Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Welcome to the Harem

Does anyone really get it? Even the young people who are engaged in the courtship dance called dating are often dazed and confused. Those of us who offer relationship coaching know how to help people find their footing in its shifting sands, but still, as a sociocultural phenomenon, the modern dating scene is chaotic.

Since I like simple explanations, I was drawn to Alex Williams' New York Times article about the gender imbalance on many college campuses. Link here.

If the ratio of women to men is 60%/40% this will obviously have an effect on dating and relationship behavior. One effect, as Williams points out, is that with men in such short supply those few remaining men have become empowered.

They can do what they want, when they want, with whom they want... and women, unhappy about being alone, go along because they feel that they have no other choice. If the choice is between hooking up with an anonymous male and going home alone, no small number of women are choosing the former, on the grounds that something is better than nothing.

In a related article, Charlotte Allen writes in The Weekly Standard that there is: "a buyer's market in women who are up for just about anything." Link here.

This feels crass and slightly exaggerated, but if Williams is correct, then it appears that on many college campuses and large cities there is simply "a buyer's market for women."

How did things get to the point where women have been disempowered in relationships, to the point where they are being induced to act out adolescent male fantasies, regardless of their wishes or needs?

Of course, it is reasonable to cast some responsibility in the direction of feminist thinkers like Naomi Wolf who told young women that they should explore their sexuality fully, because promiscuity was a concept invented by the patriarchy to control women and to keep them in their place.

And let us not forget Carol Gilligan and her effort to make schools into places that would enhance girls' self-esteem, even at the expense of boys. Gilligan's plan has been so successful that colleges are now suffering a severe gender imbalance.

Irony of ironies, these fully self-confident females are obliged to act desperate if they want to have dates or relationships.

The gender disparity has granted men so much power that women's voices, their needs, their interests become trivial psychocultural excrescences.

Of course, neither Gilligan nor anyone else in the self-esteem enhancement movement ever said that girls should be glorified at the expense of boys. Reality, however, said otherwise.

If girls and boys excel at different skills and if you want to enhance the self-esteem of girls in a competitive environment you need merely reinvent the curriculum to favor skills in which girls excel.

The more you value touchy-feely confessional exercises, the more you will grant girls a certain type of self-esteem. If you rewrite history to diminish warfare, competition, and heroics you will find that boys feel increasingly alienated from school. And alienated boys do not do as well as their fathers and grandfathers.

Boys retreat into their video games, sports, and fight clubs. In North Carolina, as the Times reports, they often forgo college to join the military, the one place where they will have a chance to become men.

Meanwhile back in college girls are learning to hook up. But, as Charlotte Allen points out, they are not hooking up with just anyone. Not just any man is going to succeed at the hook-up game.

A group of ersatz alpha males seems to have garnered a disproportionate number of women, while the beta and gamma males, nice guys, guys who would make good husbands or boy friends, are left out of the game.

Naturally, they want to be in the game. They do not esteem themselves and are not esteemed by women for their good qualities, so they decide that they want to become pick-up artists. Much of Allen's article is about how normal men, seeing women blithely go home with pick-up artists, decide that they must devalue their good qualities and emulate these ersatz alpha males.

The interesting part of all this is that a woman who engages in a casual sexual encounter with an ersatz alpha male, only to return to the comfort of the sisterhood, is acting like she is part of a harem.

What else does it mean to be one of many members of a pasha's harem?

This explains some of the peculiar aspects of the current hook-up scene.

Women are attracted to men who seem to have had many women, because that is a sign of being an alpha male. Inexperienced men, who who are awkward and shy around women, need not apply for pick-up artist or alpha male status.

Many of these men are not especially good lovers. This also becomes a sign of alpha maledom. If you are a pasha and can have any woman you want you do not need to be especially attentive to the woman's needs. You are not going to see her in the morning anyway.

Women learn to tolerate men who never call them again, because that too is a sign that he's an alpha male, that he is never going to be hers, but that she belongs to his harem.

Of course, as Charlotte Allen points out, these pick-up artists are not really alpha males; they are ersatz. They are playing roles; they are imitation alpha males; they are most often gamma or delta males whose special skill is acting out a woman'a fantasy.

The dating scene is an enacted fiction; it is about men pretending to be alpha males and women pretending to be part of a harem. Talk all you want about female empowerment, the consequence of the reforms that feminists promoted has been female disempowerment and female desperation.

Because women would not be acting this way if they were not desperate about their chances of having boyfriends. Worse yet, under the aegis of Naomi Wolf and her ilk, they mistake their desperation for desire and feel that they must act on what they believe is their heart's desire.

Sadly, they will often discover that they have not been liberated, but have been gotten so involved in living a myth that their sexual desires are no longer real.


Kevin said...

Ick, change your font, for goodness sake.

Anonymous said...

That is a hard font to read, but good post! Hadn't thought of it that way.

Ecosium said...

I like the font. Very interesting column.
Here is another interesting phenomenon- girls rarely proactively flirted with me in high school and only a little in college (I probably had that desperate look). Once married, (to the college girl that saw me as a good catch), women have been much more prone to approach me and talk to me in a flirtatious way...even after they see the ring! What gives? Other married men I know have also noticed this and we've scientifically chalked it off to the well known phenomenon that women are crazy.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you are not on the distribution list. But it is a well known fact that a wedding ring functions as a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. (You were interviewed and hired by a female).

Lupus Solus said...

You're all over the place with this article.

First of all, absent forcible rape, the woman is the gatekeeper to sex. They have, in no way, been disempowered.

The guys are only playing by the "rules" that have been created by the feminists over the past 40 years or so. That is that women can have it all ... jobs, sex, etc. with no conditions. They have created a society that favors the alpha male who is more than willing to oblige them.

The current laws discourage beta males since the women are trying to have it all. They marry a beta male; fool around with an alpha male; dump the beta male while getting the kids, the house, and a nice monthly check.

The betas aren't being left out so much as they are choosing not to play anymore. They're not getting married or at least delaying it ... and then choosing a foreign bride. Lot's of educated Eastern European women available ...

Rob Steele said...

Monogamy is a gift from God that we despise at our peril. Left to ourselves, if we're rich and powerful enough, men accumulate and dispose of women like pashas. What kind of life is that for women? Feminism empowers its devotees to be sex slaves, the very thing it supposedly hates. God will not be mocked.

Anonymous said...

There may be some confusion surrounding the original article about what an "Alpha Male" is within any primate species including humans. In addition to this blog I have read some other blogs regarding human "Alpha Males" in which women describe what they think an alpha male is and why they are attracted to them or not...and in almost every case they are in fact describing a "Gamma Male".
In primate social interaction, primate females instinctively develope contempt for "familiar" males and are instead attracted to males that move around the fringes of social groups...or from one social group to another...thus remaining "unfamiliar". These males are "Gamma Males". To us humans it is the "New guy in town"...or the "Rebel"...or outsider.
A Gamma male is a male that resists pack mentality and thus does not join Alphas and their subordinate Betas in any social group.
In popular culture "Gamma Males" are always the leading character role as the loner with the heart of gold or the good-hearted guy that is picked on by the bully and his cohorts and manages to overcome. Physically suitable Gamma males will always be successful with women.
Alpha males are guys who are the male leaders of a social group..and though they are more sexually successful than Betas...are not nearly as sexually successful as Gammas.
I apologize for any spelling errors, I'm typing on the fly here.

K said...

First of all, absent forcible rape, the woman is the gatekeeper to sex. They have, in no way, been disempowered.

When your options are having sex or not having a boyfriend, the gates tend to open.

I'd also point out that this situation may dis-empower women, but it fits right in with the an anti-family population control agenda.

Anonymous said...

These Pashas are not Alpha males.

Do they make, create, and maintain something? Lead anyone? Get anything done? Raise a family? Contribute to the community?

In a tribal society they would get killed or ostracized for creating social incohesion and not pulling their weight. So much for being an Alpha.

In today's anonymous world, they get away with serial emotional abuse.

The PUA scene is based upon emotional manipulation of clueless women. And this is then tied into the fact that some in our hypersexualized culture equate sex with success.

With no other guideposts as to what is male virtue, some women will substitute false social proof and emotional reaction for real substance.

Here is what Alpha males do.


Next to a real Alpha male, these guys are tiny little pricks.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks to all the commenters. (And, of course, to Dr. Helen for quoting and linking the post.) I agree fully with those who have pointed out that the "pashas" who are playing these pick-up games are not really alpha males. They are imitation or ersatz.

Windy said...

We can argue about definitions and what to call the smaller group of males within the group of male university students who have sex with most of the women, but it is a social phenomenon that has to be examined.
I was thinking that instead of a Pasha and his harem, the females are acting more like animals, for example, deer in the rut, selecting the big bucks. Harem implies some exclusivity that I doubt is present.

Windy said...

And another thing. The article admits the males are not really alpha males but calls them, "ersatz alpha males". Ersatz is a German word signifying imitation or replacement or substitute. They are imitation alpha males because they really don't produce anything, or accomplish anything, except look good for desperate college girls.

sestamibi said...


There was a scene in the 1989 film "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" in which lawyer John Mullany (Peter Gallagher) brags to his friend Graham (James Spader) about how his wedding ring offered him great opportunities for cheating. The evo-psych term for this is "social proof".

For me it works in reverse. Women see my wedding ring and think "Good grief, who would be desperate enough to marry him??!"


Susan Walsh said...

Wow, great post! I am particularly interested in your description of what's going on in the schools. I have been talking about this a bit as well, but more from a sense of things than any real analysis. It's something I've been meaning to research, and this is an excellent start. IMO, the American educational system has been thoroughly feminized. We reward girl-style learning, confict resolution, etc. from kindergarten on, making all but the most compliant boys feel deficient.

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Lupus Solus said...

When your options are having sex or not having a boyfriend, the gates tend to open.

Huh? You're joking right?

1. The woman is STILL the gatekeeper in this situation.

2. I know of no guy who has stay'd with a woman only for the sex. That's a breakup waiting to happen.

3. Are you saying there is no sexual desire on the part of the woman? You make it sound as if she has no sexual desires or needs and she is merely "putting out" to hav a boyfriend.

Veritas said...

I've stumbled upon this blog accidentally. Rarely have I seen so much misguided personal opinion and thinly-veiled hatred towards women. Then again, there are so many people who were wronged by a woman or two when they were young and end up bitter and hateful towards the whole gender until the end of their lives. This is called generalization.

The only solution is to spread your wings and fly, not to be caught in petty resentments of the past. Then life will be good. Otherwise, you're your own worst enemy. Not women, not culture, not anyone else. You're the one choosing to revel in your own misery. Harsh, but true.