Thursday, December 6, 2018

Fourteen Hot Takes on Gender and Sex

Flaming hot takes on sex and gender. Random musings really. Some are serious. Some less so. Some contradict one another. Read at your own risk.

1. Of Course Sex is Real

What are we to make of the modern idea that gender is entirely a social construct? I have read many books on this subject of late and it is striking how little examined this idea is. Take it seriously for a moment. How is it that hundreds of human societies across thousands of years all independently created patriarchal monogamy-based social systems? How is it that thousands of other animal species, including our closest primate relatives, all have significant gender differences in behavior due to evolution? Why would nature just skip humans when it comes to engineering biological gender differences? Why would every human civilization create 'sexist' societies if there is no biological cause or motivation? Even more hilarious, there are those on the far left who argue that even sex is a social construct. A penis only exists because society believes it so, apparently.

Our ancestors and children have always understood some basic realities: Of course sex is real. Of course sex largely determines gender. Of course gender influences behavior and roles in society. Let us stop fearing what follows from these truths.

2. Two Versions of Feminism

For a long time I considered myself a feminist. Then I started reading more and came to see how divorced from reality the movement has become. The contemporary third (or fourth? or fifth?) wave of feminism is degenerate, dysgenic, and cultural cancer. However there is a version of feminism that I can still support. The first wave feminists did not believe in gender equality; they did not argue that men and women were the same. Instead they argued that the female sex had unique needs that were not properly represented by a male-dominated government. Precisely because men and women are different it is important for government to listen to both sexes and ensure society meets their needs. This is the polar opposite of modern egalitarian feminism which assumes bigotry as the only reason 50% of tech company CEO's aren't women. Sex-aware feminism is in step with reality and can be a force for good. Egalitarian modern feminism is premised upon fictions and will continue to cause social unrest and contempt between the sexes everywhere it is practiced.

3. Why PUA is stupid

Pickup artistry is essentially haggling - psyching out or wearing down women so that they have sex with you against their better instincts. I deliberately use the term 'better instincts' too, because casual sex is not good for women. PUA is distinct from seduction or courtship, which are about creating attraction over the long-term, not just getting the lady to drop her panties for one night. The skill itself seems worthless to me over the long term. It doesn't get you a loyal wife or family or anything meaningful. Rather it gets you a lot of drama with bitter women. PUA is all about simulating status to make women think you are worthy. Better to invest that time into developing real skills and gaining real status. Better to be the genuine article than some slick talker. Think of it this way: Would you rather be the guy with the coupon book burning hours haggling with a salesman, or the guy who rolls up, points to what he wants, cuts a check, and then leaves in a matter of minutes?

Furthermore PUA creates more promiscuity, which is bad for society. It makes zero sense that PUA's complain about women being sluts and then go around banging random women to score points. Roosh, a notorious PUA guru, figured at least this much out, eventually becoming a neoreactionary traditionalist type. A lot of PUA's I think end up where he is eventually. His journey is the other side of the coin for the "roastie" late 30's single girl who wasted her youth banging alpha men and now wants to settle down. PUA philosophy creates millions of women like this. If we want healthy gender relations and a society comprised of strong families, we must repudiate both feminist sexual liberation and PUA-style notch-collecting. It takes two to tango.

4. On Infidelity and Polygyny

I ran an informal Twitter poll the other day to determine which sex cares more about sexual fidelity. The results were not very conclusive. I predicted that women would care less because they have certainty of parentage. As long as the father has good genes and provides resources, they won't worry too much about him getting some action on the side. In popular culture we see this reflected in how much more harshly we judge women who cheat.

Consider the film Lost in Translation. In one scene, Bob, Bill Murray's character, very casually (and somewhat unintentionally) cheats on his wife. The consequence is a brief awkward lunch with his friend Charlotte. She forgives him quickly, and so do we the audience. We have a bit more context than Charlotte too. For example, we see that when Bob wakes up in the morning with the lounge singer, he grimaces. He thinks to himself, "What the fuck did I do last night??" We the audience see this, but Charlotte does not. From her perspective Bob may have gone out of his way to cheat. Bob may do this sort of thing all the time. Yet still she forgives him. Now imagine instead Charlotte had cheated. Even with her distracted vaguely negligent husband, we would not have felt sympathy for her. It would have ruined her character.

Why are we cool with Bob cheating but not Charlotte? I think part of it, subconsciously, is the understanding that Bob is a high status man. He's a wealthy successful actor. He's earned it. Of course he has women throwing themselves at him. How can we expect him to be faithful? Societies have long accepted that men of means will use their resources to score some extra tail. In fact I would even go so far as to say that there are ethical ways of practicing polygyny. There is a eugenic benefit to society in allowing high status men (presumably with good genes) to procreate with multiple women provided they can support their offspring.

5. Why is the Man the Head?

Conservatives who believe strongly in gender roles often say that men and women are different but equal in worth. Christians also say this, however the more traditionalist ones will also argue that the man must be the head of the household. It is the husband that gets the last word and the wife must submit to him. If husband and wife are of equal worth, why is the man the head?

Studying evolution gave me an answer - one premised on an uncomfortable biological reality. Consider an average woman and an average man. They are alone together. If they were to fight to the death, 9 times out of 10 the man would win. If the man wished to rape the woman, 9 times out of 10 he could because he is likely bigger, stronger, faster, and more aggressive. Men as a class have an implicit physical authority over women as a class. If a woman lives in a home with a man - if a woman is merely alone with a man - she is implicitly under his authority. This is how we evolved for millions of years and it deeply informs our values.

Men have to be more publicly accountable than women. When we see a begging family out on the street, it is the father we blame, just as Ras Al Ghul blamed Bruce Wayne's father for the death of his parents. When it's time to fight a war, check a bump in the night, or be the last to get in a lifeboat it is men that are called to step up and be accountable. This doesn't change when a man starts a family. Marriage constitutes the ultimate in accountability for a man. He now has to be accountable for himself, a wife, and any children they produce. By contrast for a woman marriage constitutes the ultimate vulnerability. She must live under the same roof as a man not related to her, take his name, become impregnated by him, bear and rear his children, and ultimately submit to his authority. The feminists are right when they say that marriage constitutes female subjugation. That's the point.

6. Strong Female Characters

Why do men create Strong Female Characters?

I think it's because they like to imagine a beautiful woman who shares their masculine values - strength, competence, assertiveness, stoicism, etc. They demonstrate these values through action - killing tons of bad guys. It helps if they are also drop dead gorgeous, as beauty connotes power for women. With their revealing outfits these women are both sexually alluring to men while also appealing to masculine values. I think it's fine for men to enjoy such characters but it is important to keep aware of the line between fiction and reality. Most women are not like this and the ones that are would make terrible girlfriends.

7. Female Fantasy

The female sexual fantasy is a powerful high status man who only has eyes for her. Consider some of the examples in the picture. All are men of power - men who have authority over other men in some way. This power is alluring to a woman because it improves the likelihood of her offspring's survival should she mate with such a man. What makes it fantasy is the degree of supplicating the men all engage in to try to win over their one perfect woman.

Spiderman and Superman are superheroes - gods among men - who suffer from severe oneitis. In Pretty Woman and Sex and the City you have wealthy men choosing to wife up and give legal control of their finances to a literal street-walking whore and a bitter washed up 50-something slut respectively. 50 Shades of Grey is more of the same with some additional cartoonish details. No man finds these fantasies appealing - this notion that if I as a man make it to the 99th percentile of status (superhero, billionaire, etc.) I might be able to marry a prostitute, an over the hill party girl, or a snarky feminist girl next door type. But women find them appealing precisely because the women are not especially deserving. The women are not exceptionally talented, smart, kind, or even beautiful (though 1990 Julia Roberts is bae). The fantasy works because average women can feel like they too have a chance of their knight in shining armor coming and sweeping them off their feet. So long as it is understood as fantasy it's not a big deal. The problem starts when society starts telling women that they are entitled to such men in the real world.

 8. Critique of Family Alpha advice

I recently discovered an interesting right of center men's blog called The Family Alpha. The blog offers a lot of advice to married men for keeping your marriage strong. Much of it is good. The focus is on personal accountability, staying fit, being a good provider, and using game to keep your wife attracted to you. The last point is where I take some issue. At several points the writer outright states or implies that the wife's choices are entirely the man's responsibility. The solution to every marital problem is just "be more alpha / awesome" and the woman will adjust naturally.

The problem with this advice is that it assumes women have zero agency. A wife's behavior is not 100% a function of the man's actions. Women have free will just as men do. The advice, "just be awesome and she'll change her tune," is not bad advice, but it is incomplete. Because the thing is, she might not change her tune. Furthermore, the advice relies solely on implicit leadership, when in reality sometimes explicit leadership is necessary. Headship sometimes requires explicitly calling out bad behavior and correcting your wife. It is uncomfortable and must be done thoughtfully, but it is at times necessary. Men are better suited to explicit leadership (larger, stronger, deeper voices, etc) while women are better at implicit leadership. The women's marriage advice book Fascinating Womanhood exemplifies this as it teaches women to improve their relationships through changing their own behavior, not usurping their husband's authority.

Men should try to remain attractive to their wives. Be assertive, stay in shape, hold down a good job, be the family's rock - all of this is great. It doesn't guarantee a successful marriage or content wife. She may have deeper issues. She may need more direct guidance or instruction. Headship sometimes must be direct and unambiguous. Wives too need to be held accountable for their choices. Wise husbands demonstrate both explicit and implicit leadership, leading by word and example.

9. Whore, Escort, Sugar Baby, Mistress, Concubine, Wifey

What is the difference between these types of women? I argue it is the degree to which sexual intercourse is the core priority of the relationship. For example with a wife I'd argue that sex is about 25% of the relationship. The other 75% is made up of other priorities such as emotional support, motherhood, etc.

Whore: 100% -- Fucking is all that matters
Escort: 80% -- May see more than once. Looks and personality matter.
Sugar Baby: 65% -- Need to get along well. Some emotional support too.
Mistress: 50% -- Like a girlfriend at this point. Need real intimacy.
Concubine: 35% -- May bear children. Sex is no longer main priority.
Wife: 25% -- Family and other issues come first.

10. Scoring App for Men and Women

What is your marriage market value?

I had the idea the other day of creating an app that scores men and women. You input lots of details about yourself and it outputs a score. What would make it controversial is that it would be honest and score men and women differently. For example, women's scores would go down a lot faster as they got older and men's scores would be influenced a lot more by annual income. The app would also factor in things like sexual history, number of current children, debt, and other relevant attributes. Once users have their score, they can try to match up with partners who have a similar score. The app would help people be realistic about their prospects. The two tricky technical challenges are 1. Accurately scoring people's looks and 2. Getting honest answers from people. Otherwise the actual software is quite simple to write. Hit me up if you're interested in helping build or market it. Could be fun.

11. Masculinity, Femininity, and Gender Roles

Which of these two seems more powerful?

Not long ago the trailer for the movie Captain Marvel came out. Predictably some feminists complained about it, but for an interesting reason. They complained that Samuel L Jackson got to talk more in the trailer than Captain Marvel herself. Some argued this was simply because he is more famous. However I think there is another more basic reason: Women's voices don't carry as much authority as men's. It's why the movie trailer voice guy is always a guy. We don't find women as intimidating as men. It's one of the reasons both men and women prefer male bosses. In the state of nature, authority was all about physical dominance. Women don't have this so we feel less secure with a female manager or leader. The one thing women can use to be intimidating is their sexuality. It's why female super heroes wear revealing outfits. It's why female fighting game characters have big boobs. Greater sexual potency makes them seem stronger.

Feminine strength and sexuality are based on vulnerability. Pregnancy, therefore, is the ultimate state of femininity. It is the time when a woman is at her most vulnerable. Thus a nude pregnant woman appears even more feminine because she seems more vulnerable still. This doesn't apply to men. For them it is the opposite. Masculinity is about accountability. Men seem more masculine when they look ready to be accountable - equipped for action with armor and tools. A naked man just seems silly. It's no surprise women don't spend nearly as much effort trying to see naked men as men do trying to see naked women. But consider again the picture of the man and nude woman above. Both the man and the woman are very powerful but in different ways. Western society makes it easy to understand the man's power but difficult to appreciate the woman's.

12. On Women Voting

First of all, I am skeptical of democracy generally, however that discussion is its own essay. I think that if a society is to have a properly functioning democracy, the most important principle is a coupling of authority and responsibility. No one should vote without the ability to be physically accountable for their vote. Voting is an act of political violence. Voting dictates which citizens get guns pointed at them by the government and which foreigners get drone strikes for breakfast. Any individual who is unwilling or incapable of putting on a uniform, picking up a rifle, marching over to their neighbor's house, and pointing a gun at them, should not be voting. To allow people to instigate violence in their name without risk to themselves is a moral hazard.

This is the core argument against women voting. They are simply not capable of being as accountable for political violence as men. If women's votes lead to migrant invasion or terrorist attacks or nuclear war, do we expect women to meet that violence in kind? Of course not. They'll be off cowering in FEMA shelters with the children as they should. A proper society would never give them such authority to begin with. It is akin to making a young child responsible for the family budget. A proper democracy would only allow people to vote after they registered for some form of national service that made them eligible for a draft. They should also have to undergo some basic training, meet a fitness standard, and pass a civics test.

You need not have a blanket ban on women, however far fewer would meet this standard than men. To give them some political voice I also support the idea of family votes. I think a family vote should be weighted equal to the number of members. So for a married couple with three kids, the man could vote for the family and it would be worth 5 votes. The logic here is that people with kids are more invested in the future of society. They make better voters because they have skin in the game.

13. All Sex with Japanese Women is Nonconsensual

A friend of mine, let's call him Jack, was talking to me the other day about his experiences dating Japanese women. He complained of the unusual sex culture, noting that whenever he and a Japanese woman began having sex, the woman would say, yamete ("stop!") or "no" or something suggesting that she did not want sex. But the thing is, whenever Jack would actually stop, the woman would get annoyed and tell him to continue. "It's like they want me to rape them or something," Jack lamented. Well, there's a reason for that.

In less developed parts of the world such as central Asia and Africa, there is a tradition known as bride kidnapping. The way it works is that when a couple has spent some time courting and is preparing to marry, the man will pretend to kidnap the woman by grabbing her off the street and taking her home. In some places this is done even when there is no relationship; a man will just grab a random woman, take her home, and keep her captive for a day or two. In those cases where the woman does not know the man, she may or may not be raped, however from the community's perspective it doesn't matter. The mere fact that she was kept in the man's house will cause everyone to assume that the two had sex, and since she is no longer a virgin, no self-respecting man will marry her. She has no choice but to marry her abductor.

So what does this have to do with Jack's issue? Consider the motive for bride kidnapping. It is done to allow women to maintain their innocence. Men evolved to prioritize virginity and purity in women because it increases the likelihood that their offspring will be legitimate. Women, therefore, do not want to ever appear too eager. When an offer for sex or marriage comes along, they must say no. Bride kidnapping takes the choice out of their hands and lets the husband (and wider community) know that she stayed virtuous to the end. The same logic applies to Japanese women (and it isn't only Japanese women that do this) who say, "no" and "stop" during sex. Japanese men are attracted to purity (this is why lolicon is so popular). They don't want a slutty experienced over-eager woman. They want a woman who is untouched. Thus women in Japan during sex tend to act as though sex is being forced upon them. Many women around the world eroticize the lack of consent - the feeling of being taken by a powerful man. Evolution may be to blame for this as well.

14. Patriarchy is our Only Hope

In the long run human civilization probably won't last. Either slowly or quickly we will likely destroy ourselves. Survivors will regress to the harshest forms of patriarchy just to stay alive. Technological singularity is another possibility, but the probability of it happening is low, the time frame is longer than people think, and if it happens, we will no longer be dealing with human beings anyway.

So how do we continue to live as homo sapiens sustainably into the future? Consider this: Most people think that modern societies have closed the gap of gender differences thanks to technology. The advent of guns for example is said to have reduced the importance of the size difference between men and women. However, in reality, the opposite is true. Modern civilization is even more gender divided than in the past. Sure, we have guns now, but who owns most of them? Who invents, maintains, and learns how to use them? Modern civilization is delicate. Its infrastructure requires vast expertise distributed across millions of minds. Sewer systems, deep sea internet cables, nuclear power plants, etc. Which gender disproportionately possesses this expertise?

People worry that AI is going to wipe out a lot of jobs. This is true but it will be gradual and it will not wipe out the need for expertise. One job it can't wipe out is 'Mom'. Since women disproportionately do a lot of the service sector jobs most easily replaced by algorithms, it seems logical that encouraging more women to stay home with their families is a good method for reaping the benefits of automation without disrupting society too much. This to me seems far better than something like UBI, which I think is less sustainable and far more socially radical. Women staying home with the kids is a part of recent historical memory and in line with our species' evolution. Assuming we don't destroy ourselves, this sort of retro-futuristic approach seems best.

I don't think we need to go to the extreme of coverture wherein women are legally the property of their husbands and male relatives (unless of course cultures elect to go that route - consent of the governed and all that). I think if we work iteratively we can maintain individual rights and enough flexibility that women will basically be free to do all of the same things as men. In a society that embraces evolved gender roles and liberty, we would likely end up with a kind of soft patriarchy - a culture that accepts gender norms and tolerates noncomformist individuals. A good example of this is modern Japan's attitude toward homosexuality. There is a strong heterosexual norm that encourages family formation, but gay people are free from persecution. Society benefits from their productivity and creativity without normalizing their lifestyle. A similar approach is suitable for gender relations. Maintain gender roles as a standard but allow for variance - a minority of career focused women and domestic men.

Who knows? It may not be so bad.