When we talk in the sphere about what motivates women we focus heavily on the “tingle”, or sexual attraction. There is good reason for this, and nearly all men need to focus more on attraction. We also talk about the tangible benefits women receive from men in the form of provision, protection, and parenting. Sexual attraction to alpha traits is generally accepted as the (imperfect) manifestation of the female need to provide her children with the most advantageous genes in the form of sperm. Women are looking for all of these things, but not all choose to acquire them from the same man. The tendency of many women to pursue a split strategy when securing sperm and provision/protection is summed up in the catch phrase:
Alpha f**** and beta bucks.
For those who are new to the topic of female sex related drives understanding and accepting the basic truth of the above is essential whether your goal is to be a player or a husband. Moreover, looking at feminism through the lens of the female mating strategy has caused many to note that feminism has worked to free women to focus more on the pursuit of the tingle while enlisting the state to compel beta men to provide them with provisioning and protection outside of the traditional arrangement of marriage. This is certainly true, and even the most conservative elements in our society now embrace the replacement of marriage as the central organizing structure for the family.
However, after acknowledging these facts many in the sphere make the mistake of claiming that all of women’s needs are being met in this new post marriage family structure; women simply don’t need marriage anymore, they claim. With the aid of feminists and conservatives alike, strong independent women are now empowered to revel in casual sex with alphas while using their career and/or the state compelled transfer of money from betas to buy their own status symbols. These strong independent women even have their own anthem performed by Beyoncé:
Question: Tell me what you think about me
I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings
Only ring your celly when I’m feelin’ lonely
When it’s all over, please get up and leave
Reinforcing the point is the triumphant refrain “I bought it”:
The rock I’m rockin’ — I bought it
‘Cause I depend on me
The watch I’m wearin’ — I bought it
The house I live in — I bought it
The car I’m driving — I bought it
I depend on me
That feminists would love this song is obvious, but why are so many in the manosphere singing the same tune? And more importantly, is it even true?
The problem for feminists is in their effort to change the rules of their status competition with other women they have overlooked a fundamental aspect of female intrasexual competition. Those status symbols women use to compete with each other don’t have the same meaning if a woman has to buy them for herself. Women don’t just need men for tingles and provision/protection, they need men for status and validation. Women gain status and validation from men in a number of ways, but all of them are perfectly tuned to make a good feminist want to pull her leg hair out. Even the sex positive feminist’s favorite, the alpha booty call, is more important for status and validation than it is for sexual fulfillment in the way men think of sex. Roosh goes so far as to argue that The Female Orgasm Is Trivial.
Maddeningly even the non-sexual status and fulfillment feminists seek can really only be provided by men. Feminists desperately crave to be accepted as one of the guys in a mostly futile effort to experience manly pride. This obsession is core to our integration of the military and is a staple in feminist fiction. In The Last Psychiatrist’s brilliant review of the Hunger Games he describes the unlikely scene in the movie which has feminists so enthralled:
There’s a banquet and the contestants have to show off their skills, but the overlords are eating a roast pig and bored with Katniss (because she misses a target) so Katniss turns her arrow towards them and shoots an apple. Katniss says, “you better recognize, mothafuckas!”, flashes a gang sign, and the audience swoons. That’s when she’s a badass. Yes, she was wonderful in the Games, I’m sure, but what got your adrenaline going, what made her a badass, is showing off her abilities– to men.
TLP goes on to assert that to the delighted female viewers Badass = showing she can compete on a male level, but if you watch the scene it is very obviously not about competing on a male level but instead a plea for attention and acceptance from the men. The look on Katniss’ face screams:
Notice me! Take me seriously!
This is exactly how Entertainment Tonight characterized the same scene:
While in the training area getting prepared to enter the arena for the Hunger Games, a literal fight to the death, Jennifer’s character Katniss Everdeen shows her skill with a bow and arrow. But when the game makers seem more interested in a pig that just arrived, an angry Katniss gets their attention.
Getting back to women’s intrasexual competition, what matters most is proving investment by a worthy man. In this sense the claim that women are the gatekeepers of sex but men are the gatekeepers of commitment is incomplete. More accurately men are the gatekeepers of investment, a category which includes commitment. When Roissy or Roosh have sex with a woman, they automatically confer on her the validation which comes from being desired by and sexually satisfying an attractive man. They simply can’t get what they want without giving this to the woman in the process. But while the women they bed crave this validation, it is of limited and fleeting value in the woman’s competition for status with other women. For this she needs something public that she can show other women. Winning the alpha away from the other women present for the night or a few hours has some cachet, but what she really wants is a public display of his investment in her. She wants him to give her things she can show off to other women, things that prove that she is his woman. She wants him to formally call her his woman, either as his girlfriend or far better, his wife. This is why Beyoncé changes her tune when she wants to rub other women’s noses in her superior status. The foolish boast of “I bought it” is forgotten, and the earstwhile strong independent woman rolls out the big gun of female status symbols, the title of Mrs.
Coming soon to a city near you
The Mrs. Carter show world tour
Bow down bitches. The ladies at Slate’s Double X are of course beside themselves.
Unlike the tingle, women competing for the investment of worthy men aren’t just evaluating these men on alpha traits. In fact, while alpha traits are a definite positive beta provision and protection traits are a must. While Roissy may well be correct in his assertion that Prince William is a beta chump, Kate Middleton has won the female intrasexual world championship by becoming his wife. Even if he doesn’t make her tingle, there is huge status associated with not just becoming but remaining Prince William’s wife.
Beyoncé and Princess Kate are married to men on the extreme end of the male status curve, but the wives of more ordinary men also receive a very large status boost by the title Mrs. While feminists tried to eradicate the term on the grounds that it belittled women, the average woman is actually quite proud of the term and the status which it confers. You can see this in among other things, the popularity of the Mrs. necklace.
That women receive status from marriage even to men who aren’t high on the tingle factor likely is counter-intuitive to many in the manosphere. However, not only is it easy to observe, but there is a good biological reason to think that this in fact should be the case. While we have in many ways divorced sex and marriage from children, the unconscious drives that govern men and women in this area generally come down to seeking a reproductive advantage. It is popular to try to distill the advantage fathers provide to their children to financial support and physical protection, with the added benefit to the mother of general “parenting assistance”. Those who are feeling generous may even acknowledge that fathers bring a stability to the home which fatherless homes generally lack and that fathers are especially helpful when it comes to discipline.
But there is another extremely important but less tangible benefit which fathers provide, and this is best described as legitimacy. Fathers matter in ways that are difficult to quantify or describe, but the cost to children who don’t have the benefit of growing up in a traditional father lead home are undisputed. Legitimacy can best be thought of as the public acceptance of the child by the father. The child benefits from a sense of status and identity, both internally and by reputation.
To understand the concept of legitimacy and tie this back to the topic of women’s intrasexual competition it helps to recognize that legitimacy isn’t an all or nothing prospect, especially in our current culture. For example, not all newborn children of unwed mothers have equal legitimacy. Some of them are welcomed into a home where their father resides, even though their parents aren’t married. Some might even receive their father’s last name. As time goes on, some of these children will continue to live in the home of their father, while others will have their father leave or be ejected by the mother. Even for those whose father doesn’t remain in the home there will be differences. Some will mostly grow up with their father in the home, while others will separate from their fathers much sooner. There will also be differences in the relationships the children retain with their fathers when he is out of the home. With no fault divorce all of the same is true for newborns of married couples.
Another way to look at legitimacy as a sliding scale is to consider the impact the mother’s relationship with the father has on the child’s relationship with him in cases where a man has children by more than one woman. Princess Kate recently gave birth to a son who is third in line for the throne. Were it to (hypothetically) turn out that another woman secretly gave birth to another son of William around the same time, the difference in advantage for the two women’s sons is obvious. While this is admittedly an extreme and hypothetical case, it should help to conceptualize the real benefits the newly born Prince George receives from his mother being William’s wife. Aside from the public fact that he is officially in line for the throne, his personal identity as William’s son is also much stronger. Even if the other (hypothetical) son was eventually acknowledged to be William’s, and even if William made a serious effort to be in the child’s life the difference in advantage would always be huge. In the modern era we have used child support to try to overcome the advantages of legitimacy (to free women from the restriction of marriage), but even massive amounts of child support can not overcome this gulf.
Feminists want to argue that the status of the father is irrelevant, and that the mother can replace the father with respect to the child’s identity. Certainly children receive their identity from both their mother and father, but there will always be a difference. As the feminist experiment has inadvertently demonstrated, there is something special about the status of men.
Thinking about legitimacy as a sliding scale also helps explain a number of peculiar things about women’s reaction to men’s infidelity. Wives of sufficiently alpha men tend to overlook the periodic infidelity of their husbands, so long as the infidelity doesn’t become public and the man himself consistently denies the infidelity. What is unforgivable by these wives is when the husband crosses the line of carrying on in public with another woman, publicly acknowledges the other woman, or even worse, acknowledges a child he fathered by another woman. This last humiliation is too much even for a woman from the Kennedy family to bear.
The question of legitimacy also helps explain why it is so incredibly painful for wives who divorce their boring loyal dude husband only to have him marry a younger woman, especially if he either has children with the new wife or she has young children of her own. The paternal investment of her now ex husband is diluted by the other woman’s children, who because they now live with the father arguably have a greater public claim to him. Similarly we can understand why widows don’t take the status hit that divorcées do and why their children largely escape the negative effects of single motherhood; there is no question that their mother was their father’s woman, and their identify and status are secure.
Note: In a future post I’ll tackle the question of why women’s intrasexual competition for status takes on different forms over time.