America’s men and women, alienated from our true selves

Summary: Let’s pause in this series about the gender wars to see the big picture. The gender wars have casualties, men and women with varying degrees of damage. Here we look at the rising number of people alienated from our culture – potential recruits for new movements that emerge from the void. (Revised and expanded from 2015.)

Alienation

A vignette of modern young women in action

We pride ourselves on being free (more or less) of the hypocrisy and masks that people were forced to wear in the past. While perhaps true for a moment after the 1960’s, feminism has again made false fronts a requirement for polite society.

Last year I was at casual mixer in Silicon Valley in a room with no chairs. We had heard brief presentations by the corporate sponsors, followed by pizza and beer. A stunning blonde woman, mid-20’s, stood amidst a group of guys orbiting her like bugs about a porch light. Two hard-core techies talk to each other, over our heads. She attempts to get a word in edgewise. They trample over her words, ignoring her.

After they run down, I congratulate her as the hero of the evening: she stood for two hours in four inch heels. She replies “Ooh, I never wear heels, but just felt like it today.” We all nod pleasantly at that unlikely story.

Later I gave my pitch about the shortage of marketing ideas on the cutting edge of high-tech fields. I end with my big close. Imagine you are in an elevator with a senior executive of your best prospect. What do you say? I find most people in tech — even salespeople — don’t have an “elevator pitch” (you win if the exec wants to hear more about your firm or product when the door opens). Instead they spout technobabble. The woman gave first the first and best response. She laughed and says “I will just flip my hair and smile. That’s how I beat my quota last year by a million dollars.” She flips her hair and smiles. It is enchanting.

She then realizes her sin, and throws smoke in defense.  “Oh, I don’t really do that. It wouldn’t work.” We all nod and smile, as if we believe either of those sentences.

Now, of course, any guy asking her out for drinks after experiencing her flirting risks an accusation of harassment (unless she finds him sufficiently alpha).

Mixed messages from actress Jennette McCurdy.

Tomboy Jennette McCurdy

Other stories from our America

For 15 years I was an adult leader of Boy Scouts. During those years many dads told me about their children. Never did I hear a dad speak more highly of his daughter than when saying she was a “tomboy” (or something similar, such as doing activities usually associated with boys).

Similarly, modern films and TV tend to give the most positive portrayals of young women who display traditional male behaviors. Women who in these who like traditional female roles are “woken” in the plot.

How prevalent is this behavior by dads? How do young women react to this? How much does this damage the self-esteem of women who traditional women’s roles? Might this contribute to the high levels of depression and eating disorders in girls (see this summary, and this list of studies).

Young men, too

It’s not just women. Men that show an interest in young women are sometimes told by women that this is “pervy”, especially when there are age differences (despite having husbands 7 to 10 years older was once commonplace). Men physically attracted by girls in the late teens – post-pubescent, their physical sexual cues at peak levels – are called “perverts.”

These are all common tropes in films and TV shows, the stage on which we see the great and wise of Hollywood instruct us on proper behavior. For example, on NCIS Los Angeles Kensi often describes Deeks as a pervert for looking at or chasing women. Now the #meTOO movement is further broadening the definition of harassment, narrowing the range of acceptable approaches by men to women (sometimes requiring telepathy, since men must know in advance how women will respond).

This combines oddly with the hook-ups and sequential affairs that replace trust and intimacy in the lives of young people. See the stories in Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy by Mark Regnerus (assoc. prof of sociology, U Texas-Austin). The new social regime does not work well for many women. Time will tell how well it works for men. Will cheap and easy sex (for those that master the new rules) compensate for the frustration of men’s sense of possessiveness?

In another decade the behavior codes for relations between the genders will makes the Victorians look like wild hippies by comparison.

Melancholy by Edvard Munch (1894)
Painting by Edvard Munch (1894).

Alienation

I see these stories played out all around us. Our natural selves are politically incorrect. So we watch what we say, what we look at, and even what we think. All this moves us away from our true selves. We become alienated from ourselves by our society, and forced to present false facades to each other. We develop something like the class-based “false consciousness” described by Marxists. These fragment our concentration and sap our energy.

Some degree of alienation is part of the human condition, but I suspect the degree of alienation today is unusually high. This is odd given our society’s emphasis on being natural, and authenticity.

Conclusions

“Nothing is written.”
— Lawrence of Arabia, in the 1962 film

The immediate political implications are obvious. People alienated from their true natures, are weak. Their leaders easily manipulate them. But over the longer term? Social change is never linear. There is always a counter-revolution (see here and here). We do not like our new society, we probably cannot go back — but we can go forward. There are new values and new ways of life. We need only find them and make them ours.

“The world revolves around the creators of new ideas, revolves silently.”
— Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women and gender issues, about alienation, about #meToo, and especially these…

  1. Diagnosing the Eagle: Alienation.
  2. The bitter fruits of our alienation from America.
  3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the secret life of many Americans.
  4. A brief guide to the new war of the sexes. Both sides are 100% right.
  5. The Left helps bring us Weimerica, the prelude to big changes.
  6. Classic films show what marriage was. Facts show its death.
  7. The coming crash as men and women go their own way.

Books to help us understand the gender revolution

The Privileged Sex by Martin van Creveld.

Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy by Mark Regnerus (2017). See Cheap Sex is the Inconvenient Truth in the end of marriage. and Misadventures of a young woman in modern America.

The Privileged Sex
Available at Amazon.
Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy
Available at Amazon.

 

12 thoughts on “America’s men and women, alienated from our true selves

  1. What happened to this once-superb website? I started reading it quite a few years ago for its energy articles. The excellent articles on strategy have all but disappeared. The good explanatory economics articles–where have they gone? Other than the occasional reprints of Roger Pielke, Jr. & Judith Curry, it’s not much of a climate site anymore. We’re left with a daily bombardment of Father Knows Best-like family values articles. And while I agree with the author (it does seem to be thoughts of just one guy) on many of his articles about sexual (oops, I mean, gender) relations, how does that focus justify the website’s retaining the name of a Roman leader famous for restraining imperial overstretch? This blog isn’t a tribute to one of history’s great strategists as much as a shrine to Allan Bloom–and before anyone adopts him as a hero, check out his chapter on music in the oft-cited The Closing of the American mind . . . I doubt Bloom would have had much of a grip on the 2010s, as he sure didn’t have much of one in the 1980s.

    By the way, I attempted to contact directly two of the original six authors of the website. I was blown off by both of them. Where did you guys go?

    1. John,

      (1) “We’re left with a daily bombardment of Father Knows Best-like family values articles.”

      That’s quite a reading FAIL.

      (2) “how does that focus justify the website’s retaining the name of a Roman leader famous for restraining imperial overstretch?”

      The current set of massive social changes — without experimentation, without testing — is a form of “imperial overstretch.” In domestic policy instead of foreign policy. I believe far more societies have been wrecked by their domestic policies than their foreign policies.

      (3) “Where did you guys go?”

      Sensible people don’t respond to commenters.

      (4) “check out his chapter on music in the oft-cited The Closing of the American mind …I doubt Bloom would have had much of a grip on the 2010s, as he sure didn’t have much of one in the 1980s.”

      OK. Here is along excerpt from the opening section of Bloom’s chapter on “Music.” Let’s see your rebuttal.

      The power of music in the soul — described to Jessica marvelously by Lorenzo in the Merchant of Venice — has been recovered after a long period of desuetude. And it is rock music alone that has effected this restoration. Classical music is dead among the young. …Classical music is now a special taste, like Greek language or pre-Columbian archeology, not a common culture of reciprocal communication and psychological shorthand. Thirty years ago, most middle-class families made some of the old European music a part of the home. …So romantic musical culture in America had had for a long time the character of a veneer… No classical music has been produced that can speak to this generation.

      Symptomatic of this change is how seriously students now take the famous passages on musical education in Plato’s Republic. In the past, students, good liberals that they always are, were indignant at the censorship of poetry, as a threat to free inquiry. But they were really thinking of science and politics. They hardly paid attention to the discussion of music itself and, to the extent that they even thought about it, were really puzzled by Plato’s devoting time to rhythm and melody in a serious treatise on political philosophy. Their experience of music was as an entertainment, a matter of indifference to political and moral life.

      Students today, on the contrary, know exactly why Plato takes music so seriously. They know it affects life very profoundly and are indignant because Plato seems to want to rob them of their most intimate pleasure. They are drawn into argument with Plato about the experience of music, and the dispute centers on how to evaluate it and deal with it.

      This encounter not only helps to illuminate the phenomenon of contemporary music, but also provides a model of how contemporary students can profitably engage with a classic text. The very fact of their fury shows how much Plato threatens what is dear and intimate to them. They are little able to defend their experience, which had seemed unquestionable until questioned, and it is most resistant to cool analysis. Yet if a student can — and this is most difficult and unusual — draw back, get a critical distance on what he clings to, come to doubt the ultimate value of what he loves, he has taken the first and most difficult step toward the philosophic conversion. Indignation is the soul’s defense against the wound of doubt about its own…

    1. PAT,

      As I said when MeToo began, this has burned mostly good Leftists — being hottest in the media, entertainment, and academia fields. It is working like a poison gas attack where the wind blows the gas back on the troops using it.

      “The revolution, like Saturn, devours its own children.”
      — Attributed to Danton, said at his trial in 1794 – during the Terror phase of the French Revolution.

  2. Hey Larry,

    I bought ‘Cheap Sex’, been reading it. 25% of the way through.

    One thing I found interesting, partly amusing and partly aggravating, is that Regnerus seems to believe cheap sex is great for men. He interviews a few young men, some of whom have had 30+ partners and aren’t willing to settle down.

    What I found interesting was that those guys are ‘alpha’. He completely seemed to ignore the young men who aren’t getting laid, possibly because they’re a bit too busy keeping society running to spend time learning game. Some of whom are ‘incels’, involuntary celibates, as I’m sure you know the term.

    The entire 20/80 rule seems to be missing from Regnerus’ book. I was talking to my hair stylist about her dating life, she too mentioned how great it is for men to date and how none of them want to commit (she’s 31, I guess she still goes for alphas). I was trying to explain how all my guys friends got engaged and it’s really because the women all decided to get engaged. I gave up on that argument very quickly though and was just curious to see what her perspective was. The best part was that a while back she even told me she should just date an engineer…and yet, she ended up hooking up with her personal trainer…

    It amazes me how there’s this entire class of men who would kill to have a girlfriend (quite literally kill) that seems to be completely ignored by almost everyone, including apparently even researchers like Regnerus. I know it gets talked about here on the internet, but I’m still shocked how many people can’t even seem to acknowledge their existence. As if they’re absolutely invisible, merged into the highly advanced civilizational background they helped create.

    I think for the vast majority of people, this counter-revolution, when it finally manifests itself completely, will seem like it came out of nowhere.

    1. Vyasam

      Your comment nailed it. Also note how he focuses on interviews with women. The interviews with men are a sideshow to him. Also, he tends to uncritically accept the perspectives of the women and criticize the men. He starts with two long interviews with women, then a brief note about a man — concluding with “he’s a big of a jerk” (because he won’t marry his promiscuous girlfriend).

      But that’s the best we can get from the all-Leftist all-feminist social sciences. Dissenters are hounded out from academia.

    2. Reading through the book, about 30% in, he finally mentions the 80/20 rule:

      “Some hold that the Pareto Principle, if it fits sexual partnering patterns in the United States, means that claims I have made about the wide availability of cheap sex are not true for the majority of young-adult men in the United States.64 I understand their logic: sex may seem cheap, but it is only cheap for a minority of men. The rest do not share their experience. But I see no reason to conclude this.”

      He might want to talk to guys about their experiences with online dating apps like Tinder. From what I can tell, a few guys (like myself) are doing really well, everyone else isn’t so much.

      “For example, if among the remaining 80 percent of men fidelity and a modest sexual history among their beloved are key values, then yes—the 20/70 phenomenon may well be dragging down marriage rates in the peak years of fertility (twenties to early thirties).”

      Which is exactly what appears to be happening, as Dalrock has shown.

      “Additionally, it is easy to misinterpret the 20/70 figure by assuming that 70 percent of all women are sleeping with 20 percent of men. That would be an understandable but incorrect interpretation. Rather, 20 percent of all men are reporting 70 percent of all relationships. We can get some clarity on this misinterpretation by assessing the same among women. When we do, we find that 20 percent of women in the Relationships in America data report 65 percent of the lifetime reported male sexual partners. So what do the two figures together tell us? That high numbers of sexual partners are largely concentrated among a minority of both men and women.”

      I’m not entirely sure I believe this. My personal experience in college was that one guy in particular (in my social circle) was hooking up with a big chunk of the women, and the rest were all pining for him. There’s also the question of women possibly underreporting the amount of sexual partners they have, even on anonymous surveys.

      I remember seeing stats a while back on average number of partners for heterosexual men and women. The men had a higher average count, which should be impossible. Every time a man and woman have sex for the first time, both their numbers go up, meaning the average should always be the same for both genders (assuming heterosexuals).

      I also thought it was fascinating how he ended up picking the worst possible example of a guy who can’t get sex:

      “An example of this is Matt, a 32-year-old from Johnson City, Tennessee. He’s in a tough spot, no denying it: he’s overweight, burdened by multiple insecurities, working a part-time job requiring modest skills, has nearly $100,000 in college loans, is living with his mother, and has never been in a romantic or sexual relationship in his life. A Christian, he wishes to save sex—something he’d very much like to have—for marriage, but marriage seems out of reach. (Even sex is out of reach for men like Matt in a way that it seldom is for women.) The whole situation depresses him, clinically, which compounds the problem.”

      Meanwhile in the real world I have tons of engineering friends who have solid full-time jobs, living by themselves, no mental issues and still can’t get a girlfriend.

      Ah oh well, guess you really can’t expect much more from academics.

    3. Vyasa,

      Lots of people in America, right and left, wear thick blinders.

      Note that there is quite a bit of survey data showing some kind of pareto relationship to sex activity in the US. It doesn’t fit his narrative, and so ignores it.

    4. PAT,

      It is difficult for people, whether scientists or laypeople, to disregard the framework through which they see the world. I see this often in comments. Naturally, since the FM website exists to challenge current consensus views that endanger the Republic.

  3. 17 boy to 17 year old girl: “Stop dating 26 year old bad boys and date guys your own age!” (17 year old girl walks away laughing.)

    40 year old divorced mother of three to 40 year old man: “Stop dating 26 year old youngins and date women your own age!” (40 year old man walks away laughing.)

    Insidious_Sid laughs.

    The truth is that women are career focused in their twenties and early thirties. But, then baby rabies hits and they want that “trusty, reliable, stable, bring home the bacon cubicle dweller” to bring home the bacon while they take a hiatus from the working world. Then, when the kids are old enough (often in the middle of elementary school) she divorces this TERRIBLE emotionally unavailable BORING guy who she *loves but she’s not in love with anymore* and gets ready to soak him for child support (and spousal) until the kids are 25 or out of college. To make it even more interesting, Miss “career first” often comes with one or more kids from her previous relationships.

    The other truth is that men are aware that women who slept around the office for 15 years (especially with kids in tow) are a really bad bet for marriage. In fact, some men think marriage in GENERAL is a terrible idea, rife with risk and failing a cost-benefit analysis as well. (The idea that men are looking at a relationship with a female through a cost-benefit and risk-benefit lens is – to me- rather telling in and of itself.) Some men are officially MGTOW, while others are just “aloof and non-committal” perhaps not willing to commit social suicide by proclaiming membership in what most believe to be a meninist group of “men who can’t get the girl”. (ridiculous shaming tactic by the way.) We all know that except for the odd rare exception, most men will be instantly invisible once they stop chasing and showing off their value to try and attract women (what I call peacocking).

    Interesting subject.

    1. Sid,

      That’s a nice summary of my previous posts. This series attempts to go beyond that: “Enough Analysis!” What are the kinds of solutions available today and likely to appear tomorrow?

      And beyond that is the bigger question: how might the gender wars end?

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