There’s been a little bit of debate on the infantalization of men within the alt-right/manosphere, so I decided to weigh in. (I have a companion piece to this post here, read it to give more context to this post).
The Social Pathologist wrote:
The manosphere rightly criticizes women for their diminishing femininity, but what the manosphere does not do so well is criticize the increasing infantisation of men. When Roosh and his followers point out that quality women are only to be found outside the U.S. he is giving the masculine version of the modern feminist lament that there are no good men at home. What many manosphere commentators fail to recognize is that the nice computer nerd is the male equivalent of the nice fat chick. The manosphere demands thinness but criticizes women for wanting its feminine equivalent. Mote, beam, eye. It’s all a bit of hypocrisy.
There are two problems with his argument here.
The first problem is the difference between the manosphere and modern feminism. The manosphere is actively trying to improve men; they are encouraging men to become better, more masculine players, or better, more masculine patriarchs. They are actively trying to move away from being the nice computer nerds and become better at being a man. (Whether that’s better or not for women is debatable).
(The other section of the manosphere, the MGTOW, may not advocate self-improvement as much, but they are not hypocritical because they are also no longer calling for women to improve. They’ve simply decided to take their ball and go home and have given the reasons why).
Modern feminism on the other hand is actively trying to make women less feminine. They are actively encouraging women to be fat (fat acceptance), to be “outspoken” (read: bitchy), and to discard their traditional societal roles. They are actively trying to make woman worse. They are encouraging women to become bitchy (not nice) fat chicks.
The second problem with his argument is the underlying social context. The problem the manosphere has is not, so much, about women preferring alpha men to beta men, it is that women and society lie about it.
Men are honest about what they want. Most men (lying manginas and fat fetishists, aside) are honest about their preferences and are quite willing to say “I want a thin, feminine women with a nice chest.” Women are told and know exactly what men want. Some women lie to themselves that fat is beautiful (Rubens like fat women… dur), but even then their complaints are that men do not appreciate their “beauty”, not that men are actually lying to them about it.
On the other hand, women lie (or genuinely don’t know) about their preferences. If you ask women (be they your mother, sisters, female friends, whomever) what women want, the answer will usually be something similar to “a nice, loving man in touch with his emotion who wants to settle down and share the housework equally.” The problem being something any nice young man looking to settle down realizes quite quickly: women’s actual choices in men are something else entirely.
If women just came out and said that they were attracted to aloof, dominant, irresponsible, alpha bad boys, there would be no problem. (There would also be no problem if women found betas attractive like they said). Men would have the honest truth and could live their life accordingly. The problem is that men are sucking up the lies about women’s desire for a loving beta, are having these lies dashed around them, and, when they wonder why, are lied to even more. It is not the preferences that are the problem, it is the lies surrounding the preferences that are the problem.
The difference is that men are honest about what attracts them, but women are dishonest (or mistaken) about what they are attracted to. These are what separate the “why are there no good men?” feminists and the manosphere.
In a later post he wrote:
The manosphere has quite rightly denounced the corruption of women by feminism but what it has been unable see is the failure in modern masculinity. Roosh and Roissy may get lots of lays but they would have hardly been though of examples of masculinity either in Roman, Greek or Victorian times. Hedonism was always the “soft” option of manhood. And the reality today is that many men are soft. Not so much physically as in character. Women are far “harder” today and more self disciplined. Making women “softer” may restore some of their femininity but it no way guarantees the masculinity of men. Taking away a woman’s rights does not give a man alpha qualities.
Simon Grey responded:
And so, while I agree with the MRA crowd that most women would make for terrible wives, I also agree with Slumlord that most men make for terrible husbands. Quite simply, most people in this world are self-absorbed cowards, too afraid to live up to their potential, and too weak to suppress their self-destructive tendencies. No wonder their marriages and relationships turn cancerous.
I agree, most young men today would make terrible husbands, but they both stop there. They do not ask why, and that is the important question.
Why are most young men today living as “Peter Pan” manboys?
(We could ask the same about why most women would make poor wives, but the manosphere has covered that fairly extensively already; the answer boils down to feminism).
Dalrock has already has partially answered the question and has hit a key point:
While we might argue about the speed and magnitude of men’s reaction to such a shift, as well as the specific mechanism we might observe (marriage strike vs weakened signal, etc), I don’t see how one could argue that an overall decline in men’s eagerness to work hard in preparation to lead families is surprising.
We wanted non threatening men, and now we have them.
But I don’t think he spells it out clearly enough, so I’m going to.
The reason there are so many losers, manboys, men without chests, or whatever you wish to call them, comes down to one, solitary word. This word is probably the single most important word when it comes to any social pheonomenum. This word is:
This is the centre-piece of economics. This is the single most explanatory concept in all the social sciences. Incentives.
People respond to incentives. If there are positive incentives for a behaviour, there will be more of that behaviour. If there are negative incentives for a behaviour, there will be less of that behaviour.
No matter how much cajoling is done, no matter how much people are shamed, no matter how many laws are written, the incentive structure of society (of which cajoling, shaming, and laws are all a part) will override them all.
So, what are the incentives of the young man today?
I was originally going to write a short narrative, but it turned long, too long for this post. You can read it here, it provides more context.
The young man today is put in 13 years of public school and university, where people are judged primarily by their ability tosit still and parrot what their teachers say. Where masculine behaviours, such as risk-taking, dominance, and rough-housing are discouraged, banned, and punished. Sometimes these behaviours even result in a regime of drugging. The entire system is as structured as a tightly run concentration camp.
On the other hand, young males are taught that their natural desires are destructive and to be controlled, but are not taught the discipline necessary to control them. They are taught to get in touch with their emotions, except those school administration think are dangerous. They are taught self-esteem, where no matter what they accomplish (or don’t accomplish) they are special and deserving. They are not taught self-control, they are taught hedonism.
This produces a horrible dichotomy of a lack of freedom and a lack of discipline. The entire school system is geared towards teaching young boys subservience and dependence (beta traits) and to destroy their in-born initiative, risk-taking, and ambition (alpha traits).
Right from the get go, authorities teach young boys that traditional masculine behaviours are punished, while weakness and beta traits (not always the same) are rewarded.
In university, the incentive structure is much the same. Obey and parrot and be rewarded.
Men are taught, while young, that the authorities will reward for being weak and punish for being strong. They are also taught an entitlement mentality.
This is the incentive structure the primary authorities in their life (children spend as much or more time being instructed by the school system than their parents) ingrain in them from a young age.
On the other hand, the social system of both school and university naturally coalesces into an opposing dynamic. Children are socialized through other children than through other adults. They pick up natural, feral attitudes towards interpersonal relations rather than a more mature civilized attitude to social relations.
In this social system, the alphas are socially and sexually rewarded, while the more awkward betas are not. Young men learn that sex, social status, and relationships can be obtained without work. In fact, men are taught that the irresponsible “cool” kids are more likely to be socially and sexually rewarded than the more responsible “nerds”.
In other words, they know they can satiate their primary genetic drive without having to contribute to society, as long as they act “like jerks.”
Young men are taught that irresponsibility pays now.
The only threat we have against this the long term: responsibility pays in the long run.
This worked until the last decade or so, until long-term incentives began to collapse.
What are the long-term incentives for your young adult male, so he is responsible?
A good-paying, worthwhile job, a house, a loving wife, social status, and a family.
The good-paying job is dying in the current economic corruption. 50% of our young people are either under- or unemployed. Their college degrees are worthless. They are shackled with near unmanageable student debt. Self-employment is a no-go. Government regulations strangle most industries and are especially painful to small businesses. (Not to mention, the initiative and ambition necessary for self-employment were beat out of him by the school system). Those who do get jobs are usually suffering in useless government busywork or brutally impersonal corporate work.
Simply put, there are no longer any guarantees that hard-work and responsibility will lead to a worthwhile job. But even if he eventually gets a job, he is punished by having half his income is taken by the state and given to the irresponsible.
He can still get a home, but not without the job. That, and the young man doesn’t want a home for himself; he wants it so he can raise a family. This incentive is more an ancillary option to the other incentives.
The primary incentive is a wife and family, but that incentive is becoming meaningless.
The average age of marriage for is 28 (in Canada it’s 31). Think about that. Your average man will not find a wife until a full decade after he graduates from high school and about 15 years after he hits puberty.
During this 15 years of either loneliness and sexual frustration for betas or, for the alphas, hedonism and sexual license, what lessons are being learned by men?
Men are learning to get used to irresponsibility. How the hell can you expect most men to be prepared for the responsibility of a wife and family after he has had a full decade of getting acquainted to irresponsibility?
But lets say he’s prepared for marriage. It’s highly unlikely his wife is a virgin: his dating pool probably has more single mothers than virgins. She’s not going to bond to him.
There’s a 50% chance that he will lose his family. When he loses his family, there is a good chance he will be subjected to alimony slavery and have his family kidnapped from him. I’m not going into detail here, because other’s have wrote much more comprehensive articles on the risks of marriage, but marriage is becoming and increasingly bad option.
Social status? Hahaha… Being a responsible person no longer create social status. “Office drones” are looked down upon. The rich and successful are castigated and punished. Everybody is equal now. There is no more of the base respect and social status given to a man who quietly works hard to provide for his family.
So, where are his incentives to be responsible?
When having a family is a decade away and is likely to be punished with divorce, alimony theft, and having his children ripped from him? When hard work and an education no longer means a job, let alone a meaningful one? When he’s grown accustomed to the freedom of singledom? When he is punished for career success? When the lazy and irresponsible are rewarded with his hard-earned income?
Overall, the entire incentive structure of society is biased towards men being irresponsible.
If a man is irresponsible, he gets to play video games now. He gets sex now. He gets to hang out with his friends now.
If a man is responsible, there is no immediate gain. When there were long-term incentives, this was fine, but the long term incentives are breaking down.
Why should men act responsibly, when the incentives are towards irresponsibility?
Pathologist illustrated his point about weak men with a story about a “responsible” young women with an irresponsible young man for a boyfriend.
Many in the manosphere would view this woman as a demanding bitch. I don’t. She would be a good modern fit for Proverbs 31:10-31. She has independently, on a low income, saved money and bought herself a house, put tenants in it and has a long term plan for the future. She is keeping down a job and has been able to organise her own affairs. She wants a stable future and does not want to live in poverty. By the way, I’d estimate her BMI at about 22. Such a woman is percieved as a threat to Western Civilisation by the manosphere. Facepalm.
She is a threat to Western Civilization, not because she is a “demanding bitch”, but because she is not demanding enough. If she was a Proverbs 31 women she would not be shacking up with an irresponsible man. She would have demanded marriage to a man “known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.” ie. She would have married a responsible and respected man. Instead, she is giving herself to an worthless man without any demands of responsibility from him.
She is the one creating perverse incentives.
By herself, her actions don’t matter. But if you multiply her by a few million women, all demanding nothing out of the men they bed, then you have a threat to civilization.
She made her choice to date a loser, to be irresponsible, and to reward irresponsible behaviour. She now has to face the consequences of her choices. Society now has to face the consequences of her actions.
When love is free, most men won’t pay for it.
If men aren’t paying, civilization is threatened.
The manosphere is right to demand more from women, but there is also a corollary. Women need to demand more from men.
We need a society that demands more from everybody and rewards those, and only those, who meet those demands. People will only rise to the level that societal incentives reward.
Everything in life comes down to incentives. Right now, the incentive structure for men is built so that irresponsibility is rewarded, while responsibility is punished. When the incentives for men are structured this way you will get irresponsible men.
If women, conservatives, and the Social Pathologist want responsible men, they should help restructure society so that the incentives of society, particularly, in this case, those related to sex and relationships, reward responsible men, and punish irresponsible men.