site banner

Culture War Roundup for the week of October 10, 2022

This weekly roundup thread is intended for all culture war posts. 'Culture war' is vaguely defined, but it basically means controversial issues that fall along set tribal lines. Arguments over culture war issues generate a lot of heat and little light, and few deeply entrenched people ever change their minds. This thread is for voicing opinions and analyzing the state of the discussion while trying to optimize for light over heat.

Optimistically, we think that engaging with people you disagree with is worth your time, and so is being nice! Pessimistically, there are many dynamics that can lead discussions on Culture War topics to become unproductive. There's a human tendency to divide along tribal lines, praising your ingroup and vilifying your outgroup - and if you think you find it easy to criticize your ingroup, then it may be that your outgroup is not who you think it is. Extremists with opposing positions can feed off each other, highlighting each other's worst points to justify their own angry rhetoric, which becomes in turn a new example of bad behavior for the other side to highlight.

We would like to avoid these negative dynamics. Accordingly, we ask that you do not use this thread for waging the Culture War. Examples of waging the Culture War:

  • Shaming.

  • Attempting to 'build consensus' or enforce ideological conformity.

  • Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.

  • Recruiting for a cause.

  • Posting links that could be summarized as 'Boo outgroup!' Basically, if your content is 'Can you believe what Those People did this week?' then you should either refrain from posting, or do some very patient work to contextualize and/or steel-man the relevant viewpoint.

In general, you should argue to understand, not to win. This thread is not territory to be claimed by one group or another; indeed, the aim is to have many different viewpoints represented here. Thus, we also ask that you follow some guidelines:

  • Speak plainly. Avoid sarcasm and mockery. When disagreeing with someone, state your objections explicitly.

  • Be as precise and charitable as you can. Don't paraphrase unflatteringly.

  • Don't imply that someone said something they did not say, even if you think it follows from what they said.

  • Write like everyone is reading and you want them to be included in the discussion.

On an ad hoc basis, the mods will try to compile a list of the best posts/comments from the previous week, posted in Quality Contribution threads and archived at /r/TheThread. You may nominate a comment for this list by clicking on 'report' at the bottom of the post and typing 'Actually a quality contribution' as the report reason.

23
Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

I found a post on /r/Destiny which I found insightful enough I want to post it in full here: Credit to /u/hello_marmalade

On the Sexualization of Women in Contrast to Men

A sentiment I've heard about women before is that they aren't valued for things other than sex. I think this is correct, but the sentiment lacks context.

I think something that gets missed, is that men will pretend to be interested in women for reasons other than sex, in order to get sex - however if sex wasn't an option, they wouldn't be interested in those women at all.

I think the implication is that these women would be noticed for their other qualities - but in reality, without the draw of sex, most people will be ignored. That's the reality for men, which I think gets lost in translation in conversations about sexual attention.

I think this is why you get situations where men will be very dismissive of women when they complain about this, or where the attitude in response comes from. From a man's perspective, these women seem full of themselves. The thinking going something like "Why the fuck would anybody be interested in you? You're just another random chick." Now that comes off as misogynist but I think the sentiment comes from the experiential reality of most men being essentially being invisible. This doesn't get verbalized, because I think it's something that happens so early to both genders that it just becomes part of a person's qualia. Like, just knowing that the sky is blue. You can see it, it's right there. You could argue for hours with someone before realizing that the sky is green for them, because you wouldn't even think to consider that they thought it was a different color in the first place.

Now, some complications with this. There are more issues with the constant sexualization of women. One is that it fucks up your ability to trust people. How can you know when someone is genuinely interested in you, or is faking it? Two, there will absolutely be people that will ignore your other qualities in favor of sex. Three, people will correctly, but nonetheless unfairly evaluate you with the awareness that other people may have given you credit for things unjustly in order to try and have sex with you, which will simultaneously do damage to your self esteem.

I think this leads to attitudes in women that make complete sense even if they're kinda shitty. Basically, if you're always going to be evaluated in regards to sex, then fuck it, get the best evaluation you can possibly get. Think of the F&F panel with Sneako. The first question they get asked is "How much to fuck you?" Well shit, if that's where we're starting, does saying "As much as someone is willing to give me," make a woman a gold digger? If all you're gonna be evaluated on is being a hole, then fuck it, might as well get the highest value. This then gets weaponized as those women being entitled, or shallow, but if you were never going to evaluate them on anything else, why should it matter?

However, by the same token, it leads to a situation where men will feel taken advantage of. I can say for myself at least (and I think a decent number of other men) that being horny can feel like you're being 'tricked' by your own body. Hell, there's even a term for the clarity after you cum: 賢者タイム "Sage Mode", or more commonly known as "Post Nut Clarity". The phenomenon seems to be so universal that it has equivalents in multiple languages that are disparate. I think this is where the sort of misogynistic hate and bitterness can come out of some men. There's a power that you feel a woman can unilaterally hold over you in a way you can't hold them, which can lead you to doing foolish things. As such, any woman using her sexuality for personal gain feels like "cheating".

Additionally, I don't think most women really understand just how invisible you can feel being a man - on almost every level. Personally, I think this affects us in a really deep, underlying way. I think every woman understands that they intrinsically have value. They have limited control over that value, and that value can overshadow everything else about you as a person - but you have intrinsic value nonetheless. On the flip-side, as a man, you are essentially worthless until proven otherwise. Nobody cares. You intrinsically are valueless at best, and a drain at worst. I think this also forms a root of resentment in men towards women who seem to fundamentally not understand this. The line of thinking being "Who the fuck are you? Why do you think you should be valued for anything other than being a woman unless you've earned it? Why do you think you've earned it the same way as any man has?" For some women, this is true. There are women who don't recognize that they've been given credit for things that nobody would care about if they were male. However, at the same time, this creates a situation where any woman who has earned her value is looked at with suspicion. Her successes cannot stand on their own.

Anyway, those are just some thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head. Just things that I see come up fairly often, but I don't feel like I hear these things mentioned very much. I think a big problem is that the people who end up seeing these things end up being too invested in their own side to achieve any kind of synthesis of these ideas.

Interested to hear other people's thoughts on this. There's probably some other shit I've missed, since this is mostly off the cuff, so I may add to this with edits later as I remember/think of other shit.

This comment is not insightful for those who are familiar with the "Red Pill" views (or any non blank-slatist view) on gender relations. Of which it is a rehashing of, albeit the non-blank-slatist arguments on gender relations usually leaves out the view of either gender depending on who is doing the arguing (Mano-sphere vs FDS, etc).

Therefore, given that most users in this forum are not blank slatists, it's likely that none of this is new for most users here. It might be for Destinys audience who tend to be far less aware/more skeptical of "HBD".

I suppose I should take the above conclusion of mine as a sign that I might be spending far too much time plugged in CW adjacent forums to have that "knowledge". Little of which translates to actionable advice.


Tangent:

Does anyone disagree with the notion that most CW related knowledge is particularly useless for wordly matters? Such that it doesn't help come up with ways to live better, do things better or even give off the impression of being particularly "well read"?

I think something that gets missed, is that men will pretend to be interested in women for reasons other than sex, in order to get sex - however if sex wasn't an option, they wouldn't be interested in those women at all.

I think this is a very weird conjecture. What does it even mean to be interested in a woman?

If a man is looking for a romantic partner, then duh. A platonic relationship is strictly inferior to a complete one. But while sex is necessary for most men looking for a relationship, it's not sufficient. Women claiming most men are looking for a sex bot that cooks and cleans are ignoring the whole OF/Twitch industry of women selling simulated companionship.

Anything other than a romantic relationship? Friendship, business? While women have to rely on their appearance to make a good first impression much more than men, sexual availability doesn't matter. The vast majority of men don't try to have sex with every woman they know, even though there's a daemon in their head that automatically sorts every woman they know into "yes", "not drunk enough" and "can't get drunk enough" piles. If anything, it's easier to form stable non-romantic relationships with the latter two groups.

The vast majority of men don't try to have sex with every woman they know

It's not about the women you know, it's about the women you choose to get to know.

Yes, you're right, I don't try to have sex with every woman I know, but that's because most women (and, indeed, people) I know come as unfortunate by-products of going to school, then work. I got to know them due to being forcibly flung together by circumstance, not because I thought they were an improvement over keeping my own company.

The set of people I would proactively choose to get to know is mostly coterminous with the set of busty women 18-35.

What about men? Would you proactively choose to get to know none of them?

I have yet to meet a male friend in my entire life whose company I enjoy more than my own solitude, so yes.

But I feel this is more a measure of the wonderful richness of my inner life than is is of the spiritual poverty of my neighbours, so I'm not complaining.

I have lots of male friends, I just wish I didn't, they're a tremendous drain on my reading time.

In this case I doubt you're a good example of the median man. While men are more schizoid on average than women, they are less schizoid than that.

I've seen a (possibly) female profile on a horny subreddit, and in her profile there's a vent post about how she feels worthless because everyone only values her for sex. My sister in Christ, how am I supposed to value you for anything else when all you present (on this profile, at least) are cybersex offers!? At least suggest something, anything else to talk about! Sorry, "being a human person I don't know" is not interesting enough. There are 8 billion people offering that.

I mean, there's a fair point that whatever else she puts in there, some guy will feign interest in it to try to get laid.

Or she'll catch attention of an abjectly creepy guy who IS interested in [thing] but, like, to an obsessive level.

I don't think there's a good solution for being openly female on a site that allows private messaging.

I think this misses a key factor to explain where the actual intersex resentment can come from.

Accepting for now the premise that men are functionally invisible for most of their lives, they DO have a key advantage over women in this particular game: their value INCREASES with time as they age... if they play their cards right.

A woman's value as a sex object, in contrast, has a ticking timer on it, and whether it's at age 30, 35, or 40, there will be a point past which she can never get the same level of attention for her looks that she used to.

And most of these women will be slathered in male attention starting at puberty, so they WILL notice this change.

Thus, we get a real issue where women get "taught" early on that they can use their looks and sexuality to get male attention and turn this into, well, whatever she wants, including sex.

Meanwhile, young men are simultaneously at their horniest and yet least capable of exercising good judgment in this age range... and some huge portion of them end up sexually unsuccessful WHILE they watch women exploit sex appeal for fun and profit. Often with older, established men.

So the lesson THEY'RE learning is that they're not good enough to stand out from the crowd and women are living life on easy mode as long as they're even moderately attractive.

Then a guy who finds himself alone in his mid-twenties either falls into despair or buckles down and presses his one advantage: time. Time to build wealth, acquire skills, get fit, and learn how to exploit said factors to the greatest extent.

And then soon the script flips. The dude who put in the effort and didn't blackpill himself is suddenly able to more easily land the hot young chicks who ignored him back then, meanwhile the women his age are losing the ability to effortlessly draw in male attention and have fallen back on... well hopefully they have developed some other valuable skill or trait.

So men get to feel the resentment early but (MAY) still find mating success later in life whereas women are likely to develop an expectation as to how easy life will be early on that will later be thwarted by age, and THEN they resent men their age for ignoring them and the men from her past for never settling down and leaving her to this fate of loneliness.

So men and women who are similarly aged probably end up looking and talking past each other as each side has a different set of experiences at each stage in life.

Young women ignore young mens' plight because they have no reason to care, and older men ignore older womens' plight because... they have little reason to care.

And this apparent lack of care or compassion when the other side needs it most would certainly explain resentment on both sides.


I have intentionally excluded the men and women who find a partner and settle down earlier in life since almost by definition they aren't contributing much to this problem, although the resentment that builds between some married couples is likely similar in nature.

And then soon the script flips. The dude is suddenly able to more easily land the hot young chicks who ignored him back then,

Except 90+% of the time this part never happens. The average middle aged man isn't pulling hot young chicks, not even close. He might be able to pull other 40-year divorcees and single moms who used to be hot young chicks 20 years ago but that's not exactly the same thing

Sure.

But the prevalence of age gap relationships where the female is younger and the male is older vs. the practical non-existence of older-female, younger-male relationships makes my point for me.

Sugar daddy and sugar baby relationships, likewise, are FAR more common than the gender-swapped equivalent.

Leo Dicaprio is the ur-example here.

Older men can target and acquire younger women. Younger men either aren't targeting or can't acquire older women.

I pointed out 2 fates for the lonely mid-twenties guy. One is despair.

If a guy isn't in a relationship by then and doesn't try to maximize his sex appeal, then NO SHIT he won't be picking up hot younger ladies as he gets older, unless he takes some really financially irresponsible steps.

But the prevalence of age gap relationships where the female is younger and the male is older vs. the practical non-existence of older-female, younger-male relationships makes my point for me.

I don't think they do.

I don't actually have any numbers so I guess we're just playing Battling Narratives here, but my expectation is that maybe 0.1% of fourty year old men are banging college girls, while maybe 0.01% of fourty year old women are banging college guys*, so even if we say you're right and the proportions are out of wack, by a whole order of magnitude, it's still a rounding error even in the larger case and therefore hardly something to draw conclusions about the general anomie of men/women.

*(In fact while I was typing this the thought struck me that this is probably low, more because college guys are horny all the time than because milfs are attractive. So I am tempted to reject even your premise that 40 year old men get more 20 year old girls than 40 year old women get 20 year old guys. 20 year old guys don't need sugaring lol)

I don't actually have any numbers

I DO! Feel free to tear apart the methodology if you can.

https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/age-gap-dating

From the polls:

Men are more likely to have dated someone 10+ years younger than them compared to women (25% vs. 14%). Meanwhile, women are more likely to have dated someone 10+ years older than them compared to men (28% vs. 21%).

This surely implies that women are having less success finding younger men as they age, meanwhile younger women are finding older men fairly often, and older men are finding younger women at a similar rate (28% younger women have dated 10+ years older, 25% older men have dated 10+ years younger)

And when it comes to actual marriages:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_disparity_in_sexual_relationships#Statistics

Approximately 8% of married couples feature a male who is 10+ years older than the female. For the reverse: 1.7%. A 4x disparity.

Plug that into Bayes' theorem and smoke it, it has some interesting implications as to how so many men end up in a position to marry younger women, which is to say, men who are unsuccessful at finding a mate early in life but successful at finding a mate later... and succeed at finding a younger one.

Not counting prostitution what percentage of 40+ year old men do you reckon can regularly pull "hot young chicks"? I would put it at a few percent. It's a small minority for sure. Of course Leonardo DiCaprio can do it, he's a rich and famous actor. His experience says nothing at all about what most men will experience.

I went to college, I know who the hot girls were sleeping with and for the most part it definitely wasn't significantly older men, it was mostly other college students.

Not counting prostitution what percentage of 40+ year old men do you reckon can regularly pull "hot young chicks"? I would put it at a few percent.

I'm talking more about guys in the 30-40 range, but if we limit it to single men I wouldn't say you're obviously wrong but it might be time to update some priors.

Lets pull some stats to get an inkling of an idea of how this dynamic works in practice.

Here's data from U.S., Heterosexual, MARRIED couples, as a percentage of all married couples:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_disparity_in_sexual_relationships#Statistics

For marriages where the male is 10+ years older than the female, its' already at just shy of 8%. Include 6-9 year splits and it starts pushing 20%.

This already implies that many guys find themselves single in their late 20's/early 30s, and are able to find and secure a woman in her early-mid twenties. And that's just as a percentage of marriages, it doesn't reflect how many dates a guy goes on to get there.

(I will grant that many or even most of such age gap marriages are probably found in religious communities).

So recent data on age gap dating is also available:

(note this poll was commissioned by 'Cougar Life' but is otherwise done with proper procedures)

https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/age-gap-dating

Men are more likely to have dated someone 10+ years younger than them compared to women (25% vs. 14%). Meanwhile, women are more likely to have dated someone 10+ years older than them compared to men (28% vs. 21%).

1/4 of men right there saying they've dated someone 10 years or more younger. I'd guess this fraction shoots up if we drop men married men out of the equation.

Here's a tantalizing headline:

https://archive.ph/dHvWf

For Online Daters, Women Peak at 18 While Men Peak at 50, Study Finds. Oy.

Here's the study in question:

https://www.science.org/doi/pdf/10.1126/sciadv.aap9815 (PDF warning)

This one probably gets the closest to our exact query, since the sample is drawn from online dating sites, which ideally captures the population of single males we're discussing.

Once we have our desirability scores, we can use them to identify characteristics of desirable users by comparing scores against various user attributes.

As shown in Fig. 2, for instance, average desirability varies with age for both men and women, although it varies more strongly for women, and the effects run in opposite directions: Older women are less desirable, while older men are more so (18, 19). For women, this pattern holds over the full range of ages on the site: The average woman’s desirability drops from the time she is 18 until she is 60. For men, desirability peaks around 50 and then declines.

From the data in the study, this appears to mean that men at age 50 (conditional on them being on a dating site) are most able to get matches, conversations, and dates with their preferred demographics, regardless of the age range they are targeting.

And as the data in the study already pointed out that women are most desirable at 18, not a huge leap to guess who a 50 year old guy is targeting.


So I dunno bud, 25% of men claim to have dated someone 10 years their junior, and 8% of married men tied the knot with one. Even FIFTY year old guys are able to succeed on dating sites despite targeting younger women.

If this isn't an indication that a guy going into his 30's or even 40's single can get dates with younger women, if he cares enough to work at it, I don't know what else you can do to confirm or refute it. Other than maybe find one of your male friends who remained single in his 30's and has decent looks and a stable job and ask him to talk about his dating life with you.

I feel like there's a bit of a motte and Bailey going on here. The bailey is something like "don't worry if you didn't get laid in college, in a decade once you're established you'll be able to go back and sleep with hot young girls just like the ones who always rejected you" while the motte is "men age a little bit better than women and you can date a wider age range as you get older so the pool opens up so dating might get a bit easier especially if you're financially successful and stay in shape" the motte is true but the bailey is pure cope

if you're financially successful and stay in shape" the motte is true but the bailey is pure cope

This situation may indeed be so bad that there are guys leaving college a virgin who have ~0% chance of losing it without paying going forward.

But I think the Bailey as described is mostly a POSSIBLE strategy for a guy who has managed to increase his odds of dating success later in life, based on factors he now knows to be true. His SMV can be increased, and with it his odds of finding a partner, if he doesn't give in to despair. If he does give up, then yeah, he falls out of contention and has nothing left but cope.

But his odds of success are limited by the fact that ALL eligible guys are chasing those younger women, so every older single guy is competing with every other older single guy is competing with all the younger single guys for the same pool of women, and there's no way for even half of these guys to 'win.'

Which contributes to the whole "women are slathered in male attention from puberty onward" part.

That said, it is theoretically possible for most older guys to sleep with a whole passel of younger women over time, assuming they never give commitment to any particular one and that woman moves on to a new (older) partner quickly.

So if a bunch of men go with the strategy of banging as many women as possible and 'spinning plates' so he always has fresh ones in rotation, this resolves the above hyper-competition issue to some degree.

But that whole "sleeping with them and never giving commitment" thing is the likely explanation for women growing resentful towards men as the woman gets older.

I think all of this is happening at once to various degrees, which is creating a really unhealthy situation for everyone stuck in the dating rat race. Relatively few people are getting what they 'actually' want (committed relationships with a compatible partner) and many are even having difficulty getting what they're willing to settle for (regular sex and companionship, even without compatibility or commitment).

It all strikes me as suboptimal, but I don't control any of these factors, I just observe.

I think that this is oversimplified. Being attractive as a woman takes a lot of willpower (not eating a lot in the modern world), work (applying make-up is not easy) and money (clothes, make-up, perfume, hairdressing etc. are not cheap).

And there are innate things as a man that can make people more pliable to you. For example, I am fairly tall, broad-shouldered, I have naturally very good skin, a prominent jaw, and all my hair in my 30s. These make life easier for me as a man, but I didn't have to work for them.

I guess you're trying to be generous, but it feels like you're taking it too far. I think you really overdo it -- not being obese shouldn't get people big points. Most women don't need to wear much make-up, if any, to still look okay. I don't think applying basic make-up is particularly hard, but perhaps I'm missing the complexity. Hair back in a pony-tail, halfway healthy, and you will be attractive to most men.

Most late teen girls basically can eat crap food and still not get fat (at least according to the older people I talk to now who talk about how they used to be able to eat anything).

(I think women do have a hard time finding someone who values them for more than just their sexual attractiveness, I don't want to downplay that at all, I just want to say in terms of easily getting attention, young women are generally "playing on easy mode" (much as I hate that phrase).)

not being obese shouldn't get people big points.

Why not?

As for late teen girls, women are only late teenagers for a few years. And the same is true for men: I could eat all sorts of stuff when I was a teenager with minimal consequences.

Why not?

They can get some points, but not big points, because most of the world manages it (especially, as you note, when you're under 30, and even slightly active). I also don't give big points out for brushing your teeth, combing your hair, or cleaning your ass after shitting. I don't think I'm setting that high a bar, although I recognize obesity does seem to be getting ever-harder to fight. (I also have some sympathy for people who's parents screwed them on the eating habits and metabolism front).

I'm confused. Are these points for attractiveness or moral merit?

Both, but they are separate.

Being obese is a pretty big hit (for most people, but there are always exception) to attractiveness. But the original point was how hard young women have it to be attractive, because they have to spend time and money on fashion, and doing make-up is hard, and not being fat is really hard. I was disagreeing with all of those, especially the last one, which is what caused this comment chain.

money (clothes, make-up, perfume, hairdressing etc. are not cheap).

Except 90% of the choices women make in this arena are negative for sexual attraction of men. Thereby blowing the whole theory out of the water. Imagine men wearing orange overalls and telling every woman they meet they are an alcoholic and you have an approximation of women's fashion over the last 2 decades.

Except 90% of the choices women make in this arena are negative for sexual attraction of men.

Just in the interest of avoiding typical-minding, I ask my fellow whore-makeup-appreciation-chads to rise up!

Bad make-up is better than no make-up because I interpret any make-up at all (just as the feminists' nightmares alledge) as a signal that "I am trying to make myself more pleasing to the male gaze", which in turn implies a receptiveness to male advances, which IN TURN is more alluring in terms of attainability bias than the 'natural beauty' it replaces would be.

And yes, yes, I know that we are lectured relentlessly that "That's not what wearing make-up signals you misogynist", but whether my perception of it's implications is accurate or not is beside the point.

Yeah, this is how I feel as well. It is for the male gaze regardless of the official narrative. Not just a receptiveness to male advances, but a tacit acknowledgement that men and women are different and that women should try to be at least somewhat attractive to men. So it signals that she's not entirely lost in the feminist frame.

Yes, it's even harder than I suggested: a woman needs money, skill, AND taste to increase her attractiveness this way.

I do think that much of makeup and fashion that is actively unattractive to men is a signalling activity for women, though; so it might not be that 90% are so bad at it that they fail utterly.

Interesting. Or they may be trading off attracting men with impressing women.

Yes, fashion is intra-female signaling. That there are no straight men in the industry is proof enough of that.

I think stuff like expensive handbags are the most clear example of this. It used to be that men would buy women handbags, and being a woman that can get expensive gifts from men signals that you are a desirable person (even if people may secretly envy you) and less dispensable as a person in the group. (Or it might simply be flexing, I don’t know? Someone can probably flesh this out better.) Now that women earn money comparable to men, they buy their own handbags, even though the true signal (of “I’m so attractive I can get people to get impractically expensive things for me”) is dead, and the recognition of handbags as status symbols is pretty much vestigial at this point.

At least I don’t think I’ve met a man who gushed over a woman’s LV handbag and wanted to bang her afterwards because of it?

Is this really true? I'd 'personally' say all existing makeup and 99% of fashion is bad, makes people unattractive, and specifically in the equivalent senses of the highest aesthetics and the functions / signaling meaning of attractiveness. And, certainly many women apply makeup and fashion in an unattractive way. That isn't a mainstream approach though.

But many men can fall for equally social-signally-fashionable things like expensive cars, shoes, various sports things, video game skins, etc. Maybe some of them find that makeup or fashion stuff attractive for the same reason the women do?

Also, a lot of makeup really does work at covering up obvious or more subtle but still important flaws. Often people do notice the bad parts of makeup, but well-done makeup is just being hot. Also, more people I know than not say makeup makes women more, not less, attractive.

Let's simplify it further: a non-obese woman only needs like ONE aesthetically pleasing physical feature to attract male attention.

If she has a pretty face, she's golden. Or nice breasts, or a shapely butt, or a toned stomach, or long, smooth legs. Hell, I would bet my life that having pretty feet is sufficient all by itself these days.

Men, in contrast, need several favorable physical features in conjunction with more intangibles (sense of humor, high social status, wealth) to get the same level of attention.

If true then the "genetic lotto" is easier for women to win than men. Indeed, arguably men only need to lose on ONE dimension: height, and their prospects are forever hampered.

You practically admit as much in your comment. If you were visibly balding at your age, how much would your other features really matter?

Yes, the situation is not symmetric. I'm just saying that it's not simple, either. As you suggest, thinking of it as a lottery with a variety of prizes is a good analogy.

For example, a woman's options are hampered by a big nose, flat chest, saggy breasts etc., but the initial option set is probably better than most men's, e.g. she may not be able to make money as a streamer or model, but she can still attract a larger variety of partners than most men, mutatis mutandis.

Incidentally, I have a friend who started visibly balding at 17. He recently married a hot, sweet, smart chick. He also has the personality that a lot of Nice Guys have, or at least think they have - kind, helpful, not very assertive. He has slightly above average intelligence and a moderately good job. On the other hand, she was his first girlfriend, at about age 27. This exemplifies how the situation for men is certainly not ideal, but it's not necessarily awful.

Yes, the situation is not symmetric.

And once we admit this, it shouldn't surprise us to see things follow a power-law distribution rather than a normal one.

The 'average' guy doesn't have an 'average' chance of finding a mate. Rather, the top 10% of guys have it extremely easy, then the ease of dating/marrying drops off sharply from there.

The average woman, on the other hand, can easily get the attention from the average guy, but is more likely going to target someone in that top 10%.

Yes I'm fudging the statistics but this particular distribution of attractiveness and ease of finding a mate is maybe the most well-documented anthropological/sociological phenomena ever.

I say anthropological because throughout almost every culture on earth and history, there's been a class/caste of male who gets to have a harem of women whilst the rest of the male population is in a state of hypercompetition for what remains.

So to simply state that the average guy, who doesn't have the collection of physical features that make him stand out from the crowd, has it much harder than the average woman, as long as she has one feature that she can display to find attention, is to REALLY undersell the reality of the situation.

Average guys get laid and married on the regular, mind. By definition most guys will fall in this category so the law of large numbers means that SOME of them will still get mates even if it is just luck/chance. This is NOT the same as saying that most average guys will get laid and married.

And now let us add in the point that a man's attractiveness tends to scale up as he ages if he puts in the effort, and the situation looks even bleaker for younger men of average physical attractiveness.

A decade after it stops being the only thing you ever think about you might finally get a girl. You know, if you are a nice guy, which I guess is an incel without self awareness. But at least he knew with bold, soul-destroying clarity that nobody was only talking to him to get him in the sack.

I agree that thinking all the time about getting a girl is not a good strategy, at least for a sustainable relationship.

What destroys many young men's souls is rating themselves based on people's attraction to them. Rating yourself on any basis is unwise, but rating yourself based on other people's approval is even more unwise, because it's a way of voluntarily making your happiness contingent on the mental states of another person - something that neither you nor they can do much to control.

I think my friend is luckier than most women, at least as far as happiness goes. The real joy of relationships and sex comes from activity: from actively pursuing something meaningful. That's how happiness works in general. It's not getting what you want that gives you most of the happiness, it's doing things that you think have a good enough chance (relative to the value of what you are pursuing) of achieving your goal. Our neurochemical reward system is designed to push us towards achievements, not to make us happy and satisfied. So my friend, who had to work hard to learn how to talk to girls, be emotionally stable, and be interesting, experienced more happiness than some naturally hot chick.

Similarly, a woman who exercises hard, learns how to cook healthily, learns how to look beautiful using make-up, and how to be someone that guys enjoy staying with, will probably have more happiness than a woman who just naturally looks beautiful. As Jonathan Haidt puts it, "happiness comes from in between" - the joy of life comes when you realise that you are doing things that help you to get what is important to you.

I would only add to Haidt that those goals must be thought of as "wants" rather than "needs". Pursuing women because you think you need one (for happiness, status, or just because) is a great way to be unhappy. Pursuing women because you want one (or more) is a great way to be happy. I'm pretty sure that that's the key difference between my friend and incels: for him, a good relationship was something he wanted and worked hard to achieve; for most incels I know, they think they need a woman for "...reasons...".

There are more issues with the constant sexualization of women. One is that it fucks up your ability to trust people. How can you know when someone is genuinely interested in you, or is faking it?

If sex exists, at all, then this will be a problem for women (and rich/attractive men, and in business, and many other places). It has nothing to do with some idea of 'sexualization'. E.g. - does the hijab desexualize women?

Two, there will absolutely be people that will ignore your other qualities in favor of sex

How is this even a problem? If you're emmy noether, people won't ignore your genius in favor of sex. If they're ignoring said qualities - it's usually because they would anyway.

Additionally, I don't think most women really understand just how invisible you can feel being a man - on almost every level. Personally, I think this affects us in a really deep, underlying way

This is a common sentiment - but, what? I'm male, have friends, do a variety of things at work and outside of work, am never invisible, nobody I interact with IRL is really invisible in any sense. Yeah, I'd be invisible if I was unskilled, uninteresting, unfunny, etc - but that's good, and an interaction or conversation without any of the former would be empty and worthless anyway.

I can say for myself at least (and I think a decent number of other men) that being horny can feel like you're being 'tricked' by your own body

I mean, if sex was worthless, you would be tricked, but it's just a selectively advantageous, mostly fair evaluation of the usefulness of having children.

There's a power that you feel a woman can unilaterally hold over you in a way you can't hold them, which can lead you to doing foolish things

Women also often do ""irrational"" (making a sex/sexual desire-related mistake isn't any more or less irrational than making a normal "intellectual" mistake) things over men, and also very strongly desire men in certain contexts, so there isn't really a stark difference here

I think every woman understands that they intrinsically have value.

Well, every man also just-as-intrinsically has value, in the sense of labor. Almost any man, or woman, can get a job and be paid. There's value! And society and the state respects this in all sorts of ways. Or just being buds with other men of equivalent value / status / whatever. There's also welfare! There are multiple senses of 'value', indeed a sense for every possible activity, desire, and these aren't directly comparable. Just saying 'men have value, women don't' is, at best, an imprecise metaphor, and at worst just wrong. Also, people treat women better because of a combination of the biological role of women and universalism - if we go back to Rome, is it really fair to say that "women intrinsically have value, whereas if you're a man nobody cares", given the severe difference in legal status between the two?

the flip-side, as a man, you are essentially worthless until proven otherwise. Nobody cares

Yeah, but almost all men can prove otherwise in plenty of contexts, so this doesn't really matter.

Well, then let's ask it outright:

How do we (as a society) socialize women to pursue nonsexual value? How do we create opportunities for this to occur?

Personally I think it has to look like absolutely bringing a hammer down on workplace relations, while also pursuing sex-blinded hiring/promotion policies. But that only addresses (if at all) the workplace situation, it does nothing for early socialization, social groups, etc. I have no idea how you'd do it for non-workplace groups.

Personally I think it has to look like absolutely bringing a hammer down on workplace relations, while also pursuing sex-blinded hiring/promotion policies.

We did that, and it had absolutely the opposite effect, so you might want to re-examine your reasoning.

I'm not sure if the current approaches result in better outcomes? My proposed approach is only half the puzzle; it can remove hindrances but can't solve lack of availability or interest.

What in God's name is a Sneako?

Some streamer/YouTuber famous for doing highly cut street interviews, and in this particular area having extremely cynical (and some would say immature) views on sex relations.

Some streamer who is vaguely red pill don't worry about it too much

I'm firmly in the camp of people who doesn't quite understand what a lot of "non-binary" people are doing with gender, despite being somewhat progressive and happy to exercise pronoun hospitality with such people. (I once heard an acquaintance describe their gender by saying, "if man is black, and woman is white, I'm purple - if you see me in monochrome, I'm more masculine, but really I'm not either of them" - and I was more confused than before I heard the analogy.)

I've seen various mottizens bring up the idea of "gender" being the latest subculture like goth or punk, and recently I stumbled across an interesting Tumblr post that accidentally circles around a similar insight. The whole thing is interesting, but I think you can get the gist from the following:

[...] I think there’s an interesting similarity in the way nonbinary (or genderqueer people in general) talk about the nuances of their gender and how people really big into specific music scenes talk about the nuances of the genres they listen to. Like there’s the description you give other people in your community, and the “normie” description you give to people who aren’t as familiar. And “genre” and “gender” are both constructs in similar ways too. Just my little binary observation tho.

and

so if someone identifies as a demigirl in some circles but to you they just say they’re nonbinary or even just “female”, they clocked you as a gender normie lol.

Now, I grant that the gender-as-fashion analogy isn't the only possible takeaway from this person's observations. I'm reminded of the "soul-editor" from the SCP Foundation Wiki that had symbols from every major world religion, as well as a few unknown ones. Who's to say that some phenomenological aspects of being human aren't so complex that no one set of vocabulary is capable of describing it all? Perhaps some qualities of human minds/souls/whatever are ineffable, or so unique and subjective that one cannot help but create a new label for oneself in describing one's personality?

But I have my doubts. Mostly, I often feel like people must be mislabeling something that I have in my "mental box" as well. (I've read accounts of genderfluid people who talk about "waking up feeling masc" some days and dressing the part, while suddenly and abruptly "feeling femme" partway through the day and wanting to change outfits - and I couldn't help but speculate if they hadn't attached special significance to what I label "moods" in myself.) I don't discount that there are many real human experiences that aren't in my "mental box." In a very real way, I can't do much more than guess what depression, schizophrenia, OCD or dozens of other seemingly real human experiences are like. If I'm being maximally humble about what a tiny part of the vast terrain of possible human experiences I occupy, I have to concede that I can't know that many people aren't out there experiencing "gender" in ways I never will.

My partner is a binary trans man, and many of my friends and acquaintances are part of the LGBT+ community. I still don't quite understand why someone in that extended friend group suddenly finds it very important to change their name, and let everybody know that their pronouns are "she/they" now - while changing nothing else about their appearance or presentation. I'm happy to use a new name for someone, if they don't make such changes too frequently for me to keep up with, but I often feel baffled by why they find it so important? It's not really a big deal to me, but I would like an explanation. Gender-as-fashion seems so tempting as an explanation, but I worry that it might be a false explanation flattening human experiences into something that's more comfortable to me - the same way, "that person who supposedly has ADHD is just lazy" might flatten a person with ADHD into a form more comfortable for neurotypical people, and not in a way that is very sympathetic to the person with ADHD.

Definitions are bidirectional:

If someone is a man(gender) because they fit the social roles of males (eg. football, trucks, acting tough) and not the social roles of females (eg. makeup, dresses, nurturing) then any person who fits said roles is a man(gender).

But this is obviously not how gender works in common usage. If it were, then you could tell someone they are wrong about their gender. I know several female people who, if you said to them they were actually men because of their hairstyle/personality/interests, would laugh deep manly belly laughs, and then gruffly tell you. "Fuck off. I'm still a woman."

So I don't know that the analogy to fashion is a good one. In that realm, you can still classify things as Goth or Punk or Goth-Punk or neither Goth nor Punk based on their characteristics.

Sometimes I wonder if a lot of the more creative gender descriptions are like a pearl around a bit of grit, you know? Like, here's this thing that keeps bothering me, let's turn it into a game, or an art, or something else like that. I don't think it does any harm, at any rate.

Not inherently, no. It's when the next step is taken, and people start whipping out the social sanctions (or worse) for not properly admiring the pearl.

Who's to say that some phenomenological aspects of being human aren't so complex that no one set of vocabulary is capable of describing it all

This is plausible, although ... the way words work is they change and people use them in new ways, so it can just change for any particular topic

So, maybe it's believable that the life of a roman 'pederast' and a modern gay are just very different. But that doesn't mean that nonbinaries/demigirls are actually doing anything significantly different, instead of just claiming they are and then dying their hair, posting on twitter, and having weird sex

might be a false explanation flattening human experiences into something that's more comfortable to

If you're really worried about 'falsely flattening human experiences into something comfortable to white moderns', consider reading some literature on the attitudes and lives of medieval peoples, ancient history, or anthropology of 'primitive' peoples (and not the ones that claim they are progressive/egalitarian when they aren't). Their approaches and lives are incredibly different from ours, and ... demonstrate by comparison that a 'nonbinary' really are precisely the same as normal modern people.

Their approaches and lives are incredibly different from ours

This is interesting to me, and I'd like to read more about what you're talking about, but I don't know where to start. Do you have any significant examples or books that stand out to you, or that inspired you to write this comment?

Its just a status play in my eyes.

Being a special snowflake is socially more advantageous than not being one. Especially when having some kind of victimhood is a staus marker, even if its only the trappings of it.

The logical outcome is a billion different ways to be a special snowflake will emerge. Its an arms race until there are so many non binaries that there is so social incentive to Id as one or if it becomes low status to be one.

Its just a way to print social status out of thin air.

Warning: Not very effective outside of tiktok.

Who's to say that some phenomenological aspects of being human aren't so complex that no one set of vocabulary is capable of describing it all? Perhaps some qualities of human minds/souls/whatever are ineffable, or so unique and subjective that one cannot help but create a new label for oneself in describing one's personality?

Obviously every individual is unique in a way that defies the ability of language to describe in a single word or phrase. But it's not clear what, if anything, this has to do with gender, or why, having staked out this position, suddenly it's necessary to invent a whole load of new terms to express the things that apparently can't be expressed. The 'demigirl' might feel less feminine (whatever that means), but does that actually justify the word rather than just describing her as an unconventional woman? Cut an arm off an octopus, you just get a wounded octopus, not a septapus.

I feel this goes doubly for sexuality, too. Defining someone by who they prefer to have sex with feels reductive in the extreme. Yes, it is an aspect of their personality as an individual. No, they (probably) shouldn't be discriminated against for it. They also shouldn't require public recognition of it in order to feel fully validated and functional.

And it gets really absurd when they start naming concepts of sexuality that have been accepted for nigh-centuries as if they've discovered and elevated them for the first time. "Demisexual" meaning someone who doesn't form attraction from mere physical observation but from getting to know someone deeply? My friend that used to just be called 'not being shallow.' It is very, very unclear why this needs to be recognized as a unique sexuality that defines you as a person. Don't even get me started on "Sapiosexuality."

I happen to like ample-sized breasts on my possible sexual partners. I don't go around calling myself a 'mammosexual' who only feels attraction to persons with big breasts.

I call myself a 'boob man' and leave it at that. And I wouldn't bring it up in any conversation where it wasn't obviously relevant and appropriate. And it doesn't even go very far in describing my preferences anyway!

They also shouldn't require public recognition of it in order to feel fully validated and functional.

Are you saying they shouldn't be allowed to marry someone they're capable of finding sexually attractive, or that the recognition shouldn't go beyond marriage?

I'm saying that the only people who need to know about one's sexual preferences are their actual sexual partners.

It needn't be a flag that one proudly displays on publicly-facing social media profiles.

Well... if a gay man wants the same chance to score dates from the publicly facing social media profiles that straight man have, then he does need to make his preferences known, no?

Also... isn't marriage intrinsically public, and doesn't that reveal one's sexual preferences, at least in the sense of which sex one prefers?

Well... if a gay man wants the same chance to score dates from the publicly facing social media profiles that straight man have, then he does need to make his preferences known, no?

Maybe? A blurb that says "I'm single and will entertain offers of dates from eligible men" sends this message too, with less ambiguity.

Or some variation on the theme.

What I'm getting at is that one doesn't need to make their sexuality an overriding part of their identity such that it supercedes other information about you.

The first thing I need or want to know about a person upon first meeting them is almost never "What is their gender identity? What types of people are they willing to have sex with?"

And YET, that's the primary information that is conveyed by these symbols. If it were a dating profile it would be relevant info. But its used everywhere, including in 'professional' setting!

And I ask... why?

Also... isn't marriage intrinsically public, and doesn't that reveal one's sexual preferences, at least in the sense of which sex one prefers?

I don't know what you mean, you get married and people know you're married. That's the sum total of it. Usually this means you're 'off the market' for dating purposes, which is a useful signal to send.

They can make inferences about you from that signal, but that's different, for instance, from an actual flag/symbol that you display that says "I'm deeply heterosexual and love to have vaginal intercourse in the missionary position!"

Got it, that's all fair I think. And I agree that people who make their sexuality or gender identity the core of their personality are tiresome and frivolous. I guess I'm just sensitive to the idea that gay people should "keep it to themselves" as was a common talking point in the years before same-sex marriage became legal nationwide. For my part, I don't want the fact that I'm gay to be foremost in people's minds when they're talking to me, I just want to assimilate into society like everyone else and have a normal life insofar as it's possible. But assimilating and having a normal life entails, at some point, having a monogamous relationship that is public, initially as dating and then ultimately as marriage and a family. And the "keep it to themselves" logic doesn't really account for that. It works while people are having flings and dating serially -- no one in a professional setting or in everyday life needs to know about your fuckbuddies or your one-night stands -- but marriage and family are naturally public, and need to be public to function as such, and I think the "keep it to yourselves" logic has a corollary (whether intended or not) of demanding that gay people stay on the margins of society in that sense. Not suggesting you intended it that way.

A blurb that says "I'm single and will entertain offers of dates from eligible men" sends this message too, with less ambiguity.

"I'm gay" is shorter. From everything you've said, I don't understand your issue with it?

The government can make you marriage legal, but no one can make other people actually respect you.

That's totally fine, I'm not interested in coercing anyone's respect. But the parent poster suggested that public recognition shouldn't be given. Isn't same-sex marriage the public recognition of a gay relationship? The notion that sexuality should be kept to oneself seems to require that one have only secret relationships, and not get married.

"Demisexual" meaning someone who doesn't form attraction from mere physical observation but from getting to know someone deeply? My friend that used to just be called 'not being shallow.'

Really? I mean, maybe I'm just shallow, but I've always assumed that most people have the capacity to be attracted to someone within a short time of meeting them. I completely understand why some people would either want or need a longer acquaintance before actually having sex, but needing to know someone for years before you even understand that they could be attractive seems to me to be fairly unusual. Am I wrong? Perhaps I'm just falling prey to the fallacy of the typical mind.

I tend to agree, but I think you may be taking them too much at face value. If they feel that attraction quickly, they'll also just say -- "I felt a deep connection, like we'd already known each other!" Maybe I'm just too cynical though, or projecting my own take on it -- i.e. I wouldn't want to jump someone I just found attractive, but if I found them attractive and felt something of a connection, I wouldn't need to to know them a long time to get physical -- that would in fact be part of 'getting to know them'.

I don't know if such a person in fact exists, but I can certainly imagine a hypothetical person who literally does not experience sexual arousal until they have formed an emotional bond with a prospective sexual partner.

Are some people calling themselves "demisexual" when they do, in fact, experience sexual arousal towards people they have no emotional bond with, but nonetheless prefer to hold off on actually having sex with them until they have formed an emotional bond?* Probably.

Are demisexuals "oppressed" in a manner comparable to the treatment of Alan Turing, or gay men in Saudi Arabia? Obviously not.

Were they ever so oppressed? Obviously not.

*i.e. are they using "demisexual" as a description of their preferred sexual behaviour, as opposed to their inner sexual life?

Do you think that asexuals exist? That is, people who do not feel sexual attraction at all? If so, I think the existence of genuine demisexuals, in the sense of "almost never feels sexual attraction," isn't really so hard to believe. I see no good reason to think that most of the people who describe themselves in this way are lying.

With that said, the misapprehension that demisexuals merely do not desire to have sex in the absense of an emotional bond is common enough that it is also very plausible that some of the people who call themselves "demisexual" are themselves misunderstanding the term.

Do you think that asexuals exist? That is, people who do not feel sexual attraction at all?

Over what timeframe? If we take the definition at face value, 100% of the population either is or used to be asexual as children. There are also various things that can cause a low or nonexistent sex drive, such as hormone levels, particularly in women who usually start with a lower sex drive to begin with. Wikipedia claims that 10% of all pre-menopausal women in the United States are affected by Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, though the source is just an executive at AMAG Pharmaceuticals in an article about the FDA approving their libido-boosting drug, so I don't know what research this is based on. (For instance, I don't know if that's 10% being affected at any one time or if it's 10% who are substantially affected at least once in their lives.)

But of course "asexual" has implications beyond that: it is formulated in analogy to sexual orientation to imply an inborn, permanent, and immutable state. (Originally "asexual" was used in psychiatry to indicate women who have difficulty orgasming during sex, with recommended treatments ranging from psychoanalysis to having the woman be on top, but this has been displaced by the lay meaning which uses it in analogy to "homosexual".) But that's not actually a good model of how libido works, as seen by the tendency for people who identify as asexual to either stop identifying as asexual or to adopt some "grey-asexual" identity that allows them to continue identifying as asexual while having sex. To venture beyond anecdotal evidence, the only study I've found on the subject is The Temporal Stability of Lack of Sexual Attraction across Young Adulthood. Of the 25 people aged 18-26 in Wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health who selected "No sexual attraction", only 3 of them selected that option again in Wave IV 6 years later.

So if people with low or no sexual desire are put in an ideological environment where they are encouraged to identify this as "being asexual", the vast majority of those are going to end up happening to have more sexual desire at some later point, whether due to changing hormone levels over time, the right circumstance to get in the mood, etc. (An even greater majority if we count children, and I've seen a noticeable number of 13-15 year olds identify as asexual on Tumblr or have their supposed asexuality uncritically mentioned in news articles, despite a large fraction of the population being enough of a late-bloomer to not be interested in sex at that point.) Even if they don't do so on their own, the ideological framework discourages treating it as a medical issue (even though it is a symptom which can reflect deeper medical problems needing investigation) or taking something like the aforementioned libido-boosting drug to help you have a romantic relationship or enjoy a sex life (which I'm assuming would be termed "conversion therapy"). Nothing about the framework is designed to better understand the world, but to fit people into categories extrapolated from popular identity-politics categories.

So then that brings us to "demisexuality". As many people will attest, especially women, romantic interest and emotional involvement often enhance sexual interest. A lot of men will say "my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world" and mean it. Established relationships also have more opportunities for romantic situations to get in the mood, casual physical contact to arouse interest, or actual sexual interactions that one partner becomes interested in before the end (the aforementioned HSDD Wikipedia article terms the last one "responsive desire"). Even with porn women are more interested in mediums like writing that tend to build up more of an emotional context for sex. It is thus unsurprising that if someone has a libido low enough to not feel noticeable sexual desire, something that boosts sexual desire like an emotional relationship could make the sexual desire noticeable. But, like asexuality, there is no reason to think the implications of calling this "demisexuality" in analogy to sexual orientation are accurate.

It isn't a hypothesis which is hard to believe. I just haven't conducted any research into it, so I'm not in a position to comment on whether people meeting that description do, in fact, exist. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they exist.

I think there may be some slipperiness in the term "attraction," here? Because the word can mean things from "ooh, pretty" to "I am quite emotionally invested in [whatever]."

Yeah. Most of the demisexuals whom I have seen describing their sexual orientation have been at pains to explain that the simple "ooh, pretty" does not kick in for them under ordinary circumstances, except in the disinterested aesthetic sense.

I wish we could all just agree that sex is biological and gender is a social role. So if someone wants to say "Some days I feel masc, but other days I'm more femme," okay, whatever Demi Lovato. I'm even willing to use whatever pronouns you prefer, even if that means changing them from time to time (so long as you let me know what they are today and aren't going to throw a tantrum if I sometimes make a mistake). If attention-seeking teens want to claim they are Ψ-gendered today, you can accommodate them if you wish without agreeing that their physical bodies are in some Ψ state that is neither male nor female.

The real problem is not with teenagers who are trying to carve out special, quirky new identities for themselves, it's with the grown-ass adults who take this shit seriously and then run conflict theory on it.

I wish we could all just agree that sex is biological and gender is a social role

But this is just begging the question, isn't it? It's like Byzantine Christian monothelitites saying "I wish we could all just agree that Jesus' nature is Man but his hypostasis is Divine". To even get into the hypostasis debate is to concede to your interlocutor's point.

The correct response to the Byzantine Christian monothelitites is "hypostasis is just some term you made up to try and make yourself sound smart and smuggle in a bunch of theological assumptions in by connotation, Jesus was just a guy in a robe, he was born a Man and he's stuck as a Man only, that's just biology for ya, sorry, he doesn't get to be Divine by any measure even if he and you really really want him to be.'

You can probably see where I'm going with this but in the interest of plain speaking, the correct response to the gender theorists is "gender is just some term you made up to try and smuggle in a bunch of ideological assumptions in by connotation, Emerald Treespirit is just a guy in a robe, he was born a Man and he's stuck as a Man only, that's just biology for ya, sorry, he doesn't get to be a woman by any measure even if he and you really really want him to be.'

There is no such thing as gender, the way you act is contingent on the hormones in your brain and the hormones in your brain are contingent on your chromosomes. A man acting weird is a man acting weird, not a man filling the social role of a woman (or being the Messiah).

You can probably see where I'm going with this but in the interest of plain speaking, the correct response to the gender theorists is "gender is just some term you made up to try and smuggle in a bunch of ideological assumptions in by connotation, Emerald Treespirit is just a guy in a robe, he was born a Man and he's stuck as a Man only, that's just biology for ya, sorry, he doesn't get to be a woman by any measure even if he and you really really want him to be.'

I feel like no smuggling needs to be done. If we taboo the word "gender", I feel like I can build up more or less the same concept from the concept of an "adoptive sex." By analogy with adoptive parents - normally parenthood is biological, but we have carved out a social/legal form of "parenthood" for adoptive parents. So too - normally sex is biological, but we have carved out a social/legal form of "sex" for adoptive men/women.

I think even if you're just being descriptive, "adoptive sex" is real. The federal government, and most states allow you to legally change your documented sex - so if one wanted to be a translegalist (= a person is validly trans if they have formally, legally transitioned) then I think everything would work fine. I think translegalism avoids many of the issues with the identification-only standards, and works better than other de facto standards like a "passing" standard, or a transmedicalist standard. I've circled around the idea of considering myself a translegalist, who extends pronoun and nickname hospitality to people who haven't legally transitioned, or who have no plans to ever legally transition.

By analogy with adoptive parents - normally parenthood is biological, but we have carved out a social/legal form of "parenthood" for adoptive parents.

This kinda supports exactly the point I am trying to make. Adoption is explicitly a legal fiction: it exists because you want do do something that you know is physically and/or logically impossible (that is, retroactively change someone's parentage), and adoption is just a way of telling lawyers "pretend you don't see the impossibility". Which is possibly fine for lawyers, but as someone who's trying to cleave reality at the joints (and/or arrange a blood transfusion), the scientifically correct answer is once again "No, I will not play your kayfabe, he's not your dad and no piece of paper can make it so, no matter how much state power you array behind it".

The government of Oceania can pass as many laws as it wants that 2+2=5, but paper ain't worth much.

I agree with your assessment if we're carving reality at the joints, but legal fictions are important in people's lives. If legal fictions are descriptively in favor of translegalism, then it matters a lot to how trans people can live their lives. You don't have to believe adoptive parents are biological parents to believe that the legal regime around adoption has a lot of effect on the lives of all the people involved in adoption.

Essentially, I think there are two separate questions here:

  • What legal barriers, or legal support is there for changing one's documented sex?

  • What do trans people believe that makes them want to change their documented sex?

Obviously, the main disanalogy between adoptive sex and adoptive parenthood is in the participants' explanation of what they are doing, and why they are doing it. Adoptive parents understand that they were not "parents" in any sense before adoption, and that the act of the court is the thing granting legitimacy to their claim of "parenthood." Adoptive men/women on the other hand, often claim that they have always been their adoptive sex in some sense, and are merely seeking medical, social and legal recourse to reflect this personal belief.

But I'm not sure if that difference matters in practice. The law can be relatively agnostic to the why of people transitioning - I'm sure a lot of adoptive parents' desire to adopt comes from a religious background, but the state shouldn't have to decide that metaphysical question before allowing them to adopt. Similarly, I think the metaphysical claims of many trans people (that they either have a soul/mind of their adoptive sex, or that they have a brain more in line with their adoptive sex) is kind of a side issue to the first question. I'm okay with considering this almost a religious question (I don't believe in souls, and a lot of the brain evidence is pretty mixed) and moving on with my life. I feel like my translegalism+hospitality approach lets me see reality at its joints just fine, while still allowing people some freedom to live their lives the way they want to.

Obviously, the main disanalogy between adoptive sex and adoptive parenthood is in the participants' explanation of what they are doing, and why they are doing it. Adoptive parents understand that they were not "parents" in any sense before adoption, and that the act of the court is the thing granting legitimacy to their claim of "parenthood."

When I read the italicized bit, I immediately thought of foster parents, who form a sort of intermediate case--they clearly have some of the rights and responsibilities of parenthood, but not to the same permanent extent as adoptive or natural parents. If someone were to ask me, "are foster parents a subset of parents?" I'd say...kind of? For some purposes yes, other purposes no?

Do you think this fits into the adoptive sex metaphor?

the way you act is contingent on the hormones in your brain

If it could be experimentally demonstrated that certain males experiencing gender dysphoria do in fact have unusually high levels of oestrogen in their brains compared to the cis male baseline (e.g. a comparable mechanism to how prenatal endocrine influences sexuality), would this provide a biological underpinning to the transgender paradigm, in your view?

No.

My Popperian falsifyability criteria are as follows:

  • Levels of neural estrogen equal to or higher than cis females.

  • Levels of neural testosterone equal to or less than cis females.

  • Research not performed in The Current Year (given the large ideological incentives for researchers to massage the figures in a pro-trans direction in The Current Year)

With you on points #1 and #2. You lost me on point #3. I don't believe that every neuroscientific study published in 2022 is automatically garbage, even if many (or most) of them are.

Historical precedent is that there is such a thing as gender, in the definition of "social role strongly defined by sex yet not entirely contingent on it". Sure, modern progressives wouldn't want Ancient Greece's gender roles, but once we've established that such a thing exists the rest is just haggling over the price.

There's no historical precedent for the divine.

Historical precedent is that there is such a thing as gender, in the definition of "social role strongly defined by sex yet not entirely contingent on it".

No, I do not grant your premise. As [another post which I can no longer find] remarks, the wounded octopus is not a septopus; nor is the crossdressing man a demigirl. The determination to define this behaviour as a whole new axis instead of a pathology on one axis is precisely what I object to.

There's no historical precedent for the divine.

This seems like the worst possible angle of attack given that there is tremendous historical precedent for the divine. "What is the sun and why do those stars move faster than those other stars?" is a question that demands an answer any time anyone looks up, and it's what led all historical human cultures down the divine rabbit hole. "Why do 0.001% of men want to wear skirts?" is not a question which anyone has been required to consider until modernity, an for such rounding errors and answer of "idiopathic madness" seems satisfactory.

"Why do 0.001% of men want to wear skirts?" is not a question which anyone has been required to consider until modernity, and for such rounding errors and answer of "idiopathic madness" seems satisfactory.

It is only slightly less modern than trans ideology to consistently think of men and women as something that is immutable from birth. The expression "a real man" would not exist if a penised-and-testiculed fertile male's manhood could not be in question.

The expression "a real man" would not exist if a penised-and-testiculed fertile male's manhood could not be in question.

DOES the expression exist in any language other than English? That mongrel tongue cobbled together from the detritus of four other languages and thus should not be particularly expected as being first for purpose?

Anyway, even if it does, this is a tremendous stretch. You're taking as literal that which is figurative. That the phrase "a real man" exists does not imply that the insulters really believe that the object of their mockery might be "an egg", or whatever the term is for an undiscovered trans-woman; or even that they believe such a thing is even logically possible. When I call my little brother "a stinky booger" this doesn't mean I believe that it is genuinely possible that a 50kg pile of dried mucous could be perambulatory.

DOES the expression exist in any language other than English?

Yes.

You're taking as literal that which is figurative.

I'm taking statements about one's social role and status as something that was apparently really fucking important back in the day.

That the phrase "a real man" exists does not imply that the insulters really believe that the object of their mockery might be "an egg", or whatever the term is for an undiscovered trans-woman

No, they probably didn't believe that specific thing, I already said the gender role climate wasn't what it's like today. It did exist, though. I'm confident that when someone said "man" in the era I'm talking about (hell, such societies still exist), they meant not "adult human male" but "human male who met all the social criteria to be called a man, optionally past puberty". The rest is haggling over the price.

The rest is haggling over the price

People have accept your premise, for the rest to be haggling over the price.

There is no such thing as gender, the way you act is contingent on the hormones in your brain and the hormones in your brain are contingent on your chromosomes. A man acting weird is a man acting weird, not a man filling the social role of a woman (or being the Messiah).

That's a pretty strong claim. So you believe that all gendered behavior is 100% in our chromosomes, and 0% socialized?

I am sure you can see the difficulty in asking a person who has just staked out the position "there is no such thing as gender" a question "So you believe that all gendered behaviour..."

Is this a question can be coherently rephrased with the g-word under taboo?

I am sure you can see the difficulty in asking a person who has just staked out the position "there is no such thing as gender" a question "So you believe that all gendered behaviour..."

Okay, let me rephrase: do you believe that all behavioral differences between men and women are 100% determined by our chromosomes?

Is this a question can be coherently rephrased with the g-word under taboo?

We're not on reddit anymore, we don't have taboo words. You're going to have to explain the relevance to me, though.

Re: taboo - I think they were referring to this old rationalist chestnut.

Your last paragraph implies that once someone is on hormone replacement therapy we should consider them transitioned, is that your intent?

There is no such thing as hormone replacement therapy.

There is a thing that is called hormone replacement therapy, but it's a misnomer, because it is actually hormone supplementation therapy.

Swimming in biogenic testosterone + supplemental estrogen is not the same as swimming in just biogenic estrogen.

Also:

  • There is much uncertainty about the degree to which injected supplemental hormones can cross the blood-brain barrier, so they may well not be great at influencing behaviour

  • Hormones have a profound developmental effect on the brain as well as an acute effect at the time of injection. Therefore unless you've been taking them... in utero since conception, your ship has already sailed.

Yes transwoman on HRT do have somewhat different hormone profiles than ciswomen but they also certainly have different hormone profiles than cismen So if we use the framework that hormone profile determines gender, cismen, ciswomen, transmen and transwoman should all be 4 distinct gender clusters and in fact you can add a 5th for bodybuilders on AAS. You can call us super-males.

What massively bothers me is that this gender as social and sex as physical is completely thrown out of the window when talking about transgender people's need to physically mimic the opposite sex. Both of these narratives can't be true at the same time. And that isn't the only issue that is solvable but I never see people grapple with. If we're going to start taking seriously that womanhood has certain gender characteristics and throw out the "women can be and do anything" framework that implies some female people who think they are women are wrong. Otherwise the category is meaningless.

There are some frameworks of gender ideology that actually make sense, and as I care very little about gender itself I'd be willing to adopt but what mainstream gender advocates are offering is not one of those frameworks. It's all of them at once carefully switching from one to another in order to dodge the uncomfortable implications.

The problem is that - many 'trans people' do, even though the cause is some weird simulacra desire alienation thing, really strongly want to be seen like women. And, for a progressive, this plus the whole 'being oppressed by gender roles' thing means we really need to protect, amplify, and ensure they can express themselves. And that entirely beats out anything about 'gender is a social role'.

and as I care very little about gender itself I'd be willing to adopt

you'd be willing to "adopt" something that's wrong, just from caring little about it?

The problem is that - many 'trans people' do, even though the cause is some weird simulacra desire alienation thing, really strongly want to be seen like women.

I know this is a meme but it's important. What you do mean by "women"? do you mean female? Because if you say women then the category is self referential in really strange way. There is some tension in it and activists are resistant to efforts to switch to using "female" in many categories where it's thought that might better capture the original intent(most flamingly hot example being sexuality, the 'Super Straight' phenomenon). What the actual ask seems to be is that we need to hold two categories in or heads at once when talking about women so that trans people can identify as a category that would otherwise inherently excludes them and lie about doing so.

you'd be willing to "adopt" something that's wrong, just from caring little about it?

I'd be able to adopt some coherent way to think/talk about gender as a real phenomenon so long as it's consistent. If I can talk about it in a consistent way I could find the truth in that framework and dispel the obviously silly elements. If the framework is not internally consistent then I can't use it to describe/compare to reality. If asked what my gender is should I say man because that's the role I actually play out in real life or should I say nonbinary because of the aforementioned indifference to gender as a general concept? what relation, if any, does my answer have to do with my sex/sexuality? There's half a dozen contradictory ways within the gender sphere to interpret my answer and come to opposite results. I don't want the delta between my understanding of the world and my interlocutors understanding of the world to be obscured by incomprehensible language games.

Is there a term that combines motte-and-bailey with the sort of three-card-monte shuffle you're talking about?

If there is I don't know what it's called beyond the rather loose 'incoherent' or 'cognitive dissonance'. When both the frameworks are invoked at once I think it's rightfully called cognitive dissonance, like famous struggle over the phrase "what is a woman" where the nonbinary friendly framework butts up against the transgender friendly framework.

Monte-bailey?

That sounds like a castle with 3 baileys one that contains goats, and another that contains cars, and a third with no gate.

I'm even willing to use whatever pronouns you prefer, even if that means changing them from time to time (so long as you let me know what they are today and aren't going to throw a tantrum if I sometimes make a mistake).

I'm not, unless they're willing to do the same for me, in which case mine are Sir/His Lordship.

If we're allowed to semi-arbitrarily declare pronouns and we agree to recognize them because it validates the other person's choice of identity, then this should be a small ask, and I would find it massively validating, thank you kindly.

Or we draw some bright lines around which ones people are 'allowed' to use and have an actual discussion around why some are allowed and some aren't, rather than the unilateral declaration that every identity is valid.

Hell, we've had the concept of "nicknames" for fucking ever. If you want to be identified as something other than your biological sex then come up with a nickname that you like that captures this and most people will go along with it, right?


If someone were to genuinely ask me "what are your pronouns" my response is "go ahead and use your best judgment and I promise not to be offended either way."

It is a hassle to be 'made to care' about this game in the first place, so I would shift the burden back to the person who wants to play.

Sir/His Lordship is just douchey.

But there are far more triggering pronouns than those. It’s the identities Meloni claims. Christian, American, Father, son, husband.

You think on zoom that the wokes want to identify someone as Christian every time they speak.

The most triggering of all might be Mother.

Sir/His Lordship is just douchey.

As long as we're claiming the ability to give ourselves titles which confer some level of privilege, I'm going all the way.

If the cutoff is whatever is 'too douchey' I'd love to have that conversation at length!

I'm placing the cutoff at whatever is an actual honorific, or implies actual deeds (such as "mother"). You may think "he" or "she" confers privilege all you want.

Of course, there are ways to persuade me to call someone "Mommy" without them having birthed anyone.

Or 'Mister' and 'Mrs.'

I dunno, there's a workable framework for this sort of thing already in existence. I still place most of the burden of proving why we should upset this in favor of the new pronoun system on those proposing it.

Why is sir/lordship douchey? Plenty of people refer to prince William as his highness, and to whatever rank of nobility is signified by that(barons? I'm going with that) as sir/lordship. If a person with a penis can arbitrarily declare that he/him is now she/her with no possibility of being wrong, why can a commoner not claim to be a baron with no possibility of being wrong? It is, after all, far less reality defying.

I have never met an IRL British peer, although I did briefly meet the heir to the pretender to some European country or other who preferred his/your highness, which I abided by because it seemed reasonable. After all, the title might be meaningless, but no one seemed to dispute it was his. That doesn't mean that my idiot cousin calling himself king of the neighborhood gets to be called your highness. I would ask why the same principles don't apply to gender, something that we can probably all agree is far more fundamental to human nature, and less changeable, than being a king.

I would ask why the same principles don't apply to gender, something that we can probably all agree is far more fundamental to human nature, and less changeable, than being a king.

The concept of nobility has a baked-in assumption that they're better than you in some way. No such thing with the concept of being a different gender.

I'm fine calling people a different pronoun than what I would've assumed, because I do not believe they're asking for it to literally lord it over me.

Because we all know the people using the pronouns are doing it to mock the other people using pronouns and not because it’s a sincere identity.

They're still more likely to be a duke/baron/prince than a transwoman is to be a real woman.

What if it is sincere? For example: if we live in a world where no one gets to customize their pronouns, then I accept he/him as a matter of necessity, but if you concede that pronouns are customizable based on what feels validating to one's internal identity, then I would sincerely prefer and feel validated by your use of pronouns that imply that I am nobility.

You might argue that any given person doesn't actually believe the above sincerely, but if you assume a hypothetical where your interlocutor does, will you actually start calling him "sir" and "his lordship," not just to his lordship's face but also in conversations where his lordship isn't a participant?

So if someone sincerely wanted to be called "your lordship" you'd do it?

What do you think of otherkin? They sincerely want to be considered animals. Would you refer to someone as a cat if they sincerely wanted it?

Of course the irony in this statement is that many, myself included, consider that the people using xim/xer are ALSO doing it to mock other people ("squares", "my dad", the laws of God and nature) and not because it's a sincere identity. Because play-acting as a girl when you have a penis is the very definition of insincere.

But apparently because they got there first and have the left-memeplex stamp of approval, we're not allowed to call them out for it.

I am incapable of even understand the mental model of people using pronouns.

I do understand the mental models of people trying to mock them.

Basically I can’t call them out for being dishonesty because I can’t even understand them but I can call out “your highness” because I understand it’s mockery.

But you're not being clear on why mockery shouldn't be allowed.

The pronoun people haven't set up a ruleset that would exclude it. So they in fact imply that any pronoun you want to use SHOULD be allowed until proven insincere.

If we're allowed to semi-arbitrarily declare pronouns and we agree to recognize them because it validates the other person's choice of identity, then this should be a small ask, and I would find it massively validating, thank you kindly.

I don't think there is any kind of good faith equivalency there, but as I said, my tolerance doesn't extend to semi-arbitrarily declared pronouns (especially made-up ones), only to people who I think are being sincere and not trolling or mentally ill. (Leaving aside the question of whether one considers trans or non-binary identification as de facto mental illness.)

IOW, if you want me to call you "she," I will. If you want me to call you "they," I will grit my teeth but try to remember. If you want me to call you "Your Lordship" or "Θ", I will disregard this request because you're either trolling or crazy.

I don't think there is any kind of good faith equivalency there

I'm not sure there's much 'good faith' to be had anywhere in the pronoun debate.

There's very little way to tell the difference between sincere/trolling/mentally ill if we already grant that a person's pronouns are based solely on their mental experience of