefer in men). The guy who gets tied down to a slut is looked down upon by everyone – men and women. “Oh look, there’s the guy buying dinner for that girl who me and three of my buddies fucked one time at a party – damn, he’s got to be desperate”. High quality women [prettier, more attractive fit bodies, better mental stability, fewer neuroses, more pleasingly feminine personalities, etc.] are especially repulsed by this because these women are more tuned into status cues than women who are lower quality.

      “Oh yeah, well I’m a woman and I don’t find emotionally unavailable men attractive”.

      How attractive are you? Women defend themselves from humiliation (and abandonment) by putting up barriers to avoid men that they are drawn to but know are completely out of their league. Putting it in more specific terms – women who are like 4s and 5s avoiding men who are 7s and up while women who are 6-7 don’t avoid men who are 8+. [Numbers meant as an abstract of overall attractiveness and not just physical appearance.]

    • Matthew says:

      >And as far as I can tell, that’s what all this is about: not sex (as pointed out on a comment on another post here, if you want orgasms, masturbation and prostitution will achieve those for you) but conquest: proving you’re the Superior Alpha of the pack.

      Are you attributing this to the PUAs games, or to finding attractive mates in general? The former isn’t really an interesting claim to me, but the latter is going to make me flip out every time someone says it.

      1) Neither masturbation nor prostitution is an acceptable substitute for the benefit one gets from actual physical intimacy.

      2)I can’t speak for other men, but I continue to assert for myself: I DO NOT GIVE A CRAP ABOUT STATUS EXCEPT INSOFAR AS IT HELPS ME FIND AN ATTRACTIVE MATE. Claiming an attractive mate is a way to increase one’s status is just absolutely backwards. I suppose other people might act in ways that resemble this; to me that looks like they’ve gotten confused by a Lost Purpose a la the castling example here.

      (This is also how I feel about men who seem to care about material things like fancy cars and big houses for their own sake; the whole point is to attract a good mate, dummies.)

    • rrb says:

      Does this predict that men trying to signal low status prefer sluts?

  65. Konkvistador says:

    This piece started as great criticism, but goes meh about half-way through. I found myself nodding occasionally, rolling my eyes at other times, but overall didn’t learn anything new from the piece.

  66. Eli says:

    While I’m definitely going to forward this entire post to this one Manosphere redditor I know, I have a short remark to make on the following:

    If I and my friends all went to a bar and started talking about who the hottest girl was, we would probably agree it was a girl with no makeup, a Star Wars T-shirt, and glasses.

    Modulo the fact that she would be wearing a Picard shirt instead of Star Wars, SHE’S ALREADY MY GIRLFRIEND AND YOU CAN’T HAVE HER.

  67. Eli says:

    And it’s pretty romantic to imagine that someone loves you so much that they will overcome any obstacle to show their devotion, even obstacles like “I am freaked out and actually kind of scared by how much you love me.”

    No, actually, that’s pretty creepy and evil.

  68. Ashley Yakeley says:
  69. DrBeat says:

    See the “cannot prove” part? It is there for a reason, which is not because my opinion has no basis, but because I wanted to acknowledge up front that I’m not going to play the “go dig up a million links from this blog and that” game. Which does not mean I lack sufficient experience dealing with these men in these spaces to have formed my opinion. It is that I have not packaged that knowledge in the way you want.

    I do not say you have no experience with these men in these spaces because you have failed to package the information in a way I want. I say it because the things you say are obviously, blatantly, hilariously wrong. They are not the beliefs of someone who has had any experience with these people or spaces. They are the beliefs of someone who believes everyone who does not subscribe to her ideology is interchangeably evil.

    The things that you believe are not true, no matter how you “package” them.

  70. MugaSofer says:

    Great post, Ozy.

    Still reading it, but:

    Do women like serial killers?

    The Wikipedia list of serial killers lists about 100 serial killers in the United States; let’s double it and say 200 just to bias it towards Heartiste. Let us assume that about one in every two thousand women is interested in serial killers. That means that there are 750 women interested in serial killers for every serial killer. I don’t know about you, but I feel like having 750 women interested in you would put you in a pretty good sexual marketplace position.

    Having 750 people who would be interested in you, in the entire United States of America, is not “a pretty good sexual marketplace position”. The USA is a big place, which may be throwing off your intuitions.

    As you yourself admit, this would invalidate your own conclusions about sexuality elsewhere in this essay. It would also imply that diaper fetishists are in “a pretty good sexual marketplace position”, which I think is officially Proving Too Much.

    I don’t particularly think women are all serial killer fetishists; if anything, I would expect successful serial killers to have learned game. But I think you fell prey to motivated cognition with this argument.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you are violently agreeing. You are both saying that serial killers do have a good sexual marketplace position, not because they have good odds on the individual, but because their small fan base seeks them out, which is possible because they are publicized.

    • Anonymous says:

      It would also imply that diaper fetishists are in “a pretty good sexual marketplace position”, which I think is officially Proving Too Much.

      No? Not unless there are seven hundred fifty female diaper fetishists to every male diaper fetishist, and also male diaper fetishists are by their nature nationally famous.

    • Nick says:

      Afaict each serial killer fetishist wouldn’t necessarily desire one and only one serial killer. So it’s more like n < 750 women in America interested specifically in you, and (750 – n)*100 women interested in any serial killer, which incidentally may be you, and n is probably pretty small (how many serial killer fetishist women would really pass up the chance to sleep with a serial killer?).

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  72. ADifferentAnonymous says:

    A bit late, but I’d just like to say HOORAY OZY IS WRITING MORE! This was great!

  73. Ialdabaoth says:

    @veronica d:

    Here’s something I think is maybe telling. If you scroll up and read this mess again, you might notice this: I don’t really ask anyone to do anything, by which I mean, I do not try to shut people down by making demands or any such thing. Instead, I state my case, let others state theirs, and then respond to what interests me.

    And sometimes I tell people, “No, I’m not going to do what you ask. I’m not going to have the argument you want to have. Instead, I’m going to say this…” This seems to annoy certain people. I find this curious.

    (Note, it is not my goal to annoy them. However, people who get annoyed when I say “no” rate low in my book.)

    As an aside, I am quite interested in patterns control and dominance in communication. The applications to feminism are obvious.

    Very much so. Let me explain what I think is going on, and then with your participation we can work from there.

    When you come into Slate Star Codex, there are certain community norms which different users embody to varying degrees. One of those norms is “respectful and directed truth-seeking where all the cards are laid out on the table”. Of course, because all words are weapons, some people do this, and other people pretend to do this in order to ensure that their viewpoints are heard here, and still other people try to accuse both other sets of people of pretending in order to ensure their viewpoints are heard, etc. etc. – so it’s a big mess, as usual. But it’s a big mess orchestrated and choreographed around the ideal of that norm, you see.

    So the norm “be respectful and directed in your truth-seeking, and lay all your cards on the table” gets used, as all norms do, as a weapon in the ongoing political war that is the human condition.

    Now, there’s obviously a big difference between here and society-at-large, in that you are never asked for consent to have society-at-large’s norms imposed upon you even in principle. But in online fora, you can at least be expected to acclimate to the culture and tone of the environment – Eternal Septembers and oceans of piss not withstanding.

    That said, it’s still a fascinating display of identity-theater to see people try to embody, impose, flout, subvert, and analyze(heh) these norms.

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  75. AntiHeartistePUAGuy says:

    I agree with most of what’s in this post. It’s a shame that Ozy spent so much time debunking the crazier parts of Heartiste’s worldview.

    – I disagree with slut shaming, I think that the world would be a much better place if more women were more open to casual sex.

    – I personally like curvy girls, e.g. size 10, size 12.

    – I agree that there is a lot of room for debate about nature versus nurture as a force behind human behavior and preferences.

    The one thing that worries me about this post is that Ozy has taken the silliest things that one particular game guru espouses and convincingly debunked them, and I worry that people will accidentally assume that this means that everything about game has been debunked. NOT TRUE!

    It is perfectly reasonable to agree with this post and still think that game is a good and useful thing to do.

  76. Quite weak. Typical troll twaddle.

  77. Ialdabaoth says:

    A question I had about this:

    > Sorry, 38-year-old dudes. Young women do not want your old, balding, wrinkled ass. Your peak attractiveness was fifteen years ago.

    I am 39, and quite obviously balding, but otherwise not wrinkled or obviously 39. In fact, if I shave thoroughly and don’t mention my age, I apparently pass quite comfortably for 30.

    I also VERY MUCH don’t like being 39, and would change it if I could. (I especially don’t like how many years of my life have been wasted not having fun).

    Is it wrong of me to not mention my age? On dating sites where I HAVE to enter an age, is it wrong of me to enter a false age? Also, women seem to do this all the time with a certain level of acceptability; is it more of a sin when a guy does it?

    • Matthew says:

      >In fact, if I shave thoroughly and don’t mention my age, I apparently pass quite comfortably for 30.

      I’m not going to go bald, but otherwise it’s bizarre how you seem to be my long-lost twin here. I’d look like I was in my 20s without the beard.

      >I also VERY MUCH don’t like being 39, and would change it if I could. (I especially don’t like how many years of my life have been wasted not having fun).

      Yeah. That.

      > On dating sites where I HAVE to enter an age, is it wrong of me to enter a false age?

      If you’re looking for one-night-stands, this might be okay. If you’re looking for a relationship of any duration, it’s a terrible idea. People who lie about their age/height/weight will rightly be assumed to be more likely to lie about other things. (I do see women doing this, often very implausibly, on OKC. I don’t think they get away with it any more than men do.)

  78. anon says:

    Question: are midlife crises real? That is, are they more likely than crises at any other time, are they caused by fear of aging or death, do they manifest in buying expensive cars or cheating on partners, that sort of thing?

  79. Froolow says:

    I enjoyed this, but I couldn’t shake the feeling you were attacking a strawman-esque position the whole way through. This is more of a meta-level comment, and I want to make clear that on the object level I enjoyed the essay immensely.

    One thing I really liked about Scott’s anti-nRx FAQ was that he laid out an apparently rock-solid case *for* nRx before posting the rebuttal a short while later. That had three beneficial effects from my point of view; first it let any nRx correct his position of them before knowing which bits were going to be taken apart, which I think renders completely unconvincing any nRx-er who comes along and says ‘well we don’t *really* believe that bit that Scott demolished’ – they had a chance to speak up and didn’t. With this piece, it isn’t clear to me which bits the manosphere actually believes and which bits are Heartiste just being crazy.

    Second, putting a steelman of the position first let me see that there was actually a case to answer. A lot of nRx is superficially plausible – if their historical claims panned out I think it would be a very powerful political philosophy, and Scott had me ready to change my beliefs quite fundamentally. It isn’t clear to me there is a ‘Heartiste’ claim to answer. From what I’ve seen, Heartiste seems dangerously unhinged and embarrassingly niche. There’s no chance at all that Heartiste’s particular brand of philosophy will come to dominate mainstream discourse unless there’s something really important I’m missing, which a steelman would have helped me see.

    Finally, I couldn’t really tell from this post which bits of Heartiste’s arguments were critical and which were just peripheral. That isn’t your fault because I suspect even Heartiste doesn’t know, but you’ve got people in the comments saying ‘You should have emphasised X, Y and Z’, which suggests they – at least – think you might have taken down peripheral bits of the philosophy. A steelman might avoid this because it is clear to the reader which bits of the argument prop up which other bits, and would avoid the possibility that you’ve picked on soft targets at the edge of the belief system rather than addressing fundamental beliefs.

    Very much enjoyed the post as a piece of writing, but I feel a pro-Heartiste FAQ would make it much more persuasive as a piece of philosophical critique.

  80. Sniffnoy says:

    OK. A bit late to the party, but I’m forking the DrBeat thread, because I want to write something of a concurrence with DrBeat. To some extent, anyway — I certainly don’t agree with statements like “Yeah, there are lots of different feminisms, but all of them are wholly and irreversibly corrupted in the same way by the same idea for the same reason.” or “Feminism embraces all of the fundamental precepts of traditional sexism so wholeheartedly.” And from what I understand, his claims about VAWA and the Duluth Model are simply wrong. But this is not what I want to focus on! I want to focus on this part:

    When feminists claim “not all feminists are like that” and claim the destructive actions above are the work of “not real feminists”, but make no effort to oppose them, no effort to undo them, and only acknowledge their existence when directly confronted by them, I am allowed to notice that. When the “radicals” who are supposedly the “fringe” are able to use all of the political power and leverage of feminism and exert all of the influence of feminism in order to accomplish their goals, like the above, I am allowed to see it happen.

    It is not outgroup homogeneity bias that makes me say feminists support sexism. It’s their continued, tacit support of sexism any time it isn’t openly harming women, and the continued “women are victims, women are weak, women must be kept safe from threatening men” narrative pushed by feminists and not opposed by feminists.

    First, I’d like to reiterate something I’ve said before, and that’s already been mentioned here: The offense/defense hypocrisy. On defense, feminists remind you that feminism is not a monolith and that they can’t speak for all women. On offense, feminists freely throw around the weight of “feminism” as if all feminism were unified behind them, and freely make universal proscriptions regarding how one should deal with women. But I’ve said this so many times before.

    What I want to say here now is twofold:
    1. Non-terrible feminism, though it may not support it, covers for destructive feminism.
    2. Moreover, though it may not support it, frequently covers for benevolent sexism; and often even straight-up promotes it. (There’s your direct connection to DrBeat’s comment, I suppose. 😛 )

    I’m not sure there’s very much to say about (1) that I haven’t already — it’s just the natural result of the “offense” half of the hypocrisy above. Feminists spend a lot of time promoting “feminism” as a generality (rather than their specific branch), and this feeds the bad ones too. Especially since it gives the false impression of unity — so the bad ones are ones you need to listen to just as much as any other. If you want to not do this, you need to take precautions against it! But disarming those other feminists will require disarming yourself. There seems to be this assumption that people will immediately notice the bad feminists are bad and not listen to them, and this is just not true.

    Part (2) has several components. Part of (2) is just (1) — bad feminists may promote benevolent sexism, after all! Or people calling themselves feminists; anyone can take up the mantle of feminism. And the whole thing is of course made worse by statements like “When a woman tells you something is sexist, believe her” (or the infamous “Shut up and listen!”) which give feminist moral authority to all women — who may or may not be feminist! So when a woman tells us that bicycle helmet laws are sexist, apparently we are required to believe her! (And not the people insisting in the thread that calling bike helmet laws sexist is not, in fact, feminist — people who might be men, for all we know.)

    (Side note: I got the xojane link from Sam Burnstein, who considered the scary/ridiculous one to be #33. But that’s just an object-level suggestion! It’s #6 that’s the scary one, because it’s by screwing up the discussion, the meta-level, that awful feminism protects itself (or that good feminism protects awful feminism).)

    So this is how feminism gives cover to benevolent sexism. (Don’t hand moral authority to people you haven’t vetted! Or really anyone. You shouldn’t have moral authority in the first place; how did you ever get a hold of it? A big part of the problem seems to be that feminists don’t seem to realize they do have moral authority, to many people. But I’ve said this before.)

    Now we have the question — how does feminism actively promote benevolent sexism? Well, this is pretty simple. Suppose you are a feminist and you notice that people are treating women in shitty way X. So, you say, don’t do bad thing X; do good thing Y instead! Simple, right?

    Well, not so fast. You forgot to account for how people will react to it. See, you see X being done to women but not men, so you immediately attribute it to sexism. (Or you rarely see it being done to men, so you ignore the possibility as rare and thus unimportant. It isn’t, as we’ll shortly see.)

    But there are several possibilities here. You are addresing your article to Hypothetical Sexist, who does X to women but Y to men. For these readers, you have accomplished your goal! You have pointed out that they are being sexist and how they can not be. Some might already do Y to both women and men; in this case, well, this is also good; they’re already doing the right thing, and your article affirms that.

    But there are more possibilities! Say they do X to both women and men. Maybe they’re not sexist, but just an asshole. Or — more likely — they honestly consider X to be the right thing to do, in general; they don’t see why it would be a problem. For these people, your article isn’t saying “Treat women like any other people”, it’s saying “Women are delicate creatures who will freak out if you act normally to them; you need to be careful around them and specially protect them.” Tada! Benevolent sexism!

    (There’s also a simpler route by which it can reinforce existing benevolent sexism — if you put the emphasis on doing Y, without any justification of why, the people who are already benevolent sexists will take this as reinforcing their benevolent sexism, not promoting equality.)

    Recent example: The whole “Stop telling women to smile” thing. As a guy, I totally also get strangers on the street telling me to smile, and I also find it rude. Not nearly as often, presumably; I’m not claiming that the problem has no gendered component. But it is true that why it’s rude is not gendered. So there are people out there telling men to smile. They’ll read “Stop telling women to smile” as an endorsement of benevolent sexism.

    (Note that the naïve solution, “Stop telling people to smile”, is also pretty bad — since after all, a lot of the problem here is people who reflexively exclude women from the category “people”. My preferred solution, or first stab at one, would be something along the lines of “Stop telling people to smile. (Hint: That includes women.)” A bit aggressive, perhaps, but then so is the original poster with that staring face!)

    (Also note, by the way, the necessity in general of distinguishing “This is a problem, and it affects men and women unequally” from “This is a problem because it affects men and women unequally”. (And the many other possibilites; these two are certainly not exhaustive.) The feminist movement seems pretty bad at this at present.)

    One last note — some of the feminist double-binds so often complained of aren’t exactly feminist double-binds at all. Some of them are, where both sides of the bind are due to feminism; but often, one side of the bind is due to feminism, and the other side of the bind is due to benevolent sexism… inadvertently reinforced by feminism. If feminism could successfully tear down benevolent sexism rather than reinforcing it in the various ways above, we’d have less of a problem.

    • DrBeat says:

      I responded to you below, but just realized that you probably don’t know because you didn’t get the e-mail notification.

  81. DrBeat says:

    I don’t think the reinforcement is that “inadvertent”. If reinforcing norms of women being frail and fragile and weak and requiring protection from threatening men were an accident, it wouldn’t be the number 1 go-to idea to appeal to any time a female feminist is being criticized for what she said or did.

    (Also, I object as strongly as possible to the phrasing “benevolent sexism”, and consider it more proof of feminism’s fundamentally gynocentric and misandric worldview. It’s only “benevolent” if you think the experiences of women are the only things that count; “benevolent sexism” is usually pretty malicious to men.)

    Your argument as to how feminism promotes “benevolent” sexism is, in my view, on the right track, but hampered by the assumption that feminists must be doing the right thing, and the things they base their decisions on must be correct. Here’s what I have seen:

    Mainstream feminism, aka the ideology followed by the feminists who do things and cause changes, cannot see men as victims. It just is not capable of recognizing the phenomenon. Looking at the world through this feminist lens renders you incapable of seeing any situation where a woman has agency or a man is a victim. Almost every situation feminism identifies where X Bad Thing is happening to women, X Bad Thing happens with either equal or greater frequency to men. By being incapable of seeing men being hurt, feminism only sees women being hurt, and decides women need more protection and sympathy and that men should give this to them. Every thing that women suffer, no matter how minor, no matter if it is gendered or even gendered in favor of women, will be seen as an unjust plight inflicted upon womankind that must be stopped, because feminism will see A Bad Thing happening to women and nothing happening to men. So it will end up calling for the most protected and safest class to be given more protection and safety, for the most valued people to be valued more, for the ones we care the most about to be given more care. “Women are wonderful, precious, fragile victims” is the core of sexism, whether it is the malicious kind that infantilizes women or the equally malicious kind that ignores the harm of men, and the core of feminism’s constant demands to address “violence against women”.

    Feminism does not promote “benevolent” sexism because it identifies problems but addresses them the wrong way; feminism promotes “benevolent” sexism because it cannot properly identify problems, leading it to view every situation as one where women must be given more of the attributes and treatment that “benevolent” sexism already ascribed to them.

  82. Dare I bring up some points that will likely not get this post past moderation?????

    I shall…

    Okay, number 1)

    There isn’t mention of Heartiste’s Racist (or as man-0-sperians call it “Race Realist”) views. Granted, this article may be about “sexuality” and race may be seen by some as a separate topic. However, as they come up in many of his articles and even more in the comments section, they are obviously a huge part of his so called “worldview” and any article that doesn’t mention this is not even coming close to telling the full story.

    I have been critical of Paul Elam for linking to Inmalafide. (In full disclosure, I had written articles that appeared there.) My accusations were not that Elam is a racist, but that it was a bad judgement call to allow himself to be linked to a site that had been overrun by White Nationalists.

    So I think it is a huge blindspot to not mention this in the above article.

    Blindspot #2)

    Something very common among feminist writers is that they rarely acknowledge that many men have a fair share of discomfort with the “initiator” role. A writer named Alek Novy has written some amazing stuff on this. The only PUA that I have seen deal with this topic honestly is Good Looking Loser.

    I could go on but I’ll end it here…