I was talking with a good friend of mine roughly a year ago about what I had been reading in the manosphere. At the time I hadn’t started blogging yet and was primarily reading Roissy*. At one point in the conversation I asked him what it would look like if women lacked civilizational restraint. What would it look like if women went feral? After a significant pause, I re framed it and asked what it would look like if men weren’t properly civilized; What would they do if they followed only their base instincts? Pretty quickly he came up with a description which was roughly a cross between Animal House and Lord of the Flies, just as I was expecting. Then we went back to the same question for women, and he remained stumped. My guess is most of my readers could easily have the same conversation with the same results with most of your non manosphere involved friends.
I thought about this again when getting a haircut the other week. Two mothers with junior high aged daughters were talking about the kinds of clothing their girls were wearing. It fascinated me to hear how confused they were about what was actually going on. They were sure that the girls were only dressing like little hookers because of pressure society was putting on them. What they didn’t understand was the girls were dressing like hookers because society wasn’t putting any pressure on them. Female intra-sexual competition being what it is, this is what young women will devolve to if all restraints are lifted. Today’s crop of young women are perilously close to as Zeets would say* presenting like a red-assed chimp.
Commenter MNL responded to my post Her Parents Must Be Proud with a link to a WSJ article by Jennifer Moses Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That? which addresses the same question and suffers from the same flawed premise.
In the pale-turquoise ladies’ room, they congregate in front of the mirror, re-applying mascara and lip gloss, brushing their hair, straightening panty hose and gossiping: This one is “skanky,” that one is “really cute,” and so forth. Dressed in minidresses, perilously high heels, and glittery, dangling earrings, their eyes heavily shadowed in black-pearl and jade, they look like a flock of tropical birds. A few minutes later, they return to the dance floor, where they shake everything they’ve got under the party lights.
But for the most part, there isn’t all that much to shake. This particular group of party-goers consists of 12- and 13-year-old girls. Along with their male counterparts, they are celebrating the bat mitzvah of a classmate in a cushy East Coast suburb.
It is interesting that she herself makes the colorful bird analogy, but still manages to miss the underlying biology involved here. She also misses another glaring neon sign, which is the significance of the event she was witnessing. The description below the video explains that peer pressure is at the root of the issue:
Today’s teen and preteen girls are bombarded with images and products that tout the benefits of sexual attraction. But must we as parents, give in to their desire to “dress like everyone else?” asks author Jennifer Moses.
But what if it isn’t the culture driving the young girls this way? What if the young girls are driving the culture? This is extremely important, because parents, schools, pastors, etc. can’t begin to address the challenge while in denial of what the real drivers are. We don’t assume a teenage boy caught with a Playboy was only looking at it to keep up with the other boys. But we can’t bring ourselves to be honest about the sexuality of women in general, and young women in specific. This is especially damaging because young women and men tend not to fully understand the forces they are operating under themselves. Pretending that it is solely the work of some outside force only makes it more confusing and difficult for them to manage while robbing them of a sense of accountability.
Moses moves to the next part of her question, which is why do parents in general (and mothers in specific) actively help their daughters tart themselves up? Her friend offers the first hypothesis:
“It isn’t that different from when we were kids,” she said. “The girls in the sexy clothes are the fast girls. They’ll have Facebook pictures of themselves opening a bottle of Champagne, like Paris Hilton. And sometimes the moms and dads are out there contributing to it, shopping with them, throwing them parties at clubs. It’s almost like they’re saying, ‘Look how hot my daughter is.'” But why? “I think it’s a bonding thing,” she said. “It starts with the mommy-daughter manicure and goes on from there.”
Thinking about the underlying biological principles involved, this makes sense. When not competing against her daughter for sexual attention the mother would have every reason to assist her daughter in competing against other young women for that same attention. The author agrees that she experiences a thrill when seeing her daughter tarted up, especially since she herself is somewhat past the age to turn heads. But she proposes a different answer:
I have a different theory. It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, “If I could do it again, I wouldn’t even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?”
We are the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control, the first who didn’t have to worry about getting knocked up. We were also the first not only to be free of old-fashioned fears about our reputations but actually pressured by our peers and the wider culture to find our true womanhood in the bedroom. Not all of us are former good-time girls now drowning in regret—I know women of my generation who waited until marriage—but that’s certainly the norm among my peers.
Wow. This makes sense as well. A bit further down she follows up with:
I wouldn’t want us to return to the age of the corset or even of the double standard, because a double standard that lets the promiscuous male off the hook while condemning his female counterpart is both stupid and destructive. If you’re the campus mattress, chances are that you need therapy more than you need condemnation.
Swirling around in there amongst the biological imperatives is the extreme investment these women have in the ideology which lead to their own bad choices. Even as they acknowledge the badness of their own past choices they can’t stop promoting them, because they so loudly promoted them in the past. Note who they are looking to protect. Preventing their daughter from needing therapy by not letting her become the campus mattress would protect their own daughters, but at the expense of acknowledging the harm their own feminist ideals have created. Given the choice, they will protect the young version of themselves instead of protecting their own young.
Still, I highly recommend reading the full column and even more watching the accompanying video. The level of recognition of the harm these women caused themselves and (by being unwilling to let go of feminist ideals) will cause their own daughters is astounding.
See Also: Overcivilized men, uncivilized women.