Can Lysistrata Work For College Women?

November 8, 2012

So you’re happy to see me!

LYSISTRATA:

There are a lot of things about us women

That sadden me, considering how men

See us as rascals.

 

CALONICE:

As indeed we are!

 

Emily Esfahani Smith has a Plan to Reboot Dating in The Atlantic, calling on  women to implement the Lysistrata strategy as a way of ending hookup culture. (Hat tip: Stuart Schneiderman) I first became aware of Smith via her excellent article HBO’s ‘Girls’ depicts wasteland of sexual promiscuity. (She’s doing incredibly well for someone who graduated from Dartmouth in ’09.) Though a feminist, Smith disagrees with Hannah Rosin’s recent assertions:

Rosin argues that the social progress of women depends on the hook-up culture. Women in their 20s and 30s are, for the first time, more successful than their male peers. These alpha females not only outnumber men on college campuses, they have also overtaken men as the majority of the work force. This would not have been possible without sexual liberation, which has let women delay marriage and child-rearing to pursue their educational and career ambitions without worrying about the emotional burdens of a relationship. Women are better off in part because of the hook-up culture, the argument goes.

Smith then goes on to offer evidence (all of which I have previously covered here) that most women are pretty miserable in hookup culture:

  • Part of the reason the culture is so widespread is, as Rosin correctly notes, because women are choosing to have casual sex. But in another respect, they don’t have a choice. Women make the hook-up culture possible, but men are the beneficiaries of it.
  • The balance of power in the hook-up culture lies with the men, an issue that has become more pronounced as women outnumber men on campuses, creating a surplus of girls and a scarcity of guys…Robert Epstein, a professor of psychology at Harvard and an expert in relationships, said in an interview with me that the more women there are on campus, the more prevalent the hook-up culture is: “You have a situation in which relationships are bound to fail and men keep switching off from one woman to the next.”
  • The feminist sociologist Lisa Wade, based at Occidental College…found that most of [her freshman students] were “overwhelmingly disappointed with the sex they were having in hook ups. This was true of both men and women, but was felt more intensely by women. College women today feel disempowered instead of empowered by sexual encounters. They didn’t feel like equals on the sexual playground, more like jungle gyms.”
  • According to a2010 study by Carolyn Bradshaw of James Madison University, only 2 percent of women strongly prefer the hook-up culture to a dating culture.
  • Miriam Grossman, author of the 2006 book Unprotected, reports that women long for emotional involvement with their partner twice as often as men following a hook up; 91 percent of women experience regret; 80 percent of women wish the hook-up hadn’t happened; and 34 percent of women hope the hook-up develops into a relationship.
  • NYU sociologist Paula England, whom Rosin cites, says that 66 percent of women and 58 percent of men want their hook up to develop into “something more.”
  • A 2010 psychology study out of Florida State University found that students who have casual sex experience more physical and mental health problems, defined as eating disorders, alcohol use, stress, depression, suicidal feelings, than those who are in committed long-term relationships.
Smith rejects Rosin’s assertion that “The hookup culture is too bound up with everything that’s fabulous about being a young woman in 2012—the freedom, the confidence, the knowledge that you can always depend on yourself.”
 

Sexual liberation may be indispensable to female progress, but the hook-up culture is not empowering for all women. This isn’t to say that early marriage or abstinence is the solution. But these are not the only alternatives to the hook-up culture, either. There is a middle way: meaningful sex in the context of a non-marital relationship.

In other words, the solution is a dating culture, which still allows women to delay marriage and pursue their careers, and also lets them have those intimate relationships with men that they don’t want to delay.

This puts Smith and me squarely on the same page, as this reflects my own views about what constitutes potentially achievable change. Smith spoke with a woman on staff at Dartmouth’s Women’s Center, who began their discussion by saying this:

The point of hooking up is for both people to get something out of it. If it’s to get off, then that’s great. . . . If it’s to work some issue out—like sexual assault—then that’s great. It’s basically to get pleasure and enjoyment out of it . . . the hook-up culture is good for experimentation, and what someone does for experimentation is up to them.

…I don’t think [love is] necessary. Yeah, you know—it’s nice. But if you’re talking about sex and the hook-up culture, it’s not needed. The point of the hook-up culture is not to get attached—no strings attached.

Aside from the deeply disturbing idea that hooking up is a good way to get past the trauma of sexual assualt, it turns out this woman doesn’t even believe in the politics she’s spewing, as she goes on to say that hooking up certainly was never right for her.

Smith retorts:

Hooking up, in fact, shares the defining feature of a sexual assault: using another person for your own sexual gratification, without any regard as to what that person wants or how he or she feels. The philosopher Immanuel Kant—who warns against using another person as a mere means to some end—was closer to the truth than many of today’s sexual health experts when he wrote that sex “taken by itself … is a degradation of human nature.”

…One friend tells me that the girls on campus would prefer a culture of dating to one of hooking up, but they would never admit it or ask for it. If girls demanded dating before hooking up, guys would be unmoved, she explained. “There are always going to be other girls for them to hook up with so we’ll just get left behind.”

These women are looking at the problem the wrong way, I think. They need to realize that, in spite of campus sex ratios and prevailing cultural trends, they hold the power when it comes to the hook up culture. They hold the power when it comes to sex.

This was the insight of Lysistrata, the shrewd heroine of Aristophanes’ marvelous play by the same name. Lysistrata was able to diagnose a problem in her society and to take actions and overcome obstacles to solve it. 

For those who have not read the ancient Greek play, it was written in 411 BCE, and is a comedy where one woman convinces all the other wives to withhold sex from their husbands as a way of pressuring them to achieve peace and end the Peloponnesian War. Hilarity ensues as men stumble around with obvious erections, and ultimately they agree to initiate peace talks. 

Lysistrata has been a feminist favorite, as it celebrates the power of women over men, who appear to do all their thinking with their dicks. However, it also portrays women as using their own genitals to get what they want. There is perhaps some truth in both of these caricatures, as evidenced by the play’s popularity for 2,400 years. 

I first mentioned Lysistrata as a possible model for change years ago here at HUS, but readily acknowledged that such a plan could never work. The strategy amounts to the creation of a cartel, where a small group of suppliers agrees to fix prices in order to share the wealth rather than drive one another out of business via competition. Cartels are notoriously unstable, because at any time one member can defect, drop the price, and scoop up all the demand for a larger short-term gain. The incentive to cheat is great.

To deal with hookup culture, the Lysistrata strategy would be effective only if all female participants (hardly a small group of suppliers) agreed to stop having casual sex, demanding commitment of some form in exchange for sex. We do not need to look very far to find women staunchly defending their right and desire to hook up, whether to pursue physical pleasure freely without judgment or to defend the political stance of feminists. In fact, what we have now is a free market where a small group of women offers sex for free (see: cow, milk) and a small group of men has access to that supply.

While some of those women are clearly distressed by their inability to obtain girlfriend status from their hookups, they have bet on hooking up as a better road to commitment than sitting out, and they are unlikely to forfeit the male attention they currently receive in hopes of making things better for everyone. Raising the price of sex would invite greatly increased competition from all the women not hooking up much, weakening the bargaining power of promiscuous women, limited though it is. 

However, I do think there is value in the Lysistrata concept with some adaptation. If all of the women currently not benefiting from hookup culture in any way (obviously a large majority) were to declare their unwillingness to participate and play by those rules, it would serve two purposes:

1. It would explode the myth that basically everybody is hooking up regularly and feels comfortable doing it, which is prevalent on college campuses. 

2. It would identify the women who are interested in a more traditional dating model where emotional intimacy precedes physical intimacy. 

In other words, this move would clearly identify the dissatisfied 80+% of females. Their unhappy male counterparts would have an opportunity to bring back the date. Of course, some of the women only want the players to take them on dates, but that isn’t going to happen. They’re probably better off continuing to hook up and snag whatever crumbs of affection and attention they can from men who have no desire or incentive to offer anything in return for sex. 

Lysistrata isn’t quite right, we need something more along the lines of Take Back the Date Night. But I do think Smith is onto something here – if most women don’t dig it, there’s real potential for a shift. 

I’ll be giving this more thought, perhaps reaching out to campus groups, associations of university women, etc. All suggestions are welcome!

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  • Underdog

    “Hooking up, in fact, shares the defining feature of a sexual assault”

    I stopped reading right there.

  • VD

    As you probably already know, I am dubious about the proposition myself, due to the fact of Lysistrata being complete fiction. In real life, the Spartans raped the starving, disease-stricken Athenian women after Athens surrendered. Also, it strikes me rather like men trying to fix the SMP by citing Star Trek.

    “First, we build a holodeck!”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @VD

      As you probably already know, I am dubious about the proposition myself, due to the fact of Lysistrata being complete fiction.

      Ha, I did know that. I think Lysistrata is really just a convenient popular culture reference to desribe the cartel concept, which is what Smith is really proposing. Obviously, in the play these were women and their husbands, not strangers.

      Coincidentally, a recent bestselling novel is based on Lysistrata: The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer:

      When the elliptical new drama teacher at Stellar Plains High School chooses for the school play Lysistrata-the comedy by Aristophanes in which women stop having sex with men in order to end a war-a strange spell seems to be cast over the school. Or, at least, over the women. One by one throughout the high school community, perfectly healthy, normal women and teenage girls turn away from their husbands and boyfriends in the bedroom, for reasons they don’t really understand. As the women worry over their loss of passion, and the men become by turns unhappy, offended, and above all, confused, both sides are forced to look at their shared history, and at their sexual selves in a new light.

  • http://www.alfin2500.blogspot.com Alice Finkel

    The problem will correct itself, eventually. Higher education has become an incredibly artificial and surprisingly authoritarian (no free speech) environment. College debt in the US is stratospheric, and is not going to be paid in full. Colleges are top-heavy with staff and unnecessary luxuries. And the value received by students from college credentials is diminishing steadily.

    Alternative education and alternative credentialing are cropping up. A failing national economy will eventually shift the locus of power in education away from colleges to more practical and efficacious learning institutions.

    Extreme forms of hooking-up are reminiscent of the pre-HIV San Francisco bathhouse culture. Driven necessarily by male libido, gay bathhouses were custom made for the rapid spread of HIV and other STDs.

    Minority students at particular institutions can be particularly affected by the downside of hooking up. It is not a homogeneous phenomenon, and is not without collateral damage.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Alice Finkel

      Welcome, you’ve made some good points. We are seeing huge changes in higher education, and online education is going to be huge. The unique American four-year college experience is definitely endangered. In the short term, hookup culture will worsen if women continue to outnumber men by ever greater numbers in college. All of this is going to take a while to shake out, and women who are 21 today need some practical ways of addressing the issue.

      Extreme forms of hooking-up are reminiscent of the pre-HIV San Francisco bathhouse culture. Driven necessarily by male libido, gay bathhouses were custom made for the rapid spread of HIV and other STDs.

      Very much so. In fact, I’ve been struck by several parallels to gay culture. Of course, two men who are wired to enjoy sexual variety are going to find the culture less risky from an emotional POV, though obviously it’s risky from a physical health standpoint. It’s interesting – no matter how much I beat the drum re STDs, even here, I find that no one focuses on that very real risk. We really don’t pay attention as a population until we’re experiencing an epidemic that threatens everyone in some way. Remember how heavily the idea that straight people would all get AIDS was promoted? I remember feeling terrified of that, and I was already married with children!

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    Lysistrata cannot work, since it requires slut-shaming to avoid breaking the cartel — and if there’s anything that feminist-influenced college girls hate, it’s slut-shaming. You can’t have a dating culture with hookup culture assumptions. Besides, they don’t want to do away with hooking up entirely, making the problem worse.

    As for commitment, there’s no reason to commit to a girl who isn’t having sex with you, since she’s free to break up the relationship whenever she wants, making all your relationship investment a waste. This creates an incentive for women to put out early for the possibility of commitment, but the guys women like — alpha cads — don’t commit, so they end up losing out.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Lysistrata cannot work, since it requires slut-shaming to avoid breaking the cartel — and if there’s anything that feminist-influenced college girls hate, it’s slut-shaming.

      Agreed. Slut shaming is a non-starter. DOA. That’s why a voluntary group of “Ask me on a date!” t-shirt wearing women would be a far better approach.

      As for commitment, there’s no reason to commit to a girl who isn’t having sex with you, since she’s free to break up the relationship whenever she wants, making all your relationship investment a waste.

      When I came of age, the ultimate goal was the simultaneous orgasm, which is quite silly. Today it’s the simultaneous DTR/Let’s have sex moment.

  • Apollinian

    Such a coordinated move would work if performed in a visible way by the most attractive women, who indeed can dictate their terms in the sexual market. Herd mentality and the aspirational inclinations of the other women would take care of the rest. Men would adapt to the new conditions, as we have always done. But such move would imply a reasoned approach, an understanding of sex differences and a long-term orientation on the part of the leading women. The promotion of such attitudes was the role of culture, but with that gone, we are left with the short-term-oriented, emotion-driven behaviors that guarantee a worsening of the situation: the exultation of our basest nature and further distancing between men and women.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Apollinian

      Such a coordinated move would work if performed in a visible way by the most attractive women, who indeed can dictate their terms in the sexual market. Herd mentality and the aspirational inclinations of the other women would take care of the rest.

      Yes, you’d have to get some of the “cool” girls with high status to do it. Some Queen Bees. They don’t necessarily need to be the best looking, as they are influencing women, not men.

      Men currently having sex with good-looking slutty girls have little to fear.

      The promotion of such attitudes was the role of culture, but with that gone, we are left with the short-term-oriented, emotion-driven behaviors that guarantee a worsening of the situation: the exultation of our basest nature and further distancing between men and women.

      Sadly agree.

  • Escoffier

    The big flaw in that article is that the author completely fails to recognize that it’s not “men” who benefit from hook-up culture but “some men.”

    The strategy could work but only if a strong majority participated and very few ever broke ranks. The regime of societally/religiously enforced monogamy was built up over centuries, even millenia, and I don’t see it being replaced within our lifetimes. It could be rebuilt though after a really spectacular collapse.

    Although, there are examples of societies “re-moralizing” themselves, e.g., randy Regency England gave way to the Victorians. But there still was a lot of cultural and religious capital in that country back then to draw from and build on. It’s just not present in the West any more.

    So, no.

  • http://bastiatblogger.blogspot.com/ Bastiat Blogger

    It’s a really interesting situation. As a general statement, the guys on campus don’t have much in the way of current resources to exchange for sex. Obviously the men could signal that they are good horses to bet on and engage in LTR patterns that consider economic prospects and future resources, but that story would involve “marrying the college sweetheart” and this is very difficult to buy into given the volatility of post-college travel, employment, etc.

    The traits that would make a great husband are clearly less valuable if there is little chance that the guy is going to become the husband, and I think members of both genders are pretty fatalistic on this score. It’s perhaps akin to: Option A) spend 6 months with a fun, highly entertaining BMOC guy—then break up; Option B) spend 6 months with an ambitious, hard-studying, serious guy—then break up. Option B would make sense if you removed the near certainty of the relationship shelf-life, but I think this shelf-life really is a key part of the current feminist-approved lifeway for young professional women.

    The cartel model is difficult when the # of suppliers exceeds the # of customers and each customer is being asked to commit to an exclusivity contract; even if this was practical it would guarantee the insolvency of some % of suppliers, and of course exclusivity contracts cut both ways and could limit female post-college mobility.

    Basically feminism and preferential treatment of female students have succeeded in their proximate goals at the cost of creating tremendous overcapacity of potential sexual supply on college campuses, and internet porn (“threat of substitute products”) has probably done the rest. When Emily Smith writes about men having SMP power on campus, she may be engaging in some survivorship bias: she’s not including the many young men who have not been able to participate in the campus hook-up culture because, these days, they aren’t able to get on campus at all.

    I think it will sort itself out over time if more women come to prioritize “traditional” relationships and college enrollments eventually shift back to reflect this, but for all I know that could take decades. Ultimately this is a story of trade-offs in a world of unlimited wants and limited means.

  • tito

    the only thing that will work for women is to have “it all” taken away from them. lysistrata can only work if it is imposed by the culture, they’ll never go to it themselves.

  • Andy

    This is just women whining about not getting their own way, despite getting their own way. You fought to be sluts, well sluts you are and you can never go back.

    Look at it this way, it’s very funny for all those watching.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Where on earth are these people coming from?

  • mr. wavevector

    Over at the Atlantic site I left a comment, currently the “best”, that blasted Ms. Smith for her feminist mindset – advocating the sexual coercion of men to meet female emotional demands rather than negotiating a fair exchange. I too proposed another solution – “that young women acknowledge that the emotional investment they want from men is something of considerable value and cannot be coerced nor demanded as an entitlement. Instead, young women should make an effort to find out what men would like in return for their emotional investment, and then offer them that in a mutually satisfactory exchange.”

    What is that that men want, and that women can provide, that might motivate greater male emotional investment? I didn’t want to get into it there, but you know what men like: feminine, nurturing behavior, with bit of vulnerability and an enticing hint of willing submissiveness. That’s what triggers the male instinct to care for and cherish a woman.

    The trouble with the college girls is that the very idea of feminine behavior, particularly the submissiveness, has become so repugnant to them that they can’t even fake it to coax a relationship out of a guy. Instead they double down on their physical sexual displays and promiscuous behavior. But while their physical sexuality may induce an erection, it is inadequate to induce a commitment.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      mr. wavevector

      I too proposed another solution – “that young women acknowledge that the emotional investment they want from men is something of considerable value and cannot be coerced nor demanded as an entitlement. Instead, young women should make an effort to find out what men would like in return for their emotional investment, and then offer them that in a mutually satisfactory exchange.”

      I think this is extremely reasonable and as you say, much better than a withholding strategy, which even if it could work, would bring men to the table unwillingly and feeling taken advantage of. The problem I see is in the second part of your statement. In practical terms, how can women find out what men would like? What sort of effort is required? Before you say, “ask them” let me just point out that the vast majority of students is not hooking up habitually. Rather than trying to get promiscuous men and women to give others a chance, which is doomed to failure, I propose finding a way to bring together the men and women who would welcome a dating culture. All voluntary. But those groups are currently divided, or are at least failing to communicate well enough to date.

      The trouble with the college girls is that the very idea of feminine behavior, particularly the submissiveness, has become so repugnant to them that they can’t even fake it to coax a relationship out of a guy.

      I think some women find femininity repugnant (I had a swarm of radfem knitters here just last week despising a post urging femininity), but I think many more literally have no idea how to go about being feminine. I certainly wasn’t taught that growing up, and that was the 60s and 70s. Trying to teach my daughter that was an experiment, really. I had no idea what I was doing. As for submissiveness, you’re right – that’s the third rail. I like the idea of an enticing hint, particularly since it’s not very hard to point out to women that they are attracted to dominance.

  • Mireille

    @ Andy,

    The only funny thing we’re watching here is your tiny appendice showing through that sad post :(
    We sluts know how to recognize those; after all we do “handle” a lot of them on a daily basis.

    @ Wavevector,
    If you probably took the time to read the articles properly, you’d see that the surveys cover both, female and male, discontent. It not about forcing men to meet our demands, its about forcing the system so that all, female and male, can have their needs met.

  • J

    While I regard much of what Hannah Rosin has to say about the hook up culture as BS, I do think she is right in saying that to a degree, the female agenda of not comitting until education is complete, is part of what drives it. Alice Finkel makes some excellent points regarding how changes in the educational system will change the SMP. Nonetheless, I do think that young women can and should refuse sex without monogamy–and, given your figures, Susan, I think that many already do.

  • Höllenhund

    “As you probably already know, I am dubious about the proposition myself, due to the fact of Lysistrata being complete fiction.”

    Another thing conveniently ignored is that the women in the play mobilized to make men, you know, end a war, not to better behave themselves in the mating market, which is a lot different.

    And the thing with that is: has there ever been a documented case of women in any community making a conscious, organized and successful effort in order to end male-on-male violence? I think not.

  • Darsh

    @Susan Walsh:

    Where on earth are these people coming from?

    Readers from the Atlantic perhaps? Or more likely: Your readers who haven’t bothered to post before for one reason or another. You’ve said it yourself, the people who participate in the discussions are far fewer in number than the ones who read your blog.

    For my part, I find myself wondering whether I would like a Lysistrata-solution or not… On the one hand, finding good girls would be easier, and I actually like going on dates. On the other, after finally adding enough Alpha (thanks to Roissy et al.), I’m able to do quite well for myself in the current SMP. And the good girls are quite rare anyways.

    If I was still a teenager or if I were a father, I might be more inclined to this solution. But as a mid- to late twenties former nice guy, I’m having it pretty good right now. And any change wouldn’t much benefit me.

    Though as other have said, you’re more or less considering joining a losing battle.

  • Mireille

    @ Hollenhund,

    You should do a bit of reading; women in Liberia (West Africa) actually put an end to conflict in their country using a mix of sex strike, non-violent protest and public space occupation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_of_Liberia_Mass_Action_for_Peace

    There are plenty of instances where women push for the end of violence, especially when rape is use as a weapon of war, In Colombia, Argentina, India, etc… A bit of education is in need.

  • Jonny

    Men should withhold sex. Withholding sex becomes the new “War on Women”. Women will fight back. Men will give in.

    What I don’t get is there is no such thing as the middle ground as proposed. Screwing around via a pretense of a semi-committed relationship. Men will pretend and then dump her.

    Should college kids date? Goodness, dating is for relationships and marriage candidates. It is not for hookups and semi-commitments.

    If women don’t like it, don’t do it. Is that so hard?

  • Sassy6519

    Lysistrata cannot work, since it requires slut-shaming to avoid breaking the cartel — and if there’s anything that feminist-influenced college girls hate, it’s slut-shaming. You can’t have a dating culture with hookup culture assumptions. Besides, they don’t want to do away with hooking up entirely, making the problem worse.

    + 1 on both counts. I don’t think that a Lysistrata situation, with regards to hookup culture, could ever fully be accomplished. Even if some women did purposefully start withholding sex, there will always be a segment of women who have and enjoy sex for its own sake. Women who thoroughly enjoy hooking up would never jump on the bandwagon. It would set up a cartel like situation.

    What is that that men want, and that women can provide, that might motivate greater male emotional investment? I didn’t want to get into it there, but you know what men like: feminine, nurturing behavior, with bit of vulnerability and an enticing hint of willing submissiveness. That’s what triggers the male instinct to care for and cherish a woman.

    Yeah, I know I’m deficient in those areas. I think I’m a work in progress however. I’ll never be highly feminine/vulnerable/submissive, but I think I can at least try to add a little bit of those things to my personality. Having said that, there’s only so much radical change that a person’s inherent personality can go through. I know that I will never be a doting housewife or SAHM. Those two things are simply incongruent with who I am and who I want to become.

  • http://bastiatblogger.blogspot.com/ Bastiat Blogger

    Let’s pick some future date and say that we have 100 students on campus and a 60/40 split. Let’s pretend that everyone is equally attractive.

    40 men pledge “till graduation do us part” monogamy oaths to 40 women. 20 women get nothing.

    At graduation, this explodes. 100 college-educated singles emerge. The 60 women get their acts together sooner than the males do, and decide after 3 years in NYC that it is time to go husband shopping. They decide to look for men aged 27-28—successful/stable enough to provide, perhaps able to be support an SAHM option, etc.

    The problem is that this asymmetry in college graduation rates has been going on for some time now, and so there are fewer college-educated 27-28 year old men than there are college-educated 27-28-year-old women. So those older women will be understandably reluctant to have their younger “sisters” poach from their cohort of eligible males.

    So let’s say that 27-28-year-old women refuse a bidding war and instead seek men aged 32-33. But we have only managed to hand the grenade off to the 32-33 women, who were facing their own austere conditions. Still, we can push out one more time…

    The game is now coming to its dramatic climax. The commitment-minded men of the next several age cohorts PROBABLY WANT TO BE DADS. They won’t continually accept older female candidates; they’ll start to freeze their requirements on women who they can raise families with.

    Perhaps we can expect some “Dad-shaming” attempts to begin in a few years.

    Perhaps this may not be a war of men against women so much as it is a war of women of different age cohorts going to war with one another as they face two harsh, unavoidable scarcity realities: 1) not enough similarly-educated men to go around; and 2) a biologically-imposed, limited safe reproductive window.

    It is certainly possible that women will seek mates outside of the pool of college-educated males and this of course may be quite rational if professional/academic hypergamy proves to be a Manosphere will-o’-wisp (I don’t think it is; I think that at least this variation of hypergamy is quite real, and it creates yet an additional layer of asymmetry as traditional-marriage-minded, college-educated Provisioning-type men may be quite ok with having non-college-educated wives, but the reverse may not be true).

    It seems to me like ultimately this comes down to a numbers game, with two quantitative entities—“60/40” (or worse) and “Age 35” (+/1 a few years) being the chief generators of much mischief.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @BB

      Perhaps this may not be a war of men against women so much as it is a war of women of different age cohorts going to war with one another as they face two harsh, unavoidable scarcity realities: 1) not enough similarly-educated men to go around; and 2) a biologically-imposed, limited safe reproductive window.

      Bingo. Expect intrasexual female competition to get even more fierce. A young woman shared a story with me recently. She was celebrating her 23rd birthday at dinner with some friends, and they went to a bar for a drink afterwards. There she ran into someone she had worked with in her 18th summer at a camp. He was 6 years older – what seemed like a HUGE difference when she was 18 now seemed like an attractive and reasonable age difference. He appeared to sense it too, treating her more like a peer than a high school kid as he had back in 2007. They struck up a conversation and had great chemistry. After a while a woman sidled up to him and appeared to stake her claim. She looked about 30. She said, “Who’s this girl you’re talking to Jack?” He introduced them and mentioned that Kate was celebrating her 23rd birthday. The woman said, “23? Oh that is so cute, you little baby.” The young woman felt the put down, but Jack turned to the 30 yo and said, “Actually, if you’ll excuse us, Kate and I have some catching up to do.” That 30 yo woman is SOL and she knows it.

      It is certainly possible that women will seek mates outside of the pool of college-educated males and this of course may be quite rational if professional/academic hypergamy proves to be a Manosphere will-o’-wisp (I don’t think it is; I think that at least this variation of hypergamy is quite real

      I don’t think it is either. I think we’re going to see female college graduates howling in indignation. You know, all the women I know in college are well aware that the ratio is lopsided, even if it isn’t at their particular campus. But when I mention the impact on assortative mating for marriage in a few years, they look dumbstruck. And after a minute or two, they say, “I’ll just go older.” Someone is going to have to pay the piper.

      It seems to me like ultimately this comes down to a numbers game, with two quantitative entities—”60/40″ (or worse) and “Age 35″ (+/1 a few years) being the chief generators of much mischief.

      Haha, I love the word mischief, but in this case it will not be of the impish, entertaining variety.

  • Thomas

    “Of course, some of the women only want the players to take them on dates, but that isn’t going to happen.” For “some,” read “most, if not all.” It’s the small number of the most attractive and socially-dominant men (mostly Greeks, as the article implies) who are hooking up whom college women are going to want to somehow start engaging in traditional courtship, not the 80-90% that would have to be in the game for the pareto optimal goal of this strategy to be attainable. That’s the definition of hypergamy, and an additional reason why the “Lysistrata strategy” would never work. In addition to Lysistrata being, you know, fictional.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      In addition to Lysistrata being, you know, fictional.

      The fact that Lysistrata is a fiction rather than a historical fact does not strike me as relevant. Even if it had actually happened in 411 BCE we would hardly be able to extrapolate and predict its success today. It is the idea that is interesting, though perhaps unrealistic. We have a marketplace with supply and demand for sex. If we restrict the supply of sex, the price for sex will go up. We don’t need the history books to grasp the truth of this.

      Lysistrata will not work because single women would not abide by the rules of the cartel. If they did, however, there is no question but that men would line up with marriage proposals to get sex, just as they did before the price of sex plummeted.

  • Ion

    “Nonetheless, I do think that young women can and should refuse sex without monogamy–and, given your figures, Susan, I think that many already do.”

    Yup. I believe that some (probably millions) of young women do. But without the “we’re on strike!!!” headlines… well, what good is going on a food strike against war if you’re in your room starving and no one knows?

    I happen to know several women who’ve just decided to sit out during all 4 years of college. Not because they have a low SMV and no one wants them anyway, nor because they have too high standards and no one wants them anyway. The truth is that the assembly line of tail was a depressing environment for them: not even an entertaining harem, just a depressing harem.

    When the option is 1.”HIV harem”, and 2.”re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy”, I believe many women silently choose box 2.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ion

      Yup. I believe that some (probably millions) of young women do. But without the “we’re on strike!!!” headlines… well, what good is going on a food strike against war if you’re in your room starving and no one knows?

      Precisely. Which is why I think there’s something to be said for a PR gambit here.

  • Brendan

    Rather than trying to get promiscuous men and women to give others a chance, which is doomed to failure, I propose finding a way to bring together the men and women who would welcome a dating culture. All voluntary. But those groups are currently divided, or are at least failing to communicate well enough to date.

    I think a core problem is that these groups, often, don’t find the counterparts attractive. That is, the women in that group are looking for *hot* men who will commit to them, and the men are looking for *hot* women who will commit to them. The hot men and women are mostly (not exclusively, but mostly) in the hook-up culture of course, particularly on the male side of the equation, because being a hot man on a college campus where there is already a man shortage is like being the fat kid at Willy Wonkas — he has no incentive at all, barring personal preferences or moral restrictions, to not partake, and so most of them partake, and partake heartily in what is on offer.

    Attraction is a key issue here, I think. The men in the “interested in dating” group are going to be disproportionately not “hot”, due to the lifestyle afforded the hot guys on college campuses today. To change that without changing the sex ratio would require a more comprehensive Lysistrata, which isn’t realistic or workable (there would be too many female scabs). Changing the sex ratio is more realistic, but of course the educational community, being in the back pocket of academic feminism, has no interest at all in that.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Brendan

      Attraction is a key issue here, I think. The men in the “interested in dating” group are going to be disproportionately not “hot”, due to the lifestyle afforded the hot guys on college campuses today. To change that without changing the sex ratio would require a more comprehensive Lysistrata, which isn’t realistic or workable (there would be too many female scabs). Changing the sex ratio is more realistic, but of course the educational community, being in the back pocket of academic feminism, has no interest at all in that.

      I’m glad you showed up, I’d like to run something by you. You are younger than me I think, by at least 10 years, but you remember an earlier period of assortative mating, if I’m not mistaken. I agree with you that attraction is a key issue. There is no doubt that Greeks and athletes (and their female counterparts) make up a large portion of the population that is high status, cool, and hooking up. Everyone on campus knows who they are, by virtue of their sense of ownership of their surroundings, as well as the fact that they all wear clothing that brands them part of this elite population. Nothing new about that – this goes back to the advent of dating in the 20s and the role of Greek organizations in promulgating that culture.

      Here’s what I’d like to compare to today: When I was in college (mid-late 70s) people were pretty good at pairing up, even though the Sex Rev was beginning to have an impact, women were going home with Mr. Goodbar, etc. There was still the traditional norm of going steady in college, and most women did not have sex casually. Those who did were branded sluts. So the two hottest people would pair off. There would be several couples like that – golden. And so it filtered on down. I distinctly recall figuring out precisely what my SMV was based on which guys did not flirt back, which guys flirted back, and which guys eagerly asked if they could carry my books. I wound up dating guys that flirted back. And truly, I was attracted to them. I did not long for what I obviously could not have. In my experience, this system worked quite well all around. There were various SMVs represented, even in the Greek scene I was a part of, and assortative mating took place within that realm quite successfully. In fact, the least attractive women in my sorority happily paired off with the less attractive guys – and not only that – they were genuinely sexually attracted.

      This is what has been lost perhaps. The idea that you figure out your place, and then select from people in the same range. We did not “settle” – the butterflies were real. I think we wanted relationships, we wanted to date, we wanted to fall in love with someone, and we wanted to have sex. We found the best in people we were well matched to and we made that happen.

      This is how I know that attraction triggers are culturally malleable. In my day, a 6 couldn’t get a 10, and didn’t try. But the 6 did get the hots for another 6. Obviously, the unleashing of female sexuality/hypergamy is a factor, but I sense it is more than that. Your thoughts?

  • VD

    Having said that, there’s only so much radical change that a person’s inherent personality can go through. I know that I will never be a doting housewife or SAHM. Those two things are simply incongruent with who I am and who I want to become.

    (Laughs) That may well be, but keep in mind that you never know, Sassy. You truly never know. There are no shortage of people who believe that the fact that I am married as absolute proof of divine intervention in human affairs. And I know ambitious Ivy League MBAs who never wanted marriage or kids who are now happy, doting housewives.

    Life is what happened when you look in the mirror one day and wonder “who the hell is that and what is she doing here?”

  • VD

    When the option is 1.”HIV harem”, and 2.”re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy”, I believe many women silently choose box 2.

    I think you’re underestimating the appeal of STD bingo. You might be surprised at how many women respond favorably to an intoxicated man standing on a table and shouting “I need syphilis, are there any women in the house tonight with syphilis?”

    Most amusing response: “I think I might have chlamydia, would that be okay?”

  • http://aplace-formythoughts.blogspot.com/ Renee

    Brendan,
    I think a core problem is that these groups, often, don’t find the counterparts attractive. That is, the women in that group are looking for *hot* men who will commit to them, and the men are looking for *hot* women who will commit to them.

    You hit the nail on the head…..

  • Madelena

    @Brendan

    I think a core problem is that these groups, often, don’t find the counterparts attractive. That is, the women in that group are looking for *hot* men who will commit to them, and the men are looking for *hot* women who will commit to them.

    My response:

    I look at old pics and there seems to be greater proportion of decent looking people in crowd shots and random portraits. My parents’ high school graduation pics was full of 6-8s (both men and women). Sometimes I wonder if we are regressing looks-wise generation by generation…

  • Sassy6519

    @ VD

    (Laughs) That may well be, but keep in mind that you never know, Sassy. You truly never know. There are no shortage of people who believe that the fact that I am married as absolute proof of divine intervention in human affairs. And I know ambitious Ivy League MBAs who never wanted marriage or kids who are now happy, doting housewives.

    Life is what happened when you look in the mirror one day and wonder “who the hell is that and what is she doing here?”

    Yeah, there’s always a slim chance. Knowing myself though, I’d be willing to bet good money that I will never become a doting housewife/SAHM.

    It’s hard to describe really. When I think of those two scenarios, I have an instinctive gut reaction of disgust. I know it’s odd and not that common, but that’s what I experience.

    I have never opposed other women wanting those things. Whenever some of my friends talk about wanting to have kids or talk about being housewives, I encourage them to do so. I just really believe that it isn’t for me.

    I’ve been doing quite a lot of introspection lately, per the usual, and I’ve started to wonder whether or not I’m really cut out for traditional relationships/monogamy/marriage. I’ve even contemplated whether or not I would be willing to enter into an open relationship. To be honest, I haven’t been fully satisfied by any of the relationships I have been in. Whenever I’ve been in a relationship, one of the 4 following things have happened:

    1. I always feel like something is missing.
    2. I reminisce about being single.
    3. I fantasize about sex I’ve had with other people.
    4. I encounter another person I want to sleep with.

    Every single one of my relationships have run into one of the aforementioned glitches/bumps. I’m starting to wonder if those things will ever cease to affect my relationships. Maybe I’m never very satisfied in relationships because I try to force myself into traditional relationships/monogamy. Maybe I’m just not cut out for those things. Maybe I should stop fighting it.

  • Ramble

    As some others have already pointed out, Lysistrata is simply Slut Shaming by a different name.

    It still involves getting a large percentage of girls to not be slutty.

  • Abbot

    “Minority students at particular institutions can be particularly affected by the downside of hooking up. It is not a homogeneous phenomenon,”

    Thats where the future worthy wives come from

  • Ion

    Sassy

    “Every single one of my relationships have run into one of the aforementioned glitches/bumps. I’m starting to wonder if those things will ever cease to affect my relationships. Maybe I’m never very satisfied in relationships because I try to force myself into traditional relationships/monogamy. Maybe I’m just not cut out for those things. Maybe I should stop fighting it.”

    Sassy, this seems to be more about commitment avoidance and lack of trust of men than about something inherently missing from your personality. To me, these issues can definitely be fixed once worked on. You’re still young, and even as a 28 year old I’ve learned so much about myself since I was your age, about my likes and dislikes, personality gliches etc.,

    For example when men ask if you want kids, I hope you will reconsider the answer. In 5 years, you won’t know how you feel (many of the women now 30 and single had no idea they wanted kids at 23).

    Sometimes, you have to date against type in order to discover what type of relationship you’d be good at. i.e, I thought I’d always love the intellectual high-end beta/successful loner type, and got exactly what I wanted more than once. After dating this type for a while, I discovered that this is NOT what I want. Intellectual men often come with some “moody” personality baggage, pretentiousness, and arrogance, for example (I even doubt that it’s healthy for me to date another loner). Anyway as you date more, you may even discover that your “type” is responsible for the glitches and bumps you’re experiencing, and it might be time to “tweek” your preferences just a bit.

    The good news is that you’re self-aware and introspective, so you will quickly adapt to any changes you need to make.

  • Abbot

    How much longer until Jezebel and good ol Marcotte start spitting all over this Atlantic piece?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      How much longer until Jezebel and good ol Marcotte start spitting all over this Atlantic piece?

      Yeah, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already. It wasn’t two days before Marcotte had Tracy Clark Flory backpedaling on her piece at Salon. Smith is not a sex-pozzie though. She has written for the Washington Times – taking a decidedly conservative and unusual stance for a young feminist re casual sex. I hope that Marcotte tried and was shot down.

  • Ion

    VD

    “You might be surprised at how many women respond favorably to an intoxicated man standing on a table and shouting “I need syphilis, are there any women in the house tonight with syphilis?”

    Holy crap, is that where your alias came from?!!?

  • Tom.s

    College women don’t need Lysistrata.

    They just need to find me.

    May I please have a girlfriend now?

  • Sai

    @mr. wavevector
    “I too proposed another solution – “that young women acknowledge that the emotional investment they want from men is something of considerable value and cannot be coerced nor demanded as an entitlement. Instead, young women should make an effort to find out what men would like in return for their emotional investment, and then offer them that in a mutually satisfactory exchange.”
    That’s perfectly reasonable and fair.
    (How much submissiveness is enticing? I have no problem with supplying food and sex, but I am the sort of person who when ordered to jump for seemingly no good reason will ask “why?”)

    @VD

    “I think you’re underestimating the appeal of STD bingo. You might be surprised at how many women respond favorably to an intoxicated man standing on a table and shouting “I need syphilis, are there any women in the house tonight with syphilis?”
    Where is that establishment so I can never go there?

  • Esau

    Escoffier: The big flaw in that article is that the author completely fails to recognize that it’s not “men” who benefit from hook-up culture but “some men.”

    I agree. Smith would have been a lot more credible, more sympathetic, and more practical, if she didn’t obviously have her apex stuck so far up her fallacy, so to speak.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I agree. Smith would have been a lot more credible, more sympathetic, and more practical, if she didn’t obviously have her apex stuck so far up her fallacy, so to speak.

      In Smith’s defense, it is unlikely she perceived this at Dartmouth, has read about it elsewhere in the media, or found it in the literature about hooking up. Truly, the apex fallacy remains a secret. I don’t know why.

  • http://bastiatblogger.blogspot.com/ Bastiat Blogger

    Susan, here’s a heavily simplified run-down of something that I have heard in my classes. I figure you can put it into your analytical engine and make sense of it.

    Me: “So, ladies, now that we’ve talked about the Japanese demographic crisis…how many children do you think you would like to have?”

    Typical Female Student: “Oh, 2-3.”

    Me: “Ok, sounds good. How many years between kids?”

    Typical Female Student: “2-3, I think.”

    Me: “How old do you want to be when you have your last kid?”

    Typical Female Student: “Around 35-36.”

    Me: “How long do you want to be married before you have your first child?”

    Typical Female Student: “Approx. 2 years.”

    Me: “How long do you want to date your man before you get married?”

    Typical Female Student: “2-3 years.”

    Me: “How important is career, grad school, travel, etc. to you?”

    Typical Female Student: “Very important. That’s what my 20s are for.”

    !!!!

    This is what engineers might call a “tightly-coupled system”. There isn’t much slack here to absorb shocks if anything goes wrong with the plan.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @BB

      This is what engineers might call a “tightly-coupled system”. There isn’t much slack here to absorb shocks if anything goes wrong with the plan.

      Seriously. I just ran the numbers and she basically has to start dating her future husband at age 25-26. In fact, I do not think that is unusual – it’s probably the most common timeline for educated women. However. She obviously cannot do that if she’s setting aside her 20s for self-actualization, or if she is writing them off as one long party. The woman with future time-orientation will sort this out as she moves forward – meeting her husband in grad school (as I did), at work, through friends made at work, etc. However, you are right that there is little margin for error. Quite a few of my attractive female classmates in grad school have never married – and these were women who were giddy over guys at 25.

  • HanSolo

    There was a culinary Lysistrata on Little House on the Prairie that I remember from my childhood. lol The women stopped cooking and taking care of their kids until the men caved in and supported their voting rights.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      There was a culinary Lysistrata on Little House on the Prairie that I remember from my childhood. lol The women stopped cooking and taking care of their kids until the men caved in and supported their voting rights.

      In The Quiet Man, Maureen O’Hara refuses to have sex with John Wayne after the wedding until he has stood up to her brother and demanded her dowry. The sexual tension between them is fierce – and John Wayne said it was his favorite of all his movies. Needless to say, her plan works, and seeing him dominate her brother drives her wild with desire for him.

  • Abbot

    “the apex fallacy remains a secret. I don’t know why”

    Its not discussed as a concept per se. Its part of the spectrum of delusion inherent in the the hook up scene that women follow, consciously or otherwise.

  • HanSolo

    “the apex fallacy remains a secret. I don’t know why”

    It goes in the face of you can have it all, and because maybe half of women in their 20’s are only focusing on men of slightly or outright greater SMV.

  • mr. wavevector

    @Sai,

    (How much submissiveness is enticing? I have no problem with supplying food and sex, but I am the sort of person who when ordered to jump for seemingly no good reason will ask “why?”)

    Well, as an experiment, I just asked my wife to jump. It went like this:

    Me: mrs.wavevector … jump.
    Her: What?
    Me: Jump!
    Her: What? No!
    Me: Go on, jump.
    Her: Why? No, I don’t want to!
    Me: OK
    Her: Why are you telling me to jump?
    Me: Just wondering if you would.
    Her: You’re weird!

    But then, as she walked out of the room, she turned her head, smiled at me, and did a little bunny hop.

    Me: You did it for me! Thank you.

    Mrs. wavevector looked super cute doing her bunny hop, and I’m feeling a surge of affection for her. Tomorrow I’ll do something nice for her – maybe bring home flowers or some tasty treat.

    And that’s how submission works. Mrs. wavevector isn’t weak, nor is she a doormat. I’m not a domineering husband. But in the end she decided to do what I asked because she loves me, and she did it in a playful, flirtatious way that made me want her and care for her even more.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      And that’s how submission works. Mrs. wavevector isn’t weak, nor is she a doormat. I’m not a domineering husband. But in the end she decided to do what I asked because she loves me, and she did it in a playful, flirtatious way that made me want her and care for her even more.

      OMG I love that story.

  • Jack Amok

    they are unlikely to forfeit the male attention they currently receive in hopes of making things better for everyone

    That statement misses the point though. A woman avoiding slutting it up isn’t making things better for everyone else. She’s making things better for her future self. The hot guys you want commitment from are willing to take the village bicycle for a spin now and then, but they’re not going to call it their girlfriend and they sure aren’t going to marry it. The less hooking up you do now, the better your LTR/Marriage prospects later.

    Delayed gratification is an important skill to learn.

    Oh, and regarding the age range issue, here’s another little secret for college-aged women: college aged men are not very interested in marriage. For most of their 20’s, guys are naturally somewhat averse to commitments. It’s a consequence of the SMV. Guys SMVs usually don’t peak until their late 20’s or even their 30’s, so guys are going to be subconsciously reluctant to make a commitment now when their barganing power is going to be better later.

    So if you want commitment, don’t look at any guy under 27 or 28.

  • Escoffier

    Susan, another reason Lysistrata wouldn’t work is that otherwise responsible parties like yourself say to young women “hooking up is the gateway to a relationship” and some of them take that as sanction/blessing.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Escoffier

      Susan, another reason Lysistrata wouldn’t work is that otherwise responsible parties like yourself say to young women “hooking up is the gateway to a relationship” and some of them take that as sanction/blessing.

      I haven’t ever promoted hooking up as the gateway to a relationship. Certainly not intercourse. Nothing wrong with some making out, IMO. I believe you may be referring to the 12% stat that Kathleen Bogle found in her research. She stated that many young people are in a bind, because as few relationships result from hooking up first, students perceive that hooking up is the only pathway to a relationship. We can see this is true in the absence of dating.

  • Johnycomelately

    The false assumption underlying the entire premise is that all modern women want a LTR in their 20s.

    A few do, most don’t and some can’t.

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    I really like your Take Back the Date Night idea, but sadly I just found out that a student group on the campus of my alma mater is too busy organizing a Slut Walk. *Sigh*

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I really like your Take Back the Date Night idea, but sadly I just found out that a student group on the campus of my alma mater is too busy organizing a Slut Walk. *Sigh*

      There’s been a movement in recent years of students organizing into something called the Anscombe Society. It started at Princeton – here is their mission statement:

      Mission Statement
      The Anscombe Society is a student organization at Princeton University dedicated to affirming the importance of the family, marriage, and a proper understanding for the role of sex and sexuality. We aim to promote an environment that values the crucial role the intact, stable family plays in sustaining society; the definition of marriage as the exclusive, monogamous union of a man and a woman; its role as an institution which is necessary for the healthy family, and thus for a healthy society; a conception of feminism that encourages motherhood; and a chaste lifestyle which respects and appreciates human sexuality, relationships, and dignity. Therefore, we celebrate sex as unifying, beautiful, and joyful when shared in its proper context: that of marriage between a man and woman. The Anscombe Society is a proactive community that provides social support and a voice for those already committed to these values, and promotes intellectual engagement to further discussion and understanding of this ethic on Princeton’s campus and in the broader community.

      It has spread rapidly to other schools, including Harvard, Stanford, and UT Austin.

      These organizations have been very successful in attracting members, hosting social events, etc. and they view their role as one of direct opposition to hookup culture.

      It definitely can be done.

  • Assanova

    Hook-up culture doesn’t benefit men. It only benefits alpha men; the top ten percent. The rest of the men are almost completely mateless.

  • Brendan

    This is how I know that attraction triggers are culturally malleable. In my day, a 6 couldn’t get a 10, and didn’t try. But the 6 did get the hots for another 6. Obviously, the unleashing of female sexuality/hypergamy is a factor, but I sense it is more than that. Your thoughts?

    It is, I agree.

    There are many cultural factors at play. Hypergamy is one, and perhaps the biggest for women, but among women there is also the problem of conflating SMV and MMV (or in this context LTRV), such that guys who are objectively more attractive are available, and sex can be deployed in an attempt to snag commitment — it is hard to resist, I think, for many women. In your day, this was enforced *against* by a culture of going steady from the top down. In my day, we were in the “hanging out” era, where people paired off from larger mixed-sex groups, but dating was still quite rare at Stanford in the mid 80s. In this day my take on what I have seen and heard reported about is that it has gone beyond that and is now in the hookup category – not that hooking up is new, it happened in my day as well, but it was not the norm, and not that common, and it didn’t dominate the whole relationship atmosphere between men and women in college.

    For the men, clearly porn is a part of the issue. Another part is that because hookup culture has become the dominant meme (even if relatively few men and women participate in it de facto, it it still the dominant meme), that sets expectations higher for men as well, because they see girls giving it away easily and wonder why they can’t get that as well.

    I think this is even the case for men and women who want LTRs. It’s a question of attitudes and a broader cultural drift among certain higher end elements of our demographic towards increasingly optimized circumstances. The three car garage, the McMansion, the dorm-as-resort, the instant access to everything on demand culture doesn’t really lead people to think of themselves as anything other than entitled to optimize. When you couple that overarching cultural attitude with the other SMP-specific factors I note above, I think you have a brew for people finding a hard time being attracted to their de facto peers, unfortunately.

  • Sassy6519

    @ Ion

    Sassy, this seems to be more about commitment avoidance and lack of trust of men than about something inherently missing from your personality. To me, these issues can definitely be fixed once worked on. You’re still young, and even as a 28 year old I’ve learned so much about myself since I was your age, about my likes and dislikes, personality gliches etc.,

    There’s always a chance that I will change. Right now, however, I’m just considering the option of non-traditional relationships. Perhaps I may be better suited for them. I’ve always been the type to explore my options, or to at least consider them, so I’m making an effort to determine whether or not I could be happy in a non-traditional relationship.

    Where’s ozymandis when you need her?

  • mr. wavevector

    Susan,

    I think some women find femininity repugnant (I had a swarm of radfem knitters here just last week despising a post urging femininity), but I think many more literally have no idea how to go about being feminine. I certainly wasn’t taught that growing up, and that was the 60s and 70s. Trying to teach my daughter that was an experiment, really. I had no idea what I was doing. As for submissiveness, you’re right – that’s the third rail. I like the idea of an enticing hint, particularly since it’s not very hard to point out to women that they are attracted to dominance.

    I can certainly sympathize with not knowing how to be feminine. It’s taken me decades to understand how to be masculine. Feminism has taught us that femininity is weak and subjugated, while masculinity is evil and oppressive. That’s a very bad starting point for self-awareness for either sex.

    No aspect of male/female relationships has been more distorted by feminist theory than the roles of dominance and submission. It’s got to the point where one can hardly broach this subject – unless one is into BDSM! And so the complexities and paradoxes of dominance and submission are not understood. Submission can be a highly active and directed activity. By offering submission, implicit demands for care and emotional investment are placed on one’s partner. It may look like surrender but it’s really a subtle but powerful negotiation tactic! And likewise, dominance in a relationship isn’t just about asserting authority. It’s also about providing care, comfort and security. This obligating submission and benevolent dominance are a big part of the age-old mating dance between men and women – a dance we all seem to have forgotten the steps to.

    Unlearning the feminist dogma and relearning a few steps of the mating dance has certainly improved my marriage. Mrs. wavevector has been happier, more secure, and more amorous since I’ve become comfortable performing the benevolently dominant role (a role I play largely for her benefit). And few joys compare to the love, care, and devotion I feel for her when she is lying sweet, soft and submissive in my arms.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      mr. wavevector

      Unlearning the feminist dogma and relearning a few steps of the mating dance has certainly improved my marriage. Mrs. wavevector has been happier, more secure, and more amorous since I’ve become comfortable performing the benevolently dominant role (a role I play largely for her benefit). And few joys compare to the love, care, and devotion I feel for her when she is lying sweet, soft and submissive in my arms.

      Believe it or not, I learned the role via being a SAHM. Once my husband became the sole breadwinner, I found it only fair to defer to him on all matters financial. He even fought this – said that we had decided together that I would be at home, and that our now reduced income was not just his. But I felt very grateful for the opportunity, and I resolved that I would make his home life as perfect as I could. In turn, he relished the provider role. He likes to cook, but it is very, very rare that he does any kind of housework, and that is fine with me. It’s a fair trade.

      There are areas where I probably have the last word, mostly around the kids, but for more than 20 years he has been the head of the household.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Sassy, your broken family did a number on you. Mine did the same to me, but I grew up with such a traditional culture that it counteracted a lot of it. Plus I had loving male relatives/figures in my life, which was a blessing. You have a really hard time with men and monogamy, and the idea of family and children, which is understandable. But going down that experimentation route isn’t going to be fulfilling or fix the hole in your heart left by your father. I would suggest some real soul-searching and maybe at least a break from all dating activities for a while.

    Believe it or not, I once considered non-monogamy, too. I quickly realized it was total BS. 😛

  • Wencil

    Susan, hook up culture exists at most colleges but it is totally missing from other colleges

    Just to cite one example, there is no hooking up at byu. There is assortive mating where the 6’s pair off with other 6’s. just like in your idealized scenario

    It is quite possible to skip the hookup culture. Just choose the right college

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Wencil

      Just to cite one example, there is no hooking up at byu. There is assortive mating where the 6′s pair off with other 6′s. just like in your idealized scenario

      It is quite possible to skip the hookup culture. Just choose the right college

      It’s funny you should mention BYU, that is the best example of a college that has escaped the culture. Recently HanSolo linked to a paper from BYU looking at sexual behavior among Mormon youth, which is much lower than in the rest of the population. I’ve been thinking about whether there are any lessons to take from this – I’m not sure there are, as religion is the central core, but certainly the role of family and culture are both very important.

      My high school was a third Mormon in southern CA, and I can tell you those kids, many of whom were good looking and popular, did not drink Coke, or iced tea, or date outside the religion. It was really remarkable – they were squeaky clean. Yet they were not ostracized at all.

  • INTJ

    I’d imagine an “Ask me on a date!” t-shirt would work wonders!

  • INTJ

    @ HanSolo

    There was a culinary Lysistrata on Little House on the Prairie that I remember from my childhood. lol The women stopped cooking and taking care of their kids until the men caved in and supported their voting rights.

    Oh yeah I remember that one. I think even Mrs. Olson was on the “good” side in that episode.

  • http://elusivewapiti.blogspot.com Elusive Wapiti

    “If girls demanded dating before hooking up, guys would be unmoved, she explained. “There are always going to be other girls for them to hook up with so we’ll just get left behind.””The guys would be unmoved not only because of the readily available alternatives, but also because the proposal in front of them purports to make women more attractive to men by…wait for it…women taking longer to hop into bed with them and throwing up more hoops for the guys to jump through.

    In other words, just as easy, just not as cheap.

    Hmm, now that’s enticing.

    How does going from “n” to “n/2” make a woman more attractive to a commitment-minded man, again?

  • Linda

    As a parent, you choose the social environment of your daughters when you select a college.

    If you choose to send your daughter to Smith you are choosing for her to spend a few years in lesbian experimentation

    If you choose certain other schools you are choosing hook up culture

    If you send your daughter to other schools you are choosing a more traditionalist environment

    Hook up culture is a choice

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Linda

      Welcome, that’s a really interesting comment.

      As a parent, you choose the social environment of your daughters when you select a college.

      Does your daughter have any say in where she goes to college?

      If you choose certain other schools you are choosing hook up culture

      If you send your daughter to other schools you are choosing a more traditionalist environment

      Hook up culture is a choice

      Other than BYU, which may expel a student for having sex (a violation of the school’s honor code), what school’s can boast a hookup-free culture?

      At Catholic universities, including Georgetown, BC and Notre Dame, hooking up is the norm.

      And the sharp increase in the practice of anal sex in recent years is largely attributable to young people who have taken the pledge :-/

      Study Reports Anal Sex on Rise Among Teens

  • Esau

    So I’ve gone and read the Atlantic piece, and I have to say, Susan, that I think you’re doing yourself a disservice in describing yourself and E.E. “Ms.” Smith as being on the same page; and she really doesn’t merit a co-billing with you either.

    I appreciate that you appreciate her interest in focusing on the actual lives and experiences of young women, in counterpart to something like Hanna Rosin’s ideologically-driven blinkers (“if it empowers women, then it must be good!”). But the Smith Atlantic piece is, overall, clearly a product of the same noisome female supremacist assembly line that you so rightly decry elsewhere. I won’t dissect it in detail here, but I think it’s clear that (1) she shows absolutely no interest in, and does not in the least value, the experiences and lives of men, other than how they affect women; (2) she resides comfortably at the near-center of the feminist unreality bubble, believing that (all) men are in charge, with all decision-making power over women — her statement that “The balance of power in the hook-up culture lies with the men” is just disgusting, and insulting to men and women both — and, as such, (3) she can only think that the solution to sex-related problems is always that men need to change their behavior, it’s always men that are the sole source of trouble and need to be corrected or brow-beaten (does “Man up!” sound familiar?).

    Really, despite being marginally (very marginally) improved over most feminist dogmatists by a willingness to look at facts of experience, it seems clear to me that overall Smith is still quite securely in the female supremacist camp, and you should not want to associate yourself too closely with her outlook on things.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Esau

      Really, despite being marginally (very marginally) improved over most feminist dogmatists by a willingness to look at facts of experience, it seems clear to me that overall Smith is still quite securely in the female supremacist camp, and you should not want to associate yourself too closely with her outlook on things.

      In the land of the blind…

      I get what you are saying, truly. But I’m willing to ally myself with people in certain ways (without giving an overall stamp of approval), to bring about positive change. Imagine the power an EE Smith could have if she could get the ear of some of the women staffing Women’s Centers. I recently wrote about Nathan Harden’s Sex and God at Yale, where he shared letters from faculty promoting casual sex in a way that was downright prurient.

      She interviews a female faculty member at her Alma Mater, and the woman shifts her position 180 degrees in one conversation. Shifting the culture would be a hell of a lot easier with some feminist types on board. Think of it as a John Boehner/Harry Reid type effort.

  • Jackie

    “I’d imagine an “Ask me on a date!” t-shirt would work wonders!”

    Go for it, T-Paine! :)

    PS: Did you try any of the violin music?

  • HanSolo

    @INTJ

    You know that secretly you had a crush on 4-eyes Mary Ingalls! 😀

  • Jackie

    @Sassy
    I won’t speak for Ozymandias, though in my observation open-relationships can have very complex dynamics. I really think it’s an orientation, more than anything. Any unresolved issues you have now will certainly emerge, regardless.

    I think you said you are grad school in psychology? It would be an interesting experiment:

    What would be your assessment, if you viewed this as a dossier of information? As purely detached as possible. What would recommend, in a professional capacity?

    (My 0.02: I have never regretted getting a tune-up for my mental health before making changes. For me, CBT has *really* helped. I think finding the right therapist can be some of the best money a person ever spends. Even Dogsquat would agree– on the CBT, at least. :) )

  • Jackie

    @INTJ, Han Solo

    OMG, we’re back on to a Little House On The Prairie discussion?! Woo hoo! Break out the cider and bust out Pa’s fiddle!
    😀

    Now all we need is a return to the Society of Austenites thread and my cup runneth over! Yeah!!
    😎

  • Ramble

    When I was in college … most women did not have sex casually. Those who did were branded sluts.

    Susan, I really think that you answered your own question.

    Also,

    In fact, the least attractive women in my sorority happily paired off with the less attractive guys – and not only that – they were genuinely sexually attracted.

    What about the unattractive girls? Not the least attractive, but the unattractive? And, would you say that there are more unattractive girls then, or today? And, if there is a difference, how has that affected the value of the not-unattractive girls (nice double negative)?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      What about the unattractive girls? Not the least attractive, but the unattractive? And, would you say that there are more unattractive girls then, or today? And, if there is a difference, how has that affected the value of the not-unattractive girls (nice double negative)?

      As I go about my daily business, I see many unattractive women wearing wedding rings. I presume they are married to men of similar SMV. In fact, I’d say that the vast majority of women I have known who have wanted to marry and have not been able to do so are attractive. Certainly in the 5+ range.

      I know where you are going with the question about the numbers of attractive women…I think that there are fewer people attractive people today of both sexes, and by the look of it, they’re still marrying.

  • Steve Canyon

    A cartel can only work when the resource under control of the cartel is in limited supply. Diamonds, oil, uranium, are all in limited supply and require ample processing to become marketable. Even then, there are still incentives to cheat, and people still take those incentives.

    Last I heard, sex wasn’t a finite resource that requires ample amount of processing to become marketable. Show up, spread your legs, and as ample numbers of porn stars have proven, you can produce as much of it as you can handle in a 24 hour period of time.

    For that simple reason any sort of cartel-like behaviour on the part of women is doomed to failure as there is an incentive to cheat the cartel. Once that happens, the cartel breaks down completely.

    Women can act like a Lysistrata situation can work and try to rally the masses to behave that way, all while never passing up those incentives to cheat that inevitably catch their eye. Yeah, it’ll work in a vaccuum or on a small scale (like a marriage or LTR), but in the aggregate, it’s nothing more than an empty threat.

  • HanSolo

    @Jackie

    Speaking of Little House, Nelly is quite nice when she’s in love with a man. lol Both of her husbands, Luke the pig farmer and Percival, brought out the sweet side of her that Mrs Oleson couldn’t completely spoil and poison away.

    I saw the BBC S&S and couldn’t stand that Willoughby. The 1995 Willoughby is so much better and “perfect” as Marianne would have thought.

  • http://x OffTheCuff

    Sassy: “Maybe I’m never very satisfied in relationships because I try to force myself into traditional relationships/monogamy.”

    Bingo, been saying this for months now, if not more. Your attitudes and priorites align a lot more with FWB’s, harems, open relationships, or poly, than monogamy.

  • http://www.femaleframechanges.blogspot.com Olive

    What about the unattractive girls? Not the least attractive, but the unattractive? And, would you say that there are more unattractive girls then, or today? And, if there is a difference, how has that affected the value of the not-unattractive girls (nice double negative)?

    Lol I can’t tell, but I think you’re hinting at obesity here, so I’ll bite. Obesity rates have skyrocketed since the 1980s, so no doubt there are more unattractive people (not just women) now than there were.

    Which is interesting because I was just telling Jackie in another thread that as long as a woman is not obese or dirty, it’s hard to be labeled ugly these days, at least IME. My guess is it’s only the top 10% of guys who talk about “butterfaces” (though you should hear my BF rip into Taylor Swift, I’m not a fan either but yeesh).

    I have watched some of my chubby friends really struggle, and at least two of them have never had boyfriends. My guess is they could probably land unattractive, obese men, but they aren’t interested. I also suspect that perhaps obese men would not be interested in them.

    Diets and exercise for all!

  • Jackie

    @Han Solo

    Nellie and “her first husband”– ha ha! They were married about 5 minutes before the Little House posse busted in on them and forced the annulment. :)

    I think YOU were the one, Han Solo, who got every one in to watching Little House! It wasn’t just me and INTJ. Once you posted that YouTube link, everyone started hopping on that thread! And yes, she was *much* sweeter once she hooked up with Percival.

    (This reminds me when my sister and I would play Laura and Mary when we were little. Only we went hardcore and would act out the scene from the books where Pa gives them a pig’s bladder as a toy balloon! And one stick of candy and an orange for Xmas! I wanted to be Mary because I would practice playing “blind” after she got scarlet fever.)

    And didn’t Escoffier say he was a dead ringer for Albert? Little House forever!!!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Albert all grown up:

      al

  • Jackie

    @Ramble

    Oh man, Ramble, if you are going to talk about how much you long for women to get dumped if they gain 5 lbs… :(

    By the way, I recently saw some old, old pictures from my family’s ancestry. There were definitely a lot of LEAN people back then, but there were still lots of overweight ones. And they were a lot smaller, overall, too. Not just skinnier. Smaller.

    My grandmother’s wedding dress had a waist of something like 20 inches, maybe not even that. But her clothes were shorter than certain things in the children’s section.

  • HanSolo

    hahaha, you’re funny, playing blind Mary. Oranges were a big treat back in the day. I loved how Mrs. Oleson always called Almonzo, Zaldamo!

  • Ramble

    Olive, Jackie,
    More pants, more sweatshirts, more aggressive behaviour, more sarcasm, more snarkiness, more (assumed) superiority, more tattoos, more piercings, more masculine behaviour, etc.

    Today’s girls are much less attractive.

  • Ramble

    Granted, so are the guys.

  • Tasmin

    @Brendan
    “guys who are objectively more attractive are available, and sex can be deployed in an attempt to snag commitment — it is hard to resist, I think, for many women. In your day, this was enforced *against* by a culture of going steady from the top down.”
    +1
    Those LTR-ish college relationships of yesteryear were not only the cultural norm, but they were also reinforced by the fact that sex outside of a relationship was more risky, rare, and complicated. The alternative as a single person in terms of attention, intimacy/sex, and social opportunities were actually a step down; the relationship was the prize and for most people sex was part of the prize – not THE prize.

    In my college years ’90-’95, AIDS would f-ing kill you if you weren’t careful. Reputation risk was real – for both men and women, though the alpha’s guys did have more latitude. Women kept their N’s in mind when making decisions; notches counted, sluts were real.

    There was very little in terms of free-for-all in attitude to sustain a hookup culture, so even those who were willing to hookup found the actual opportunities to be infrequent. Hooking up was rarely PinV or even oral. It was the beginning of the (hopeful) gateway to a relationship, so hooking up was complicated, it had meaning. Both men and women considered what it would “mean” the next day in terms of progression or not. A good proportion of those make-outs did indeed end up in BF/GF situations and everyone knew it. There was far less of the “just having fun” no-strings mindset. Sure there was a fair amount of making out that never went anywhere, but making out also didn’t progress to sex very often.

    “Another part is that because hookup culture has become the dominant meme (even if relatively few men and women participate in it de facto, it it still the dominant meme), that sets expectations higher for men as well, because they see girls giving it away easily and wonder why they can’t get that as well.”

    This works as a disincentive for many of the men in the 80% to accept that opportunity cost in the first place – even if they aren’t even getting that free sex, because they just *might*. And it erodes at the foundation of the existing relationships because the hookup meme carries not just the fun and excitement of open-ended sex options but also drives the status (hypergamy) lifting as a result of the displacement within assortive mating.

    Now, sex is the prize, it is cheap and seemingly plentiful. Relationships are work and are by definition, limiting – particularly when it comes to the sexual variety trigger for men and the hypergamy trigger for women. And self-limiting choices are precisely the opposite of the “have-it-all” culture. And even for those 80% on the outside looking in, the underbelly is visible, but asserting their will to reset/reorient the prize back to the relationship is more work (and perceived risk) than holding their noses and jumping in or just avoiding the whole thing.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tasmin

      Thanks for that description of college life 90-95 or so. I had never heard that, it’s a very interesting period between the Sex Rev, AIDS and today.

      This works as a disincentive for many of the men in the 80% to accept that opportunity cost in the first place – even if they aren’t even getting that free sex, because they just *might*.

      Definitely. I have heard of this quite a bit among college guys who are by no means players. They have the choice of locking it down with a gf, or shooting for player status. Quite a few choose the latter.

      And even for those 80% on the outside looking in, the underbelly is visible, but asserting their will to reset/reorient the prize back to the relationship is more work (and perceived risk) than holding their noses and jumping in or just avoiding the whole thing.

      Yes. Furthermore, even if they were willing to do the work and assume the risk, they don’t know what that reset would look like. An individual is very unlikely to just stand up and announce they are accepting invitations to dates.

  • VD

    The fact that Lysistrata is a fiction rather than a historical fact does not strike me as relevant.

    That’s a fascinating statement considering that I cannot imagine you would take seriously an economic plan based on replacing nuclear and coal-fired plants with harnessed unicorns.

    Even if it had actually happened in 411 BCE we would hardly be able to extrapolate and predict its success today.

    Read Thucydides on revolution and tell me that. It was written around the same time and is vastly disturbing to the ability to believe in the idea of human progress.

    We have a marketplace with supply and demand for sex. If we restrict the supply of sex, the price for sex will go up. We don’t need the history books to grasp the truth of this.

    Now this is reliably true.

    Lysistrata will not work because single women would not abide by the rules of the cartel. If they did, however, there is no question but that men would line up with marriage proposals to get sex, just as they did before the price of sex plummeted.

    As is this. The problem is that women are unlikely to abide by sexual rules that are not violently enforced. Which is why the long term societal consequence is more likely the burqah than the brothel.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @VD

      That’s a fascinating statement considering that I cannot imagine you would take seriously an economic plan based on replacing nuclear and coal-fired plants with harnessed unicorns.

      My point was that we do have real historical examples in cartels, both private and public. They are unstable and now mostly outlawed, but there have been many, and they have had some degree of effectiveness. We do not need to rely on a theatrical comedy to see the economics at work in this concept.

      Even if it had actually happened in 411 BCE we would hardly be able to extrapolate and predict its success today.

      Read Thucydides on revolution and tell me that. It was written around the same time and is vastly disturbing to the ability to believe in the idea of human progress.

      Lysistrata is about male-female relations, and those have changed quite a bit since 400 BCE, and much of that change has occurred in the last 50 years. Lysistrata makes no sense in the current SMP, as others have pointed out. It probably would have worked among a closed population of married people. In fact, as Mireille pointed out, it has worked in recent history:

      Still, there are some interesting examples of women achieving their objectives — which, incidentally, always seem to benefit society at large, not just women — after the sex strike was called. Whether one thing produced the other is a subject of debate.

      The clearest case of success took place in the Colombian town of Barbacoas, where last year women launched their “crossed legs strike” to demand construction of a road. They would not have sex, they vowed, until the men managed to get a road built so that it wouldn’t take 10 hours to reach the provincial capital just 35 miles away.

      Moved by the men’s unimaginable suffering, the government agreed to build the road.

      A few years earlier, also in Colombia, the wives and girlfriends of gang members in the embattled city of Pereira said they would keep their legs crossed unless the men stopped the violence that had killed nearly 500 people. The murder rate reportedly dropped by 26.5%.

      But it wasn’t ancient Greece or South America or a recent sex strike in the Philippines that inspired the Togolese pro-democracy activists. It was the amazing story of Liberia that gave them cause for optimism.

      In 2003, the Liberian people had endured 14 years of a brutal civil war that had torn the country apart. The leaders of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace organized a series of nonviolent actions, including a sex strike, demanding an end to the war. The group’s leader, Leymah Gbowe, later won the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, another Liberian woman who was about to make history.

      Again, nobody knows just how important a role the no-sex portion of the protests played. But before the year was over, the parties to the conflict signed a peace deal ending the war and laying the groundwork for democratic elections.

      http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/29/opinion/ghitis-sex-strikes/index.html

      The reason monogamy prevails is that in a polygynous system men without women rise up. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that women can barter successfully with their vaginas.

  • Höllenhund

    “Lysistrata will not work because single women would not abide by the rules of the cartel. If they did, however, there is no question but that men would line up with marriage proposals to get sex, just as they did before the price of sex plummeted.”

    Well, actually there very much IS a question indeed. What you’re forgetting is that before the Sexual Revolution, women were trained from childhood by their parents, the church and society to display worth as potential wives, to internalize virtues that men seek in long-term partners. The complete opposite applies today. “We just need to shut our legs, and men will finally shape up!” is nothing but a common female fantasy rooted in delusions and ignorance rather than reality.

  • http://endofwomen.blogspot.in namae nanka

    “It was considered comically absurd at the time, due to the prevailing idea that All Women Are Lustful — though it should also be noted, that when Aristophanes wrote the play, women weren’t considered citizens, and were just above slaves on the totem pole of class structure, adding to the preposterous idea that a group of women would take over the government. ”

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LysistrataGambit

    “The trouble with the college girls is that the very idea of feminine behavior, particularly the submissiveness, has become so repugnant to them that they can’t even fake it to coax a relationship out of a guy.”

    why should they when they are in an equivalent position or even better since school?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      It was considered comically absurd at the time, due to the prevailing idea that All Women Are Lustful

      Re the oath the women take, from Wiki:

      “It is a long and detailed oath, in which the women abjure all their sexual pleasures, including The Lioness on The Cheese Grater (a sexual position).”

      This is what I could find on this position:

      ‘standing on all fours’:the woman stood bending forward (sometimes resting her hands on the ground or on a bed), in a posture reminiscent of a lion crouched to spring, and was penetrated from behind (either vaginally or anally). The reference to a cheese-grater is due to the fact that the handles of such utensils were often made in the form of crouching animals.

  • http://endofwomen.blogspot.in namae nanka

    and of course the evidence that’s out in the open now, patriarchal societies have rigidity about sex and marriage, the ones with emancipated women don’t, so how exactly can Lysistrata be true today even if it weren’t before?

    As Daniel Amneus writes about Gilder’s Fallacy:

    ‘Most of the male disrupters had mothers who undermined patriarchal sexual stability by divorce, marital disloyalty, or promiscuity. It is the female who initiates the cycle which culminates in the visible male disruption. Gilder blames the male; the law imprisons the male; and as crime continues to increase undeterred by punishment, society imagines it must compensate for the withdrawal of males from the system by increased subsidization of females–subsidization which causes them to imagine themselves independent of males and free to follow the Promiscuity Principle. Improperly socialized women like things this way because they lack the long-term horizons Gilder ascribes to them. ‘

    http://www.fisheaters.com/gb7.html

    “That’s a fascinating statement considering that I cannot imagine you would take seriously an economic plan based on replacing nuclear and coal-fired plants with harnessed unicorns.”

    Unwin’s Sex and Culture

    http://blog.jim.com/culture/christianity-yields-to-zoism.html

  • Höllenhund

    „I think some women find femininity repugnant (I had a swarm of radfem knitters here just last week despising a post urging femininity), but I think many more literally have no idea how to go about being feminine.”

    I’d say that is the defining characteristic of a sizable segment, probably the majority, of the demographic you’re discussing i.e. college-educated middle-class single women. I’d also point out, though, there there apparently is a smaller but still sizable segment that simply cannot be bothered to do what it takes to elicit the commitment of men they find attractive, because it’s too much work and the incentives just aren’t there – one-on-one male economic provisioning is less and less important, being in a relationship with a beta no longer carries any social status, no man from the top 10% will commit to some woman from the bottom 90% either way etc. So unless we consider the small minority that is rabidly feminist, it’s indeed not about repugnance, but ignorance and indifference.

    We can observe the same attitudes among men, although for different reasons. There’s a segment that has been conditioned from birth to act as the matriarchy’s eunuchs, having no clue whatsoever how to be masculine, and there’s another segment, which I argue is at least as large as the previous one, which, again, simply cannot be bothered to do what it takes in order to flourish in the current SMP – for most men, „flourish” equals assortative mating, if that – because it’s too much work and there’s simply no prize. Of course, you won’t read about this even on Game sites, not to mention the mainstream media.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    but I sense it is more than that. Your thoughts?

    Brendan was brilliant as usual but I want to add as an outsider a couple of other things that I think also add to this mess.
    Media/magazines/Celebrity culture adding to porn creates the illusion that there is an overpopulation of hot people so the average looking people that in the past only had to compete with the hottest girl/boy in a group of 100 now is competing with Robert Pattinson and Megan Fox. The brain can’t really grasp the idea that this people don’t really live in close proximity so for them they are just potential mates I think some people are more sensible to this effect than others but with enough exposure everyone can think they have a chance of landing one of the millions of hotties around.
    People stay and become single too long and easily. Another part is the people is technically always available to move on. Assortative mating worked when there was a sense of permanence and longevity now there is no shame on breaking up with a long timer boyfriend to pursue a friend or a better mate, no fault divorce, dating after certain age, mate poaching and so on, there is too many people single at the same time and those people can make a play for almost anyone this makes the disconnect worst because the average person can still wait to have a chance for hotter partner if the occasion arise, and they don’t actually concentrate on falling in love and preserving and nurturing the relationship.
    There is no “age” for dating. The sense is that you can date till you die having a clear cut age helped people to asses their cost benefit find the best mate and concentrate on making it work. Not such a thing when the 40’s are the new 30’s and we have the cosmetic industry helping with surgery and creams to make people look young for longer time and there is not shame on trying to compete sexually with the younger crowd.
    Just my two cents

    My grandmother’s wedding dress had a waist of something like 20 inches, maybe not even that. But her clothes were shorter than certain things in the children’s section.

    Hubby and I joke about having a time machine to do historical tourism and a huge part of the logistics is that we are huge compared to people in the past every time we visit an historical house and see the tiny beds and chairs we say that we need to have a shrinker handy or we will mess history with the accounts of “the giants that visited us”, I think diet is the reason we grow larger now, but also people used to move a lot more so they probably were never as overweight as us modern can get.

  • Brendan

    Now, sex is the prize, it is cheap and seemingly plentiful. Relationships are work and are by definition, limiting – particularly when it comes to the sexual variety trigger for men and the hypergamy trigger for women. And self-limiting choices are precisely the opposite of the “have-it-all” culture. And even for those 80% on the outside looking in, the underbelly is visible, but asserting their will to reset/reorient the prize back to the relationship is more work (and perceived risk) than holding their noses and jumping in or just avoiding the whole thing.

    More work, but also more want. I’m not sure that the “outside looking in”, on both the male and female sides of the equation, wants relationships. I suspect that, as you say, there is a reluctance because of the limiting factor they feature, even if people *say* they want them. I often wonder if this stated desire is really just a cover for the desire to legitimate medium-term casual sex.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Men want sex, women want commitment, let’s restrict the sex and we can get more commitment!

    That’s the thought here, right?

    The damn stats she quotes say the MEN want commitment, too.

    Good fucking god. Maybe the men are hesitant to commit because feminists and the culture they have created a culture where our opinions don’t matter AT ALL. How is that supposed to be a loving relationship?

  • Höllenhund

    I often wonder if this stated desire is really just a cover for the desire to legitimate medium-term casual sex.

    I suppose “No sex before monogamy!” falls into that category. “Medium-term casual sex”…heh, gotta laugh at that. Shows how screwed up things have become.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Alice Finkel…”Higher education has become an incredibly artificial and surprisingly authoritarian (no free speech) environment”

    Very true. And it is not psychologically healthy, for most people, to spend 18 or 20 years on the educational conveyor belt. Here’s something Peter Drucker wrote, way back in 1969:

    “Schools have become, by design, institutions for the preservation of adolescence. They keep the young person in the most unnatural society, a society composed exclusively of his contemporaries. School, even if it builds performance and experience into its curriculum to the fullest extent possible, is finite, certain, predictable…In school one cannot become an adult.

    The best example is the delayed adolescence so common among highly trained young physicians…The same delayed adolescence is only too noticeable among graduate students who stay on year after year in an environment in which all the emphasis is on their being “promising” and almost none on their performing.”

    But breaking the unjust power of the credentialists over the job market isn’t going to be easy. Too much money and power is involved. Victor Davis Hanson wrote:

    “By the millennium, faculty were conscious that the university was a sort of farm and the students the paying crop that had to be cultivated if it were to make it all the way to harvest and sale — and thus pay for the farmers’ livelihood.”

    I’m not sure this is fair as applied to the majority of the faculty, but it is true as applied to university administrators.

  • mr. wavevector

    Lysistrata will not work because single women would not abide by the rules of the cartel.

    Researchers who study
    sexual economics
    have shown that women can indeed form successful and stable sex cartels, but only in cultures where men monopolize the economic resources. In these cultures women must drive a hard bargain for sex to obtain material resources. In cultures where women have access to their own economic resources, they do not form sex cartels. Certainly there is no chance the independent women of our consumerist society could pull it off.

  • Ion

    “This is what engineers might call a “tightly-coupled system”. There isn’t much slack here to absorb shocks if anything goes wrong with the plan.”

    Excellent post BB.

    The problem also is that women have a tendency to “heal” for sometimes 1-2 years after a major breakup. They’re not considering that when you’re a woman in your 20s you simply don’t have that time.

    Ana

    “The brain can’t really grasp the idea that this people don’t really live in close proximity so for them they are just potential mates I think some people are more sensible to this effect than others but with enough exposure everyone can think they have a chance of landing one of the millions of hotties around.”

    Exactly! Just like according to t.v. there’s an abundance of educated, successful bachelors willing to settle down; women can spend years chasing a pipe dream that just is not available, especially in major cities. I feel that the male equivalent is this notion that soooooooo many women are average, pointing out the ways that she doesn’t look like a model, or nitpicking about different ways to drop her in the “she should be in my league!” category. On both sides, who “should” be in our league, and who actually is IRL, are two entirely different stories.

  • Laney

    Well, a related topic to this one is being discussed at Urban Baby. Hooking up smart is not the only blog where we moms send our daughters to educate themselves about the realities of relationships.

    Read from urban baby:

    The snarky double standard is shocking. We all know that even if my dd does not enjoy giving bj’s to multiple alpha males, she will be pressured to do that, because that is what is expected of her at some colleges. we all know that if she goes to some other colleges, even if my dd doesn’t enjoy taking drugs, she will be pressured to do that. The hipster snarky pc moms here at ub rightly deplore the above. But when tolerant open minded dd’s like mine go to smith and tell the other students that they have nothing against lesbianism, they are supportive of lesbianism, they just don’t want to personally partake, dd is put under tremendous and unrelelenting pressure to to engage in lesbian activities. The snarky PC hipster moms here at urban baby are rightly against dd being pressured to give the football players bjs but are very cool with dd at Smith being pressured to do lesbian acts. Total double standard on this blog

  • Ion

    “Last I heard, sex wasn’t a finite resource that requires ample amount of processing to become marketable. Show up, spread your legs, and as ample numbers of porn stars have proven, you can produce as much of it as you can handle in a 24 hour period of time.”

    But it is also important to realize that so many LTR/beta women do not think the way men do. Men think that women will sleep with alpha cads if they are all that’s available, which is the equivalent of assuming that a man will sleep with a 600 pound woman if she’s all that’s available, when only the most desperate men will (or the men who like that sort of thing). Most men would quietly resign to their right hand and a sock.

    If you’re an LTR oriented woman, in a sea of cads, they might as well be a 600 pound woman. You just sit home and forget you ever had a sex drive.

  • Laney

    Susan,

    Read the blogs of students at different colleges. The experience is very different at different schools.

    Let me give you an example. All of us here at HUS I am sure agree that it is a bad idea for our daughters to experiment with Heroin while in college. Well there are certain colleges in the USA where you are considered a hopeless square if you don’t experiment with Heroin. I don’t want to make the parents who sent their kids to those schools feel bad, but let it be said that there is a toxic mix of peer pressure that results in daughters that really are not excited about Heroin trying Heroin at these schools.

    Second, google the blogs of any parents whose daughters are at Smith. Smith is a wonderful place for young women who really want the Lesbian lifestyle. Such women can thrive at Smith and not feel the stigma they might feel elsewhere. But for young women that really just want close friends of the same sex, a young woman that wants to form platonic friendships with other young women, Smith is a disaster. because the expectation at Smith is that young women are not friends, they are friends with benefits to other young women. In fact the same sex hook up culture and friends with benefit culture is much stronger at Smith than the opposite sex hook up culture is at some other schools. Think about it – at smith the administration and the faculty actively encourage same sex hook ups.

    Susan, say what you will about the hook up scene at most colleges, the truth is that that admin and professors really don’t care what heterosexual students do sexually. They tend to leave the students alone.

    Now Susan, I would further say that the vast majority of affluent young white women ( not that no others count, but affluent young white women are the main audience we are speaking of here) do watch Sex and the City while in High School. They do find themselves fascinated by hook up culture WHILE THEY ARE SENIORS IN HIGH SCHOOL they do look forward to partaking in hook up culture when they arrive at most colleges as freshmen. But that is really not relevant because studies show that they discover they really don’t like hook up culture and want to return to a more traditional dating culture such as what you described where 6s get in to ltrs with 6s.

    Susan, the traditional dating culture certainly exists at many colleges, not just at BYU, but the dating culture is a subculture. Students have to seek that culture out.

    At many campuses the traditional dating culture survives among most of the religious sub groups. Most campuses have traditional Christian groups where the students in the groups essentially agree to live by the norms that were in place when you Susan were in school. That doesn’t mean virginity til married, but it means plenty of sex within roughly exclusive relationships.

    You would not be surprised to know that the natural 10s match up with natural 10s and on down the line. But the 5s don’t spurn the other 5s cause the 5s hope for hook ups with 10s.

    As soon as you permanently and clearly remove from the 5s the fantasy that they will be able to get with the 10s, the 5s get pretty motivated to match up with other 5s in exclusive relationships.

    Everyone finds their own level and pairs off.

    Susan, look it up. there is no one monoculture at the Universities of America. there is one dominant culture and a lot of sub cultures.

    Young people that passively swim in the dominant culture will of course have a different experience than the ones that seek out a sub culture

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Laney

      Read the blogs of students at different colleges. The experience is very different at different schools.

      I have read many of them. The individual experiences are very different at different schools. For example, Lena Chen made her Sex and the Ivy blog very famous while a student at Harvard. Reading it, one would be very surprised to learn that at graduation the mean number of sexual partners for Harvard students is < 1, and that 24% of Harvard seniors express that they are not sure whether they are in a relationship or not. The picture is very complicated at most schools. Another example is Duke, long considered the poster child for hooking up behavior. The administration studied the phenomenon on campus, surveying a large number of both freshmen and seniors. They determined, with convincing data, that only 10% of the student body regularly engages in hooking up. Since 30% of the campus is Greek, that means 2/3 of Greeks are not even hooking up habitually. One might assume that it’s the women’s lack of participation that drives this. However, if you ask Duke students what percentage hooks up every weekend, they cite a very high number, like 75%. As Brendan said, the culture dominates, regardless of the actual behavior of students. As for Smith and SLUGs (Smith Lesbian Until Graduation) that is nothing new. I have a friend who had an only slightly less stressful experience there in the 80s. Wesleyan is another wacky setting – the pressure there is to be LGBT, with big bonus cred points going to transgender students. They actually have a Queer and Questioning dorm, and every fall after they fail to fill it with volunteers some incoming freshmen are dismayed to learn they’ve been assigned a room in Q&Q. There is obviously some self-selection that goes on, but there are also many students, even at Smith, who do not participate in the culture at all. It’s also true that there are subcultures available to students. As I mentioned previously, one can go to an urban, liberal, East Coast college and be active in the Anscombe Society. That’s my point – you can create a subculture for students just about anywhere – and in time, if enough people prefer it, it will take over the prevailing culture.

  • Abbot

    Any relation to the hook-up gap and the increasingly divided sexual culture?

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/gender-gap-near-historic-highs/?hp

  • Esau

    Susan: In The Quiet Man, Maureen O’Hara refuses to have sex with John Wayne after the wedding until he has stood up to her brother and demanded her dowry. … her plan works, and seeing him dominate her brother drives her wild with desire for him.

    Is this an example of the famous phrase, “Let’s you and him fight”? I admit I never really understood the term, but this certainly sounds like it.

    I don’t remember if the brother character is also married; but if so, one wonders what effect the fight had on her feelings for him. Male-on-male dominance is, pretty much by definition, a zero-sum game, and every man’s dominant triumph is his opponent’s humiliating retreat. But, then, only losers bother to think about what happens to other losers (cf Charlie Brown).

    If I remember the film correctly — back in the broadcast TV days it used to be a St. Patrick’s day staple, and may have single-handedly popularized the cable-knit sweater in America — the John Wayne character is reluctant to fight, not because he is a coward but because he once accidentally killed a man in a boxing match and has since forsworn hitting people. So there can be pretty legitimate reasons for reticence besides cowardice, even if no one bothers to consider them. But, in the end of the story masculinity is restored in the only way that the audience can understand it and all is right with the world.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Esau

      Is this an example of the famous phrase, “Let’s you and him fight”? I admit I never really understood the term, but this certainly sounds like it.

      Haha, perhaps its bastard cousin. Mary Kate wants her husband Sean Thornton to fight for her belongings, which her nasty brother has refused to let her take now that she is married. Because of his history as a fighter, Sean refuses to engage the brother physically. She states that she is ashamed of her husband and refuses to have sex with him.

      Ultimately, as you say, they do fight, a great big brawling fight that moves from venue to venue throughout the village. I can’t recall if there is a winner or if it is a draw but all ends well – the nasty brother has newfound respect for Sean Thornton, and Mary Kate is very happy with both her men.

  • Mireille

    @ Wavevector,

    I’m quite bothered by your definitions of submissiveness in your posts. You describe playful behavior and display of affections, which really is not what most people, or feminist equate with defer to a man. I think Susan illustrated how common submissiveness is generally understood in the dynamics with her husband as a SAHM.
    Being playful and cuddling with your GF/Wife seems to me a basic perk of being in love/developing attachment with someone, not a political matter. Whether or not your GF indulges your idiosyncracies has nothing to do with being submissive.
    I think it is important to define what “submissiveness” is (God, I dislike that word) otherwise we’ll rub people the wrong way unnecessarily. Indulging someone’s quirks is different from indulging someone gambling habit for example and no one will call me rebel or feminist for opposing the latter. That is just common sense.

  • Maggie

    @Susan
    “Once my husband became the sole breadwinner, I found it only fair to defer to him on all matters financial.”

    Susan, you are highly intelligent and very well educated so I assume you are capable and knowledgeable enough to handle all your financial matters if the need arose, but for the average SAHM it might be best if she had some involvement. I know of women who lost their husbands and were clueless about their finances. I even had an aunt who had never written a check in her life!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Maggie

      Susan, you are highly intelligent and very well educated so I assume you are capable and knowledgeable enough to handle all your financial matters if the need arose, but for the average SAHM it might be best if she had some involvement. I know of women who lost their husbands and were clueless about their finances.

      Sorry, I think I gave the wrong impression there. I meant more that he has the final say on big items. Where can we go on vacation? What will we spend on the kids at Christmas? That kind of thing. I’ll run any big ticket items by him – can we fix the roof for 6K? etc. He has the final say on money matters. For example, we might have a conversation that goes something like this:

      Susan: Can we get a beach house?

      Mr. HUS: No.

      Whereas our closest friends both work, and their conversation went more like this:

      Her: I want a beach house.

      Him: Do you have any idea what it means to take on a mortgage at our age?

      Her: That’s fine, I have no plans to retire anytime soon. Let’s do it.

      Him: I don’t have a great feeling about this…

  • Ramble

    Oh man, Ramble, if you are going to talk about how much you long for women to get dumped if they gain 5 lbs…

    Whoa. I am curious, when did I ever say this?

  • Ramble

    mr. wavevector,
    That was a great story. Women like that are just great.

  • Abbot

    “not a political matter”

    Neither is submissiveness

  • http://uncabob.blogspot.com/ Bob Wallace

    A Mrwavevector

    “Her: You’re weird!”

    Her: “Can I have a piece of that chocolate you’re eating?”

    Me: “Sure.” (Licks chocolate three times.) “Here!”

    Her: “You’re gross! But you’re funny!”

    Humor goes a long way to making things right.

  • jack

    Susan- long time no comment.

    Anyway, the fact that (infuriatingly) no one will address is that the number of men who are desirable to these women is smaller than the number of women looking for relationships.

    There are oceans of commitment – ready beta males for these women to connect with. But when a woman is looking even for long term dating (as opposed to marriage), she is still going to seek the thrill factor, rather than the dad factor.

    If women applied the same compromises to dating that they applied to marriage, the hookup culture would never have started in the first place.

    The hookup culture is the sum of its parts, and trying to remove a single ingredient will not work.

    The hookup culture is directly a result of women leveraging their higher SMV while young to get the fewer number of high SMV men.

    Unwilling to invest in a man who is still building his status in career and income, they spend their fleeting beauty and youth on hookups and th occasional LTR.

    I will not marry a woman who has given that away to other men. Period. She will not get the benefit of me comforting her when she is old, because she ignored me while I was young.

    Many of us will die alone in th desert of singleness because of these womens’ choices to waste themselves during their youth. It cannot be undone.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jack

      Wow, it has been awhile! Good to see you.

      I will not marry a woman who has given that away to other men. Period. She will not get the benefit of me comforting her when she is old, because she ignored me while I was young.

      And I see that nothing has changed… :)

      I get this, but I would point out that a full quarter of both males and females graduate college as virgins. Most of the men would wish it otherwise, but most of the women have clearly made a choice to abstain. They have neither occasional hookups nor an LTR.

      25% of a population is a very significant number. Why are these women invisible to you?

  • Doc

    The present situation was created by women, for women – yet they say they have no power in the situation? It is driven by their own desires. Men are simply taking advantage of the situation – at least those whom are benefited the most by it. To me, it just proves that women will ALWAYS find reasons to complain, and as such needs to be considered noise.

    If women really wanted it different it would change. As it is, it is EXACTLY what they want it to be, but they just don’t want to take ownership of it, since it tends to reflect badly that this is what they want – rather than what they SAY they want. To me, it makes little difference – it benefits me, but then I understand women and pretty much thrive in any situation.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Doc

      The present situation was created by women, for women – yet they say they have no power in the situation? It is driven by their own desires. Men are simply taking advantage of the situation – at least those whom are benefited the most by it. To me, it just proves that women will ALWAYS find reasons to complain, and as such needs to be considered noise.

      Not all women have the same desires or express the same feelings about the culture. The fact that some women are speaking out against casual sex as a norm is not idle complaining, it’s agency. However, it doesn’t matter if you hear it or not, because they are really speaking to one another, not to men. Men will adapt to the market conditions for sex as determined by women, as you say.

      If women really wanted it different it would change. As it is, it is EXACTLY what they want it to be, but they just don’t want to take ownership of it, since it tends to reflect badly that this is what they want – rather than what they SAY they want.

      You too should read the Definitive Survey post. You’re spouting a myth based on an apex fallacy about women rather than men.

  • J Mann

    Assuming that Susan is right, then the market seems pretty straightforward.

    1) If young women want the absolute hottest guy who is willing to hook up with them, and/or don’t want to invest any search time or effort, then probably most encounters will be hook ups or FWB.

    2) There’s a second pool of guys who are willing to enter a LTR, either for access to hotter women than they could otherwise hook up with or because they also prefer an LTR. Even when dating in that pool, easy hook ups and FWB reduces an individuals changes of getting to an LTR.

    So I think Susan is right. A cartel is unlikely to stand, so if the point is to get a cartel so that young women can actually force the alpha cads into LTRs, good luck with that. On the other hand, for any individual woman, not hooking up outside a relationship will increase your chances of getting one.

    On the gripping hand, Roissy would probably say that the women currently in hook up culture don’t WANT to date betas during their wild oats years; they want alphas to suddenly agree to LTRs with them personally.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      On the gripping hand, Roissy would probably say that the women currently in hook up culture don’t WANT to date betas during their wild oats years; they want alphas to suddenly agree to LTRs with them personally.

      Roissy is right. The women participating and satisfied are unrestricted in their sociosexuality, which is a perfect match for alphas. Personally, I don’t think they’re going to want betas at any point. They’ll either go into marriages with alphas (most of whom will marry), or try to snag men they perceive as high SMV who were actually betas at a younger age, or they’ll stay single.

  • Ramble

    As I go about my daily business, I see many unattractive women wearing wedding rings.

    That wasn’t my question. You had referenced how well the “least attractive” girls at your sorority did. I was curious how the unattractive did. And, I am also curious if you think that there are more unattractive girls today than back then. I understand that I have developed a reputation because of my hobby horse, so, let’s leave weight out of it.

    So, putting weight aside, do you think that the average (non-overweight) college girl is as attractive today as she was back then?

    Also, in regards to your idea about unattractive people hooking up with one another, I am guessing that you are way off. I tried to find some stats on this, but I could not:

    The marriage rate has been going down for decades. Consistently. The average weight (now I am bringing weight back into the equation) of the nation has been going up for decades. Consistently. (Granted, I don’t think the 2 are that tightly coupled). The Lower Class and Lower Middle Class are much more likely to be overweight relative to the UC and UMC. The LC and LMC are much more likely to not be married, or, get divorced if they do get married.

    My guess is that the unattractive are doing much worse today than they did in the past.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ramble

      You had referenced how well the “least attractive” girls at your sorority did. I was curious how the unattractive did.

      I didn’t answer your question directly because I have no data. We didn’t actually have any unattractive girls in our sorority. :)

      My only evidence is anecdotal, I’m afraid.

  • Ramble

    I think it is important to define what “submissiveness” is (God, I dislike that word)

    Mireille, do you find dominant men exciting or attractive?

    Or, to put it another way, do you like your man (when you are in a relationship) to display, at times, some dominance or assertiveness?

    Lastly, does that word, “Dominant”, bother you?

  • Ion

    Mireille

    “I think it is important to define what “submissiveness” is (God, I dislike that word) otherwise we’ll rub people the wrong way unnecessarily.”

    Agree. I think it’s that the media has done a pretty good job of making words like “femininity”, “submissive”, “housewife”, filthy dirty words. But that’s only because they’ve been presenting these things as a caricature and exaggeration– devoted subservient stepford wife; femininity as a girl in a bubble pink tutu or a fashion glamazon; submissive as a bowing doormat grateful to wash her man’s smelly feet.

    The other day, I got into an argument on facebook with a feminist on a male friends page. She was saying that she wanted to live in a matriarchy because women “earn more”, and “control society”, which is B.S. that’s NOT what matriarchy meant to humans.

    So I ask what’s wrong with femininity? Her exact response? “its a society that expects women to cross her legs while eating shit”. Wtf?

    I think the best thing to do definitely is to make a list of what femininity is via what we learned in pop culture and deconstruct each point individually.

  • Ramble

    Once my husband became the sole breadwinner, I found it only fair to defer to him on all matters financial. … I felt very grateful for the opportunity, and I resolved that I would make his home life as perfect as I could.

    There are areas where I probably have the last word, mostly around the kids, but for more than 20 years he has been the head of the household.

    Susan, I am curious, if you had communicated this to your girlfriends in Brookline at the time it started what do you think their reaction would have been.

    Specifically, you said something like:
    Now that he is the sole breadwinner, I am going to try and make his home life as perfect as I can, and I am grateful for the opportunity. I will probably have the last word on things related to the kids, but, in general, he will be the head of the household.

    The exact wording of it is not that important. Also, remember, you are communicating this to your, then, GFs. That is, if their attitudes have changed over the years, I want you to picture this conversation with them at that age, in that day with what their attitudes were back then.

    (I am assuming that your GFs were not hardcore feminists).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ramble

      Susan, I am curious, if you had communicated this to your girlfriends in Brookline at the time it started what do you think their reaction would have been.

      (I am assuming that your GFs were not hardcore feminists).

      That’s a good question. I didn’t ever say it that way, it was more of a role I slipped into and a personal choice. I never felt it was political. By far, the most common response from my gf’s at the time was naked envy. Every single one of them wished they could stay home full time with their kids.

  • Ramble

    Agree. I think it’s that the media has done a pretty good job of making words like “femininity”, “submissive”, “housewife”, filthy dirty words.

    Wait, Ion, do you dislike the word “submissive” or do you dislike what “the media” have portrayed it as?

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Susan…re the beach house conversation that your friends had, I suspect that this kind of dynamics had a LOT to do with the inflation of the housing bubble.

    In most cases, it was surely the wife who lobbied for a bigger house, second home, etc, since women usually care more about residences than do men. When it was men pushing the overextension, it was probably usually due to theories about how much money they would make off the property and overconfidence in their own knowledge/ability as investors. I know of one very sad case like this, which resulted in the loss of 2 houses in a desirable location, followed shortly by divorce.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @david foster

      Susan…re the beach house conversation that your friends had, I suspect that this kind of dynamics had a LOT to do with the inflation of the housing bubble.

      First, may I just say how dimwitted some very smart people are about financial matters? Right now in our lives we have two sets of couples who have stretched big to buy new homes, including in one case keeping a job just long enough to get the mortgage approved, then quitting it! In addition, my 53 year old brother is considering going back to grad school! These situations keep Mr. HUS awake at night, literally. (I think he fears we will be the lenders of last resort.)

      Years ago an old friend called weeping to explain that they had gone upside down on their mortgage in CA. They walked out and left the keys on the kitchen counter. She was terrified of being homeless, and with Mr. HUS in the background, I immediately offered them a place to live while they got back on their feet. Mr. HUS raised an eyebrow and gave me a look that this was perhaps excessive. She declined my offer, at which point I said, “Do you need money? I can send you whatever you need.” Mr. HUS jumped out of his chair, waving his arms and shaking his head vehemently. Lucky for him, she declined that too.

      (Note: this is my oldest friend of 43 years.)

  • Ramble

    There’s been a movement in recent years of students organizing into something called the Anscombe Society. It started at Princeton – here is their mission statement:

    Mission Statement
    The Anscombe Society is a student organization at Princeton University dedicated to affirming the importance of the family, marriage, and a proper understanding for the role of sex and sexuality. We aim to promote an environment that values the crucial role the intact, stable family plays in sustaining society; the definition of marriage as the exclusive, monogamous union of a man and a woman; its role as an institution which is necessary for the healthy family, and thus for a