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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Manosphere, in context

I was perusing the latest post over at The Private Man about the growing power of the Manosphere (that collection of chat rooms and blogs revolving around reclaiming masculine power and celebrating masculine sexuality in a positive, guy-centric way) when someone tried to blame Feminism for all of the sexual ills of modern man.

Of course I couldn't let that stand. The fact is, Feminism, on the whole, has been a positive force in society over all in the last 50 years, even if it has sucked for us menfolk repeatedly. But laying the blame of the current disarray in male-female sexual dynamics at the feet of Feminism is a mistake. The real culprit is evolving technology, and as I pointed out in my response (posted in edited form below) the technological advantage is starting to swing towards men in some very real and powerful ways.

I'm not discounting the power of the Manosphere. There are extremely insightful and telling observations amongst the scattered misogyny, bitterness, and frustration out there. Sites like Athol K's Married Man Sex Life and the Private Man take the Pick Up Artist game ("Game") and have adapted and refined to fit our modern world. For the aficionado or the student of male-female sexual dynamics, Game has become far, far more sophisticated than cheesy NLP-tainted pick-up lines and penny-draft night at the local college bar. Game has been extended into married life, into dating life, adapted for the on-line dating world, and proliferated by thousands of intelligent, curious, and ambitious practitioners.

But that's just part of the story. The other part is technology, its evolution, and the role it plays in affecting the infinitely complex realm of male-female sexual dynamics. And so this is what I wrote as a reply:

While it’s easy and fun to blame feminism for this, consider that the real culprit is simple technological change. The Sexual Revolution of the 60s and 70s wasn’t about feminism — feminism was a side-effect of the Revolution. The real revolution began in the 1940s when industrialization allowed women to make their own money. Then the second part happened in the 1960s when women got control of their reproductive systems (“the pill”). Taken together, reproductive control and financial independence encouraged the development of a more sophisticated feminism. So for a couple of decades afterwards, while men were scratching their balls and wondering whatheheck happened to the status quo they’d been trained to deal with, women were developing a new approach to their sexuality, mating and marrying patterns. They were able to have their cake (sexual and financial independence) and eat it too (control of the social availability of sex).

Sure, plenty of guys got laid back then, but the social end was a disaster. The WK and manginas capitulated because they thought begging for sex was the only game in town. The Alphas knew better, but they kept their mouths shut (mostly) and racked up pussy like it was on sale, rarely bothering to marry in fear of the exploding divorce statistics. For a few brief decades, women were on top: they had half the money and all the pussy, and they used both with gay abandon. The sense of entitlement, the feeling that just by virtue of possessing vaginas that they somehow “deserved” everything they got — sexually, socially and financially — started to become ingrained in mainstream female behavior, at least to the poor schmucks who were subjected to the fickle whims of femininity and liberalized divorce laws. By 1995, things were looking pretty grim for us menfolk.

But then the Internet happened, in a big way.

As much as I agree with the post about the Manosphere, that’s just the most recent counter-attack. Just as the pill and industrialization slanted things in favor of women, the internet levels the playing field, and not just with dating advice.

Consider: it is now far easier for a man to find sex at a lower cost than at any other time in history. And not just with the local village bicycle; with the power of global communications, he now theoretically has access to every sexually available female on the planet. Two decades ago the closest we came to that was the “mail order bride” catalogs, which only an insignificant fraction of men considered seriously. Now the dating sites and chat rooms can put you in touch with sexually available females from all over the world.

In addition to that, cheating has become far, far easier to accomplish with a dramatically diminished risk. As has prostitution. Craig’s List hookups and the thousands of other dating/hookup/escort sites have allowed men access to a far, far greater pool of sexually available women, women for whom there is no lasting commitment. And let us not forget internet porn (my own business): when a dude can have access to any sexual fantasy for his whacking needs, he becomes far less likely to jump through hoops for a crappy, reluctant handjob in the car after a $300 6th date.

So this has suddenly dramatically affected the competition cycle among women. After ruling the social/sexual scene for decades, suddenly the confused, limp-dicked men they were being so choosy about stopped calling them back. Beta husbands withdrew from their wives in favor of internet porn or clandestine affairs, and there was a decade long period where divorces due to “porn addiction” were rampant. Women who thought they were competing with only the other women in their town had to come to terms with the idea that Mr. Right was out diddling some horny cougar and saving his money for fancy electronic toys, not building a dream house and seeking out the mother of his children. After a lifetime of calling the shots, just as a whole generation of women started hearing their biological clocks go off as they hit their stride in their careers, when they rolled over in bed to see the dude that was supposed to be there to inseminate them, the bed was empty.

And so the outrage began among the 30-something and 40-something set who suddenly realized that they had a dozen eggs left and no sperm in sight. Men were pigs all over again. Internet porn was “destroying lives”. Prostitution and clandestine affairs and “sex addiction” were collectively held up as the culprit, along with the idea that men were half-human savage beasts who just didn’t know how things should be done. The cry “where have all the good men gone?” was so loud that the answer (“you chased them all away or broke their dicks off”) couldn’t be — wouldn’t be — heard. So the middle-aged, career-minded woman who had built a solitary life for herself, expecting her perfect Beta Prince Charming to ride in, sweep her off her feet, knock her up good, and also pay all of the bills . . . was screwing a triple-divorced MILF who just wanted to get her rocks off. It was all OUR fault, that they couldn’t have a baby on their self-wrought timetable.

And that’s where we are today. Men have begun to realize their own value as sperm donors/lifestyle providers in a highly competitive field, and — thanks to, you guessed it, feminism — they were beginning to look at the male-female sexual dynamic from the “what’s in it for me?” standpoint. Acknowledging that a woman’s primary drive was for security, and that our primary drive is for sex, even the dumb ones are starting to clue into the fact that if a girl doesn’t put out by the third date, it’s time to move on. Hell, I know plenty of dudes who won’t do a second date unless they get some on the first. The feminist-raised generation of women who felt entitled to a career first and a family later got beyatch-slapped with the specter of real competition.

Because not only are they competing with all of the other desperate-to-reproduce women out there, they’re also competing with older women and younger women, both of whom have far more liberal ideas about sex and their own sexual availability. Older women are jaded and over the playing-house stage and just want some dick. Younger women were brought up in a world where internet porn and over-the-top sexuality made stuff that only whores would do in their grandmother’s age part of the basic list of freshman-year sexual objectives. When you’re a 38 year old woman with an expiration date on your uterus and your sitting at the same bar (or dating site) as a horny cougar who doesn’t want commitment at one end and a horny twenty-something who views fellatio on the same par as a handshake at the other, just what the hell do you have to offer? Companionship? Dude can get a dog. Domestic skills? Let's be serious. A potentially disastrous relationship with a woman with immature and unrealistic ideas about romance and sex that will lead to an inevitably messy and expensive divorce, child support, and a lifetime of therapy? That's closer to the mark.

Male sexual attraction breaks down between physical desirability and sexual availability. Traditionally what one didn’t have in one area one made up for in another. Professional middle-aged women have been making themselves up for the workplace, not the dating arena, for over 30 years, and most have only the barest ideas about how to go about it, usually gleaned from an article they read in Cosmo while they were on the john. And now that even working-class women can afford boob jobs, tummy-tucks and other cosmetic enhancements, what does that leave them?

So yes, the Manosphere is a great and powerful force in the developing social-sexual interplay. But it’s only the latest in a long series of technological events, and should be viewed within that context to be properly appreciated.